When Evangelicalism Crowns a New Pope

New York Times

In many evangelical churches, a magnetic pastor like Mr. Hybels is the superstar on whom everything else rests, making accusations of harassment particularly difficult to confront. Such a pastor is seen as a conduit to Christ, giving sermons so mesmerizing that congregants rush to buy tapes of them after services.

In an article about the latest, appalling allegations against Willow Creek founding pastor, Bill Hybels, Laurie Goodstein unwittingly puts her finger on what is one of the main problems of the Evangelical church today. In many churches, with a celebrity pastor, the members effectively do what Catholics do with the Pope - they make that person the way to God, rather than the person of Christ. It happens for many reasons and over a period of time, but that pastor ultimately ends up filling the role only Christ should have. For Evangelicalism to reverse the dangerous on which it finds itself, believers must refuse to continue to replace Christ with their pastor. Or, this will only get worse.