The belief that after the death of the apostles the Church fell into apostasy and believed in "doctrines of demons." This is always used to explain there existence and being a recognized religion. These churches are called the Restoration Movement (also known as the American Restoration Movement or the Stone-Campbell Movement, Campbellites, and Campbellism). Restoration Movement are Christian movements that began on the American frontier during the Second Great Awakening (1790–1870) of the early 19th century. Another group who are staunch supporter of this doctrine is the Iglesia ni Cristo, a religion in the Philippines which was founded by Felix Y. Manalo on July 27, 1914 in Punta, Santa Ana, Manila.
What does Scripture say?
"My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back to this land. I will build them up and not tear them down; I will plant them and not uproot them." -Jeremiah 24:6.
What does God plant?
"and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor." -Isaiah 61:3
"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever." -Daniel 2:44
Christ reestablished "Israel" since it fell into apostasy and was driven into exile as a consequence. When Daniel says, "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed" he was not referring to the present Israel, but the Church which is a continuation of the Religion of God. The consequence of Israel's apostasy was it would be conquered by foreign powers; e.g. Babylonians, Greeks, and Romans; so Daniel 2:44 cannot be applicable to Israel since it did not crush nor survive the Roman Suppression and destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. Nor during the Babylonian Conquest and destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC. And after those event the country of Israel and the Jews did not comeback and resettle until May 14, 1948.
To make this clear, not all of Israel had fallen into apostasy. The Blessed Virgin, Joseph, St. John the Baptist, the Twelve Apostles, and the earliest of the disciples were Jews. Christianity started as a Jewish sect, this shows that not all in Israel fell into apostasy. 2 Thessalonians does not, nor any verse in Scripture, support the mythical doctrine of total apostasy. No verse ever records that everyone in the Church has fallen into apostasy after the apostle's death. The doctrine promulgated by the Mormons and the Restoration Movement is not supported by Scripture. It was a mere invention that their founder created to justify their existence.
Since Christ established the Church or "planted" it in this sense, it will never be uprooted. The Church is the "Kingdom of God" on earth. The Church is also described as "a mustard seed" (Mark 4:30-32, Matthew 13:31-32, Luke 17:6, Luke 13:19), and we are the birds perched in it since we find solace in her. Which Christ planted on earth, "He replied, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots."-Matthew 15:13. We cannot deny that God established or planted the Church on earth. Since God was the founder, this Church will not "be pulled up by the roots" (Matthew 15:13). Any religion or denomination established by man "will be pulled up by the roots." And the Apostles were given the task of becoming a "worker in the fields" of the Lord, "For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:9). And this same job was given to people whom they ordained, "And the things which thou hast heard of me by many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also." (2 Timothy 2:2).
The Apostles were given by Christ the authority to the apostles to make visible decisions on earth that will be ratified in heaven. God raises up humanity in Christ by exalting his chosen leaders and endowing them with the authority and grace they need to bring about the conversion of all. Without a central authority in the Church, there would be chaos (as there is in Protestantism).
"And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." (Matthew 16:19)
In the Gospels, the Church is always referred to as being the "Kingdom of God" which is on earth. And as Paul writes in Hebrews, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe," -Hebrews 12:28. "a kingdom that cannot be shaken" meaning that it will never fall into apostasy.
Since the Church was built upon a Rock (Peter), it will never fall or swept away.
"Now I tell you, Peter is your name and on this rock I will build my church; the powers of Hades SHALL NOT SUCCEED AGAINST IT." -Matthew 16:18 (Moffatt Translation)
18 I tell you also that you are a stone, and upon this stone I will build my church; and the doors of Sheol shall not shut in on it. (Matthew 16:18, Lamsa Translation)
"Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell WILL NOT conquer it." -Matthew 16:18, New Living Translation (©2007)
"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades WILL NOT OVERPOWER it." -New American Standard Bible (©1995)
And I declare to you that you are Peter, and that upon this Rock I will build my Church, and the might of Hades SHALL NOT TRIUMPH OVER IT." -Weymouth New Testament
"But I tell you, your name is Peter, a rock, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of DEATH SHALL NOT SUBDUE it." (Matthew 16:18, Goodspeed)
As Christ said in His Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders,
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)
Since the Church is also called the "household of God" it will never fall since he built it over Peter, the Rock. And as Christ assured Peter, "Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell WILL NOT conquer it." -Matthew 16:18, New Living Translation (©2007). The Church, since it was built on a Rock (Peter) will not fall away or "fell with a great crash" (Matthew 7:24-27). And since it was planted by God, "Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots."-Matthew 15:13. Since Christ "planted" the "Kingdom of God", Mustard Seed (Mark 4:30-32, Matthew 13:31-32, Luke 17:6, Luke 13:19), it will never be uprooted, "I will build them up and not tear them down" -Jeremiah 24:6. The Church, in it's sense will never fall into apostasy since it is "the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15). It did not say "the pillar and foundation of LIES", but "the pillar and foundation of TRUTH." To say that later on, after the Apostles, the Church started teaching lies, is saying that St. Paul lied when he called the Church as "the pillar and foundation of the truth." (1 Timothy 3:15).
