The “Voice of Faith” in a Celebrity Culture

In the ancient world, public squares were filled with diverse voices clamoring for a hearing. Likewise, modern-day platforms vie for followers, and despite technology, sharing the truth of the Gospel within a culture that worships celebrity is a complex challenge.

Author Andrew Byers shares an example—John the Baptist: “The forerunner of Christ was a major celebrity in the ancient world. Hordes flocked to him from a broad geographical range. His following was immense.”

So how did he navigate the complexities of his fame? The heart of his ministry was twofold—redirecting his followers back to Christ, and, at the same time, allowing his own public ministry to blend in with the wider faith community. Byers admonishes us to use the social media tools of our day to “point away from ourselves and become absorbed into our hearers, viewers, readers, and followers.” He says . . .

“Like John the Baptist, many of us have a message that needs public airing. Faithful proclamation in John’s day of public heralding and in our own day of social media use is marked by pointing to Someone greater while identifying ourselves with the faith community following our gaze . . . . What we proclaim—from temple steps, from Mars Hill, or from cyberspace—can direct those within range to Jesus.”

Adapted from TheoMedia: The Media of God and the Digital Age (Cascade Books, 2013).