evangelical-industrial complex

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Is there a vast Christian media conspiracy? Proponents of the “evangelical-industrial complex” would reply in the affirmative.

The Christian media industry is an enormous and enormously profitable field—just think of the Left Behind books and the Veggie-Tales series for starters. But would Christian publishing companies deliberately protect their authors from criticism or scandal in order to preserve their profits? Folks who believe in an “evangelical-industrial complex” say “Absolutely!” See the definition of this interesting Christianese term below.


evangelical-industrial complex n. Also Evangelical Industrial Complex. [by analogy with military-industrial complex ‘the alleged cooperation between military leaders and the defense industry in order to exert an undue influence on government policy’] Major publishers of Christian books, music, and other media as alleged to be secretly, if informally, in league to promote and support selected high-profile Christian pastors, preachers, authors, and musicians in order to continue to make money from sales of books and other media products. Such promotion and support is alleged to be behind the downplaying or eliminating of any criticism or scandal that touches these high-profile Christian leaders.
2004 romanes.typepad.com (26 Oct.) : Poor Brandon. I don’t know how he does it. Not only does he live at the epicenter of the Evangelical-Industrial Complex [=Grand Rapids, MI], he’s also just a stone’s throw (relatively speaking) from the latest mega-fad, Mars Hill. 2008 youthworker.com (Jul.) : Radosh covers a lot of ground, and as a result he offers less depth and insight than a previous “outsider-looking-in” book, Andrew Beaujon’s excellent Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock. Reading these books about the evangelical industrial complex is as fun and unsettling as looking in a carnival’s fun house mirror. 2008 jezebel.com (24 Dec.) : Thus far the only place where I’ve been wished “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” was at Chick-fil-A, further reminding me that my chicken sandwich supports the bigoted Evangelical industrial complex. 2010 patheos.com (1 Feb.) : Gayle Haggard, the loyal wife of fallen evangelical mega-pastor Ted Haggard, was all over the mainstream media world (Oprah, Today, etc.) last week promoting her new book: Why I Stayed: The Choices I Made in My Darkest Hour. … Gayle Haggard has certainly suffered enough already, and her husband’s sins do not necessarily bar her from leadership. But is the “evangelical industrial complex” helping to return the couple to a form of shared leadership by publishing and promoting Gayle’s book? 2012 Jethani at skyejethani.com (13 Feb.) : Our human proclivity for leader-worship is as potent as ever, but there is more than a spiritual or psychological reason behind the rise of today’s pastoral pantheon. There is a systemic economic force at work as well; what I call the Evangelical Industrial Complex…. Consider the scale of the evangelical industrial complex that survives by perpetuating this system. The Christian Booksellers Association, representing 1,700 Christian stores, sells $4.63 billion worth of merchandise a year. And that doesn’t count retailers like Amazon and Walmart. Some estimate the total evangelical market to be over $7 billion a year. Evangelicalism is a very, very large business…that’s why I call it an industrial complex. 2013 Trueman at awakeninggrace.org (30 Apr.) : What, I wonder, if the conservative evangelical church world came to be dominated by a symbiotic network of high profile and charismatic leaders (think more Weber than Wimber), media organisations, and big conferences? What if leadership, doctrine, and policy were no longer rooted in the primacy of biblical polity and the local church? What if, in other words, all of this became a function of an Evangelical Industrial Complex? 2013 spiritualsoundingboard.com (5 Dec.) : I was a part-time, topic producer for Janet Mefferd until yesterday when I resigned over this situation. All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex.
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