Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Canis lupus

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. — Matthew 7:15–20

For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. — Acts 20:29–31

Yesterday’s photograph of the doe nursing her two newborn fawns is a lovely as it gets. Today, however, it’s back to real life and a visual lesson for all the pastors out there following this blog.

Our Lord Jesus Christ does not employ the “wolf” metaphor for entertainment or serrated purposes. Anyone who has seen predators operate in the Church, as I have, knows that He meant it literally. The following video captures a wolf pack hunting a herd of caribou in northern Canada. Be advised it’s not a happy ending:

Here are a few observations off the top of my head:
  1. Notice that the wolf pack “shadows” the caribou herd. In other words, they’re hunting.

  2. Notice that, when they make their move, they’re goal is to break up the herd in order to isolate prey, which is almost always the weakest or most vulnerable of the herd.

  3. Once they isolate the prey, they ruthlessly pursue it and it’s just a matter of time.

  4. No one can help the prey. The herd leaves it to its tragic end.

  5. When the wolf brings down the prey, it has no sense of sympathy or empathy for its suffering (wolves oftentimes devour their prey alive, not bothering to kill it first) — they only understand their physical hunger.
One final observation: When the elders of Emmanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) learned of Steven Sitler’s horrifying crimes, they immediately warned the flock by identifying him as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” When Douglas Wilson learned of Steven Sitler’s horrifying crimes, he immediately concealed it from the church and labored diligently to insure his safe reintroduction into the flock where he preyed.

These facts say it all for “by their fruits you will know them.”

Thank you.