Sunday, 12 July 2009

Protestant Psychophants

8 "But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. 9And do not call anyone on earth 'father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called 'teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.(Matthew 23 TNIV)

In the Kingdom of God, of which the church is the earthly manifestation, there are only three ranks; God, Christ and then the people of God. Sure, the risen Christ, when he ascended gave gifts to his people, like apostles, prophets, etc. Nevertheless, these gifts were given as offices, not ranks. They were never meant to be ends in themselves as much as sign-posts to the risen Christ.

Modern examples, where this kingdom ethic is turned on its head are not difficult to spot. For instance, take the blaspheming despot that sits in Rome, lording it over the masses and receiving honour that belongs to Christ alone. A clearer breach of Matthew 23 you will not find. Nevertheless, those of us in Protestantism can't afford to be smug. We have our own, less obvious, but equally odious kinds of veneration.

What about the psychophant in all of us that readily drools over titles? We just love dudes with Phd's don't we? "Today we have Doctor So and So preaching", whereas last weeks non-Phd endued preacher was just introduced as "Bob Smith".

Or what about the fawning over ministers by attaching the prefix "Pastor"? "Ooh, Pastor Vance is just soooo anointed." "Pastor la Vista will now bring us God's word". I'm sick of smooth talking Pastors.

I hardly need mention our celebrity culture. Oooh Pastor Piper. Oooh Dr Carson. "Pastor X has the fastest growing church in the least churched city. He's so like, funny and like awesome blah blah blah."

If we are to be truly courageous Protestants who live and breathe Scripture, let's crucify our fallen instinct to attach Popish titles to those whom we love and respect. Let's set apart Christ in our hearts and in our words as the One who deserves honour, rank and blessing.

1 comment:

Wout said...

Very true, especially interesting after I have just finished watching this little video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQ34Nl-XZRQ&feature=channel_page

There have obviously been great Christians throughout history, but only because of how God used them to glorify himself.