Celebrity pastors today do not lead quiet lives.
They tweet, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Vine, hob nob with celebrities and snap any publicity stunt they can with anyone of any notoriety.
How is this consistent with the Pauline command to live quiet lives? How is this consistent with Christ’s example of meekness, who frequently withdrew from crowds, instead of thrusting himself in front of them?
How does this behavior reflect the Reformation’s undoing of priestly pretense by uniting secular and sacred – thus making the ordinary and mundane holy, and pharisaical piety putrid?
How does the self-promotional flurry of modern pastors align with G.K. Chesterton’s wisdom to not promote ourself?
I already hear the excuses. They are plentiful.
Quite frankly, I am so exhausted with them, I cannot bring myself to list them.
What’s shocking though, even after you weed your way through the excuses, is the voracity at which the American Christian devours all of the self-promotion. Review the gushing comments pouring from various pastoral social media streams and you’d think these pastors are followed by Beatlemaniacs, or more relevantly, Beliebers. Staged, red carpet photo ops. Compulsory self-glossing over every activity they take throughout the week. Afore mentioned celebrity photo ops.
Undoubtedly, God’s sovereignty overrules pastoral vanity and He will save His people, regardless the level of self-admiration His so-called shepherds achieve.
However, the stark spiritual reality in play here is the human soul’s deficiency to be content coupled with its compulsory obsession to force itself to the center.
This reality should not be over looked – either by pastors admiring themselves or by their admiring patrons, for both groups will be – and, presently, are – called to admire Christ – crucified, risen and ascended – above all things, including social media fame, cool haircuts, book releases, media appearances and myriad other “successes” found in ministry today.
Paul’s admission that there were those in his day who preached for selfish gain, should defuse the shock of self-promoters existing today, however, we should no more permit pastors to excuse rampant self-promotional behavior than we should allow them to elevate themselves to rival the prominence of our incarnate, crucified, resurrected and glorified Lord.