believe this write-up is for those who are spiritually discerning, not necessarily religious people. It is my prayer, even before I write what is on my heart that the Holy Spirit will bring revelation to all who read. John the beloved apostle wrote more about the anti-Christ by name than any other writer, Paul used other names such as "man of sin", and other writers used generic names such as false prophets.
One clear evidence of the anti-Christ is how his "Charisma" or effervescent personality would move people to his side and against God. After being a "Christian" all my life (50+), and half of that as a born-again Christian and yet another 16+ in full-time ministry, to say i'm frustrated is an understatement. For this particular write-up, my goal is to shine some light on how in Christian Religion we are now more encumbered by the cult of personality (Charisma) vs. being strong on the Principles of the Kingdom.
In World System methodology - Charisma is HUGE, cultic following is built around a "Charismatic leader" - a popular figure and a product is then attached to that figure, so large sales can be achieved. This is a perfect scenario when one considers human nature. It is however different for those of us, who are spiritually rebirth and belong to the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
For True Believers, we do not follow Charisma (whether in the name of anointing or gifts) we follow based on honor - those who adhere to or teach unrepentantly the Principles of the Kingdom of Heaven, even when it is NOT convenient for them. When you find a "Church or Fellowship" like this stay put (they are rare today).
What is NOW common is that the CHURCH (body of Christ), have now built a cult of following around a Charismatic leader (many times in the name of anointing and/or gift), but strict adherence to Kingdom Principles (not as defined by the Charismatic leader but by scipture) is out of the window. It is frustrating to see many quote their favorite Charismatic Leader, than quote a written Word in context.
Charisma is actually a gift from God - all you have to do is read the beginning of the Gospel in the book of Acts. On the first mission trip, Joseph (aka Barnabas) led the trip but half-way through Paul was the leader because of his Charisma (see Acts 13 and 14). Paul recognized God's gifts of knowledge, Wisdom and Eloquence in his life and was willing to die, rather than have people see him as an intermediary to God (a demi-god), not as an under-shepherd to the Great Shepherd.
I believe we are to honor those who labor amongst us, we are to honor those God are called and gifted for offices within the body of Christ (see 1 Corinth. 12 and Romans 13), however, we are NOT or NEVER to worship them nor follow their "Tradition of Men" rather as Jesus told the Jews about the Pharisees "Do what they say when they teach the law of Moses, but don't do what they do".
I consider myself one of those leaders, because I do have some influence, those who know me well - know that I'm very careful with been seen as an intermediary (or extra special), I actually go out of my way not to have titles but have informal relationships, not to promote myself or gift but the Truth in God's Word (and let folks know - I struggle like you do by sharing my own journey - which is anti-thesis to leading Charismatically, projecting an image).
My prayer is that we all act like the Bereans who understand the importance of leaders (pastors, teachers, prophet, etc.) but also understand the importance of double-checking what they are told or taught with God's Word to establish God's Truth. We must thank God for His gifts to us (spiritual and natural) but we must be watchful about following the cult of personality, instead of the Principles of God's Kingdom on Earth.
William Femi Awodele is the Executive Director of Christian Couples Fellowship International, Inc. and a Vice-Chair of Embrace the Heartland in Prayer (http://www.prayheartland.com)