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    Reformed Celebrities & Pop Theology – A Problem The Church Needs To Discuss

    With the rise of social media, Reformed Theology has developed an obsession with Christian celebrities such as John Piper, James White, Voddie Baucham, R.C Sproul, Paul Washer, Jeff Durbin, and others.

    There is a desire to be aligned with a particular class of Bible teachers and their theology that lurks behind the use of terms such as “Reformed” or “Calvinist”. It’s like the pass to get into a theological cool club, sometimes very literally with regards to membership of Facebook Groups and Sub Reddits.

    It’s time to examine Christian pop culture and its obsession with celebrity…

    “Meology”: Christian vs Calvinist

    The Christian life is for others to see that we are of Christ, not to see that we are “Reformed” or “Calvinists” (Matthew 5:16, John 5:41-47).

    Is the Biblical term “Christian” deficient? (Acts 11:26) Does it need any addition like “Hedonist”, “Calvinist”, or “Reformed”?

    Do such terms not detract from the work of Christ and place a focus on onself?


    How many times does the above poem, voiced by Christian celebrities, call the individual to focus on the self instead of Christ?

    Notice that in this poem we did not “see him” on the cross, ridiculed, mocked, and scorned. Beware of practicing a form of Christianity that is centered around you.

    Even the prosperity Gospel can come out of the mouths of those who appear to be theologically sophisticated.

    Reformed™

    Ever wonder how the Reformers would feel knowing that in the future their image or name would be used to sell merchandise?

    You name it, someone has put the face or name of a famous Reformer on something and is trying to sell it. Books, documentaries, mugs, shirts, prints, coffee, notebooks, and ironically, literal icons.

    Let’s be honest, the term ‘Reformed’ on Facebook Groups has pretty much been reduced to simply barring posts on Sundays while obsessing over hobbies in a sanitised environment.

    Grow a beard, own a leather-bound ESV, sip some artisan coffee with a flat cap and a cigar, and your suddenly a Calvinist (extra points for Reformed tattoos).


    It’s sadly ironic that celebrity blogger Tim Challies in the above trailer labels the Prosperity movement as the “Walmartisation of Christianity, driven by business principals” when the Reformed/Christian internet celebrity culture has adopted the same practise. Popular Reformed celebrities are the very selling point of this film!

    The commercialisation of Christianity by leveraging a name as a brand is why you won’t see Christian celebrities anonymising themselves online anytime soon. A Christian celebrity offers strong social proof that helps marketers sell products to this subculture.

    It’s like a bizarre Protestant culture of virtue signaling.

    This modern phenomenon grievously surpasses the Roman Catholic relic merchants of old and their practices of venerating saints because we have the open witness of the scriptures in a language we can understand! What is our excuse?

    A Time Of Reflection & Repentance?

    Has the Prosperity gospel impacted conservative Evangelical and Reformed Christian culture? Have you put too much emphasis on pop theology through social media? Is it time to repent of our obsession with Christian celebrities and time to get back into the word of God?

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    Nikolai Delphiki
    Nikolai Delphiki
    5 months ago

    Thank you for this article.

    It’s strange to realize, but it would seem that so many have begun to idolize not only Calvin and Augustine, but have also created an intellectual graven image of God by confining Him to certain “rules” defined by men.

    We forget that He said:
    “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
    Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
    “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    So are My ways higher than your ways,
    And My thoughts than your thoughts.
    (Isaiah 55: 8-9 NKJV)

    This “Reform/Calvinism” that has infiltrated the church needs to be removed from our lives in the same way Israel’s righteous kings were called to destroy the high places of old. Christ must be brought back to the center and without “rules” made by men. We must stop acting like the Pharisees who saw the world through their own self exaltation and knowledge of their Talmud. We have replaced their Jewish Talmud with Talmuds of our own which today take the form of certain “Study Bibles” or “Commentaries” written by flawed, uninspired men. Their “interpretations” are nothing more than human philosophy attempting to know an eternal God. And the arrogance with which they defend this is embarrassing.

    There are definitely problems in the non-reform Evangelical church, but a kind of religious sickness sits in many identifying as “Reform” or “Calvinist”, eating away at the church like an endorphin-rich cancer. They speak “Sola Scriptura” yet, when the Scriptures contradict their “theological philosophies”, they ignore scripture and suddenly turn to “Sola Calvin” or “Sola Gratiae Doctrinae” – not in word, but in deed.

    James 1:22-27 (NKJV)
    “ But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
    If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

    Zo
    Zo
    Reply to  Nikolai Delphiki
    3 months ago

    Yes, the key is to point this out in love in hopes the Sprit grants repentance. We all have had planks in our eyes and should treat others as if they have splinters in their eyes.

    I fear an overtly aggressive tone could be read into the words of this article and thus the truth of the message be lost.

    I happen to hold to the 5 points but came to this conclusion through scripture not commentaries and feel like the later can skew the conversation away from the source material.

    Zo
    Zo
    The Hunter. Having played too much World of Warcraft, Zo developed skills in tracking, hunting and trapping. Now seeking to redeem the time, Zo uses these skills to find nerdy stuff for you to enjoy. Has a fondness for coffee, presuppositional apologetics and drum & bass.

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