555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

322. Who Are the "False Prophets in Sheep's Clothing"?

The warning is against teachers who come, claiming to be authorized interpreters of the mind of God and expounders of his Word, yet who are false leaders, having no spiritual light in themselves and being unfitted to guide others into the light of truth. Coming in sheep's clothing implies that they present a plausible exterior, their lips filled with smooth, persuasive words; but they do not teach nor do they themselves know the Gospel of Jesus. They teach instead a man-made Gospel, and make a great show of liberal ideas. The "old paths" they discard for new ways of reaching heaven. They cast doubt upon the essentials of the faith and teach the doctrines of error. Any teacher who does not hold fast to the cardinal points of the Gospel, or who does not emphasize the divine nature and the mediatorial office of Christ and his sacrifice and atonement; who would exalt works above faith; who belittles the importance of the revealed Word, and casts doubt upon its genuineness and authority; who compromises with sin and the weakness of our nature; who leads his flock to regard with doubt all that pertains to the invisible realm of faith and the supernatural; who attaches more importance to the operations of the human mind than to all else—such a person is not calculated to lead others in the way of life everlasting. It is therefore of the very first importance that the pastor who is chosen for a church should himself be a Christian, living the Christian life, else, however sincere he may be in his efforts, he will not be able to lead others aright.