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Christian living

Preacheritis

By Jerry Moffitt

religion, articles, christianity

Perhaps I can write about this because no brother ever was dumb enough to glory in me. Preacheritis is a fatal disease some brethren get afflicted with when they disobey God and tend to glory in men. Their preacher, whom they idolize, is built up in their mind to a point where he can do no wrong. From that point on every other preacher is compared with him, but is always destined to fail. Some go so far as to dislike any preacher who follows their idol and they can only, over a long period of time, get to the point where they can accept a replacement. Too, if the preacher is disgruntled when he leaves a church, brethren so afflicted by this malady leave too, even if they can't follow their object of devotion, that is, the preacher they worship.

Preachers don't like this situation. When it seems brethren exalt them, a sound servant of Christ is so struck with terror he sincerely begins to hope he can creep into heaven on all fours and unnoticed. No one deserves glory but God Almighty. Herod gave not God glory and died and was eaten of worms (Acts 12:23). Undue praise heaped on any man or woman is dangerous. They may begin to think of themselves more highly than they ought to think (Rom. 12:3). Brethren and sisters in Christ ought to pray and then practice the virtue of encouraging a poor preacher rather than in praising him. There's a difference, but we probably need help from God to learn that difference and practice it to the glory of God Almighty.

Paul condemned the Corinthians for saying, "I am of Paul; and I of Apollos: and I of Cephas; and I of Christ" (I Cor. 1:12). Yet, we do the same thing, even though the Bible calls it carnal (I Cor. 3:1-3).

I believe that true servants of Jesus cringe a little, wince, and even shrink when well-meaning, loving, kind, and generous brethren thank God for them and their work. God knows our faults, weaknesses, and deficiencies. Good Christians know that about the best they have ever done was arise to a point where they could be called "unprofitable servants" (Luke 17:10). They have only done what it was their duty to do. Paul said, "For who maketh thee to differ? And what has thou that thou didst not receive? But if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?" (I Cor. 4:7). Why would one want to think he lifted himself up by the bootstraps? In Christ there is no unaided effort! We have no righteousness of our own (Phil. 3:9). In all things, by prayer, the Lord is at hand (Phil. 4:5). So as in the book of Revelation, it is our sincere joy to cast our victory crowns before the throne of God and say, "Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God" (Rev. 4:10-11).

Now here is a scripture, rather, a flat, firm urgent command from God through the Holy Spirit. It is as much a command as "be baptized." It says, "Wherefore let no one glory in men" (I Cor. 3:21). Not to glory in men is a big difference in Christianity and the world. In him, let us rub that difference till it shines brightly.


Published August 1993