Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Osteen Drops the Ball



This past week, the blogosphere (not to mention Christian apologetics circles) have been buzzing about Joel Osteen's recent appearance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. During that appearance, Osteen said that as far as he was concerned, Mormons were true Christians. Here is something that apologist Bill Keller wrote shortly after Osteen's shocking statement:

I got flooded with literally thousands of emails Sunday and Monday about Joel Osteen's appearance on FOX News Sunday with Chris Wallace. I am grateful those in the Liveprayer family are discerning enough to spot his continued pattern of weakness and heresy despite the fact he has been rebuked and chastised by many seasoned men of God over the years. Many ask why harp on Osteen. He is why.

Osteen happens to pastor the largest church in America and is someone millions listen to each week goes on national TV. He epitomizes the compromise gutlessness that emboldens the enemies of God, fails to give people the Truth they seek and need, and makes weak and ineffective believers.

In Sunday's interview, Osteen actually told Wallace, "But just, you know, as a pastor, I'm not trying to get everybody saved that's not my main calling, like Billy Graham's." When asked about why he won't talk about sin and deal with the hard issues of the day, Osteen responded, "Sometimes when you take strong stands, if you're not called to do it, you're dividing the audience you're trying to reach." Sadly, he was asked about Mitt Romney and if a Mormon is a Christian. " Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are."

Here is a guy who inherited an international ministry when his father, who was a great Gospel preacher, died several years ago, feeding Satan's lie to the entire world that members of the satanic Mormon cult are Christians! He makes a mockery of the Gospel when he brags about not talking about sin or taking hard stands on the issues of the day and that he isn't trying to get everybody saved. God's Word is black and white and REQUIRES us to take strong stands for righteousness. Meanwhile, his new book doesn't mention God and if you have ever read what he writes or listen to what he says, he rarely if ever says the name of Jesus.

My friend, we only have one message, the Gospel, and the BIBLE tells us there is only ONE NAME by which men are saved, the name of Jesus! Sadly, Osteen is little more than a motivational speaker who waters down and perverts the Bible to make people feel good and sell lots of books, rather than bring people the only true answer and hope there is, faith in Jesus Christ!


That is quite a severe indictment from Bill Keller, who stirred up his own hornet's nest a few weeks ago with appropriately severe criticism of Mormonism and evangelicals who wink at it.

I personally have had concerns about Osteen for some time, but thus far have refrained from commenting too much. But this time, I can't be silent. Osteen made a horrendous error, and needs to repent of it. He is the pastor of a church, and responsible for the spiritual welfare of the people who sit under his teaching. Regardless of how large Osteen's church is, he is not beyond accountability and deserves the rebukes he is getting.

Mormonism is a false Gospel, and those who follow false Gospels are lost according to Scripture. This isn't rocket science. For that matter, it's not even Christianity 101. When Christian leaders can pass along such spiritual tommyrot and get away with it, it is a sign that all is not well in Denmark (or Texas).

29 comments:

RBrown said...

I can speak of an experience with a huge Osteen fan, who brislted at any negative impllications of Osteen. His "Christian" veneer masked some pretty unsavory issues that surfaced. When confronted and rebuked, he bolted completely away from those attempting to guide him towards the Truth.
We still pray for him.

SolaMeanie said...

That's sad, yet very much in keeping with the spirit of the age. Tell me only what I want to hear, tell me only warm fuzzies and not hard truths.

It really makes one wonder how many of these huge congregations are really saved, since they seem to have such disdain for truth, even when it's unpleasant to hear.

RBrown said...

I cut "my Christian teeth" in a seeker church. Then, through Scripture, I understood that there was much seemingly avoided from the pulpit. After speaking with the church leadership about my concerns, I was "lovingly" given the opportunityy to seek what I "needed" elsewhere. Ironic...and a sad, heretic commentary.

Randy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...

Osteen is just weak. Anyone can fill a stadium with nice friendly platitudes. Didn't Osteen also say that he doesn't really study these things, i.e. Momonism? And he's behind the pulpit? I think the scriptures talk about those that would "tickle the ears."

Now let me clarify one thing. I'm not attacking Osteen as a person. He might be a nice guy. However, ministers have a responsibility to preach the word, "rightly divided."

SolaMeanie said...

