Theresa Harvard Johnson

Copyright 2014 Theresa Harvard Johnson
If you haven’t already done so, I want to encourage you to take a look at the blog, “The Idolatry Chart.” In it, Holy Spirit quickened me to identify five prevailing types of idolatry that is plaguing Babylon (the world system) and our local congregations. Each of these forms of idolatry take the place of “God, our Father in Heaven” in the lives of individuals suffering from their effects. If not exposed, confronted and overcome, those affected will begin to reap corruption, deceive others and become consumed by their own deceptive world.
People of God, we are constantly being called to awaken to truth.
Galatians 6:7-8 CJB says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.”[1]
Idolatry, as we defined it in the previous article, “The Idolatry Chart,” stood as the central sin among children of Israel. Guess what? It did not go anywhere. It is also the same sin operating in the lives of believers today – especially in any area where there is prevailing entertainment or excessive competition. The purpose of this series is simple: I am attempting to define these specific, prevailing areas of idolatry and provide examples – nothing more at this point. At the conclusion, I plan to address the healing aspect in greater detail.  One of the forms IDOLATRY takes is that of Hero Worship.
Hero Worship
Hero Worship is defined as the “foolish or excessive adulation of an individual.”[2] Oxford Dictionaries takes it further by pointing back to Greek Origins. The definition reads, “the worship of superhuman heroes or to admire someone excessively.”[3] This particular sin was one of the rotten roots in the midst of my own life as a believer. Because of my lack of identity, I tended to see Christian leaders in my life as “saviors” – knights in shining armor, people who could do no wrong. I was unable to see them in their humanity just as I was in my humanity. This perception creates a false reality, and ignites a situation that will result in extreme disappointment, unnecessary warfare and great heartache. Hero worship puts “ordinary men” on a pedestal!
1 Samuel 16:7 CJB says, “But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
Looking at the Outward Appearance
Hero Worship is always based on outward appearance. Without getting real deep here, looking at the outward appearance is basically drawing conclusions about a person’s worth or value based on:
  • Achievements (Recognitions, societal status, awards, accomplishments, endorsements, etc.)
  • Associations (Who they hang out with, what they are a part of, who talks about them, etc.)
  • Appearances (How they look, what they wear, what they drive, where they live, financial status, where they have been, how many people come to their events, etc.)
  • Actions (What people do that you might admire; what they have done, etc.)

People of God, when we look at “celebrity worship” in particular – whether operating in the world system or among the congregation, these elements are the open doors to the idolatrous sin of hero worship.
While these things have value in the world, they literally have zero value in the dominion of Christ. Hero Worship can be anywhere. We see it in:
  • Marriages
  • Parental relationships
  • Mentoring relationships
  • Pastoral relationships
  • Friendships
  • Among celebrities
In truth, it is “hero worship” that turns people into “celebrities, icons, superstars, etc.” It is not just money, media, Hollywood and the music industry. These four things may be the tools to fuel the fire, but at the end of the day their “worshippers” keep them going. Remember, we are talking about idolatry here – not success or God raising people up. There are people who have global recognition that are indeed humble and promote idolatry-free environments. Right now, we are specifically addressing idolatry in the form of Hero Worship.
For a closer look at idol worship among the congregation, all you need to do is catch a couple of the most popular reality television programs. For a closer look at idol worship in the world overall, simply look at pop culture and the obsession with celebrity lives - not just in the Unites States, but in countries across the globe.
In looking back at my own life, two examples of global idolatry stand out to me more than any other:
  • The fanaticism surrounding Michael Jackson and the release of his album “Thriller” in 1982; and
  • The ridiculousness of global responses surrounding his death in 2009.
Talk about looking at outer appearances! These examples are classics, and I would assume that all of us have worshipped A PERSON other than God over the course of our lives. A true worshipper of Michael Jackson would be utterly offended that I even placed that example in this article.
When people place their affections on others in this light, they become “star-struck” – so fascinated and obssessed with a person that they literally and figuratively worship them as if they were God.
But God Looks at the Heart
Jeremiah 17:10 CJB says, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”
The entire context of this chapter is powerful. In short, the Lord is reminding us that two critical things are important to him: (1) that we love Him; and (2) that we love His people. The sin of idolatry strips away both of those as our affections are warped toward the outer appearance. His desire is for our souls to be for Him alone and our minds to be united with the mind of Christ.
Remember, the apostolic vision of God is singularly focused on reconciliation – of all things. Ministry integrity, accountability and truth are rooted in KNOWING AND UNDERSTANDING our purpose in the earth. You see people of God, this is what we should be searching out and searching for in people: This specific kind of heart for God.
The “inner appearance” is what our Father in Heaven seeks. If we’re going to chase something, let’s make sure we are chasing the true and living God. Next blog post, "Overcoming Hero Worship."
[1] All scripture, unless otherwise noted, is taken from the Complete Jewish Bible.
[2] Merriam-Webster Online,
[3] Oxford Dictionaries Online,

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