Thursday, January 31, 2008

False Teachers by Victor A. Sheperd

Whenever false teachers with their false doctrine obscure this truth, deny this truth, diminish this truth, or cast aspersion upon it; whenever this truth is "fudged" in any way men and women are imperilled before God, since they will push away the only saviour any of us can ever have.

When I used to interview candidates for the ministry in Halton Presbytery I let other committee members probe the students' social skills and marital history and career plans. Instead I always concentrated on what the students knew of God's truth, doctrine. When I was told eventually that this was none of my business I resigned from the committee, for then I could no longer protect congregations who would be endangered a year or two later. The danger, after all, is not slight. Jesus himself speaks of those who address a congregation all the while appearing to be warm, affectionate sheep when in fact they are ravenous wolves. They aren't ravenous wolves because they are nasty or cruel; they turn out to be ravenous wolves -- lethal, deadly -- just because they are false prophets (even if, perchance, sincere) who have substituted false teaching for God's truth

For this reason the apostle Jude fulminates against false teachers in his one-chapter book. In the most scorching language Jude tells us that false teachers are "waterless clouds": they promise lifegiving rain but they never produce a drop for spiritually parched people. They are "barren fruit trees": they yield nothing that is of any help to anyone. They are like "wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame": not only are they as destructive as a typhoon, their own lives are shameful. Finally, says Jude, they are like "wandering stars"; today we should say "shooting stars" which fall out of the sky and fizzle out into the darkness. Jude's language, scorching as it is, is no more severe than our Lord's when he says that false teachers appear to be cuddly sheep when in fact they are lethal wolves.

Jude has more to say about false teachers in his tiny letter than any other NT writer. "Recognize them and avoid them", he tells us. They use fancy language, he insists, they are intellectual snobs, they are slick manipulators, and they claim to have the Holy Spirit extraordinarily when all the while they behave shamefully. Recognize them and avoid them.

Whenever I think about my grasp of sound doctrine I recall the word of the apostle James. James, together with all prophets and apostles, knows that sound doctrine is utterly essential to the calling and equipping and strengthening of God's people. Then should every Christian aspire to be a teacher, an expositor of sound doctrine? Not at all, says James, for those who teach are going to be judged with greater strictness.

Since I am going to be judged with greater strictness why don't you do me the favour of judging me now, thereby sparing me something worse later? "What counts is the shape of a person's life." Don't leave me in any ghastly illusion concerning myself one day longer. For I know that the psalmist is correct when he insists that the upright, and only the upright, are going to behold the face of God. (Psalm 11:7)

Victor A. Shepherd January, 1993

Friday, January 18, 2008


Some people will not tolerate such emotional honesty in communication. They would rather defend their dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others. Therefore, having rationalized their phoniness into nobility, they settle for superficial relationships. ~Author Unknown

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. ~Winston Churchill

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I can't take one more minute of the blogging world where people blab on and on about church and how cutting edge they all are and how they are making a difference! Give me a break! I'm sorry, but sitting in front of a laptop, posting all your latest musings and profound thoughts is not dangerous or cutting can be construded as lazy and distasteful.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A time to pray...

I can't begin to express my sorrow for the families, the community as a whole, who are suffering such a tragic loss. Bathurst is a small city, very close knit, beautiful scenery and this tragedy will be with them for a long time.

Small N.B. city in disbelief after 8 killed in crash

'A tragedy of this proportion — it's unspeakable,' school superintendent says

A close-knit city in northern New Brunswick is in mourning after seven high school basketball players and a teacher died early Saturday when the van carrying them slammed into a transport truck on an icy road.

The Bathurst High School boys' basketball team, the Phantoms, was returning from a game in Moncton, about 220 kilometres to the south, when the van fish-tailed on a slippery highway and collided with a truck driving in the opposite lane, police said.

The entire passenger side of the van was ripped off during a collision with a tractor-trailer.

The accident happened around midnight local time on Highway 8 just 500 metres from the Bathurst exit, about five minutes away from their hometown.

Of the 12 in the vehicle, four survived, including the team's coach and his daughter. The seven boys killed in the crash ranged from 15 to 18 years old. The coach's wife, a teacher at another school, also died. Weather was a factor, police said.

Police said the entire passenger side of the van was ripped off during the collision and most of the passengers ejected. "There was nothing we could do," RCMP Sgt. Derek Strong told reporters. "The force of the impact was so great that the benches they were sitting on were also ejected from the vehicle, so this was a very, very major impact."

At the time of the crash, the road was slippery from snow, freezing rain and ice pellets.

"The road had snow and slush. We had a light snowstorm [Friday] that started in the afternoon," said RCMP Cpl. Daniel Melanson.

Three people were still in hospital late Saturday, while the fourth had been treated for injuries and released, a hospital spokeswoman said. The driver of the transport truck was not injured, police said.

Grief counselling offered at school
The community of 13,000 was in shock after hearing news of the crash.

Students mourn the deaths of seven basketball players from Bathurst High School.

As early as 4 a.m., students, parents and community members began trickling in to the school where a grief counselling centre was opened for much of the day.

"There is such disbelief," said school district superintendent John McLaughlin. "A tragedy of this proportion — it's unspeakable."

He described the seven teammates as "your typical all-Canadian boys" who were positive, athletic and popular at the school of some 800 students.

Bathurst Mayor Stephen Brunet, who once taught at the school, noted that it is not only the small city that is trying to cope with the tragedy, but the whole region.

"Bathurst is a feeder school that has students coming in from around the region … so this affects a lot of young people," he said.

Families want a public funeral
The parents of Nathan Cleland, one of the boys killed, said they spoke to their son minutes before the crash when he called to tell them he was on his way home.
In the background, they could hear the boys "whooping and hollering … and having a good time."

The parents said their 17-year-old son died alongside some of his closest friends.

"They played as a team, they rolled as a team and they went out as a team. So what better way possible than to be with your friends under circumstances like this," his father said.

Families of the victims have said they want a public funeral to be held at the city's sports arena so the entire community can gather to grieve.

An 'unthinkable' accident, PM says
Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent a letter of condolence to high school principal Coleen Ramsay.

"The sudden loss of eight people in this unthinkable accident shocked the nation, and all Canadians join you in mourning their passing," he wrote.

Harper said that as a father, he sympathizes with the parents of the teenage boys killed in the crash.

New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham, speaking from Ottawa where he is attending a first ministers' meeting, also expressed his condolences to the victims' families.

"I just want to extend sympathies to the affected families," he said. "This is a tragic situation for the community of Bathurst and our province."

With files from the Canadian Press

Saturday, January 05, 2008


bitterness breeds
a wound that won't heal.

bitterness breeds
thoughts that bleed.

bitterness inflicts
pain that won't cease.

bitterness inflicts
thoughts that don't ease.

forgive me my bitterness,
it comforts me in my aloneness, disappointment and grief.