When Paul instructs Timothy to charge his followers not to “give heed” to “endless genealogies” (I Tim. 1:4), he refers to the status symbol of the personality of his day.
In Paul’s day genealogies were very important, even among believers. One’s family relationships meant a great deal. If you were a second cousin to Christ or even a third cousin to Peter you “had it made.” You might be crude, or stupid, or even wicked, but all this was overlooked: you were closely related to Christ Himself or to the Apostle Peter and all were ready to give you audience.
Actually, the personality cult is still with us in the Church today though it manifests itself in different ways. We live in a day of mass communications, when the faces of prominent men and women are seen again and again in newspapers and magazines and even their personalities come through to us over radio and television. Thus it is the prominent “Christian” politician, athlete, actor, beauty queen, or even former gangster who commands the attention today. Those who arrange evangelistic campaigns often seek to engage such personalities to attract crowds. Such prominent figures, though perhaps actually saved, may be very much “of the world,” dishonoring their Christian calling every day, but their presence draws crowds and their shallow testimonies are used to justify their public participation in the work of the Lord.
The new evangelicalism has borrowed many prominent personalities from the world to help swell its audiences, while the old prayer that the witness may be hid behind the cross is to all intents and purposes considered passe. source