Neal Griffin

This oft used TV ditty can be applied to our present day religious practices as well. However, what we read about in scripture is not necessarily what we get in practice.

We see where, in scripture, the kingdom of God is likened unto sheep (living creatures) who know their Shepherd and their Shepherd knows them. Their Shepherd is constantly among them, looking out for their best interests. Their Shepherd feeds them and makes them to lie down in green pastures. When one sheep goes astray, the Shepherd goes out and returns the lost sheep to the fold. The Shepherd's concern for each individual sheep is not diminished by His concern for the flock.

Now, let us see if what we see in scripture is what we get in today's religious world. First of all, our shepherds are not shepherding individuals, but rather they are shepherding church entities. They are trying to shepherd the flock and not the sheep. They are not among the flock seeking the concerns of the individuals, but rather, they are in administrative offices administering the affairs of the corporate church entity. A family in crisis is willingly (if not joyfully) allowed to drift because the best interest of the "church" is better served if they are gone. The flock is never directed to lie down in green pastures beside the still brook. Instead, the flock is admonished to do more and more, to work harder and harder, and to strive to be perfect "church members". The one doing the feeding is not the acknowledged shepherd, but rather the pulpit minister. Please compare this situation to John 10:12: "A man who has been hired is not really a shepherd". This passage is very explainable, for when the pay is cut off, he seeks EMPLOYMENT elsewhere. In this situation, what we see IS what we get.

Consider this comparison! The kingdom of God is like little children who look, in complete trust, to their protectors for comfort and sustenance. Little children do not demand authority nor positions of authority. They do not seek to be over anyone. They come with a natural ability to submit. They do not come with a desire to dictate to or to hire and fire anyone.

Consider this: "If you would be great in the kingdom, then be a servant". Do servants have positions of authority over anyone? Do servants have titles of authority? Do servants have decision making power over anyone?

Perhaps I am barking up the wrong tree. Perhaps modern day shepherds are exempted from these basic principles to be humble and to submit to one another. Or, are they allowed to set aside these principles in the interest of preserving the entity of the corporate church? You know better. You don't have to be a Bible scholar to refute this idea. Can shepherds, in the interest of the corporate church entity, listen to tale-bearers? Can the shepherds, since they can't get around to everybody, let the members be their eyes and ears? Can the shepherds, in the interest of the corporate church entity, protect the confidentiality of tale-bearers who come to them?

The hierarchy of the Catholic Church assumes the power to set aside basic principles of Scripture for the greater interest of the Catholic Church; and history has shown how the integrity of the Catholic Church has been compromised and prostituted as a result. Brethren, we must not allow this to happen in the ekklesia of our Lord. If we cannot stop these evil practices, then we must remove ourselves from them. To do less is to be an active participant. Get out! "Come ye out from among them and be ye separate." Also, "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump". Jesus said on one occasion that a man who prays to be seen and heard of men has his reward already. Could this also be true in the practice of our religion? Are we staying in "the lump" (church) to be approved of men? "Seek ye first the kingdom of God". For truly, when Jesus comes, what He sees is what He will get.