Back in the 1980’s, many Christian people followed religiously , in an unhealthy, unbalanced manner, the teachings of Rev.Jack Hyles.
Hyles followers were a special breed, lining up after services to have their ties signed, (yes, you read that right) Bibles signed and to grab a quick photo with the celebrity preacher.
Not only did they follow his teachings, but pastors who admired him most dressed like him, imitated his preaching style and even imitated that “snorting”/post nasal thing he had going on.
They raised their families as Jack Hyles taught and blindly followed his lead. When he fell into sin, and it all became public, it left many followers floundering, devastated and disillusioned. They realized that he was actually…a sinful man.
Fast forward to 2011.
The children who grew up in these said Hyles followers/ strict fundamentalist homes now openly speak out against the teachings of these men. They laugh, snicker and make fun of these old fashioned “fundies” and their “cronies.” They despise the fundamentalist “good old boys” network and seek to expose them at every turn. They are their most vocal critics.
Instead, in their superior wisdom, they embrace in the same cult-like manner a new group of leaders. CJ Mahaney, John Piper, etc…
These men are the enlightened ones, they think. So they quote, tweet and post all that they possibly can by these men. Right down to “How CJ Mahaney thinks we should enjoy the Superbowl to the glory of God.” (Don’t believe me? Google “CJ Mahaney Superbowl” to see how many hits come up. I saw 14,000 hits. Very sad.)
Really? Do we need to know what he thinks even on the Superbowl?
So this weekend, when CJ Mahaney announced that he was stepping down from his position at Sovereign Life Ministries due to sin issues and serious charges against him, (including blackmail, pride issues, heavy handed authoritarian dealings, unwillingness to forgive another brother for 14? years in this 400 page wikileak) I began looking and waiting for the scathing blog posts from his followers who have been so quick to point out the failings of other conservative leaders with whom they disagreed with.
I wanted to see if they were as harsh on poor C.J. as they were on other leaders that they had blogged about. (The leaders that used all the wrong tactics, had all the wrong methods, motives and emphasis…in their humble opinion, of course.)
Things were strangely quiet.
I am sure they would not want to be accused of having a “double standard” –one way of treating those across the proverbial aisle and one way for their pew buddies. This would, indeed, be most intolerable.
I just sat back and waited to see how they would handle this.
Would C.J. get the bad press — the old “call a spade a spade” treatment –that they had doled out to the outdated, legalistic men? Or would that now be considered gossip?
Would C.J. get the “expose and destroy” treatment that the older generation got? Or would that now be considered uncharitable?
Would CJ be judged harshly, point by point? Or would that now be considered “lacking humility.”
There is nothing new under the sun.
I do not blame these men for their popularity. In many cases, they have sound, helpful information.
I blame their followers for following them in a cult like way. Luther called our hearts “idol factories.”
An idol can be any group, even a good group, that gives us a sense of security or belonging outside of Christ. Any group that we look to for help or guidance in greater proportions than we do Christ.
I am just sitting back and waiting. It will be interesting to see, will it not?
**Please note, I am not saying that I hope bad things are posted about CJM just because it has been done to so many others. Not at all. I hope it is not the case…not because I agree or disagree with him; but because as an outsider, I am accountable to God for judgments that are uncharitable or unjust.
I am hoping it will cause some soul searching. I hope lessons will be learned. Follow God. See if you quote scripture on your blog as much as the latest greatest author/pastor.
Instead, my hope is that this “shake up” in the SGM will help the current generation to think about their blogging/tweeting/reviewing mentality, and the way they so quickly pass judgement on an older generation.
Every generation has issues with a former generation. People change. Times change. Do we really need to waste our lives rehashing what we hated about former generations?
Are we really the judges of any ministry and its people that we are not involved in? Can we be fair and just in our judgments from the outside looking in?.
And just because I think something, does not mean that it should be said/tweeted/blogged about.
Pray for these situations. This does not look good for the gospel.
God uses imperfect people to lead imperfect ministries.
It’s not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or when the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worth cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. Theodore Roosevelt