John Mark went to the Advance 2009 conference where the topic of hero worship of celebrity pastors came up. John Piper and Kevin DeYoung have some thoughts about “celebrity pastors” in our current environment. There is a very interesting and thin line between appreciating, learning from, admiring, seeking to imitate on the one hand and an improper adulation on the other hand.
We are very blessed to live in an age when you can sit down anytime anywhere and listen to your choice of some of the most talented communicators on the planet expound on God’s Word. I love it and I partake of it.
But, in this environment it is essential that every one of us cultivate our own relationship with the God of the universe first. Our priority has to be on learning what God has to teach us directly from His Word on our own with only the Holy Spirit to mediate the exchange. As partakers of the New Covenant, we are the beneficiaries of this wonderful reality:
….I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34
Jeff Mangum has just completed a two week look at the art of self-feeding. I am hoping that part two will be put up on iTunes today. What Jeff did was just go through a time of personal study to show everybody how easy it is and how productive it can be. It was just a very nuts and bolts look at how anyone from a sophisticated seminary graduate to a 12 year old boy and everybody else can REAP (Read the Bible, Examine it, Apply it and Pray for God’s help in following through with remembering the lesson and application).
It is absolutely critical that we engage directly with God through the Bible and learn from Him what He wants to teach us.
As a nice (and probably necessary as well, but that should be the subject of another post) supplement, there is a whole world wide web of other teaching and resources. I believe that we will have a better chance of keeping our perspective with regard to other human teachers in order to avoid hero worship if we first have learned for ourselves what God Himself seeks to teach us directly.