Friday, March 04, 2011

My Flock, My Sheep, But Not My Shepherds

I'm giving the readers of this post a reading assignment.  Read Ezekiel 34.  If you don't have time, I'm providing the link to Ezekiel 34 here.  It's only one chapter, so even if you don't link here, read it sometime soon.  And even though I'm going to highlight an important portion of it and put it here, please read it in its entirety.

Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel.  Prophesy and say to those shepherds, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?  You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat sheep without feeding the flock. Those who are sickly you have not strengthened, the diseased you have not healed, the broken you have not bound up, the scattered you have not brought back, nor have you sought for the lost; but with force and with severity you have dominated them. They were scattered for lack of a shepherd, and they became food for every beast of the field and were scattered. My flock wandered through all the mountains and on every high hill; my flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them."'"  Ezekiel 34:1-6
I think this sounds like a pretty good picture of today's church.  Would you agree?  Shepherds have lost the art of shepherding.  This is a pretty scathing indictment from God.  I stopped at verse 6, but his judgment starts in the next verse.  That's one reason you should read the entire chapter.  Another reason to read the whole thing is to gain a flavor of what God thinks of the characters involved.

You see, as I read through the entire chapter I noticed a peculiar thing.  God uses the first person possessive in referencing the sheep.  Four times I count God using the term "My sheep."  He uses the first person possessive in referencing the flock.  Eleven times I count God using the term "My flock."  Only once does God use the term "My shepherds."  It is in verse 8, but it is not pretty, saying, "...My shepherds did not search for My flock..."  at that point he ceases using the term "My shepherds" and doesn't use it again the rest of the chapter.

I think this passage is important in the light of the now popular teaching among the celebrity rock star pastors in the "Reformed" world.  This teaching says that anybody who claims to be a Christian but is not a formal member of a church, or is not currently attending a church or is not under the direct authority of some kind of pastor is a great sinner at least, and probably not even a true believer.  Well for those who hold that kind of belief, I offer you Ezekiel 34.  How many of "My sheep" or "My flock" are spoken ill of by God in this chapter?  They are wandering, they are scattered, they are subject to wolves and other dangers.  How convenient for the shepherds of today to scatter and neglect the sheep, to dominate the sheep, to exalt themselves and then blame it on the sheep.  How convenient.


  1. Steve,

    C'mon, man. "Celebrity rock star pastors" aren't exclusive to the "Reformed" world. Be fair, dude. Think of other "rock star" pastors, televangelists, etc., and there are plenty.

    And, please, no generalizations: To what teaching are you referring? Be specific. Seriously.


    PS To Steve's other readers: our fam is friends w/Steve and Mrs. Scott, so this isn't relationship-threatening, but I AM bugged by using a straw man as an example.

  2. C,

    I'll paste some examples here soon. I really should put my "Re-Thinking Church Membership" series back up. :-)

  3. Yeah, but you need to be specific. AND, don't forget...there are "celebrities" in every walk of life. It's certainly not confined to the "Reformed" movement. Think Benny Hinn, Jack Hyles (IFB), Curtis Hutson (IBF), etc. Just because something is "trendy (and I use that word loosely)", and there are followers, doesn't mean that it rises to the level of sin. I can think of a lot more things that I would be concerned about--and this isn't one of them. I am just trying to worship God in Spirit and in Truth. I have enough trouble doing that (and maintaining a good attitude) w/out worrying about other extraneous stuff.

    And, for provocation of thought: What if everything that you stated is true? Then, what? Do we just lay out of church and chuck the whole thing? This is where you and I would part ways (not literally). Why strive over these distractions? Are you doing what you should be doing in terms of your walk w/God?

    Still praying for that pesky, elusive thing called a job...Sigh...

    Love to you--and Mrs. Scott--and your boys...


  4. C,

    Yes, there are celebrities in all the other areas. But I've spent my entire time in the "Reformed" camp, so I'm familiar with them here. The others are simply beyond the concern of my blog. But the real reason I point that out is all the criticizing of all the other groups' "celebrities," from my own camp, as if we have no such problems.

    Lay out of church? No, I wouldn't advise somebody to chuck the whole thing, and I haven't done that myself. Not by a long shot. Certain circles maybe, but not church altogether. Why strive over these "distractions?" Who says I'm the one striving over them?