I think the Christian leaders we have today still exalt themselves to the detriment of others. They claim that they are doing God's work, but what do we still see? We see Charles Stanley get divorced. We see many of them enjoying opulent lifestyles while the people struggle to send in $5 per month.
I believe the Christian culture in the West has been built as a mirror culture to deceive Christians and get them looking at the wrong thing. How is Christendom different from the world JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have built? Greed? Check. Licentiousness? Check. Pride? Double-Check!
Even as Christians, we are made to believe that God's blessings are on the large para-church ministries while God has passed over the common church. We are made to desire wealth and prestige. This is not what the word of God says.
Theologians don't get a pass either. Through the centuries they have exalted those at the head instead of those who labored in obscurity. Paul is lauded while the other apostles are derided because they didn't write letters that survived to modern times. But is this a fair characterization? How do we really know what happened? Why do we assume that just because they didn't write part of the Bible that they were failures? Is it only the strong that rule in Christianity just like in the World? Does might make right even in Christendom?
I don't believe so. I believe Jesus called 12 apostles. One, (Judas) chose (wasn't predestined!) but chose to walk away and betray Jesus. ALL 11 of the remaining apostles made a difference in God's Kingdom. We simply haven't heard the story of Andrew or Phillip or Bartholomew. The book of Thomas is out there, but "not considered canonical."
Perhaps we need to revisit what the Protestant churches decided to take out of the Bible. Apparently the book of Judith was in there until Martin Luther decided to exclude it. Perhaps we have simply been done a disservice by our Protestant forbearers. And certainly the modern church has done a disservice to us by not properly explaining church history to us. I don't believe Martin Luther's rebellious split from the Catholic church was necessarily ordained by God.
As a case in point, I was commenting on an issue on a blog and the discussion was flying back and forth. A catholic poster mentioned that "this issue has been discussed for hundreds of years in the Catholic church and a pretty good conclusion arrived at." It got me to wondering what other knowledge has been hidden from us.
Of course, it's not really hidden on purpose, but I believe most Protestants are making an ad hominem fallacy by disregarding ALL of the Catholic teaching just because they disagree with some of the other teachings (like Mariology).
Here's the bottom line: We all have a contribution to make and God uses even the smallest act of service irrespective of it being recognized in our culture today. Jesus said plainly that the first would be last and the last would be first.
I'm not so arrogant to think that I am going to be one of the "last" chosen first. I know I enjoy blessings in the West that many in the world do not. But I am making the argument that all of those we see exalted right now are not necessarily going to be rewarded above the church family in China in an underground church.
We must get our eyes off our brothers and sisters here on this earth and make our comparisons with what it says in the Word of God. Jesus told us exactly how to be great in the Kingdom of God: Be a servant to all. Take courage. God sees all of us.