Rise of the Christian celebrity cult

In an era of nonstop religious entertainment and instant gratification, a new breed of Christian has been born. The name? Celebrity Christians. These court jesters come complete with “Christian” light acting skills, and just enough charisma and class to win over the weak and spiritually immature and in some cases even the strongest of bible readers. Their acceptance into the church and dominance of mainstream “Churchianity” only gives solid evidence to a greater problem. The complete absence of discernment among those who claim to follow Christ.

First, so that we’re all on the same page, let’s define discernment.

Discernment is defined as ” skill in understanding , grasping and comprehending ; the ability to recognize or identify as separate and distinct; perception , acumen , penetration , insight, discrimination. The capacity to distinguish and select the excellent , the appropriate or the true”.

Discernment uses the knowledge and practice of the truth in the Scriptures to develop an ability to objectively discern right from wrong (Psalm 119:66). Its imparted by the Holy Ghost first for the protection and benefit of the believer and secondly for the protection and benefit for the Body at large. Every believer should have basic discernment, while others are gifted (1 Cor 12) to distinguish between conflicting spiritual, moral and ethical situations which arise in the church. A good exhibition of discernment is King Solomon’s ruling with the two women and dead baby (1 Kings 3:16).

But discernment today has taken on a sort of taboo-like aura similar to it’s predecessor —and one of the most hated words found in the bible— “DOCTRINE”. Talk about discernment in a church today and watch the insults and hatred flow. You’ll quickly hear words like “legalist” and “Non-Loving”.

Followers of pop perversion

Let’s take for example Cleveland based pastor and trending hireling RA Vernon.

For his Easter Sunday message, Vernon titilated the itching ears of his sheeple with a message borrowed heavily from secular performer Cee-Lo’s song F U . Vernon’s profanity overdraft is hardly original.

Either his pockets have been getting a little thin lately, or his mind really has been “given over” because any respectable pastor/shepherd with a solid handle of scripture would never disrespect the word of our risen Savior. Especially when we know the significance of the forgiveness that God has given us. The bible says:

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him (Christ), having forgiven us all out trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14

Yet even after his gross mockery of God’s word, thousands of undiscerning sheeple still file into Vernon’s club.

Sin, the diabolical agent that fills the hearts of sinners and lures them into an eternity of punishment is seen as a joke now in most churches. When saints sin they call it making a “mistake” or having “issues”, rather than calling it what the word of God says:

“You shall defile also the covering of your carved images of silver, the ornament of your melted images of gold; thou shalt cast them away like an un­clean cloth.” Isaiah 30:22

Sin to God should be thrown away like an unclean cloth. The Hebrew equivalent word for unclean cloth is the same as what describes a bloody cloth from a woman’s menstrual period. God sees sin as a bloody stink filled menstrual period pad. Yet we still engage in it, and then have the audacity to think we still have access to God But like Paul said: GOD FORBID!

And then there’s  Celebrity “Christian” the newly appointed “King of Gospel Comedy” Steve Harvey. See previous GCMW coverage here . Harvey’s diseased language is far worse than Vernon’s, but he’s now a host on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Without any changes to his life, he is elevated to star status with a blank check to influence millions of Christians. The Apostle Paul warned us these days would come:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7

Paul tells us to understand that these types of people are going to start to surface. But He also told us what to do next:

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” 2 Timothy 4:1-5
The word of God must be preached!

We are to preach so that the people would be stricken with a Godly grief over their sin. Don’t believe me?

“For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it-though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.” 2 Corinthians 7:8-9

A preacher’s job is to preach the word of God so that people are:

1. Encouraged to learn the scriptures

2. Encouraged to continue steadfast in the faith

3. Grieved over their own sin which in turn produces repentance. Repentance refers to the desire to turn from sin and restore a fellowship with God.

And finally, take an active role bringing an end to the cult of celebrity in Christ’s church. He and he alone is worthy of worship and adoration.

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34 thoughts on “Rise of the Christian celebrity cult

  1. Years ago, as a young Christian desiring the Word, a guest preacher assumed the pulpit and couldn’t get into his message. Why? He was telling jokes. He finally stopped, asked my pastor for a minute and then came back out to preach but we couldn’t take him seriously because he abused the sanctity of the call. All jokes aside, the seriousness of ministering the Word of God puts fear into my heart every time. When we stop being a joke in the ministry, perhaps the people we minister to will take us serious again. Until then, Ringling Brothers has nothing on this show called “Church”.

