The Sins of Our Celebrities

Recently, there has been a lot of discussion on the interwebs about the proper Christian response to a repentant celebrity who has admitted to heinous crimes. The general consensus among many is that if we have been forgiven by the gospel, and if the celebrity in question has been forgiven through the gospel, we too ought to forgive them as we have been forgiven. Those who would offer any contrary opinion on this matter are then accused of not understanding or “living out” the gospel in their response to these Evangelical celebrities. Many others are simply at a loss for how to respond at all, or whether or not they should. I REALLY did not want to post anything about this. I tweeted about it earlier, but at my wife’s insistence, I have agreed to write this little blurb. All I will do is seek to explain what I have already tweeted. My tweets read as follows:

“It’s neither my place to judge, nor defend, nor forgive any celebrity child molesters. I leave that to God, their church, and the victims.”

…and…

“I wonder what a price the church in the West has had to pay as a result of the celebrity culture that has infiltrated her.”

First, regarding the specific case in question (I’m not going to name names), I have been asked if I think the family handled the matter incorrectly. I don’t know all the details. From what I can tell from what I’ve been told, the family handled things fairly well, as did the local church, as did the criminal who committed the criminal act. The criminal admitted to his crimes and repented of his sins, the family reported him to the authorities, and the local church investigated the matter thoroughly. However, the police seem to have dropped the ball. Besides the police, though, I will say that I think that a lot of Evangelicals are responding in a very improper way. I believe they are responding in an improper way because, in most cases, it is not their place to respond.

There are several questions that seem appropriate here before determining to tweet, blog, comment, re-post, share, etc. Let’s get into them: handcuffed-hands-kevin-curtis

1. Am I God?

Unless you are crazy, we can pretty much agree to the answer to this one. We are not God. As such, in most cases, it is not our place to judge, redeem, forgive, defend, or punish the person in question. That was an easy one. Next question.

2. Am I the victim?

Now, I feel the need to clarify here, because many are making the perpetrator in this case out to be the victim. I’m not talking about him. I’m talking about the little girls he molested. They are the only victims here. If you are not God and you are not the victims, it is not your place to forgive this man for his crimes. It’s just not. Next question.

3. Am I a member or leader in his local church?

If you are, you probably have reason to discuss these matters when they come before the church to be dealt with, and you should probably seek the counsel of your leaders before letting your kids be alone with the man. However, blogging, tweeting, etc., should probably be out of the question.

4. Have your previously, publicly endorsed the man?

This is important. Too often in evangelicalism, pastors endorse men to their congregations and to other pastors that they know to be volatile and reckless, only to respond with utter silence when those men destroy churches and go on speaking circuits seeking to justify their sins without any true repentance. But I digress. If you have publicly endorsed this man in the past, you may feel a need to either retract your previous statements or explain why you still endorse him. However, if you’re not a nationally known mega-church, multi-site pastor, silence may still be the best answer.

5. Are you just defending him because he’s a celebrity?

You shouldn’t say anything.

6. Are you just using this situation as an ice-breaker to start conversations about the gospel?

You should probably find a better ice-breaker.

As a final note, I would just remind you that there are real victims here. To defend a man on the basis that he has been forgiven through the gospel only turns the gospel into a tool to keep victims silent. You may not realize it, but in defending this man, you may be perpetuating the stigma of hopelessness that keeps current victims from speaking out against those who are presently victimizing them. I don’t even think the man you are trying to defend would want that.

Finally, if you have celebrity idols in your life, I would encourage you to turn them over to God. If you find yourself getting overly defensive over your favorite celebrity pastor, or if you find that your favorite Christian actor or TV personality can do no wrong in your eyes, you probably have an unhealthy fixation on them. You should probably diversify your interests in these areas so that your identity is not so wrapped up with theirs. Listen to dozens of pastors instead of just four. Hold loosely to your fascination with celebrities who claim the name of Christ. If you find that you are utterly unable to do these things, these celebrities may just have become idols in your life, idols from which you need to repent.

Well, that’s all I got. I welcome discussion in the comments section. Let’s try to keep it civil.

CCF Episode Sixteen: Letts Celebrate Death

CredoCovPodcastMaster

In this episode, Billy and JD sit down and discuss “Emily’s Abortion Video” by Emily Letts. Featuring music from Pink Floyd. Also featuring an audio excerpt from a speech given by Gianna Jessen.

MP3 Download | stream:

Before God sovereignly intervened in my life and released me from my bondage to sin, I had come to adopt a fairly antinomiam lifestyle. I lived by the seat of my pants, sinning at will while still claiming to be a Christian. At one point I recall reacting with cold indifference when a girl told me that, were she to find that she was pregnant, she would get an abortion. I just sat there silent like, That’s your choice. She never did discover that she was pregnant, and she never went through with an abortion, but that was one of the most regretful moments of my life. Even then, I was of the conviction that abortion was wrong. I believed that guys who silently stood by as their girlfriends made such a heart-wrenching decision were complete jerks. In that moment, I learned that I was in no place to judge them.

