Posted in discernment, theology

Even Salon.com says “Joel Osteen Worships Himself” (re-post)

By Elizabeth Prata

I was working on an essay about the Drag Queen programs in public libraries but I simply could not continue. Here is a repost of an essay I wrote in June 2012. Joel Osteen is a false teacher, you guys.

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Joel Osteen worships himself
At a D.C. rally, it’s clear that the megachurch pastor’s childlike faith is really about the power of narcissism

The article is from Salon.com, a fairly liberal media outlet. I found it interesting that Mr Osteen’s obvious narcissism is apparent even to someone who may be liberal and may be an outsider to the faith.

Pastor Mike Abendroth at No Compromise Radio and Bethlehem Bible Church says that when people realize Abendroth is a pastor, they try and make an attempt at spiritual connection with him by saying, “I listen to Joel Osteen.” He said as an example to one lady who’d shared that, he had replied,

“Joel Osteen doesn’t like to talk about sin because he says we all know about it and we all get enough about that so let’s talk about other positive things. Paul talked about sin first. Peter talked about sin first. John the Baptist talked about sin first. All the prophets talked about sin first. And Jesus even talked about sin first. If you don’t know you’re a sinner, you don’t need to know about your savior. If you know how great your sin is, you don’t need a greater Savior than all your sin.”

The Salon.com author Mr Chris Lehmann stated in the article that it’s obvious Osteen “subtly downgrades” the magnificent and transcendent God “into a glorified lifestyle concierge”…into a “genial cruise director,” “through talismanic faith in positive utterance.”

He wrote, “The believer’s chief task is to ratify the preexisting divine script of success in his or her individual life — and then to bear testimony to that joyous transformation in a community of like-minded success believers.’

He’s right, that is what Mr Osteen preaches, and it is a far cry from true worship of the Living God.

So what IS worship of the True and Living God? Exodus 15:2 gives one example: “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Psalm 66:4: “All the earth bows down to you; they sing praise to you, they sing praise to your name.”

Rather, in the article, Lehmann states, Osteen has the “outlook of someone possessed of grandiose fantasies about the imperial reach of the self.”

It is not about us. I don’t recall David preaching or writing one Psalm that says we can have our best life now. I don’t recall Jeremiah the weeping prophet pronouncing that ‘It’s your time’. Mr Lehmann ends devastatingly with this thought on Mr Osteen’s approach, which is a:

theology-free success gospel, pitched exclusively to tales of individual triumph. Osteen’s sermons all begin with a self-empowering chant from believers. “This is my Bible,” it goes in part; “I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have.” But there are legions of dead — now confined by definition, it’s true, in the hated past — who come bearing the testimony that the Bible is not actually about you.

It is about the Holy One of Israel, the Word made flesh!!

Woodcut, 1695, Title, “Word” by artist Johann Christoph Weigel. Source

Fear God! Keep your vows! “Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1).

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Examples of a spineless gospel presentation

dead in sin

I offer to you two men, both preachers of God’s word, both with church flocks, both well known. One is known for his falsity and prosperity gospel and has a poor reputation among true believers. The other is known for his Reformed stance and is highly thought of by many believers.

Three times the interviewer asked the guest if Jesus is the only way, and three times the guest had the opportunity to state the true answer unequivocally. They didn’t. Eerily, both men’s responses were similar despite being several years apart and on separate and different forums.

Here are both responses in video plus link to full transcript to interview #1, below.

This summer I was researching Tim Keller. I heard a lot about him but had not personally delved. Well, I delved. In all the product I consumed to do my research, this interview stood out.

As a side note: When I research and I come across things that are grievous to me, I am spiritually pierced. I literally mourn, and I weep literal tears and I pray. I do not take posts like this lightly. I find no joy in them.

My method is journalistically solid. I don’t cherry pick to fulfill a pre-conceived agenda. I don’t lift one wayward quote from a body of work that is otherwise solid. I look at the person’s overall life’s work over time. I look at the entire essay, I watch the entire interview- for context. I wait to discern. I observe if the person will repent or course-correct.

That said, MSNBC journalist Martin Bashir interviewed Tim Keller about Christianity, at Columbia University in February 2008, related to his book The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. This full Veritas Forum interview is quite lengthy, it’s 1 hour 24 minutes. I watched the entire program. Here is another blogger’s transcript of the 6-min excerpt from the longer interview. There are other problematic answers later int he program to other topics as well.

Here in this 6-min clip from the above full-length interview, I’d like to direct your attention to the fact that the interviewer asks three times if people who aren’t Christians are going to hell or not, just as Larry King had pursued the question with Osteen.

