10 Red Flags About Christian Celebrities and Ministries

10 Red Flags About Christian Celebrities and Ministries May 16, 2016

AnsweringQuiverfullTaken from the comments and written by one of NLQ’s commenters Abigail Smith on Samantha Field’s The Smell Test: 5 Signs of a Toxic Church

I formulated these “10 Red Flags” about “Christian” celebrities and ministries during my escape from QF over the last few years

1) Unbalanced- you just sense something is wrong but it sounds good and holy and everything is “backed up” with scripture verses (antidote: the gospel is so simple that even children can understand it)

2) the bloggers, pastors, etc “minister” to you with condescension and without true humility. They delight in themselves and not the Lord. If there were no internet or social media, would they be content to anonymously serve the Lord without posting pictures of themselves doing it?

3) they say they know exactly what EVERYONE needs to do (one size fits all mentality) and they must have lots of “followers”, who then will defend them without thinking for themselves if what has been said is true and especially what every woman needs to do. They are flaky and “flighty” especially for the women…an “affected” quiet spirit but it looks phony, and usually forced wearing of skirts/dresses.

4)the Holy Spirit is minimized or just plain left out- who needs Him when you have them to tell you what to do?

5)hyperfocus on avoiding carnality (I call this the Chocolate Cake Conundrum…if you tell a dieter they can’t have chocolate cake, all they want is chocolate cake)

6)say one thing but does another (hypocrites in personal lives)

7)will answer only detractors (and smear them) but can’t support any honest inquiry or dialogue

8) they have a “formula” to follow (cloaked legalism), which “happens” to be promoted in their latest book or TV show and they chose choose riches over a “good name” as the bible truly encourages. And for a fee, they can come talk to your church group or conference about it.

9) very “pious” sounding but no real Christian fruit in their lives

10) they do not have self-control, and they convince others to believe they can’t possibly have it either (antidote: self control is one of the fruits of the spirit)

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  • Jennny

    The minister I respected most when I went to church was the one who got up at 1am to make sure the creaky central heating system had activated to make the church warm for morning service – the caretaker lived some distance away and the minister was just next door. When the church hall needed painting, he and others worked most of the night to finish it in one session, he didn’t give the orders, just put on old clothes and did the job. Didn’t his jesus say something about ‘serving’ and ‘washing one another’s feet’. Not being an autocrat way above all criticism.

  • Mel

    I can think of a few others that I think of as the “Gothard” rules.

    1) The minister/pastor is under no authority but God (e.g. there is no person or groups of people that can rein the minister in when he goes off the deep end.) Solution: either the pastor is under the authority of a “higher” minister (like the bishop – pope system) OR the pastor is under authority of a freely elected board of church members. (No, neither system is perfect and abuses still occur, but it can limit the power of the minister.)

    2) The minister/pastor believes priest-penitent privilege is bi-directional. It’s not. The privilege protects the penitent from the priest sharing information. The penitent can share all information shared by the priest/pastor however the penitent wants whenever they want without penalty.

    3) Matthew 18 is held up as the only way to interact when sin is discovered. Seriously, it’s a decent way of dealing with minor issues, but it has to be discarded as soon as the sin is harming anyone outside of the sinner.

  • texcee

    Amen to that. The man I consider my pastor, even though I don’t attend church any longer, served faithfully for nearly 40 years at my hometown church. Then, feeling called in another direction, he went into a local ministry and served there for nearly 20 years. By now he was well into his 70’s and he retired from that and returned to his old church as minister to senior citizens. I was 7 years old when he came to this church. He baptized me, performed my wedding, baptized my child, and has presided at the funerals of my parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. He is the purest example of a real Christian I’ve ever met. He’s now into his 80’s and still faithfully serving.

  • texassa

    John Hagee and co.

  • texassa

    See also: Joel Osteen.

  • Poster Girl

    Just about any fundie college as well as the “local churches” they deem acceptable to send kids to them. First Baptist/Hyles-Anderson, BJU, PCC, Golden State Baptist College, Crown College, Pensacola Bible Institute. Any place that celebrates “founders day” or otherwise lionizes the founder of the school.

    Another group are those “chain churches” run by some hip charismatic guy around 45 with an acceptably-hot wife and 3-5 kids. He preaches at the “main campus” but you can totally check into an abandoned warehouse closer to home and watch him via satellite at your “local campus!” Lifechurch and Mars Hill come immediately to mind, but there are countless others in fundagelical territory that fit this description.

    Then of course you have the Gothards and Vaughn whatever his name is, who take it even further with their homeschooling and home-churching and conferences.

    And I’m still trying to figure out where the likes of Sam Gipp and Peter Ruckman and Jack Chick, and all the other over-the-top overt racists who lost their filter back during the Nixon administration, fit in.

  • RetroPam

    Some Scriptures come to mind:

    For #2, Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

    #3, all of 1 Corinthians 12.

    #4 gets Matthew 15:8-9, ‘These people honor me with their lips,but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

    #5 gets Colossians 2:20-23: “Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

    #8, Acts 8:15-22: “When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

    When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

    Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord in the hope that he may forgive you for having such a thought in your heart.”

    #10: Galatians 5:22-23 reference already appears.

    Jesus rebuking the Pharisees cover the rest pretty well.