Tuesday, February 25

Power corrupts -- again


The more power one has, the more likely that one will abuse power. This has once again been demonstrated with the fall of South Korean pastor David Yonggi Cho -- once highly revered as the founder of the world's largest Pentecostal megachurch. Last Thursday he was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling US$12 million in church funds.

This is more than an indictment of his "full gospel" theology. It speaks against our evangelical love affair with large, highly visible, and centralized structures that naturally nurture this kind of abuse. Some of the fault lies with our celebrity fixation. As soon as we turn someone into a celebrity it becomes very difficult for him or her to maintain character. The power we vest is corrupting.

John Dalberg-Acton put it this way, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

So, you can see why I'm naturally suspicious of people with great vision -- especially those whose vision revolves around their leadership. It's easy to project where things are headed. In contrast are the smaller and decentralized systems. These simpler types of structures not only have the potential for more agility and genuine mission effectiveness but they also diminish the potential for great corruption.

Huff Post story

Here is another side to the story -- "David Yonggi Cho of South Korean Megachurch Supported by American Pastor Bob Rodgers After $12M Embezzlement Conviction"
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