LIBERIA'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE GLOBAL SPIRITUAL LANDSCAPE
A recent trend has overtaken evangelical churches and especially the charismatic, full gospel community in different parts of Africa. Congregations that were born out of a true inner work of the Holy Spirit through repentance, brokenness, and sacrifice are now being transformed into glorious human fabricated institutions full of pomp and pageantry. One of the signature trends of this development is the erecting of (can you believe it), "full gospel, charismatic, pentecostal cathedrals." Personally I do not have a problem with the building of magnificent structures where the saints (the real Church) gather to worship the living God. However, we do see a departure from sound scriptural foundations when more premium is placed upon these structures than the finished work of Christ on the cross. After the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, no building (no matter how expensive or magnificent) holds spiritual import in God's agenda for His Church. The Word clearly states that God does not dwell in man made temples (Acts 7:48).
The picture above shows a Bishop's chair (Cathedral of our Lady in Los Angeles) which is known as the "cathedra". I did not know, until recently, that this chair is the power behind the cathedral. Hence the cathedral is the building that houses the bishop's chair or his throne. This concept was borrowed from the ancient Roman courts. The Roman emperors decreed judgments and made proclamations from these thrones or cathedra. As the Bishop of Rome (the pope) became more powerful politically, the erection of a cathedra in the Church buildings became very enticing. Have you ever heard of the pope speaking "ex cathedra?" When the pope speaks from (ex) the cathedra he is deemed to be infallible in all matters of faith and morals. He becomes the vicar of Christ. No one in the Catholic religion can question what he says.
I was an altar boy in the catholic religion many years ago. I forsook all that for the simple faith in Jesus Christ who is the ONLY mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2:5). Did we leave all that junk behind to be mired again in such blatant error? Are our charismatic, pentecostal, full gospel Bishops now speaking "ex cathedra"? I hear a resounding 'no' for now. Is that always going to be the answer? The Bishops of Rome did not start out speaking ex cathedra.
Baron Acton (1834–1902), a historian and moralist, wrote these words in a letter in 1887:
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
He was writing to Bishop Mandell Creighton.