Singer Steve Green is known internationally for his gospel music. I had several tapes of his good music years ago. What he says at the beginning of this video clip below is what I found important today.
The landscape of evangelical Christianity is littered with man-made religious kingdoms everywhere you look. These self-anointed leaders and ministry entrepreneurs collect followers. Names become famous, because, as Steve says it so well, impressiveness works in the church. We admire talent, commitment, good works, big schemes, the Next Big Thing on radio or TV or online.
But in all the hero worship among Christians, we miss the essential point: There is only one hero in the Christian story, and it is not any of us. No, really, it’s not.
I’m watching a slug fest of epic proportions play out in the world of online “discernment” ministry and broadcasting. Jesus is nowhere to be found. Threats of lawsuits, claims of defamation, open letters and counter open letters are flying. The gauntlets are being thrown down, insults hurled and ugly names used, lines being drawn all over the place. Why? It’s about ego, territory, “brand protection”, and self, and it reeks of sulfur.
What is needed? Humility. Real Christian humility is the recognition that we daily sin much, as Luther put it. It’s understanding that we don’t any of us have a good record no matter how many radio shows we do or podcasts we load up or articles we write or conferences we hold and on and on. There is only one with the perfect track record, and without that track record covering our sorry one, we’re doomed.
That perfect track record belongs to Jesus Christ. We can engage in personal or public ministry with false humility (there’s plenty of that) and labor to build our little kingdoms, but that has nothing to do with the living Christ. The fruit of the true presence of our Lord is the profound recognition that we are nothing. He alone is all.