Unimportant, Unknown Christian More Glorious To God Than Famous Academic Or Person In Power
So many people in Christian culture today seek approval of men and affirmation. They want to be considered an important person in Christian thought or academics or current theological trends. This is my opinion, and I believe it to be true that this issue has caused many false teachers and/or weak teachers who are regressing the faith of the Church. Whoever comes up with a new idea or a new concept is boosted to the highest seat of authority within popular church by the evangelical consensus. I have met people who’s entire sole purpose seems to be the approval of other Christians, to have them think of them as very intelligent and academic people. To be considered men of a wealth of knowledge we should listen to. They seek and find those who are impressed and will bow to their “wisdom” and seek more. If one thinks of them as not very knowledgeable or somewhat immature or new, or that they are trying too hard to impress and gain accolades they will ditch them and seek those weaker minded people out who will gently brush their egos. They may or may not understand they have a smug arrogance, or selfish desire to receive praise. Some are simply immature and delusional people, and some simply know what they want and seek it out. Either way both of these types end up with the same result. Often times they become liberal and speak whatever gives them praises and bow to heresies, or they turn off genuine humble Christians and relationships are destroyed. I believe a high degree of seminary students fit this label. I find them pretentious and annoying.
I was reading “Strengthen My Spirit” which is a book that compiles lightly edited portions of sermons by C.H. Spurgeon. Page 12 is titles “Enduring Trials for God’s Glory” and mentions 1 Peter 1:6-7,
“Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that our faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (NIV)
Many Christians who are lowly, unknown, and humble or suffering people going through very trials whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual give God glory more so than the typical popular Christian leader. Or those considered important academics by the evangelical consensus. Often these new seminary students are seeking accolades to become the next John Piper or Al Mohler, or whatever name you want to throw out there. Or at least be on equal terms with these “men of distinction.”
This behavior can make individual Christians feel inferior or less spiritual. Being around such young Christian guys who are talking theology and talking about whatever books they just read or who will explain a theological point at the drop of a hat can often reek of arrogance or a prideful attitude. As long as you listen to them and think they are future important evangelical superstars they will be your friend. But once you start showing you are unconcerned with their opinion or even feel the need to correct a false biblical idea, or some bad life choices they will slowly become less fond of you until they move on in life and reject you. Do not let such immature boys who want to be big strong theological giants because they seek approval harm your faith. These people are seriously immature and have low self esteem and try to build themselves up by doing what they can to show off, pretend to be independent thinkers who don’t need your input, seek accolades and affirmation up until they feel they surpass the need for your individual praise (because you stopped praising them). If they do this to you just move on and just keep being humble and try to grow your faith. The point of life is God’s grace and approval by Him because of His work to give God the glory. A humble and unknown Christian life is better than one full of nice treatment and a comfy professor job at whatever Christian university or seminary.
“I think that in my own soul that a believer in a prison reflects more glory on his Master than a believer in paradise, that a child of God in the burning, fiery furnace, whose hair is yet unscorched and upon whom the smell of the fire has not passed, displays more the glory of the Godhead than even he who stands with a crown upon his head, perpetually singing praises before the Father’s throne.”
It brings more glory to God to be suffering on earth in trials and be lowly than it does if you were in heaven singing before God praises. Part of why you are here on earth according to Spurgeon seems to express we must suffer and be lowly and give God glory on earth until the full measure of glory is received by God before you need to go to Heaven. I believe it also to be true that a lowly, unknown, unimpressive person who is a Christian gives God more glory than those seeking approval of academics who want to be popular authors, speakers, pastors, professors, and more. If one becomes such a popular teacher hopefully they are true to God’s Word and have come there because of God’s direction and calling out of “nothing” and not simply a selfish desire who works hard in order to get what they want, which is to say they want certifications, ranks, accolades, accommodations, affirmation, and other things that puff up pride and self righteousness. Some cases these types become the new pharisees of our day within the bounds of accepted theology. They can work theology or the bible to approve them.
* Note, I am not saying there should not be any popular Christian leaders. There are, and there should be, as long as they are true to God’s word and received their positions because they are full of Christ’s humility and honestly called from nothing to be int hat position, and do not give in to be approved by popular ideas not found in the Bible. Many leaders and historic preachers are only known or popular because of this. Whereas many also are self promoted and popularized by the world.