It’s not satire – it’s just sad.

There’s an Instagram account called “PreachersNSneakers” featuring pastors and other church leaders ‘who have large followings on social media, screenshots of the shoes they wear, and the shoes’ price tags. The account has drawn all kinds of comments and discussions, and of this writing has more than 20,000 followers. “Registered Flex Offenders,” some joke, while others are interpreting the account’s message very seriously.’

“This account is like the 21st century version of Martin Luther nailing his theses to the church door,” one person commented. (Link)

Another well-known pastor, Carl Lentz, like the cool celebrity cultural influencer he is, responds to a reporter’s questions, about his expensive sneakers, as he was walking through LAX Airport:

“Pastors are “grown people” and that “they have the right to spend their money in a way they’re comfortable with.” – as he was wearing a pair of the newly released Air Jordan XXXIII SE sneakers.” (Link)

Christian author and blogger Tim Challies responded to this expensive new fad with an article on his blog:

“It forces the realization—or perhaps the confirmation—of what so many Christian leaders and their ministries are all about. They are not first pastors but influencers, their great desire is not to shepherd a local church but to build a personal brand, their personal brand is not in the realm of religion but lifestyle. Their brand is success and they prove their success through ostentatious displays of prosperity. Most of us just see sneakers, but to a select group—the group these people want to woo and win as followers—these sneakers signal far more. They stand as both proof and promise—“I am successful, for I have the sneakers. Follow me and you, too, can have the sneakers and all the success they symbolize.” In this way, this Instagram account is an illuminating, though disheartening, exposure of modern evangelicalism.”

“We can’t forget or deny that by accepting the call to ministry, pastors accept a greater level of scrutiny—a scrutiny meant to consider what they are displaying to the church and the world around them. But while they are called to display something, it’s not labels or brands or prosperity or other markings of worldly success. Pastors are called to display godly character and are qualified only as long as they maintain it. The primary concern of pastors should not be the image they project but the character they display. In this way pastors need to ensure that what they wear doesn’t in any way conflict with the far more important display of Christ-like character. They need to know that their clothes will either complement or contradict the message of Christ. They need to be willing to deny themselves anything that might cause people to have trouble seeing past them to see Christ. They need to be the first to display the humility and modesty that is so very precious to God.” (Emphasis ours)

“Through social media, pastors’ lives are on display in a whole new way, for good and for ill. Twitter and Instagram and all the rest are capable of amplifying the godly character that qualifies us or the worldly ambition that disqualifies us. But, of course, it simply reflects the reality that pastors are called to a public ministry in which they are qualified by the affirmation or disqualified by the de-affirmation of their own local church. Pastors whose great concern is gaining and displaying Christ-like character for the good of the people they serve will shop, dress, live, photograph, and Instagram accordingly.” (Emphasis ours)

Full article can be accessed here.

Source: Tim Challies, ‘Challies’ blog, https://www.challies.com/articles/preachersnsneakers-and-pastors-as-lifestyle-brands/, Published April 8, 2019. (Accessed August 5, 2019.)


FIRST SNEAKERS – NOW WATCHES:

Following close on the ‘heels’ of ‘PreachersNSneakers’, another Instagram account has recently come to light – it’s called ‘ProphetsNWatches’. Although there are far less ostentatious pastors pictured, Steven Furtick, T.D. Jakes, David Crank, Brian Houston, John Gray are just a few who appear to have no problem displaying their wealth on their wrists – viewing some Instagram photos it soon becomes obvious they have more than one expensive watch to choose from!


Whether bought or gifted, you would think the ostentatious displays of wealth and the false ‘prosperity gospel’ preached by Benny Hinn would have alerted this present breed of mega-church ‘celebrity/influencers/pastors’ to the unbiblical message they’re sending their followers. Or do they ignore the scriptures that so clearly point to the treasure found only in Christ:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:7-11

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. 1 Timothy 6:9-11

“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” Luke 12:13–15

The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. Luke 12:16–21

“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” Proverbs 30:7-9

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” Hebrews 13:5


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