In a recent post on his blog, Seth Barnes stated,
“God made you to be great. But you will never walk in the greatness he made you for until you’ve left your hometown…We discover our greatness as we encounter the needs of a hungry world and different ways of doing things.”
Narcissistic statements like these feed into the egos of fallen humanity. Which of us doesn’t secretly long to be “great” in our own eyes as well as those of others? But is this consistent with God’s purpose for us? Are we to spend our lives seeking our own greatness or are we to spend them seeking to make the greatness of HIM known? Are we to make much of ourselves or much of HIM?
The Bible does not say we are to be great, it says we are to be humble, gentle, and meek. God is the one who is GREAT.
What scripture says about US:
2 Cor 3:4-5 “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God”
Matt 5:5 “Blessed are those who are meek for they shall inherit the earth.”
Prov 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Eph 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another with love.”
We are sinners and children of wrath. (Rom 1:18, Rom 3:23, Rom 7:7)
We are slaves, redeemed and bought with a price if we have come to Christ in belief and repentance (Acts 20:21, Rom 6:16-22, I Cor 6:19-20)
We are adopted, beloved children (Rom 8:15-17, Eph 1:5)
What scripture says about GOD:
HE is great and powerful and holy. (Job 38, Is 6:3, John 6:44, Eph 1:19-20, Phil 2:13, Col 1:29)
HE gets all the glory and will not share it with anyone. (Is 42:8, Eph 1:6)
Jude 24-25 “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.
This kind of advice is consistent with Seth’s encouragement to young people to get away from the safety of their family (and hence the God given authority in their life) and into his “discipleship program” at AIM. (see our post, Disrespect of World Race Parents) Please note, however, that there seems to be a certain inconsistency with his own family.
The insinuation that EVERYONE must leave their hometown in order to discover their “greatness” naturally alienates men and women who have chosen to stay and minister in their hometown and faithfully serve in the local church, Moms who stay at home to raise children (obeying the Titus 2 command to be workers at home), and Dads who work diligently to provide for their family’s needs. If Seth’s words were true then all of the above would be missing out on their purpose and “destiny” because they would be unable to see the world and be “great”.
Kevin De Young writes, “My generation in particular is prone to radicalism without follow through. We have dreams of changing the world, and the world should take notice accordingly. But we’ve not proved faithful in much of anything yet. Until we are content with being one of the million nameless, faceless church members and not the next globe-trotting rock star, we aren’t ready to be a part of the church.Life is usually pretty ordinary, just like following Jesus most days. Daily discipleship is not a new revolution each morning or an agent of global transformation every evening; it’s a long obedience in the same direction.
As an important side note to this post, Seth’s assertion that Jesus was rejected in his hometown because He was too “familiar” is patently false. Jesus had just claimed deity (Luke 4:21) and while they were amazed at his miracles, they hated His message. He confronted their sin and unbelief in who He was claiming to be…The Messiah…and they hated Him for it. This passage is not about us at all.
The rest of Seth’s interpretation is mere words to tickle the ears of those who want to believe that they are great and deserving of much, as opposed to the humble, repentant sinner. The latter knows he or she deserves only wrath and yet has been graciously given an inheritance that is wholly undeserved. In response he or she faithfully serves where the Lord has planted them.
Romans 16:17-18 “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”
In another post Seth implies that, the world is getting better because of our greatness then goes on to write,
“I wouldn’t blame you if you’ve come to believe that the world is getting worse and there’s no greatness in you to stop it. But the ironic thing is that it’s not. It’s actually getting better at an astounding rate.”
In the same post, Seth recommends the book, Megashift. The author agrees with and promotes the same idea of our “greatness”.
“A megashift of spiritual power into the hands of ordinary people is about to overwhelm the world and put it into vastly better shape…Do you have a Christian background?…perhaps you’re one of those who can’t push themselves to show up Sunday mornings anymore. You love God and believe the Bible, but were disappointed in the church because it just didn’t meet your needs or make you feel significant…(pg 28-29)
Two reviews, here and here connects all this with Dominion theology. Jesus did not see the world getting better because we are people of power and greatness, he describes what will happen before He comes again in Matt 24, Luke 21 and in Mark 13, vs 5 warning us, “See that no one leads you astray”.
“Then comes the end, when HE delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when HE puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For HE must reign till HE has put all enemies under HIS feet.”
1 Corinthians 15:24-25