I write this post with a very heavy heart.
Back in October 2013, when I first received the message (and mandate) of Archippus Awakening, it was strongly impressed upon me that “the days of spiritual celebrities are over”. To this end, the Lord is awakening His Church from slumber and He will be raising His army from the ground up. Symbolically, these are Archippuses, ones who are almost anonymous, nameless saints, and yet each known by name.
“I believe the days of spiritual celebrities and superstars are over. And in these last days, God will raise up the common man and woman to do great and extraordinary things in and through them. These are the Archippuses of our day who will know their assignments and be obedient to fulfil them!” Say To Archippus, p26.
In the months that followed, across 2014 and 2015, big names in Christian circles made the news:
- Tullian Tchividjian (Billy Graham’s grandson) admits to an extra marital affair and then files for divorce;
- Joshua Duggar (of the famed Duggar Family) admits to molesting five teenage girls and gets caught having a paid Ashley Madison subscription [Read Josh Duggar, Secret Sins & Christian Masks];
- Mark Driscoll resigns from Mars Hill Church after being accused of plagiarism and unhealthy conduct;
- Jim Staley admits to cheating elderly victims out of US$3.3m;
- David Cho Yonggi, founder of the world’s largest megachurch is convicted of embezzling 13 billion won;
- Kong Hee is convicted of misappropriation of church funds.
And just this morning, I received news that Israel Houghton has announced his divorce from his wife, Meleasa. In his own words on the Israel & New Breed Facebook page, “It is with a collective heavy heart that we announce that after over 20 years of marriage and a long separation, Meleasa and I are officially divorced. …” Yes, this is the guy who boldly declared, “Jesus, at the center of it all.” In disbelief, I am still wondering if this is some bad online joke or publicity stunt.
Understandably, Israel’s heart is heavy. And mine, too.
I am not expecting these, or anyone, least of all, myself, to be perfect for we are all sinners saved by the grace of God. However, as highly visible ministers upfront, I believe these are all held to a higher and greater accountability. Whilst it is easy to point a finger and blame these “celebrities” for their shortcomings, we must admit that perhaps we are also at fault for putting these on the pedestal, “according them far too much power, prosperity and prestige than they can humanly handle.” (Say To Archippus, p26)
This is not to say that all prominent leaders are bad. I will be the first to admit that I have learnt much from men and women of God around the world. Thanks to the Internet, today, we have a wealth of information and access to great sermons literally at our finger tips! However, information does not equal to transformation. And as we have seen from those who have fallen or erred, a ministry in lights does not necessarily correspond to a sanctified walk in the true light of Jesus Christ.
I thank and praise God for godly leaders, and I will gladly submit to their authority and direction. But let us not forget that these are placed there by the Lord to equip the saints (that’s us!) for the work of the ministry (Eph 4:12). In Archippian language, if these are playing their part, then more and more will be out there fulfilling their God-given kingdom assignments. Sadly, at least in the Singapore context, many are willing to pay top dollar for the biggest names at a Christian conference, but few are diligently moving on their assignments.
Dear friends, the days of spiritual celebrities are over! Stop idolising these as if they are the most anointed, as if they alone have the latest revelations! Stop flocking to conference after conference, hoping to catch a bit of their anointing! And if that is not enough, some are even willing to sleep on graves to have a greater impartation from yesteryears! Stop it! The days of spiritual celebrities are over!
I am all for restoration and will indeed pray for these who have tripped or veered. Yet, more than that, I am praying for Archippuses to be stirred out of their slumber and to take their places in these final days. The only One we must be following is Jesus, and it is His kingdom that we must be serving. The days of spiritual celebrities are over. It is time for Archippus to be awakened, aligned and assigned!