For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. (Acts 20:29–30)
Today’s big question: did God really say savage wolves would attack the flock?
The Apostle Paul warned the elders of the Ephesian church that savage wolves would enter the church, and that some would even come from within the church. These false teachers would speak perverse things and draw people away from the truth. Jesus warned His followers of “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15).
The preferred approach of the “savage wolves” is the Genesis 3 attack. These wolves twist God’s Word in order to shift the focus away from Christ and onto man and his works. This has been Satan’s modus operandi from the beginning.
The nineteenth century featured an onslaught of Genesis 3 attacks on the church. Naturalistic and uniformitarian thinking in geology led to a rise in humanistic philosophies. Millions of years, evolution, a denial of miracles, and numerous cults became commonplace. The church’s response to these attacks is telling.
Liberal theologians and preachers responded by blending many of these humanistic ideas with Scripture. These preachers downplayed Christ’s sacrifice and emphasized man’s ability to transform culture. People were told that they can be saved by feeding the poor and making this world a better place rather than through Jesus Christ alone. This is known as the “social gospel,” which is making a comeback in our day. These ideas took over many Christian colleges and seminaries.
In response to these developments, Bible-believing Christians joined together to set forth what has come to be known as “The Fundamentals.” They affirmed biblical inerrancy and the literal nature of the biblical accounts, the virgin birth and deity of Christ, His bodily resurrection, the substitutionary atonement of Jesus on the Cross, justification by faith, the imminent return of Christ, and many other vital biblical doctrines.
Those who agreed with these points were called fundamentalists. While this term is now often used in a derogatory fashion and even unjustifiably linked to Islamic terrorists, it originally referred to someone who believed God said what He meant and meant what He said. Sadly, many of those fundamentalists were compromised with evolution, millions of years, etc., and unwittingly brought wolves into the church.
Wolves in sheep’s clothing will continue to sneak into the church to downplay and attack God’s Word. So, we all must be discerning by searching the Scriptures daily (Acts 17:11) and trusting that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17) and the authority for evaluating all teachings. (Mark 7:5–13).
Today’s big idea: be like the Bereans and compare all teachings to Scripture.
What to pray: thank God for His Word and ask Him to help you discern truth from error.