A recent article from The Cut profiles the faith of Justin Bieber, other Christian celebrities, and the fame-seeking pastors who cater to the Hollywood elite.
Bieber recently posted about his engagement to model Hailey Baldwin on Instagram, and included a message about how they were “letting Jesus through his Holy Spirit guide us in everything we do and every decision we make.” So who else is tied into this evangelical web?
You’ve probably heard about Hillsong [church] because of Bieber — before he proposed to Baldwin, he was photographed taking several different girlfriends to Sunday services, and he often posted about [Pastor Carl] Lentz on Instagram and Twitter. Hillsong, however, is not the only influential church currently catering to pop stars looking to repent for past sins.
There are several youth-focused, Pentecostal megachurches springing up across the country, and Bieber has attended just about all of them. In addition to Lentz, he has close relationships with Chad Veach, a pastor who wears cool glasses and founded Zoe Church in L.A., Judah Smith, another pastor who wears cool glasses and leads the congregation at Churchome in L.A. and Seattle, and Rich Wilkerson Jr., who does not wear cool glasses but who officiated the wedding of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. He presides over Vous Church in Miami.
There’s an obvious danger to the “celebrity pastor” culture. When celebrities give platforms to religious leaders, they’re also elevating their beliefs. All of their beliefs. The pastors Bieber associates with often appear to be hipsters, but there’s nothing modern about their antiquated beliefs. Bieber may think he’s promoting God, but he’s also promoting the pastors’ anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion beliefs whether he likes it or not.
These kinds of churches love keeping those beliefs hidden until they have you in their system, but would Bieber’s fans approve if they knew he was endorsing churches that argue marriage equality and women’s rights are sins against God?
It’s not just Bieber, either. The article notes that other worshipers at these evangelical churches include Kendall and Kylie Jenner, NBA star Kevin Durant, Flat Earth promoter Kyrie Irving, and singer Nick Jonas.
If these celebrities wanted to make a real difference, they would acknowledge the harm those pastors are causing and publicly denounce the beliefs with which they disagree.
Until that happens, it’s safe to assume these celebrities have no problem with the harmful theology promoted by their pastor friends.