CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Kardashian Christianity

Dec 3, 2014

Most people in the West may know little or nothing about the Bible, about Christianity, about church life – all the things that made the free West what it is today – but they likely know heaps about Kim Kardashian. For the one or two people holed up in caves the past decade, Kim is of course a hyper famous, super celeb.

Oh yeah? Well what is she famous for? Well, she is famous for being famous. That’s about it. I still have yet to figure out why she is featured in all the media on a regular basis. Wherever she goes the cameras follow her, and we all have to know about it – even on the 6 o’clock news.

Kim Kardashian helps to celebrate Shoedazzle's first birthday, Florida. USAHer every movement and her every moment is the stuff of media wonder and fascination. Beats me why this is. It is simply another case of image triumphing over substance. What has she contributed to the rest of society? Name one thing. But all that does not matter. She is famous, and must continue to be made famous.

A mile wide and an inch deep. Of course plenty of other celebs can be described in similar fashion, so we are not picking on her as such. She is simply representative of vacuous nobodies who have for some unknown reason been made into international somebodies.

Superficialities abound while substance goes missing. Perhaps the best thing we can say about such folks is that they are in a perpetual state of infancy. They never seemed to have grown up, and they appear to be quite happy to stay that way.

But it is not just the Hollyweird crowd who qualify for such things. Sadly far too many contemporary Christians can be described in exactly the same terms. They too are a mile wide and an inch deep, with little substance, little depth, and little solidity, wallowing in an infantile state.

I say all this because I have just been reading again in 1 Corinthians. The first two and a half verses of chapter three make this very point: “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly.”

Other New Testament passages speak to this spiritual infancy as well, such as Hebrews 5:11-6:12. These believers are immature, unable to handle strong food, and are lagging behind in spiritual growth. This applies to many believers today as well. They, like our shallow and vapid Hollywood celebs are equally all about image and ostentation, about superficiality and show, and lacking in anything of real substance.

And it is not just individual believers, but entire churches and denominations that seem to fit this mould. If Paul came to them today he would say the same thing to them as he did to the Corinthians: ‘Shame on you – you are babies, immature, and worldly’.

I find it so sad that there are so many such believers out there who, instead of growing, maturing, and leading the way for younger Christians, have remained stagnant in a very carnal, compromised and immature state of development. It is as if they have no desire whatsoever to grow in Christ.

They are just content to stay as spiritual babes. Regrettably I have known of people who have been Christians all their lives, have been to church all their lives, and even had a godly pedigree. But they seem to be in a time warp of infancy. They are Kardashian Christians.

I have known many who have gone to Bible-believing churches most of their lives, but when it comes to understanding and being able to share basic Christian doctrines, they are at a loss. They have never really applied themselves to grasp some core Christian truths, and are blown about by every wind of doctrine. They are Kardashian Christians.

I have met many believers who should know better, but are abandoning one key biblical belief after another, simply to get along with the world and make friends with our postmodern culture. These folks will easily jettison core Christian teachings and simply go along with the mindset of the world around them. They are Kardashian Christians.

I am familiar with too many believers whose lives show no evidence of Christian maturity and growth in godliness. Their moral lives are really indistinguishable from that of the pagans they mingle with. One could never tell by their lifestyle that they have been bought with a price and delivered from the kingdom of darkness. They are Kardashian Christians.

Even worse, I know of many who have not just failed to progress beyond infancy, but have actually gone backwards. I am sadly aware of too many who have abandoned the faith altogether. They are no longer walking with Christ. They are no longer serving our Lord. They are Kardashian Christians.

The world of course loves people like the Kardashians. All the glitz and glamour, all the frills and thrills, with no substance and depth – they make for great celebs. The world chases after them in wonder and awe. And how many Christian leaders are similar to this?

How many offer no spiritual depth, no theological nous, no spiritual maturity, and no moral gravitas? We have churches full of entertainment and shows, complete with the strobe lights and smoke machines. They make for poor imitations of worldly discos, and they make for even worse imitations of the holy, set apart body of Christ. They are Kardashian churches.

Christian maturity, growth in Christ, and conforming to His image is what the Christian life is all about. In his book, In Pursuit of Maturity, J. Oswald Sanders said this:

The supreme goal of the church is not evangelism, important and indispensable as that ministry is. The ultimate goal is stated by Paul when he wrote: “We proclaim him, teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect [mature] in Christ” (Col. 1:28, italics mine). God’s purpose is to produce disciples who reflect the perfect humanity of His Son, people who are able to react to the exigencies and trials of life in an adult and not in a childish manner—meeting adult situations with adult reactions. In short, God’s purpose is to produce people who fulfil their humanity and become what God designed for them.

As I was seeking to close off this article, my mind went way, way back to my very earliest days as a new Christian. As a wild hippy who had just been born again, after a few hiccups along the way, I found myself around 1972 in Tecoma Washington, attending a Bible study held by two elderly ladies.

Although still long-haired, barefoot and undoubtedly rather odorous, they took me in each week to study the Word of God. They were going through a book which may well have been the first book I ever read as a new believer, if not the first book I ever bought.

It was a 300-page volume by J. Dwight Pentecost entitled Pattern for Maturity (Moody, 1966). Imagine going through a meaty and hardcore book like this as a brand new believer. These two women knew that a little meat was not a problem to go along with the milk of the Word.

I guess that helped to lay a foundation in my life which has kept me going ever since. There may have been a few plateaus and even lapses along the way, but the thought never left me that maturity in Christ was always to be the aim. Nothing else would do.

I am so thankful that these women knew that spiritual growth and depth were essential, and they did not leave me to remain an infant. Later on in his epistle Paul says this: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways” (1 Cor. 13:11).

Would that all believers in Christ move beyond this woeful Kardashian Christianity and seek to be complete, mature and fully developed in Christ.

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9 Responses to Kardashian Christianity

  • I don’t watch TV or read trashy papers or magazines so I have no idea who the Kardashians are.

    Why are you mentioning them, Bill? If they’re toxic ignore them.

  • Thanks Antonia. You must be one of those cave-dwellers I mentioned! Of course I did not write this piece only for folks such as yourself, but also for the hundreds of millions of people who do know about her. If I can reach some of these people, then the exercise was worthwhile.

  • Hi Bill,

    Well seeing as I have absolutely no idea who or what she is or does, I can happily join in the UGH me cave dweller as well.

    But your point is well made my friend. So many so called Christians are like the rocky soil, as soon as the heat of the day comes up, the seed of the Gospel dies in them without seeing fruit.

    I have even had one member of my church tell me to stop quoting scripture…….. at church. To which I could not resist but to ask, if not here in God’s own house, then pray tell me, where?

    Many come to church, not to be taught, not to be enlightened in scripture, not to grow, but to be told how good they are, how life is just peachy keen, how they don’t have to worry about anything, just skate through life, no cares, no worries, no responsibilities, no personal changes and God will give you a big reward.

    But I can gladly announce, I have officially hit “grumpy old man stage” which apparently is anything over 45, thus I do not have to care about what anyone thinks of me, I do not have to care about anyone’s opinion that disagrees with the scriptures, and I can be rather happy about it all, yippy, no more cares, woot, I can just tell the good ole fashioned unvarnished unadulterated truth and move on. Oh being graced with the power of the Holy Spirit helps a lot as well.

  • Steady Neil; though having attained the ‘grumpy old man phase’ might mean that you qualify not only for a free bus pass, but no longer have to care for what the younger generation thinks, but touch on abortion, homosexuality, feminism and suddenly all the tolerance, broad mindedness and “bus passes” disappear.

    Speaking the truth costs no matter what age or gender one is and unfortunately when the storm comes, as surely as it will, unless Christians have very deep roots, there will not be many left standing. Persecution is already here.

    David Skinner UK

  • I find myself unfollowed, deleted as a friend or ignored when I post things to do with Christianity on social media. I see people getting sucked into the vortex of wanting to belong, fit in and join in and I know it’s tempting to go down the broad path but not worth it.

    “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

  • Oh David, you think I care about any of that.

    Here is why I do not care for PC rubbish, I am almost half way through my life, I am going to die eventually, of something. Thus my death or freedoms or health matter little to me in this regards.

    Therefore, if I must die, loose my freedoms, loose so called friends, loose (whatever people seem to be afraid to loose these days), Then I will happily loose them for the sake of my Lord, my Saviour, my Friend, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.

    If you are afraid to loose something in this life, then that is EXACTLY what the Lord wants you to give up, (think the parable about the rich young ruler, money was what he was afraid to loose, that is exactly what Jesus asked him to voluntarily give up).

    Besides, the gay lobby, ssm lobby, the intolerance brigade do not pay my bills, do not cook my food, do not buy my clothing, or do my housework, so nerts to them. Try to take away my free speech, try to take away my freedom of worship, try to force me to hold a particular view and them be fighting words sunshine, And I carry a really big stick for just such occasions.

  • So true Bill. I asked my daughter what KK was famous for, and she said exactly the same as you … famous for being famous. I believe that changes in technology have made the problem worse. As a friend used to say to me, “instant gratification”.

  • I have been thinking about the celeb driven life a lot lately as it is your face almost everywhere- almost – glad to say not everywhere – was refreshing to be on a narrow boat in the midlands with my wife Cheryl and taking a slow pace and amongst the slow paced villages of Grand Union Canal – the narrow canals reminded us that narrow is the way narrow is the gate(entrance points to marinas locks etc) Helped us detox through contemplating the word of God and giving thanks to God surrounded at times by the many ducks swans and birds and fields and old churches . Went to Winslow also where an old hidden away dissenters chapel (circa early 1600’s) was a forerunner to Winslow Tabernacle (circa 1864) where Spurgeon had many meetings with large crowds that they had to use tents and these broke through paying a price – Spurgeons forerunner Benjamin Keach was a “Christian celebrity” loved by many but paid a price was heavily persecuted in stocks and prison for simply wanting to simply follow Christ , and this simple chapel is a testimony to those times of major persecution.

  • Thanks Bill this is another great post that can help mature the Christian believer and at same time help others including the God fearer

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