Christian Hollywood

12 03 2012

So over the past few years, one topic continues to nag at me more than any either. One area in the American Evangelical Church that seems to eat away at my conscious more than any other issue that can be found. This is the idea of “Christian Hollywood”, which the very term itself is an oxymoron to me, for I do not see how a true believer could idolize anyone other than Christ. However, this thought exists and prevails in our churches today.

Let me first explain what I mean by “Christian Hollywood”. I would describe Christian Hollywood, as putting a speaker, pastor, musician, or any other person for that matter on a high pedestal and calling them a “personality”, or “famous” for performing a ministerial role. This is typically seen at conferences, camps, retreats, and other events, where the person is brought in and paid a hefty sum of money to be a “personality” with the hopes that having that person there will sell tickets and attract a crowd to said event.

Also, here in the beginning let me say, that I do not believe that the musician, speaker, or personality is always to blame for this. Many times I feel that we, the Church, have been the biggest players in creating this Christian Hollywood. I believe, and know, there are many faithful men and women of God who use their art, skill, or gift to truly declare God’s glory, and point the attention to none other than Christ. The problem starts when those individuals begin to sell themselves, so to speak, in order to further their good name, and gain more notoriety in order to perpetuate themselves, and their “ministry”. In the end, what we’re left with is, men and women, who use and sell the Gospel in order  to further their ambitions.

So what would Scripture say to all of this. Well, in Exodus 20 when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, right out of the gate, was “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:2-3 ESV). So from the very get go, as you’ll recall, we see that God is a jealous God, and will take 2nd place to no one. That means at our conferences, camps, and all other events, the only personality to be on display is God! In Luke 14:26, Christ tells a large crowd, that a person can not be a disciple of His unless that person loves Christ so much that it appears as though he does not love his own life. This appears to be inconsistent with many “personalities” pursuing their own notoriety and fame under the guise of “ministry”. (again, not all)

I am not sure that demanding a certain dollar amount and specific luxuries screams, “I want to herald and lift high the glories of my Lord and Savior above all!” I would say that once a worship leader or teacher of Scripture begins to refuse certain events based on a dollar amount or size, they have ceased from doing the very job their title assumes. And I am very aware that Scripture teaches we should take care, financially, of those who lead us and serve us. So I am definitely an advocate of helping support those who serve well. But I would make sure first, that they are truly “ministering” and not just being paid for being “big-time” or “famous”.

So what then? I would admonish those who are planning events first, and say, let us be more careful and particular about how we go about planning events. Yes, big names draw big crowds, that has proven itself time and time again. But ask yourself, who are we drawing a crowd to? If it is Christ, then perhaps you do not need the biggest name you can get, perhaps that money could be better spent doing the ministry God has called the Church to, time and time again: “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17 ESV; also Micah 6:8 James 1:27)

And finally to my brothers in arms, do we need “Rider’s”? Must we seek the most money we can get from an event? Many have gone before us, who lived off less, and who did not pursue their own good or glory, but only that of our King. When did we start to believe that Christ’s words in Matthew 6 no longer applied to us? Remember when we were just glad to play our guitars and sing for anyone who might let us? When our only payment may have been a meal or t-shirt, if that? So I implore you brothers, lets seek Him and Him only, and follow in the foot steps of the many faithful who went before us who proved God faithful time and time again with their lives.

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