  2. On a certain, nameless social media website that I have an account on, I saw everyone quoting just about EVERY word that Steve Harvey said from his appearance on TBN a few weeks back. I believe it was when he was on with Donnie McClurkin. I didn’t even know why he was on there and I didn’t watch the show but I was very saddened by how excited the Chrisitian folks were getting over this man’s words. How he went from foul-mouthed King of Comedy to Word-filled preacher overnight was beyond me. I know that it’s not outside of God’s ability to turn someone from one extreme to another but I decided I must have missed the episode where he testified of his repentance and denounced his old ways.

    Steve Harvey may love God in his own self-made way but has yet to publicly display GOD’S love. Not for men to see, mind you. But just out of worship to the one who changed, saved and restored him. The other side of this situation that’s just as disturbing was the people that were quoting Steve. Mostly up-and-coming Gospel and/or soul musical artists, I’ve noticed that you only get a response from them if you’re somebody on the same track as them. If you don’t know anybody or if you haven’t done anything big that people would have seen, they skip over you. If one of them says, “Pray for me. My relative is sick.” there is an overwhelming response to that message. But if a “nobody” such as myself says “Please pray with me. I’m going through right now.” it’s cricket city. Now, I must say, that doesn’t bother me one bit because I can get a prayer through for myself and I have others that are close to me that I can call on in times of need, but for some, that can turn a younger Chrsitian away. If a person posts a comment about humility, holiness, or sacrifice, no one wants to hear it.
    I said all of this to paint a picture of today’s “Christian”…. at least in America. Ever chasing the next blessing while stepping over giving God glory. Always stretching to “Do it big” while pushing aside the lost and hurting. Prophesying to one another dreams of grandeur and celebrity and getting fat off of every word in the bible that promises riches but forgetting that God still judges sin. Micah 2:11 hits the nail on the head when he said “If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ he would be just the prophet for this people!”. Again, Jeremiah warned the prophet Hananiah
    “7 Nevertheless, listen to what I have to say in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people: 8 From early times the prophets who preceded you and me have prophesied war, disaster and plague against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the LORD only if his prediction comes true.” (Jeremiah 28: 7-9) At the rate of increasing sin in the world, the church needs to put away chasing money and fame and start fasting and praying. But everyone wants to preach that “your next breakthrough is around the corner” message to fill seats. It’s killing the Body of Christ and sentencing the lost to certain death.
    I’ll say this and then I’m done. If Steve Harvey is today’s next preacher and this is what the people are calling for, then we’re worse off than I might have imagined. Yet I believe that just like God comforted Elijah when he told Him that “I yet have 7000 faithful servants in Jerusalem that have neither bowed the knee to Baal, nor have they kissed him” he’s got a faithful remnant that will preach his word til glory or grave come. My two cents…..

  3. Have you ever considered you overly religious nature might be part of the problem? Legalistic Christians make life not worth living 🙂

  4. So TK to you there is something wrong with people wanting a profanity-free sermon? And according to the bible, its sin that destroys life. So stop with all the misplaced blame. Solution for you: Get out of sin, give your life to the Lord and he will make life worth living despite what people say or do.

  5. AMEN! Yea and verily!
    The cult of celebrity is killing the church! I watched Steve Harvey’s appearance on TBN and was saddened by it. The so called Christians who are linking up with Harvey without preaching the true Gospel message to him do not love him! And that is the tragic irony of this unholy alliance.
    As for R.A. Vernon, nothing confirms his hireling status more than his recent touting of James Cone as a “great” theologian! For those not familiar with Cone he is a the father of Black Liberation Theology.
    The same garbage that Jeremiah Wright preached for years.

  6. “Talk about discernment in a church today and watch the insults and hatred flow. You’ll quickly hear words like “legalist” and “Non-Loving”.

  7. Well said Bro Brandon! simple, precise and complete.

    So the 90 day trial period before having sex Steve Harvey is a regular on TBN?
    How people cannot see the blatant folly in this is beyond me. If people cannot see this blatant folly how will they be able to see real deception?

    From my experience most people who call you a hater dont know the bible and justify things because they enjoy the sin.

  8. When I worte this I knew it would only be matter of time before the insults and hatred came lol

    Thanks for proving my point TruthKid!!!

    One who is truly a follower of Christ worries not about this life and its pleasures. Like Paul said:

    “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way……” Philippians 3:19

  9. Well written hard hitting article. Love the title. Star-Worship has existed for ages, with the rebellion of Lucifer & the fallen angels in Heaven. It then manifest itself in pagan idolatry & worship of demons. Now in American culture it has existed in the fields of sports, fashion, and entertainment, but since the late 80’s – early 90’s begin to really manifest in the church world(the worship of flesh & blood) . Star-Worship/Christian Celebrity Cult Worship is now the main focus of the American Church.

    We have now birth-out: Sunday’s Best(Church version of American Idol), Choir Competitions, Gospel Cribs which is the church version of MTV Cribs. What is next reality mega-preacher dating show starring Jamal Bryant or Zachary Tims or Reality Show America’s Next Mega Church hosted by Paula White or TD Jakes?

