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7 Warning Signs Your Pastor Is a Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Updated on June 18, 2016
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Your Pastor Eats the Sheep

A wolf is concerned with feeding himself, and he is not concerned about the flock. He consumes to satisfy his insatiable appetite, and the flock of the Lord is his food.

"For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;" (Acts 20:29 LITV).

He has no problem taking whatever he wants from the church members even if it leaves them wanting. Everything the followers possess is his booty for the taking as far as he is concerned, and they are there for his consumption. They live life concerned about their desires and wants, and nothing is going to stand in their way to prevent them from achieving their desires.

"And by covetousness, with well-turned words, they will use you for gain..." (2 Peter 2:3 LITV).

They have totally bought into the idea that they should be rich and like the world, successful in every way. Success is more important than righteousness, and success is extremely important to them. They plan on getting it, even if it means taking what is yours.

"For everyone from the least of them even to the greatest of them cuts off a profit. And from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely." (Jeremiah 6:13 LITV).

Your Pastor Is Different on the Outside than on the Inside

A wolf looks like a sheep on the outside, but on the inside they have a different nature.

"But beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inside they are plundering wolves." (Matthew 7:15 LITV).

They are of their father the devil, and his desires they do. They have the nature of Satan because he is their father. The wolves are not Christians, they are unsaved. They are children of the devil, and they do his will. The Bible talks about in the day of judgment where "many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many works of power? (23) And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; 'depart from Me, those working lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:22-23 LITV).

This is evidence that there are many people that outwardly look like they are serving God, but inwardly they are not saved. They have never been drawn by the Holy Spirit who has predestinated them according to his foreknowledge to be saved. They are simply people of the world that look like Christians. They may preach at a church every week, but inside they have not been regenerated.

Your Pastor Feeds Himself Instead of the Flock

A wolf is concerned about his own carnal, insatiable appetites. He doesn't have any concern about whether the sheep eat or not. He wants to stuff himself full of as many satisfying desires as possible.

"Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy and say to them, to the shepherds, So says the Lord Jehovah: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who are feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock?" (Ezekiel 34:2 LITV).

To do this, he needs a regular inflow of resources. In order for the wolf to satisfy his desires, he needs cash and labor. He will basically suck you dry of your money and time. The wolf constantly comes up with ways to rake in additional cash and methods to extract it from the tithing plate. He also makes generous use of free labor supplied by young members of the church. He will have them doing all manner of activities around his personal residence to make sure he lives in the lap of luxury or as close to it as possible. Once the pipelines of labor and money are open, he is free to indulge himself in many hobbies and indulgences.

Names such as practical scheduling and other titles that convince the young person that they are actually learning to serve God by doing practical works are used. While this certainly can be true, the wolf makes excessive use of it to the hurt of the sheep.

"For they bind heavy and hard to bear burdens, and lay them on the shoulders of men, but they do not desire to move them with their finger." (Matthew 23:4 LITV).

If they spend all of their time serving the needs of the church and his ministry instead of, let's say, going to college, it doesn't matter to the wolf that he can hurt the future careers of the church members. The wolf is concerned about satisfying his needs now, and you are disposable. After you've burned out from years of labor and giving, you will simply be tossed aside and replaced with another high school graduate or young adult.

"Or do you not know that unjust ones will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be led astray, neither fornicators, nor idolaters... nor thieves, nor covetous ones, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor plunderers shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 LITV).

The wolf makes extensive use of tithing verses to bolster the offerings of the congregation. You will hear Malachi chapter 3 preached many times as you are told that if you aren't giving enough to God, you are robbing him. This was a verse given to the Old Testament saints so that they could support the temple system and priests. The New Testament talks about the believer giving as he purposes in his heart, not 10% with an offering on top of that as the Old Testament outlines.

"Each one as he purposes in his heart, not out of grief or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7 LITV).

Through slick preaching, the wolf is able to extract enormous amounts of cash from the congregation members through smooth talking and fancy manipulation of Bible verses referencing tithing and offering. They have no problem having special services dedicated to bringing in more money to satisfy the needs of the church that are going unmet. Of course the reason the church needs are going unmet is that this wolf is consuming the resources and not using it for the church.

Your hard-earned cash that is skillfully siphoned out the offerings is then extracted by the wolf to be used for his own personal pleasures. You'll never see the church books or see where the money is going as it is done in secret.

Your Pastor Is Surrounded by Ungodly Enablers

The wolf doesn't act on his own. He has helpers that aid in the achievement of his goals. They are called enablers. They are a group of men and women that surround him and shield the church members from what is really going on behind the scenes. They translate what the pastor really means, and they quickly transfer information from the congregation back to the wolf.

If you tell an enabler anything in confidence, you can be assured that it will reach the wolf the same day most likely. Enablers help monitor what's going on with the flock, and they transmit information back to the wolf so that he can plan his next move and remain hidden so that his true self is not revealed.

"For a time will be when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own lusts, they will heap up to themselves teachers tickling the ear; (4) and they will turn away the ear from the truth and will be turned aside to myths." (2 Timothy 4:3-4 LITV).

Enablers serve the wolf and his purposes, and as soon as one steps out of line, he or she is quickly removed and driven from the congregation. All kinds of excuses and stories will be told about them to discredit them so that they have no choice but to move on and go somewhere else.

The wolf isn't surrounded by elders, he is surrounded by yes-men and yes-women who do exactly what he says under fear of being persecuted and replaced. They may even be given a generous church salary to keep quiet and not make any waves. Wolves aren't able to operate without their group of enablers helping them. They work as a team to fleece the flock and keep the engine of their unrighteousness churning.

"But evil men and pretenders will go forward to worse, leading astray and being led astray." (2 Timothy 3:13 LITV).

Enablers don't just step into their positions right off the bat. They are gradually tested over time to make sure they are faithful to the wolf. Initially, they are given some small area in which to choose the wolf over the Word of God. It might seem like a small compromise at first, but this is a test from the wolf to see if this person is really going to be loyal to them.

To be an enabler to a wolf, you have to turn your back on the Word of God and instead serve this minister of unrighteousness instead of God. They might not have meant to go this direction initially, but over time this is what they have become. Once they have been initiated into the inner circle, they must then choose to either continue doing the bidding of the wolf, or risk being exposed for their own unrighteous deeds in order to turn and come back to God. Usually, this means leaving the church and going somewhere else. They will leave the congregation in disgrace and probably leave most of their friends behind as well. This is the price an enabler might pay in order to free himself from the wolf.

The wolf has no mercy, and he will even destroy the number two person if they become a threat to him. The wolf is the absolute authority over the church. He will not be questioned, and he will not bow or yield to the desires of another, even Christ. This is why wolves in sheep's clothing are ministers of Satan. They refused to bow to the Word of God and the ministry of Christ, but instead serve the desires of their true master, Satan.

For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. (14) And did not Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light? (15) It is not a great thing, then, if also his ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
(2 Corinthians 11:13-15 LITV)

Your Pastor Is a Liar

A wolf has no problem lying because he has Satan's nature, who is the father of lies. In order for the wolf to accomplish his purposes, he has to regularly distort the truth in order to do his bidding. Often, Bible verses are taken out of context or mixed with worldly philosophy in order to create their doctrines of unrighteousness.

"Then beloved, you knowing beforehand, watch lest being led away by the error of the lawless you fall from your own steadfastness." (2 Peter 3:17 LITV).

A wolf's dogma is a distortion of the true teaching represented by Christ in the Word of God. These pastors from hell distort the true meaning of the Scriptures in order to lead people astray and draw them over to their own desires.

"I have also seen a horrible thing among the prophets of Jerusalem; they commit adultery and walk in falsehood. And they make the hands of evildoers strong, so that not a man returns from his evil. They are all of them like Sodom to Me, and those living in her like Gomorrah." (Jeremiah 23:14 LITV).

It is this mixture of truth and error that makes it difficult at times to discern these teachings as doctrines of devils. "as also in all his epistles, speaking in them concerning these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the unlearned and unsettled pervert, as also they do the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." (2 Peter 3:16 LITV).

Even Satan used the Word of God against Jesus when he was tempted in the wilderness for 40 days, but they were presented in such a way that it was a distortion of the truth. Jesus quickly saw through this deception and rebuked the devil.

The wolf often makes prey of sheep that are not skilled in the word and not able to discern truth from error very well. They are often encouraged to only read certain religious materials or listen to certain audio sermons that are approved by the wolf and line up with his doctrine. They discourage members from seeking outside advice because this would expose the wolf for what he really is, a liar from the pit of hell.

The Bible says that Satan is able to transform himself into an angel of light. The love of money is also a root to all kinds of evil, which is probably why many of these corrupt church ministries rake in millions of dollars spewing out their false doctrines and corrupting the straight paths shown in the word of God.

"For narrow is the gate, and constricted is the way that leads away into life, and few are the ones finding it." (Matthew 7:14 LITV).

