by Paul Benson
Worshiping Celebrity Christian Speakers
There is an aspect of modern Christianity which has in recent years grown to the point of becoming quite unattractive. I am referring to the rising trend of ‘celebrity worship’ among followers of Christ. Celebrity ministers being worshiped instead of Jesus Christ. Many of today’s most popular ministers are being treated (and acting) more like deity than humble servants of Christ.
There have always been men and women of God who have stood a head and shoulders above the crowd. People who have been used of God in a remarkable way, and have gained the respect and admiration of the masses. And who among us as a believer does not have any favorite(s)? I have mine, and I am sure you do too. But, considering the Bible’s warnings against idolatry, shouldn’t this be a concern to be carefully pondered?
Worshiping People Instead Of Jesus
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Colossians 2:18
It took me some years to realize the word ‘angel’ in the Bible does not always refer to the angels of Heaven, but also is used in the sense of a messenger. A preacher or teacher could also be properly referred to as an angel; and that is the correct understanding we should receive from this passage in Colossians. The warning here is about worshiping ministers (members of the Body of Christ) instead of Jesus (the Head of the Body). I get that now.
If I handed you a one hundred dollar bill would you bend down and start thanking and praising my hand; telling it what a wonderful hand it is? Would you go around telling everyone else about this great hand from which you received that money? Of course not; you would see the gift as being from me, and view my hand as just a member doing what it was told to do. You would not deem my hand worthy of any attention. (Do you lavish praise and admiration upon the UPS driver every time he comes to the door? Nah, he’s just doing his duty!)
Paul wrote: Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (1 Cor. 12:27) Why do we heap such praise and adoration on certain members of the body of Christ? Are they not just body parts who are (or at least should be) doing what the Head dictates? But I guess human beings have always had a fascination with body parts; and we would have to allow this plays a vital role in the procreation of the species. But there is a time when such enthrallment is appropriate, and a time when it absolutely is not.
This reminds me of an age-old scenario where some drooling fool is standing staring at a ladies chest area while she is speaking to him; and then in exasperation she finally blurts out, “Hey, I’m up here!” as she points to her head. I can almost picture Jesus saying something very similar, such as: “Why are you all ogling parts of my body instead of paying attention to me, the Head? Look up, I’m up here!” We should focus our attention on the gift giver not the means he uses to deliver the gift.
There is another aspect of concern shown in this Scripture text from Colossians; and that is the possibility of suffering a loss of reward for this idolatrous behavior. This loss could come in a number of ways, eternal as well as temporal, most of which we won’t get into at this time. But understand this, that many of today’s celebrity preachers have fine tuned the art of coercing folks out of their money with empty promises and tactics of deceitful manipulation. For many the loss of reward will be the result of misplaced giving.
Supporting Phony Ministers
Are you unwittingly supporting someone who is deceiving you into thinking they are on God’s A-Team? Paying someone to lie to you? Are you still believing the hoax that giving to them will bring God’s blessing and prosperity upon you? If you are, here is a good ‘memory verse’ for you to contemplate: …he that giveth to the rich shall surely come to want (Proverbs 22:16). When is the last time you heard that verse preached? Probably never.
Let’s stop ogling body parts and fix our gaze upon the Head, listening closely for his leading. And that leading will always be a reflection of his Word. If we really want to show our love and appreciation to Jesus let’s obey his instruction (Luke 12:33) to give to the poor. Then WE will be the ones on God’s A-Team!
Instead of ‘giving to get’, give to those who cannot recompense you; and these acts of love and selflessness will help draw those people to the Lord. If you are giving your praise and adoration (and money) to the celebrity ministers of this generation you are incurring loss not gain. Let’s build God’s Kingdom, and not the one of some huckster.
And let’s keep our focus on Jesus, and not the various parts of his Body, so he will never have to say to us, “HEY! I’M UP HERE!” Just some food for thought.