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Friday, March 31, 2006

Joel Osteen in the New York Times: A Missed Opportunity

I generally try to avoid direct criticisms of fellow Christians on this blog but have found that I have to make an exception today. I just read this article in the NY Times about famed megachurch preacher, Joel Osteen.

I wouldn't begin to say anything about Joel Osteen's heart and what he truly believes. But based upon this article, I can't see any connection between his church and teachings and Christianity.

I'd like to highlight some of Osteen's teachings:
Again and again in the first book, Mr. Osteen exhorts readers to shun negativity and develop "a prosperous mindset" as a way of drawing God's favor.

He is not shy about calling on the Lord. He writes of praying for a winning basket in a basketball game, and then sinking it; and even of circling a parking lot, praying for a space, and then finding it. "Better yet," he writes, "it was the premier spot in that parking lot."

In "Your Best Life," Mr. Osteen counsels patience, compassion, kindness, generosity and an overall positive attitude...

"I don't believe I ever preached a message on money," he said. "But I do believe, you know what, God can want you to have a better house. God wants you to be able to send your kids to college."
Let me now highlight a few things from the Bible:

That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. - 2nd Corinthians 12:10

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:10

In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. - 2nd Timothy 2:12
Yes, I know that Bible verses can be taken out of context. But I have a hard time seeing the compatiblity between Osteen and what the Bible says here.

If indeed Osteen does believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ, why would he not take advantage of an opportunity to talk about it when interviewed for this piece?

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