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The Cyclical Corruption of Leadership

Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”

Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”

Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”

Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.— Exodus 32:1–6

The short time it took the Israelites to go from following the One True God to a golden calf is almost as puzzling to many of us as the multiple prongs of transition which we have witnessed take hold in the mainstream Church in just the past 30 or 40 years. Like the children of Israel coming out of Egypt, who witnessed and experienced an authentic movement of God, many of us older folk came out of an authentic revival from the late 60s and 70s popularly known as the Jesus Movement. And in similar fashion, some of us wonder how it is possible for so many “golden calves” to have been introduced into mainstream Evangelicism in the meantime.

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