Friday, January 9, 2009

Discipleship or Eugenics?

Most people know the first word but not the second, and few would ever guess the connection between the two in the context of raising up leaders. Eugenics is a dark science that sprang from Darwinism. It basically tried to improve humanity by sterilizing those races or economic groups deemed to be substandard so that only the so-called best of humanity could multiply. In other words it allowed only a special class to bear fruit. The worst modern example of eugenics in action was the Holocaust.

When I was a young believer a school of thought had crept into the church which said the people most capable of changing society with the gospel were the ones that were already the cream of the crop. Some Christians were even told to target these people with evangelism and to bypass “ordinary” people. Even recently in the former Soviet Union this teaching has gained new ground where one Christian leader actually said that revival or lasting change could never come from “ordinary” people. It would only come when great world leaders repented. See Gattaca for some shock value.

All of this runs counter to everything in God’s word, and the ultimate root of this perspective I believe is a desire for success in the eyes of men. I thought that I was immune to it myself until I found an inner voice saying, “Don’t waste too much time with these people. They are not movers and shakers. They will take too much work to clean up.” Ah! Even though I did not agree with this I had still heard this teaching enough to have been stained. I am now glad to be free of it!

The subtle cancer of eugenics pops up all over the place in Christianity, and I have wanted to say the following for over 20 years. Why do Christian ministries hire models for church or ministry promotional photos rather than using their own people? Wow, it felt good to say that! Even though most of us do not hire models to represent our faith we do hire professionals to do the ministry that we ourselves should be doing.

I am thankful to have heroes of faith, but an over-reliance on the “super pastor” can essentially render the rest of us fruitless. The biblical purpose of leadership is to lead and equip others to minister, not to atrophy the potential of others by doing it all ourselves because we think we are the best at doing it.

I am not naïve in my position here because I do know that functional people can bring stability to a ministry when they come to Jesus, and dysfunctional people can be high maintenance for many years. However, we should try to reach and train them all and not be a respecter of persons.

I have seen functional people get saved and grow quickly as leaders as God used their natural abilities to advance His kingdom. There are also functional people who are self-reliant and stubborn about yielding to God. I have seen people from the so-called bottom of society rise incredibly by the grace of God out of profound dysfunction and bondage to a position of leadership and fruitfulness that simply confounded my reasoning.

What is the lesson in all this? Judging people by their appearance, abilities and position in life is ultimately judging God as an inept creator and an impotent redeemer. It is also a subtle seed of humanism which is a nice way of saying a spirit of antichrist.

Below our skin we are all the same. The same DNA. The same nature. The same price that was paid. The same glory given to God when one is saved. Shepherds, fishermen and one Carpenter can still turn the world upside down.

For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. 1 Cor 1:26-29

No comments: