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In 1956, as a teenager listening to a young evangelist people saw as the next Billy Graham, I gave my life to Christ.
In 1960, as a college student preparing for church ministry, I read that the evangelist was quitting because of Christian leaders and institutions not dealing positively with, in today’s vernacular, “social justice” issues.
Affair - Woman - Wife
Then it was revealed that he had also had an affair with a woman not his wife.
“How could that have happened?” I asked one of my professors.
Teacher - Reply
My teacher’s quick reply: “He believed it could not happen to him.”
Presently, with frequent headlines reporting the fall of leaders and the end of stellar ministries, we ask again: How could it happen?
Reason - Belief - Weaknesses - Mortals
The reason then and now is often hubris—the mistaken belief that one is above the weaknesses of mere mortals.
Power is the fundamental temptation, as King Saul’s attitudes and actions show.
Eden - Temptation - Serpent - Adam - Eve
In Eden, the primal temptation was: “you shall be as gods.” The serpent taunted Adam and Eve to shove God off the throne of their lives, and replace Him with the self—a move that actually enthrones the adversary and his demons.
Eden is long gone, but the evil one still prowls like a lion looking for someone to devour.
Hubris - Demonic - Carcass - Vultures - Demons
Hubris draws the demonic like a rotting carcass does vultures. Demons will always cluster around centers of power, from the president’s Oval Office in the White House to a pastor’s office in the church house.
The power-temptation’s intensity is magnified when institutionalism suffocates the life and energy of a vital movement, as Findley Edge detailed in his book, “A Quest for Vitality in Religion.”
Movement - Passion - Growth - Expansion - Threat
A movement arises in fiery passion, then experiences rapid growth. The expansion becomes a threat to the status quo, and its establishments try to squelch the movement, even to the point of persecution. The movement’s popularity, however, continues, along...
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