The Cult of Christian Personality
by Keith Giles
"For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." - 1 Cor 3:4-9
One thing that concerns me was I see this growing house church movement flourish is the celebrity effect.
When I first stepped into this there were a few books out there to help me get my bearings and for those books, and to those authors, I am grateful. Some of them even made themselves available to me and those who were local even took time to meet me for coffee.
Now I see us selling books on organic church that are topping best-seller lists, and our annual house church conferences are selling out early (better get your tickets now before they're all sold out), and our spokesmen and women are now becoming minor Christian Celebrities.
I suppose I fear that, if we're not very intentional about all of this, we risk becoming the thing we're raging against.
I was reminded of this when reading Lionel Wood's excellent interview with author and house church leader Jon Zens over on his blog this week. Zens urged those who are new to the movement to remain humble to not allow people to cluster around them.
If we really believe in this peer-led, leaderless concept of "being Church", and if we really are convinced that God's Spirit is active in each of us just the same, then I would love to see us model something different at the highest levels of our movement...something really unique and refreshingly inclusive.
Each of us can also check our own hearts and do our best to avoid hero worship and the fan-club mentality around our favorite author or speaker or blogger.
We would do well to heed our own advice, and the commands of Jesus when he instructed his disciples:
"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."- Matthew 23:8-12
If we put our hope and our faith in men, they will let us down. They are all as weak and as fickle as we are. None of us is righteous. No, not one.
Instead, let us place our hope and our eyes on Christ alone. Let us consider one another equals, and brothers, and let us not exalt one over the other in the Body of Christ.