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Evangelical Celebrity and the Root Problem behind ‘Big Eva’

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  • Evangelical Celebrity and the Root Problem behind ‘Big Eva’

    Evangelical Celebrity and the Root Problem behind ‘Big Eva’

    OK. prior to yesterday, I never heard of "Big Eva", but today I've encountered the phrase three times?

    Anybody got a line on this?

    Earlier this year Joshua Harris separated from his wife and renounced the faith. The public aftermath was the inevitable cascade of articles, blogs, and posts questioning and critiquing evangelical celebrity culture.

    It’s healthy to critically evaluate evangelicalism’s embrace of pastors or other “important” Christians as celebrities (I’d commend Trueman and Anyabwile’s discussions from a few years back). Sometimes, the Christian “movements” that grab our attention have less to do with Christ than with replicating worldly trends, and it’s good for us to allow the tragedy of a “big fall” to temper our hubris with humility before both God and men.

    Critiquing celebrity comes most naturally in the form of criticizing “Big Eva”: the Christian celebrities and the mysterious gatekeepers standing just behind the curtain. Undoubtedly the decision to promote the latest attention-grabber, rather than someone who has exemplified decades of steady faithfulness, has too often been made. Such decisions seem to reflect greater loyalty to the Almighty Dollar than to the believers such organizations claim to serve.

    But I get nervous when Christians, in critiquing celebrity, blame “the system.” “The system” is out of reach of the ordinary believer, so blaming it is an excellent way to shift responsibility away from ourselves. We get to shake our heads, frustrated at Christian celebrity culture “out there,” and then carry on, smug in our own behavior. Those men (whether here at TGC, or elsewhere) will give an account to the Lord for their decisions. But so will you. It seems to me a particularly sinister plot of Satan to persuade us that the most serious problems in Christian culture have their origins far away from us.
    Root of the Problem


    The most urgent crisis we must address is the one easily overlooked: the role of worldly beliefs in our own hearts that fuel whatever man-centered Evangelical Industrial Complex exists.

    Fundamentally, the negative aspects of a Christian celebrity culture are an outgrowth of our desire to have a leader we can see. We want a king like the nations have to lead us into battle. We want the Christian movie star, musician, or pro athlete to appeal to our non-Christian neighbor and persuade them that Christianity is reasonable. We want these kinds of figures because we love Christ (good!), but also, perhaps, because we’re unsure whether the regular, ordinary Christian can accomplish the mission.

    We are the ones who make evangelical celebrities too big to fail. At least, until they break our hearts.



    The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

  • #2
    "Big Eva" sounds like a tag-team partner for Large Marge.
    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

    Beige Nationalist.

    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

    Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

    Comment


    • #3
      I had to look up who Josh Harris was. So basically the guy who wrote books on Christian dating and relationships ("I Kissed Dating Goodbye") ended up divorced and left the faith? Okaaay. I never read his books, seemed a bit too odd to me in the first place.

      I think the term "Big Eva" is meant to play of "Big Pharma" - as in some behind the scenes monster controlling some industry. I never heard the term either. But, I don't see there being any sort of coordinated group or force there. For good or bad.

      I have always been a bit suspicious of Christian Celebrities. I think we discussed how Christian singers and song writers don't always put out songs that are biblically correct. And we have all seen the televangelists on CBN promoting heresies left and right and buying jets with their congregations donations.

      We should always be cautious about anyone who seems to be in it for the money or fame of it rather than just humbly being a good Christian.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Sparko View Post
        I had to look up who Josh Harris was. So basically the guy who wrote books on Christian dating and relationships ("I Kissed Dating Goodbye") ended up divorced and left the faith? Okaaay. I never read his books, seemed a bit too odd to me in the first place.

        I think the term "Big Eva" is meant to play of "Big Pharma" - as in some behind the scenes monster controlling some industry. I never heard the term either. But, I don't see there being any sort of coordinated group or force there. For good or bad.

        I have always been a bit suspicious of Christian Celebrities. I think we discussed how Christian singers and song writers don't always put out songs that are biblically correct. And we have all seen the televangelists on CBN promoting heresies left and right and buying jets with their congregations donations.

        We should always be cautious about anyone who seems to be in it for the money or fame of it rather than just humbly being a good Christian.
        Rule of thumb: If the pastor's clothes cost as much what a good down payment on a car would be ... watch out.

