Gospel Soundcheck

Gospel Soundcheck

Questioning the idea of Christian celebrities

JesusMadeinAmerica.jpgI stumbled across this quote today on a blog:
“Contemporary Christian Music…represents for many contemporary evangelicals the sum of their theological training and discipleship.”
Apparently it’s from the book Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to the Passion of the Christ, Stephen J. Nichols, (Downers Grove: IVP, 2008 p.16).
I have to say that I agree that the Christian culture has created a community where we treat music artists as the mediators of our faith. If we go to a Chris Tomlin concert and sing some worship songs, we’re somehow holier for it, because, of course, everyone knows that Christian music artists have a direct pipeline to God.


I asked Jeremy Camp once if he thought the Christian community had elevated artists like himself to celebrity status, and this is what he told me:
“Yes, and I think it’s wrong. I think that we can have people be examples and maybe mentors, an encouragement in the body, but there’s no difference between us, anyway. So to elevate a Christian artist – which is something that God has given them [to do], who God is to receive the glory – to celebrity status is something I think is not right. But I think that artists, though, need to display that in our actions towards people and how we’re involved with people.”
Despite the fact that his face is plastered on posters and t-shirts, he said he needs to display humility and always have a servant’s heart – which if you meet Jeremy Camp for even a few minutes you know is a genuine desire. The guy is just niceness personified.
Later that night he even mentioned our conversation from the stage, and encouraged the audience to remember that we’re all gifted in different ways, and we each bless each other. His gift just happens to put him on a stage, but that doesn’t make him any better or more important than them.
And yet the question remains: Do Christians think that their music artists are smarter, holier, more knowlegable about the Bible and religion? Do you think Christians live their faith vicariously through Christian celebrities?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Dave Weiss

posted August 1, 2008 at 10:58 am

I’d say yes but also through our pastors through our missionaries, through anyone that does Christianity so we don’t have to. The challenge for us all is to grasp the position of these people. I mentioned this in my guest blog a few weeks back but it applies here as well. Ephesians 4:11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, these are the gifts our artists and our leaders receive and too often we get the idea that their job is to entertain us. We see this in too many churches if the pastor doesn’t put on a good show saying things that comfort us and don’t step on too many toes they soon find themselves somewhere else. but that is not their purpose. God gives these gifts not so that we would be entertained but instead “12to prepare God’s people (that’s us) for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. God gifts these people to build us up to serve the world around us and in the process of becoming more like Jesus.

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The Reformer

posted August 22, 2008 at 3:56 pm

I can’t stand Christian Celebrity. It is completely hypocritical and goes against the very nature of Christ and the Bible. I wish more Christians musicians, pastors, authors, etc. would be more like Jeremy Camp and stay out of the spotlight. But these fools, all they want is attention. People like Rick Warren drive me nuts. Stop using the name of Christ to try and become a politician. If you want to be on CNN every night go run for political office, but stop using your position as a pastor to get some PR time. It’s really sad.
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