Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Celebrity converts

He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil (1 Tim 3:6). 
Conversion stories can be edifying. And to some extent, Christians have a duty to bear witness to their faith.
However, the Christian media has a bad habit of touting celebrity converts. When a celebrity converts to Christianity, they often become instant spokesmen (or women) for their newfound faith. They are interviewed in both Christian and secular venues. They appear at Christian events as keynote speakers. That sort of thing. But there are three or four obvious problems with this:
i) If they are new to the faith, they lack the theological knowhow to be a spokesman for the faith. Minimally, they need at least a few years to bone up on basic Christianity theology and ethics. Bible study.
ii) In addition, they may simply lack the intellectual aptitude to be a public spokesman for Christianity. 
iii) But there's a deeper problem. Today's novice may be tomorrow's apostate. New converts are too unstable to parade around. They need some shakedown time. Time to get rooted in the faith. Time to develop a tested faith. 
The passage of time is a winnowing process. It deepens the faith of some converts while weeding out rootless converts. 
Seedtime is not a good time to distinguish the tares from the wheat. Wait to watch them grow. Do they flower or wither? Are they fruitful or fruitless? 
iv) The very act of showcasing a newbie convert is destabilizing. This positions them for the fall. They aren't ready for the spotlight. Too much attention can be destructive. 


  1. Very well said! This has bothered me for a long time...Ever since Bob Dylan was abused as a new convert, until he backslid. Thank you for posting this.

  2. >>But there's a deeper problem. Today's novice may be tomorrow's apostate. New converts are too unstable to parade around. They need some shakedown time. Time to get rooted in the faith. Time to develop a tested faith.

    Indeed. My brother was "saved" from a wretched state. He was paraded by his church. It started off with having him give his amazing transformation testimony. Then the church very quickly wanted him to start preaching and put him in ministry positions. In just a few short years, he would end up denying the gospel in favor a works based substitute. Now he is no longer attached to any church, but he goes from church to church writing long letters to the pastors in his area trying to convince them to adopt a works-based salvation scheme.

  3. iv) The very act of showcasing a newbie convert is destabilizing. This positions them for the fall.

    Especially since demons will target them all the more (like those officially in the ministry) because demons know that if they can destroy the faith or compromise the testimony of professing Christians who are in the spotlight or in places of leadership, that that will affect other people's faith or possible conversion response.

    I'm not sure of the accuracy of the following examples:

    Charlie Sheen was once a professing Christian when he was prayed for by an evangelist and was instantly healed. "In 1996 he announced he'd become a born-again Christian after making a promise to a faith-healer who fixed his chronic shoulder complaint..." But we all know the problems he's had since.

    His father Martin Sheen is well known for being a long time liberal Catholic.

    Tom Hanks was once an Evangelical, and flirted with Catholicism and Mormonism. He may now be Eastern Orthodox like his wife.

    I think I once read that that comedian Dana Carvey and one time coach of the Bulls Phil Jackson were the sons of Evangelical pastors. Neither of them seem to be Christian and Jackson dabbles with Buddhism.

    Jim Carrey once said years ago (on the Tonight Show?) that his favorite book was Mere Christianity. But I think he's a syncretist or holds to Pop Spirituality.

    Gary Busey has claimed to be a Christian and has appeared on various Christian shows. But he has always seemed a bit mentally unstable.

    Years ago Evander Holyfield was often on Christian shows expressing Christian faith. Yet, later on I remember him being some how involved with psychics.

    Elvis was a professing Christian for a while who was unsure of Trinitarianism or Oneness Pentecostalism. For the last for years of his life he was a syncretist and dabbled with Eastern religions. I think some form of Hinduism.

    Bob Dylan claimed to have been visited by Jesus Christ and so became a Christian for a while. Then later he returned to Judaism to some degree or another. Yet people are still wondering whether he might still (at times) consider himself a "believer" in Jesus (of sorts).

    [Continued in next post]

    1. The Beatles are known for having dabbled with Eastern religions. However, at one point John Lennon was a professing Christian for a while, but was later persuaded by others to renounce Christianity. See HERE, and HERE

      Anne Rice was a "Christian" of sorts for awhile and was interviewed by different Evangelical organizations. Now, she renounces the conservative elements of much of Christianity. She may have renounced Christianity altogether.
      A similar thing happened to Jane Fonda years earlier. I don't know if she continues to be a professing Christian and become more or less conservative and/or Biblical.

      Jessica Alba was once a Christian in her youth but claims she pretty much abandoned the faith when youth pastors and others continually blamed her for being too sexy. She got tired of being ashamed for being pretty.

      Megan Fox I think still claims to be a "believer" of sorts and says even now when she's in the environment of her Pentecostal church back home that she sometimes gets the uncontrolable urge to speak in tongues.

      I could go on and on with examples. I'm not judging the ones I've mentioned above. I hope they eventually become or are currently genuine believers and that they would grow in their faith. But when Christians put celebrity converts into the spotlight it's often an unintentional act of cruelty, and not of mercy. Cruelty to their budding faith and as well as setting up a possible black eye for the Kingdom.

      The 12 Most Powerful "Christians" in Hollywood according to

      I'm convinced that at least some of these people are probably genuine Christians.

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    3. BTW, I mentioned some people who are already dead. Obviously, I hope they died trusting in Christ alone for their salvation.

    4. typo correction:
      Regarding Elvis:
      "For the last for [ "FEW" not "for" ] years of his life he was a syncretist..."