Monday, October 15, 2007

Joel Osteen and His Critics

With a new book out, Joel Osteen is on the interview circuit once again. Yesterday on 60 Minutes he took on his critics. Since I've been one of them I may as well answer Osteen's criticism of the critics. Here is part of the transcript found at 60 Minutes:

His latest book, "Become A Better You," for which he reportedly got a $13 million advance, goes on sale Oct. 15. They read more like self-help than religion. In his new book, Osteen lays out seven principles he believes will improve our lives. "To become a better you, you must be positive towards yourself, develop better relationships, embrace the place where you are. Not one mention of God in that. Not one mention of Jesus Christ in that," (Byron) Pitts remarks.

"That's just my message. There is scripture in there that backs it all up. But I feel like, Byron, I'm called to help people…how do we walk out the Christian life? How do we live it? And these are principles that can help you. I mean, there’s a lot better people qualified to say, 'Here’s a book that going to explain the scriptures to you.' I don’t think that’s my gifting," Osteen says.

..."There are a lot of people in this country, religious people, who consider your theology dangerous," Pitts remarks.

"I don’t know what can be so dangerous about giving people hope," Osteen says. "Causing people to have better relationships. I'm not leading them to some false God or something like that."

"Hear what some others have said about you: he’s diluting and dumbing down the Christian message," Pitts says.

"Sometimes you have to keep it simple and not make it so complicated that people don’t understand," Osteen says. "But I know what I'm called to do is say 'I want to help you learn how to forgive today. I want to help you to have the right thoughts today.' Just simple things."

"You know, you get people that wanna criticize, 'You’re not doing enough of this, enough of that.' Well, we're not perfect. But to have you know hundreds of people tellin’ ya 'You changed my life. I haven't been in church in 30 years.' Or 'You saved my marriage.' Not me, but God, but they’re telling me, but you know what? You can’t help but leave every Sunday afternoon…," Osteen says, getting emotional.

  • Even the secular media find it odd that Joel Osteen can write a "Christian" book and not have one mention of Jesus Christ in it. Elsewhere in the segment they also mentioned that his "church" was devoid of any crosses. Take the cross and take the Christ out of Christianity and you're bound to draw a crowd!

  • "I'm not leading them to some false God...." Joel Osteen seems to be a very likeable person and I'm sure he sincerely believes that statement. However, if his church is the only one someone is attending and that person is hearing nothing but the positive message Osteen preaches, then they are only hearing half the message. They are getting the Gospel without the Law. They are being told they are saved, but they have no, or at best only a glimmer, of what they are being saved from! Elsewhere in the interview Osteen said most people are already aware of the fact that they do bad things. But they can easily adopt the attitude that while they may not be perfect, at least they're better than so-and-so and should therefore make it to heaven. They haven't grasped just how wretched each and every one of us are, and if they haven't done that then they can't appreciate just how much Jesus Christ has done for us. They are getting a false picture of God.

  • "I mean, there’s a lot better people qualified to say, 'Here’s a book that going to explain the scriptures to you.' I don’t think that’s my gifting." Well then, Joel, I would say that maybe you shouldn't be standing up in the pulpit representing yourself as pastor to thousands of Christians, knowing that they are certainly not going to have the Scriptures expounded by yourself! Be some sort of teacher, maybe, but not a pastor!



At October 16, 2007 2:29 PM, Blogger Luthsem said...

I just added you to the Joel Osteen he's everywhere post on my blog.

Great comment on Joel not being a pastor.


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