Monday, July 23, 2018

Celebrity Pastors and Power

Many churches unfortunately have not relied on the power of God to advance the Gospel. In ages past, the “power” of the sword was a favorite tool. Today, many "celebrity or aspiring-to-be-celebrity" pastors borrow secular power models, tips and techniques of motivational gurus or popular fads of performance and entertainment to try to grow a church and make a name for themselves. No one today would invite the apostle Paul to speak at a leadership summit. Our culture celebrates the strong,the dynamic, the persuasive, and the successful, so we’d struggle to listen to an unimpressive, weak, suffering man. The Lord delights to work in our weakness and to make pastors shepherds who unconditionally, sacrificially love their flocks, deny themselves,and reject pride, fame and applause. Living in light of the good of the gospel is about "basin and towel" ministry. We'll either live in and love the City of Man or the City of God, as Augustine put it. We'll either seek power from above or from below:

“Two loves have made two cities. Love of self, even to the point of contempt for God, made the earthly city, and love of God, even to the point of contempt for self, made the heavenly city. Thus the former glories in itself, and the latter glories in the Lord. The former seeks its glory from men, but the latter finds its highest glory in God. . . . In the former the lust for domination dominates both its princes and the nations that it subjugates; in the latter both leaders and followers serve one another in love. . . . The former loves its own strength, displayed in its men of power; the latter says to its God, I love you, O LORD, my strength [Psalm 18:1].” — Saint Augustine