On Wolves, Sheep, and Shepherds

Rob Bell came out with another book.

Wait. I know what you’re thinking. “Another blog post?”

Bear with me.

In his book, he seems to be arguing the old and tired line of thinking that a good and loving God cannot send people to hell – especially if they are “good” or “innocent.”  And I put those words in quotations, because I (and the Bible) would differ on how those who pose this argument would define “good” and “innocent.”

In response to the information that the public has regarding the book, there was a bit of backlash.  And those who take theology seriously (and I’m going to lump Calvinists AND Biblically-grounded Arminians in the same category here) began discussions about theological accuracy, the doctrine of the wrath of God, and – however heated the term may be – heresy.

Those ascribing to an emergent theology – or as one author would have it A New Kind of Christianity – jumped to the defense of the author en masse.  And their best argument?

You’re mean.  He’s nice.  Just because he disagrees with you doesn’t make him wrong.

Okay. I can’t disagree with the reality that just because someone disagrees with me, they’re wrong. However, those who teach things so blatantly contrary to the entirety of Scripture – to Jesus’ own teaching on the matter – seal their own fate and write their own accusation.

And in the digital age that we live in, I shared that frustration via twitter.

It is utterly disturbing to consider that many who (according 1 Peter 5) are called to “shepherd the flock of God” that has “been entrusted” to us, are opting to defend the wolves rather than the sheep. We’d rather protect the wolf from the shepherd who is faithfully protecting his sheep, than do that which is necessary to protect our own sheep.  And the only explanation for that is a lack of love for the sheep.

Pastors are under-shepherds of Christ.  He is the Good Shepherd.  And the Good Shepherd makes a sharp distinction between sheep and wolves.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15 ESV)

Our sheep – Jesus’ sheep – are afforded no protection when we confuse the wolf for the sheep.  We do those who Christ has entrusted to our care a disservice in the event that we do not cry “foul” when someone runs roughshod over Biblical teaching.  We offer them up to the slaughter.

Shepherds who love the sheep and want to obey and serve their Good Shepherd are faithful to love and guide and protect the sheep while ruthlessly opposing the wolves.

With the wolves you cannot be too severe. With the weak sheep you cannot be too gentle. – Martin Luther

I believe we’re all better as a result of sitting down, searching the Scriptures, and chewing on what God is saying. But to imply that there is no Biblical grounds to ever cry foul is foolish.

And so the question becomes, where do we draw that line?

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