Posts Tagged ‘Bill Gaither’

Hee_Haw_21

“The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.” Luke 12:2

This is a significant departure for me when or as it relates to prophecy and revelation as it concerns issues within the church, but this has been in my spirit since the vision came several days ago to which I will reveal now. Understand, I do not deal with issues for the most part with subjects like music (although I have in the past), I typically only deal with issues that relate directly to the church as a whole as it relates to the last days. However, a few nights ago the Lord gave me a dream which was so shocking, so disturbing that at first I thought it had to be the enemy, but as I began to test the spirit, I understood more that the Lord himself was showing me something that he was about to do. It was only because of the images that I saw, the perversion, the lewdness, the blatant sins which stood in occurred in front of me that I at first thought how is this possible that God would show me this? But then it hit me, that sin and perversion has no barriers, and is moving throughout Christian circles. This is the night vision I was given.

I stood in a large auditorium that was filled with people numbering well into the hundreds, maybe a little over 1,000 in attendance. It was obvious that the majority were associated with Christian music, and it was obvious to me that this was a southern gospel event as many well known people and singing groups were shown on the stage. The dream changed rather quickly, as I stood near the end of the stage next to the curtain that seemed to open before me in that I would be able to see the following occur. I saw a young woman come up onto the stage, she was an attractive girl and very sensual in dress, and acted like a prostitute in her behavior. I watched as she began to dance in front of the men on stage, well known gospel singers, as the crowd in the audience did not seem to be moved at all by what was happening. The young woman began to undress herself and then proceeded to have sex with several of the high profile men on stage. I wanted to look away, but something in my spirit said “Don’t turn away, look!” and I watched as more sexual perversion began to occur with others on stage. What stunned me more, besides the individuals who participated in this perversion, was the level of applause coming from the audience itself, seemingly encouraging the orgy that was happening before me. Then as it it did before, the curtain closed and the dream ended.

I believe the Lord was showing me that there is significant sin and perversion within this industry and that eventually all will be revealed. But even more so, there is a level of wickedness that is beginning to seduce and even change the very nature of the music of Southern Gospel itself to be more a reflection of the changing times, and less to do with the foundation from which it came. Ecumenical movements, liberal, progressive Christianity and the desire for money and fame are all changing many aspects of those who utilize these types of platforms, and they are doing so at the cost of their souls.

Please understand, I live in China, I have very little access to what’s going on in many circles due to my work within this Communist nation. Yet when God reveals certain things to me, I take them serious as a message as well as a word of warning that things will be shaken in these last days as we move further into the period of time which Christ warned us about. However, let it be known that God will reveal, expose what he sees as a threat to his people, and if people do not repent, then his only option is to show the entire world what needs to be shown. This is why I used an image such as Hee Haw, Hee Haw was a provocative television show in the late 1960’s-1980 that was set in the south which featured large breasted women, sexual enticements, off color humor and to hook Christians, southern gospel music as a lure to seduce believers. Hee Haw is an example of the world infiltrating the church, much to what is happening today. That is what God was showing me, the world and its influence is changing everything when it comes to traditional Christian principles.

These are the last days just before Christ returns, and it’s beginning to show how far we are straying from the truth, and subscribing to the false in this last hour.

From my desk in China,

Christopher

email:christopher152@gmail.com

website: http://www.chinamissions.org

new-church
There is a particular scene from the movie “Fiddler on the Roof” where Tevye, the father of five daughters, fights a changing world around him in his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family’s lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith – and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village. Which causes Tevye to raise his hands in one last appeal to God by shouting, “TRADITION!”.
Yet today, like Tevye, there are Christians holding onto the last aspects of their tradition, but in doing so, they have become so narrowly and earthly minded, that they become no earthly good when reaching the lost. I have seen believers get bent out of shape because churches might change the methods not rooted and grounded in tradition, be it baptism, communion or even sticking to the red letter bible. The point is, the times do in fact change, societies change, ideas change, and what might have worked 100, 50 or even 10 years ago, simply will not work today. I grew up in a traditional, Pentecostal upbringing that had direct connection to Pentecostal revivals in the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee in the early part of the 20th century. I saw those changes beginning to form by the time I was starting in my early teens in the late 1970’s, by the beginning of 1980, the aspects of the old time Pentecostal movement had drastically changed, forever changing the way we see church.
 
