Archive for October 14th, 2011

The concept of the “Hipster Pastor” and Hipster Christianity has gotten somewhat out of control in today’s Evangelical Christian landscape both in the US and internationally.

Over at the Gospel Coalition website, there has been some good Biblically-centered edifying materials for one’s spiritual soul.  One of the bloggers, Thabiti Anyabwile, the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Grand Cayman Islands, had a good opening discussion (Lord willing, it would expand a bit more in a few more blog posts) about Celebrity Pastors: “With a Little Help from Their Friends: How Pastors Become Celebrities.”  Readers SHOULD READ THE WHOLE THING THERE BEFORE GOING FURTHER READING HERE, BECAUSE THIS PASTOR’S THOUGHT IS QUITE INSIGHTFUL.

Pastor Anyabwile talks about the definition of a celebrity (famous…for being famous), but in words much better than mine, he writes,

I maintain “celebrity” is generally a pejorative and not a positive good because the corridor to celebrity essentially empties notoriety of its nobility.  “Celebrity” does this in one of two ways: either by eliminating accomplishment as the basis of fame and honor, and/or by embellishing a narrative that deifies the celebrity while creating a false attachment with the audience/crowd.

Although the star-driven “celebrification” process looks like the noble path to notoriety, here’s the difference: the narrative and publicity in the celebrity-making process renders the person a “pseudo-event” (Boorstin’s term) or a “human entertainment” (Gabler’s term).  Folks who simply should be honored for their achievement and even folks with no achievements can be “celebritized” when the real person gets eclipsed by a “role” or “image” conflated with the person’s real life.

Pastor Anyabwile’s blog entry talks about three dangers of making pastors into celebrities.  To add to that list, perhaps the biggest risk of celebrity preachers is that they rob the glory and attention…from God.

Unfortunately, there are apparently men out there who call themselves “Pastor” who function like a Celebrity Pastor.  An example of that among some Asian American and Asian circle is Jaeson Ma.

Now I also realize it’s one thing when a great man of God becomes famous…but it’s quite another when someone goes about seeking it, and maintaining it like the way Stars do it in Hollywood.  And when I refer to Hollywood style maintence of celebrity status, I’m not exaggerating when it comes to Jaeson Ma.

Tell me if the following three things about Jaeson Ma isn’t the epitome of the unbiblical concept of the Hip Rockstar Rapstar pastor.  You know you are a Celebrity pastor if you:

1.) Have a Glamour portrait shot like this:

2.) Have your own clothing line:

Some of you may be wondering where I get my gear… I’m sponsored by my friends Andrew & Johan at 3sixteen Clothing (www.3sixteen.com) if you want to support a fashion line that is truly excellent, passionate, and filled with purpose in every thread and fabric of each design then you will understand and appreciate 3sixteen. Check out their Fall 2009 Photo Shoot look book video… this is the freshness….

(Source: http://jaesonma.com/3sixteen-clothing/ )

3.) When you have to have a talent agent to manage you (Source: http://www.catchadventures.com/)

I know I have raised concern about Jaeson Ma here in the past on Veritas Domain.  I want this to be clear: I am not doing this to “hate” on young preachers; there are preachers younger than Jaeson Ma that I have been blessed with and look up to.  I am not against “successful” pastors…there are many whom I believe are Godly pastors that God in His Sovereignty has blessed their church and ministries because they were faithful to preach the WORD of God…accurately (rather than just throw out a motivation speech sprinkled with “I believe God will do something…!!!”).

I think the issue that’s most important and gets to me is really: What is Jaeson Ma teaching?  Is it just a Charismatic pencostal jibe with much emotionalism rather than what the clear Word of God states?

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