Thursday, May 09, 2013

When Wolves Become Shepherds


Acts 20: 28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Notice the verse which says that these wolves will “draw away disciples after them”. Can there be any clearer revelation of that verse than the day in which we now live? So these wolves are not just some heretic mixing around within a church innocuously. These are grievous wolves who are seeking prey. They bring with them damnable heresies with which to deceive whoever they can and especially the weak.

Now if all doctrines mean nothing than the New Testament must be considered an overkill as it pertains to truth. I mean if just a nebulous image of truth, redemption, and the Person of Christ is all that is necessary to gain eternal life than Paul was unnecessarily obsessed about things. And why all these verses about false teachers and heretics and apostasy if they are all meaningless? Or more importantly, if there are these warnings then are you even slightly interested in what is happening today? And if not then why not?

But we should know that what has been written is for our spiritual guidance and edification, and the warnings are real and important. You must dismiss Paul, Peter, John, Jude, and Jesus Himself if you believe that all the discussion about false teachers is unnecessary and overblown. And if that is your perspective than you need not worry about the slide taking place in the evangelical community. Go ahead, relax. Everything will turn out alright.

But if you take the Scriptures even somewhat seriously and as a communiqué from Almighty God, then you should, you must be concerned about the ominous warnings about wolves and false shepherds especially in these last days. This is no joke or game and this is no light discussion about some minor point of doctrine. In fact, this is a serious as it gets, and this is about the eternal souls of sinners. If you do not really care enough to at least give some consideration to the Word in this area than just what do you care about?

Do you really think people like me get some sort of demented pleasure in addressing and confronting heresies and false teachers? You think we get a throwback thrill by using terms like “wolves”? Or are we flawed and imperfect followers of Jesus being used of God to warn people? The warnings about apostasy are real and prophetic, and that means that the evil one will work his cunning through all kinds of false teachers and wolves in these last days. Apostasy is nothing to dismiss and relegate to a meaningless back and forth between believers. Apostasy is real and its goal is to damn the souls of men.

I marvel at how naive believers can be and even want to be. The same believers that can name a sports team roster are ignorant of what is happening spiritually all around them. And that kind of deception is part and parcel of apostasy. Make no mistake these modern wolves are well coiffed and present a wonderful and alluring image. They speak wonderful words of hope and success, and they point to a better life. They use the word Jesus sparingly and when Jesus does make a cameo in their verbiage He is presented as an aid to our earthly desires and destinies. It sound all so wonderful. But please hear these words, these are the paths which lead to spiritual death and eternal justice. Can I make it any plainer?

That is why, dear friend, that men like me are compelled to speak out plainly and expose these wicked messengers. It is for God to know if they are knowingly complicit with Satan or if they are profoundly deceived themselves or of course both. But  our calling is to call attention to them and their teachings so some can either avoid them completely or more rarely escape from within their spiritual trap. Call us what you want, e-mail us with hate, even point out our own imperfections but that is nothing to us. What would we say to God when He has opened our eyes and allowed us to see things we could never see on our own and then we would remain silent and just watch? Just what would we say to God?   

Men like Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Rob Bell, Kenneth Copeland, John Hagee, and a long list of others have drawn disciples unto themselves and continue to teach damnable heresies. Did you notice the word “damnable” applied to heresies? That directly implies the damnation of eternal souls which is another truth that is like Kryptonite to these false evangelical supermen. Who could make money on television if he would preach that? People desire to hear good things and so the wolves give them what they desire to consume it upon their lusts.

But there is also a colossal and miraculous work of the Spirit still alive today. Yes, there are some who were captured in these cults and falsehoods who by the grace of God have escaped. And most of them immediately see the error through their rear view mirrors. You will read their comments in blogs that warn. Their testimonies substantiate what is being warned about, and what better insight is there to hear a captive reveal to us the chains of the dungeons? After three girls were wonderfully released from being in bondage in Cleveland for over ten years people wanted to hear the horrors from their own lips. And soon these girls will be called on to testify against the monster who kidnapped and tortured them. Well there are many who have escaped the clutches of these grievous wolves who now openly testify of the spiritual horrors they experienced. Are we to ignore them and call them liars?

