Christianity is not an easy road to travel on. Jesus told his disciples that “if the world hates you” it is because “it hated me first” (John 15:28). The gospel does not promise prosperity or measure success the same as the world. Jesus said that “narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
The road seems even more narrow for a celebrity who chooses Christ as their personal Lord and Savior — for they are straddling a fine line to walk with God or walk with the world.
For someone who is always in the public eye either embodying beloved characters, creating music, or playing a sport, people are constantly looking at them for any sort of validation, social commentary, and even physical appearances or trends to emulate, etc.
There is not a single aspect that can be kept private for too long for a celebrity, especially with the internet that forever records what is said and done, or even the lack thereof.
In a world that demands transparency, tolerance, and political correctness, is there hope for a celebrity who believes in the One True God?
Not that long ago in Hollywood, a celebrity who announced that they were a Christian was not considered cool. In fact, it would often get them blacklisted from starring in any major Hollywood films, especially if they starred in a Christian film.
Jim Caviezel, who famously played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004), claimed “that accepting the titular role in The Passion of the Christ all but ensured the death of his Hollywood career.”
So, are the tides turning for celebrity Christians? Is it safe to proclaim to be Christian while still holding onto a successful career?
Big Christian Blockbuster Movies such as, I Still Believe, I Can Only Imagine, and Breakthrough are landing A-list celebrities without batting an eye.
Does this mean that Hollywood is finally accepting Christianity for what it is? Or just a version that it can easily swallow since so many high-profile celebrities are speaking and living their faith out loud?
Below are five celebrities who profess and live out their faith in Hollywood.
1. Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon is one of America’s biggest sweethearts. From roles such as Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, Walk the Line, the 44-year-old actress has had a successful career in Hollywood for three decades, and she recently opened up to the LA Times about her faith.
In a conversation with her co-star, Nicole Kidman, in “Big Little Lies,” Kidman asked Witherspoon if she ever thought about dying “because I think about it all the time,” Kidman confessed. Witherspoon confidently answered, “Nope, I don’t think about it because I know where I’m going.”
Witherspoon opened up about her Episcopal upbringing in Nashville, her nine years in the church choir “singing her heart out” and “loving every minute of it.”
She says she doesn’t have a lot of fear because “there’s a time and a purpose and a place, and I don’t fear death, because I know there’s heaven. I know it.”
2. Chance the Rapper
In 2018, Chance the Rapper publicly declared his faith in God on Instagram to seven million people, “Watch how I move, different chapters, decisions, missions, visit pastors… Everybody finally can say it out loud; your favorite rapper’s a Christian rapper and I got faith and my faith in my soul.”
Chance declares and lives out his faith, and even proclaims the name of Jesus. On Saturday Night Live in 2016, he said, “I like when we use Jesus’ name on network TV.”
Most recently, Chance declares in Justin Bieber’s song, “Holy,”
The first step pleases the Father, Might be the hardest to take, But when you come out of the water, I’m a believer, my heart is fleshy… I wanna honor, wanna honor you, Bride’s groom, I’m my father’s child.
3. Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber recently made it on my radar as a Christian with his new song, “Holy.” As other Christians do, I did a web search to know more about his faith. According to Religion News Service, Bieber and his wife, Haley Baldwin attend Churchome in Los Angeles.
His social media is not short of his faith journey and striving for God’s will in his life on top of his love for Jesus. On September 6, he posted, “I want to walk in the plans God has for me and not try and do it on my own! I want to give up my selfish desires daily so I can be a good husband and future dad! I’m grateful that I can walk with Jesus as he leads the way.”
4. Candice Cameron Bure
This Christian celebrity isn’t ground-breaking news, as Candice Cameron has been a professing Christian for so long and is extremely outspoken about her faith in every public platform she has.
“For many years I viewed the Bible as a book I would go to for big answers during big life moments. But when I discovered that this Book held the answers to everything from how to respond when I disagree with a loved one to how to rest even on my busiest days, it completely changed my life. A huge weight was lifted off my shoulders because for the first time in my life, I didn’t have to have all the answers — God had them for me.”
5. Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey, one of the biggest celebrities in Hollywood, says he’s been blessed that being a Christian in Hollywood hasn’t been an issue, but has witnessed others in entertainment limiting their faith.
McConaughey, during his recent appearance on the “Joe Rogen Experience,” promoting his memoir, Greenlights, said, “I have had moments where I was on stage receiving an award in front of my peers in Hollywood and there were people in the crowd that I have prayed with before dinners, many times,” McConaughey explained. “And when I thank God, I saw some of those people go to clap, but then notice that, ‘This could be a bad thing on my resume,’ and then sit back on their hands.”
He continued saying “[it] wouldn’t bode well for [them] in the future for getting a job or getting votes or what have you.’”
The actor’s faith was really put on display during his 2014 acceptance speech for best actor for Dallas Buyers Club where he thanked God saying “[He] graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand.”
The One True Star
It may seem that celebrities are professing and living out their faith, but there is still a hesitation, a fear about being a Christian in Hollywood. In every interview about these celebrities’ faith, few to none actually use the name, Jesus Christ.
Terms that seem “acceptable” to continue to be a successful Christian celebrity are “God, Faith, Prayer,” amongst others. In any interview on one’s faith, there is always a fine line that celebrities try to walk to keep everyone happy.
Jesus Christ is not a popular name in Hollywood or in many other places for that matter. Jesus knew He wouldn’t be fully accepted when He warned the disciples of what their place in society would look like.
Yet He still called them to proclaim His name to all the nations of the earth (Acts 1:8). It was not just the disciples’ calling, it’s all of ours, every person who says they are a follower of Christ.
In our cancel-culture society, the name Jesus is easily being canceled out, as anything offensive is dismissed and wiped away. Jesus came in love and in truth, but as the Truth and the Life, He offended many in His time, especially the religious leaders. The path Jesus laid out is narrow and not wide (Matthew 7:13-14).
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Molly Law is the Editor of Christianity.com. She has a Master of Arts in Publishing Studies from the University of Stirling UK, where she studied and lived for a year in Scotland. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Professional Writing and a minor in Biblical Studies from Gardner-Webb University. Her editorial career includes Senior Editor of a bimonthly magazine for the American Correctional Association, Editorial Assistant at Luath Press in Edinburgh, and Freelance Journalist for the News Virginian. She enjoys reading 18th-century British Literature, creative writing, and traveling.