I hear of such things going on in churches, but it is still hard for me to accept the fact that they really do.
In a recent opinion piece, J. Lee Grady (former editor of Charisma Magazine) mentions what he considers to be six really bad charismatic doctrines (h. t. Gene Veith).
Only six? Obviously, a subject for discussion another time. But two of the six Grady mentions are simply incomprehensible to me.
(6 Really Bad Charismatic Doctrines)
Number Three is bad enough . . .
3. Inaccessible leadership. In the 1980s, some charismatic ministries began to teach pastors and traveling ministers that in order to “protect the anointing,” they must stay aloof from people. Ministers were warned to never make friends in their congregations. Preachers began the strange practice of skipping worship on Sunday mornings—and then appearing on the stage only when it was time for the sermon in order to make a dramatic entrance. Shame on these people for attempting to justify arrogance. Jesus loved people, and He made Himself available to them. So should we.
I wonder if the elders would let me "hide" in back and then pop out at the pulpit at some dramatic moment? Avoid making friends, and visiting with church members? What an impoverished ministerial call and cold church that would be!
But it is number four on Grady's list which blows my mind:
4. Armor-bearers. The same guys who developed item No. 3 started this strange fad. Preachers began the practice of surrounding themselves with an entourage: one person to carry the briefcase, another person to carry the Bible, another to carry the handkerchief. Some preachers hired bodyguards … and even food-tasters! The armor-bearers were promised special blessings if they served preachers who acted like slave-owners. Reminder: True leaders are servants, not egomaniacs.
Can I really get someone to taste the food for me before the church potluck? Someone to carry my bookbag, or extra-handkerchiefs--even though one is plenty, since a handkerchief stuffed in someone else's pocket usually doesn't do much but gross out others forced to touch it? Some of these guys sweat up a storm--one Jesus-only type comes to mind. People really expect to get healed from touching one of these guy's handkerchiefs?
We can even give the person a cool biblical sounding title--"armor-bearer." I'm all for reasonable church security, but "armor-bearer," "food-taster" and personal butler? We better dash off an overture to classis. We are doing things all wrong . . .
But anyone I hired to protect me would be far more likely to be associated with terms like "armor-piercing" and "body-armor" than with "armor-bearer."
Amazing . . .