No, God uses them and their first hand testimonies to draw the attention of others and help those who teach and preach warnings to authenticate the message. But all things must and should point back to God’s Word, and so it does. And back to my earlier point. Of what value is the Word if we allow our opinions to supplant it? In no time in history has the Word been more visceral in its warnings against spiritual wolves. The world is littered with men who claim to be Jesus and almost everyone recognizes that as bizarre and false. But although God’s Word has predicted that will happen in the end days, the obvious is not how the devil is leading a massive falling away.

Wolves do not introduce themselves as wolves. They do not come out in the open so sheep can see them. No, they crouch quietly as they pursue their prey. And what has happened in greater numbers over the last fifty years is that these wolves are now using shepherds clothing, and just like some Bugs Bunny cartoon, they use that disguise to take hold of pulpits throughout the evangelical community. And there are so many that men like me seem obsessed but in reality the wolf pack is growing at lightning speed. Many of these wolves are training other wolves and so they multiply.

And Christian television, with all its creative imagery and professional production, has been a major vehicle in helping wolves to become shepherds to millions. But we will not remain silent. Our hearts grieve and sometimes we are shocked, but our voices will still be heard. We hold not deceptions about who we are. We are sinners saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus. It isn’t us we are pointing to…God forbid. But please give heed to what looks like it could be the last warnings to the last generation. Please, give heed. Please…


Anonymous said...

Amen. This is one of the most troubling points of being a true christian for today; being able to discern who is a wolf or who isn't. But then I scoured in 1John 1:9 and if 'hatred' is found around a person or their attitude towards others, then we know to stay away. This verse says, "He who is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now." 10: "He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him." 11: "But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes".

I'm hearing a lot of hate these days from self-professed christians who comment on blogs in regards to the political issues of the day. It's not enough to give their opinions, but they use bitter distasteful harmful words and it's easy to feel the hateful tone. Hateful tones are everywhere. Something has snapped and we hear it daily on talk shows, news shows, radio, and the twitter feeds are painfully hateful. These wolves who tweet, facebook, editorialize, sermonize ARE influencing gullible christians into this 'hate/fight/slander/mock/refuse to forgive/bully/threatening tone and it's getting scary. And this coming from "christians".

And, in 1 John 4:1 - "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Anti-christ, which you have heard was coming, and now is already in the world."

Sometimes I think this passage gives gullible christians the all-clear to permit the wolves in, because many wolves still do confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. This is how diabolical the wolves are today. They actually abide with this truth, that Jesus is the Son of God, yet
still fleece the sheep and behave with rotten fruit. It's these that must have lost their conscience and are given strong delusion.

I have just one more thought on discerning wolves. I wonder if those who are gifted with tongues and prophecy and the gifts of the Spirit can still yield a harvest even though they teach on debatable things. I was recollecting one old Oneness pentecostal sermon I heard about how Trinitarians believe in 3 Gods. It was the way in which they accused trinitarians of worshipping 3 Gods that turned me off. I had never heard a trinitarian make this exagerrated claim. The sermon concluded with the message that these will go to hell. Back then, I could not accept this in my spirit. First, I can't even understand the godhead yet, but I don't believe they do either. Yet, they take such gambles to make such accusations. If they wanted to humbly teach their view and encourage each one to study this and approve it for themselves, that would be ok, but to make a line in the sand and ask a convert to stay away from those 3-god worshippers is a person who is more dedicated to his need for men's allegiance and "being right". I cannot understand how some who've been blessed with God's faithfulness and gifts could draw such conclusions. It's claimed their argument is all scriptural, but when studying it, it leaves so many unanswered questions and so many have left that church afraid they weren't saved if they couldn't understand that supposed revelation and feel their mission field is Trinitarians. How whacked out is it if a born-again believer is trying to draw other believers to another version of the Godhead, when everything is explained in scripture.
Even so, Lord Jesus Come quickly!!


Anonymous said...

Rick, would this sermon that you gave could it be that if I were asked to talk to someone about what is going on in their church and I do not do it. Could I be like the watchman in Ezekiel 33:6?


Rick Frueh said...

I would pray that the Lord would give you gracious, humble, but truth filled words for your friend. And do not plcae eny expectations upon him. Just love him and pray.