Randy,

Kevin and I talked about that on the program tonight, i.e. someone being a pastor and responsible for the spiritual welfare of his flock. Osteen failed his congregation pretty seriously.

Brenda said...

As a member of that "Satanic Mormon cult", I don't agree with Osteen's theology, but I recognize graciousness when I see it, and I appreciate his kind remarks. We don't get many from the Christian community.

SolaMeanie said...

Brenda,

Unfortunately, that "graciousness" you see in Osteen is actually the most harmful thing you could get. Those of us who are orthodox, biblical Christians are motivated by the love of Christ to warn you about the false Gospel of Mormonism. It is our desire for you to see the truth and truly be saved. A true Gospel saves. A false Gospel damns. That is NOT my desire for you.

Review what Scripture says about those who warn someone about the error of their ways, and the responsibility they bear before God if they do NOT warn.

Randy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...

Joel,

I see a problem too with this so-called graciousness! Not one requirement of a pastor is to be gracious. It said, "hospitable" but if you look up the Greek, I think both words mean two entirely different things. I hope Brenda doesn't misunderstand me. Sure, a pastor 'can' be gracious. But, never at the expense of true exegesis, preaching of the Word, truth and a commitment to the Word in context!

I'd rather someone gets a bit steamed for someone telling them the truth and it keeps them from error and they become redeemed. What good is graciousness if it has no redeeming qualities? Sure, God himself through Paul said that Godly sorrow leads to repentence AND the Lord is gracious by allowing those that he calls to accept his wonderful salvation! That is true graciousness. Not some fancy platitude given on a Sunday morning filled with caffiene and sugar to hype a crowd.

True Christianity has always been the bane of those who try to see good in everything. Frankly, it can't be done! The Word in so many places is a 'negative' book that spells out the dangers of sin and self. The good news however is that Christ can redeem these things.

Joel, you'll remember our old manager at the station circa 1990. He did make one great point. Crowds don't always mean that God is blessing. (It could, but not always.) One time Jesus spoke to many disciples and all of them walked away except the twelve. Jesus turned to them and said, "will you also go away?" Peter replied, "Where would we go Lord? You have the words of eternal life."

Randy

Brenda said...

I just appreciate a kind comment. Your approach comes across as abusive. Whether you intend it to be or not, that's how it's perceived. Mormons are good people and when you attack their religion, you are attacking them. That's how it feels.

SolaMeanie said...

Keep in mind, I am not Bill Keller. I quoted his piece. That being said, even if I express myself differently, that doesn't mean I don't agree with him when he says believing Mormon theology will separate you from God for eternity. That is true. What one believes determines one's eternal destiny.

If you had followed my personal ministry over the past 20 years, we have often said that Mormons are "good people." But "by the works of the flesh shall no man be justified" before God.

I am also aware that people tend to personify their religion, wrapping the religion's tenets with their own self-identity. We are not attacking personages, but ideas or theology.

You must realize that, in the long run, feelings are irrelevant when eternity is at stake. Believe me, having hurt feelings is nothing compared to the pain that will be felt during an eternity in Hell.

It is not abusive to tell the truth.

Brenda said...

I love the LDS church. Everything good in my life has been a result of my association with it. It has brought me closer to God and the gospel is my iron rod to hold onto. It brings me peace, comfort, growth and joy.
I also appreciate the good of all religions. I love the basic conservatism of orthodox Christianity, the focus of God, families and Biblical values. I see my Christian/Jewish/(or whatever) neighbors as basically good people, whether their works matter or not.

SolaMeanie said...

Brenda,

My only response is from Scripture. We are told in Proverbs, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." The Mormon Gospel and the Mormon Jesus are not the Gospel and Jesus of the Bible.

We are told in Galatians . . . "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!"

The following point is very, very important. John tells us, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Again, the Mormon Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible, nor is the Mormon God the God of the Bible. This Scripture makes it plain, if you don't know the only true God, and don't know the only true Jesus, then you don't have eternal life either.

One can certainly see good elements in most religions, but in salvific terms, there is only one way to heaven, and that is through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Triune God and NOT the spirit brother of Lucifer.

