Heroes of the Faith (pt 3)

As I mentioned in my last post this discussion is all about (biblical) balance. It is possible to idolize gifted teachers in a way that would shame the Giver of all good gifts. We must be very careful not to worship our heroes. At the same time, it is entirely appropriate to “honor” faithful servants of the Lord. I will argue in this essay that it also fitting to “imitate” faithful Christian leaders.

We looked at 1 Corinthians 3:5-17 in my previous post. Don Carson summarized this section as follows:
“1. Christian leaders are only servants of Christ and are not to be accorded allegiance reserved for God alone.
2. God cares about his church, and he hold its leaders accountable for how they build it.”

The apostle Paul was not interested in dividing the Church. He gave his very life trying to unite the Church under the banner of Jesus Christ her Head. He did not want a bunch of Paul-groupies causing disunity in the Church. This is one of the reasons why he wrote 1 Corinthians 3:5-17. Yet in this same epistle the apostle Paul called the Corinthians to “imitate” him as he followed Christ (1 Cor 11:1). Paul understood that he was a leader. Pastors are examples and role-models whether they want to be or not. Their can be no Charles Barkley pastors in the ministry (“I’m not a role-model, parents should be role-models”). Paul actually encouraged his readers to imitate his life on numerous occasions (1 Cor 4:16; 1 Thess. 1:6). One pastor puts it this way, “Spiritual leaders must set an example of Christlikeness for all to follow.”

Hebrews 13:17 is pretty straightforward. In this passage of Scripture the author of Hebrews writes, “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.” The Greek work for “imitate” is mimeomai from mimos. Here we are told “to mimic” the lives of our own church leaders (those who are worthy of imitation of course).

Of course in chapter 11 the author of Hebrews gave a number of illustrations of men and women who lived tremendous lives of faith. These godly heroes from the past should provide inspiration for all Christians (in the present). Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

When I think of the Christian heroes I have (Spurgeon, Calvin, Whitefield, MacArthur, Begg, etc) I view them in these categories. Their faithfulness to God encourages me to live with the same type of consistency. Their commitment to the Word in the midst of great opposition is something I hope to imitate and mimic. Their love and passion for Christ is something that I desire as well.

Christian heroes (past and present) can help point us to Christ and motivate us all to live more faithful lives.


One response to this post.

  1. Thanks, Caleb.

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