Stephen Baldwin criticizes Bono

stephen-baldwin-thumb.jpgStephen Baldwin, the actor and self professed “spritual activist” is coming out with a new book called “The Unusual Suspect” in which he criticizes the efforts of Bono who has put forth a massive effort in order to provide aid and debt relief to African nations. Baldwin writes;

“You would do far more good if you preached the gospel of Jesus, rather than trying to get Third World debt relief. God will take care of that Third World country. Get back to your calling, Bono.”

I have to say that this quote is incredibly troubling on so many levels. First is the fact that Stephen Baldwin is criticizing Bono, a person of faith who has made such an incredibly positive impact on this world through hard work and compassion for those who are marginalized and forgetten by so many. I could possibly see how someone like Ghandi or Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela could be in a position to give Bono some criticizism on his efforts, but not a guy who co-starred in Bio-Dome. Second is the fact that Baldwin is suggesting that, as a follower of Jesus, helping those who are the “least of these” somehow falls outside of the communication of the Gospel. I simply don’t understand how that has been missed in Baldwin’s study of Jesus’ teachings. Third is the idea that God will simply take care of these struggling nations outside the effort of his body of believers. In the teachings of Jesus, he clearly puts the burden on us, his followers to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, to clothe the naked and to give shelter to those without it. In those acts of service and humility, we can most clearly display the Gospel to those who are in need.

What’s also interesting about Baldwin is that he is trying to raise financial support for his new project: The Breakthrough. The Breakthrough will be an evangelistic arena tour that features extreme sports and light shows aimed at reaching the nation’s youth. According to the website, each stop on the tour is expected to cost around $350,000 to $500,000 to produce. Baldwin suggests that the youth of today is not being reached effectively and I’d say he’s right. We simply aren’t spending enough money entertaining them.

So as Baldwin criticizes Bono for actually serving the poor, or the “least of these”, Baldwin will be getting totally radical to the tune of a half a million dollars per day in an arena near you. May you choose wisely which these two totally different messages you will support.


35 thoughts on “Stephen Baldwin criticizes Bono

  1. I have a friend who is supporting this thing with Baldwin. I think this is a note worthy issue for discussion with my buddy. I can’t believe Baldwin would critize Bono for his heart and his activism.

    anyway. see ya tomorrow.


  2. Here’s the description of Baldwin’s upcoming book from Amazon…

    When Stephen Baldwin was riding the wave of fame from his most successful movie, The Usual Suspects, he thought he was in his glory. Hot in Hollywood–whatever Stephen wanted, Stephen got. Years later, happily married and living his life far from Hollywood, Stephen happened upon Christianity via a most unusual conversion. Now Stephen takes us behind the scenes and tells the stories we’ve yet to hear–of celebrity fun, curious family, and hardcore faith. He takes an in-depth look at the church’s current role in society and the extreme faith movement. It’s obvious Stephen has identified his new role in life–that of a Christian–a role more radical than anything in Hollywood.

    Unbeleivable that we’ve all missed the influence of this amazing Hollywood star.

    What were we all thinking?

    Thanks for always bringing the timely post, Zach.

  3. “‘And Jesus said unto his disciples “Take these fish and this bread and share it amongst yourselves! Let’s have a skate jam and barbecue in the name of the Lord! Don’t worry about that lot, God will sort them out, I gots me some contacts.” And with that Jesus did grind a rail.’ Here endeth the lesson.”

    Hysterical stuff. And I feel saddened that the epic spiritual agenda of ‘Bio-Dome’ passed below your radar. I also think it’s cruel that you use his own image to detract credibility from his statement 😦 😉

  4. I think if Baldwin were to spend some time with Bono in Africa he would not have made those comments. He is talking about something that he does not know about. Of course if we spent some time with Baldwin maybe we would be more sympathetic to him as well, but then again maybe not. It really makes me sad when people think that the good news is only that we can ‘get saved.’

  5. Perhaps Baldwin was relapsing to his days that he co-starred with another Mis-informed Accuser, Tom Cruise, as Baldwin starred as Billy Vorsovich in Born on the 4th of July. Yes, I IMdB’d Stephen Baldwin.

  6. I’ve worked as a youth pastor for 6 years.

    Entertainment doesn’t change kid’s lives. A one night spectacular event is fun and may culminate in an emotional experience, but the long term effect is almost nothing. People who care for them enough to share life for them and embody the grace and love, and inviting students to care for the things in the world that God cares about can make a significant long term difference in their live and the world.

    Sadly, Baldwin’s assertion that “God will take care of that Third World country,” is exactly the type of idealogy that encourages our consumerism and has allowed oppression and injustice to continue to work against the dreams of God in the world.

  7. David, I’m in the same boat and I agree.

    Think if Baldwin got that money together and sent to Africa.

    it’s too bad that he’s going this route, he could do so much more good in the world if he redirected energy from McTwists to feeding people.

  8. Well, Jesus said that we would always have the poor with us. But extreme sports? Now, that’s something we should get it while it’s hot!

    (Dear God, save us from the Church)

  9. Hey Zach… I’m a new reader to your blog (by way of Mark Oestricher’s blog), but love what I’ve read so far.

    The thing that really gets me with Stephen is that he seems to be using his faith as a new cash cow. If you’re charging 10k to go speak about your faith, and you’re working to raise 500k for a single event, it makes it really hard (for me at least) to believe in what you’re doing. I certainly hope that his heart is in the right place, and I really don’t have a problem with big events…but ignorant comments like the ones he wrote about Bono only reinforces the fear that Christianity is just a niche market for him. Ouch. I certainly hope I’m wrong.