False religions can provide superficial good things. Scripture tells us that Satan can appear as an angel of light. Deceptions and counterfeits do their best to mimic the true and original. Most important, good works DO NOT SAVE. They do not make you righteous before God. "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." "We are saved by grace through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."

I can easily back up what I am saying to you. I challenge you to actually read the Bible and see what it has to say.

Brenda said...

I have studied the Bible most of my life. I spent the last 2 years teaching a New & Old Testament class.

I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Jesus Christ of the Bible, is taught in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Holy Ghost has testified of this to me. I have studied this out in the Bible, and the correct interpretation compliments LDS doctrine completely.
This is the doctrine taught by Christ when he organized his original church. Any other doctrine is the contrary doctrine spoken of in Galations. Yes we do know the actual Christ. He appeared to and spoke to Joseph Smith. He told Joseph what to do.
So you see, I have done what you said and the results are that the Mormon church is true.
But I will not ridicule your beliefs because they are sacred to you.

SolaMeanie said...

This has nothing to do with ridicule, Brenda. It is weighing Mormon theological, historical and archeological claims in the balance and finding them severely wanting. The teachings of the LDS church are way, way removed from the teachings of Scripture, and the teaching of the early church. This is so well documented that it makes debate almost pointless.

You are sadly mistaken, all the more so because you are reading the Bible through the lens of Mormon doctrine, rather than sound exegesis and hermeneutics, letting Scripture interpret Scripture. To the LDS, what determines whether or not the Bible is "correctly translated" is Mormon doctrine. That is a circular argument and is therefore invalid.

Mormon claims have been refuted, and rather easily. The credibility of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price is in shreds, after exhaustive examination by numerous scholars. Joseph Smith's credibility as a so-called prophet of God is non-existent. He fails the biblical test hands down.

Whatever appeared to Joseph Smith was not the real Jesus Christ. So-called new revelation must harmonize completely with what God has revealed already in the Bible, and LDS doctrine fails that test miserably.

Brenda said...

You state your opinion as if it was fact. It's simply one interpretation of the Bible against another. You're right that debate is pointless, because neither one of us will change.

You feel such an need to prove us wrong. Be that as it may, we just appreciate civility. Notice that we don't feel the same need. Mormons will not study your history looking for problems, write slanderous posts, and mock sacred and personal aspects of your faith. They will simply offer to share their beliefs.

Mormons continue to be the politically correct punching bag. We're used to it. We'll defend, but we won't punch back.

Btw, the credibility of the BoM, D&C, and PoGP is holding up nicely, thankyou.

SolaMeanie said...

It isn't just my opinion. It is fact. Mormon interpretation of the Bible is demonstrably false. I also wouldn't be so adamant that you won't change, because the Holy Spirit can handle that one. I can't change you. He can.

As far as me "feeling such a need to prove you wrong," again you are mistaken. I am obeying a Scriptural command to "earnestly contend for the faith once and for all delivered unto the saints." I am also commanded by Scripture to refute false teachers. And how can you say that Mormons will not write slanderous posts, look for problems and mock sacred aspects of my faith. Have you even read Joseph Smith, your "prophet?" He calls all other Christian churches apostate, as did Brigham Young. Those are fighting words. Mormons also make attempts to pull people out of orthodox churches in their "missionary" campaigns. I know. I've had them knocking at my door. Plenty of them have tried to tell me what I believe is wrong, but when I begin showing them otherwise, they decamp hastily.

You guys have been mounting a pretty effective public relations campaign trying to obscure what you really believe, and it's been effective. You're also very good at playing the martyr card. Great propaganda and well done.

One last thing. Archeologists and other scholars have pointed out that the story in the Book of Mormon about Jesus in the Americas, people groups, anthropology etc. are ridiculous fancy. No evidence whatsoever. The story Joseph Smith told about having witnesses for the golden plates fell apart as most of the witnesses later proved unreliable. Some were even denounced by Smith himself for being men of low character. So much for the credibility of the Book of Mormon.

SolaMeanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SolaMeanie said...

Some quick facts.

1. Mormons believe the Bible is the word of God "insofar as it is correctly translated." What determines if it is correctly translated? Mormon doctrine, not Bible scholarship in Hebrew and Greek. Hundreds of Hebrew and Greek scholars, as well as those with expertise in manuscript evidence, would testify at variance with Mormon claims.

