Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Unfortunate Malady of the Veneration of Protestant Saints and its Cure

Last week I met someone famous. It was a famous preacher. We got to talk to him for a number of minutes. I shook his hand too. I haven't washed my hands since and I have kept a hair of his in a glass shrine. I am kidding about the last part. But the way we act around those who are well known in the church makes you wonder sometimes. It isn't only Catholics that worship saints and relics.  Some Protestants do so too, although to a lesser degree and in less obvious ways. We can see this in a number of ways. Some want their picture taken with a famous preacher, leader or musician. Some even ask for his autograph. We try to show our good side to them. We desire them to like us. We desire them to admire us. We crave their attention and affirmation. We boast of our achievements.  Maybe our favorite Christian leader's words are treated like they were the words of God. Whatever form it takes, we make our Christian leaders of the past and present into idols and we sin by pursuing the praise of men.  I know that these sins happen, because I have seen these sins in my own heart and seen these sins in others. These things should not be.
It is too bad people make celebrities out of preachers. We should treat our leaders with respect, but they are still sinful men. Think about your favorite preacher or pastor. He is a sinner who deserves the fires of hell, but through God's grace has been saved. Like all of us he is unworthy of any good thing, especially not salvation. Even more his gift that you enjoy so much, comes from God. That gift has been given by the Lord for the benefit of the church. Famous Christians are still sinners too. They struggle with sins just like us common people. Consider also that maybe that famous Christian is not so faithful to God as you imagine. Maybe in God's eyes there are countless mothers, plumbers, office workers and elders who please God more by their faithful and holy life than the famous Christian you adore. God looks at the heart and views people differently than we tend to do. 'But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."'(1 Samuel 16:7) We are called to give honour to those to whom it is due (1 Tim 5:17). But praise and worship belongs to God alone. See Acts 10:25-26  where Cornelius worshipped Peter who then said, "Stand up! I myself am also a man." So, worship God for the gifts he has given to others.


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