We who have been involved in politics in the last few years have often denounced witless or spineless followers of the left as “sheeple”, that is, sheep people, easily led into wrong thinking. But their only problem is that they are following the wrong shepherd. I find that hard to bear in mind sometimes, but we do need to remember it. There’s nothing wrong with being a sheep, but sheep need to be wary, because they have enemies.
Many of those enemies are cleverly disguised as shepherds. The late Dr. Donald Barnhouse said that in this Scripture, the Holy Spirit reminded us not to forget to look in the pulpit when we look for heresy: “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness.” (2nd Corinthians 11:13-15)
One of the last warnings the apostle Paul gave the Church before he went to his final imprisonment was this: “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” (Acts 20:26-31)
Thirty years ago, it was usual for an apostate pastor or priest to be named as such and kicked out of the church. The last ten … fifteen? twenty? … or so years, however, fallen “Christian” leaders commonly apologize with tears to their congregations, maybe take a leave of absence, do a rehab thing, and return to their defiled pulpits. Now, many reprobates don’t even apologize. They preach as Scripture things that people from my generation would be shocked and enraged to hear at all, let alone hear from the pulpit. We need to remember the words of the Holy Spirit through Paul: they are servants of satan. Find another leader. If necessary, another church. Or just leave the institutionalized, commercialized, incorporated church completely.
The result of staying in an apostate church can be disastrous. Decades ago, I knew one young man who literally lost his sanity because he was afraid to leave an apostate church. Best case scenario, you will be missing the work you could be doing and the reward you could be earning if you were in the right place. “Come out from among them My people, that you partake not of their sins.”
Knowledge of Biblical doctrines, and especially being close to God through prayer and a cleansed life, will help us to recognize apostate leaders. Ignorance can be spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and even physically dangerous. Take care, walk in the Lord, and if not on earth, I’ll see you on the other side, where “apostate” will be a fast-fading bad dream.