These lying preachers jump up and down in their large auditoriums telling lies to those that are willing to listen to them. Give us your faith seed money, and you will be healed and receive all the wealth that you have ever desired from God. God is not a rabbits foot that he can be commanded around, but he is the holy sovereign God of the universe who dictates his will to us, not the other way around.

"To you, O Jehovah, be the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty; for all in the heavens and in the earth belongs to You, O Jehovah; Yours is the kingdom, and You lift up Yourself to all as Head;" (1 Chronicles 29:11 LITV).

Seek the Lord in prayer and read his Word so that you can be delivered from the grasp of these lying pastors.

Your Pastor Isolates the Congregation from the Outside World

In order for a wolf to spin his web of deceit, he has to block out the truth presented from the outside world or from other churches. A wolf will set up his own kingdom here on earth and tell the members that they are protecting themselves from the corruption of the world by isolating themselves within the church walls.

"You are the light of the world. A city situated on a mountain cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under the grain measure, but on the lampstand; and it shines for all those in the house." (Matthew 5:14-15 LITV).

The wolf maintains control, they being the only voice that is heard. No one preaches from the pulpit that doesn't totally lineup with his teachings. It is not uncommon for a wolf in sheep's clothing to encourage younger members to stay away from their families or from visiting other churches where perhaps they grew up in order to indoctrinate them to this new way of thinking. After the wolf has enough time to indoctrinate the new members, they will tend to put up walls against anyone that contradicts the teachings of this new guru. Of course now they are unable to be rescued from all of these false doctrines because they no longer have their ears open the hear anything but the voice of the wolf. Once this happens, it takes a move of the Holy Spirit to shake someone free of this satanic grasp.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you go about the sea and the dry land to make one proselyte; and when he has become so, you make him twofold more a son of Hell than yourselves." (Matthew 23:15 LITV).

Your Pastor Creeps into the Church with Deception Unawares

A wolf is an animal that stalks its prey and tends to single out the weak members of the herd for the kill. A pastoral wolf seeks out weak Christians that they can connive through trickery as they creep in the church unawares.

"For certain men stole in, those of old having been written before to this judgment, ungodly ones perverting the grace of our God into unbridled lust, and denying the only Master, God, even our Lord Jesus Christ." (Jude 1:4 LITV).

They are savage beasts that won't spare the flock. They creep into the church unawares partly because they are able to rise up within the church. They don't just walk into the back door one day wreaking with deception and say, "Here I am." They work their way into leadership positions over period of time until they are able to gain control of the flock to perform their works of deception.

"For I know this, that after my departure grievous wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (30) and out of you yourselves will rise up men speaking perverted things, in order to draw away the disciples after themselves." (Acts 20:29-30 LITV).

The whole concept of a wolf in sheep's clothing portrays the hidden deception of the agent of evil, one of appearing as one thing but being entirely something different in reality. These pastors look like Christians because they have the outward appearance of the sheep, a biblical comparison that describes a born-again Christian, but their real inward nature is something beastly and antichrist.

They are not what they seem. This is what makes it easy for them to creep into the church and not be noticed. Let the undiscerning Christian beware. These messengers of Satan play for keeps.

Use Godly Discernment

To balance this article out, it should be noted that not everyone that displays some of these characteristics is a wolf. A church leader can fall into sin or be struggling with an iniquity and display some of these characteristics, but the difference is, he on the inside is working with the Holy Spirit to overcome these obstacles to his ministry.

The difference between the wolf and the true man of God is the inward indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works inside of the man of God in order to help him overcome any of these problems that may be tempting him to move away from the truth that God has revealed. The congregation should hold him up in prayer and allow God to do the work to transform him into the image of Christ.

We need only look to ourselves and our own struggles to have an idea of what the pastor faces on a day-to-day basis. Contrary to the wolf, the pastor of Christ is the enemy of Satan and is tempted by him in efforts to make him fall in ministry. Satan will dangle various sins in front of him in order to get him to succumb to temptation, but he is in no way an agent of Satan. He is someone that has been saved and redeemed by the Holy Spirit, and who is making every effort to stand against the evil one. This is the difference between the wolf and the true minister of God. The difference is on the inside where the Holy Spirit dwells.

God draws men to himself for salvation and the man of God that is saved is destined for heaven. Satan knows this, and he wants nothing more than to destroy the leader of the flock so that the sheep will scatter. To do this, he will do the opposite and take a true man of God and try to make him look like an agent of Satan by exposing sin.

