The Calvinist canines at The Gospel Coalition have a message for all you delicious sheep out there: “Beware of people who have been abused by their imperial church. ”
This hateful article made the wool stand up on our sheepy necks. The author, Calvinist Joe Carter, quotes a scripture, and then totally blows it in his explanation of who the “wolves” are that Paul warned about. He says it’s you. In reality, the answer from the book of Acts is a long reaching strike to the modern Calvinist empire… Thankfully with such a simple scripture we can quickly set the record straight.
The First Wolves
Ephesus had one of the first Christian congregations in history and Paul was their teacher for 3 years. What kind of things did Paul teach them? Did they learn about the Roman ball game in the coliseum? Nope. Acts 20:31 says,
Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. –Acts 20:31
For three long years Paul preached a message of warning! Like the prophet Jeremiah before him, Paul wept as he pleaded with those people whom he loved. Beware Ephesians! Beware the conquerors! Paul’s specific tearful warning comes in verse 29 and 30,
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. –Acts 20:29-30
Verse 29 we hear quoted quite often from the pulpit about people in the congregation that are “wolves” and a danger to their “sheep” in the church. But verse 30 is equally important. It speaks of men who will “rise up” and draw away “disciples after themselves”. It sure sounds like someone who gathers a following, and does so from within the church. But do they originate from within the flock itself?
The KEY to understanding who this is, is in the phrase “ALSO FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.”
These dangerous people would rise up from among the group to which Paul was speaking. So who was he addressing???
A few verses back, verse 17 gives us the context and tells us who his audience was. Don’t miss this point!
From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. –Acts 20:17
Paul was NOT addressing the church members. He wasn’t addressing the congregation. He was addressing the elders of the church –the mature Christian leaders. FROM AMONG THE LEADERS WOULD RISE THE WOLVES! The laity conquerors. The Nicolaitans. The pastors. In context, the wolves spoken about were to rise up from among the leadership and not from the congregation.
It only makes sense. Who better to subdue and enslave new believers than an experienced man with knowledge of Scripture? Who better than a trusted leader with great skill?
The spirit of intimidation, fear, and domination has overtaken many more churches than we might be willing to admit. The two tier doctrine of laity and clergy has enslaved and zombified untold numbers of believers. The irony is that the haughty Calvinists who embody the very wolves Paul warned us about, are dead set on convincing the churches that the wolves are among the sheep. Sadly, these wolves are not among these sheep, but are the ones leading the sheep.
Want to watch out for wolves? Take note: The US Park Service recently shared this picture from a game cam of an entire wolf pack running together.
These wolves howl louder and bite harder than any sheep in the flocks they lord over. Christians, watch out for the real wolves.
[Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from one of our larger posts on the member’s blog.]