  10. Thanks for stopping by, Sean. You make a great observation here and its something I hope is not the case but the evidence seems to pile up.

  11. J.I.McKemey “And with that Jesus did grind a rail”…that was great.
    Stevo definitely needs to rethink. Bono is doing good work no doubt but he isn’t a holy cow. Stevo and Bono are both subject to criticism. With that said I’d rather buy a U2 cd over donating to Steven B trying to change the world for christ.

  12. Although I may not agree with Mr. Baldwin’s comments entirely I find it interesting that someone would be willing to claim Mandela as a standard of Godly response to times of trial. I suppose skating is a bit flashy, maybe we should try beating and killing people to make a point like Mr. Mandela. Next time maybe avoid condoning sin on any level before judging.

  13. “Our resort to the armed struggle in 1960 with the formation of the military wing of the ANC (Umkhonto we Sizwe) was a purely defensive action against the violence of apartheid. The factors which necessitated the armed struggle still exist today. We have no option but to continue. We express the hope that a climate conducive to a negotiated settlement would be created soon, so that there may no longer be the need for the armed struggle.”

    -Nelson Mandela on the day of his release from imprisonment

    Ben, if you want to disagree with me on this issue with Mr. Baldwin, then please do so. But I’m sure you can find a way to do it without placing yourself on the same team as the perpetrators of apartheid. I don’t think I need to lay out for you the positive impact Nelson Madela has had on not only South Africa but the rest of the world.

  14. As much as I can never appreciate fully the struggle of Mr. Mandela and the people of South Africa under apartheid, I can also not find a provision in scripture for retaliation. My comments are not made out of piety or even complete understanding for that matter, but if one claim’s Christ as Lord, then revenge or retaliation is simply not ours to claim.

  15. This is disturbing. I’ve read the bio-interview Bono did with Michka Assayas. I also own all of his albums. I’ve read other books about his faith and his reasons for doing the things he does in Africa. I also watched him on the news with Brian Williams during his latest trip to Africa. And what moved me most is the episode of Frontline ( where Bono goes and quotes scripture to the hard-core conservative Bible-thumper movers and shakers in Washington and they come out crying, with open wallets! That was a move of the Spirit if I’ve ever seen one! Somebody should ask Steven Baldwin: How can you preach the gospel to people who are dead?

  16. i guess the really hard thing is knowing that Jesus absolutely loves Stephen Baldwin, regardless of how authentic he is, and that honestly, we all have a little (okay, a lot) of the spiritual arrogance that he seems to be exhibiting. A part of me wants to think “how dare you?” but another part of me says “wow, that reminds me of me”. Just a thought… not a fun one, though.

  17. Scripture state that without christ our Righteousness is like filty rags. Bono is known for his filthy mouth while claiming to be born again. Yes he do humanitarian goodworks but Christ agenda is to preach the gospel first then follow him. Bono can have the poor but he will not always have christ as jesus told judas. Get the point?

  18. Well it’s yours to consider what i said. Atheist, buddhist and muslim can do good works. Bono, by not opening his mouth about the sacrifice jesus made in order to save us is no more better than this people.

  19. Well, I’d suggest that the status of another man’s salvation is NOT mine to consider. Obviously you find it necessary to be the scorekeeper so I’ll leave it to you to do so.

  20. “Atheist, buddhist and muslim can do good works. Bono, by not opening his mouth about the sacrifice jesus made in order to save us is no more better than this people”

    Woah mate. You appear to be suggesting that those of another faith/view point are inferior?

  21. Not only that, but he is implying that Christians can’t sin. First of all, it isn’t our place to judge someone for having a “dirty mouth” (I can’t say that I’ve ever heard Bono curse). Second of all, he is implying that Bono has NEVER shared the gospel with anyone. And last of all, he is implying that anyone who has a fault (I would venture to say that is everyone) automatically cancels out the good that we do in the name of God’s Kingdom.

    jie4him, I can’t speak for you, but that is the tone I’m getting. That mindset is not of the God I serve. I would challenge you to check your own mouth to see if you may, in fact, have a little dirt in it.

  22. Hey Zach.

    Found your site through Marko. My husband, our children and I are missionaries on the field in the UK doing outreach and church planting among South Asians here. I love your blog and look forward to coming back…

    As for the comments….I am so thankful that Jesus loves the sinner and hates the sin….it means I have a shot afterall. How refreshing it is to know that He loves me in my filth and longs to be intimate with me….

    Take care.

  23. How unfortunate that Christians can no longer disagree in love. Although I disagree with Baldwin’s point on Bono’s activism, it has absolutely made me sick to read some of the comments on this post and this blog made at him. He’s a guy who loves Jesus and is trying to serve him by reaching skater kids (something most churches don’t do). Sure he took the comment at Bono too far, but where’s the Christian love for Baldwin?

    He’s a young Christian with a newer faith and he’s passionate about Jesus. How disappointing when a Christian only meets ridicule from the very people who should be disagreeing with him in love…

  24. You know, people are called to different areas of ministry…whether that is your neighborhood, Africa, the elderly or skater kids. I agree that we as Christians, need to be more loving toward eachother and embrace the differences that God made in each of us to further His kingdom!

  25. I meant to add that I dont agree with Baldwins statement….if you have ever been to a third world country you understand that you need to be reaching the practical needs of people in hopes of being able to share the Gospel. It is hard to explain the love and hope of Jesus to a mother who cant feed gher children. It is practical to want to meet their devastating physical needs while also witnessing to Christs love through action….

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