This week has brought more sad news about the behaviour of leading Christian figures. First there was the news that Todd Bentley who has been the leading figure in the ‘Lakeland Revival’ has been forced to stand down after filing for divorce from his wife and admitting to an inappropriate relationship with another woman. Then there was the admission from Michael Guglielmucci whose song the Healer written when he was diagnosed with cancer had been an inspiration to many people admitted that he never actually had cancer- the whole thing had been fabricated.
Since I have been studying 1 Corinthians so much of what Paul writes there came to mind as I considered these sad episodes. Notably the dangers that there are in promoting the cult of celebrity Christian leaders and the need for spiritual wisdom and discernment. But perhaps one the in Corinthians came to mind more than others. And that is there is a theme running through Corinthians where Paul seeks to shame the ‘super-spiritual’ Corinthians by telling them that even the people of the world are wiser and more discerning than they are. it’s not a major theme in the letter but read it carefully and you will see that appears at several points e.g 5:1; 6:1-6; 14:23. And it is indeed to our shame as Christians where we have less common sense let alone spiritual discernment than the world around us. It must appear to the world that we are not people of faith but just plain gullible.
We live in an evangelical sub-culture where we need to reassess the nature of true Christian experience and true spirituality. That will require boldness and a willingness to stand up to those who would bully others in the light not of plain scriptural teaching but their so-called experience. We live in a day when the principle of sola scriptura not only needs to be recovered but also when we need to consider carefully how the rule of Scripture is to be applied.