Monday, July 09, 2007

A Christian Message Without a Christ

What does God want for you? He wants you to be happy, maybe even wealthy, but definitely happy. He wants you to let go of the past, believe in yourself, and essentially to have your "best life now!" So that is what God wants for you friends, or at least that's what Joel Osteen wants for you.

Osteen's message is one that isn't new. It's been popular since the days of Vincent Peale. He's calls himself a "messenger of hope," and a Christian. But one has to wonder, where is Christ in this whole message? The Bible not only doesn't teach that we will have our best life now (assigning to Christians a life of suffering here), but it also never tells us simply to believe in ourselves and forget the past. The Bible calls all men sinners, as the psychologists at The University of Portsmouth recently found out (see article below, "Babies Aren't Innocent"). It says that man is a rebel and is under God's just condemnation. It teaches us that what man most needs is to confess his sin, repent of it, and believe upon Christ Jesus as savior. Furthermore the apostle Paul is an example of a terrible sinner turned Christian missionary who never forgot his past. Paul repeatedly tells of how sinful he was in order that God might be glorified in his current ministry.

If one wonders whether or not Osteen preaches from this same Bible I can assure you that he says he does. But if you listen to his "sermons" you'll find merely a motivational lecture sprinkled with Bible passages taken wholly out of context.

In an interview with Christian Today Osteen clarified specifically what he thinks both of the criticism he's been getting and of the actual message he shares everywhere he goes.

Of Criticism Osteen says:

When it’s valid, it can be helpful and I listen to it and take advice and try to become better. A lot of it is based on doctrinal issues that we just don’t see eye to eye on. Most of the criticism I get is that I am too positive and too hopeful… in my words, I don’t beat people down enough.

Which essentially means he doesn't preach sin.

On the content of his message Osteen said:

My core message is that God has got a good plan for your lives, and we must trust Him, and let go of the past. That’s my main message… to believe in God’s favour and to believe in good things. Trying to get people to see God and lead a good life, knowing that He has a good plan for them. I believe when we do that, it allows God to work in our lives.

The core of his message, then, is theistic, but not Christian! If the "CORE" of your "Christian" message has no word about "Christ" and his "cross" then you do not have a Christian message.

Osteen admits that where criticism is good he takes it, but not where it is doctrinal. Friends, I am sad to say that the massively popular Joel Osteen needs to be criticized doctrinally. For, a man professing to teach the truths of the Christian faith, and leaving out Christ, teaches falsehood! That's a criticism worth making and one Mr. Osteen should take to heart!



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