Thousands paid $15 a ticket to hear Joel Osteen preach on Friday night at The Palace at Auburn Hills, in Detroit. Osteen’s message, replete with the positive, feel-good messages he’s known for, was the “word” the mass crowd gathered to hear.
People don’t want to hear they are sinners whos righetousness is as filthy rags. They don’t want to hear our merit is void of any saving or redeeming quality. It’s plain that thousands will gather to hear a celebrity preacher tell them how wonderful they are, and how God wants us to think positive about ourselves despite the fact the Bible paints a clearly different picture of us.
Osteen tells the crowd:
“I’m not going to be sour, I’m not going to be negative, I’m going to rejoice today,” Osteen said. “2008 is going to be your best year so far, a year of increases, a year of promotion, a year when you get healthier. …You got to draw the line in the sand and say this is the year.
“Your best days are still ahead of you.” Source.
This is playing fast and loose with God’s Word. How does Osteen know what God’s will is for every single person sitting in that audience? How does he know that 2008 is going to be their best year so far? Only in America, folks. I’m afraid this fluff doesn’t apply to the persecuted church overseas who are being tortured and martyred for their faith.
In some ways, 2008 has been a pretty tough year for me. I’ve had health issues, surgery, medication that has, in some ways, done more harm than good, family health crises, opposition to my faith in the work place, and the list goes on. Were I sitting in Osteen’s audience listening to his version of the gospel, and I were ignorant of God’s Word, I would somehow think I had done something wrong, or perhaps that I didn’t have enough faith as a result of all these trials.
It’s a sad but true statement that many in Osteen’s audience probably aren’t even saved. How can they be when Osteen teaches the exact opposite of what the Bible declares? How can people brokenly humble themselves before God and declare that they are sinners when all they want to hear is soft and unoffensive messages from people like Joel Osteen who tells them they are special, and they just need to think positive.
We know we are a peculiar people…we are in the world but not of it. How can we sustain increase in a world that is diametrically opposed to God’s Word without compromising the principles of scripture and embracing the very worldly system we are told to eschew? This type of heresy doesn’t strengthen the church, it weakens it. By teaching man they are special and only to be blessed, it neuters their ability to 1.) get saved, and 2.) grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Man’s heart is wicked above all, and will constantly rebel against God. If Osteen were a true minister of the Gospel he would expose the sin and death within these people, and point them towards the Savior, who is LIFE! While Osteen is urging thousands to think positive, I’m thankful there are others like R.C. Sproul and Paul Washer, to name only two, who are not afraid to stand for the truth of scripture and point man to the cross of Calvary.