Big personalities have always played a big role in the American church. Some celebrity preachers (like George Whitefield and John Piper) encourage us with their faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Others (like Charles Finney and Joel Osteen) raise serious concerns. The latter make you wonder if there is any hope for an evangelical movement that fills their churches and buy their books.
Earlier this year I discussed these issues of celebrity evangelicalism and more with my friends and fellow writers Owen Strachan and Justin Taylor. We live in a time when God has evidently blessed the ministry of many godly teachers. For that we can give thanks! But we also know form history that movements dependent on personalities rises and fall with them. So we discuss the differences between speaking at conferences and leading in the local church according to biblical guidelines.
Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. Formerly an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, he is the author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.