Influencers Fall From Grace

I read an article recently that used the term “Christian influencers.” I looked up the term to see how it’s used today and found this definition: “An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience. An individual who has a following in a particular niche, which they actively engage with.” Evidently it comes from the world of marketing and is nothing more than what we used to call a “pitchman.”

The title of the article I was reading was, “Lead Singer Of Rock Band Skillet Issues Dire Warning After Christian Influencers Publicly Renounce Their Faith.” He was reacting to two stories:

“In July, Joshua Harris, author of the popular Christian book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” and former pastor, announced that he was no longer a Christian and proclaimed that he was now a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ_community. 

“Hillsong United worship leader Marty Sampson made a similar announcement last week, insisting that he is “genuinely losing his faith,” but that the very idea did not bother him.”

For John L. Cooper, the lead singer of popular the Christian rock band Skillet. it wasn’t just a person but the position that qualifies one as a Christian influencer. In his article he writes:

“Christians and the Christian church at large must stop “making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers … ‘relevant.’” 

“[W]e are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20 year old worship singers as our source of truth,” he explained. “We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word.”

When contemporary worship services came into popularity one change was replacing the traditional choir with worship bands led by a worship leader, or as Cooper calls that position, influencer. His worry is that these influencers are young Christians, and young. They don’t have enough experience in their faith and in the Word to hold influencing positions because they don’t just lead the band they also speak to the congregation. He further writes:

“[M]ost shocking imo [in my opinion], as these influencers disavow their faith, they always end their statements with their ‘new insight/new truth’ that is basically a regurgitation of Jesus’s words?!” he mused. “It’s truly bizarre and ironic. They’ll say ‘I’m disavowing my faith but remember, love people, be generous, forgive others.’”

It is interesting that most times these former Christians who disavow their faith while walking away from God/Jesus still promote the teaching as though the morals can stand alone without the need of God.

Here is a truism in life: people fall into faith, people fall out of faith. The church is happy when people find faith and sad when they lose their faith. It happens. Either the secular world gloats when a Christian renounces their faith, the church gloats when someone finds faith. Sarah Taylor adds these quotes from Cooper in her article in TheBlaze:

 “It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth,” he reasoned. “And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.” 

“I implore you, please please in your search for relevancy for the gospel, let us NOT find creative ways to shape Gods word into the image of our culture by stifling inconvenient truths, but rather let us hold on even tighter to the anchor of the living Word of God. For He changes NOT,” he wrote. 

He’s right on. But please, those of you who are anti-Christian and love to throw rocks at hypocrisy in the church as though that’s only where you will find it, cast your stone but don’t be surprised when it flies back and smacks you in the face. You know, “He who is without sin . . .”