In a recent blog essay I’d mused,
“I used to wonder why it is that so many of the false teachers tend to speak freely of God but not so much of Jesus. They rarely say the name of Jesus when they are teaching but instead they often say “God.“
You’ve seen it too, I’m sure. So many pastors, teachers, lay-people will freely say God but not Jesus. Well, someone else was wondering that too, and he quantified it. Here are his results:
Joel Osteen Likes God…He just doesn’t like Jesus [A Twitter Survey of @JoelOsteen]
I often talk about the Christ-less Gospel of Joel Osteen. Whenever people ask me what I mean by that, I always tell them this; Joel Osteen does not talk about the Christian Gospel.
That being said, there is something very important to understand about Joel Osteen: He does talk about God. A lot. You cannot accuse the man of not mentioning him because he’s all over that. Here’s the thing though- Its never really in a personal sense. Joel talk about God, but its always in a vague amorphous sense. There is certainly nothing distinctly Christian or Biblical about it. There’s nothing doctrinal or theological about the way he talks about God. Rather is an ethereal, shapeless, formless, customizable, singular being thing that is out there called God that functions like a cosmic vending machine whose sole purpose is seemingly to bless you and make your life better. Even when he mentions God, it’s not ABOUT God, but it’s about what God can do for YOU.
Why do I say “singular being”? Simple. While mention of a “God” may be plastered all over his twitter feed, Jesus is Not. Joel Osteen rarely, if ever, mentioned Jesus. He rarely, if ever, mentions Christ. This is true when you listen to his sermons, read his tweets, and listen to him on whatever talk show he’s touring. Let me give you some basic numbers
Just for kicks I did a quick survey of all Joel Osteen tweets in the last year. I can’t go further back, so we’ll stick with going back to July 8, 2013, which is a little more than a year ago. Out of Joel Osteens 806 tweets, not including any of his replies to other people, he mentions “God”…
Go to the link to read the numerical results. In my essay, I’d proposed a reason why so many of the false teachers speak of God but not of Jesus when they are teaching,
“Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
If they don’t have the Holy Spirit they can’t teach Jesus is Lord because they can’t say it. Like when Jesus said at the Last Supper that one of them will betray Him, all 11 of the Disciples said Is it I, Lord? but Judas could not say that because he was apostate and he said “Is it I, Rabbi?” (Matthew 26:21-25)”
Here is John MacArthur explaining part b in the 1 Corinthians 12:3 verse I’d put above,
Now let’s go to the positive in verse 3. I was going to get through verse 11. Can you believe that? Verse 3… yes, you can believe that. Verse 3, And the other side…here’s the positive test…”That no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.” This is the positive. When somebody comes into your midst with all of his faculties, and with all of his mind, and with all of his heart, and with all of his being, says, “Jesus is Lord,” you know that’s of the Holy Spirit. Now it isn’t simply the words, it’s the commitment. No man can say…and the word say here doesn’t just mean to pair. A skeptic can say, “Jesus is Lord.” You can pay a guy ten dollars and say, “Would you say Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord. Here’s your ten dollars.” That isn’t the point. It’s not quite that simplistic. No man can truly say, no man can truly confess, no man can truly acknowledge, “Jesus is the Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. When that deep conviction of genuine understanding about who He is comes forth it is of the Spirit. … So the Spirit prompted confession is distinguished from the counterfeit, by the acknowledgement that Jesus, the Man, is, in fact, God.
Just food for thought. As a person who loves to quantify things I appreciated the Twitter survey! In discernment it is not only what a person says, but what he doesn’t say. And noticing an absence takes time and skill. Listen for what a person fails to speak of as much as you’re listening to what they do say.