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Celebrities For Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church

by Katelyn Beaty

Jamie Says

I rarely green light a Christian book. This is an exception. I’ve followed Katelyn Beaty for a long time. This book explains how fame has shaped the church in some questionable ways, what are we doing as consumers that fosters this toxic celebrity culture, where we put people on pedestals and trust them to be our shepherds and they’re garbage people. It’s hot piping tea, but she does a whole chapter about her love for Prince and Philip Seymour Hoffman if that tells you what kind vibe this is.


Many Christian leaders use their fame and influence to great effect. Whether that popularity resides at the local church level or represents national or international influence, many leaders have effectively said to their followers, "Follow me as I follow Christ." But fame that is cultivated for its own sake, without attendant spiritual maturity and accountability, has a shadow side that runs counter to the heart of the gospel. Celebrity--defined as social power without proximity--has led to abuses of power, the cultivation of persona, and a fixation on profits.

In light of the fall of famous Christian leaders in recent years, the time has come for the church to reexamine its relationship to celebrity. Award-winning journalist Katelyn Beaty explores the ways fame has reshaped the American church, explains how and why celebrity is woven into the fabric of the evangelical movement, and identifies many ways fame has gone awry in recent years. She shows us how evangelical culture is uniquely attracted to celebrity gurus over and against institutions, and she offers a renewed vision of ordinary faithfulness, helping us all keep fame in its proper place.