16 Comments

My Son Phoned Today…


 My youngest son called me today to discuss a preaching video he had watched at youtube, which led to him asking a question:  Mom, who are our Christian leaders in America today?” 

And you know what, I had no answer. 

Who are they folks? 

Can you name…perhaps just one? 

16 comments on “My Son Phoned Today…

  1. Paul washer (I hope he still is)😉

  2. Well hopefully according to these verses we’d all say God, our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ Whon He sent and the Holy Spirit?

    And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:32 ESV)

    And

    how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (Hebrews 9:14 ESV)

    And all these that are manifesting the same fruit:

    Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. (Philippians 3:17 ESV)

    Has American Christian leaders abdicated their responsibilities ?

  3. Two guys around today who I have a lot of respect for their work are: Tim Keller and Stanley Hauerwas.

    Both are calling (in their own ways) to focus on Christ Jesus over and against conforming to an Americana.

    Though for me, I tend towards dead men.

  4. Well, there’s Benny, Kenny, Joel and Jimmy, then there’s Joycie, Paula, Wendy and Patricia, let’s not forget Peter C, Rick, Creflo and Toddy and of course Mark and ……

  5. I had a boss once that always said that to be a good leader you have to be a good follower. I’m sorry to say but what has been revealed to me over the course of time about virtually all of popular christian ministry in America is that they aren’t following Jesus Christ. They may believe in Him and preach Him and be used by Him but you can do all those things and still not follow Him, go His way and be His disciple.

    “If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. John 12:26

    This is the fruit of this kind of ministry, they don’t preach discipleship because they don’t practice discipleship because it isn’t conducive to popular ministry but Jesus Christ tells us different. You have to be my disciple, you have to follow Me, that is the great commission, make disciples. We still have many of the same so-called leaders now that we had 30+ years ago but some are finding out that these leaders weren’t following the Bible as closely as we thought they were. Hence, SHOCK, neither am I. Call it whatever you want, passing them by, leaving them behind or jumping ship. They have ceased to be the standard in my life anymore. Jesus Christ and His words are the standard in my life because it is that standard by which I will be judged.

    “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” John 12:48

    The truth is you can’t follow Christ, His doctrine, His example and arrive at where these famous christians are in the world. This is why discipleship is missing in their message, because it leads us a different way. They have compromised the gospel of God’s kingdom with the kingdom of this world. Their gospel is about getting you somewhere in this world. The true gospel is about getting you safely through this world into the world to come.To follow Jesus Christ will cost you this world, it will cost you your reputation and your good name, maybe even your family and/or your friends, maybe even your life but you can’t endorse and participate in what so many have come to accept as orthodox christianity because it is all about compromising with this world and Jesus Christ will not compromise His word for anyone.

    You can’t escape the issues of Jesus message of blessed are the poor, woe to you that are rich, not laying up treasure, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God, divorce and re-marriage as adultery, swearing oaths, purity in heart, peace not war, mercy exclusively, forgiveness required, practicing justice forbidden, loving enemies, overcoming evil with good, strict gate, narrow way, few that find it, taking up the cross, living sacrificially, living to give not living to get, on and on. His message doesn’t fit with what is popular and acceptable with the populous at large. No it won’t gain you this world or advancement in the so-called christian world but it will get you rejected in many places. Well guess what? He was despised and rejected of men. It’s not hard to see why.

    Are there christian leaders in America? Some yes, absolutely. Are they on television? No. And as I see it, they never were.

    “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” 2 Tim 2:2

  6. Hey Davo good job. Your comment is direct, simple and most importantly truth. I suppose the origin of lost Christianity may be when the church went corporate, found new Bibles less offensive and allowed man to interpret the Spirit of God. Hopefully you will continue to follow Christ Jesus and Him alone up that narrow path. And thankfully as you do you will see what true faith is and not what man says it is.
    As it is written: “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him!” Hebrews 11:6.

  7. God still has His witnesses, however they are probably local. But in these days it must be the Word of God through the ministry of the Spirit. Once we allow men to be our spiritual conduits we are set up for deception and disappointment.

  8. Good comments folks, thank you all!

    Sylvia i agree that Paul Washer is a true man of God and is an excellent teacher…and Cal, so is Tim Keller. (I’m not familiar with Stanley Hauerwas, but will check him out)

    I was thinking about the question of who are the real Christian leaders (in America) yesterday and like Henry, local came to mind. I have no doubt that there are still many who continue to hold to the truth and serve as faithful shepherds over the flocks entrusted to them by God.

    Something else came to mind too. That being that time will tell.

    If the Lord tarries for another 50-75 years, and we could see into the future, it would be interesting to see who those living then will, looking back to our day, consider true Church leaders. We today see the likes of Spurgeon, Finney, Muller, and many others, as great voices who spoke for the church in the past.

    Today though (and excluding the names mentioned…Washer, etc) the church seems to have many usurpers who allow themselves to be referred to as “leaders” in the church. These claim to speak for God “to” the church and speak out publicly as recognized “church leaders” when they are not.

