And the #1 Reason for a Pastor Not to Appear on TV: “Because I’m Justin Bieber’s Pastor”

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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15 comments

  1. What is it with Seattle pastors – the hipster ones at least? Looks like they just stumbled out of an Urban Outfitters. But the real question is whether or not Darryl Hart will start wearing his hair like Judah, because it looks as if it is out of the question for Dr. Clark. Unless hipsters start wearing tweed sport coats and bowties I think the odds are rather low that the confessionalists affiliated with WSC will ever be charged with being hip – thankfully.

    • I don’t know that the WSC guys could be charged with being hip either. But hey, at least 60 Minutes thought/thinks Michael Horton is reasonable enough to put him on the show a few times. haha

  2. I was never hip in the late 1960’s (in college) or the early 1970’s (in seminary). My collection of cool phrases ends with “Far out, man!” Being sort of a contrarian by nature, I escaped the craziness of the culture of my youth by going in the opposite direction from the crowd. This has nothing necessarily to do with sanctification, of course, but it did keep me out of a lot of trouble. You can imagine, then, what today’s “pastor dudes” look like to me – more strange than your average “bumpy-headed alien of the week” in an episode of Star Trek Next Gen/DS9/Voyager. I do not have the mental capacity to connect with a culture like this. How can I even begin to describe it? I’m searching for a phrase that combines weird, silly, and ridiculous in one punch.

    Imagine the horror on some of these pastors’ faces when they look back on themselves twenty years from now. Even more scary is to imagine them trying to look and dress the same way.

    Maybe the anonymity and plainness of clerical garb is not such a bad thing after all.

  3. Actually, Judah is dressed and coiffed very conservatively, compared to some of the guys I see on the floor of the PCA General Assembly. He doesn’t even have those geometrically arranged little clumps of facial hair.

  4. The thing about the clip that gets me is that the pastor acts as if he is not aware that he is intentionally, through his clothes, hair, glasses, general demeanor, etc. affecting the urban hipster cool pastor persona. When one of the hosts mentions that he doesn’t look like your average pastor and that he is a “cool” pastor, he demurs and communicates the equivalent of “who, me? really?” The disingenuousness of “authenticity.” That’s the ironic trap of “authenticity.” When you are trying for it, then you aren’t. When you aren’t trying for it, then you are, but you don’t know it.

    My incredulity continues when he begins talking about his book, and he says that the real point of it is to spark a good conversation, regardless of what the conversers believe or what conclusions they come to. Nothing against good conversation, but is that really why he wrote the book? I seem to detect an evangelical in relativist clothing. Is that allowed in Authentoworld? Expected? What’s so hard or “inauthentic” about saying, yes, I do want people to come to Jesus? I want people to repent, be baptized, and become disciples?

    We help out with a small ministry to students at our local junior college, and they know that we are evangelizing/witnessing to them. Some or even many are not believers, but they continue to come back to hear more, ask questions, etc. I think they appreciate us being up front with them, and I think even natural law demands that we be up front with others, regardless of the situation.

  5. Frank Aderholdt wrote: “Maybe the anonymity and plainness of clerical garb is not such a bad thing after all.”

    Now, there’s an idea. Maybe confessionalist pastors should consider countering the “hip pastor” thing by dressing in a clergy uniform when out in public and wearing a Geneva gown when leading worship. If the hipster pastor “dudes” are trying to make a statement by their dress (a form of dress which tends to denigrate the dignity of special office), why shouldn’t confessional pastors make a counter-statement by a form of dress which underscores the dignity of their special office? (Of course, the potential problem with this is that some of their congregants might suspect their pastors of going in a Rome-ward direction and/or find such dress on the part of their pastor to be a stumbling block.)

    • Geoff, check on the Genevan gown when leading worship. Pass on the street collar, for the reason you stated but also because if there is a point to be made then 1) just as extraordinary setting and calling begets extraordinary dress, donning ordinary attire in ordinary circumstances seems naturally fitting, 2) donning whatever one chooses buttresses liberty, and 3) common attire is very Letter to Diognetus, as in “…with regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.”

      • Letter to Diognetus and buttressing liberty

        spot on. I like it very much

        I must check how he (Judah) preaches

  6. This guy reminds me of my pastor growing up. He was no hipster, but he did have a distracting combover that led me to visually comb it over to the other side while I should have been paying attention to the sermon. Now that would be a cool hairstyle–unproportionately lengthy on one side… WWJD?

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