Pastor Warns Against Idolizing Celebrity

Mark Driscoll warns against false idolatry in modern celebrity culture.

ByABC News
September 23, 2009, 9:42 AM

Sept. 23, 2009— -- To explore one 21st century interpretation of the second commandment -- the prohibition against false idols -- "Nightline" co-anchor Terry Moran traveled to Seattle to spend the afternoon with Pastor Mark Driscoll of the Mars Hill Church.

Driscoll frequently preaches to his church members about idolatry and the seemingly endless supply of potential idols modern culture throws in believers' paths.

His definition of an idol was simple: "An idol is someone or something that occupies the place of God in your life," he explained. "[It] gives you identity, meaning, value, purpose, love, significance, security."

When asked for examples, Driscoll was quick with a list. "Food, sex, money, fame, power, glory, achievement. ... We call that America."

Driving around Seattle, Driscoll pointed out what he considered to be modern temples of worship: the high-end stores, the strip clubs, the coffee company headquarters with its high tower, even the sports arena.

"I'm a sports fan. I love sports," Driscoll said. "But if you go to a game, I mean it's the pictures -- beyond life-size -- of the athletes, their jerseys and bobble-heads, and faces on the screen. And when they get up to bat, all the cameras go off. Everyone stands if they do something and everyone cheers. I think if you were an ancient Hebrew who simply teleported in, you'd think this was an enormous religious revival."

And in a culture that is saturated with images of celebrity and glamour, technology has allowed anyone to become a player in that world.

"It's the whole point of MySpace, Facebook, blogging, tweeting, social networking," Driscoll said. "I can be a celebrity too. Maybe a minor celebrity. People can know about me and can follow me and celebrate me and it's all about me."