Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Modern-Day Idolatery in the Church – Human Worship

Sphere: Related Content “At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev 19:10 NIV

“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" Rev 22:8-9 NIV

I have wondered what would make a man like Brother John to feel like bowing down to worship the Angel that was talking to him, revealing to him the mysteries of God and the things that would happen thereafter. Perhaps, like Mathew Henry puts it, he had “his thoughts at the present overpowered by the vehemency of his affections”. From Chapter 19 to Chapter 22, God began to reveal to him the coming glory – the Alleluia Choruses, the Millennial Rule, the judgement and final defeat of Satan and the New Heaven and New Earth. In a great contrast, in the previous chapters we saw the battles, the powerful manifestation of the Anti-Christ and his false prophets and the part the fallen church would play. Maybe, they informed “the involuntary impulse of adoring joy at so blessed a prospect”.

Unfortunately, when we look around us today, we see the same fallen nature manifesting among Christians today. John was lucky to have an Angel around him who rebuked him. But today, there is nobody to rebuke the other. One of the things the reformists condemned was the papists’ practice of the worship of the elements of bread and wine, angels and the invocation of saints. Regrettably, while they were invoking the dead saints to pray for them, today what we see are people invoking both the living and dead church leaders to pray for them and bless them. The same way John turned to the Angel who was revealing to him the mysteries of God to worship him, today people turn to church leaders that reveal God’s mysteries to them and demonstrate God’s power to worship them. We worship those who are in authority and fear them more than we fear God Almighty and they accept it so because it feeds the fallen nature. The caution the Angels exhibited is thrown to the winds. In so doing, we both destroy ourselves and destroy our leaders. The leaders also help in destroying themselves.

Now how do some leaders help in destroying themselves? When they arrogate powers to themselves and exercise them with impunity because nobody will dare ask them any questions. When they present themselves as the Messiah of their Church members and the ones that have the powers to both bless and curse. When in the same way that God exercises His sovereignty and does whatsoever pleases Him, they also do whatever pleases them because of the position they occupy. The major task of Spiritual leaders is to point men to Christ through their lives, as examples, and the teaching of the Word of God. But these ones point men to themselves. Why they deserve pity is that they are surrounded by sycophants who cannot tell them the truth, which they do not even want to hear anyway. Hence they will continue to be a distraction to God’s people and continue on this slippery road of deception.

There are leaders that we kill as followers. We elevate them to the place of a mini god and ascribe powers that only God can exercise to them and they are not vigilant enough to correct the followers at the onset. There are leaders in the Church we have made to believe that they are infallible and their words are laws. And because it feeds the flesh and makes it feel good, their heart are deceived that eternity will accord them the same privilege the day they will stand before God. A young man told me last week, “your prosperity lies in the hands of your pastor”. All my attempts to let him know that what he was saying and the mind-set he was carrying have no place in the New Covenant, proved abortive because that is a lie he has been taught to believe and he preaches it with great zeal.

I was at the Imo State Airport sometime ago to carry my director and incidentally, aboard the same flight with him was the wife of one of the General Overseers of one of the leading denominations in this country. A lot of her members came from Port Harcourt to welcome her there too. Suddenly, as she left the Arrival Lounge coming out, many of the members rushed to her and knelt down before her and she was touching them. They came with an entourage and still met us on our way back. They were running against the traffic, harassing other road users and demonstrating all kinds of impunity.

When we do all these things, there is a deception that works in our minds that makes us think that we deserve and should look forward to all of these. The same deception has made some Church leaders adopt lifestyles that are not different from what our politicians have and we feed these deceptions. Those who are in high places pursue and amass wealth, oftentimes at the expense of those under them while the junior ones dream of when they will have promotion and enter those privileged positions.

The major problem I have with this behaviour is that it does not add up when we look at the teachings of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels and the teachings of the Apostles in the Epistles. We use all kinds of modern reasons and languages to slide back to the exact things the Reformers fought against in the Dark Ages of the Church. We use, “Man of God”, “Servant of God”, “God’s General” “Lord Bishop” etc as if there are champions and privileged ones that are above God’s judgement. Some say it is giving respect to whom it is due, but the truth is that they worship the god they can see. Even some have gone to the extent of telling me that their ‘bishop’ is the god they see.

In the Scriptures we have above, the first Angel told John, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev 19:10 NIV and the second Angel equally told him, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" Rev 22:9 NIV

The principle should be, “I will not engage in this subtle human worship and no man will worship me”. May God help us to overcome the temptation of human worship. May we not boldly thread where angels are afraid to step on. May we not eat the food that angels were afraid and refused to eat. God bless you!
Share/Bookmark

No comments: