Of Prophets And Shepherd Boys Crying Wolf

There’s a well-known fable about a shepherd boy who grew bored and decided to sound the alarm that a wolf was getting into the herd of sheep. Out the villagers came with staves and pitchforks to rescue the sheep. Of course there was nothing to rescue them from.

The boy laughed and laughed, it was such fun to see the villagers all in a panic over nothing. As time passed the shepherd boy again grew bored, so once more he cried for the villagers to save the sheep from the wolf. Out the villagers came with staves and pitchforks to rescue the sheep. Of course there was again nothing to rescue them from.

Later an actual wolf crept among the herd. The shepherd boy called for the villagers to come help him save the sheep, but this time no one came. They weren’t about to be fooled by a liar again, not realizing that this time the boy was telling the truth.

Could it be that non-Christians have heard the message of condemnation for sin so often, they are ignoring it as if believers are crying wolf?

At the Orange County Register, there’s an ongoing discussion between a handful of Christians and about the same number of atheists, connected to the banned movie theater church ad. One of the latter group said emphatically that he just wanted Christians to get out of his face.

So should we?

Should we stop waving John 3:16 signs at football games or wearing tee shirts with Bible verses? Should we peel off our bumper stickers that say “Jesus is Lord” and scale back our advocacy for a return to prayer in our schools?

Are those incidental messages coming across as little more than a false cry of wolf?

Or are they more akin to the kinds of things the prophets did? Ezekiel, for example, who lay on his side for over a year enacting a siege against Israel, then flipping to his other side for over a month to do the same against Judah.

Then there was Hosea who married a prostitute, Isaiah who went naked and barefoot for three years, Jeremiah who walked around wearing a yoke on his neck.

All these and more were intended to get people’s attention because they needed to hear God’s warning.

It’s as if a spiritual tsunami was about to break over the idolatrous people, and the prophets were the warning system telling them they needed to get to high ground.

What is it the lost world hears when Christians speak? Is it white noise to them — sound they simply tune out but wish would go away? Is it the cry of wolf they think we repeat for our own amusement?

Is sounding the alarm even what we Christians are called to? Is that how we make disciples?

Your thoughts?

Published in: on April 6, 2011 at 6:33 pm  Comments (4)  
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  1. We should not be quiet. The true church cannot and should not refrain from proclaimf the gospel. What hurts the message are those people who live contrary to the message they wear on their shirts.

    There are times though when we should ” shake the dust from our feet ” and move on.


  2. There is/was a man who every Sat. would stand on a busy street corner wearing a sandwich sign proclaiming ‘Jesus is Lord’. At 6’6″, his message couldn’t be ignored. Despite this zeal, his two kids were spiritual train wrecks and his marriage faltered. I wondered if this man’s actions brought embarrassment to his children – causing them to turn from the gospel he proclaimed. The prophets at the sacrifice of their personal lives were called to give God’s message. Perhaps this was this man’s calling too.


  3. In the end, if our lives to not measure up to the message we proclaim, then the true message we will be sending is hypocrisy.


  4. I agree with Morgan. If our lives don’t agree with what we believe, then we’re teaching hypocrisy.

    The problem nowadays is that we have too many faith teachers with the Gospel, and not enough evidence teachers providing the Church with answers that they can use in everyday conversations with non-believers. For example, the debate about Rob Bell and his new book is the view on Hell that it poses, and whether it’s true or not; as an Evangelical Christian, I hold that Bell is teaching a false view of Hell based on faith alone(which Christianity is not). This because of these faith teachers that I listen to men like Greg Koukl, founder of Stand to Reason, a Christian ministry that prepares Christians to share the Word.

    To borrow one of Greg’s thoughts, several Christians have the “seal-and-deal” ideology; that in every conversation, we have to bring the person to God. That’s not exactly true. For example, Greg had Brian Godawa, a film director, on his Sunday program this week; Brian said that he liked the recent film “Paranormal Activity” because it showed the existence of a spiritual realm to a modern, non-spiritual America. As long as you leave the person with something to think about, then you’ve done your job as a sower of the seeds.

    God Bless,
    Pravda Veritas


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