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Justin Bieber warns against celebrity ‘pastor worship’

Justin Bieber has become an unlikely teacher on fame and “pastor worship” for the modern church.

In a lengthy front page feature article in the May issue of GQ, Bieber chronicles his own struggles with fame and the fight for normalcy in his life, including the attempt to create an authentic faith. He credits his wife, Hailey, and his relationship with God for giving deeper meaning to his life that fame and fortune alone couldn’t give him.

Bieber, 27, like many stars has had numerous ups and downs but has been outspoken about his Christian faith and his failings as a believer. It was only after his marriage that the world’s biggest pop star seemed to find his footing.

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Bieber at 13 during the start of his career in 2009.

That platform has allowed him an audience larger than any one else, including world leaders. He now regularly speaks about what God is doing in his life, changing him bit by bit.

“I came to a place, where I just was like, ‘God, if you’re real, I need you to help me, because I can’t do this on my own. Like, I’m struggling so hard. Every decision I make is out of my own selfish ego,’” Bieber recalled. “So I’m just like, ‘What is it that you want from me? You put all these desires in my heart for me to sing and perform and to make music—where are these coming from? Why is this in my heart? What do you want me to do with it? What’s the point? What is the point of everything? What is the point of me being on this planet?’”

Through several mentorships, he’s clearly found some of the answers he’s looking for.

“He is grace,” he says. “Every time we mess up, He’s picking us back up every single time. That’s how I view it. And so it’s like, ‘I made a mistake. I won’t dwell in it. I don’t sit in shame. But it actually makes me want to do better,’ ” Bieber told interviewer Zach Baron.

Baron writes that Bieber’s friend, Chance the Rapper, explained without hesitation that God is the One who helps him and Bieber navigate a grinding industry.

“Both of us, our secret sauce is Jesus,” Chance told the magazine. “Justin doesn’t fake the funk. He goes to Jesus with his problems, he goes to Jesus with his successes. He calls me just to talk about Jesus.”

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Justin Bieber today. Photo: Living Waters video screenshot.

Bieber previously attended Hillsong, a church that had to fire one of its lead pastors for “moral failures” last year. That apparently had a around impact on the Bieber.  He cautions against celebrity worship and putting trust in one person, instead of working on your own relationship with God.

“I think so many pastors put themselves on this pedestal,” he told GQ. “And it’s basically, church can be surrounded around the man, the pastor, the guy, and it’s like, ‘This guy has this ultimate relationship with God that we all want but we can’t get because we’re not this guy.’ That’s not the reality, though. The reality is, every human being has the same access to God.”

Earlier this month, and after years of struggle, the singer released a six-track EP “Justice” on Easter Sunday. The songs show a journey as he cultivates his own relationship with God, and embraces the stability and happiness he’s found in Him.

In the song “We’re In This Together,” Bieber opens up about his own past, admitting to things he has done wrong and thanking God for the ways he has grown up over the years.

He went on to say that, “even in a pandemic, God is still plannin’ / Plannin’ peace, plannin’ joy, plan another day ‘ Gave His life upon the cross to wash our sins away.”

The “Beebs” as fans call him, also spoke out on current events. In the song “Afraid to Say,” he expresses sorrow over the accelerating cancel culture that has consumed much of our public discourse.

“What have we done with society when everybody’s getting canceled?” he asks. “And can’t there be room for maturity? ’Cause writing ’em off is not the answer.”

After “We’re in this,” Bieber ended the song by praying over anyone listening to it:

I pray for every single person listening to this song right now. I pray for peace. I pray for joy. I pray for confidence. I pray for reassurance. I thank You so much for the person listening to this right now. I pray that You would bless them.

Bless their mind, bless their finances. Bless their family, bless their sons, bless their daughters, bless their moms, bless their dads, bless their grandparents.

God, I just pray for an overwhelming sense of Your presence in their home right now, an overwhelming sense of Your peace that says, “Everything is going to be alright.”

In the name of Jesus. In the name of Jesus.

Christian culture often expects new believers to change over night and have no patience for those on a painful journey. For Bieber, his relationship isn’t about getting into any club but his new family.

“I have a wife who I adore, who I feel comforted by. I feel safe. I feel like my relationship with God is wonderful. And I have this outpouring of love that I want to be able to share with people, you know?”

–Metro Voice and wire services