Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. -- Psalm 23:4 (ESV)
The imagery chosen by Jesus throughout the bible is not accidental. It conveys how God sees things into digestible portions for us to understand. One such image is that of the pastor as a shepherd. Those who labor in teaching and preaching are thought of by God in such terms. They are supposed to tend to the sheep. They are supposed to care about the sheep. They are supposed to love the sheep. The shepherd has two instruments to assist him in his duties. The first is a crook or staff and this is used to direct the sheep in the correct, safe way to go and have none wander off. A teacher or preacher's doctrine is their staff. It guides the sheep the right way to go -- God's way. That is why doctrine is so crucial. The second instrument is the shepherd's rod and this is used to fend off attacks from the predators that would seek to harm the sheep. Wolves are the primary predators for sheep and using this imagery they attack sheep with contrary doctrine to lead them away from the under shepherd as well as the Great Shepherd, Jesus Christ. The rod is a blunt instrument beloved, designed to impart force upon any who would threaten the sheep. These two shepherd's tools provide comfort to the sheep, as our key verses teach, because they provide guidance and protection. Unfortunately, many in the church prefer to protect the wolves and either beat the sheep or chastise those that would seek to protect them. The above linked article highlights one of these folks so let us reason again together.
"The need for people who rightly divide the truth is only going to escalate as the end-times season we are in continues to unfold. These Bereans are valuable, and it would do us all well to embrace the opportunity to analyze our belief systems and to grow. Instead, all over social media especially, we see critical and arrogant spirits assaulting others they disagree with theologically. For Christians to be rude and to operate in a spirit of accusation makes one wonder if they are saved at all. In fact, the moment we utilize methods of communication that contradict the fruits of the Spirit, we lose our credibility. Fortunately, there are many people who confirm their credibility by debating and discussing with love and honor. Communicating with them is a pleasure. However, all too often, supposed guardians of theology are zeroed in on proving their point and on shaming all who disagree. On the contrary, the shame is on them as they attempt to demoralize and invalidate people's ministry. The focus is on mistakes, errors, disagreements and weaknesses instead of building others up, honoring them and encouraging them in the Lord. "Be devoted to one another with brotherly love; prefer one another in honor" (Rom. 12:10)." -- John Burton
Let's start by recognizing that someone referring to his dissenters as trolls is in the same breath lecturing about people with critical and arrogant spirits. Hypocrisy much? Now, there is so much disinformation packed into this opening, we need to go item by item:
Bereans -- Burton is right that as the end times deepen the need is greater for those who correctly divide the word of truth. This hit piece however is designed for one purpose and that is to silence discernment ministries. The people who operate such ministries are the Bereans John -- not the false teachers you support by your mere presence on Charisma News, home of the Sneaky Squid Spirit and the Angels of Abundant Harvest.
Assault -- while I believe this is hyperbole, the reality is that false teachers deserve nothing but our derision. This is not a matter of theological disagreement John. If you are pre-trib I might feel you are mistaken but I would look forward to discussing it. It is not something worth dividing over. We are talking about FALSE teaching, which leads to a false gospel and a false christ -- which of course leads to a false conversion. The bible actually commands you to rebuke false teachers as a minister!
Credibility -- again the issue is whether we are talking about disagreement or false teaching. You reside on a website that is a literal cesspool of false teaching and prophecy and you think you should be discussing credibility? If you are a wolf then you need to be treated as a wolf. The shepherd's rod is not carried to pet the wolf John.