Thursday, May 29, 2008

Joel Osteen's Calling?: It Isn't Repentance!

In the Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) yesterday Joel Osteen was interviewed by James D. Davis. During the interview he was asked:

Q. When a preacher reaches prominence, people often ask if he's the next Billy Graham. Do you think you have a shot at it?

A. I don't think about it much. I like to be inspired by Dr. Graham. He's been a hero and a mentor and a friend to me. But we have different races to run. He fulfilled his calling.

Q. What's your own calling?

A. It's the same in a sense: leading people to Christ. But he brings them to repentance, and mine is more focused on hope and encouragement.
And that is one of the main problems with Joel Osteen's teachings. Osteen runs a church. Thousands consider Lakewood to be their home church. Even more watching on TV look to him for their spiritual nourishment.

But what does he offer them? Or rather, what doesn't he offer them? The message of repentance. The message that they are sinners in need of a Savior.

Does he offer them the Gospel? Not really. He says that in every service and broadcast he "gives people an opportunity to receive Christ."

But why would I want to receive Christ? To live a better life? To live my best life now? There are lots of other ways to live a good life too! That isn't the Gospel. The Law and Gospel consist of the fact that I am a sinner doomed to an eternity in hell - except for the fact that Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins. If all I'm doing is accepting Christ to live a better life I've missed the message of the Gospel.

Now, if Lakewood Church was my church where would I turn to hear the real Gospel? Should I run to another church to hear the message and then run back to Osteen's church so I could feel good? - or doesn't Osteen think a message of repentance is important enough that he needs to teach it?



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