Now, someone is upset because a church had a Dunkin Donuts baptism (I’m still trying to grasp that one). Another is upset a pastor rode a Harley Davidson into the church, while others are fuming over Randy Travis singing for the Lord for John Hagee. It’s all about one segment of the body of Christ (traditionalists) seeing the world around them change, while another group (modernists) begin to rise. And let me state for the record that I’m not that fond of every method used in church. However, if we would stop and trace our church history, one would see that even 100 years ago, the church in America was arguing over things which in general were a challenge to the status quo, and it can be seen through of all things – grape juice.
 
Ever since the early church was founded, the church used fermented wine in communion. This was tradition. By the time America was founded, and the church took a more political role in the founding of this nation (its first mistake), the church saw something it no longer wanted to be apart of, using alcohol in communion settings. By the 1800s, America was going thru the temperance movement, whereby the use of alcohol in any form was considered sinful, but what was the church to do? After all, the church in Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world at that particular time used wine (and still does to this day) for communion. But American conservatism, emboldened by the religious political movement of the time, sparked a furor and the church preached against it. Yet what would they do instead? Enter one man – Dr. Thomas B. Welch (dentist) to solve the problem, as well, allowed the Methodist movement that was gaining significant clout in American influence to solve the problem. In 1869, he perfected a juice pasteurization process in his kitchen and began selling “Dr. Welch’s Unfermented Wine” to churches preferring an alcohol-free substitute for Communion. By the early part of 1870s, the Temperance movement had reached its height and churches began to adopt Welch’s grape juice instead of wine. It had nothing to do with scripture, but tradition.
 
When people were introduced to the red letter bible, (the words of Jesus printed in red) they took to it almost immediately, thinking that this was truly the mark of Gods Holy word. Yet they never realized that it was less about the Holy book, but a marketing gimmick to sell bibles which were different than mainstream bibles at the time. Yet Americans were quick to latch onto it, and thus creating a traditional mindset of ‘Red letter only’ scripture.
 
Even water baptism could not escape traditionalists when the baptismal pool began to make its way into many American churches in place of the long held traditional view of being baptized in a creek the way Jesus did it. Many traditionalists, even some to this very day, consider baptismal pools as against the traditional method used since the founding of the early church. The point is, things change, people change, ideas change and yes, cultures change. Yet there must be a balance in that change which does not compromise the gospel to such a degree that the message is so far removed from the truth that it no longer holds any ability to challenge the hearer, and instead becomes watered down by tolerance and relevancy. God’s word remains the same, but sometimes a method can change which will deal with the sinner in a more appropriate way.
 
Keep in mind, Jesus used analogies when he taught the people, which was literally unheard of at the time. Most prophets were preachers, voicing the power of God, compelling men everywhere to repent. Yet Jesus used a tactic which was confounding to many, he used stories as a way to reach the people. One could almost say that Jesus was the first story-teller of the bible. Yet he did so with the intent of using a new way of reaching the lost, yet never relenting its message to a point of ridicule. We can do the same.
 
I live in China, and as such, I can tell you from experience that 85% of what I did in American churches would not, nor has not worked in China today. Why? Because cultures across the world are NOT the same. Every message must be carefully crafted in such a way that it can reach the hearer, even if that method seems offbeat in our own mind and rationale’. The fact is, God gives us direction and guidance, and not every method will be the same across the board, because things change, people change. But the one thing that will never change is the gospel when it’s presented in such a way that will bring an instant response. For that is the nature of the gospel, and why we must not be so hard headed for our love of tradition, but understanding that to reach some people, different ways must be used by different means. Such is the way we reach all mean, by being open minded.
 
