Thursday, September 25, 2008

There's No Business Like Show Business

A while ago, a commenter asked me to post my views on the Lakeland fiasco. Though not wishing to respond to that request specifically, I do want to broach the broader subject of fleshly inspired antics in ministry. If in doing so, I manage to ruffle your feathers, I hope you'll post a comment and help me see your viewpoint.

The realm of finance is presently teaching us what the realm of ministry has taught us over and over again: people are unwilling to call their superstars on their excesses. Success inexorably excuses excess. Despite red flags, warning sirens, and the inevitable recognition, after the fact of course, that we knew something was fishy, we look the other way if the party in question at least gives the appearance that he or she's getting it done. The Charismatic movement is in disarray because of that unfortunate trait. Are there some simple principles that charismatics could use to assess the actual spirituality vs. fleshly embellishments of ministry, before the result is another boondoggle that embarrasses everyone who cherishes the gift of the Holy Spirit? Yes, I think there are...

  • If Jesus didn't minister that way, neither should we
  • If it was not envisaged in the scriptures, it's not of God
  • Goofiness is not spiritual, it's just goofy
  • Only prestidigitators and illusionists need fanfares and distractions to perform their art
  • No one is all that special
  • Biblically, only the megalomaniacal needed music to set the tone for ministry
  • When they were slain in the Spirit in the Bible, the were buried forthwith
  • When Jesus took off his coat while ministering, he washed feet, not stoked up the crowd

More could be said, suggest a rule or two yourself in the comments if you'd like. The bottom line: if a man or woman ministers outside these guidelines, he or she is fleshly at best and an out and out charlatan at worst. That may sound judgmental, but how many dog and pony shows are we going to be subjected to before we start making the judgments Bible believing, Spirit-filled people should able to easily. Or, are we so far out at sea that we cannot tell the difference between show business and ministry?