Celebrity Pastors

By | May 17, 2012

Perhaps it is time that the greater American Christian community re-evaluate their infatuation with  large, mega-conferences and the resulting rise of the “super-pastor.”

Perhaps it is also time for the up-and-coming pastors, the next generation waiting in the wings to become part of the elite “super-pastor” crowd, to examine their motives.

What is your motive in wanting to write that book?  Does the Christian community really need to hear what you have to say, or perhaps has it already been said by some other author in a much better manner than you could ever say it?

As C.S. Lewis stated: “There is a strange idea abroad that in every subject the ancient books should be read only by the professionals, and that the amateur should content himself with the modern books…. [Students are directed not to Plato but to books on Plato]— all about ‘isms’ and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said…. But if he only knew,the great man, just because of his greatness, is much more intelligible than his modern commentator…. Now this seems to me topsy-turvy. Naturally, since I myself am a writer, I do not wish the ordinary reader to read no modern books. But if he must read only the new or only the old, I would advise him to read the old. And I would give him this advice precisely because he is an amateur and therefore much less protected than the expert against the dangers of an exclusive contemporary diet. A new book is still on its trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages, and all its hidden implications (often unsuspected by the author himself) have to be brought to light….

It is a good rule, after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in between. If that is too much for you, you should at least read one old one to every three new ones…. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books. . . . We may be sure that the characteristic blindness of the twentieth century—the blindness about which posterity will ask, “But how could they have thought that?”—lies where we have never suspected it, and concerns something about which there is untroubled agreement between Hitler and President Roosevelt or between Mr. H. G. Wells and Karl Barth. None of us can fully escape this blindness…. The only palliative is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.”  (Quote from “Contending For Our All” by John Piper, page 11)

It seems to me the path to “super-pastor” is to gather a fairly large congregation under you, then write a book that sells fairly well, start answering the calls to be a guest speaker at different churches across the nation, author another book or two to keep your name out there,  and then hopefully get enough name recognition to be invited to speak at a conference such as T4G.

Is this the biblical pattern?  Additionally, how would this pattern hold up in other parts of the world, say Iran or China?

Here is a great conversation in which Carl Trueman raises some of these questions.  I share his concerns.

See this article which touches on similar concerns: http://www.outofur.com/archives/2011/07/cj_mahaney_prid.html

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