“Therefore, since we have this ministry through the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful ways. We do not practice deceit, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by open proclamation of the truth, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake For God, who said “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
From my desk in China,
Christopher
Contact me: christopher152@gmail.com

mel-gibson

 

There is an account in the book of Galatians (Chapter 2: 11-14) where Paul publicly admonished Peter because he was removing himself from the message of grace and going back into law. So much so was Peter’s error that it almost divided the church to such a degree, that had Paul not traveled to Antioch at this most crucial time in the early churches history, the damage caused by one man could have set the church back years, even decades, if not generations. Even Barnabas was caught up in Peter’s theological mess. All because one man’s (Peter) error in judgment. How sad that now we are beginning to see something similar taking shape within the modern church, and like Peter, it has to do with bad theology, which, if not corrected, will cause untold spiritual harm to the current church world.

Paul makes it clear in his letter that at no time should we lay hands on anyone suddenly, as well, Paul makes it equally clear that we should ‘know’ those who labor among us. This should be the rule for all pastors or evangelists when dealing with someone who might not be either in the faith, or a recent convert. Which brings me to my thoughts on Greg Laurie allowing Mel Gibson the stage to discuss Hollywood films.

I am confused, even puzzled at this recent decision which would allow someone who has a public record of bad life choices be allowed a platform on a gospel stage to influence countless lives by someone who for the most part, has never shown one sample of good fruit of being born again (John 15:1-8). Yet Laurie not only welcomed Gibson on stage, he even supported and endorsed his latest movie (one by the way which glorified a Seventh Day Adventist). Truth is, (and this must be clearly understood) Pastor Laurie’s decision to bring the Hollywood star on stage before many in his crusade was his right, after all, it’s his ministry. Yet, the issue though is the message it sends to the church, not that Greg Laurie had the right to do so, but that his actions were one which if anything, lends confusion to others who might not fully understand the spiritual dilemma certain actions might bring. If Mel Gibson has not been truly saved, born again in Christ, and is simply doing a public relations photo op for the recently announced The Passion 2 – The Resurrection, then his presence at a evangelistic event where the gospel will be preached is one which was pure flesh, and worse, another example of how far the church is departing from the truth these days.

More and more these days I’m seeing ministries enticing, even joining up with secular people (actors, pop stars, musicians, politicians, athletes) all in a feeble attempt to garner relevance with the world, much less the church. Yet what is getting left out in this admiration for popular sinners these days is salt – in this case salt which would bring about conviction and not friendship. Jesus made it very clear in Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.” (emphasis mine)

Notice what Jesus said? If the salt (the essence of the Holy Spirit and with power) is gone, either by lukewarmness or worse – blatant compromise with the world, then no longer are you able to bring the gospel to the lost, but worse, you will find yourself being cast out because of that very act of compromising the gospel for relevance. This is why the word says that friendship with the world…”You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.“( James 4:4)

But that is the state of the modern church today, accepting anything (or anyone) these days who desires to seek an audience to either influence the body of Christ, or gain from it, in this case the gain is money. Yet I suspect that in Greg Laurie’s case, his intention was…well..to be honest, I don’t know what his intentions were. Either way, only Greg knows why he has chosen to reject sound, biblical doctrine of not entangling himself with the world, and instead, allowing not only his people, but many a believer to be swayed by someone who has never shown to this day any fruit of being born again. That is the problem with the modern church as I see it. Being infatuated by Hollywood “saints” instead of calling the sinners to repent. All of this is yet another example of what’s occurring within the church today – compromise, for the sake of relevancy. Yet the only thing which is being compromised is the word, and when the church loses it saltiness, then we truly will have no ability, or stomach, to deal with the true darkness which is rising up around us, because we’re too busy sipping beers with the world’s famous players, while losing the game. God help us.

Christopher

From my desk in China.

Email me at: christopher152@gmail.com

 

amusement

“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:3)

I like amusement parks. Actually, I love amusement parks in general. I love the atmosphere of a place where I can let my guard down in an environment where the moment I walk into a particular park, knowing that whatever problems I might have been facing in the “real” world, is lost temporarily in a make believe world, even if for just a few short hours.

