DoctrineWhen the Morlocks Call
A Webpage called The Pennisula had an article that read:
ISTANBUL: Hundreds of sheep followed their leader off a cliff in eastern Turkey, plunging to their deaths this week while shepherds looked on in dismay. Four hundred sheep fell 15 metres to their deaths in a ravine in Van province near Iran but broke the fall of another 1,100 animals who survived, newspaper reports said yesterday. Shepherds from Ikizler village neglected the flock while eating breakfast, leaving the sheep to roam free, the Radikal daily said. The loss to local farmers was estimated at $74,000.
Tim Challies writes:
Sheep don’t commit suicide, or not knowingly at any rate. They don’t deal with despair by leaping to their deaths. The problem with sheep is that they are dumb. Really dumb. Far more dumb than lemmings. They are committed to a leader, and so committed that they will follow this leader even at the cost of their safety. When the leader wanders off a cliff, so do the rest of the sheep. This is both sad and slightly comical (unless you’re the guy who decided to have a hearty breakfast while he should have been keeping his eye on that $74,000 flock of sheep). And in this little article we see this kind of leader. He led his entire flock over a cliff. When he fell to his death he was quickly followed by hundreds and then thousands of the flock. They were soon piled so deep that the ones at the bottom were crushed and the ones on top were able to survive, their fall cushioned by the mass of bodies below. After a while it must have been like jumping onto a giant pile of wool.
Can’t you picture the shepherds, their eyes bulging as sheep after sheep disappears in the distance, careening off the edge of the cliff? Can’t you see them running towards the flock, yelling, shouting, drying desperately to distract the sheep from following their leader? Can’t you picture their shame as they look at the mass of writhing, broken bodies, and then look back at their breakfast, now forgotten. This isn’t really the fault of the sheep is it? It was the fault of the shepherds who had neglected their flock in order to indulge in a meal.
Not all shepherds are ‘indulging in meals’. There are many faithful leaders in Christ’s church. Many of these faithful leaders understand the gravity of their jobs. They understand that they will be judged with a higher judgement on that day. Many of these faithful shepherds understand the gravity of that which they preach. They understand that the sheep listen to their voice and commit, generally to what they say. It is with this in mind that they appreciate the responsibility given them.
Acts 17:10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” -John 5:39
Psa. 1:1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
Much could be written in regard to submission to leadership. I have written a few papers on the subject. I highly advocate for submission. The church breaks down when there is no submission. Presbyterianism is fundamentally the opposite of independency. Presbyterians never think alone; however, they are thinkers. Decisions are never made independently of the whole. This is not to say that one must be less than a deep thinker or follow like the sheep described above, aimlessly. Think Martin Luther; if it wasn’t for Luther’s thinking, we would still be under the thumb of Roman oppression.