the shepherds of Christ’s flock have a double duty…

the shepherds of Christ’s flock have a double duty: to feed the sheep (by teaching the truth) and to protect them from wolves (by warning of error). As Paul put it to Titus, elders must hold firm the sure word according to the apostolic teaching, so that they would be able both “to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9). This emphasis is unpopular today. We are frequently told always to be positive in our teaching, and never negative. But those who say this have either not read the New Testament or, having read it, they disagree with it. For the Lord Jesus and his apostles refuted error themselves and urged us to do the same. One wonders if it is the neglect of this obligation which is a major cause of today’s theological confusion. If, when false teaching arises, Christian leaders sit idly by and do nothing, or turn tail and flee, they will earn the terrible epithet ‘hirelings’ who care nothing for Christ’s flock (Jn 10:12ff). Then too it will be said of believers, as it was of Israel, that “they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and…they became food for all the wild animals” (Ezek 34:5).

– John Stott

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