The Pastors Who Run Evangelical Hollywood

Judah Smith & Justin Bieber

“Pentecostal interpretation of the Bible is not always what millennials want to hear. Media outlets have questioned Lentz, Veach, Smith, and Wilkerson about their views on marriage equality and abortion, which more traditional Pentecostal churches rail against. The cool pastors, however, prefer not to share their opinions on these issues.”

(Pulpit & Pen) Kanye West. Kim Kardashian. Russell Wilson. Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Justin Bieber. I know that if you hear these names you think, “solid Christian believers.”

No? The influence of charismaticism’s prosperity-driven moralistic, therapeutic deism in Hollywood has been well-established. In particular, the influence of Hillsong has been explored by major media. Like the Church of Scientology, Hillsong has thrived primarily by celebrity influence. And so, Carl Lentz – the pastor of Hillsong New York – has been seen taking shots with addiction-riddled Justin Beiber. Beiber and his one-time sweetheart, Selena Gomez, have visited pastor of Hillsong’s affiliate church in Seattle, Judah Smith via private jet.

Other celebrity evangelical pastors, like Rich Wilkerson, have been featured in Kardashian reality shows. These preaching superstars have made in-roads into Hollywood’s elite culture.

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. – Luke 6:40

No doubt, there are countless good Bible teachers exhorting Los Angeles-area residents to repent of their sins and believe the Gospel. In fact, Grace Community Church, the home of John MacArthur in Sun Valley is only about 30 minutes in traffic from Los Angeles. However, these particular pastors (above) are not known for producing disciples that in any way, shape, form or fashion resemble authentic believers in Christ. Chris Pratt, who vaguely (but commendably) referenced the Gospel amidst his recent divorce at the 2018 MTV Music Awards, might be the exception to the outright overt ungodliness for which the rest of these celebrities are famously known.

While none of this is new, what is absolutely fascinating is the article that surfaced yesterday from The Cut, entitled, A Guide to the Evangelical Celebrities and Pastors Dominating Hollywood. From a polemics perspective, it’s a case in point of very real intrigue to see how the secular mind views these evangelical leaders from a cultural rather than theological perspective.

Allie Jones writes:

When Justin Bieber, the 24-year-old oft-troubled pop star, announced his engagement to Hailey Baldwin, the 21-year-old model daughter of Stephen Baldwin, the first thing he mentioned was their shared faith. “I promise to lead our family with honor and integrity letting Jesus through his Holy Spirit guide us in everything we do and every decision we make,” he wrote on Instagram. “Gods timing really is literally perfect, we got engaged on the seventh day of the seventh month, the number seven is the number of spiritual perfection, it’s true GOOGLE IT!” View article →