Christian Leadership Idolatry
Readers of the Bible know that Christians are to call no one their leader because they have one Leader who is Christ (Mt 23:10). There is one Lord, even one Spirit who leads each believer and the church universal (Ps 143:10).
With the burgeoning industry of church leadership development, by leadership gurus, one wonders where these peddlers of Christian leadership development came from? On the one hand the answer is, “not the Bible,” and on the other hand, “it has to be the world.”
Still, Christians seem to be mesmerized with leadership. One church leadership guru boasts in himself that he is, “trusted by over 3,000 pastors and leaders.” The Bible is clear, “It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in man (Ps 118:8).”
Any man (or woman) who claims to be a leader in Christ’s church is selling himself as an idol. Instead of pointing people to our one Leader, the Lord Jesus Christ, these false shepherds are gathering God’s people to themselves and the empires they desire for themselves.
Gathering followers is a charismatic gift of the world. World leaders have smooth speech to entice the allegiance of followers. Leaders in the world wield power over others; and they invite others to invest their money in the leader’s scheme to change the world.
World leaders almost guarantee their followers “success,” in repayment for their followers’ investment and allegiance. “Church leaders” who adopt the ways of the world are interested in the very same things: money, power, and sex. A survey of any denomination will reveal that no one is safe from these predatory people who dub themselves “leaders.”
To listen to “Christian leaders,” today, their message is a psychology of self-help that only includes Christ Jesus if He can help you to “unleash the Moses” or “awaken the David” within. Christians, for the most part are oblivious to the charlatan enterprise of Christian leadership. Because Christians are more familiar with government or corporation hierarchies, they presume the church is structured the same way as the world organizations they work for or serve with their taxes.
The fruit of “church leadership” is perversions of various kinds. The sexual abuse epidemic by Roman Catholic priests and evangelical youth pastors is one way sheep subject themselves to wolves in “church leadership.”
Leaders are leaders for the dollar’s sake, too. In the world, the CEO of General Motors gets the $25 million year end bonus, while thousands are sacked from their jobs, so the company can move manufacturing to cheap labor countries. In the church, “leaders” market their own “secrets to more successful Christian living” techniques, and soon the mega church has a Christian leader headhunting firm in the mix, to lure the rising leadership star to one of their many campuses. They call these people “Game Changers.” That’s what Christianity is to them…a game.
“Church leaders” market their leadership success secrets to gullible pastors, “How to preach relevant sermons to the unborn,” or some other gimmick is commonplace. If you think I am being facetious, I encourage you to visit a Christian bookstore, and consider the voluminous “how to” titles. Hopefully, you can actually find the books behind all the Christian paraphernalia for sale. “Jesus is my co-pilot” coffee mugs will surely be bestsellers again this year.
The old adage that “the American church is a mile wide and an inch deep” is certainly on the verge of over-exaggeration in both measurements, today. There is evidence everywhere. Are you ready for this year’s Christmas carnival at the local Christian entertainment and events center (formerly known as the local church)?
Christian, the Bible commands believers to forsake idolatry. You must destroy your heart affections for cotton candy “talks” (formerly known as sermons), by charlatan “communicators” (formerly known as pastors).
Christ Jesus is the sole icon of God (Col 1:15), and He alone is worthy of our allegiance, nay, our worship. He alone has followers, nay, disciples. He alone is our Leader. He is the Word of God (Jn 1:1), who is the Word of truth (Rom 10:17; 2 Tim 2:15). His church needs nothing more than Him, and He is revealed where the Holy Spirit is preaching and teaching the Bible through the faithful man of God (1 Cor 2:2, 4; 2 Tim 4:2).
The man of God is not a leader. He is a slave of Christ (Eph 6:6), entrusted with the stewardship of ministering God’s Word and the sacraments (1 Cor 9). His singular task is to proclaim Christ for the purpose of feeding, protecting, even disciplining God’s people. You will know him by His love for the Bible, which is a demonstration of his love for the flock of God, the church (1 Pet 5:1–5).
The message, the servant of the Word preaches, centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ, exclusively. Christ is our all in all, and this leaves the gibberish about becoming a “leader of church leaders” to the leadership idolaters.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 21, 2022