Some Thoughts about Celebrities Who Become Christians and Then…

Some Thoughts about Celebrities Who Become Christians and Then… October 27, 2019

Some Thoughts about Celebrities Who Become Christians and Then…

Recently, here in the United States, two very well-known musical celebrities have come out publicly as Christians. And by “Christians” I mean “born again Christians.” I mean they testify that turning to God through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior has changed their lives and they intend to live from now on as followers of Jesus Christ.

I feel bad for them.

*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not speak for any other person, group or organization; nor do I imply that the opinions expressed here reflect those of any other person, group or organization unless I say so specifically. Before commenting read the entire post and the “Note to commenters” at its end.*

You must wonder why I would say that I feel bad for them. It’s because I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed a pattern that works to new Christian celebrities’ disadvantage. Get in my “time machine” and go back with me to some past cases.

The pattern is so common that I will just mention some names and then describe their common experience. (Yes, their experiences differed; I’m not saying they didn’t. I’m talking about something they all went through in common.) Eldridge Cleaver, Bob Dylan, Jane Fonda, Johnny Cash. There. Just four names of a long list of names I could create here. I remember each one’s very public testimony of conversion and what followed.

In each case the immediate response was their enthusiastic embrace by evangelical Christians. In each case it was overwhelming. Suddenly they were in “big demand” at evangelical gatherings. And if they didn’t come, they were talked about by speakers. Christian publications put them on their front covers and published cover stories about their “horrible lives” before conversion and how wonderful it was for “us” that they were now one of us. Well, it was never quite said that way, but that was the gist of it.

Then, a brief period of watching them with rumors that their lives weren’t suddenly completely transformed into our way of life. They were seen here or there or were heard saying such-and-such or were somehow less than perfect. They joined a mega-church and people flocked to it just to catch a glimpse of them. Then they stayed away. Then they said or did something really strange. (Remember Eldridge Cleaver’s new pants design for men?) Then came the sudden end of the honeymoon period and ultra-conservative, fundamentalist pastors and “teachers” began to suggest from their pulpits that they weren’t “really converted” at all.

In the end, perhaps only months, perhaps a few years, after conversion they walked away from evangelical Christianity entirely and became who knows what? Bob Dylan converted to Judaism.

Americans are obsessed with celebrities. Evangelical Americans are obsessed with secular celebrities who convert to evangelical Christianity by being born again. Then we eat them. I’ve heard it said many times over the years that evangelical Christians are the only army that shoots its own wounded.

*Note to commenters: This blog is not a discussion board; please respond with a question or comment only to me. If you do not share my evangelical Christian perspective (very broadly defined), feel free to ask a question for clarification, but know that this is not a space for debating incommensurate perspectives/worldviews. In any case, know that there is no guarantee that your question or comment will be posted by the moderator or answered by the writer. If you hope for your question or comment to appear here and be answered or responded to, make sure it is civil, respectful, and “on topic.” Do not comment if you have not read the entire post and do not misrepresent what it says. Keep any comment (including questions) to minimal length; do not post essays, sermons or testimonies here. Do not post links to internet sites here. This is a space for expressions of the blogger’s (or guest writers’) opinions and constructive dialogue among evangelical Christians (very broadly defined).


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