Some Thoughts about Celebrities Who Become Christians and Then…

Recently, here in the United States, two very well-known musical celebrities have come out publicly as Christians. And by “Christians” I mean “born again Christians.” I mean they testify that turning to God through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior has changed their lives and they intend to live from now on as followers of Jesus Christ.

I feel bad for them.

*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not speak for any other person, group or organization; nor do I imply that the opinions expressed here reflect those of any other person, group or organization unless I say so specifically. Before commenting read the entire post and the “Note to commenters” at its end.*

You must wonder why I would say that I feel bad for them. It’s because I’ve lived long enough to have witnessed a pattern that works to new Christian celebrities’ disadvantage. Get in my “time machine” and go back with me to some past cases.

The pattern is so common that I will just mention some names and then describe their common experience. (Yes, their experiences differed; I’m not saying they didn’t. I’m talking about something they all went through in common.) Eldridge Cleaver, Bob Dylan, Jane Fonda, Johnny Cash. There. Just four names of a long list of names I could create here. I remember each one’s very public testimony of conversion and what followed.

In each case the immediate response was their enthusiastic embrace by evangelical Christians. In each case it was overwhelming. Suddenly they were in “big demand” at evangelical gatherings. And if they didn’t come, they were talked about by speakers. Christian publications put them on their front covers and published cover stories about their “horrible lives” before conversion and how wonderful it was for “us” that they were now one of us. Well, it was never quite said that way, but that was the gist of it.

In the end, perhaps only months, perhaps a few years, after conversion they walked away from evangelical Christianity entirely and became who knows what? Bob Dylan converted to Judaism.

Americans are obsessed with celebrities. Evangelical Americans are obsessed with secular celebrities who convert to evangelical Christianity by being born again. Then we eat them. I’ve heard it said many times over the years that evangelical Christians are the only army that shoots its own wounded.

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