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Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Heroes of the Faith - Three Favourites alive Today

True Celebrities
Little by little Time magazine has drifted from News to Celebrity. (And even when there is news between the covers, Time, like all the media outlets today, takes such a predictable position that anyone could write it, without thinking, or looking: Trump is the Devil, gay rights are the top priority of western culture, Science is King, and of course, Here is the next world Celebrity.) 

Tragically the church so often apes the world: we love our celebrities too.

According to Jesus, his followers should be disliked by those around them - because they speak the unfashionable truth:

"Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets." Luke 6:26

A false prophet said what his hearers wanted to hear. But a true prophet always upset his audience (and comforted the true believers at the same time).

So if we are looking for true "Christian Celebrities" we should seek to follow men who like Jesus and Paul and the apostles were hounded, hated, lied about and persecuted - because they spoke the truth. These are the men we should honour.

Fitting the bill, here are three of my favourite living servants of God.
RT Kendall

RT Kendall
RT Kendall was the pastor of Westminster Chapel for many years. George Campell Morgan was one of his predecessors and so was Lloyd-Jones. But Kendall was mistreated by some because he didn't dot their secondary i's or cross their tertiary  t's. 

Then he did the unthinkable in the eyes of some - he went out into the street to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with lost people! That was apparently the lowest a noble Westminster preacher could possibly go!

If you listen to Kendall you will never fail to be blessed by a sermon or a book written by this great godly man. 

Donald Macleod
Donald Macleod
In some ways I am surprised Donald is among my favourites because he is called a "theologian", and that is not an office found in the NT.

After saying that, he served as a pastor in the free church of Scotland and pastor is a biblical title. Macleod is a pastor who writes, that's OK. 

I remember reading the "Monthly Record" when he was the editor. I was in my twenties and I couldn't wait to receive my copy in the post - just to read his wise, witty and deeply spiritual contributions. He did not write to please the crowd, just like his Master.

Once again, some in his community hated the fact that he stepped out of their tiny theological circles to preach the truth and they started a witch hunt against him, involving lies and false accusations, this time with dirty-tricks sexual allegations, believe it or not, all of which were thrown out of court.

Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham
Perhaps the best known of my favourite Christian leaders today is Franklin Graham. Time magazine liked the cuddly Billy but hate his son Franklin. 

Why? They didn't know what Billy believed on moral issues and they didn't have to ask him - because they held the same views. But the times are a changing.

Billy's son is having to minister in a perverse age where Gospel morality is despised - and along with it every true Gospel minister.

A true test of Gospel Giants
So if we are looking for someone to follow, check out their doctrinal fidelity, yes, and then check out whether or not they are hated and lied about. If they are true Gospel men they will also be despised. Only then can you be sure they are like their Saviour and his apostles. Only then should you follow them as they follow Jesus Christ.

Amy Carmichael: stars without scars
The saintly Amy Carmichael battled with the same issue in her day a hundred years ago (1867-1951). As she looked around the Christian scene, she came across stars who bore no scars. 

So she wrote this little poem: 
Hast Thou No Scar 
by Amy Carmichael

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star,
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet, I was wounded by the archers, spent.
Leaned me against the tree to die, and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed me, I swooned:
Hast thou no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yet as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole. Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?

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