Media being what it is, once a Christian celebrity’s fame goes viral, once a person has been part of a mainstream show, sitcom, or a national theatrical platform they are given a potentially dangerous voice in the culture. The truth is that a mainstream voice is louder and more influential on society than a formal academic or even ecclesiastical voice. The danger with this is obvious; simply being a Christian athlete, actor/actress or TV personality does not qualify you to represent the theological positions of the Christian faith.
I remember years ago, Deon Sanders being propped up on TBN as a preacher shortly after his supposed conversion. He did not know the bible, theology, doctrine or have any theological training at all; yet, simply because of his celebrity status, Sanders was an automatic spokesman for the Christian faith. Furthermore it is remarkable how society runs crown celebrity personalities as the official representatives of Christian beliefs. It is as if they have simply chosen to ignore thousands of years orthodox Christian teaching on matters like sexuality, anthropology, and other moral, ethical, and philosophical issues.
Once a Christian celebrity hits the mainstream media what they say and what they believe is taken as indicative of Christian scholarship. This becomes an increasing threat to the integrity of the Gospel with an ever-increasing media driven age that lives on soundbites, vines, and hashtags. The result of all of this is cheap theology, cheap doctrine and a shallow Christian worldview that usually results in total capitulation with cultural trends and immoral lifestyles.
It seems to me that after CNN’s Larry King Live show, getting someone like John MacArthur onto mainstream media has become increasingly difficult. Instead, we see young converts, non-theological presentations and perspectives by Christian celebrities who are often ill equipped to give biblical answers, to simple ethical issues such as homosexuality, “gay-marriage”, and civil rights issues such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Such was the case yet again with Fox News analyst Kirsten Powers who recently made some unbiblical statements about the hot button issue of “gay-marriage” on her recent USA Today article entitled, “Kristen Powers: Christianity’s New Look on Gays.”
Not surprisingly, Powers cites such liberal author as Matthews Vines and James Brownson who both call for a radical revision of the biblical text on the issue of homosexuality. Powers seems to envision and even favor that revisionist approach to Scripture. Powers also agrees with connecting the issue of homosexuality with the churches controversy over divorce and remarriage stating ultimately, “Perhaps the same question should be asked about gay Christians.” What she means is that as many theologians were forced to grapple with reasons for remarriage, again the church needs to grapple with whether or not homosexual relationships are a sin. This is why, “celebrity Christians” should not be thought of as being qualified to inform the church or culture on theological issues just because they are famous. Like Vines and Brownson, Powers does not interact with meaningful scholarship from any of the leading conservative seminaries and schools. All there is at the end of the day is a seeming obsession with making Scripture say the opposite of what it truly says that marriage is between one man and one woman (Gen. 2.24-25; Mal. 2.14; Mt. 19.3-6), that any other type of sexual relationship is sinful (Lev. 20; 20.13; Gal. 5.19-21; Col. 3.5-6), that the bible condemns all sexual immorality (Heb. 13.4; Rev. 21.18), and that homosexuality is unnatural (Lev. 20.13; Rom. 1.26-27), unlawful, unbiblical and anti-Christian (1 Tim. 1.8-11), and that it will keep a person out of the Kingdom of God for eternity (1 Cor. 6.9; Rev. 22.15), and will result in eternal shame and condemnation in Hell (Jer. 23.40; Dan. 12.2; Rev. 20.11-15).
Although this is getting harder to say in our post-modern world, true biblical Christianity will never tire of doing so. One has to wonder, where is Kirsten Power’s church? Accountability? And her elders— what do they say? Do they not have enough discernment to warn her of the exegetical fallacies of such works as that of Matthew Vines? To my knowledge, Powers was attending Tim Keller’s church, Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC, what a sad reflection this is of Keller’s oversight especially if nothing is ever said or done. Christians need to exercise the utmost discernment with any Christian celebrity regardless of their popularity and influence (no matter where they attend church). As much as we should celebrate the true conversion of any celebrity, we have to remember that this does not make the person a theologian de facto. This latest Power’s article brings us ever closer to the impeding Christian “civil war” over the issue of Biblical sexuality as more lines continue to be drawn on both sides.
Emilio Ramos is the preaching pastor of Heritage Grace Community Church. Pastor Emilio is committed to the expository and exegetical teaching of the Word of God. Emilio is also the author of Convert, From Adam to Christ and the founder of redgracemedia.com- a media ministry devoted to the glory of God’s redemptive grace through Jesus Christ. He and his wife Trisha live in Dallas, TX.