Monday, August 22, 2022

Savage Wolves in the Church

“Savage wolves will come in and will not spare the flock.” – Acts 20:29

Remember the story of the Three Little Pigs? Each piggy built a house. The first pig built his house out of straw. The second pig built his house out of sticks. The third little pig built his house out of bricks. Then the big bad wolf, who just loved to eat fat little piggies, came along.

First he went to the house of straw and said, “Little pig, little pig, let me in, or I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!” “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin,” said the little pig. But the wolf did blow the house in and ate the first little pig.    Next, the wolf then came to the house of sticks. Same conversation, same result: The wolf blew down the stick house and ate the second little pig. But then the wolf came to the house of bricks. The wolf huffed and puffed and huffed and puffed … but he could not blow down that brick house. And the third little pig lived happily ever after.

Why did I just tell you the story of the Three Little Pigs? Because every Christian in America is one of the little pigs, and the wolves are coming. Mind you, this is nothing new. When the Apostle Paul left the Ephesians in Acts 20, he warned them, “After I leave, I know that savage wolves will come in and will not spare the flock.” (v. 29). And just like the Ephesian Christians, we have “savage wolves” among us. They’re not just coming at us from outside the four walls of the church building. They’re already here.

So, which savage wolves have arisen within the American church today? Today I’ll name five of them:

Savage Wolf #1: The sexual predator who says, “You can trust me” when all the while he is abusing women and/or children in the church (1 Samuel 2:22). In 1 Samuel 2, the Jewish high priest was Eli, and his two sons served as priests under him. God’s Word tells us that these sons were “wicked men” (v. 12), and part of their wickedness is described in verse 22: “They slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” That’s a wicked abuse of power. We would like to think that there aren’t any such predators in the church today, but sadly, there are. I’m convinced that sexual predators in the pulpit are rare, but they are out there.

Savage Wolf #2: The embezzler who says, “I handle church finances with the utmost integrity” when all the while he/she is stealing donations (John 12:6). Even Jesus had an embezzler in the ranks of his 12 apostles. We read in John 12:6 that Judas Iscariot “was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.” Recently I read an article that described several examples of financial predators in churches. There was the usher who collected the offering in the balcony and helped himself to the cash on the way down the stairs. A bookkeeper in one church and a treasurer in another were both sentenced to prison for embezzling thousands of dollars from their churches. Most church leaders handle their finances with integrity, but not ALL of them.

Savage Wolf #3: The narcissist who says, “Look at me! Look at me!” (Matthew 23:5-7). Jesus tells his disciples in Matthew 23:5-7: “Everything [the scribes and Pharisees] do is done for men to see … they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them ‘Rabbi.’” Unfortunately, there are some big egos in the church. A pastor with a big ego can get a messiah complex. As he begins lifting himself up, he also begins subtly pulling Jesus down. And that’s a recipe for disaster. A few years ago a local Christian businessman asked me to listen to one of his pastor’s sermons and evaluate it. So, I listened to it and gave him my honest opinion: The sermon was terrible! It was twisting Scripture and peddling false doctrine. But this man was so loyal to his pastor, he said, “If my pastor is going to hell, I’m going with him.” Wow! Never forget, our loyalty is first and foremost to Jesus Christ—not to any church leader. You follow your church leaders AS they follow Christ. But when they stop following Christ and teaching His word faithfully, STOP following them.

Savage Wolves #4 and #5: The universalist who teaches, “All roads lead to God and heaven.” And the cultist who teaches, “Jesus isn’t God, the Bible isn’t God’s perfect Word, and salvation only comes through OUR church” (2 Peter 2:1-2). The Apostle Peter warned, “There will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them…. Many will follow their shameful ways” (2 Peter 2:1-2).

Millions of Christians have gotten pulled away from good, Bible-teaching churches by so-called “Christians” who either claim that Jesus is ONE OF MANY WAYS to heaven, or that salvation requires Jesus PLUS someone or something else. Both universalism and cults strip Jesus of His power and authority. He is presented as great, but not THAT great. He is presented as a Savior, but not THE Savior. If you’re ever in a church where the pastor starts pulling Jesus down to the same level as Buddah, Mohammad or even Moses, get out of there. Universalists and cultists are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

We need to be on guard and call out these wolves when we see them. Across America, there are plenty of wolves inside churches, hollering, “Little pig, little pig, let me in.” I hope you’ll join me in responding, “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!”

Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. Join us at Impact for Sunday services: in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10 a.m. on YouTube or Facebook. Dane’s latest book, “Called to Persevere: One Man’s Journey to Overcome Pain, Disease and Disappointment with God,” is scheduled for release on Amazon in September.

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