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Shepherds Or Wolves

Commentary by Roger Oakland

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The last days, according to the Bible, will be characterized by a multitude of false teachers and false prophets. How do we know this? Jesus said it would be that way! So if false teachers promote their views publicly, how should they be confronted? Privately or publicly? 

Faith Undone has created quite a controversy. The book was not written with haste. In order to do the research I read over 60 books by Emerging Church and Purpose Driven church leaders over a time period of three years. I have carefully examined the statements made by emerging proponents and have come to the conclusion that biblical Christianity is under attack. Many of the authors of these books are pastors who are shepherds with flocks.

Critics of Faith Undone usually have several things in common. First, they refuse to read the book and examine the message and warning that is given with regard to the Emerging Church. They say they already know what the book is about without reading it because they know that I am a “counter-cult-kook”. They say that twenty-first century Christians should be known only for what they are for, and not for what they are against.

Such a comment dismays me, especially in light of the ministry that Jesus had while He was here on planet earth. It seems to me Jesus was quite vocal about exposing deception. The same is true with the apostle Paul. What about Peter and Jude? Did they not warn about wolves that had disguised themselves as shepherds and were destroying the flock?

There are shepherds today who make public statements in books they have written or the messages they have given. These statements contradict or oppose the Word of God. My critics ask me, “Have you gone to these brothers privately and discussed your concerns with them privately before writing about them publicly according to Matthew 18?”

Interesting question isn’t it? But is this what is required when unbiblical statements are made publicly? Did Paul go to his critics who promoted heretical nonsense in a public forum? When Jude wrote his letter, is that what he did?  Jude stated that “certain men had crept in.” He said they were dangerous. He was warning the sheep in a letter like every watchman should.

Further, it seems to me that those who told me I should go to people personally before writing about them publicly do not follow their own advice. Recently, a group of pastors made a personal attack against me in a secret pastors’ discussion group. The interchange at this gathering is supposed to be kept confidential. I only found out what they were saying about me when the referee of the group contacted me and said he had to shut down the discussion because it got out of control.

Not everyone is called to be a watchman. However, some are. Do you remember Jeremiah in the Old Testament? God called him to tell the children of Israel the truth. The children of Israel did not want to hear the truth. The people hated Jeremiah. The people devised plans against Jeremiah. Does that make Jeremiah a bad guy because he was telling people what God had said?

Today, like in the past, when a watchman warns what is ahead, the people don’t want to hear it. They want to shoot the watchman or destroy the watchman with their words.

God’s Word should be our standard for truth. Check it out!


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