- The Heretic
- The Charlatan
- The Prophet
- The Abuser
- The Divider
- The Tickler
- The Speculator
That would be a good description of many of those who wind up working as priests and ministers.
Challies nails his fellow pastors,
Satan’s greatest ambassadors are not pimps, politicians, or power-brokers, but pastors. His priests do not peddle a different religion, but a deadly perversion of the true one. His troops do not make a full-out frontal assault, but work as agents, sneaking into the opposing army. Satan’s tactics are studied, clever, predictable, effective. Therefore, we must always remain vigilant. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:15-16a).As Matthew Henry (1662-1714) wrote centuries ago, and as I quoted this past Sunday,
He gives it in charge to his disciples, carefully to preserve the law, and shows them the danger of the neglect and contempt of it...
It is a dangerous thing, in doctrine or practice, to disannul the least of God’s commands...
It is impudence enough to break the command, but is a greater degree of it to teach men so...
Opinions that tend to the destruction of serious godliness and the vitals of religion, by corrupt glosses on the scripture, are bad when they are held, but worse when they are propagated and taught, as the word of God...
Nothing makes ministers more contemptible and base than corrupting the law, Mal. 2:8, 11. Those who extenuate and encourage sin, and discountenance and put contempt upon strictness in religion and serious devotion, are the dregs of the church.False teachers were as much of a problem in Matthew Henry's time as they are for us today. Perhaps they, like the poor, will always be with us.
The challenge is not in identifying the false teacher but in changing the hearts and minds of their followers.
Now that will take a real ambassador.