By Joe Torosian
“I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.”—Colossians 2:4
There’s a creepy business going on inside the church.
I’m not talking about moral failure. I’m not talking about sex, drugs, and rock ’n roll, and I’m not talking directly about poor theology.
The creepy business is hero worship.
Do you have someone in your life who adores someone in a position of authority so much so that if they said 2+2=5, your friend would say, “Amen!”
Do you have a person in your life where every opinion they have is run through the filter of what their object of edification has to say? So much so that their own ability to think and decide becomes lost?
You’d think amongst believers and the clergy, the only one worthy of our worship and devotion would be the one who hung on the cross, shed his blood and came out of the tomb.
But it’s not. As we drift away from Biblical authority and dive deeper into the blurry pool of faith, politics, and social relevance, we become susceptible to the very cool. The person with a platform (book deal/internet presence/speaking engagements) that has a talent for observation and communication. They look good and may have an accent or tone that resonates like candy to the ears.
Because of the standing and placement, we give them, our daily disposition (spiritually/emotionally) is easily affected by what they have to say. These people can be liberals, conservatives, Billy Grahams, or Popes, but when we’ve surrendered to them, intellectually, they have a disproportionate influence on our lives.
Their rhetoric, by design, is efforting to move you in thought and action. It can sound fresh or tiresome. It can be crisp and to the point or long-winded. And I guarantee, it will all be fine-sounding. So fine-sounding that we will be inspired to share and post on social media our feelings of outrage, pain, and self-righteous action.
Our heroes can be so fine-sounding that we will no longer measure them against the Scriptures or sound doctrine. (And sound doctrine must submit to Biblical authority.)
This is happening in the church and in church ministry these days. Movement is seldom inspired by the Holy Spirit but more by the thoughts and opinions of our heroes, and the viral threads they attach themselves to on social media.
Ninety-percent of the church still believes angels have wings. Hal Lindsey (despite being proven wrong the last 30 years) still gets speaking engagements. After twenty years of active indoctrination, the body of Christ is still peddling notions of salvation being achieved through the muck & mire, of what is termed but undefined, as Social Justice.
Why? Because the people we love, adore, exalt, and magnify have said so. And their voice and approval are all we need. And if you don’t agree with my approval of their authority on any given issue then you’re unloving, unkind, and, the irony of ironies, unbiblical.
The church, its people and leaders, are enslaving themselves, willfully, to these heroes because they tickle our ears.
They say the things we want to believe—because it’s easier than truth.
They provide cover for the things we want to do—because it’s better than submitting to God.
They offer us emotional accountability—because it is more comfortable than the tangible responsibility of obedience.
My motto for years, to anybody that would listen, is: trust no one.
You have to think for yourself, you have to seek the Holy Spirit, and before running wild with your feelings, …filter it through the Scriptures…Not your hero.
Most of you have heard of Rob Bell…I wouldn’t let Rob Bell within ten-feet of my pulpit these days…But many years ago he preached one of the most important messages I have ever heard.
I have good friends, I wouldn’t let in my pulpit. I’ve heard General Superintendents of the Nazarene Church I wouldn’t let in my pulpit. Because until I know them, I don’t trust them, and even when they gain my trust I will never put them in a position of spiritual or emotional influence/authority in my life–or in the lives of the people I’ve been called to shepherd.
And regarding trust, your trust should be expensive. Your trust should only be acquired after the thoughts and actions of a potential-hero (Aka: voice in your life.) have been thoroughly vetted rationally, spiritually, and weighed against the truth of the Scriptures.
It shouldn’t come easy, and neither should you.
Trust the Lord.
Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all available through Amazon.com.
FaithView: September 18, 2019