2. Mormons believe the Earth is one of several inhabited planets ruled over by gods and goddesses, who were at one time humans on other planets. Mormons are polytheistic, not monotheistic.

3. Mormons misunderstand the Trinity, believing it consists of three gods born in different times and places. The Father begot the Son and Holy Ghost through a goddess wife in heaven.

4. Humankind is the same species as God. God begot all humans in heaven as offspring of his wife or wives, who were sent to earth for their potential exaltation to godhood.

5. Salvation is resurrection, but exaltation to godhood, for eternal life in the celestial heaven, must be earned through self-meriting works.

Brenda, no matter how you try to spin it, these beliefs are NOT biblical, orthodox Christianity. These are doctrines of demons that will lead to your eternal separation from God. I urge you to repent of these false, unbiblical beliefs before it is too late.

Brenda said...

Not everything in Mormon doctrine is biblical. We have additional scripture. Parts of the Bible are missing. Different writings are referred to within the book, that aren't there. For example, where are the writings of Enoch? And we know we don't have all of Paul's letters.

Feel free to call us apostate. You certainly have that right. Feel free to send missionaries to my door! It's what you do beyond THAT that's objectionable. It's the endless books and literature scouring into our past, printing quotes and theories as if they were our doctrine. It's the constant slander, harrassment and name-calling. Many of our sacred beliefs are blasted all over the internet, in mockery and ridicule. THIS is what you won't get from us.

There are archeologists and scholars who support the history of the Book of Mormon. As in much of science, it's an endless debate.
If you want to get into evidences of Mormonism, I could ask some questions of you. But my whole purpose here is to ask for decency and respect, from one religion to another.

SolaMeanie said...

There is a reason why the biblical canon came out the way it did, as well as reasons why books were rejected from the canon. These reasons are readily available for all who want to research.

It is not slander to quote Mormon writings and Mormon doctrine. It is not slander to describe how Mormon doctrine departs from Scripture. You can keep playing that violin all day, but it won't wash. Mormons will have to be accountable for their theology, including their writings.

You seem to want to avoid any questions or challenges to your theology by raising the phantom of "slander."

SolaMeanie said...

Actually -- and I should have done this a while ago -- the topic of this post was actually Joel Osteen. If you want to debate Mormon theology, please do so on other relevant posts, such as the one I made today.

Let's stay on topic.

Brenda said...

My original post was about Osteen's kind remark about the LDS church. If you look at my last post, you will see that again, I referred to decency and respect between churches.
I never was here to debate theology. I only responded to you.

SolaMeanie said...

Yes, but there was also a dig against orthodox Christians, and the implication was that they are guilty of indecency and disrespect because they challenge Mormon theology. I am not going to let things like that pass.

Brenda said...

You said:
"Mormonism is a false Gospel, and those who follow false Gospels are lost according to Scripture. This isn't rocket science. For that matter, it's not even Christianity 101. When Christian leaders can pass along such spiritual tommyrot and get away with it, it is a sign that all is not well in Denmark (or Texas)."
You quoted:
"feeding Satan's lie to the entire world that members of the satanic Mormon cult are Christians!"


I said:
"I also appreciate the good of all religions. I love the basic conservatism of orthodox Christianity, the focus of God, families and Biblical values. I see my Christian/Jewish/(or whatever) neighbors as basically good people, whether their works matter or not."
And:
"But I will not ridicule your beliefs because they are sacred to you."

Yes, I called you on some of the tactics used by some people to criticize the LDS church.

Nevertheless, if anything I wrote was perceived as a "dig" towards orthodox Christians, I apologize.

SolaMeanie said...

One more time, then we're done.

You can't "call me" on tactics "some others" use. I don't know who these "others" are. If you don't like my tactics, fine. Criticism of what Mormons believe is not incivility. It is disagreement. The Bible uses much harsher rhetoric toward false teachers than I do. The Christian church reserves the right to define itself.

As a Christian teacher, it is my God-given duty to evaluate and, if need be, refute ANY counterfeit movement that comes along and claims to be legitimate Christianity. Joseph Smith threw down this gauntlet long ago when he called all other churches apostate. The gauntlet continues to be thrown down whenever LDS missionaries knock at doors and attempt to tear down what is taught by orthodox Christianity.