The words Christian celebrity together seem incompatible. But I think if we would all be completely honest, I believe we might have to admit this is what our Christian hero worship culture has created. Through social media we might actually get them to pay attention to us. We can call them the Christian elite or the Christian celebrities … it basically means the same thing.
The in-crowd, the cool kids, the popular lunch table vs. the ordinary kids looking on from a distance. Looking in hoping to get an autograph, a wave or any scrap of recognition, maybe even a smile flashed in their direction. Many of these people started out with the best intentions but, somewhere along the way, they switched tracks ever so slightly and ended up in a place where they became unrecognizable to the people with whom they started the journey. People say things like, “I don’t even know who this person is anymore.” That is a warning sign that pride might have crept in.
It isn’t totally their fault, as the Christian crowd is always looking for someone to lead them (or maybe, more accurately, tell them what to believe and think). It began innocently enough as these Christian celebrities wrote Bible studies and books and spoke at conferences. We all attended and even bought their stuff! They have booking agents and charge exorbitant speaking fees for gracing smaller churches with their presence. They took positions of power and influence over students. They started churches that became their kingdom. They believe they have the right to speak for all Christians.
They essentially pushed their lunch tables together and filled the seats with the “A list” of Christian celebrities. They compiled the rules for joining and, then, black-listed the “B list” who wouldn’t submit to their rules and jargon. They told their Christian followers who were approved to follow and who were excluded. They told them which people truly love Jesus and which don’t (because they don’t agree with the “A listers”). Then, the black-listed “B listers”celebrities and their followers were turned into a punchline by the cleverly worded tweets from the top “A list” Christian elite/ celebrity. And they all laughed and laughed and retweeted … dishonoring their position by demeaning other believers.
This isn’t a pretty picture for any of us in the kingdom. It’s shameful and disgraces the very God we all claim to serve. It, quite honestly, hurts the gospel of Jesus. What I see in scripture is men and women from every background, every age, every walk of life with every kind of problem and personality. I see God creating us specifically individual to weave a lovely tapestry of color and variety being loved and used by God to His glory. I see every generation serving Jesus together in the body of Christ. It is a beautiful picture — His Church — multigenerational and multicultural.
The thing I love the most about our “large, rich, white Baptist church” (as some of the Christian Celebrities have unfairly deemed us), is the fact that we literally have infants to 101-years-olds, and every age in between. We have every ethnic background, we have every socioeconomic strata represented, all worshipping and loving each other and our God. We are a family of believers. Our church is growing and seeing lives changed and reached with the gospel, contrary to what some of your Christian celebrities may have told you.
Have you been guilty of being condescending to the so-called “large rich, white Baptist church”? Have you judged and cast them out without knowing them? Do you just lump them all together and assume they are all the same? Do you judge them based on a past history? Do you denigrate the work of God in these churches because your Christian celebrities (CC) unjustly labeled them racist? They have put everyone in opposition — the older against the younger, causing divisions in the church. This is heartbreaking to me.
At a large conference my husband and I literally heard a famous “A list” CC husband and wife, say something to this effect as they spoke to a large group of Christian leaders, “Our generation is here now to try and clean up the mess your generation made of the gospel. So, since we’ve got this, you all can leave.” To date, that is one of the most disrespectful and ungodly things I have ever heard a Christian say, although I’ve heard some other doozies as of late.
In this hateful political climate, have we allowed the world to seep into our theology by building Christian communities that are more concerned about political correctness than reaching the lost for Jesus? Are we so busy warring within the church that we aren’t doing the work of the church? Have you heard yourself repeating things someone told you that you actually know nothing about? Have you learned to study both sides of the issues for yourself? Don’t allow anyone to use you to further his or her cause. Turn off the noise so you can hear the truth. Are you willing to stand up for what you know is right even if you are standing alone?
Are we more concerned with our image than our hearts? Are we trying to ‘one up’ the other cutting-edge churches on how much more cutting-edge we are then they? Do we try to be the coolest Christians out there? Have you been guilty of being condescending to the traditional churches … casting them out without knowing them or, at the very least, basing what you know on hearsay or past experience? Do you diminish the work of God in these churches because your Christian celebrity deemed them bigoted and calls into question the very faith of these believers? I’m just asking…. God help us!
It is certainly something to consider. The reason I ask and have concern is because when you roll this all back you see pride underneath, cloaked in the garb of ministry. When someone doesn’t have room for differences, I get really nervous about this person. Pray for Christ to give you discernment to clearly see who is of God.
I try to learn what I can from “the Christian celebrates.” But I also don’t take my marching orders from them and expect infallibility from them. I worship God alone, not the ministry of a man. I do believe it is true God has raised up certain men and women to spread His gospel and we need to pray they will not be careless with this task. I look for authenticity in every person who shoulders the responsibility of teaching others… “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1)
The main thing I look for is humility. In my opinion, that is the true test.
I will continue down this road in my next post but focusing on the topic of apologizing correctly according to God’s word.
“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” (Romans 12:16)
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)