People are accusing this simple country parson of being unreasonable. I won’t listen to the sermon, (except for a few words I heard when getting the screenshot – which was way more than enough) yet I am calling on the man who preached it to repent.
In our modern American culture, that seems unthinkable. Even pastors are suggesting I am not being fair. But I’m not interested in fair. I’m interested in faithful.
Back in my sem days, a friend was placed in a tiny town in Minnesota. One day, as he was working around the house, the JWs stopped by. The pastor told them that not only would he not hear them, but no one would, and they needed to leave. They told him it was a free country. On they went to the next house. It being Minnesota, it was one of his elders. They knocked. The man opened the door, and the pastor (clad in his paint-covered work pants and torn t-shirt) said, “As your pastor I am telling you that they are going to speak damnable lies to you, and you need to shut the door for your own good.” “Ok pastor.” End of conversation. I think they tried one more house, with similar results, before they got in their car and left town.
The pastor and members did not need to hear the false teaching to know that it was false teaching. As a pastor, people (generally not members) often give me books to read. The Secret, 40 Days of Purpose, Your Best Life Now, etc. “That’s heresy”, I say. “Oh, you really need to read it.” I am told. “Don’t judge before you look at it.” I do judge. I don’t look. I don’t have time to read every new heresy fad that comes down the pike. I would spend my whole ministry just listening to new heresy fads. That’s not only a waste of time, it’s downright dangerous. If you’re always working with hazardous substances, so much so that you don’t have time to nourish yourself with what is nutritive, you will die.
In Wyoming, we have some fairly large prairie dog towns. I’ve been told that rattle snakes live in the prairie dog holes. I’ve never seen one. But I always manage to give the openings a respectful distance. I warn others, even though I have not personally seen one. Why? Because it’s dangerous to get bitten by a rattlesnake. I don’t need to go through the experience to know how to avoid their homes. Similarly, I know the mess that cow pies can make of your boots, even though I have never stepped in a fresh one, and feel no need to try.
What happened in the seminary chapel was an offense before God. Jesus tells the people “You don’t give holy things to dogs, or pearls to pigs, so don’t bother giving the things of God to people who will despise them.” He was using hyperbole, it is true. But that only works if we have a common understanding about how inappropriate it is to give holy things to a dog. Saying, “He was talking about people, he was only using dogs as an example” is to miss that the dogs are an example because they are unclean, can not enter into the holy places, and can not be given the holy things.
I did hear about two sentences of the sermon when I was getting my screen grab. He was telling the seminarians that they needed to be more like the dog. Here’s the thing – dogs and wolves may have separated into wild and domesticated, but genetically they can still breed. They are of the same scriptural “kind.” On the ark there was a pair of primitive dog-wolves, from which all modern dogs and wolves are descended. Scripture tells us that we are to be shepherds, not hirelings. We are to defend the sheep from the wolf, even at the risk of our lives. This hireling literally told the men that they need to be more like the wolf. I don’t need to listen to more words.
He brought something that is unclean – cousin to a wolf – into the house of God, before the altar of God, and used it as an example of what pastors are to be. That’s so far out of bounds, I don’t know how to describe it properly. I’ve tried here. Because people are not used to hearing that anything is wrong. My task is to distinguish between the holy and the common, the clean and the unclean, and to teach the people. This was unclean, and people pretended it was holy. That is not profaning. It is defilement.
Peter had noble motives when he said he would not let Jesus be killed. You can even quote the fifth commandment from the catechism, or the book of James, that we can’t just let our neighbor die. We have to help him in every bodily need. And yet Peter was not speaking a word of God. He was acting as Satan. That same thing happened in the seminary chapel this week. Men were told to go out among the sheep, and behave more like wolves. That is not how this works. It is an offense before God. There will be judgment.
I will not listen to such heretics. And my advice is, do not listen to them yourselves. It’s not safe. If you want a word of the Lord to support that, how about this one from Jeremiah 23:
Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.’” (ESV)
To put that in more modern lingo:
God will judge. And unless we repent, we’re really asking for it.