I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Acts. 20:29
Since Paul said so I am sure that this happened. Not animals but wolf-like men. After the disciples and Paul died, the church was attacked, and from within. There is kind of an aura about the early church, as if they were all-wise and pure. Not so.
So why did the wolves not come in while Paul was yet with them? Because Paul could refute those who would attack and pollute the church. But when he was gone then the wolves began to attack.
Since I believe what Paul said did happen, I have a question. When did the wolves leave? Or did they leave? Paul and others said nothing about the wolves leaving. Could they be with us yet today?
A theologian once said, "The church is like Noah's ark. You couldn't stand the smell inside, if it wasn't for the storm outside." The church reeks with corruption and error. Solve one false practice or doctrine and another appears.
It is obvious that the Devil has not retired. Neither have his men. You could almost define church history as a succession of errors through the ages.
Yet good people strive. To many, the church struggle is the only game in town.
In the Book of Revelation, first three chapters, Jesus speaks to seven churches. Many see these not only as seven churches in Asia at the time, but seven church ages, ending in Laodicea. The seven messages, except in a few cases, are not just praise for a job well done. Rather, these messages are filled with rebukes and warnings.
So what is a poor Christian to do? Are there any churches that have got it right? I know that there are individuals that have had and do follow sound doctrine. Many are not at all famous.
A short cut is this. As fascinating and instructive as reading the words of men can be, shouldn't we follow the Maker's manual?
There are good mechanics and bad mechanics, so we had best check the manual. The same is true for whatever church we are in. This is not so great a task as it would seem. I could suggest the last letters Paul wrote. I and II Timothy as a great place to begin.