NOTE: Because of the mention of fathers communing and baptizing their own children, some might wonder whom I’m talking about? This rejection of the authority of church officers over the sacraments is everywhere, today. In fact, it is so common that I explain why the Protestant church has always and everywhere rejected this practice in Church Reformed published five years ago, now. Get a copy and learn why this practice violates the Sacraments and the authority of Christ’s shepherds.

Everyone agrees, history repeats itself. This is particularly true with respect to errors and heresies. They repeat themselves.

This morning I’ve been thinking about this concerning the men who have been chatting up their church growth since Covid. These pastors typically pride themselves on being in tune with the political belligerence of young reformedish men who hate masks and are firm, manly, and hirsute.

This man’s pastor brags about how his church has grown since the Covid and 2020 election. He and his elders channelled these guys’ anger, often alienating them from their own pastors and bringing them into their church which, I’ve been told, is now twice the size it was before Covid. They’re like Hybels and Keller, bragging about their church growth, but they’re naive.

Yes, their church has grown. That’s the easy part. All it takes is flattery.

Warnings against the flattery of false shepherds are all through Scripture, but let’s read one from Galatians. The Apostle Paul is opposing the false shepherds’ abuse of the sacrament of circumcision to sow division and destroy souls in the church of Galatia, and near the beginning of his letter, the Apostle Paul puts these false shepherds under a curse.

But note how carefully he points out that he’s not proclaiming this curse in order to curry the favor of anyone. He contrasts himself with these false shepherds, saying no pastor who seeks to flatter and please the men of his congregation can ever be a faithful shepherd of Christ:

As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (1:9-10)

After making a number of arguments against sacramentalism, towards the end of his letter, the Apostle Paul speaks of the false shepherds as “those who …desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh” (Galatians 6:12-13).

This isn’t complicated. The false shepherd never stops seeking to alienate the sheep from their own shepherd, stealing them to grow his own flock. He wants them to become his own disciples, and when he’s successful he never stops bragging about it.

False shepherds are known by their habit of stealing other shepherd’s sheep, then bragging about their church growth.

Two notable things about such shepherds.

First, the false shepherd tells people their former pastor is criticising him only because he’s jealous.

Second, the false shepherd goes from bad to worse. He’s grown his flock by promoting the false doctrine that flatters naive sheep, but soon he learns that keeping a hold on his flock won through flattery and political rabble rousing necessitates his continuation down the same path.

Number one above is obvious and needs no explanation, but number two should be explained.

Let’s explain it in terms of pastors today who brag about their growth because of how many sheep they’ve accumulated since Covid.

Most of them have grown their churches by channelling young father’s rebellion against civil authority. Not criticism of civil authority, but rebellion and fomenting disrespect and trash talk against authority.

But as we warned during Covid, rebellion is of a fabric. Pull on the thread and the entire cloth unravels. Trash talk senators, congressmen, judges, governors, and public health officers online; belligerate against them; and this rebellious force unleashed will demonstrate an insatiable appetite which turns against other authorities, also.

Law enforcement officers. Military officers, Umpires and refs. Speed limits. Sheep stolen through rebellious talk about civil authorities will quickly turn from trash talking senators to trash talking medical authorities, state authorities, county authorities, and then the teachers and headmaster at the classical school.

But that’s not the worst of it. In time, the angry beehive of newfound members will also turn on the pastor and elders who first won them by enticing them in the day of their Covid rebellion. It’s inevitable.

Maybe it will start with the sacraments. Mommy is seen giving the bread and wine to her six-month-old babe-in-arms, and when she is told she can’t commune her baby until he’s been baptized, her husband says they have no right to tell him what to do, and they leave the church.

Daddy asks his elder-friend if his six-year-old daughter can be interviewed for membership and communion, but when his elder-friend inquires about the child’s baptism, the father divulges that he himself baptized the daughter in his swimming pool during a small group picnic.

His elder-friend expresses concern, saying he’ll have to take this to the elders for their consideration. He admits that, strictly speaking, a father baptizing his own child is contrary to the church’s bylaws and the Wesminster Confession of Faith. That the sacraments belong to the church—not to the family—and thus the fathers of the church are to administer them.

The father gets angry. He is very sure of himself, declaring that Scripture says nothing about elders or pastors having to decide about baptism (or the Lord’s supper, for that matter). He tells his elder-friend that he and his fellow elders and pastor have no right to tell him what to do. He tells him also that he and his family will leave the church.

The elder-friend asks him to give it a couple weeks so the elders can take time to consider the question, and the man agrees. But sullenly so.

At the next session meeeting, his elder-friend brings it up, explaining how dicey the situation is, after which the elders sit depressed and angry and wondering how to assert their own authority as church officers among a group of sheep they have built up by selling themselves as sympathetic towards everyone who is angry, rebelling, and belligerating against all authority outside the church?

So they decide they will accept the baptism of the child by her father.

Thus the path of the future is established, with every part of the Westminster Standards now subject to any father who disagrees for any reason he’s heard or read online. The pastor and elders are now unleaders or leaders lite, presiding under a congregation where each man does that which is right in his own eyes.

Sleepers awake! Pastors whose church growth came through flattering and gathering rebels will now be forced to submit to those rebels.

In every job, there is a way for cheats to make a quick buck. The pastorate is no different.

If a pastor makes a quick church out of flattering rebels, he’ll pay the price.

Here or There.

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