Monday, June 25, 2012

Salon.com review of Night of Hope: "Joel Osteen worships himself"

Somehow I missed this last April:

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 says that when people realize he 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:

"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)

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