The author, Carl Trueman, starts off by recounting his beginnings of his professorship at Westminster by the East Coast. He was asked by a group of students to talk theology in a public venue, or rather a local meeting place. And then he goes off to discuss the dangers of personality cults for young impressionable students, who often feel a sense of camaraderie when they find a prof. that they like.
And he argues that: if you worship a professor or teacher or pastor, you will come to be like them, warts and all, and probably in an exaggerated way. That is why so many professorial disciples sound like cheap, lightweight versions of the original; they are basically idolaters, and what you see in their lives and language is the inevitable result of their idolatry. Then he brings up the cross.
The process of becoming impressed with a professor or teacher or pastor is not what the cross teaches us about how to go about engaging such influencers. To become addicted to those cults or to join those who end up modeling themselves after them tend to try to act like them, but instead of being told not to be like them, we are reminded that this idolatry splits up families and churches.
Back in my college days, I'd absorb the material to digest it for the final exam. And students outside of the class might find it quite strange to walk in on any given lecture because the way that Music does University, for example, is different than the way normal departments train students for their life after their professors impress them. Taking the same class together gives you an insider's view.
So, if our motivation is to follow an influencer around to be like them, perhaps that is not a cross-like way of approaching them. And I think back how often I mimic my own influencers unintentionally because they seemed to be powerful and attractive persons, who I can gain insight and prestige from to feel superior to those outside of my peer group. So, if we are aware of this maybe it's not too late.