Saturday, March 14, 2009

Right On Carl

What follows is from an article by Carl Trueman, a seminary professor in Philadelphia. I think he hits the nail right on the head with the way many "want the gods to do their thinking for them." The cult of personality is strong . . . even in the church of the Lord Jesus.

And, of course, as in politics, so in religion. The American political process, as I argued above, is simply the most dramatic example of the `great man theory of history' which pervades American society. I had often wondered why certain British figures - Jim Packer, N.T. Wright, Alister McGrath etc., were much bigger this side of the Atlantic than back home in their native country. Was it just the accent? Surely it couldn't be the dentistry.....? Maybe the dress sense? No. It is all to do with the way America is a personality/celebrity oriented culture in a way that Britain, while she may well be catching up, has historically not been. The American church reflects the culture: ministries built around individuals, around big shots, churches that focus on god-like guru figures, all of them pointing to one door. I have lost count of the conversations I have had with church people anxious to tell of who they heard at this conference, of which person they corresponded with, of how this opinion or that opinion would not sit well with this demi-god and is therefore of little value; and, of course, of how anyone who disagrees with, or criticizes, this chosen hero must, of necessity be morally depraved and wicked. People want the gods to do their thinking for them. All of the Pelagian, Manichean celebrity malarkey of the American political process is alive and well in the church as well. The question is: when it comes to churches and ministries built around messiahs who are supposed to point not to themselves but to the true door, who is going to have the guts to leave the temple?


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