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Great Question

Christian Groupies?

Q: Some women are such avid followers of particular authors, speakers, and teachers that they almost seem like "Christian groupies." Is this wrong?

A: Not long ago, my friend Kim Hill and I were arguing while eating dinner at a restaurant. I don't remember what we were fussing about, but I do remember that right after I said something ugly, a group of wide-eyed women approached us to announce they'd heard Kim lead worship and me teach at a national women's conference. They gushed about how much they admired us.

As soon as our admirers walked away, Kim and I looked at each other sheepishly. Those ladies had only seen us on our best behavior on stage at a big Christian event. They weren't privy to our petty disagreements and foolish pride. We decided right there we deserved to be flogged with the tortilla chips we were gobbling!

I can't imagine how often more well-known women such as Beth Moore and Kay Arthur are approached by adoring fans. And while those doing the adoring are well intentioned, their unbridled affection is way off target. Just because someone sings, teaches, or writes books doesn't mean he or she is worthy of exaltation. All humans—even those gifted with talents that result in a public platform—are broken by sin and desperate for a Savior. Quite frankly, idolizing fellow believers is contrary to the gospel; it's like someone dying of thirst being enchanted with a plastic water bottle rather than with the life-giving fluid inside it!

What does God say about this?

The Bible makes it clear people don't deserve pedestals. For example, there's an awkward moment in Acts when a guy named Cornelius trips over himself in an effort to express his esteem for the apostle Peter. Peter responds by encouraging him to set his admiration bar a bit higher: "The minute Peter came through the door, Cornelius was up on his feet greeting him—and then down on his face worshiping him! Peter pulled him up and said, 'None of that—I'm a man and only a man, no different from you'" (, THE MESSAGE).

That theme resounds in Hebrews, where a wise, anonymous pastor explains the supremacy of Christ to a gang of Moses groupies: "Think carefully about this Jesus whom we declare to be God's messenger and High Priest. … Jesus deserves far more glory than Moses, just as a person who builds a house deserves more praise than the house itself. For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God. Moses was certainly faithful in God's house as a servant. His work was an illustration of the truths God would reveal later. But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God's entire house. And we are God's house, if we keep our courage and remain obedient in our hope in Christ" (, NLT).

This passage doesn't rip dear old Moses; it actually affirms his leadership. But it also compares his abject humanity with Jesus' divinity. In other words, Moses was a great guy who did some really cool things for God's kingdom. But he wasn't Immanuel; he wasn't perfect.

How does this affect me?

Worship was never intended to be horizontal; God created it to be a vertical expression of praise and adoration from us to him. People make mistakes and tumble off pedestals; humans can't satisfy that divinely created vacuum in our hearts. Only Jesus can. He's the only One who deserves our wide-eyed adoration.

So the next time you walk into a retreat meeting, Christian conference, or concert, repeat to yourself that old saying, "The ground is level at the foot of the cross." Then focus on worshiping Jesus, not the woman holding the microphone!

Lisa Harper has a Masters in Theology with an emphasis in biblical studies from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis. She's authored several books, including the Bible study series On the Road (Tyndale), and is a sought-after speaker at women's retreats and conferences. Visit her at www.lisaharper.net.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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