The Dangers of Celebrity in the Church (Katelyn Beaty)

We live in a fame-saturated culture. Celebrity figures run our largest corporations, media entities, and megachurches. But the characteristics of celebrity—unquestioned authority, dynamic public personas, and tendency toward abuse—make it a dangerous feature in Christian churches. Recent stories about abusive, exploitative celebrity pastors have spotlighted this fact.

In this episode, Katelyn Beaty discusses her new book Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church. She identifies the key features of fame and celebrity that infect every element of our culture and diagnoses their central issues, including secrecy, self-promotion, anger, and pride. She asks whether the business world has become the model for the church and whether the American church is unique in its elevation of celebrity pastors. The church needs to know the dangers of celebrity and find ways to remain accountable in its pursuit of the gospel.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Seeking versus receiving fame
  • 2:14 Celebrity and self-promotion
  • 4:48 When the platform becomes the point
  • 9:00 Public personality and false intimacy
  • 12:21 Billy Graham and the Modesto Manifesto
  • 18:06 Anger, narcissism, leadership, and celebrity
  • 21:35 Privacy versus secrecy
  • 24:40 Church boards
  • 28:23 American megachurches
  • 34:21 Avoiding celebrity pastors

Show notes by Micah Long

Image created by Rubner Durais

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