    Question: have these usurpers stepped into a God-made void? A void in which there is a God-sent famine in the land?

  9. Carter Conlon-Times Square Church

  10. Question: have these usurpers stepped into a God-made void? A void in which there is a God-sent famine in the land?

    Good question PJ, and although things appear that way I think the prophet Amos (8:11) said it best: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of HEARING the words of the LORD!”

    Of course the key phrase here is a famine of HEARING the words of the LORD. The apostle John quoted Jesus Christ when He said in chapter 10, verse 27: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me!”
    Unfortunately, Jesus Christ also said in Matthew 7: 21-23: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity!”
    Because so few Christians actually prophesy, cast out devils and do many wonderful works I have to wonder how good my chances of actually getting into heaven are since I may have not done what Jesus said those who were cast out have done. Therefore PJ you have pointed out something that we all should consider; do we actually hear the words of the LORD?

    I also agree with you PJ that usurpers may be responsible for the this famine of hearing God’s Word but I also have to admit that there is more to the problem than many of us are willing to look at simply because these usurpers cannot exist without the support of their followers. But it is a good starting point to recognize that our churches have lost their way when they decided to stand between Jesus Christ and the congregation as a Shepherd rather than a servant.
    Paul said in Philippians 2: 5-8: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a SERVANT, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross!”

    When I went to church I had a desire to become a servant of the LORD because on that day called judgment the only words I want to hear are: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23) But I realized that I couldn’t be a good servant if I had a hard time hearing God’s Word and I found that there were two reasons why things were so difficult: one, because the modern church has gone corporate the focus of its leadership enforced the idea that serving the church was serving God. And two, because the church is dependent upon financial consideration the body of Christ was allowed to be a Christian and still be a part of the world to keep the numbers flowing.

    Colossians 3:2-3 says: “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God!” Therefore, I understood my responsibility was to be willing to SUBMIT to Christ in all things. It did not mean to sell everything and live on the streets even though I would have if told by God to do so. But hearing God was still difficult because the church still maintained that God desires to please you and that one should enjoy and appreciate the things God has given you.

    Unfortunately we were encouraged by the church to seek those things that are the traditional American dream which is not a bad thing so long as you keep Christ first. Keeping Christ first meant going to church, supporting it and believe all that you are taught by the anointed. This was my second mistake, believing that certain men are anointed because they are recognized by man to be so (1 Corinthians 1:21). But eventually I learned to trust what it says in 1 John 2:27: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him!”

    So I learned that to SUBMIT to Jesus Christ meant seeking His correction in my heart and to follow the example of Abel who offered the perfect sacrifice of a Lamb he had given his whole heart and soul to make ready. Apparently Cain’s offering was not acceptable because he did not provide a full heart into his sacrifice. Like many Christians, we seem to only give what we think we have to preserving those things we desire.

    As a result, I then learned that I could not hear the words of the LORD unless I walked with God as Enoch did. To walk with God was not possible unless I was willing to love God. When you love someone that person becomes your first consideration and a true desire to please. Pleasing God meant having love for others something I could not truly do unless and until God put that in my heart. Feigned love is the enemy of truth and the instrument by which too many usurpers survive.

    Finally, once I submitted myself completely to God, sought His correction, teaching and love I learned to walk with Him all day, every day. The more I walked the easier it became to actually spend the whole day with Him and as the days passed by I found that I could understand the difference between His voice and that of my heart.

    Jesus Christ said in John 10:27 that He knows us and that can only happen if we are willing to walk with Him and if He knows us he shall teach us how to FOLLOW HIM. Therefore, to be a true servant of God requires complete submission, a desire to walk with Him and the faith to please Him. Faith is not just a belief. It is a action word by which we live. Hebrews 11: 6 says: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him!”

    Sadly, I have known too many Christians whom are victims of a watered down and ineffective faith that denies one the opportunity to truly follow Jesus Christ because the modern church and its leaders do not know Christ well enough to teach their own how to be servants of God. Henry is right when he says that many of the true churches are local but some are of no avail if their congregation does not know how God desires each of them to serve Him.
    Ultimately, being a servant of God is an individual choice that accepts the individual plan God has ordained for each individual. Therefore, my question is this: if one cannot fully and completely walk with God now, why in the world would that person want to spend eternity in heaven?

    • Thanks Dave 2….

      Amos 8 did come to mind yesterday, as well as a verse in Micah 3,

      Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them.

      I was reading Clarke’s commentary on the verse you quoted from Amos,

      A famine in the land – The most grievous of all famines, a famine of the words of Jehovah; a time in which no prophet should appear, no spiritual counsellor, no faithful reprover, none any longer who would point out the way of salvation, or would assure them of the mercy of God on their repentance and return to him. This is the severest of God’s judgments…

      While here in America we may not yet be seeing “no spiritual counsellor” or “faithful reprover”, its true we are seeing less and less.

      Clarke called this lack the “severest of God’s judgments”. Its frightening isn’t it?!