In listening to the above 6-minute clip, I was reminded of similar answers from the 2005 interview Larry King did with Joel Osteen. In looking for transcripts of both interviews, I was struck by the similarity in tone, the vagueness of the responses, and the gutless gospel given. I made a chart so as to compare the responses. I tried to go apples-to-apples, comparing similar questions’ topics with their individual responses, as closely as possible. I deliberately left off the names of these two gentlemen. See if you can deduce who said what. Save to see larger.

comparison final

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole will of God. (Acts 20:27)

John MacArthur has always been bold. I remember he explained his tactic when asked to go on a secular interview show. He said that he gets the Gospel out as quickly and succinctly as he can. Oftentimes he is interrupted or time doesn’t allow, so he cuts to the chase and presents it. He said that his main responsibility in life as a pastor is to explain and defend the Bible, and whenever he has a national opportunity to speak, he feels obligated to pursue souls quickly, with grace and clarity. Here is MacArthur on Larry King Live in 2003, on a panel that consisted of 4 other men of various faiths. I edited out two responses by a Catholic man so as to keep the focus on MacArthur’s answers.

KING: John MacArthur, you believe that Muslim people, the Islamic people are wrong. Their beliefs are wrong.

MACARTHUR: That’s right. And this is not some personal belief of mine. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life…”

KING: Yes, but if they don’t believe that…

MACARTHUR: If they don’t believe that, no man comes to the Father but by me.

KING: He died for the Islamic, too?

KING: You believe that, too, right?

MACARTHUR: Well, I believe God loves his creatures, his creations.

MACARTHUR: But in the end he’s going to condemn to an eternal hell all those who reject his son Jesus Christ.

KING: All of them?

MACARTHUR: All who reject his son Jesus Christ, the Bible says, are condemned to eternal punishment.

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If MacArthur is on a panel with 4 other men, speaking under a shorter time frame, with looming commercial interruptions every few minutes, and still managed here and elsewhere in that same interview to get the truth out, what excuse do men like Osteen and Keller have, who were alone on a show with over an hour of leisurely talk time and one of those without any commercials at all?

None.

Our lesson as laypeople is the same. Despite the current trend away from speaking of sin and wrath and judgment, it is important to state the truth – the whole truth – clearly and unflinchingly. We have the truth, as Christians. It’s a privilege and responsibility to state it to people & to the world as it is stated to us in the Bible. No shrinking back, no alterations, no equivocations.

During a Q&A at Grace Community Church, Phil Johnson, Moderator, thanked MacArthur for his clear stand on a previous Larry King Live interview session, in this session called Standing Firm in Unstable Times. The more unstable times get, the more we need good men who are clear with the Gospel.

PHIL: I want to say…Thank you, John, for the clear stand you took for Christ and for the way you made the truth of the gospel clear. You don’t see that very often on Larry King.

JOHN: Well, it was a pleasure, believe me. It was a great opportunity and, you know, when you get an opportunity like that to give the simple straight-forward gospel to the wide world, it’s just a great privilege.

Amen.

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One of God’s judgments on people are false teachers

Repost from March 2012 with some edits added.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.” (2 Timothy 4:3)

“False teachers are God’s judgment on people who don’t want God, but in the name of religion plan on getting everything their carnal heart desires. That’s why a Joel Osteen is raised up. Those people who sit under him are not victims of him but he is the judgment of God upon them. And they want exactly what he wants, and it’s not God.” ~ Paul Washer

We often think that the verse means that people who sit under a Joel Osteen or a Beth Moore are hapless victims, fallen prey to the insidious destruction of the prowling false teacher. No. The verse clearly shows us that people are the agitators, they are their own catalysts for false teachers being raised up. The people “accumulate for themselves” teachers who match their passions.

Notice that the onus of the act is on the people, NOT the teachers (not that I am saying the teachers escape culpability). But the people who have passions search out and look for false teachers that match those passions, and “accumulate for themselves” these teachers. And the teachers are only too happy to comply, because there is money in it, the usual reason false teachers want to be false teachers. (2 Peter 2:3). Paul Washer said someone like an Osteen is not making victims of the people he IS the JUDGMENT upon the people! In other words, they asked for him, they got him!

So people who want affirmation of their emotions in mystical visions, seek out a Beth Moore. People who seek prosperity and are greedy at heart seek out a Joel Osteen. People who are focused on the body and healing seek out a Benny Hinn. And so on. Prideful people who want to think they are earning their own salvation seek out the Pope. They accumulate for themselves the false teacher…

Here is Washer, explaining the verse:

[By Elizabeth Prata]