In the United States alone, there are approximately more than 400 amusement parks situated across the country. From parks in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida and California (and many more in other States), amusement parks can be found in almost every part of America. Yet they are also money machines. In 2011, theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks generated a total direct economic impact of approximately $55.4 billion. Nearly 30,000 attractions (theme and amusement parks, attractions, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, and resorts) produced a total nationwide economic impact of $219 billion in 2011.(source)

All in all, amusement parks are an economic cash cow. This is why Europe and even China is getting in on the amusement park ride, because they generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In 2017, China will have 20 theme parks (not including the new Disneyland in Shanghai) across the nation, all funneling hard earned money back to the Communist party. In essence, Capitalism via entertainment sells, and it sells well.

So with all of the money being made from amusement parks, and other family entertainment, is it any wonder why that now the church is getting involved in the business of thrill rides and fantasy? From the Holy Land experience in Florida, owned and operated by Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), to the latest Christian enterprise called Ark Encounters, where Ken Ham has built a life size replica of Noah’s ark at the cost of over 100 million dollars. This does not include 91 million in the first phase of work that was done several years ago, nor does it include several million in junk bonds that were sold to investors, nor does it include the millions in State revenue tax incentives the non-profit foundation (which is the same group who owns the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky) will receive from the State of Kentucky, nor does it include the estimated billion dollars in annual profits from the estimated 2.2 million visitors in the first year through ticket sales. In total, this venture, like The Holy Land experience in Florida, will generate billions from Christians looking for another attraction, another flesh fix, another amusement for their already candy flavored gospel they so like to enjoy. But what of the spiritual cost?

There is no question that could be conceived today by someone desiring to understand exactly where we as a church are heading, which would garner an answer to satisfy their curiosity other than what is going on with the Western church? Specifically, the American Christian society. Yet here we are, in the 21st century, and still the Western church is struggling once again to find its path that it has sadly departed from – the Great Commission. Startling facts though reveal something more that is trending which should make us all take account of what’s happening in the modern church; Donations to world missions are down to less than 2% in overall giving, the number of missionaries per country is equally lower today than what it was in the 1950’s, which saw one of the largest growths in missionaries being sent, and now the Southern Baptists have announced a 15% cut in foreign missionaries, as well as support beginning 2016 – 2017. This means that less than 4,000 missionaries will be supported world-wide. This means that over 300-500 missionaries will have to either return home, or find another source of financial support. This means that once again, we are seeing what happens when the church trades biblical evangelism for modernism in the form of entertainment, hence “amusement parks”. (source)

The modern church today has an identity problem, it cannot understand who it is anymore. Is it the church which preaches the cross? Or is it the relative church which relies on entertainment and modernism to relay its overall message? Is it the salt and light of the remnant church? Or has it become one which has lost its savor? Either way, what we are seeing right now in these monstrosities known as Christian “theme” parks, are in essence more about who the church is today, and less of who it use to be. The simple truth is, the church has traded substance and truth for wealth and popularity.

There is a crisis in the church today. A crisis of faith, a crisis of identity, a crisis of truth, and unless we begin to once again reject these attempts to merchandise, and ultimately betray who we are in Christ, I fear that the only thing relative for the American church will be a church not of power, or salt and light, but of weakness, lukewarm and powerless because of our gluttony over the sensuality of our world rather than the humility the cross would bring to the church. In other words, the American church has sold itself for money, fun and the desire to be entertained.

How many missionaries could have been sent worldwide from the revenue these parks will and have generated over time? How many bibles could have (but won’t) been placed across the globe, into areas where there is little bibles to show who God is? How many mouths could have been fed (but wasn’t), or backs covered (but wasn’t) all because of the church desiring yet another gluttonous meal of fleshly entertainment? There will be a lot to answer for at the judgment, and many will question why they wasted so precious time building things which in the end had no true bearing on the gospel itself, but wasted every dollar that could have been used (but wasn’t) on world evangelism. Such is the state of the American church.

