Paul warned that wolves would come from within and from without, and Jesus said that the wolves would come wearing sheep’s clothing. “Wooly wolves!” Wolves from within are unethical Christians, or those who pose as Christians. These deceive and proselytize gullible believers, luring weak, careless lambs away from their God-given shepherds into the wolves’ flocks, which are usually legalistic churches. Wolves from without do not pose as Christians. These persecute Christians.
To add a bit of fun, let someone who can mime portray wolves as described below, which help believers spot common signs of a wolf:
Bared teeth, either snarling or feigning false friendship.
Sharp fangs revile true shepherds, as Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, did.
A toothy grin feigns friendship, until a lamb stops blindly following the wolf.
Big nose, sniffing the air.
Long noses snoop to detect discord, to lure away discontented sheep. This is common among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Padded paws, making stealthy movements.
Padded paws let wolves sneak around behind a genuine leader’s back.
Shifty eyes and long ears, nervously alert.
Wolves seek to detect bleating lambs – weak believers that are easily lead astray.
Long, dripping tongue.
A wolf’s appetite for tender mutton remains insatiable.
Build your defense against wolves:
- Shepherd your flock with loving care, and it will not seek the greener pastures that wolves pretend to offer.
- Keep cell groups small enough to give to each member the care that Scripture requires.
- Do not over-control cells out of fear of divisive activity. Rather, equip cell leaders to deal with divisiveness.
- Do not simply attack false doctrine when a sincere believer expresses it. Get it out in the open, so you can deal with it by giving edifying instruction, as the apostles did.
- Name leaders who cooperate, avoiding anyone with a dogmatic, divisive spirit. Well-led, well-fed cell members are difficult prey for wolves. Keep cells small enough so that leaders can shepherd by giving member care to each person. A congregational leader overlooks many needs, if he is the only one who leads. Wily wolves will soon sniff out those who are the neglected sheep.