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.”
Paul refers here to three groups: “The church of God”, “grievous wolves” and men who will arise from within the church. The fulfillment of this prophecy can be seen clearly in our churches today.
1. The Grievous Wolves – Paul said that the wolves would come from outside our churches. There is a movement in our churches today by “Agents of Apostasy” to turn our churches away from holiness and separation. These wolves gain entry to our pulpits through much heralded “Discipleship” programs and “Family seminars”. Once inside they begin to promote a turning away from biblical standards and toward an all inclusive “non-judgmental” approach to evangelism. Anyone who resists them is branded a “legalist” and is promptly intimidated into silence or run out of the church. Soon everyone is calling the pastor, “Pastor Jim” or “Pastor Bill” and wearing their best shorts to church. The pastor sees a need to preach from an anemic looking “Bible stand” while wearing a golf shirt. They throw out the hymnal and “follow the bouncing ball” as they sing choruses from a screen. Everybody enjoys fellowshipping down at the movie house and contemporary “Christian” music is foisted on the helpless congregation. Behind they leave churches that are worldly, filled with immorality and into social drinking.
These wolves are the Christian “Left”. They call themselves “progressive” but really they are degenerative. They are unabashed liberals whose sole goal is to introduce worldliness into our churches. But the most dangerous thing about them is that they use the King James Bible! They even portray themselves as defenders of God’s perfect Bible. Why? Because it is the King James Bible believing churches that the devil is the most interested in corrupting. If these “Agents of Apostasy” used an NIV our people would recognize them for the blatant modernists they are. But since they use a King James Bible our pastors are lining up to have them in to teach their “Discipleship” program or for a family conference or a missions conference. They are liberals. They are the left. They are wolves. They are “of the world”.(2 Peter 2:19-22)
2. Men from within – As a reaction to the actions of the liberal wolves there are men, good men, outstanding men, who are arising from within our congregations. They are determined to halt the corruption. But they operate under a fatal flaw. They believe that if “Left is wrong” then “Right is right”. If, “Liberal is bad” then surely “Conservative is good.” In an over reaction to the wolves they slingshot too far in the opposite direction. Soon they are leaning towards an imitation of the Amish lifestyle. They promote total withdrawal from the world. They glorify things like primitive living, home child birth, organic gardening and an inordinate worship of “the family.” Anything that the world does is bad. Hospitals, medicine, grocery store food, it’s all been tainted by its connection to society. Soon, in the name of their family they dispose of Sunday Schools. (“It separates the family.”) They dismiss Sunday evening services. (“It’s our family night.”) Many end up imitating Amish forms of dress and culture. Some call themselves the “Plain People.” (The same term the Amish use to describe themselves.) They portray a mock humility of which they are fiercely proud. They garner followers from within our churches who do not like the new liberal teachings of the wolves. Those fleeing the wolves run right into their waiting arms.
Most of these men are good men. They stand out in their congregations. Many are just old hippies who opted out of society in the ’70’s because of rebellion. Now they’ve discovered a way to opt out of society and make their rebellion look virtuous.
These men are the Christian “Right”. They aren’t liberal or leftist and are unbearably proud of their humility. The more primitive a Christian is the more “spiritual” they are considered to be. These folks seem to believe that to be “spiritual” they must live like it was 1860. They’re certainly not “of the world”. The problem is, they refuse to even be “in the world.”
Unfortunately this group also uses the King James Bible. If they used a modern tranlation we would reject them out of hand for the kooks that they are. But they use a King James Bible in order to gain access to our churches, just like the wolves do.
3. The Church of God – This is that group of people throughout the world who have taken Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. They are not to be “liberal.” They are not to be of the left. Yet they are not to be “conservative” or of the right either. They are to note that when Israel had a king that pleased God he, “turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” (2 Kings 22:2) In fact, one of the benefits of reading the Bible on a daily basis is that it will prevent the reader from turning to either the right or left. (Deut. 17:19, 20) They should not be loosely dressed like the wolves advocate. Yet they shouldn’t be chasing the Amish for their clothing styles. They are not to make themselves a rigid segment of the world with its immoral values. Yet they shouldn’t run out and buy a cabin on a mountain and attempt to hide from it. They are to be “in the world” but not “of the world”. The “Left” is of the world. They have lost their ability to influence the world for Christ because they’re just like the world. The conservatives don’t even want to be in it. They can’t influence it because they have withdrawn themselves from it. We are required to live our lives in the world but we are not to be of it.
Don’t get caught up in a wayward movement just because they use the King James Bible and bash the group, (“left” or “right”) that you don’t like. You’re either going to end up a casualty of the wolves or a disciple of the “Right wing Righteous.” You’re ministry will be either trying to be as much like the world as you can or to get as far from it as possible. Both are wrong. Both are dangerous. And both use the King James Bible in order to snare their victims.
Stay away from the “Left”. Don’t run off into the hills with the “Right”. We are required to be in the world but not of it. A mission that both of these groups fail miserably at for differing reasons.