From my desk in China,

Christopher

Email me at: christopher152@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

together 2016

When influential Christian leaders and popular figures such as Hillsong United, Lecrae, Ravi Zacharias among others, begin to shift their tone toward false doctrines and teachings, it sends a signal we’ve reached a point where scriptural ignorance has reached new lows in the modern church today. Such is the case of the upcoming ecumenical love-fest called “Together 2016”, in which and estimated 1 million people are planning to come together, Christians, Catholic’s and Mormons, among other faiths, all bent on laying aside doctrine, even sound doctrine, in the hopes of celebrating Christ. This is nothing more than the spirit of Antichrist at work, and the players involved are either willfully planning our spiritual demise, or they are just that stupid.

Either way, it saddens me to see so many so called “leaders” within the modern church today succumb to the spirit of compromise. But then again, that’s what the spirit of antichrist does, it blinds and seduces, till all who would listen to its dangerous lullaby finds itself asleep, like Samson in the lap of Delilah, only until they wake up and find the anointing gone, they realize but all too late just how deadly the melody was to their spiritual well being. But such is always the case with sleeping with the enemy.

Together 2016’s motto is, “Imagine if one million people put aside their differences and gathered together on one day, around one man: Jesus.” My response is simple: I’ll be damned if I ever join hands with the Roman Catholic church. Ephesians 5:11 sets our directive, and I don’t care if Frances Chan, Jeremy Camp, Kirk Franklin or any other liberal progressive Christian SELL OUT likes it or not. (list of whose attending) I blame this whole evangelical mess of embracing the Roman Catholic church on past leaders such as Billy Graham and TBN founder Paul Crouch for what they did – sell out the movement to embrace Rome for relevancy.

Friend, Rome is not our friend, it is our enemy, it’s a system bent on elevating Mary over Christ, works over grace, and the established church over the body. Say what you will, but I’m right on this, and to those who would try to force me and any other preacher to bow and kiss the ring of the Pope, as so many have done, will be a cold day in hell before that ever happens, and it speaks volumes to their error than my political incorrectness. I hope their 30 pieces of silver they are getting from Rome was worth it. For it will cost us all down the road. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11) “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)


From my desk in China,

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com

 

TBN

 

“But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:15

Nothing grieves the Lord more than how his people treat one another, specifically, when his people slander one another, or mistreat each other, or gossip toward those whom have done nothing wrong. Yet more and more it seems, I continue to see a trend among the body where groups of people (Christians) not only bite one another, but routinely devour one another, all for the sake of self righteousness. This cannot be. This can be readily seen in the recent deaths of those servants who have died in the faith.

When Jan Crouch, co-founder of TBN passed away, the news sent shock waves throughout the body of Christ, saddened by the loss of one of their own, many were words of comfort to the family of Paul and Jan Crouch, yet something else began to spread, and that something was pure hatred. For at the moment that news spread of Jan Crouch’s death, the internet, in social media avenues such as Facebook and Twitter, were filled with vile and venomous hatred at the passing of someone who had been faithful to the calling God had instilled upon her and her husband to spread the gospel across the world. A spirit of maliciousness had reared its ugly head, and once again it was clear to all that the body of Christ is more fractured today than it ever was.

Yet this is the current spiritual state of the modern church of believers today, where we bite and devour anyone who is different than us, has a different calling than us, or has been used by God more than us. No longer do we offer a kind word to another servant, but criticism, envy, jealousy and resentment shape and form our words when we speak of someone within the church. Even when we might disagree on spiritual matters such as doctrine or methods, there is no genuine sign of love toward our brother or sister in Christ, and even in death, nothing comes more to this truth than the current slate of comments and statements over the death of a servant than one who, as flawed a vessel as they might be, is subject to such scorn. Yet it’s not just the dead in Christ who see such animosity, but the living as well.

It seems to some that if one does not abide by their particular idea of how ministry should be conducted, the immediate response is public ridicule and scorn. Yet we see this more and more by many who declare that what another believer is doing is not in line with their theology, and thus, is open to public rebuke, or worse, questions their salvation altogether. Think this is limited to our time and day now? Think again. Jesus had to deal with this even in his day.

