Carl Trueman on the Reformed Celebrity Culture

Over a year ago, I asked a question it seemed many others were asking as well–“are we creating a Reformed celebrity culture?”  Some of my concerns were stated in this excerpt:

First, I do not want to see the Reformed movement become defined by the conference culture as the Keswick and Fundamentalist movements were.  They were by and large parasitic of the local church and did not emphasize or place priority on the local church.  As a result, both movements died when their celebrities and conferences died.  Second, I don’t want to see these godly men who have become so influential in so many lives become elevated to a celebrity status . . . .

Carl Trueman recently shared similar concerns with both my points: first the absence of the local church on key points, and second, the promotion of personalities and attachments thereunto.  Trueman writes,

Nevertheless, the church is the God-ordained social structure for believers. Like democracy, she may be far from perfect, but she is better than any of the alternatives.  Thus, one test as to whether the new Reformed revival is really a movement of substance and not simply a disparate collection of personality cults is to see whether the church is being built up and strengthened.

And again, regarding the cult of personality:

When does a leader cross the line between promoting the kingdom and promoting himself?  When does a ministry cease to exist for any other reason than providing its leader with a good salary, a flashy car, and a platform for pontification?

I encourage you to read his entire article in which he rejoices in the resurgence of Reformed theology as seen in Collin Hansen’s book Young, Restless, and Reformed while at the same time makes these (and other) important critiques.

Explore posts in the same categories: Calvinism, Conferences, Excerpts

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5 Comments on “Carl Trueman on the Reformed Celebrity Culture”

  1. John Inman Says:

    All I have to say about Reformed Celebrity culture is never get on a Ligonier Ministry mailing list. You will be hounded for a donation. Phone calls, emails, letters. They must hire the same people who do collections. Relentless

  2. Kyle Barrett Says:

    I am of Dever! I am of Piper! I am of Mohler! I am of Mahaney! I am of Jesus! Sounds more Corinthian than any of us really wants to admit. The disturbing thing is that this kind of turf-ism (think i just made up a word) is so subtle. It’s something every generation of believers must wage war against when you have men who are great and have done great things for the sake of the Kingdom. Thanks for highlighting the article.


  3. […] Timmy Brister notes that the local church needs to be the priority in today’s “Reformed, celebrity […]

  4. JamesL Says:

    As far as Ligonier I’ve been a table talk subscriber for a couple of years now and I haven’t been called about any donations. They may know they are asking from blood out of a turnip. For what its worth I know one of the best preachers I’ve heard is a reformed SBC pastor who has been training pastors and building up churches in Ukraine, Russia, South America for the past fifteen years or so. I’ve heard him preach powerfully in a little methodist church in Frogpond Al…as far as I was concerned the likes of Spurgeon was serving meat. I had to get off my chest as there are many men out there laboring in the heat of the day proclaiming the reformed faith and they’ve been doing so before these gentlemen had their conferences.

  5. […] Brister riffs on Carl Trueman's critique of the Reformed celebrity […]

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