The Cult of the Visioneer

I’m currently a full-time seminary student and part-time pastoral intern. About a year ago, prior to landing at my current church, I was looking at church job boards and other similar sites, trying to find a ministry position. My wife and I were stunned by how many pastoral job descriptions required some sort of ‘vision’-related skill or experience and how few required ‘accurately handling of the word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15).

From reformation21 comes a cautionary tale of how Evangelicalism has fallen into this trap and exactly why it is so dangerous:

The process is simple. A church has a pastor. The pastor receives from God a specific vision and mission for his church. The church follows the visioneer. …

Combine unbiblical ideas of a pastor who receives visions from God with slick fashion, cutting edge marketing, and shameless self-promotion and you have a cult-leader in the making.

This is an excellent warning for pastors to find the church’s mission in God’s Word rather than an extra-biblical word from God, and for church members to follow the Great Shepherd rather than a cult of personality.

(HT: challies)

CVS to Stop Selling Cigarettes

Wall Street Journal: “CVS, the nation’s second largest pharmacy chain, said Wednesday that it would stop selling all cigarettes and tobacco products nationwide by October, saying they have no place in a drugstore company that is trying to become more of a health-care provider.”

An Alternative to the Celebrity Pastor

Barton Gingerich: “The expectation that congregational leaders give off the ‘right vibe’ has become standard in some religious circles. Some churches today assert that a pastor should be an enthusiastic, extroverted purveyor of hilarity, therapy, success, or optimistic activism. These pastors are supposed to be casual, invested with ‘big dreams’ to do ‘big things for God,’ handy at enabling a good time during congregational worship, ‘innovative’ with outreach (i.e. the kids find the pastor sufficiently hip), and—perhaps most important of all—adept in the vocabulary of self-help and therapy. In other words, people want to feel good spiritually, and the pastor is to model that in his own life.”

Contentment, the Stealth Prosperity Gospel, and Spiritual Greed

Jared C. Wilson: “The problem over time is that, going from victory to victory, expecting victory after victory, cultivates a contagious form of spiritual greed.”

School ditches rules and loses bullies

TVNZ: “Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don’t cause bedlam, the principal says.” (HT: The Gospel-Driven Church)

Why Sports Fans Should Learn to Love the Meadowlands

Wall Street Journal: “The Super Bowl is about one victor; the Meadowlands are about what comes after defeats and the unexpected riches that result, especially if you consider all of the things that were proposed and never built: a giant dairy farm to produce milk for New York City in the early 1800s, futuristic cities in the early 1900s and the world’s largest mall, in 2011 and still pending.”

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What Every Christian Should Know About Income Inequality

Joe Carter: “The fact that the president considers income inequality, rather than employment or economic growth, to be the most important economic issue is peculiar, though not really surprising. For the past few years the political and cultural elites have become obsessed with the issue.”