    It is time to sound the “trumpet” within the American Church. The church within America has at least 3 Goliaths/Giants to contend with:

    1. The continue growth of the homosexual agenda.
    2. The rise of Islam and the rapid growth of mosque being setup around America.
    3. The revival of witchcraft/occult here in American.

    The Church Of the Lord Jesus Christ has remnant in this country, that I think will rise to the occasion, but we have to face the harsh reality in the 21st century we live in post-Christian age in American. Christian Entertainment style church is not going to work against the demonic forces that have been released against our nation.

  10. I am not too famaliar w/ Pastor Vernon personally, we have crossed paths on a few occassions but nothing stood out about him that caused me to question his integrity-until I saw this video. I can only hope that he was trying to get a bigger point across and that is “power of forgiveness”, however because of his “theatrics” the “forgiveness” message may have been overshadowed by his obvious pandering to his inner “thug”….the f word…(lord forgive me for even restating it) is such a file and derogatory word….to use the word “forgive”; such a holy word in the same manner or style as the “f word_ (Lord forgive me again) reveals an “integrity” issue… there is a lack of integrity in many pulpits across the world..personal style has taken the “front seat” and “personal integrity” well..that’s sort of old fashion…I prefer the old fashion…:)

    But its not the end of the world…there are a lot great preachers around the globe, even some with mega churches that are truly preaching the Gospel with integrity!….hint hint..I’m one of them..

    Be blessed!

  11. So sad……your characterization is spot on……a trending hireling! The Christian cult of celebrity continues to damage the witness of the “visible” church.

  12. Pastor Fred-Paul words to Timothy humbles me everytime I write, speak, and teach the word of God.

    “I charge you therfore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ…..”

    That’s all I need to hear…

    Thanks for reading!

  13. The author hit the problem spot on. Many in the church lack spiritual discernment. Emotionalism and self gratification seem to be the order of the day. Some seek it in fornication, others in drugs or alcohol, while some look to sanction their’s in a “church” setting. This “pop gospel” trend can also be seen at the local level as local celeb-preachers (and wanna-bes) entertain congregations with a mixture of Scripture, home-spun theology and a good show choir (you’ve got to have some good sangin’). It is a joy and a relief when I come across a good teaching priest.

  14. Thats very good to hear gbg111. The man of God is required to feed the sheep good, solid food so that they may grow strong and mature, able to reproduce without problems. But this trashy mess coming out of RA Vernon’s mouth does nothing but hype his mack daddy swag among the women of the church. And the other part of this problem is not just that someone like you (per your words) is preaching the gospel with integrity, but their silence in the face of all this growing apostasy, blasphemy and dereliction of duty by other “preachers” is very troubling…and telling. I guess there’s a no snitch rule in place now. We must not only care for the sheep, but fight against those who cause trouble and division with their disgusting gimmicks. Join the fight.

  15. Friends,

    If I may God’s Word is full why these folks are so successful, God says it this way according to the bk of Isaiah, “Because you wanted it so.” And we all know what Paul said, “The PEOPLE (I’m emphasizing) will heap up for themselves.” And I’m also reminded of what he said to the corinthians, “I would’ve given you meat, but you wanted milk.” They cannot rise to the pedicle they have, if some of us in the body would cut them off and desire more of Christ then more of them.

    If I may in a comical sense, when I was out clubing, I would hear some of the musical christian artist in the clubs, well sure I would hear the name of Jesus and God, thus and so. But because I would hear some of the beats used, I wasn’t thinking about Christ or God, the only thing I was thinking on was shaking my booty and the rest of the nights activity, need I say more. Some of believers’ would say God could use this venue, yes, sure He could (What these men say, do, but don’t go by there works for they don’t practice what they preach), but however so could and he has, Satan.

  16. Brother Tony thanks for reading!

    I’m of the persuasion that nothing is happening to these people who are in the club, hearing these apostate gospel artist sing about nothing! The bible makes it very clear how the gospel message is spread:

    “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” Romans 10:13-14

    People certainly don’t come to Christ because of a song they’ve heard. It’s the preaching of the gospel that has the power to save men:

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

  17. Tony, thats funny. I had a similar experience.
    I was at a nightclub in Nashville, fully loaded and the party was all that.
    Then they played “You brought the sunshine” by the Clark Sisters and half the dance floor immediately left It was like throwing cold water on a hot fire. Im not saying the Clark Sisters had anything to do with that but its just a live shot anecdote about so called gospel music in clubs and its alleged effect on reaching the lost.

  18. Great article! The cult of celebrity is such a poison in the body of Christ that has to be called out for what it is.

