By Elizabeth Prata
Here was an exchange on Twitter that occurred, one of many through the years.
The Prosperity gospel/Word of Faith that the Osteens and their kind promote is a deathly error. It drags away the unwary, it devastates the witness of the true Christians, and it condemns the Osteens to hell.
The “good” plan for your life, according to the Osteens, is a healthy checkbook, a large house, health, and happiness.
However the “Good” that Jesus plans for us may or may not include any of the above. Peter was told by Jesus that Peter will stretch out his hands and go where he will not want to go (crucifixion. John 21:18). Paul was told he will be tormented in every city will he ever travel to.
“And now, behold, bound in spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.” (Acts 20:22-23)
Stephen was bashed in the head with rocks, dying a martyr’s death. This does not sound like “a good plan for your life.”
What satan offered Eve was a temptation involving the lust of the flesh, the pride of the eyes and the pride of life. (1 John 2:16). In other words, the world. And the Osteens offer the world, too, wrapped in a veneer of prosperity and ‘happiness’.
Was Stephen happy when he was being stoned? No but yes. He was in pain but also saw the Jesus in glory standing at the right hand of the Father. Was Paul “happy” when he was beaten and left for dead? Or put in chains in jail? No but yes. He wrote in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
I have a feeling if Victoria Osteen was beaten and left for dead she would not have the wherewithal nor the capacity to shout Rejoice! That is because the Osteens attach happiness to their worldly circumstances. Paul did no such thing. He rejoiced with friends at supper, while teaching in the synagogue making disciples, sewing a tent, or while sitting in chains in the sewer sludge. That’s because his ‘happiness’, prosperity, joy, came from above, not the world.
The ‘good’ in God’s plan is Good not because we receive pleasant things from the world. It is good because:
- God made the plan and everything God does is good. We proclaim this by faith, and
- All things work together for the good of those who love Him, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28, and
- God receives glory from the perfect outworking of His plan. The good is the glory He gains when saints acknowledge Him as good, no matter their circumstances. The ‘good’ in our lives is Jesus, not the world nor the things in it.
We do not seek the things the world calls good, but the things that God calls good.
We do not say in our greetings and our letters and our prayers, “I want a mansion, perfect health, and a fat checkbook for myself” but we say –
May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you (Jude 1:2) because it was multiplied to us. Now that’s good!
Al Mohler: The Osteen Predicament