Saturday, November 11, 2006

To expand on my previous blog...

This comment is not about Ted Haggard per Se', but about the responses I have heard from the Christian community. The most common one I hear is "This is a good reminder that we should not be placing our hopes or faith in any person, but in God".

I don't disagree with that, but what I am not hearing is the suggestion that perhaps we should be saying that a little louder before the fall rather than sighing about it after.

We want celebrities and heroes to worship. The same drive that pushes people to read People magazine exists within the people of God. We have the same drives, but I think God expects us to resist rather than go with the flow.

Ministries love to have a celebrity figure. Do you believe some of the national ministries would fare as well as they do financially if they did not have that core personality at the head? Many of these ministries structure their entire foundation on getting people to put their hope and faith in that person.... oh, and on God too, of course.

The simple truth is, it would not benefit most ministries to downplay their core personalities (even if that were to mean elevating Christ). Western Capitalism and Darwinism have permeated our ministries. Encouraging people to follow a personality increases the ministry wealth and power base. Ministries rise and fall based on how well they are marketed. John the Baptist said, "He must increase, and I must decrease." I believe the unsaid maxim in many ministries has become, "He will increase as I increase!"

I think we need to go back to the scriptures. Paul repeatedly warned against this kind of behavior. He even got a little sarcastic about it and chastised the Corinthian church for getting all excited about those "Super-Apostles". He admonished them "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." He later in the letter told them not to elevate him either and concluded "So then, no more boasting about men!"

One last reason I think we build up men goes back to the Old Testament. God wanted to talk to the Israelites, but they wanted Moses to go talk in their place. It is in our history to want someone else to take the lead, the responsibility, the risk. God so wants us. He wants us to want him. But we always want to settle for a simulacrum or proxy.

We can have so much more! Hebrews 10 says "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith".

God wants you! You can go directly before him! No prophet, pastor, priest... or celebrity... required!

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