Fans and Fruit-Throwers

I am so tired of our tendency as Christians to exalt pastors and preachers on the one hand and criticize them on the other. I don't like either one. I think both are not only a waste of time, but a shame. A pox on the house of God.

I'm willing to make an exception for you if you actually came to faith in Christ through the ministry of, say, Joel Osteen or Mark Driscoll or Beth Moore or whomever. In that case, honor and follow that person as your spiritual parent, which is Biblical (1 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4; also 1 Corinthians 4:16, 11:1, and Philippians 3:17). But it irks me how easily we become "fans" of such people, succumbing to the celebrity worship that is so common in our culture. (Full disclosure coming: I once had a detractor ream me out because he thought I was trying to be like another pastor and make my church like that guy's church...and then--honest to goodness--without skipping a beat told me we really ought to do just like Mark Driscoll, of Mars Hill in Seattle! I kid you not).

It irks me more, though, to hear fellow pastors in books and the blogosphere criticizing this preacher or that, their theology or their way of doing ministry, and so on. I'm sick of it. As Paul said in Philippians 1:18, "So what? All I care about is that Christ is being proclaimed, whether poorly or well, from mixed motives or pure. And that makes me happy!" (Bob's Revised Version).

Hey, there are some preachers I LOVE to listen to, like Rob Bell and Erwin McManus. They pastor me long-distance, mostly through the earbuds on my iPhone. I occasionally tune in to T. D. Jakes on television. There are some I can't bear to watch (Joel Osteen: Man, I love you, but your incessant blinking is gonna throw me into a seizure some day!). And others have an approach or personality that's just not my cup of tea. But life is too short and my mission is too demanding to worry about who's right and who's wrong, whose theology is proper and whose isn't, and so on and so forth. Give it a rest, my peeps! All I care about is that Christ is being proclaimed, one way or another, and that's a good thing. So if you want me to become a Facebook "fan" of someone in ministry, no thanks (I don't respond to all that stuff anyway). And if you ever catch me critiquing a fellow pastor or preacher or teacher in words stronger than "not my cup of tea," call me on it, okay?

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