Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Why we don't need another Billy Graham

I love Billy Graham.  I really believe that God has used him.  I recognise that maybe too much emphasis was put on the point of 'decision' (which might simply have been the result of getting caught up in the emotion of a large gathering) and that he may have made mistakes in some of the non-evangelicals he worked alongside.  Nevertheless, I love Billy Graham and thank God for him.  A few years ago I thought that what the church needed was another Billy Graham.  But I have changed my mind.  Jesus is not dependant on any one individual to build his church.  Sometimes I think that our desire for emerging leaders and new methods demonstrates a lack of confidence in the power of Jesus to work through his word, and his ordinary praying and witnessing people, to change lives for his glory.

So when an American pastor tells me that he built his church through an exceptional praise band, I wonder does he not believe that God can use ordinary people with ordinary gifting; when young people all want to go to a church because it is the cool place to be, I wonder about the depths of their spirituality; and when the confidence of churches is rooted in 'fresh expressions' of 'doing' church, I wonder if we have become more concerned with style rather than substance.

Recently, I found myself saying that what the church needs is Tim Keller.  Tim Keller is great.  I wish more Christians would read his books and listen to his sermons.  But if Tim Keller drops dead in the morning the church of Jesus Christ will not be halted in its mission.  Jesus promised that he would build his church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it; and he will be true to his word.  So if your pastor can't preach like Tim Keller, your praise band is not as professional as Hillsong, and your congregation is not made up of the young and beautiful don't worry, Jesus Christ can still use you for his glory.  Similarly, if your pastor is as eloquent as Keller, your praise band as talented as Hillsong, and your congregation filled with beautiful people beware that you haven't simply been caught up in the cult of cool, and beware that you aren't just attracting superficial people who want a superficial gospel to enhance superficial lives.

No comments: