When Religion and Celebrity Come Together
Religion and Culture Expert, National Host and Author Dr. Alex McFarland Says Anyone Seeking Truth Is Amazing News, But There Will Eventually Be a Litmus Test
GREENSBORO, N.C.—Most Sundays this year, rapper, designer and cultural commentator Kanye West has welcomed family and friends to his invite-only “Sunday Services,” which saw a particular spectacle at the Coachella Music Festival on Easter. A custom-built hill called “The Mountain” was constructed just for the occasion, where Rapper DMX, who is working to become an ordained pastor, led a prayer, and West performed in a 50-person gospel choir.
In the weeks since, the format has remained relatively consistent, according to National Post: “West performs or preaches in front of a live band and choir that are just as likely to jump into a song from their leader’s discography as they are to engage in a gospel classic.”
As more and more shun faith altogether, religion and culture expert, national radio host and author Dr. Alex McFarland asks: Why the sudden interest among celebrities? And, more importantly, is it show or true searching?
“With worship being turned into performance, a very real concern is perceived godliness without substance,” McFarland said. “And this is true whether we are talking about Kanye West’s Sunday Services or America’s mega churches. Everything has to be rooted in Jesus and Scripture. Churches certainly shouldn’t dismiss people who are searching for truth, and it’s incredible if and when new believers profess Christ. But there can be a false security. Those who are seeking and asking and searching must make sure they have truth at the core. The world is searching for religious gratification, and wants it to be flashy, entertaining and memorable.”
In its extensive report, National Post went on to say that Justin and Hailey Bieber, Chris Pratt and Selena Gomez have all been vocal about their faith. Just last week, Fox News reported that West said religion was a major factor as he worked through mental health issues in 2016. He described his religious beliefs as “being in service to Christ, the radical obedience.”
If sincere, these celebrity professions of faith are amazing news, McFarland says. But there will come a time when faith will eventually be tested in very real ways.
“There will be a litmus test that will separate the serious from the curious,” McFarland added. “We can’t be selective in how we will respond to truth once we hear it. Will any be willing to stand off against the Hollywood idols, and for example, stand up for the protection of life when the politically correct statement is about choice and rights? Will any have the spiritual fortitude to stand where God stands? Because it could be a very lonely stance.”
Later this month, through Truth for a New Generation Ministries, made possible in part by Liberty University, McFarland is hosting a special, weeklong intensive youth camp where youth who are truly seeking truth can learn how to better stand “Unashamed” for Christ in their families, at school and in the culture.
The “Unashamed” Youth Camp, set for July 29 through Aug. 2 at Camp Cale in Hertford, North Carolina, will enable high-schoolers to invest five days to “Go Deeper with God.” Participants will attend apologetics and Christian worldview sessions; enjoy excellent camp facilities and activities, such as a ropes course, kayaking and more; worship through music and connect through small group mentoring; as well as make lifelong memories.
Besides McFarland, daily worship and teaching will be led by Meeke Addison, American Family Radio host and a pro-family activist; Andy Lawrenson, a student and ministry teams pastor; and Daniel Ritchie, speaker and author of “My Affliction for His Glory.” For more information or to register for the Youth Apologetics Camp, click here.
Truth for a New Generation also hosts national and regional conferences that aim to help students, parents, youth pastors and community members lift up this young generation, pray for them and empower them to stand strong in their faith.
View the media page for Alex McFarland here. For more information on Dr. Alex McFarland, visit www.AlexMcFarland.com or follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @AlexMcFarland. For more on the Truth for a New Generation conferences, visit www.TruthforaNewGeneration.com, or follow TNG on Twitter @TruthforaNewGen or Facebook.