The Celebrity Christian Conundrum
Evangelicals love celebrities. Every time a celebrity makes a profession of faith, they are instantly heralded as Christian by a hoard of evangelicals. While celebrities can certainly be Christians and some are of the elect, much of the times these “Christian celebrities” aren’t really Christian at all.
Bono from the band U2 has made a claim to be a Christian and added that calling Jesus a “good thinker” isn’t enough because Jesus claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God (Source). After this, many evangelicals heralded him as a Christian celebrity, but what they neglected to watch was Bono also promoting the Coexist agenda in one of his concerts, repeating, “Jesus. Jew. Mohammad. It’s true.” (Source).
Clay Aiken refers to himself as a proud Southern Baptist, and Christian Music Planet refers to him as an “American Idol Christian” (Source). However, this claim falls short in light of him being an open homosexual who has spoken for Gay Rights (Source), and in one incident shamed YMCA counselors for singing “overtly Christian songs” (See Page 228 of “Learning to Sing”)
Clay Aiken isn’t the only “Christian Celebrity” to promote homosexuality. Carrie Underwood got the “Christian Celebrity” status from her popular worship song called “Jesus Take the Wheel”. However, she took the wheel back into her own hands on the gay issue. She went as far to cite Christianity as to why she is Pro-Gay (Source).
Despite the high amounts of profanity and crude jokes in his comedies, Tyler Perry is also Christianized by the populace. However, Perry made an appearance at T.D. Jakes’s church, donating $1,000,000 to a Word of Faith, Anti-Trinitarian cult (Source).
Politicians aren’t immune to this either. In the 2012 election, both Mitt Romney (Mormon) and Paul Ryan (Roman Catholic) were heralded as the Christian choices for the election, and one organization went as far as to remove all references to Mormonism as a cult from their website. This isn’t the only case in which the cultic nature of Mormonism was ignored, as Glenn Beck is often referred to as a Christian, and has even been invited to speak at churches for Sunday Worship (Source).
More recently, Marco Rubio was also made out to be a Christian by Russell Moore, Greg Laurie, and Eric Teetsel. Despite this, Marco Rubio has said, “I’m fully theologically and doctrinally aligned with the Roman Catholic Church” (Source). At the same time, James Dobson and Jerry Fallwell, Jr. have acted as if Donald Trump is a true Christian, not even giving a second look to his pagan lifestyle and unorthodox beliefs.
This evangelical fascination with celebrities that claim to be Christians is harmful. Often times they aren’t Christians at all (As evidenced by their actions and beliefs). When one comes out as a new believer, they will probably let us down if we expect them to be as mature as a 40-years-a-Christian pastor. This obsession has harmed both how we apply the doctrine of justification (Nowadays, you can either be saved by grace through faith or by being famous and claiming to believe in God) and how we treat younger believers (Instead of discipling them and training them up, we put them on a pedestal and expect us to be taught by them). We need to be cautious with how we approach celebrities who make professions of faith and try to treat them like every other professed believer.
[Contributed by Brandon Hines]