Just one more savage wolf...
(Tim, w/thanks to David L.) What if a pastor were to take seriously the Apostle Paul's warning to the Ephesian elders:
Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood?
What if he were to read the Apostle Paul's prediction concerning what was about to happen in the church of Ephesus and assume this is also happening in his church right now?
I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:28-31)
Would he test himself? Would he ask the Holy Spirit to reveal whether he himself is a hireling, or a good shepherd? Would he be on the alert? Would he look around for savage wolves? For false shepherds speaking perverse things in order to draw away disciples for themselves?
Would he wonder whether anyone in his own congregation could fairly describe his ministry as a "night and day" work of ceaselessly admonishing each of his sheep with tears?
Brothers, the church has always been under attack from both savage wolves and hirelings. And it's the failure of hirelings not to think about who the savage wolves are...
If by accident the hireling finds himself thinking about it, he quickly banishes the thought from his mind lest he find himself up late at night in some parishioner's home shedding tears as he admonishes the precious soul concerning how to recognize and flee from the savage wolf.
What savage wolf?
Well, dear pastors and elders, you tell me. How on earth can we be on guard for ourselves and the blood-bought flock of God if we haven't a clue who the savage wolves are? But if you stop to think about it, isn't it quite convenient that we can't name any names? After all, where there are no names, there's no admonishment needed. And no danger to our work.
There; that's right on the money. No danger to our work.
The bestest way to understand the work of the pastorate today is the avoidance of danger. We flee anything that might jeopardize our 501c3 status, our invitation to give a pre-Assembly workshop, or our selection to be the man who dialogs with our denomination's superstar pastor concerning his promotion of woman officers. We run from any controversy that might get mud on our pants or blood on our shirts. We're clean machines working for the next big thing that might come along. A tall steeple church would be nice.
Well, speaking only for myself, you know, let me name one savage wolf who is not sparing the flock, who is speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after himself. And I simply cannot stop warning my congregants away from him. I do it day and night, with tears.
This savage wolf is Rob Bell and I warn you against him.
His video, Bullhorn Guy, is all anyone should ever need to cause us to flee his smooth, flattering tongue, but those who need more could check out this interview.
Asked what an evangelical is, Bell responds:
I embrace the term evangelical, if by that we mean a belief that we together can actually work for change in the world, caring for the environment, extending to the poor generosity and kindness, a hopeful outlook. That’s a beautiful sort of thing.
No, Rob; evangelical is not a political term. It isn't spiritual shorthand for a card-carrying member of the more numinous part of the Democratic Party. And godly men don't embrace evangelicalism; they confess it knowing the world will hate them for it, and that their confession will be perceived by those who are perishing as a bad smell, a stink, the stench of death. A very ugly thing.
It's apparent Bell hasn't read Lloyd-Jones' What Is an Evangelical? Particularly his statement that evangelicals are Christians who say "no." Bell is incapable of saying "no" to anything or anyone.
Except, of course, those who say "no" to something or someone--particularly if that "no" is said in the Name of Jesus.
Then, there's this:
...there’s a dimension to the sermon in which it’s a kind of performance art. Over the years, I’ve realized that I have as much in common with the performance artist, the standup comedian, the screenwriter, as I do with the theologian. I’m in an odd world where I make things and share them with people.
What spirit is this that has his grasp on Bell? The Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ? The Holy Spirit? The Spirit that led the Apostle Paul? The Spirit that inspired Jude? Would any of us want our son or daughter to give themselves to Bell as one of his flock? And if not, why isn't our nation filled with shepherds warning the weak and easily deceived away from him?
Instead, churches across our communities are slavishly buying his videos and feeding his wickedness to their small groups, their junior high and high school students. The savage wolf is invited into the sheepfold the better to devour the lambs Christ bought with His Own blood.
I think we have enough religious people who are going around trying to
Bell is against conversion to anyone other than himself. He wants sycophants, not disciples of Christ.
To exist in multicultural America today, let alone to thrive in it as a great spiritual leader, a man must forswear proselytizing. Evangelization used to be at the heart of evangelicalism, but then missional came along and ushered us into...
What? Ushered us into what?
The numinous side of the Democratic Party led there by those two savage wolves, Brian McLaren and Rob Bell. (And don't read this as politically motivated. As Johnson said, all schemes of political improvement are laughable things--Republican and Libertarian as well as Democratic.)
According to Bell then, what is the Gospel? Read on.
I would hope that the Jesus message would come through, hopefully through a full humanity.
Not to get theological on you, but Bell is selling the moral influence view of the Atonement--not the penal substitution taught by God's Word.
Bell is just another flaming liberal cloaking himself in the pastor's robe and collar so he can fleece the sheep without risking danger to himself. Standup comedians have to deal with the whole getting hired thing each week, and then there are the belligerent drunks who insult you. Who needs it when you can stand in front of thousands of sober, clean, middle class, complacent, Grand Rapids whitebreads taking in millions each month? And don't overlook the video royalties, stellar book advances, and honoraria from speaking engagements totaling millions more.
How about the little perks like watching election returns while hanging out with a group of friends in the Caribbean.
In the comments, one man has it wrong and another quite right. First, the wrong:
Next, the quite right:
Rob Bell has discovered that it is easier to preach like "performance art" and "stand-up comedy" than to reprove, rebuke, and exhort people about their sins. Every generation since Paul has had these kinds of guys who hear the call to scratch people's itching ears instead of telling them the truth of the Gospel. Like all the others, he will some day stand before the Judge with all the people he duped into a false understanding of the truth.
The truth is not only that Rob Bell will soon stand before the Judge of All the Earth and give account for his ministry, but so will I. And you. And every man set apart by the laying on of hands and prayer to the calling of shepherding God's flock.
So, dear brother, are you warning your sheep against the savage wolves seeking to devour them? Are you doing it from house to house? Ceaselessly? Day and night?
This is a post of faith--faith in the power of the Holy Spirit indwelling and using men called to the eldership and pastorate as we take up our crosses and do the work of the ministry. I believe in the holy Catholic Church...