  11. I wonder if the original question, “Who are today’s leaders?” reveals something a bit amiss in our modern american thinking? And I think pj’s question about the void is a very good question!

    Some thoughts coming to my mind:

    Who is the servant of all? He is the one who is the greatest among us, said Jesus. Unlikely to be one in the limelight.

    Jesus told Peter to “FEED My sheep,” not, “lead My sheep.” Trivial? Maybe, but maybe there’s something there. The emphasis in our western capitalist culture has been all wrong; to operate church like a corporation rather than the organism it is. Who is the leader among “branches” if we are all branches on the one Vine? Jesus through the Holy Spirit poured out, leads His flock; we as a community body follow Him, the various ministries among us ministering to one another. Man-ministry has been the bane of modern church. People get converted to church or to a person, but are they actually converted to Christ Himself? Too much actual clergy/laity distinction even in streams that doctrinally denounce it.

    Now surely we can well ask, “Who is feeding the flock with good things from the Lord, rather than with wax fruit, junk-food, and poison?”

    Only eunichs, who have no desire of their own, can be trusted to tend to the Bride. Too often, men appear to be trying to flirt with or date or seduce the Bride by creating their own “brand” of “church” to sell to her and books and CD’s and prayers and revelations. They are decorating her with their own trinkety adornments like a trophy wife, instead of honoring the seal of her betrothal to Christ. Maybe Jesus wants His church back, His bride to Himself. Maybe He will entrust Her only to His eunichs, who have cut off the flesh and its ambitions to serve Her for His sake.

    I say we need role-models and examples more than “leaders.” Now don’t misunderstand me that I’m denying that their is authority in the church or that I’m anarchich. But authority is not the same as “leading” in the sense that it is understood and practiced today.

    What does it mean that after the Red Sea deliverance, that the Lord wanted ALL Israel to come to the mountain of His Presence, but that they were too afraid and shrank back and sent Moses to go for them while they each stood in their own doorways? “Just come back and tell us what the Lord says,” they said to Moses. Seems that was not God’s original perfect will. Now that we each have the Holy Spirit in the new and better covenant, should we do like the Israelites at Siniai? Spiritual laziness to look for a “leader” to go to God for us and tell us what God wants us to do?

    I wonder if it’s a symptom of the perverted age we live in that their is pressure for individuals to be corporate identifiable “leaders” or “spokesmen” for “the Church.” That’s not the nature of a many-membered body under One Head Jesus, but it reflects a wordly model. –just submitting my ruminations about this out loud— please don’t rip me to shreds–maybe I’m way off

    I wonder if revivalists in the past, some mentioned above, spoke more TO the Church rather than FOR the Church. Jesus speaks THROUGH the Church to the world and to the powers and principalities. So we each should be equipped by the “ministers” to speak “for” Jesus and the church being His Body on earth now, in our individual lives all the time.

    Humbly submitted,
    Victoria

    • I say we need role-models and examples more than “leaders.”

      Amen Victoria! That is an excellent observation.

      I am reminded of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand’s testimony concerning the underground church and suffering,

      Free parishioners look at their watch; “Already he has preached for thirty minutes. Will he never finish?” When arrested, watches are taken away from you; you have the parishioners with you the whole week and can preach to them from morning to night! They have no choice. There have never been, in the history of the Romanian or the Russian Church, so many conversions brought about as there have been in prison. So do not fear prison. Look upon it as just a new assignment given by God.

      Men can accept this. But what about the terrible tortures which are inflicted on prisoners? What will we do about these tortures? Will we be able to bear them? If I do not bear them, I put in prison another fifty or sixty men whom I know because that is what the oppressors wish from me, to betray those around me. Hence comes the great need for preparation for suffering, which must start now. It is too difficult to prepare yourself for it when you are already in prison….

      As we peel an onion in preparation for its use, so God must “peel” from us what are mere words, sensations of our enjoyments in religion, in order to arrive at the reality of our faith. Jesus has told us “that whosoever will follow” Him will have to “take up their cross,” and He, Himself, showed how heavy this cross can be. We have to be prepared for this.

      We have to make the preparation now before we are imprisoned. In prison you lose everything. You are undressed and given a prisoner’s suit. No more nice furniture, nice carpets or nice curtains. You do not have a wife or husband any more and you do not have your children. You do not have your library…..

      (complete testimony can be read here)

      You may be wondering what this has to do with not only your comment but this topic and i’ll tell you: it stresses the truth folks…the truth that we may have to accept that the day may come when no leaders can be looked to for direction or anything else. And if we’re not prepared to be in a “Jesus and (only) me” situation now then we need to prepare ourselves now. We don’t necessarily have to be as pastor Wurmbrand found himself, locked up in prison for the sake of Christ to find ourselves forced to relying 100% on Christ, it may be a situation where we find ourselves without spiritual leadership and/or guidance.

    • Amen Victoria love the comment. And PJ amen as well. If we don’t prepare while it is still daylight then when the darkness comes it shall consume us.

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