This is why the church member needs to read the Bible for themselves and follow the Holy Spirit so that they are wise to these satanic tricks and stand with the pastor in his efforts to be cleansed from sin and be restored to full ministry. In this manner, the whole church stands against the evil one and is able to perform the work of God and be presented gloriously to Christ in the day of judgment.

© 2014 deorganicchurch

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    • Cgenaea profile image

      2 years ago from Illinois

      Drawn to this Hub because I see the issues with church carnality and greed and unGodliness. It is so pervasive. "Study to show thyself apporoved..." we must know it for ourselves.

      We have no right to look the other way...Jesus didn't. It is not about judgment. It IS about discernment. "Come away from them," says the Lord. If not physically, spiritually. Know...

      No sense being led astray by intelligence when the Lord has provided the way of escape. Simply, "Follow me."

      Btw... He gave them people a whuppin and knocked over some "church wares" they sold.

      Elating Hub! This is also a subject I write about. Thanks!

    • deorganicchurch profile image
      Author

      deorganicchurch 2 years ago from Newark, DE

      Hi Cgenaea, thanks for posting. You are correct that we all need to draw near to God so that we can avoid these type of people. We need to study the show ourselves approved so that we can rightly dividing the word of truth.

    • freeradicalsteve profile image

      freeradicalsteve 2 years ago

      I liked your reference to "enablers". For me, the primary enabler is the church system itself, that uses hierarchical relationships and use of formal power and authority. The second enabler is the Bible translations that use the word "church" instead of "ekklesia". (The KJV was written for the purpose of enabling the Church of England to maintain power over the people).

    • Cgenaea profile image

      2 years ago from Illinois

      Yes deorganicchurch, being a worker who needs not be ashamed is key. So MANY study the words of God and cannot "devide" one bit of it rightly. :) we must be "working" to get to know what he meant. We cannot know without receipt of his spirit. So many of us forget that part. Many study the bible to show that they are right to call it unworthy of our time.

      The "wolf" studies it to find ways to get what he wants. "Bring me...uh God, your tithes AND offerings so you will not be cursed with a curse! So there can be meat in MY... uh, God's house! Cuz y'all know i'm worth double honor!" ;)

      You are so right on these points. Be encouraged. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. Greater is he that is in us... the wolf will be the worker ashamed on that day. The bible tells us so.

    • PlanksandNails profile image

      PlanksandNails 2 years ago from among the called out of the ekklesia of Christ

      Deorganicchurch,

      Very good points. Their greed will give them away every time because they love collecting the monetary. One thing that is common with a lot of wolves in sheep's clothing is that they are masters at preying on and manipulating people's emotions. Emotional roller-coaster rides are the cue to bring out the offering plates.

    • deorganicchurch profile image
      Author

      deorganicchurch 2 years ago from Newark, DE

      Hi P&N, I know what you mean about the emotional roller coaster ride during services about the offering. A former church I attended several times a year would dedicate almost entire services to how the church was behind in giving. I know one person that put his vacation money into the offering and didn't go on the trip. We found out years later just how much money was being siphoned out of the plate by the eldership. It was quite a bit. Since then, I've moved on, but some of the former church members still battle with emotional problems from the abuse they received at that church.

    • Asa2141 profile image

      Asa Schneidermann 2 years ago from Boise

      I'm brand new to Hubpages. It's crazy that I stumbled across this post. My first post was about something along the same lines.

      I really agree with the part about always preaching about money! Every time I go into a church, I hear at least 1 sometimes 3 hints (or outright begging) for money or talks on giving. How many times have a heard the Good News given? About half a dozen in my whole life! What is church about? Salvation or money??

      You have guts to write about this stuff. Most people are scared to question the beloved pastors. I'm subscribing.

    • deorganicchurch profile image
      Author

      deorganicchurch 2 years ago from Newark, DE

      Hi Asa, I am glad you found this article. It does seem that a number of churches are always short of money, and they need to preach about it on a regular basis. Traditional churches are expensive to maintain which is why I prefer house churches. When money is collected at our house church meeting, it always goes to someone in need or direct expenses such as the church website.

    • profile image

      Terri 2 years ago

      This is excellent material on clergy predators. I have already referred others to it. Would it be possible to split things up much more into paragraphs? It's difficult to read long blocks of text onscreen.

