Is the Message of Christ validated by celebrity endorsement?

My training as a cross cultural missionary has taught me to examine cultures for themes.  Every culture is unique and has themes that drive that culture onward.  To be a theme, it’s inter woven presence in the culture demonstrates it is a value within that culture.  Because a theme is aspired to, the self-propagation assures it maintenance from generation to generation. Clearly, “Entertainment” has become a theme in American culture. It is present in every aspect of our society.  An astounding proof for this conclusion is verified by different causes using celebrity icons to sanction their endeavors.  Examples range from political campaigns, to human rights causes, to squelching inner city violence and advertising certain products.

Entertainment celebrities are the individuals sought to endorse a cause. Why? Because our society exalts the individuals who entertain us.   Sadly, they have become cultural heroes and the ones to whom our society aspires to emulate.  Not, mind you, because of great acts of courage, moral integrity, inner strength, and/or benevolent kindness.  In entertainers we see wealth, attractiveness and fame (a few other areas in which our current culture aspires!). Hence, the appeal that celebrities bring is seen as a way to verify the validity of a given cause.

However, when celebrities are vocal about their faith in Christ is it wise to consider that an endorsement to the validity of the cause of Christ? Don’t misunderstand me, I rejoice as much as anyone when celebrities vocalize Christ’s position in their lives.  Be it a superstar athlete, an accomplished actor, a gifted vocalist, or a politician, I am grateful they use that platform to testify to that fact.  But, my concern is that we may be falling into the celebrity endorsement trap as validation for Christ’s cause.

Photo courtesy of Neil Godding/

I understand that it is a human need to sense validation for our causes.  We look to each other for this on a regular basis.  However, human acknowledgement for a spiritual cause can only produce temporal and whimsical results.  It is the best we can do.  True validation can only come when sourced beyond the human realm.

At its core, most would agree that Christ’s sacrifice for our sins is the central message of our faith.  However, where do we look for validation of that message and were does verification of that validation come from?  Donald English said it well, “We today in the West are under enormous pressure to demonstrate our relevance.”1  Evidencing relevance defends validity of purpose.  But, do we seek to illuminate validation in the wrong areas?

Why is it we gravitate to celebrity testimonials?  When a superstar athlete makes a remote reference to his/her faith, social media lights up with posts as if valid confirmation of the worthiness of Jesus has suddenly been unearthed.  Do these posts reveal a desperation to promote validation? It is almost as if there is a sense of … “Isn’t this great?!!  Look how true our message is,  ______________ has even acknowledged it!”

Certainly, Christians testifying of Christ’s influence is wonderful.  But, our testimonies, actions, or reactions are not the example we should look towards to validate Christ’s worthwhile message.  The greatest endorsement of validation for the message of Christ is clear from the Scriptures.

Even after Jesus miraculously fed 4000 men, Matthew 16:4 and Mark 8:12 detail Jesus’ response to the Pharisee’s question about a “sign” for validation.  Jesus said he would not give a (different) sign.  Because earlier in Matthew 12:39-40 Jesus had already given them the only sign necessary for validation of His message…

 39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

… Jesus was forecasting His burial in and rising from the tomb.  The greatest verification to the validity of the Christian message is in the resurrection of Jesus!  Through that one act He…

  • Verified that He conquered death.
  • Affirmed the Father’s value of His worthy sacrifice.
  • Validated the accuracy of His message.
  • Thus, endorsing the legitimacy of the cause of an army of witnesses for future generations.

This thought is not just for Easter.  Let us understand the resurrection and all that it entails.  It is the only verification for validation we need.  Rejoice in the testimonies of others, of course.  Thank God when a celebrity (or anyone else!) acknowledges truth.  However, let us be clear that we need look no further than the resurrection of the Sacrificial Savior in our quest to verify the validity of our cause in Christ!

The greatest verification and only validation necessary for our cause?  The Resurrection!

Let’s live like it.  Let’s proclaim it!




1The Message of Mark, by Donald English pg. 102