Posted On March 27, 2018

Our Deadly Obsession with Celebrity Culture

by | Mar 27, 2018 | The Gospel and the Ministry, Featured

Evangelicals have a deadly problem. Our obsession with celebrity culture is a cancer destroying our churches from the inside out.

You can see this obsession on display in a number of places. For one thing, every celebrity or an athlete who mentions God or stands up for conservative values becomes an instant poster child for many of us. Acceptance speeches, victory speeches, and interview sound bytes are replayed and reposted on social media to the delight of many.

Are we looking to celebrities to gives us some sort of validation for what we believe? Are we ready to embrace any pop culture icon who says “Jesus” because we’re so tired of the elites running our faith into the ground? Are we hoping to find religious street cred simply because some actor, athlete, or pundit said something with which we agree? Are we simply wanting to find someone to give us a voice in the cultural conversation?

Our eagerness to embrace celebrity can also be seen within our churches. Publishing, conferences, blogs, and podcasts have produced an entirely new class of Christian celebrity. Additionally, social media provides just about everyone with access to these celebrities who are otherwise far removed from our daily lives.

I know we’ve had “famous” evangelists and televangelists in the past, and I know there’s nothing new under the sun. Celebrity pastors have been around ever since the Corinthians debated the merits of Paul, Apollos, and Peter. Nevertheless, I do think today’s cultural environment has provided conditions that are particularly toxic. The ubiquity of social media and celebrity culture in the United States has led to the rise of a new class of Christian celebrities. Millions look to these gurus for guidance, validation, talking points, and dare I say it entertainment.

What’s the problem with a Christian class of celebrities? Well, just watch the news. On a weekly basis, you’ll find stories of another Christian leader caught in a scandal. On a weekly basis, you’ll find stories of another prominent Christian who has been accused of wrongdoing. On a weekly basis, you’ll find stories of another celebrity-of-the-month whose actions have betrayed the gullible trust we placed in them. On a weekly basis, you’ll find stories of another Christian celebrity whose faith has “evolved” away from that which was once for all delivered to the saints.

Our celebrities repeatedly let us down, and these celebrity implosions are no respecter of theological conviction. Those falling from prominence come from each and every theological tribe. There are several critical lessons to be learned from our deadly obsession with celebrity culture.

First, we don’t really know the celebrities we connect with via social media. You can follow this pastor, you can watch that speaker, and you can repost that blogger, but most of us don’t actually know these Christian celebrities. We may know their stated convictions, but we have no way of knowing if and how those convictions are lived out in real life.

Second, anyone is capable of falling into sin. To think your preferred Christian celebrity would never or could never “do that” is the pinnacle of folly and hubris. The apostle Paul warns those who stand to take heed lest we fall. We could apply Paul’s advice to those us who are prone to look up to our favorite Christian celebrity as infallible champions of our faith. You’d better take heed because your preferred champion just might fall.

Third, trusting in man always leads to disappointment. Our idolatry of megachurch pastors, popular bloggers, and best selling authors is nothing less than deadly. Setting up any mere human as our champion is a recipe for disaster and disappointment. We are asking these leaders to fill a role in our lives that they will never be able to fill.

Last, our fascination with celebrity is a betrayal of who we are as Christians. We have a celebrity, and his name is Jesus of Nazareth. He was an unassuming Jewish carpenter from Nazareth who, as it turns out, was God in human flesh. The Bible tells us that Jesus didn’t cling to his exalted, celebrity status, but humbled himself by becoming a servant. His followers are called to do the same. Become a servant, die to self, and die to celebrity.

Related Posts

The Local Church and the Preaching of the Word of God

The Local Church and the Preaching of the Word of God

On today’s Warriors of Grace show, Dave considers Jesus’ use of Scripture in preaching, why church members need good expository preaching, the nature of biblical preaching, and the biblical foundations of the Holy Spirit in preaching. What You'll Hear On This Episode...

Blessed Are Those Not Offended by Christ

Blessed Are Those Not Offended by Christ

Matthew’s story of John the Baptist asking who Jesus was (Matt. 11:1-6) deserves our undivided attention. This is a familiar passage we should run to in time of need. John the Baptist was imprisoned at the outset of Jesus’ public ministry (Matthew 4:12), so he had...

Biblical Authority In a Postmodern World

Biblical Authority In a Postmodern World

On today’s Equipping You in Grace show, Sarah and Dave Jenkins talk about the doctrine of Scripture and the Christian life, how biblical morality and sexuality is under attack today, along with Dave’s new book, The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against...

Wise Versus Foolish Responses

Wise Versus Foolish Responses

Proverbs 29:11, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.” Things have been a bit rough recently at work. The opportunity to spill out with angry words in response to the actions or even perceived actions of others seems to know no...

Weekly Roundup 8/1/2022-8/6/2022

Weekly Roundup 8/1/2022-8/6/2022

This is our weekly roundup of posts for 8/1/2022-8/6/2022. If you have any feedback on how we can serve you our readers better, I would appreciate it. Thank you for reading and allowing us to minister to you throughout this past week through these posts. Monday...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Our Deadly Obsession with Celebrity Culture - The Aquila Report - […] Read More […]
  2. Weekly Roundup of Links 3/26/2018-3/31/2018 - Servants of Grace - […] Our Deadly Obsession with Celebrity Culture by Landon Coleman. https://servantsofgrace.org/our-deadly-obsession-with-celebrity-culture/ […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share13
Tweet
Email
Reddit
Share