    The Word of God stands on it’s own and does not need our help! These preachers have no faith in God, and I daresay many are NOT even saved! When you can stand behind that sacred desk and spout that kind of garbage then you have no fear of God nor do you believe God’s Word is true. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me” These men have lifted up themselves and the wants of the people, which draws men to them (the preachers).

    We must do exactly what you have put forth in this article as directed in God’s Word. That is to preach the true Word of God. My husband and I do a lot of outreach on the streets, at festivals, parades passing out tracts and telling people about Jesus and warning them as well. I can’t tell you how many people we see that tell us they are christians, and they are standing there looking like Lady Gaga or 50 cent or just let a curse word slip. This mentality is spawned by this type of “church club” teaching.

    We must continually take a stand against this vile poison that is killing the body of Christ and keeping the sinner from seeing themselves as a sinner in need of the Savior. I could tell you of a few confrontations with ‘so called saints” that worship the ground these “mega charlatans” walk on. These “Christians” find it necessary to stop and tell us that we are forcing the Gospel on people and that we are turning away more than we are reaching. These are indeed perilous times. I daresay that most of our problems on the street comes from those that call themselves Christian!

    Keep on preaching the Word!

  19. This is what happens when you preach to please folks. You have to keep pushing the envelope. He is deliberating distorting the word by debasing it for a cheap laugh and shocking effect.

    The Bible warns us about handling the Word of God deceitfully. Here is a classic example of this.

    What next ‘whoring for Jesus’? “Jesus is a MAC Daddy?” “I’m a pimpin, for the Lord”? These words have well defined implications and meanings none of which are good or sound and to use them in any sort of ‘metaphorical’ way to refer to the truth of God’s word is vulgar and despicable. This gives you some real insight into the mind/heart of RA Vernon.

    “When people show who they are, BELIEVE THEM”.

  20. Great and timely articles, the church has to go back to basic Bible fundamentals, first and foremost we represent Jesus and God’s will not our agenda, too much us and not Him and thats the problem.

    Also I wonder who call the shots for gospel media, tv, and music, i am watching a rerun of bet’s celebration of gospel and chaka khan is singing the r and b song “through the fire” a great song, but why her and this song on a gospel show and why steve harvey and not a real christian comedian.

  21. Brother Jones Bet only cares about on thing: MONEY! And they only care for one type of person: WHOEVER CAN BRING IN THE MONEY!!

    The same can be sai for TBN as well

    Thanks for reading!

  22. Great article! Clearly shows how discernment has gone out so that deception can step in the church. What about the scripture that says, I must decrease so that He can increase. The term, “Celebrity Christian,” is evident that one is esteeming oneself above Christ. Then mixing the world with christianity to win the world, as if the Gospel alone has lost its power to save? Troubling times indeed!

  23. thanks Tim, I cannot begin to tell you how much you have encouraged me, You are definately in your Word and please understand this type of posting encourages others to dig even deeper in the Word of God.

  24. To Truth Kid, our sin “and your’s” was the problem. I pray that you will take another look at the Cross, you need to.

  25. Well said Shofarsound!

    We are that remnant that you speak of and I’m gonna blow that trumpet till i can’t anymore!

    Thanks for reading!

  26. Cross journey you said:

    “I daresay that most of our problems on the street comes from those that call themselves Christian!”

    You got it right on the head! Many so called Christians only make it harder on those who do go out and evangelize and live the Christian life.

    Most people like R.A. Vernon need to go somewhere, get a bible, and sit down.

    Let those who God has really called Preach His Gospel!

    Thanks for reading!

  27. I visited the Word Church for a few months some years ago. I believe the Lord was with me because I had every intention of joining (I was not a mature enough Christian back then to discern the madness going on in that assembly). For some reason, I got up from service one day, left and never looked back. I truly believe it was the Lord protecting me. With that said, I have a friend that heard this man say outright, “There’s some money to be made off these people”, referring to his congregation. When I heard that, I knew instantly why Jesus sent me running from that place years before. I pray others will be saved from that assembly as well before it is too late.

  28. thank you for sharing that testimony MsLJ. Im sure God has spoken to many more there, but they have either shut down his voice or are incapable of discerning his voice from other voices. We could save ourselves so much hurt and pain if we just listened and heeded to God’s voice.

  29. This man is playing semantics “..and the Serpent was more cunning…” (Gen 3:1) all I hear is “God has said” turned into “.. hast God Said..?”
    everybody in American culture knows what F.U. really means, Isaiah the prophet said “..I am a man of unclean lips that dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isa 6:5) just b/c he exchanged ‘F’ with forgive-the congregation knew he was just playin’ it off with a substitute word thats why the laughter was so loud, their consciences understood what was implied clearly when they shouted “F everybody!” Forgive yes, condone (sin) no!

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