"He received dominion, splendor, and kingship;all nations, peoples and tongues will serve him.His dominion is an everlasting dominionthat shall not pass away,his kingship, one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:14)
Since the Church is the Kingdom of God on earth, Christ will never be an exiled king, since believers in the Total or Great Apostasy says that the Church completely disappeared.
According to St. Paul, God gave us the Church so that we may know with certainty the truths of the faith. This is the only reason for the existence of the Church, but it is a central reason. Let's look at Ephesians 3:20-21: "Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
2 Thessalonians 2:3
Many people who claim this belief usually quote from 2 Thessalonians 2:3. They claim that the Church has fallen into total apostasy or the Church "totally disappeared." They usually say that since the Apostle's death, the Church did not continue into practicing or stood firm with tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
Ἐρωτῶμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, ὑπὲρ τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἡμῶν ἐπισυναγωγῆς ἐπ’ αὐτόν, εἰς τὸ μὴ ταχέως σαλευθῆναι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ νοὸς μηδὲ θροεῖσθαι μήτε διὰ πνεύματος μήτε διὰ λόγου μήτε δι’ ἐπιστολῆς ὡς δι’ ἡμῶν, ὡς ὅτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου. μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον· ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἀνομίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, (ΠΡΟΣ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΕΙΣ Β΄ 2:1-3)
(1erōtōmen de umas adelphoi uper tēs parousias tou kuriou ēmōn iēsou christou kai ēmōn episunagōgēs ep auton 2eis to mē tacheōs saleuthēnai umas apo tou noos mēde throeisthai mēte dia pneumatos mēte dia logou mēte di epistolēs ōs di ēmōn ōs oti enestēken ē ēmera tou kuriou 3mē tis umas exapatēsē kata mēdena tropon oti ean mē elthē ē apostasia prōton kai apokaluphthē o anthrōpos tēs anomias o uios tēs apōleias)
"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." -2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, New International Version
And 2 Thessalonians never says, nor is there one shred of biblical evidence elsewhere to say, that a total apostasy would ever happen. Apostasy, yes, but total apostasy, no. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 does not support the myth of Great Apostasy. Some people who uses a different version can read "Great Apostasy", yet in the original text, the word "μεγάλη αποστασία" (megáli̱ apostasía) does not appear. The only word "apostasia" is found, not "megáli̱."
And in addition, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 talks about the Second Coming, a future event. Anyone who claims that Great or Total Apostasy ever happened should tell us where is Christ? Has He come back again? How do we know that it is a future event? "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians 2:1). It is very clear that this will be a future event, not a total apostasy, but some people will be apostate. And this event will herald the Second Coming of Christ. Yet by claiming that the Apostasy has already come, where was Christ? By saying that from the span of 2,000 years the Church has fallen into apostasy, when did Christ come back again during that time?
" 11 ¶Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a afamine of bread, nor a bthirst for water, but of hearing the cwords of the Lord:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall arun to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it." -Amos 8:11-12, The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-Day Saints Bible
Mormons always claim that this verse supports their doctrine. They say that this is a prophecy of the apostasy after the Apostle's death. Yet have they read Amos 9:8?
"Surely the eyes of the Sovereign LORD are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth--yet I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob," declares the LORD." -Amos 9:8
It is clear that the God through the prophet Amos was referring to the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), and not the Southern Kingdom of Israel (Judah). The Northern Kingdom was not in the favor with God. It was the Northern Kingdom that God was referring to in Amos 8:11-12, not both Kingdoms.
As much as the Protestants (Mormons and Restoration Movement) wants to assert this belief and say that the Catholic Church is the "apostate church." Truth is, it is actually themselves who are apostates. They are like Judas. Here is the verse that condemns them, "And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican." (Matthew 18:17).
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." (Galatians 1:8)
"But the sure foundation of God standeth firm, having this seal: the Lord knoweth who are his; and let every one depart from iniquity who nameth the name of the Lord." (2 Timothy 2:19)