        I'm always still in trouble again

        "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
        "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
        "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

        Comment


        • #5
          I hadn't heard the phrase before but I'm not surprised it came into existence. I have been conscious since at least 2000 that unfortunately a lot of the world views Christianity as a marketing niche. So it's no surprise to encounter people who are in for the money. A friend has told me a couple times about a former pastor he knew who quit being a pastor because he wasn't getting rich off it.

          There are a lot of weeds around Christianity anymore and it's sad how much chopping one has to do to get to real Christianity.
          "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

          "Theology can be an intellectual entertainment." Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

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          • #6
            1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 says "make it your ambition to life a quiet life". The idea of "Christian celebrity" should automatically be met with suspicion since building a brand and an empire of fame often requires selfish ambition, which Paul condemns in no uncertain terms.

            I'm not automatically criticizing any Christian who finds himself famous; someone like Tim Tebow, who seems to have truly held the faith well without wavering despite the spotlight, didn't go out seeking to become an evangelical celebrity; he found he was good at sports, and the spotlight found him.

            I've never heard "Big Eva" before, by the way.
            "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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            • #7
              I will hasten to add that I love people who are celebrities who recognize and give credence to their Christianity.

              Not Christian Celebrities, but Celebrities who live the Christian life.
              The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                I will hasten to add that I love people who are celebrities who recognize and give credence to their Christianity.

                Not Christian Celebrities, but Celebrities who live the Christian life.
                That too.

                I don't think there is anything inherently bad about being a Christian celebrity, or a celebrity who is openly Christian. It's what they do with the fame. Is it used to glorify God or themselves? My problem is with celebrities who leverage their fame to get more for themselves, or who use it to preach heresies.

                Billy Graham was a Christian celebrity, but I didn't see him using the fame for himself, but always to give glory to God and grow the kingdom. Then you have televangelists like Jesse DuPlantis who use their fame to get money to buy new jets and preach a false prosperity gospel.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sparko View Post

                  That too.

                  I don't think there is anything inherently bad about being a Christian celebrity, or a celebrity who is openly Christian. It's what they do with the fame. Is it used to glorify God or themselves? My problem is with celebrities who leverage their fame to get more for themselves, or who use it to preach heresies.

                  Billy Graham was a Christian celebrity, but I didn't see him using the fame for himself, but always to give glory to God and grow the kingdom. Then you have televangelists like Jesse DuPlantis who use their fame to get money to buy new jets and preach a false prosperity gospel.
                  If they use religion as a means to promote themselves that's no different than the person who only attends services because of the opportunity to mingle and establish contacts.

                  I'm always still in trouble again

                  "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                  "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                  "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think the problem is really not so much with the so called celebrities, but with us. We all know it's dangerous to put too much stock into one person, or to look up to them... yet we still do it, and we always get let down, because people fall and struggle.

                    One recent example I thought of that set off alarm bells in my head was Kanye West. It was appropriate to celebrate his conversion, but I knew from the beginning there was a high chance that his zeal might fade, given that he is famous for having bipolar disorder, and for being flaky/fixated on things for a short period of time.
                    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                      I had to look up who Josh Harris was. So basically the guy who wrote books on Christian dating and relationships ("I Kissed Dating Goodbye") ended up divorced and left the faith? Okaaay. I never read his
                      I'd never heard of him either before he retracted everything, but my wife assures me he was in fact influential in evangelical youth circles. I was raised mainline so missed a lot of that.
                      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post

                        I'd never heard of him either before he retracted everything, but my wife assures me he was in fact influential in evangelical youth circles. I was raised mainline so missed a lot of that.
                        I remembered when his book came out, it was chatted about in Christian circles, but I never read it. Just the title itself kind of turned me off. It was just a bit too "cutesy" -- so I just dismissed it and didn't remember his name at all. The only Christian "celebrities" I ever followed were mostly apologists, like William Lane Craig.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm assuming that "Big Eva" stands for Big Evangelism or something to that effect.

                          I'm always still in trouble again

                          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                            I'm assuming that "Big Eva" stands for Big Evangelism or something to that effect.
                            And here I thought you were going to post something to boost sales of your mind bleach....
                            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

                            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
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                            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                              And here I thought you were going to post something to boost sales of your mind bleach....
                              Holding that in reserve. Seer has helped boost sales for the moment.

                              You know you wanna look

                              I'm always still in trouble again

                              "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                              "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                              "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                              Comment

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