In Luke chapter 9, we see something occur that Jesus had to quickly deal with and stop, the seeds of jealousy beginning to be planted in the hearts of several of his own disciples. An argument had begun within the group of 12 over who would be greatest among them, they had taken to heart (wrongly) the notion that they would reign and rule with Christ in heaven. They did not understand at that particular time what Jesus was referring to, as his kingdom was a kingdom of all men and women who would rule and reign with the Lord. Yet these same men who walked with the Lord, ate with the Lord, heard the words of Jesus, these same men called to be his disciples, began to position themselves as to who would be the greater of them and over them. No doubt this caused feelings of animosity and hurt among the twelve, as many were vying for power. Jesus would have none of it. This is why the Lord quickly saw what was going on within their hearts and minds, and began to teach them that the kingdom of God must be understood in the concept of the mind of a child. Humility, love and innocence were the attributes of a follower of Christ, not political maneuvering.

Still, this would not be the last Jesus would have to once again deal with bickering and backbiting (devouring) among his faithful 12. (Matthew 20:21) Yet 2,000 years later, the church is more divided, more resentful, more envious of others than ever before, and how we treat one another is exactly how we will be judged when we stand before God. Understand, it’s one thing to challenge false doctrines and/or those who might teach error, it’s quite another thing altogether to cast away those whom are in Christ for the sake of conformity. Yet more and more, many are biting and devouring others simply out of spite, jealousy and/or greed, and even to be right. This is wrong.

Paul outlined in 1 Corinthians 13 the characteristics of the fruit of the spirit, which is LOVE. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have no charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (verse 1) If we have no love for one another, then can we truly say we belong to him who loves us? The word says otherwise. The word makes it clear that if we do not love our brother or sister, then we are not his at all, for how can we love God and follow Christ if we do not show that same love toward our own? Biting and devouring others might make our flesh and ego full and content, but it by no means is a type of fruit of the spirit, but in reality, it is a sign one has strayed from the cross. If we cannot love one another, following in the steps of Christ, then we cannot love the sinner who needs Christ. For if we are not capable of loving those who are his, how can we love those who are without him? We can’t.

I remind us all of the words of Paul in this matter of love, “Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; Love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up. Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails: but whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” (verses 4-10)

 

Let us begin to love one another, not bite and devour one another, for then by this doing, shall the world know in whom we belong.

 

From my desk in China,

Christopher

christopher152@gmail.com

fatalbert-cosby

“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)
Part of the problem with a society, especially one which has been conditioned by popular culture found in sports, music, but most of all mediums – television, is that it conditions people into a world of make-believe. They begin to accept and embrace the character that is being portrayed by the actor, and the results devastating for many when the truth is finally revealed. We see this in the lives of those whom society praises for their performance, but the truth is, especially in the world of television, it’s ONLY a performance. This is the powerful medium of sitcom television.
So what happens when people learn that a lovable tv star whom they have invited into their living rooms week after week, month after month turns out to be anything BUT what they portrayed as their celebrated character? The people become upset, even betrayed. But the truth is, many find out eventually that the person they have idol worshiped was just as human as they were, this presents another problem, what happens when that individual who is placed on such a platform is shown to have attributes of a monster?
Yet we see this being played out right now in our society by a loved tv “dad” to millions, but also to children as well. Even I can remember when Bill Cosby echoed out his familiar “HEY-HEY-HEY!” back in the early 70’s with his Saturday morning cartoon/educational persona as the overweight, but moral guided Fat Albert. But Cosby would go on to greater fame and influence with his alter ego Dr. Cliff Huxtable, a lovable doctor/father figure who would be known for his comical antics, playful admonishments, and relentless teasing humor. The television show, “The Cosby Show” would go on to network fame for NBC during the 80’s, placing Bill Cosby into our society as America’s “dad”. But when knowledge of personal behaviors, episodes of drug use, and worst of all, allegations of rape surfaced, not by one, but many women of all nationalities, it became clear to all that once again, America’s persistent people worship would leave many with heavy hearts.
Yet the list of fallen stars who gained the nations trust, not to mention their wallets, is long as it is thorough. Names, which over the years were fondly spoken of, only to be stained by the mud they wallowed in, prove that this is the result of worship – human worship, that God tells us to avoid. The reason is simple, when God is removed as the object of our faith, glory and worship, then something – anything, must fill that void, such is the case of millions who follow after talents of men, be they a politician, actor, athlete or even a preacher, the results always end up the same – hurt.

