Earlier this year in one of the Current Events sermons, I talked about Ravi Zacharias and his moral failure, which came to light over the last few years. (You can read the sermon blog posts starting here.) He was deeply abusive to many women, and there was a leadership culture in his organization that did not adequately hold Zacharias accountable. He passed away before the investigation revealed the extent of his abuse. I was stunned and deeply saddened by the news of Zacharias’ abuse. He was such a gifted thinker, writer and preacher who God used to strengthen the faith of many, including me. Maybe you’ve experienced a shock like that, when a Christian you respect and hold in high esteem fails. It hurts, doesn’t it?
Certainly, the moral failure of anyone is serious, and we should be concerned about it. But there are times when a Christian leader fails and it rocks our worlds emotionally and sometimes spiritually, to the point where we can have a deep ongoing struggle. Have you experienced anything like that? I suspect that our appreciation for Christian celebrities is mostly good and helpful. We enjoy their music because it points us to a deeper relationship with Jesus. We read their books because they help us know God better and live more in line with his Kingdom. We listen to their TV shows and podcasts because they inform us about God’s word. At the same time, are we evaluating if our appreciation for such Christian celebrities has crossed a line into idol worship?
I wonder that about my admiration of Ravi Zacharias and other so-called Christian celebrities. What I also wonder is whether our celebrity culture has so impacted evangelicalism that it can lead to idol worship during our worship services. I think it is possible.
Last week in our ongoing study of the prophet Ezekiel, we talked about American Christian idols, and this coming week we’ll talk about how idolatry might be happening inside the church, even in our worship services. Yes, even in Faith Church’s worship service. As you can imagine, it concerns me greatly. What about your church worship service? Might there be idolatry in yours?
Check out Ezekiel chapter 6 ahead of time to see what you might learn, then we’ll discuss it further next week.