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Celebrity Christianity Is Not Real Christianity

Posted by admin in March 18th, 2021
Published in Uncategorized

In a March 3, 2021, interview with ChurchLeaders.com, (see link below), Tim Keller said, “I personally don’t think same-sex marriage is a good idea.”

Really? Not a good idea? Uh…How about it being sin?!? I think it’s always a bad idea to sin, but calling sin “not a good idea,” especially for a Bible teacher, well that’s just odd.

Keller goes on to say that Christians have been kicked out of government positions, university teaching jobs, and removed from any influence in the public square due to our own unkindness and brutal responses to the LGBTQ community. His words, “We brought it on ourselves.” He later says, “Why couldn’t we just love them the way Jesus did?”

Do evangelicals love the homosexual community? I think they do! Does Jesus love the homosexual community? Yes! Absolutely! He loves all of us just as He finds us, but He transforms us into new creatures who follow Him in obedience to His Word. And for evangelicals to speak out and say to the LGBTQ community, “This is wrong,” well, that’s still an act of love. In fact, warning a person of danger can be the greatest love—it’s life-saving love.

As to offending people, in Luke 11:45, just after Jesus explained to the crowd they were wrong and that sin was killing them, a man replied, “Teacher, when you say these things you insult us.” Jesus was speaking the Truth to them and they were offended. I think Keller misunderstands that people being offended is often part and parcel of them hearing a Truth they simply don’t like. In fact, the Church has a 2000-year history of offending people. Anyone remember John the Baptist? But according to Keller’s podcast, evangelicals are simply reaping the consequences of our own actions because we spoke out against the LGBTQ agenda and therefore brought persecution on ourselves. Then he says, “Stop being such cry babies about it.” And if you say, as a Christian, “I think America was destined for better than this.” Keller will call you a Christian nationalist—and that’s a bad thing, but don’t be offended.

Celebrity Christians—whether it’s Beth Moore telling us we aren’t woke enough (like her) to be good Christians, or John Piper telling us that all evil is God’s will and we should just embrace “spectacular sins” or Mark Driscoll and James McDonald telling us that plagiarism, bullying, and financial corruption are only wrong for the masses, but for celebrity Christians like them, it’s quite all right—have quite an impact on the Church, and not necessarily for good.

I feel passionately that Truth matters and celebrity Christians, like Tim Keller, are deceiving the Church with false doctrines (Liberation Theology), heart-string philosophies (Critical Race Theory), and unbiblical approaches to the world around us.

Whether it is Bill Hybels, Ravi Zacharias, or any of the Name It and Claim It prosperity message preachers – celebrity Christianity has taken a toll on mainline Christianity here in America. And sadly, what happens here, usually finds its way around the globe.

Celebrity Christians are often preaching what Paul calls, “another gospel.”

And don’t be surprised to see celebrity Christians destroying traditional biblical doctrines one-by-one. I told my sister recently, “There are three things celebrity Christians crave: fame, money, and popularity.” These remind me of the three deadly sins: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—all of which stem from pride and pride after all, is the original sin. It was the sin of Satan, the sin of Adam and Eve, the sin we all struggle with in our carnal natures.

I guess the first celebrity Christian in modern America would be Kathrine Kuhlman. She was quite a showman in her long white gowns with butterfly sleeves and her flair for the dramatic. People flocked to gigantic arenas and theaters to see her. I remember watching a video of Kuhlman interviewing Corrie ten Boom on the first television Christian talk show. Kuhlman hated when the camera left her, and she constantly interrupted Corrie to insert some theological insight or to retell a Corrie ten Boom story – even though Corrie was quite capable of telling her own story. It was creepy. It was celebrity.

There were other celebrity Christians like Oral Roberts who was a pioneer in “televangelism.” But what really elevated the celebrity Christian was cable TV – people like Paul and Jan Crouch and their TBN, or Jim and Tammy Baker and their PTL network, and of course, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club. These folks, and others that followed in their wake, became millionaires and rode celebrity each day into people’s lives. By the 1980s you were a nobody unless you could get a place on one of these shows and tell your testimony, sell your book, or promote your unique and God-anointed ministry.

Big ministries held big conferences and had big speakers to help folks see how big God wanted them to be! Ten Keys to prosperity, Seven Steps to powerful living, Eight principles for a better life – they were not just hawking the prosperity message, they were telling us how we could be rich, famous, and popular too and it was all perfectly okay because it was for Jesus. Jesus wanted us to be rich, famous, and popular – just like them.

I fell for it. I know a lot of people did. We ran hither and thither and yon looking for the next move of the Spirit, searching for our big break, hoping and believing that God would elevate us to our proper place in the Kingdom. James Robison, Bill Gotthard, Mike Warnke, Jimmy Swaggart, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland—all held these massive conferences with professional music, motivational messages, and the promise that we could live our best lives as we defined them.

They sold books, CDs, T-shirts, coffee mugs, and precious refrigerator magnets to remind us all of our life-transforming weekend. They jetted off to the next big city and we all returned home unable to explain exactly what it was that we learned that weekend. They made a fortune and we helped them do it.

When Christians decided that the prosperity message was bad, we looked for new heroes – of the intellectual sort. Men who could open up new insights to the Bible and makes us scratch our heads and say, “Hmmm…” We liked them just as much as we liked the Name It and Claim It folks. They made us feel smart and we bought their books, even if we didn’t read them. We went to their conferences and we watched their TV shows and we rushed to buy whatever they were selling.

Why are evangelicals like that? Why do we need superheroes? We’ve done it with Beth Moore, Tim Keller, John Piper, and Max Lucado just to name a few. Think about the global empire Bill Hybels built on the seeker sensitive principle!

Yep! We can’t wait to fawn over the NEXT BIG THING! Buying their books, listening to their podcasts, quoting them as if they were Moses! Without a doubt these celebrity Christians have got our attention. And as a result, we have a Church that is anemic, confused, weak, and more divided than the only pumpkin pie at a Thanksgiving dinner.

Tim Keller’s March 10 podcast states “the Christian nationalists” have brought us to defeat and we have brought this persecution on ourselves. It’s our own fault. And so, he holds on to popularity, as does Max Lucado who just apologized for speaking out against homosexuality.  “I’m sorry for all those I have offended,” declared Lucado.

And perhaps Beth Moore, who left the Southern Baptists this week because their “legalism” was getting just too much for her. Uh—do you mean their strong stance against sin and their pro biblical Truth? She did a lot of damage before she left. I’ll wager she’s going to open up about being pro-gay in the next week or two. Wait for it…and there will be a book, no doubt.

Let me close with a very long quote from Rod Dreher’s book, Live Not By Lies. It comes from his last chapter titled “See, Judge, Act.” Dreher has presented to the Church a well-written, well-researched warning. His words pierced me, but in a good way.

 

“A time of painful testing, even persecution, is coming. Lukewarm or shallow Christians will not come through with their faith intact. Christians today must dig deep into the Bible and church tradition and teach themselves how and why today’s post-Christian world, with its self-centeredness, its quest for happiness and rejection of sacred order and transcendent values is a rival religion to authentic Christianity. We should also see how many of the world’s values have been absorbed into Christian life and practice.

“Then we must judge how the ways of the world, and its demands, conflict with what Christ requires of his disciples. Are we admirers or followers? How will we know?

“We will know when we act—or fail to act—as Christians when to be faithful costs us something. It may be a small thing at first—a place on a sports team because we won’t play on Sunday mornings, or the respect of our peers when we will not march in a parade for a social cause. But the demands made on us will grow greater and the consequences for failing to submit to the world’s demand will grow more severe.

“We serve a God who created all things for a purpose. He has shown us in the Bible, especially the Gospels, who we are and how we are to live to be in harmony with the sacred order he created. He does not want admirers; he wants followers. As Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God suffered with humanity to redeem humanity. He calls us to share in his Passion, for our sake and the sake of the world. He promises us nothing but the Cross. Not happiness but the joy of blessedness. Not material wealth but richness of spirit. Not sexual freedom as erotic abandon but sexual freedom within loving, mutually sacrificial commitment. Not power, but love; not self-sovereignty but obedience.

“This is the uncompromising rival religion that the post-Christian world will no longer tolerate.

“IF YOU ARE NOT ROCK SOLID IN YOUR COMMITMENT TO TRADITIONAL CHRISTIANITY, THEN THE WORLD WILL BREAK YOU. But if you are, then this is the solid rock upon which that world will be broken. And if those solid rocks are joined together, they form a wall of solidarity that is very hard for the enemy to breach,” (2020, pgs 162-163). Peace.

To hear the podcast: Timothy Keller: How to Know if You Are a Christian Nationalist – YouTube

And here’s a blog I posted last year on Keller’s affection for democratic socialism and Liberation Theology: Tim Keller’s Ungenerous Justice: Cultural Marxism and the New Branding of Liberation Theology | terimccarthyblahblahblog

5 users Responded In This Post

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56815. Greg said,
March 19th, 2021 at 10:15 am

Ty Teri, strong words and strong statements, but the church so badly needs to hear this. We are so blessed to be in a strong church that really preaches the truth of the Gospel, but I am broken-hearted by how many friends I have that are in wishy washy churches and even though they know things are not right, because of friends and traditions they are afraid to get out and come to a solid Bible teaching, bible-believing Church. Thank you for these words and may God bless you in your writings.

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56816. Carol Howell said,
March 19th, 2021 at 10:18 am

Thank you, so much, for this timely information. We have certainly had our
“idols”. It is definitely time for Christians to take a serious look at what we believe.

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56820. Diane55 said,
March 19th, 2021 at 8:55 pm

I have searched the internet for the podcast you are referring to in your blog dated 3.18.21. I agree with your opinion.The only podcasts I could find of Keller’s are repeats of old sermons from 8-9 years ago.For instance the Apple podcast of 3.10.21 is a repeat of his sermon on 4.15.12. Can you send a link? My Lifegroup leader actually recommended Keller last week. I would love to send her the link to that podcast and your blog. Thanks!!

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56824. admin said,
March 20th, 2021 at 6:26 am

Hi Diane! Thanks for your comment. I should have put a link in the text. I’ll go back and do that. To hear the entire podcast you’ll need to subscribe to Keller’s podcast which I think he casts from Podbean. It’s not on YouTube. However, here’s an exert with the quotes I’m using in the blog and this is on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QULvu16tBiU – Admittedly, exerts are often taken out of context, but these are full and complete enough to verify Keller’s overall opinion about evangelicals being responsible for their own persecution. Also, ugh, not to be self-promoting, but I want to give you another resource which is a link to a Keller blog I did last year on his admiration of Marx, Liberation Theology, and democratic socialism. Praying for you as you approach your Lifegroup leader. I find people to be very devoted to Keller and it’s hard to convince his followers of just how dangerous his thinking really is. Bless you for trying! http://terimccarthyblahblahblog.com/tim-kellers-ungenerous-justice-cultural-marxism-and-the-new-branding-of-liberation-theology/

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56825. admin said,
March 20th, 2021 at 6:49 am

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4M_K5vmDc8&t=308s

Okay, here’s an interview with Keller via ChurchLeaders.com – It contains the full podcast. Hope this helps. There are a lot of ads.

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