235: The Dangers of "Celebrity Pastors" | Katelyn Beaty

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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.

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KATELYN BEATY is a journalist, editor, and keen observer of trends in the American church. She has written for the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, Religion News Service, Religion & Politics, and The Atlantic and has commented on faith and culture for CNN, ABC, NPR, the Associated Press, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She is cohost of the Saved by the City podcast (Religion News Service) and previously served as print managing editor at Christianity Today. She’s the author of Celebrities for Jesus: How Personas, Platforms, and Profits Are Hurting the Church (Brazos Press, 2022) and A Woman's Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World (Simon & Schuster, 2016).

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236 episodes