I guess I'd already said my piece. And more than that, I found myself regularly being misunderstood. (Most of my correspondents thought that I was attacking their hero, and so they defended that hero, not realizing that my problem is *not* with their hero, but with we who lift them up! In many ways, they proved my point, but it never helped the dialogue!)
But I'm going to post once more, because I've just now read an article by Carl Truman from Westminster Theological Seminary. The article has put shape and insight into the very issue that I have found most troubling in our Mega-Church, Personality-Driven World. (H/T Justin Taylor)
I finally feel like I have an ally.
Here is it: "The Day they Tried to Recruit Me" By Carl Trumen.
Please take time to read the whole article. Trueman says of the Professorial world --
The cult of professor worship is perhaps the most dangerous and reprehensible cult in the theological world. (...) It is no respecter of souls: nothing so destroys a Christian leader, or his followers, than the mutual flattery involved in the uncritical adulation of a fan-base for a professorial rock star (and I use that term advisedly). Hence, while every instinct in me told me that the offer was a great opportunity to start up Team Trueman on campus, I chose to go against my fallen desires and immediately declined the offer.But the bit that was most helpful to me is when Trueman made the point that the Rock Star Professor may 'negate the power of Christ' --
What is worse than this, of course, is that such people negate the power of the cross of Christ. Paul makes the point with ruthless effect in 1 Corinthians 1. To indulge in a cult of personality is not simply to miss the point of the cross; it is also to empty the cross of its power. That is why it is not simply incumbent upon students to guard against being sucked in to such idolatry. How much more is it incumbent upon the professors to avoid becoming the objects of such a cult? It is often said that you cannot enter into a pulpit and make yourself look like a great preacher and Christ look like a great savior at one and the same time. So it is in the classroom, on campus, at conferences: the professor, the theologian, cannot point to the power of the cross and simultaneously encourage a cult of personality. These things simply cannot stand together. Indeed, it is surely vital that the professor not only avoid creating such cults but also actively opposes them as they start to arise around him. To do less than this is, I fear, to empty the cross of its power and to lead others into idol worship.Hear hear.
I have said something similar here:
It's even further nuanced by this: that when we always link to our favorite preacher, and then download, talk about, love, follow, go to conferences to fawn over, get a photo with, compare to, rate, hire because of fame, join a mega-church on the gifts of a single personality, make a Facebook group to express your appreciation for your favorite pastor-teacher, then… it may just be possible, without even realizing it, to 'empty the cross of it power'! It’s all in 1 Corinthians 1-2. 1:17 in particular.I could write as I have done before 'Discuss'.
What does it, in this text, mean to 'empty the cross of its power?'
I’m very nervous about the fact that even the good guys are going down the same route, in principle, as the followers of bad televangelists of the ‘80s: running after their favorite preachers. We just do it in style, and with good theology.
But I'd prefer to ask: "Do you actually understand Truman's argument?" And if yes, then what do you think about it?
Here is the original post I put up on this issue:
No, I'm not a fan of John Piper.
And here are some others:
Yes, I am a fan of Selwyn Sexton (3 Posts).
Trading Card for Evangelicals.
Jonathon Edwards and Tacos.
And here are all 14 posts with the Tag:
Pic on Flickr by Noniphon.