We Don’t Need A Leader

or Breaking Free from the Personality Cult


Bojidar Marinov writes:

The personality cult, the One Great Leader Who Leads the Masses has never been a Conservative value. It certainly has never been a Christian value. The very idea of Conservatism—and especially the American type Christian Conservatism—has always been suspicious toward a system where one person focuses the hopes and the expectations of the movement and leads them according to his will or goals. Christianity has always been firm that there is only one legitimate Leader—Jesus Christ—and He leads through His Holy Spirit. All human leaders are by default imperfect, fallible, and all of them need to be under close scrutiny and healthy criticism by the very people they lead into battle.

It is by no coincidence that we in America don’t have One Great Founding Father. Although we honor George Washington somewhat above the others, we talk about our Founding Fathers, many Fathers. It wasn’t one person that organized and led the First American Revolution, it was a constellation of local leaders who inspired, taught, encouraged their countrymen to fight against tyranny. They all contributed their share, and even though they weren’t always in agreement with each other, or sometimes even disliked one another personally, they were able to work together for the common cause, and they worked and fought like one man, with only Jesus Christ being their Leader and Captain. Compared to other revolutions in other nations, America did not have its Napoleon, nor its Bismark, nor its Lenin, or Stalin, or Mao, or Atatürk, or Hussein. It was a collective effort of free individuals, each one educated and competent and committed, and willing to contribute their talents and effort to the victory over tyranny.

Even more than that, while we talk today about those political leaders as our Founding Fathers, in reality the real leadership was in the hands of the multitude of Presbyterian, Baptist, and Congregationalist preachers and ministers in the small villages and the coastal cities of the colonies. George Washington’s army did not almost freeze to death at Valley Forge for the sheer fear or worship of him as a military hero—he was still to prove as one. The peasant boys and young  craftsmen’s apprentices were motivated by a call to a higher purpose in life; and such a call could come only from their pastors, for no politician can ever promise higher purpose in life. It was the “black regiment” of preachers who made it possible, and today we don’t even remember most of the names of those preachers who made America possible.

No, there wasn’t one person, One Leader who did it all. There was a generation of leaders with one purpose and one vision.

And just like then, today we don’t need One Great Leader to lead us.

Related to this theologically is the biblical theme covered in There Can Only Be One.

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