This morning I was reading article 12 of the Belgic Confession. This article deals with the creation of the world and of the angels. The article goes onto state that some of the angels have fallen and that even now “devils and evil spirits are watching to ruin the church and every member thereof, and by their wicked stratagems to destroy all.” This is a sobering thought, and precisely the reason why God has ordained the office of elder to protect the church and her sheep during this present evil age.

Throughout the New Testament we are told to be on watch for false prophets inside the church. Think about Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 4:3-5; 1 John 2:18-25; 4:1-6; 2 John 7. Whenever false prophets come into the church they are going to be well disguised and will even say some true things and use the right words. But they are going to twist the meanings of those words, and ultimately depart from the singular truth of the Gospel and lead people to look to something or someone other than Christ.

J. Greshem Machen early in the 20th century wrote this, “The enemy has not really been changed into a friend merely because he has been received within the camp” (Christianity & Liberalism, p.19). It is not hard to see that Machen’s words have not been heeded and that throughout the church the enemy has been considered a friend. We need to constantly pray that God will give us (and especially our elders) the wisdom to discern these false prophets, antichrists, deceivers, evil spirits, who are within our midst even in good and solid Reformed churches.

No church is immune and the history of the Reformed churches in America shows how slowly and quietly the devil works in the church seemingly benign until the church has strayed so far from the Biblical faith thinking it is still faithful when, in fact, it has abandoned everything of value. May the Lord continue to raise up courageous men who will lead his church with conviction, resting only on the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.