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Wolves or Tares?

 

Paul reinforces Jesus’ warning about such wolves with words that are equally strong, directed to his disciples at the church in Ephesus (Acts 20:28b-30):

Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. (NIV)

Every Church has tares, hypocrites and non-believers. Indeed, we must live them until God’s judgments come in the last day. However, church leaders are enjoined to protect their congregations from wolves—false prophets and apostate teachers at all times.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.”

— Jesus (Matthew 7:15-16a NIV)

Sadly this is now impossible to do in the Episcopal Church since the majority of Bishops have become wolves—apostate and revisionists who have accepted every “wind of teaching” that has come along in the past half century (Eph. 4:14). When I was a young man in college the current fashionable apostasy was the “death of God” theology which claimed that there was no evidence for the miraculous, and that churches should become more secular. This was followed by new waves of heresy such a Liberation theology which believed “Marxist insights” would lead the Church to a new relevancy and enhanced social justice. In the last decades we have been subject to the heresy of “pan-sexuality” in which psychology has trumped Biblical standards of sexual behavior. In all these apostate movements the Episcopal Church theologians led the way or had prominent input. In this environment, and with Bishops too timid or too unorthodox to correct, the seminaries became vehicles of heresy, rather than transmitters of Biblical truth and orthodox Christian teachings. Wave after wave of new priests entered ministry as wolf-ministers, and many have been promoted to wolf-bishops.

This has been and continues to be a source of confusion and heresy for the laypersons that we clergy are charged to protect. This was impressed upon me about a decade ago, before I was ordained into one of the Anglican “continuing” denominations. As a lay Episcopalian and Christian historian I was asked by my parish priest, a very orthodox churchman, to go as delegate to our state Episcopal convention. I went with four other laypersons and the assistant priest. Since this was the state of Georgia I assumed in that most of the liberal/revisionist theology making headlines in other parts of the country would not be strongly influential in our state. I was wrong. The public discussions, book tables, and organizational booths were predominantly revisionist/apostate.

 

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Category: Fall 2006, Ministry

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook AnglicalPentecostal.blogspot.com

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