This podcast is not meant to be taken as a judgment upon those who are facing the incredible decision our society offers them in abortion. We certainly believe that the Bible is clear that abortion is murder. However, we also believe that there are lasting results of abortion. Women and men who have stood close to the fire on this issue often come away from it with much guilt and shame. We don’t want to simply dismiss that guilt and that shame as unwarranted. It is warranted, because we will all have to stand before God on judgment day and give an account for the things we’ve done. However, there is forgiveness and healing at the cross.

When Christ died on the cross, two thousand years ago, He took upon Himself the wrath that you and I deserve for our sins. He took the punishment deserved by sinful men. Christ, the only sinless man to ever have existed, paid the penalty for sin. In doing so, He secured reconciliation for God and His sheep. We would encourage you today, in light of God’s great mercy and forgiveness, to turn from your sins toward the God of love and mercy, and put your faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. If you do that today, your sins will be cast as far away from you as the East is from the West. When God looks at you, He will no longer see your sin and misery, but He will see the perfect righteousness of His Son Jesus Christ. Please consider these things today, and let us know how this podcast impacted you.

– Billy

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Emily’s Abortion Video


Rape case referred to toward the beginning of podcast.

“‘I did what I was supposed to do. I went to the law about this situation,’ she said. The judge’s probation sentence and the removal of the restrictions — ‘that says everything I went through was for nothing. It would have been better for me not to say anything,’ said the girl, who is not being identified because The Dallas Morning News does not typically identify victims of sex crimes.”

Gianna Jessen Abortion Survivor in Australia (full)

We’d love your participation. Contact us with your comments and questions about the video:

The Baptist Catechism – Questions 105-114, Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer

Q.105: What is prayer?

A. Prayer is an offering up our desires to God, by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, for things agreeable to His will, in the name of Christ, believing, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgements of His mercies.

( Psalm 32:5-6; 62:8; Daniel 9:4 Matthew 21:22; John 16:23; Romans 8:26-27; Philippians 4:6; James 1:6; 1John 5:14 )

 

Q.106: What rule hath God given for our direction in prayer?

A. The whole Word of God is of use to direct us in prayer; but the special rule of direction is that prayer which Christ taught His disciples, commonly called the Lord’s Prayer.

( Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4; 1John 5:14 )

 

Q.107: What doth the preface of the Lord’s prayer teach us?

A. The preface of the Lord’s Prayer, which is Our Father which art in heaven, teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.

( Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:13; Acts 12:5; Romans 8:15; 1Timothy 2:1-2 )

 

Q.108: What do we pray for in the first petition?

A. In the first petition, which is, Hallowed be Thy name, we pray that God would enable us and others to glorify Him in all that whereby He maketh Himself known, and that He would dispose all things unto His own glory.

( Psalm 67:2-3; 83:1-18; Matthew 6:9; Romans 11:36 )

 

Q.109: What do we pray for in the second petition?

A. In the second petition, which is, Thy kingdom come, we pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed, and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it and kept in it, and that the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

( Psalm 68:1, 18; Matthew 6:10; John 17:19-20; Romans 10:1; 2Thessalonians 3:1; Revelation 12:10-11; 22:20 )

 

Q.110: What do we pray for in the third petition?

A. In the third petition, which is, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we pray that God by His grace would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to His will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.

( 2Samuel 15:25; Job 1:21; Psalm 67:1-7; 103:20-21; 119:36; Matthew 6:10 )

 

Q.111: What do we pray for in the fourth petition?

A. In the fourth petition, which is, Give us this day our daily bread, we pray that of God’s free gift we may receive a competent portion of the good things of this life, and enjoy His blessing with them.

( Genesis 28:20; Proverbs 30:8-9; Matthew 6:11; 1Timothy 4:4-5 )

 

Q.112: What do we pray for in the fifth petition?

A. In the fifth petition, which is, and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors, we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; which we are rather encouraged to ask because by His grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.

( Psalm 51:1-2, 7, 9; Daniel 9:17-19; Matthew 6:12; 18:35; Luke 11:4 )

 

Q.113: What do we pray for in the sixth petition?

A. In the sixth petition, which is, Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, we pray that God would either keep us from being tempted to sin, or support and deliver us when we are tempted.

( Matthew 6:13; 26:41; 2Corinthians 12:8 )

 

Q.114: What doth the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer teach?

A. The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen, teacheth us to make our encouragement in prayer from God only, and in our prayers to praise Him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory, to Him. And in testimony of our desire and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen.

( 1Chronicles 29:10-13; Daniel 9:4, 7-9, 16-19; Matthew 6:13; 1Corinthians 14:16; Revelation 22:20-21 )