We should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— (Ephesians 4:14-15 NKJV)
Be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do. (James 1:6-8 NLT)
One of the things that makes me quiver is when I see Christians have an unhealthy dedication to extra curricular ministries outside of local church participation, many of which have questionable reputations. These Christians have dedicated themselves to these ministries, which in reality is usually a single person with a charismatic personality.
I was fixing a machine the other day at work and noticed that we were binding the Jimmy Swaggart Devotional. It made me realize that people are still dedicated to following him.
I was always taught, as I was raised in the woods, to be careful of any creatures that can hurt me. I was taught not to mess with them needlessly. The Bible teaches cleary in 1 Timothy chapter 3, that leaders (that goes for whether they have actual authority over us or not, if we subject ourselves to their teachings) are to be above reproach and have a good reputation both inside and outside the church. This has nothing to do with foregiveness…of course we are to forgive and restore them to fellowship if they repent. It has to do with forfeiture of their right to teach over us. It does not matter how dynamic of a teacher they are. There are multitudes of dynamic teachers in the world that aren’t even Christians.
You wonder sometimes if Christians sometimes put these charasmatic preachers above their relationship with Jesus itself. When they do, they are in danger of being tossed out of the boat at any time. When I was an elder in a church I attended in Pennsylvania back in the early 1980’s, I saw members who were devout followers of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. When both of these men fell, these members had their faith shipwrecked. This would not of occurred if Jesus had been their sole loyalty, rather than it being divided.
It’s not just these charasmatic preachers and teachers that have risen because of their use of different media and technological tools. It is also in the churches themselves that have placed their leaders on pedestals and kept them in too high of a regard. It is sometimes forgotten that they are just as human as us.
Who do you look up to in the faith more than anyone else? If they were to fall, how would this affect your faith? The answer should be: IT SHOULDN’T. Instead you would drop to your knees in prayer crying out in their behalf that they would be picked back up again in the faith.
In conclusion, the moral of the story is to strap yourself to Jesus. To Him and Him alone! And don’t let yourself be tossed about!