Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. 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. 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 20:26-31)
Read this statement of the Apostle Paul and it's clear shepherds today are unwilling or unable to mount the sort of serious campaign our fathers in the faith mounted in defense of their flocks. Wolves are devouring sheep and their blood is on our hands...Pastors today respond to heterdoxy as if it were tea and crumpets; heresy as if it ought to be countered by a collegial dialog over scotch and cigars. Nothing's dangerous. No enemy is coming. No need to blow the bugle.
It's incomprehensible to think of a pastor in his farewell sermon today telling his congregation that none of their blood is on his hands.
"Blood? Whose blood? Where? What are you talking about?"
Pick up the sermons of John Calvin and read one of them...
Read anything written by Luther, Knox, Baxter, Edwards, or Machen. Or better yet, read any of the New Testament Epistles. Then stop and consider whether you have ever used any similar tone of voice in your care of your flock as you've waged war against the wolves that have arisen within your congregation? Where have you demonstrated a similar zeal and clarity and courage and intensity and wielded insults and parries and thrusts that bear resemblance to that habituallly used by our faithful fathers?
Is it that we've arrived at a time in church history when we're blessed with an unusual degree of peace--is that it?
Speaking personally, I haven't noticed fewer temptations to apostasy in my own soul as the years have passed by.
Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour while those of us who are ordained and set apart by the laying on of hands and prayer for the work of guarding the flock purchased by our Lord's precious blood preach suggestively, counsel tenderly, and warn with just the right touch of irony and humor. Then we're off to a good night's sleep.
Gone is the day of good shepherds killing the wolves. No one's ever a wolf, today, and no sheep are ever devoured.
This, of course, frees those of us who are shepherds to demonstrate what cultured gentlemen we are.
Which is good, really, since we live in a day when raised voices wake the babies and make mothers mad.
Brothers, if you would stand on that Great Day when we will give an account for our ministries, you better begin to see the danger and raise your voice and shout and declare in your sermon the precise thing you know will bring the wrath of your head elder's wife down on your head.
If you refuse, you are no shepherd. You're a hireling with a sinecure.
May God remind us every last day that here on earth we have no abiding place.