The church is supposed to be radically different from the world. We are an alternative community, existing by grace and pursuing purity. We all fall short in many ways; but our utter reliance on God’s mercy is not an excuse for failing to pursue a different standard than the world around us.
A recent piece of news, the latest in a long and tragic saga, has brought one more reminder of the dangers of evangelical celebrity culture. Far too often in recent decades the evangelical world has been providing platforms to charismatic leaders without due attention to the character of the people being promoted or to the dangers of celebrification for a leader’s soul. To list the good and committed Christian institutions, organizations, publishers and others that have fallen into this trap would be sobering indeed.
There is a serious need for self-appraisal and housecleaning in the evangelical world. It is not a matter of Pharisaical legalism; we all need grace. But we also need the discernment to see through popularity. For the world, fame is enough; but the church is supposed to be different. Wisdom and virtue, rather than marketability, should be the characteristics that matter to us.