Opening Worship: There are Wolves Among Us
By Delores McDonald
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. Know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears (Acts 20:28-31).
In the opening worship service of the 208th meeting of General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Moderator Andrew Putnam warned, “there are wolves among you – and they need to be stopped before they consume the denomination.”
As the outgoing Moderator gazed around the room at more than 600 ARPs who had gathered for a time of worship and prayer, he added, “There are wolves in this room tonight.” But how can we know who they are? First, those who know Christ should reflect it in their conduct and actions. “As Christians, we need to be in prayer and hold fast to Scripture.”
But those who are manipulated by Satan may be hard to spot, he said. And they may not realize they are being used by Satan. Look for those who have selfish ambitions – who want power, those who put themselves first and strive to get attention.
Moderator Putnam also warned there are those who want to disrupt the unity of the ARP Church, and that we will hear of attacks to destroy the church. “Some mock us for being too ‘nice’ to one another,” he said. “There was a time when we all looked forward to attending Synod – now we dread coming to Synod.”
How do we deal with the wolves knocking on the ARP’s door? Putnam offered three solutions:
- Preach the Gospel – hold fast to the Gospel message – love one another.
- “Shoot them” – don’t let them run free (Joel 3:10); starve them; ignore them; give them nothing.
- Pray – for the wolves among God’s sheep; for peace and prosperity.
“If we don’t do this, we will be standing in the ruins of the ARP Church saying, ‘Oh, what used to be…’”