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Christianity: A Personality Cult? April 11, 2010

Posted by Henry in Denominations.
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In Christendom today it seems as though many people have somewhat “outgrown” the local church and instead flock to churches and leaders whose messages they think they identify with more. It would seem that the message in the local church is no longer “adequate” to meet the needs of these congregants hence they seek leaders whose messages would appear to be more relevant to where they are currently at and points to where they want to be – moving to the “next level” and all that jazz. Preaching “Christ crucified” has become a bore so they want a more vibrant and exciting message that speaks to their personal situation and circumstances. In this age it is all about which minister do you follow and whose teaching do you “apply” to your life and circumstances. Christ seemingly has left center stage, or rather pushed aside and it is the minister that is now hogging the limelight. It is the minister who is now saying, “I am the anointed one.” Interestingly enough though, this is nothing new to the church as Paul had to deal with similar issues in his day and we see this in 1 Cor 3:3-7:

 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? 5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

 We see in this portion of scripture that church people were divided amongst themselves saying I am a follower of Paul, and others say they were followers of Apollos yet Paul’s response was that neither he nor Apollos were anything. In so doing Paul decreased himself so that Jesus might increase. What a wonderful testimony of a true follower of Christ? We could also learn a lot from John the Baptist’s attitude also as in a similar vein to Paul. He testified of Jesus in John 1 saying: 27 “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” What a blessing it is to have such humility? When the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus replied (Matt 18:3-4), “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In stark contrast to what Jesus has said here though the greatest in the kingdom are perceived to be the “movers and shakers” in Christendom today. It is these men and women who are regarded as “great men and women of God” and they are elevated to godlike status. In this regard the celebrity obsessed culture in our world today is no different from that displayed in “churchianity”.

 Most Christian conferences today, like the IGOC (International Gathering of Champions), for example, is little more than an ostentatious display of pomp and circumstance and instead of the people coming to “meet with Christ” they come to see these would be gladiators of Christendom. The net effect of this is that a Christ-centered Gospel has thus become replaced by idolatry. Indeed one proof of this is that it has become popular for church ministries to be named after the pastor who is the president or CEO. But imagine Paul in his day setting himself up as Chief Apostle over Apostle Paul’s Ministries Inc.? From a personal point of view I do not want to be a member of any man’s ministry but rather a member of the First Church of Jesus Christ.

 In the words of John:

 He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)

 May we extricate ourselves from this personality cult that seeks to replace true Christianity and return to the truth of God’s word.