English: Rick Warren speaks at the 2006 TED co...Loyalty can be a very endearing quality.  Standing along side a friend when they are going through a rough patch, or staying true to your spouse when he or she is going through some challenges is noble and a desirable quality.

And when it comes to Christian leaders, we must do all we can to understand the challenges they face as leaders and be slow to criticize if they say something that offends us.  Leaders often have to say difficult things to those they lead, challenging them—and our flesh does not like to be challenged.

But ultimately, Christians need to decide where their ultimate loyalty lies—with man or God?  When Peter was dragged in front of the Sanhedrin for questioning and told to stop preaching the gospel, he stated “We must obey God rather than men.”  Peter knew what we all know deep down—that our leaders are not infallible and they will make mistakes—and when push comes to shove, that God’s teachings must trump man’s.

Does this mean we should go on a witch hunt looking for the first time a leader gets something wrong so we can publicly challenge and humiliate him?  Of course not!  We are to respect our leaders and if we think they are wrong, confront them biblically, seeking clarification and ultimately the truth of God revealed in the Bible.  But what do we do when the leader continues on an unbiblical path, leading people astray?  Do we sit back silently and do nothing, letting God sort it out?  That is what many seem to think—the only problem is that is not what the scriptures tell us to do.

David challenged Saul when the king started disobeying God; Jesus spoke out strongly against certain Pharisees for their hypocrisy and wrong teachings, and Paul named names of leaders leading people astray for personal gain with a false gospel.  So what do we do with leaders like Rick Warren who started off doing great things for the Kingdom of God, but have now strayed preaching a social gospel and yoking himself with unbelievers?  Do we simply ignore what is going on, allowing him to rest on past laurels?  Or do we hold our leaders accountable to the Word of God, testing everything they teach against the scriptures as the Bereans did?

I believe we are living in the times when the Lord is beginning to separate His true sheep from the goats.  Sadly more and more of our Christian leaders are embracing secular culture and humanism at the expense of the truth of God’s Word.  We sit by idly as millions of children are murdered through abortion, and now many leaders are either embracing homosexuality as acceptable or choosing to remain silent about it out of fear of offending their church members or the government.

Read the Book of Revelation and you will see that God rewards those who remain faithful to the end, even though they may endure hardship.  Paul exhorts us to run the good race to its completion—but sadly many Christians and Christian leaders seem to be pulling up lame as we approach the finish line.  Great athletes push through the pain and finish the game with their best effort.  As Christians we must do the same.  Are we as Christians more concerned with what the world thinks about us instead of pleasing God?  Are our leaders selling out for popularity with the world at the risk of being ashamed of the gospel?

Challenging times are ahead as we begin to see real persecution and discrimination against Christians in this nation and around the world.  Each of us will find out who we truly worship when tough times come—God or the things of this world.  We will have to choose if we follow and obey God or men.

Are we ready?