by DIANA LESPERANCE ⋅ OCTOBER 3, 2016 ⋅
The shepherd leads the flock to safety. Notice the little lamb.
I am a nobody. I don’t have a large ministry or platform. I am merely one of many nameless, faceless, little sheep who have been wandering in the evangelical wilderness for a long time. I don’t have much money, or even the strength and enthusiasm of my youth anymore. I’m not worth much to the typical pastor. Even so, I have something to say. And I hope that my obscurity won’t be a cause for dismissing my concerns.
Just in case those who are in positions of leadership haven’t noticed–the sheep are scattered. Many in the flock have given up on shepherds completely, forming home churches, or even quitting church altogether. Many are fed via the internet. They long for fellowship and love, but for them, the churches have become battlegrounds, rather than sanctuaries.
We are living in a time when many shepherds have gone astray from the truth of the Bible, yet they still carry the name of Jesus. It’s very difficult to know which shepherd is trustworthy. (It’s gotten so confusing that at this point in time, what one part of the church is calling apostasy, another part of the church is calling revival!)
This has caused some of the mature sheep to bleat loudly because they want to warn the flock, but it’s very bewildering to the little lambs who don’t understand why they can’t trust their shepherd. They don’t believe that the food or water they’re being fed is unhealthy or even poisonous. They feel love coming from the shepherd. Unfortunately, like a young, teenage girl, they aren’t able to discern between the language of true love and the language of seduction.
Because of this inability to discern, I believe that the pathway of truth needs to be made more clear . . . and I’m begging the good and faithful shepherds to provide well-lit trails of safety and refuge that the little flock can easily follow.
One day the hirelings will have to give an account to the Great Shepherd–whose heart’s desire was to gather his flock like a mother hen gathers her little chicks under her wings. Some of his last, precious words were those of a shepherd: “Feed my lambs . . . feed my sheep . . . feed my sheep.” He spoke this to Peter, who would later write to those who were to become elders:
Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. (1 Peter 5:2-4)
Are there no shepherds who take these words to heart? Are there no shepherds who desire to watch over the flock and long to gather those who are scattered? Are there no shepherds who have the courage to fight off the “grievous wolves” who will not spare the flock? (Acts 20:29) Are there no shepherds who have the heart of Jesus?
If these pastors exist, I cannot seem to find them in my corner of the world. My husband and I often spend a year in a church before we discover the heart of the shepherds and leaders. Often times the doctrinal statements and sermons are sound, but the further we venture into the congregation, the more book studies, prayer methods, and false doctrines we uncover. We feel like Ezekiel who discovered “greater abominations” as he was led further into the temple (Ezekiel 8).
The evangelical church is more like a minefield than a green pasture. There are dangers everywhere. The church has been decimated by prosperity preachers who use the flock for “dishonest gain” (and actually worship mammon), false revivalists who bring in lying signs and wonders, and postmodern preachers who lead the flock away from trusting in the Word.
The latest trend is toward “Cathangelicalism,” a blend of Catholicism and evangelicalism. The worst part of this Cathangelical movement is that it is rooted in the writings of the “ancient” Catholic mystics . . . those who knew nothing about repenting from dead works and putting their faith in the finished work of the Cross.
Consider this gallery of horrors:
Kenneth Copeland (of the Charismatic/Word Faith stream) has led his flock toward union with the Catholics and Pope Francis.
James Robison (a Southern Baptist) has met with Pope Francis and co-wrote a book with Catholic Jay Richards.
John and Carol Arnott (of the Toronto movement) have met with Pope Francis and are now hosting ecumenical “Fire and Fusion” conferences with the Catholics.
Brian Stiller, the Global Ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance, has met with Pope Francis.
Thomas Schirrmacher, “the Pope’s most beloved Protestant,” and chairman of the theological commission of the World Evangelical Alliance, has met with Pope Francis.
Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, former Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the World Evangelical Alliance, met with Pope Francis.
Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer has met with Pope Francis. He has also promoted the works of Ignatious of Loyola and Teresa of Avila, Catholic mystics who opposed the Reformation.
Rick Warren (a Southern Baptist) has met “our Pope” Francis and admits that he is a fan of EWTN, the Catholic cable channel.
The line-up at “Together 2016” (which included a message from Pope Francis) included Francis Chan, Southern Baptist Convention president Ronnie Floyd, Ravi Zacharias, and many other popular evangelicals.
At “Azusa Now” Lou Engle and Catholic Matteo Calisi kissed each other’s feet in a demonstration of unity.
Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen has met with Pope Francis.
Pope Francis even met with Stacy Campbell, the “hissing prophetess” who prayed and prophesied that he would be the next Pope.
The Pope has met with Che Ahn.
The pope has met with Kris Valloton of Bethel Redding Church.
Luis Palau believes Pope Francis is a Christian.
Many seminaries and universities are required to provide spiritual formation to be a part of their program in order to receive accreditation.
Lutherans have taken communion with Pope Francis.
The evangelical move towards Catholic, contemplative, mystical prayer has been well-documented by Lighthouse Trails and Ray Yungen.
Catholics and evangelicals have joined together under two declarations: “The Manhattan Declaration” and “Catholics and Evangelicals Together.”
Christian publishers such as Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, InterVarsity Press, and Multnomah have each published multiple books on contemplative prayer.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on. And all of this compromise, idolatry, and corruption in the temple of the Lord has trickled down to the local church. It’s rampant! How are the sheep (or the little lambs!) supposed to make their way through this mess?
Is it necessary for me to remind the church of those who gave their lives in the flames of the Inquisition in order to preserve the truth? Wycliffe, Huss, Luther, and Tyndale were courageous and stood fast against the false teachings of Catholicism. As Protestants they separated from the Roman Catholic Church and lit the way of truth for their generation. And now, are we just willing to forget their efforts and become a generation that allows Christianity to be plunged into another thousand years of darkness?
Greg Laurie had his Harvest Crusade not long ago. He expected to reach over 100,000 people with the Gospel. I can’t help but ask: WHERE WILL THEY GO? Who will disciple them? Jesus confronted this exact problem when he cried out to the Pharisees:
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” (Matthew 23:15)
How many of those fresh little baby lambs will go out into the evangelical community and become meat for a false shepherd? AND HOW LONG WILL FAITHFUL SHEPHERDS TOLERATE THIS?
“As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand.” (Ezekiel 34:7-8)
It’s time for the faithful church to prepare places where the scattered sheep can find refuge from their battles, places where the little lambs can be gathered and given clean, clear water and be led to green pastures. We need sanctuaries with lamps in the windows, so that the scattered and wandering sheep are able to see the light from afar.
Perhaps the Great Shepherd is calling His flock out of the defiled, unholy, and lukewarm blend that is developing right before our eyes. Perhaps this is what the Holy Spirit is saying to the church in this hour. Perhaps this is the true revival the Lord wants to bring.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” (2 Corinthians 6:17)
This isn’t the first time it’s been necessary for the Lord to call out a remnant, but Jesus won’t leave His remnant untended. He wants the gates to be opened, the roads to be cleared of all impediments and built up to withstand the floods, with large signs put up to lead the way. It’s time for the church (especially the shepherds) to lead the flock safely home.
“Go through, go through the gates; prepare the way for the people; build up, build up the highway; clear it of stones; lift up a signal over the peoples.” (Isaiah 62:10)
If you are interested in helping to clearly light the way for the the little flock, won’t you sign the “Call to Come Out and Be Found Faithful” and encourage your church to become a part of the Faithful Church Network?