The world's leadership model is an unraveling mess. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates just recently called for homosexuals to serve openly in the armed services. Unlike any time in history, homosexual behavior among uniformed servicemen will be openly endorsed by the military's chain of command. And last week Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for women to serve without restriction on US submarines. This means that young women will be placed in extremely close quarters and personal situations with mature men, even sharing bunks in the practice called "hot-racking." There will be harm, women and men will suffer, and our leaders will have placated the gods of tolerance and diversity at any cost.
This type of compromised leadership would have drawn mass protests merely one generation ago. But we now live in a world where the interpretation of good has been turned on its head. Isaiah has well said "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness" (Isa 5:20).
The world's priorities and definitions change constantly, and recently, very rapidly. Thankfully as Christians, we have the Bible. It does not morph. The oscillating secular leadership of our nation is merely reflecting its own world of spiritual darkness, uselessly groping its way through the night. Simply put, they don't have a light, the shining brilliance of scripture. But we do. Christians have the timeless word of God to read and savor, digesting every precept on every page. In matters of leadership therefore, Christians should be thoroughly and entirely biblical.
Throughout scripture, we find that biblical leaders are obedient to the word, operate by faith, and stay focused on the Lord. They may stumble and fall on occasion, but they are quick to repent and come back to the Lord. David is such a beautiful example of genuine Godly leadership. Like all the greats, David did not put confidence in his flesh, but continually sought the strength and wisdom of God to lead the people. Perhaps above all else, the biblical leader elevates the Lord above himself and points the people to God. How often Moses directed the Israelites to seek after Jehovah.
Having become big business however, modern Christian leadership has often veered away from clear biblical teaching. Building big churches and successful corporations under the auspices and blessing of Jesus has attracted cash-ready crowds. The peddlers have become millionaires as they open the doors to God-endorsed success. Someone close recently asked me to check out one of these Christian leadership gurus.
So I did some research and found a few quotes by this particular individual: "The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That's the day we truly grow up." "The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one." "Successful people make important decisions early in their life, and then manage those decisions the rest of their life." He sells no small number of books espousing a common-sense, positive-attitude, self-help approach to leadership based on select biblical principles.
So what's wrong with that? Why not pull culturally acceptable precepts from scripture and deliver it, neatly packaged, to success-oriented businessmen? At least it brings the Bible into a favorable focus and may even serve as a springboard to the gospel. Christian leaders also benefit from relevant passages directing them toward ministerial success. It's a win-win right?
There's a good description for that kind of teaching: false teaching. Anytime we cherry pick our way through scripture to make it more palatable to the world, we deny the power of God and in turn change the word to fit the culture. God's word stands or falls as a whole. Either all of it is truth or none of it is. What would we call the surgeon who purposely overlooks operable cancer to concentrate on the more positive elective procedures? Criminally negligent.
Man's greatest day does not pertain to his positive mental attitude, his greatest mistake does not concern his trepidation, and his greatest success does not include management decisions. Quite the contrary. His greatest day is recognizing Jesus as Lord and Savior, his greatest mistake is rejecting the grace of God, and his greatest success comes by submitting to the Holy Spirit.
Here are some basic but essential themes that every Christian leader should master: creation, sin, repentance, grace, the cross, salvation, sacrifice, heaven, hell, obedience, submission, prayer, fasting, worship, scripture, self denial, servanthood, fellowship, and Lordship. If these subjects don't make it into the lecture series, or are intentionally avoided, then it's probably not genuine Christian leadership being taught. It seems a little obvious that basic Bible themes should dominate basic Christian leadership instruction.
Conferences, seminars, and books that call leaders to look within and find motivation and strength apart from God's Holy Spirit, are simply peddling another form of humanism. "Put on a positive mental attitude and find the god within you." Real Christian leadership on the other hand, is biblically accurate through and through. If an individual calls himself a Christian leader, and he leads according to the values, definitions, and priorities of this world and not scripture, then he needs to be rejected by the body of Christ. There is just no room for compromise in these last days.