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Exalting the Pastor Is Idolatry and Idols Fall

Updated on September 2, 2019
Cheryl E Preston profile image

Chery enjoys exposing the works of darkness and leading Christians to put the focus back on Christ.

Idols fall
Idols fall | Source

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.

Humble servant
Humble servant | Source

Idols fall

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.



Only Christ saves
Only Christ saves | Source

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.

Don't exalt preacher or pew.
Don't exalt preacher or pew. | Source

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

Comments

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    • Cheryl E Preston profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheryl E Preston 

      6 months ago from Roanoke

      Yes I agree with you all there are multiple gods in the church and people don't realize it.

    • Cheryl E Preston profile imageAUTHOR

      Cheryl E Preston 

      6 months ago from Roanoke

      Thank you for your comments. I wish more people thought like you. Very refreshing.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      7 months ago from The Caribbean

      Relevant warning. I agree that there needs to be much more humility in some pulpits.

    • celafoe profile image

      charlie 

      7 months ago from From Kingdom of God living on Planet earth in between the oceans

      actually if you are baptized in the Holy Spirit of God and follow it you will understand there is no such thing a a separate clergy in this the age of Christ. There is also no such thing as a place "church building" where one goes to meet God. The real disciples of Christ, the Lord and acting God of this age, Jesus Christ makes it clear that HIS church is made of living stones, people that are filed with His Holy Spirit and follow it. Jesus says we are to GO and take the Spirit of God to ALL nations. Peter declares that the true people of God are those that follow Christ alone and are a royal priesthood and a Holy nation. Scripture also states that a disciple of Christ has no need of a man to teach him, that is why the Holy Spirit was sent to us, to teach us all thingsP

      Jesus did away with all of the previous age at the cross and installed a whole new way of man and God communication on the day of pentecost

    • Jason Capp profile image

      Jason Reid Capp 

      7 months ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I personally believe there are multiple idols within the church right now, and you strongly touched up on one of them.

      Pastors/Preachers really are seen as superheroes of the faith, so it is easy for people young in their walks to begin idolizing and following them. It is the same problem Paul ran into with the Corinthians, whom he addressed in 1 Corinthians 3:4 as being too worldly in their desire to be follows of Paul or Apollos.

      Another major idol is the church building itself and has been for ages. Catholics and Orthodox, especially, decorate the exterior and interior of the building with so much stuff that the place seemingly becomes more precious than Jesus himself. It is amazing how much money goes into glamming up a church as opposed to repairing it.

      Finally, and one of the biggest idols in my opinion, is the Bible itself. Many modern day Christians have turned the Bible into this object of reverence. I remember an encounter with an older Christian who scolded me for laying my Bible down under the passenger's seat of his car. He told me, "That is God's word! You should never let it touch the ground!" Since then, I have seen way too many examples of Christians exalting the book more than they do God or Jesus, and it just blows my mind that they are not aware of what is clearly idolatry.

      This was a really great article, though! Thank you for taking the time to write it, research for it, and sharing it with us. Have a great day!

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