Gal 4:17 They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.
The goal of the narcissist and his/her cousins (revilers, abusers, sociopaths) is to be regarded as the center of the universe. Other people exist only to “make much” of them. And one of the most common arenas such wolves operate in is the pulpit of the local church.
Now, sometimes the chosen method for this self-idolater is legalism. The Pharisees went this way, laying all kinds of their own inventions on people and claiming those traditions to be God’s commands. The purpose was to gain the praise and worship of those they enslaved. Offering long prayers, hands uplifted, wearing clergy “garb,” and so on.
But another common mode of choice by these kind is what we might call “Broadway.” Listen to this description:
The Apostle Paul condemned those whose only desire was to sit on the fence in order to please the world, and thereby escape persecution….Having seen that pure doctrine and the truth of God are unacceptable to the world, but that wicked men are incensed against it, these people, I say, seek to find some way to avoid creating bad feeling and incurring hatred. This being so, if we today were to interview people with at least some good sense, we would scarcely find one in a hundred of them who would admit that there are errors in the Papacy (ie, the Roman Catholic religion).
Why? Because they desire to be esteemed and highly credited, and because it is all the same to them if they betray the purity of the gospel, provided they can remain exempt from persecution. What is it that motivates them but the fact that they wish to be valued and to acquire a good reputation.
We must learn to see this for what it is and to reject all such glorying and instead glory only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to us and we to the world.
[John Calvin, Sermons on Galatians, p 646ff, Banner of Truth]
The Broadway man may on his surface appear to be nice and accepting, a fine Christian it would seem. This is the kind of pastor most local churches want in their pulpits. He brings in people and money. He gives no offense. [Interesting, isn’t it, that the Bible says the gospel of Jesus Christ is an offense to the sinner. An inoffensive gospel is no gospel at all].
As it turns out though, the Broadway man is the classic wolf in sheep’s clothing. A sheep’s disguise but in reality a savage ravenous spiritual wolf. Point out his false gospel and the fangs come out.
We need to wise up to this diabolic business. We need to stop being so impressed with “nice guys” in the pulpits. We have no excuse for being sucked into this trap – after all, God’s Word warns us about it repeatedly. These flatterers only flatter in order to enslave. They are servants of Satan. Too harsh, someone might say? Well, how should we regard a pastor or other church leader who fills the pews with people, tells them they are bound for heaven, when all along they evidence no fruit of Christ’s Spirit at all? Such a man is a minion of the devil who, like some dark Pied Piper, leads people down Broadway, straight into hell.