|The Lord Jesus
Christ has warned His people, "Beware of false prophets, which come
to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves"
(Matthew 7:15). Most Christians would rightly agree that the wolves in
sheep's clothing, the false prophets, of whom our Lord warned are those
who lead the Lord's flock into error, by word and deed, with false
teachings. Our Lord said that such wolves will come in sheep's clothing. They
will, in many convincing ways, dress themselves as true members of
His flock. But in reality, inwardly and practically, they are ravening
wolves which will wreck destruction among the flock.
The Apostle Paul, speaking for the Lord,
also warned of wolves: "For I know this, that after my departing
shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock"
(Acts 20:29). The context of Paul's warning to the Ephesian elders—and
to all elders since—is false teachers within and among Christ's church.
The danger then is false teachers and preachers who convincingly
appear to be followers of Christ, sheep of His flock, but who are not.
Clearly, the only way to know if a wolf is under the sheep's clothing
is to "judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous
judgment" (John 7:24). Jesus said this regarding wolves in sheep's
clothing: "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:16).
Christians have a responsibility to prove all things by the Word of God.
If a teacher, preacher, or for that matter, leader of any kind disciples
the Lord's flock in grievous error even after being repeatedly confronted
with the Word of God, we certainly ought to draw the conclusion that a
wolf is lurking under all that wool, no matter how attractive or of what
value the wool may be. And the Scriptures give clear instruction when it
comes to dealing with wolves.
Now these days, there is almost unanimity among conservative
evangelicals, and certainly among fundamentalists, that if a Protestant
pastor, regardless of how orthodox his other doctrine is, endorses
abortion, he is a wolf—likewise, if
he is pro-sodomite or endorses other moral evils so popular among the
heathen. In such cases, charitable deeds or a sound biblical stand in
other matters is said to be the wool covering the wolf. This discernment
would be very encouraging if not for a companion blindness and grievous
double standard which exist at the same time.
It seems very few evangelicals today consider promoting and even
partnering with popery as a qualification for the status of a wolf in
sheep's clothing! This is especially true if the preacher or leader in
question is very strong against such evils as abortion, homosexuality, and
pornography while also being strong for religious liberty. So long as he
wears that sort of a sheep's skin, an evangelical pastor or pro-family
leader can openly, joyfully, and enthusiastically commit spiritual
fornication with the Mother of Harlots and seduce the Lord's people to do
likewise. Yet at the same time, he is lauded as a champion of the faith.
Consider as an example the just departed Dr. D. James Kennedy who was
unapologetically open in accepting Roman Catholics as Christians and
desensitizing Christians to the religion of Antichrist. Dr. Kennedy was
known as a champion of the essential doctrine of justification and was
modeled as a descendent of the Reformers, yet he gladly consorted with
that church which burned the Reformers! For instance, Roman Catholics,
including priests, regularly appeared as Christians on Kennedy's
television program and as speakers at his Reclaiming America for Christ
conference. At the March 2-3, 2007 Reclaiming America for Christ
conference, held in Kennedy's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, three
Roman Catholics preached to the large, mostly Protestant congregation. Priest
Frank Pavone began his sermon with this statement: "It is a joy to be
with you, brothers and sisters. The Lord has brought us together today,
not only from many diverse parts of the nation but from many diverse
parts of the body of Christ. And we're together to proclaim there is one
Lord, one faith, and one baptism. We are together to proclaim that Jesus
Christ is Lord" (http://priestsforlife.org/audioss/07-03-02reclaimingamerica.m3u).
This was just one of many such statements by Priest Pavone which elicited
an enthusiastic applause from an audience overwhelmingly Protestant,
including a good number of pastors!
Since his death on September 5, high-profile evangelical ministers and
pro-family leaders have searched for superlatives with which to adorn
Kennedy's memory and honor his work. Many have lauded him as a great
gospel preacher and a staunch defender of biblical truth. And who can deny
that D. James Kennedy was a gifted, gracious, and great man in many ways?
But there is that matter of his long and stubborn promotion of the pope's
religion which in turn is the greatest danger and enemy of the true faith
which has ever existed or will ever exist. Is this to be considered of no
consequence or, at most, a trifling matter? We may rest assured that even
if that is the case with men, it is not so with God. For this reason, I
would urge my fellow Christians to consider that, notwithstanding any
short-term victories due to God's grace, some of the very men and
strategies they are resorting to in hopes of victory over the church's
enemies will be the reason the Lord will chasten the church with those
Of course, there are many other evangelical ministers and leaders who
are taking a courageous stand against various evils yet at the same time
are teaching the Lord's flock by their actions and often by their words
that the Roman Catholic Church is a Christian church. Evangelical Rev.
Flip Benham is one such individual. This past July, Benham's ministry
Operation Save America staged another large, national pro-life event. The
motto of OSA, which appears on their web site and t-shirts, is
"Jesus is the Standard." Yet, consistent with its past, this OSA
event featured evangelicals protesting, praying, and worshiping with Roman
Catholics, some toting huge crucifixes. And once again, charismatic Roman
Catholic priest Frank Pavone, head of Priests for Life, preached at the
event and joined Reverend Benham in the ministry effort.
I know for a fact Benham has been confronted for his grossly ecumenical
ways and has even been given a copy of my book More
Than These. But again, Reverend Benham is just one of
scores of pro-life/pro-family evangelical pastors, leaders, and Christian
radio personalities at various levels who stubbornly persist in mocking
the Word of God by yoking with unbelievers and having fellowship with
unrighteousness, all in the name of Jesus. Certainly, some follow a more
subtle strategy for cashing in on Romish manpower and money. But spiritual
fornication is spiritual fornication whether committed openly or more
We could go on almost ad infinitum, not to mention ad
nauseam, giving examples of well-known, respected evangelical
ministers who have repeatedly refused to quit their corruption of the body
of Christ and their assault on the Word of God through their yoking with
Roman Catholics in Christian ministry. I suppose Exhibit A would be Rev.
Billy Graham, a man who arguably has done more to rehabilitate the pope's
reputation and mainstream evangelical ecumenism in America than any other
man now living. It is perhaps more worthwhile to simply get back to the
fundamental question. Our Lord has warned us, "Beware of false
prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are
ravening wolves." Doesn't Christ mean that we are to beware of all
false prophets who disciple His people in any grievous error and corrupt
the purity of His Bride? Surely, the Lord warns against all
wolves in sheep's clothing, not just some wolves or certain kinds of
wolves. Or is this a matter of the kind of wool and the breed of wolf?
The Scriptures are clear both concerning the pope's religion and yoking
with it. We cannot simply wink at those evangelical ministers and
personalities who willingly, knowingly, and stubbornly promote Romanism as
Christianity. We cannot simply give a free pass to such men, no matter how
respected or even venerable they may be. But my question is, When do we
call them wolves? How long and how horribly must a Christian pastor
or leader corrupt the blood-bought Bride of Christ and strengthen the hand
of the devil before he is said to be a wolf in sheep's clothing? How much
spiritual fornication is too much? Perhaps the better question is, Who is
willing to mark and separate from all wolves and then
contend with them for the faith once delivered unto the saints?