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The Impact of Celebrity on Evangelicalism a Bleak & Disturbing Scenario

Reformation 21 is the online magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals.  This article by Carl Trueman appeared in the April issue.  In it he points out the problem of celebrity in the "Evangelical Industrial Complex."  He writes as though imaging a problem (i.e., "a little thought experiment") that doesn't really exists according to those celebrities in the "Evangelical Industrial Complex."  Of course he is being facetious

C.J. is one of the "high profile and charismatic leaders" that dominant "a symbiotic network."  He has "branded" himself with the help of other celebrities and "owns the copyright" to "gospel centered." These men are "answerable to nobody but themselves and with no transparent accountability."  From their positions of power "criticism [is] effectively stymied."  I agree with Trueman, "it is a "bleak and disturbing scenario."  There are many other outstanding points in this article.


What if Life Was Complex?

This month, I thought I would use this column to indulge in a little thought experiment. What, I wonder, if the conservative evangelical church world came to be dominated by a symbiotic network of high profile and charismatic leaders (think more Weber than Wimber), media organizations, and big conferences? What if leadership, doctrine, and policy were no longer rooted in the primacy of biblical polity and the local church? What if, in other words, all of this became a function of an Evangelical Industrial Complex? 

It is an important question. It is probably a year or so since I raised the question of the impact of celebrity on evangelicalism. As I was told then, celebrity either does not exist in the evangelical subculture or is of no real importance there. Thus, I suspect the Evangelical Industrial Complex either does not exist or exerts no influence; but it is entertaining to imagine what would the signs be that it was a real issue (which, I am sure you will agree, it is not). 

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Struck Down But Not Destroyed

2 Cor 4:7-13 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. 

One Sunday not long ago, I enjoyed a wonderful morning worshiping and hearing God’s word preached to God’s people.  I came home and after some personal Bible reading, spent the remainder of the day writing.  I was tired and went to bed early.  During the night, I woke up needing to use the bathroom.  When I leaned over to flush, I blacked out and collapsed to the floor! 

When I came to my senses, I found myself face on the floor, crammed between the toilet bowl and wall.  It was bizarre.  I tried to get up and manage to stand - momentarily.  Then I blacked out again and crashed to the floor on the other side of the toilet.  I regained my senses but slowly. 

After a while I was finally able to extricate myself from my lodged position, move my body across the floor, and prop myself up sitting against the wall.  I waited until I was reasonably lucid.  Then I managed to pull myself up with the help of the sink and return to bed laughing!  It was hilarious!  I could not believe what had happened!  

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