Jesus warned us of wolves in sheep’s clothing, and there’s been plenty of speculation about who these false prophets are in the modern-day church.
As it turns out, it’s not just preachers who may fit the bill. It seems unbelievers pretending to be Christians are integrating themselves into Pentecostal churches only to feign falling away from the faith—just to see your reaction.
Indeed, that’s the stated goal of the Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing Project. Its mastermind, who goes unnamed on his blog FindingDoubt.com, describes it as a “social and psychological experiment where myself and a friend integrate ourselves into a highly conservative religious community without informing the community that we are skeptics. In fact, not only is that information left out, but during our time there we worship, discuss the truth of the Bible with congregants, and otherwise fully participate as conservative believers.”
According to “Wolf,” as we’ll call him since even his domain registration ownership is cloaked, all over the world there are atheists, agnostics, skeptics, secularists and the liberally religious who attend conservative churches for the purpose of social coherence.
“These are people who don’t want to rock the boat, so when their opinions have changed their fellow believers are none the wiser,” Wolf says. “The only difference is that this project is intentional, has specific goals, and we are there to present ourselves as radical men of faith.”
Wolf and his friend reportedly have already infiltrated an unnamed Pentecostal church. Why the Pentecostal church? Wolf was an atheist-turned-Oneness Pentecostal in his teenage years. By his own admission, he preached, taught, ministered, evangelized, counseled, danced and rolled on the floor in the United Pentecostal Church Incorporated—until he started doubting doctrines involving salvation and Christology.
Wolf then became what he calls a “charismatic fundamentalist” who started studying biblical languages and going to as many as seven Christian groups and services a week. Over time, he says he “gained a more critical eye” for the Bible and adopted a more skeptical philosophy.
Wolf claims he and his friend are active members of a Oneness Pentecostal church. He says they worship during the service, speak in tongues loudly during prayer times, and discuss the Bible with conviction. One of the project’s goals is to “truly feel like believers” and “observe as insights when we are actually outsiders.”
Even now, Wolf is actively working to develop close relationships with members of the congregation, to begin ministering, and speaking and doing ministerial projects for the church—all to see how they react in a year or so “when our planned apostasy takes place.”
This is wicked. I wonder if they’ll prophesy over people as part of their “ministering, speaking and ministerial projects.” I wonder how much false doctrine they will insert into this community of believers. I wonder how many seeds of doubt they will plant in the congregation. I wonder how many people will be shocked and hurt when they find out these people, whom they came to know and care about, have turned their backs on Christ, not realizing that in reality, they turned their backs on Christ long ago and are merely pretenders seeking to wreak havoc in the church.
No, these may not be the false prophets that come dressed in sheep’s clothing that Jesus warned us about in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7:15). But they are nevertheless behaving like ravenous wolves. If they infiltrated your church, would you know them by their fruit? I pray that the body of Christ rises up in greater discernment in this hour, where pretenders are making sport of us in our own churches for their own amusement. And, moreover, I pray that Wolf and his friend—in the midst of their evil experiment—come to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ for real so they can shed the disguise and embrace their loving Shepherd.
Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Spiritual Warrior's Guide to Defeating Jezebel. You can email Jennifer at email@example.com or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.