Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Shame On You Mr. Osteen, Shame On You.
Well unless you've been under a rock for the past few years you probably have heard of a man named Joel Osteen. Osteen is known for his book "Your Best Life Now (12 steps to fulfillment er something like that)" and the fact that he has the largest church in America which weekly boasts over 30,000 attendees. Now I am not picking on Joel just because he is popular... well I'll let him speak for himself and you decide if he deserves picking on. Here are some excerpts from Joel's conversation on Larry King live:
KING: Is it hard to lead a Christian life?
OSTEEN: I don't think it's that hard. To me it's fun. We have joy and happiness. Our family -- I don't feel like that at all. I'm not trying to follow a set of rules and stuff. I'm just living my life.
KING: But you have rules, don't you?
OSTEEN: We do have rules. But the main rule to me is to honor God with your life. To life a life of integrity. Not be selfish. You know, help others. But that's really the essence of the Christian faith.
KING: That we live in deeds?
OSTEEN: I don't know. What do you mean by that?
KING: Because we've had ministers on who said, your record don't count. You either believe in Christ or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don't no matter what you've done in your life, you ain't.
OSTEEN: Yeah, I don't know. There's probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you're a believer in God, you're going to have some good works. I think it's a cop-out to say I'm a Christian but I don't ever do anything ...
KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?
OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...
KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?
OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.
Well gang my hang up is the gospel message which Joel doesn't seem to want to stand upon things that the word of God says like:
"No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also." (1 John 2:23)
What is being said here is that if you don't have Jesus you don't know God. It doesn't matter if you call His name Allah, Buddah, Krishna, Yahweh, if you don't have Jesus you DO NOT KNOW GOD.
"And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12)
Again here we see a black and white separation between those who know the truth and those who do not. If you don not have Christ as savior you have not life. Osteen does not want to stand on the truth of God, and exalt Christ's gospel on national television. This raises questions about how precious is Christ really to this man? Is He precious enough to risk loosing members from a 30,000 plus church who might leave because they don't like the sound of "Flee, flee to Jesus for He alone is our refuge!" as much as a message of "Find the Champion in you!" (Osteen's church's slogan)?
I can't describe what Osteen said (and there is much more in the original transcript, much more) in any other way then that he denied the gospel message. That Christ is the way the truth and the life and that no one gets to the Father but through HIM, and HIM ALONE. Paul writes:
"if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; " (2 Tim 2:12)
It's hard to see what Osteen said as being anything but a denial of the message of Christ before men. What grieves me is that there are thousands of pastors across America imitating Osteen and Rick Warren in a lust to have mega-churches (after all having big churches mean God is blessing you right?). Sadly, when faced with black and white questions about the message of Christianity the answer seems to so often be "I don't know...don't wanna judge".
Ah, but this seems to be the story of the church through the ages, (even in Israel's day) that there was the outward church and the remnant. God guard Your remnant and bring the church in America to repentance, and a love of the truth.