Exalting the Pastor Is Idolatry and Idols Fall
Lifting up man over Chtist
There is a popular Christian hymn entitled Lift Him Up. The second verse begins with "Don't exalt the preacher, don't exalt the pew. Lift the Savior up for all to see." In many churches today, what is considered honoring the pastor is actually lifting up the preacher and the pew over Christ. I have been in congregations where everyone stands when the pastor walks in. I have listened far too many times as the speaker of the hour spent more time talking about honoring the shepherd and taking care of the building than they did about pleasing Jesus and leading lost souls to the knowledge of His saving grace. The Bible gives numerous scriptures which indicate that Christ alone is to be glorified, Everyone else, no matter the title is to be His humble servant. Romans 1:1 New Living Translation says:
This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. The good news is that Christ provides a way to be reconciled to His Father. IT IS NOT about any human being.
Hear Ye Him
Matthew chapter 17, King James Bible tells us:
1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.
4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
Peter wanted to honor all three men equally, but scripture says the Father in heaven made it clear that One was above the others. He announced to Peter James and John that it was Christ who they should focus on. Moses and Elijah were great men but they took a back seat to the Savior and so should pastors.
Acts chapter 12 verses 21-23 reveals the following:
21 And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them.
22 And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.
23 And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
The king allowed the people's idolatry and died instantly, in front of those who were worshipping him. He allowed them to treat him as if he were a god and did not correct thsi error, so he paid for it with his life. Many pastors today spend enormous amounts of time in pulpits and on Facebook telling anyone who will listen how important it is to love and support your spiritual leader and pray for them. I have bot found one scripture that validates that those who are commissioned to spread the Gospel of Christ are supposed to heap praises upon themselves and others in their profession.
Honor is to be given and not demanded
Romans 13:7-9 KJV tells us:
"Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. Owe no man any".
Honor should be given and not demanded, but in many cases, pastors demand it for their colleagues. I cannot count the number of funerals I have attended where the preachers in attendance were asked to stand or come to the front of the building. The eulogist would then say something about how all of these preachers in the building are a testament to the deceased or his or her family. This gives a false impression that the presence of the ministers is more important than the other mourners. It spotlights the servant rather than the Lord.
I have attended church services where the congregants were commanded to stand as the pastor entered the sanctuary. I recall a pastor whose every anniversary service was done by a preacher who told the congregants how much money to give. He would ask for all who can give a thousand dollars, then ask for $500 and keep going until he said to empty the change out of your pockets. This is demanding honor rather than individuals giving it as they choose. It opposes 2 Corinthians 9:7 which says to give as you have purposed in your own heart and not out of compulsion. Demanding that people stand and asking for specific sums of money does not leave room for parishioners to think for themselves.
I remember a pastor who always came into the building after everyone was seated. He was followed by an entourage of two or three bodyguards. He would shake a few hands as he walked to the pulpit and he looked more like a politician than a humble servant of the Lord. This type of entrance put the focus and spotlight on the man as if he were a celebrity.
Exalt Christ alone
If you have a pastor who is an humble servant then yes, you should love and pray for him or her. If the Lord leads you should give as you have purposed in your heart. What too many Christians today do however confuse the preachers with God Himself. This is because in certain denominations people are browbeaten with scriptures that are misquoted to make them think that the pastor is their gateway to their Heavenly father.
Consider Philippians 2:9-11 King James Version (KJV)
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus the Christ alone is to be exalted. He alone is the one who stands between man and God.
1 Timothy 2:5 King James Version (KJV)
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Pastors are supposed to lead people to Christ and not themselves. The pulpit should be utilized to tell those in attendance how wonderful Jesus is and not teach them how to please a man or woman.
The bottom line is this: If a preacher is really anointed, appointed and called by God Almighty and someone, does mistreat them in some way, is not the Creator of the universe able to defend his servant? If a pastor, prophet, evangelist, teacher or apostle really is all that and a bag of chips, he or she does not have to spend enormous amounts of time, week in and week out telling it to church folk. It does not have to be posted on Facebook and neither is there a need to call in your preacher friends to sing your praises. Spend your time lifting up the Name of Christ and allow Him to deal with your enemies.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Cheryl E Preston