It's pretty easy to spot idolatry today. Our flesh is drawn to worship, whether it is a rock star, a movie star, or an amulet that you believe will bring you some kind of luck, we all have that desire to look to something to worship, to adore, to be uplifted by....but when it comes to idolizing a pastor or Bible teacher, such idolatry is much harder to spot. I'll confess that I am in that same boat. My desire is to find "that pastor" or "that teacher" that will bring the truth so sweetly and wonderfully that I won't need to go anywhere else for clear teaching.I can just go to Pastor Knowsperfectdoctrine for correct teaching every time. Is there such a pastor?
There's a pastor I really enjoy listening to that is almost that for me. This pastor has just the right balance; giving lots of scripture verses to just the right amount of doctrinally sound exposition, and he is humble, and gracious, and refreshing (not boring) with anecdotal stories at just the right places in his sermon to keep your interest in what he is talking about. Then he stated something that caught my ear. He said "I hate it when some pastors give their opinions while giving a sermon. I NEVER give my opinion, and you will be hard-pressed to know my opinion on most anything because I never give it." REALLY?? Actually I was listening to lots of his opinion up to that point in his sermon on what the passages he was reading in the Bible meant to him. Never mind that I do agree with most of his stated opinions, but they were still opinions. Everything that was said by him that came after the Bible readings were his stated opinions. I still enjoy his sermons, don't get me wrong, I just wanted to make the point that it would be wrong of me to simply believe every word this man (he is a human being after all) says simply because I agree with it and want to believe it.
It is so easy to point out the bad teachings out there, and the ones giving the bad teachings. Every day I see pastors like John MacArthur pointing to the Benny Hinns and T.D. Jakes and Rick Joyners, and shout "False!! False!!" and yet there is a falseness in themselves that they need to be sensitive to and be kept humble by the truth of it, and also beware that the disciples that they have made are not following after themselves but only following after Jesus.
A recent situation with a fellow blogger made me extremely sensitive to the reality of such idolatry. How easy it is for her to point to someone like Beth Moore (I can't stand Beth Moore either btw) and the following someone like Beth has, and whose following won't tolerate anyone pointing out Beth's errors to them...and yet people like this blogger hold in too high respect some of her own favorite teachers and preachers that are also human beings who can be prone to error.
Something Jacob Prasch has said (and I do not agree with him on everything either) about the coming antichrist; the number one objective will be to deceive Christians. The devil doesn't need to fool nonChristians, he's already got them. His hatred is against the Church and against the Jews, God's elect. Pastor Prasch made an observation that I thought an important one. He stated that the book/letter of 1 John points out that the antichrists in the world come from amongst us. He also shared from scripture that Judas Iscariot, who is a type of antichrist, was so close to Jesus, so religious and pious, so "correct" in his beliefs that he even had all the other apostles bamboozled. Judas wasn't a "name it and claim it" type of imposter who was so way out there in left field in his crazy religion that most anyone with a half a brain would be able to see his falseness. No, instead Judas was an angel (messenger) of darkness disguised as an angel (messenger) of light. He had his stuff seemingly together. The only one who wasn't fooled was Jesus.
In Matthew chapter 24 Jesus' first admonition is to "take heed that no man deceive you", and the ones that are most crafty at deceiving are those who seem to have the most correct doctrine, selling lots of books and tapes, able to point out the many deceivers OUT THERE, while they themselves are so crafty at deception that perhaps they even deceive themselves with their self-righteousness.
Let us TAKE HEED that we worship only Jesus, not a man, not even a very "good" pastor. When someone said to Jesus "Good Rabbi...." Jesus answered "Why do you call me good? Only God is good." He didn't say to the man "Don't call me good" but rather He asked him "why do you call ME good?". Our mindset needs to be to look to God alone, not a man, as Jesus also warned us. Beware because the days of deception are growing worse and worse, and angels (messengers) of darkness know how to disguise themselves as angels (messengers) of light, and are VERY convincing, and only by the Holy Spirit can we discern the difference. Be on your guard and be clothed with the armour that is of God (Ephesians chapter 6).