In the city of Lystra there was a certain man who had no strength in his lower extremities, having been a cripple from the time he was born, he had never walked.

This man heard Paul preaching. Paul watched him, and seeing that he had faith to be healed, told him loudly, “Stand up on your feet immediately!” And, immediately he lept to his feet and walked. When the citizens of Lystra saw the miracle performed by Paul, they cried out in Lycaonian,
“The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” They thought Barnabas was Zeus (or Jupiter – the chief god of Greek and Roman mythology), and Paul was Hermes (or Mercury – the messenger of the gods of Greek and Roman mythology) because he spoke more than
Barnabas.

The priest of the god Zeus brought oxen and garlands to the gates of the city from the temple of Zeus, to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas along with the crowd. When Paul and Barnabas realized what they were doing, they ran into the crowd tearing their clothes (in the manner of Mid-eastern mourning) and shouting. Why are you doing this?

There was nothing special about Barnabas and Paul that would place them on an equality with God to accept worship and sacrifice, they too were mere men, equal in the sight of God with all those in the crowd. Their message to those in Lystra was to turn away from doing things like this, no longer offering sacrifices to false gods or to men. The idols and gods which they worshiped were dead stone and incapable of doing anything, in contrast with the living God who has made the sky, the land, the water and all that are in all three. Sod had not, in the past, said anything to the Gentiles, but now he has sent his message to all men. That is the message which Paul and Barnabas were preaching to them. (Acts 14:8-20)
Even in the world of the church, we can see men being glorified to the level of worship, even praise, which should have went to God (as it’s reserved for him alone) being shown upon men. The results, like that of the secular world remain the same, when these men are shown to have feet of clay, the results are the same across the board – people are devastated. The reason is because we have become a society of man worship, be it celebrities or preachers, the worship of man is an abomination to God. It is an affront to all that is holy to the Lord.
Have you ever wondered why the early church never truly had this problem of man idolization? It’s mainly because the church always knew that God was the foundation of the church, and that its leaders were just that – men. But because of the instant influence of television, especially in the church world, we have made images made of flesh and bone into something greater than ourselves, much like the persona presented on television, these individuals have become something like saints to the non-catholic church. Peter had this encounter with Cornelius, who upon meeting Peter at the door, fell down to his feet and began to worship him. Peter immediately stopped and corrected him by saying, “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” (Acts 10:25-26)
The only thing we are required to do as it relates to other believers who hold a calling from the Lord is to give them honor and nothing more, “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (Romans 13:7)
True, the world will always find another source to worship, just as we see with Bill Cosby, his measure of fame is now ruined by his personal demons as a result of SIN, for someone else will come along to fill that void, and it’s only because they themselves cannot fill that void they so desperately seek, which can only be found in Jesus Christ. Yet the church must understand that the men and women they are putting up for all to worship is idolatry to the Lord, they are, as Peter said to Cornelius – men. They are flesh and blood. Yet by lifting these people up to such a level, not only harms the church, but the entire focus of our purpose, which is drawing men to Christ.
When idols of men fall, everyone suffers, and the reason is because of misplaced worship. When we look at another brother or sister in the faith, regardless of how much praise they have among others, or how many seats they can fill in a stadium, we must understand that if we place these individuals upon a platform of worship, the end result will always be failure, both on the person being glorified, and the Christian who follows them. It’s because we have left the purpose of the cross, where our only hope, our only salvation, our only desire should always be Christ centered and nothing more.
Let us remember the word as it comes to glorying in men, “Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.” (1 Samuel 12:21)
The world will always find an idol, because they do not know the cross. Yet for the church to gain idols is because we have left the cross for something else. The solution must always be a returning to Christ and what he did on the cross, only then will we finally see an end (at least within the church) when idols fall.
Christopher
christopher152@gmail.com