Let’s talk about idolatry a bit.  The kind that is all-too-accepted in the church.

A recent post on the blog (The Nameless One) from Carl Trueman discussed the current popularity of Reformed Christianity among so many believers today.  Trueman stepped on more than a few toes, I imagine, when he pointed out how celebrity-oriented our society is, and how the Church too often mirrors and exhibits the same behaviors as the world.

The point of application here, for me, is a very subtle form of idolatry that we can have with respect to Christian leaders.  It is far too easy for us to fall into the temptation to become enamored with a famous preacher/pastor, even if we justify it by saying they are a Christian.  These “celebrity preachers” and teachers have a wide audience because they are good at what they do, and because they are preaching the word of God.

So what has convicted me?  Let me say it like this:  I have a lovely wife at home, a wife that puts up with my bad habits, encourages me when I’m down, welcomes my service to her, has wisdom beyond what outsiders know, and does so many good, nice, loving and kind things that I could not list them all.  How do you think she would feel if I came home every day and made it a point to tell her about how pretty and smart Cindy Crawford is?  Or how nice that lady is on Fox News in the morning?

My wife might get the impression that she doesn’t measure up, in my eyes.  Or that I was pining for someone or something else.

I’m just asking here, but how do you think your pastor might feel about being compared to Ravi Zacharias?  Or told that he ought to be more like Mark Driscoll?  Maybe you didn’t make such remarks outright, but maybe your words had that effect.  It was probably unintentional, I know.  I know from personal experience.

Today is the last official day that Bill Hyer is the pastor of our church.  Bill has poured his life into many men at Christ Church.  If you were there on Sunday I am sure you were surprised at the number of men that stood up to show that they had been around his table at one time or another.  The guys on my iPod have imparted to me some good information.  Bill Hyer invested his life in me, and in many of us.  There is a huge difference.

Bill stood with us, served us, taught us, led us, spoke painful Truth to us, and loved us, the men of Christ Church.  I have seen it personally and can testify of his love for us, for his tears and much personal pain.  (I especially pray that if I caused him any pain, that he will forgive me and that God would heal any wound caused by my actions)

Today we release Bill into the hands of a new flock.  I pray that they will love him unconditionally, hear the pastoral love in the words he preaches, and give him the support he needs as a pastor, and as a man.

Going back to the title of this post, one might wonder if Bill was the subject of “pastoral idolatry”.  I don’t think so.  Bill’s desire, as far as I could tell, was for revival to break out.  He wanted us to know God personally, which meant that he wanted us to read our Bibles, to understand good doctrine, and to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  It wasn’t about him, it was about God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Bill, you are Paul to a multitude of Timothys at Christ Church.  Go and make many more Timothys, and please stop in here at the blog every once in a while.  We’ll miss you.