Saturday, September 09, 2006

Joel Osteen: The Pandering Prophet

Joel Osteen was in the People's Republic of Massachusetts last week hawking his book "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential."

You can almost picture the scene, can't you? Here is a blurb from the Boston Herald:

In Boston yesterday, more than 400 fans - most of them fawning females - lined up to meet Osteen at a book signing at the Prudential Center’s Barnes & Noble. Only a visit by former President Bill Clinton drew a bigger crowd, book store employees said.

Osteen and his pretty, blonde wife, Victoria, sold out the TD Banknorth Garden last night with their two-hour worship service, which fetched $10 a ticket. The couple’s visit came a month after controversial faith healer Benny Hinn came to the Hub.

If you've been paying attention for the last several years, you may be aware that the homosexualist assault on marriage is quite advanced in Massachusetts. Hence, a visit from the "most popular preacher in the country" was bound to elicit some discussion of the Christian position on "gay marriage."

When asked about gay marriage, Osteen said "I don’t think it’s God’s best. I never feel like homosexuality is God’s best."

That antiseptic response was apparently not enough to mollify the hard-edged reporters on the scene who persisted with the hard line of inquiry. Osteen finally responded, "I don’t feel like that’s my thrust . . . you know, some of the issues that divide us, and I’m here to let people know that God is for them and he’s on their side."

God is on whose side exactly? The Old Testament condemns homosexuality in no uncertain terms. Buggery is termed an "abomination," and Leviticus 20:13 established the death penalty for homosexual acts.

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul provides a revealing description of homosexuality: "In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion" (Rom. 1:27).

The word "inflamed" here literally means "to burn out." Homosexuality involves the burning out of a man. The structure of the passage in Romans 1 indicates that homosexuality as a practice represents the height of apostasy and hostility toward God.

In a week when a British evangelical was arrested for merely passing out leaflets at a homosexual rally, Osteen's tepidness is really little more than cowardice. "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (Rev. 21:8).

Writing about Osteen's comments, Dr. Mohler hits the nail squarely:

Mr. Osteen can be assured that his weak and evasive non-answer to this reporter's question will put him at very little risk for arrest. But then, pandering prophets are rarely at much of a risk from the public anyway.

There was no conviction in his answer; no clear declaration of biblical truth; no Gospel, no judgment, and no promise. Just a non-answer with a smile. Pathetic . . . simply pathetic.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments illustrate why Joel Osteen is so popular - he doesn't use the bible as a weapon against those who don't act in accordance with his religious beliefs. He uses it as a positive tool to improve lives.

9:23 AM  
Blogger Darrell said...

And that is the crux of the problem. The Word of God is not merely a "positive tool to improve lives," but the Word of a holy, just and righteous God who hates sin and yet gives the gift of His Son to win liberation from sin for His people.

The Bible is described, certainly, as a weapon. See Ephesians 6.

Moreover, "the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Heb. 4:12)

Jesus Himself came not to bring division, ultimately separating wheat from chaff and sheep from goats: "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law."

A pastor is not to be an ear-tickler, giving people what they want ala P.T. Barnum. Rather, he has only one option: "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Tim. 4:2).

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such hate, judgment, and finger-pointing. Just like the Pharisees that Jesus condemned.

8:28 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Hate, judgment, and finger-pointing? You may have noticed that all I did was quote three passages of Scripture. And again, that is the point. It has become hateful simply to point to what the Scriptures say.

I don't have a huge beef with O'Steen except that he largely ignores the law, and hence sin. He has said he doesn't like to call people sinners, but that is clearly what we are as Adam's descendants. Ignoring sin in purusit of "Your Best Life" is not the Gospel.

Simply sputtering "Pharisee" or accusing one of being a hater is not enough. If I'm unfaithful to Scripture, show me why.

8:49 PM  
Blogger mb said...

I respect your opinion Darrell and I respect you as someone who values Scripture above all, "God has exalted His Word even above His name.

I think you are in some cases getting to hung up on literalism and words. For instance, ofcourse we sin and will never be immune to sin on this fallen planet, but "There is therefore now no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus." The Bible (Jesus) refers to us as friends and even as saints and the Righteousness of God. So if you want to hold on to those old sintags in the name of this "religious false humility" then that is your right.

Joel brings a message of hope. If any Christian is merely following a "man" then he will fail. Joel constantly tells people to read the Word and get before God in prayer and not just for ourselves, but the Great Commandment to love God and others as OURSELVES! If you want to have a weak worm of the dust mentality how can you love yourself. Careful that religious false humility doesn't consider what the cross did. We are "holy and blameless, preists and kings, overcomers and victors, washed in the blood." Joel wants us to see ourselves as God sees us........holy and blameless. I've lived in self-condemnation and shame and poor self-image and I know that will only change as I see myself as God sees me and I have a covenant blood bought right to "live abundantly in constant peace as I keep my mind stayed on Him. The Word is a weapon to destroy and expose our adeversary and yes I agree with you it also points out sin, bur praise God that the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death.

Churches should be like hospitals safe havens for the brokenhearted. God will deal with any mans sin as he gets closer to God..He does this out of love because the "way of the transgressor is hard and the wages of sin are death. "Religious, judgmental, holier than thou" churches have distorted God's love. "He who is without sin, let him cast the firsat stone. SATAN COMES TO kill steal AND dESTROY...
wE ALL HAVE DIFFERENT GIFTS and different pastors and churches focus on their callings....some produce and focus on missionary work, others function in the prophetic, others on the arts and kids programs etc. Joel's gift is encouragement that a Good God is not counting men's sins against them...Tell them.....that really is the good news.

We are on the same team Darrell and Jesus's heart doesn't WANT division, but he knew the truth would always offend someone. Sure Joel could preach more on the sin side, but who are we to judge? God knows his heart, instead of bashing people like him or Benny Hinn as you say, let's do as Jesus would do and PRAY for them. PS I knwo Joel's positive meassage has greatly helped me become a better Christian, person, and tither and he has blessed untold others.

Grace be to you,
Mike b

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darrel. I believe the laws in Leviticus were written by the man. Called the Law a guide for the Jewish nation. This is not God's law. (the ten commandments)
In Romans, Paul was writing to Romans and condemed the laud behavior of both men and women which involved Idol worship. There was no respect involved.
When two people love each other with respect and trust. It is right with God.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Sure, everything is great as long as there is love.

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:39 PM  
Blogger Darrell said...

Sigh! Is the friendly criticism of fellow Christians to be defined as hateful?

9:24 PM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Darrel,I posted then it was lost so will try again but will condense.Anyway,what you said is 100% true.Sin is sin no matter what these other's are saying.having a "fell good" pastor like O'Steen doesn't help anyone.The Bible is very emphatic about how we are saved from eternal damnation and how we should live.All the talk about choices and alternative life styles is just a way of condoning sin.Yes there is sin! Darrell is right.The Bible is specific.

11:44 AM  

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