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By Christian McShaffrey

As I sipped my morning coffee on a brisk November morn, I reviewed the day’s schedule and noticed one appointment that iCalendar had scheduled without my consent: Election Day

Ignoring that intrusion for the moment, I proceeded to browse the latest headlines and, as usual, it was all bad news: War, terrorism, hate, bigotry, conspiracies, politics, scandals, indictments, etc.

After that, I visited a few Christian sites to see what was happening in the Kingdom of God and, sadly, I found much of the same (without the war and terrorism, of course). Everyone is on edge and that is a very dangerous place to be.

Two days prior was Guy Fawkes Day, so I made the mental connection: Our culture seems to be sitting on a proverbial stockpile of explosives. Whether that is due to some kind of plot or not, I will leave to the conspiracy theorists to debate. My only concern is not being around when it finally explodes.

I cannot, of course, leave the world; but I can take calculated measures to keep the world at a safe distance. You might want to do the same.

This begins in the heart as we set our minds on things above, remember that the Lord is at hand, and meditate upon worthy things.

The home must also be guarded. Turn off the news. Better yet, get rid of your television set all together. And as for that device in your pocket, try using it as an actual phone. Call someone and have a conversation.

As a Pastor, it is also my responsibility to guard the local church and this is far more difficult than the aforementioned areas due to the fact that most people present very well on Sunday mornings. You can never really tell what’s going on in their heads and hearts.

For example, a few years ago during the Covid pandemic, our church happened to be open for worship while most others in the area were closed. This naturally led to an uptick in new visitors. Some called before visiting and one thing struck me as very odd: They asked more about our stance on Covid protocols than about our doctrine and practice. Major red flag. 

Thankfully, none of those visitors stayed for long. Interceding for President Biden during worship might have had something to do with that (cf. 1 Tim. 2:1-2). In any case, good riddance.

Yes, I can anticipate the evangelical objection: “Pastor, everyone needs the gospel, so you should remain open and welcoming to all that the Lord sends.” I am, and our church doors are open to all, but not everyone is sent by the Lord. Some are sent by the devil to sow discord and to draw away disciples after themselves. 

Sometimes it seems that Pastors (even Reformed ones) forget how our Saviour said, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 20:16). Christ does not want everyone in his church and neither do I, that is why I hereby publish this public notice: 


Just so everyone understands, here is the definition of a kook: One whose ideas or actions are eccentric, fantastic, or insane. To be even more clear, here are some synonyms: Crackpot, crank, flake, nut job, oddball, screwball, weirdo, etc.

I have not yet developed a method for the quick and reliable identification of kooks, but I may begin working on it soon. Perhaps I will call it the Fawkes Protocol.

The local church is a precious gift from God. It is place where Christ’s sheep should be able to rest each week in the green pastures of God’s truth and beside the still waters of his grace.

Therefore, I call upon all church leaders to recognize the cultural precipice that presently lies before us, that they might renew their commitment to watching over the flock with all due diligence.