I’ve opined in the past about the cult of Christian celebrity, which is common in both evangelical and Catholic churches. Here are some examples from Charisma magazine:
One friend of mine in Texas recently inquired to see if a prominent preacher could speak at her conference. The minister’s assistant faxed back a list of requirements that had to be met in order to book a speaking engagement. The demands included:
* a five-figure honorarium
* a $10,000 gasoline deposit for the private plane
* a manicurist and hairstylist for the speaker
* a suite in a five-star hotel
* a luxury car from the airport to the hotel (2004 model or newer)
* room-temperature Perrier
This really makes me wonder how the apostle Paul, Timothy or Priscilla managed ministering to so many people in Ephesus, Corinth and Thessalonica. How did they survive without a manicurist if they broke a nail while laying hands on the sick?
I was relieved to know that this celebrity preacher’s requirements in 2007 did not include a set of armed bodyguards—because I just might want to jump uninvited into her Rolls-Royce and say a few words.
It gets worse, if you can believe it. At a charismatic conference in an East Coast city recently, a pastor stood on a stage in front of a large crowd and smugly announced that the guest speaker was “more than an apostle.” Then the host asked everyone to bow down to the person, claiming that this posture was necessary to release God’s power.
“This is the only way you can receive this kind of anointing!” the host declared, bowing in front of the speaker. Immediately, about 80 percent of the audience fell prostrate on the floor. The few who were uncomfortable with the weird spiritual control in the room either walked out or stood in silent protest.
So today, I guess it’s not enough to feed a celebrity preacher’s ego by treating them like a rock star. We also are required to worship him.
Bill Kinnon notices a trend though–Charisma will often publish editorials like this, never mentioning names, but it keeps accepting the advertisements from the offenders.