    • deorganicchurch profile image
      Author

      deorganicchurch 2 years ago from Newark, DE

      Hi Terry,

      I have been doing just that in my newer posts. Each day is a growing process. I will try to circle back to this article so that I can make it easier to read. I am glad you are blessed by the material. The church needs to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, and we need to all stand as Christians against those that would come in and destroy the church. It is a real problem in today's church.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      The word, "enablers" strikes a chord with me as well. My former church had, and still has, a very passive, and loyal leadership. When anyone challenged the pastor's leadership or behavior (as they are still doing), they made excuses, minimized it, or simply blew it off. He is often sarcastic in and out of the pulpit - either to get a laugh, or put you in your place. His teachings are often unbiblical and though he talks about Scripture, his quotes, insights, interpretations etc are from liberal, emergent church writers. Even his wife says this. He has pretty much cleaned out the church of sensible, biblical people. At this time, his congregation is half in number when he started, and very Bible illiterate. They don't care about biblical integrity. In fact, they don't know what that is. They want to be spoon fed, eat potluck, and chat in the fellowship hall. It's a very social club, I mean church. The deepest pain to me, having gone there for more than 20 years is that the Holy Spirit was replaced by a spiritual snob who is always looking for people who look to him. My heart breaks, but I left and found a sound, biblical, Spirit filled church. I pray for my old church.

    • deorganicchurch profile image
      Author

      deorganicchurch 2 years ago from Newark, DE

      Hi lambservant,

      It is tough leaving a church after being a member for so many years. Hopefully, you'll adjust quickly and as you are fed with sound doctrine, you should grow in Christ and realize that you are now in a better place. If the church has moved into the era of the falling away, churches like that will more than likely just get worse over time. The world is preparing for the antichrist to lead the apostate church and the one world economic system.

    • profile image

      everseeking 14 months ago

      Thankyou for an eye-opening article. Unfortunately 30 years ago I was victim to the beginnings of the Prosperity Gospel in Australia through the AoG in Australia. God will bless you and take you to places you've never even dreamt of. My life however was not the was not the picture-perfect Faith life -style they predicted or promised; rather it was the complete opposite. To cut a long story short I went from there to the New Age (big mistake) and now with the End times etc and with what is happening in the world my thoughts once again turn towards Heaven. Seeing these mega-churches reminds me of the AoG and how easily susceptible I still am. Even though I know the scriptures, i'm still attracted to pastors like Osteen etc. I just bought a whole heap of stuff from him even though I will probably get the sae "results" as previously which is spending a whole heap of money with zero return. I'm still amazingly attracted to it in spite of previous heart ache and despondency I have previously & repeatedly faced! I am at the cross-roads now, I know intellectually that these churches are wrong, subtly evil, yet something in me still hopes... Yet my life has been a struggle which is what Christianity is more about; and as I look back over the years i'm wondering perhaps whether there is some grace still left God has made sure that I have struggled so that I still remain destined for him and he still held on ot me so as not to let me go completely... I hope so.. Your article BTW as I have said is SPOT ON. God Bless you.

    • deorganicchurch profile image
      Author

      deorganicchurch 14 months ago from Newark, DE

      Hi everseeking,

      Jesus did say that we would experience trials and tribulations in this world, and churches that promise a rosy life are not preaching the truth. Unfortunately, not every person or pastor that says they are Christian has been truly regenerated from above. We just need to pray and read our Bibles then allow the Holy Spirit to guide us from truth to truth. It is important to find a good church that preaches the whole Word of God, but it seems to be getting more difficult these days. I have to drive some distance to attend mine.

    • Sgt Prepper profile image

      Gunny Cracker 13 months ago from Elkhorn, WI

      Nice read. Whenever I see a pastor has an extravagant lifestyle(Lear-jet, Harley, etc.) I become disappointed and suspicious. While pheasant-hunting with one he shot a dove, which wasn't in season, and just left it lay. He told me we needed some lawyers and doctors to join our church so they could tithe large amounts.

      Although he sat in his office all day he wanted me to remove all the crumbling asbestos from the furnace in the church basement neglecting to mention it was asbestos. When he saw a retarded teenager at church he told me it was too bad she wasn't aborted. The last straw was when I confided personal problems to him and his response was "maybe I should look into your tithing history?"

      Worst of all some of these wolves are Freemasons or even Jesuits. I still believe the ONLY good wolf is a dead wolf.

    • deorganicchurch profile image
      Author

      deorganicchurch 13 months ago from Newark, DE

      Hi Sgt Prepper,

      I have come across information that states that the evangelical church is being infiltrated by Freemasons as you stated. I am still researching this issue off and on. Even if the pastor isn't a Freemason, if there are influential members on the church board that are, the church can become corrupted.

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