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 Even though the devil’s been at it since the beginning of the church, it has been decided by people who likely use the Bible as a prop and not much else that he is no longer in the business of trying to deceive, seduce, and detour the children of God. They’ve determined that the enemy is no longer interested in perverting the way of truth, and his minions are no longer adamant about downplaying, denying, or circumventing the words of Jesus.

Every contributor to the canon of the New Testament contended with false teachers, false prophets, false doctrines, and false Christs. They all warned the children of God to be weary, cautious, on guard, and ever mindful of what they receive as truth, doctrine, or divine instruction.

Does anyone really believe that all of a sudden, the enemy stopped? Does anyone really believe that his agenda has shifted and that he no longer seeks to devour the saints? We still insist that a zebra can’t change its stripes or a leopard its spots, but apparently, the devil can change his nature. He’s so docile; he’s kid-friendly now.

Acts 15:1, “And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”

It took me a minute to figure out what was wrong with this verse other than the obvious. Maybe I’m just slow, but gold star for you if you can figure it out. Men came down from Judea to teach the brethren. It wasn’t Apostles; it wasn’t even other brethren who came to teach; it was certain men with a theory that they did their best to disseminate. Contrary to most leaders today, Paul and Barnabas would have none of it, and they got into what the Bible refers to as no small dissension.

I’m somewhat certain it didn’t come to blows, but how close it got is another matter altogether. A shepherd who is willing to put himself between the wolves and the sheep is a true shepherd. A shepherd who is willing to stand up to deception and call it out, using the Bible as the counterargument for whatever fresh wave of nonsense wafts through the church, is one who has my utmost respect.

Another question worth pondering is how did these men gain access to the brethren? Did someone vouch for them? Did someone introduce them as credible? Did they just wander into the fellowship and begin teaching unbidden? On whose authority did they come in and proceed to sow division?

These are all worthwhile questions to ponder because the same is being done today, and with a much greater success rate because those who ought to be watching are either distracted or disinterested to the point that falsehood outpaces the truth by a disturbing margin.

Wittingly or unwittingly, someone let these men in, and they caused such a division among the brethren that Paul and Barnabas, as well as Peter, had to come together with the other elders to consider and debate this issue in Jerusalem. Herein lies the danger of allowing extra-biblical teachings to worm their way among the brethren unchecked and unchallenged. It is also why I have an issue when a pastor is described as the nicest guy ever, wouldn’t offend anyone to save his life, or is inclusive of other opinions and viewpoints rather than being described as Biblical. That’s all a pastor needs to be: Biblical.

If they are Biblical, they will, by definition, be caring, empathetic, and conciliatory, but they will also have the boldness to stand on the Word of God and not be swayed by the feelings choir that sprouts up in so many congregations. If you lead out by telling me you feel the Bible means something different than what it says, that conversation is a non-starter for me, as it should for any true shepherd.

Once you put forward the idea that your feelings supersede the Word of God and that the dogma, creed, and theology of a church body must change to fit your interpretation, we’re not going to find common ground, and there is nothing further that we must debate. Pull the plug, fade to black, put a pin in it, we’re done.

The only people that see that as unloving are the wolves, who are mad at not being able to get to the sheep. The only ones incensed and accusing the shepherds of being uncaring are those who got stopped dead in their tracks and were not allowed to decimate the flock.

One of the most humbling things I can hear from a pastor who opens his pulpit to me is that he’s done his research, compared what I preach to the Word of God, and has found that he can entrust me to feed those he is responsible for. It also tells me more about the man than any title or office he might claim.

Love for the sheep is exhibited in protecting them from the wolves, not ushering them into their open jaws. Turning a blind eye to false teaching, false prophets, and false teachers is not a sign of love; it is a sign of cowardice and a self-serving narcissism that cares nothing for the welfare of those who see you as a spiritual leader, mentor, or teacher.

Dazzling smiles and toothless sermons will work until they don’t. Reality and fantasy are destined for a head-on collision, and while reality is made of steel and metal, fantasy is all paper-mâché. One will obliterate the other, and those believing that good vibes and positive thoughts are enough to carry them through the storm will realize just how wrong they were.

With love in Christ,

Michael Boldea, Jr.  

Posted on 13 May 2023 | 10:02 am

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