Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Osteen - Living My Eternal Life Now!

Alright, I know it is time for me to get off Osteen, I will make this my last blog about him. I really don't wish him any ill will, but I want to point out one point of contention with his beliefs. Joel often preaches that Christianity will solve all your problems in this life and you will live a better life now if you become a Christian. I realize that Jesus is the answer to all things, but we are never promised a better or easier life when we become a Christian. Actually it is quite the opposite, at least for those living outside of the US. When we preach the gospel it must be about putting our faith in Jesus, who he died for sin; we must repent of that sin, and commit our lives to him. Christianity has become another part of our life like softball games and going to the movies, but is supposed to be a life altering change. It is not a part of life, but in fact become life. I have included an illustration from The Way of the Master (p. 95-96) by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron (Yes, Mike Sever from Growing Pains)

Two men are seated in a plane. The first is given a parachute and told to put it on because it will improve his flight. He's a little skeptical at first; he can't see how wearing a parachute on board a plane could possibly improve his flight.

After some time, he decides to experiment and see if the claims are true. As he straps the apparatus on his back, he notices the weight of it on his shoulders and he finds he now has difficulty sitting upright. However, he consoles himself with the flight attendant's promise that the parachute will improve his flight, and he decides to give it a little more time.

As the flight progresses, he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing at him because he's wearing a parachute inside the plane. He begins to feel somewhat humiliated. As they continue to laugh and point at him, he can stand it no longer. He sinks back in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fills his heart because as far as he's concerned, he was told an outright lie.

The second man is also given a parachute, but listen to what he is told. He's told to put it on because at any moment he'll have to jump out of the plane at 25,000 feet. He gratefully puts the parachute on. He doesn't notice the weight of it upon his shoulders, nor is he concerned that he can't sit upright. His mind is consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped without a parachute.

Jesus said, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matt. 5:11-12) We are not called as Christians to have an easy life that is filled with all our wants and desires. We are called to share the gospel. That sharing will bring persecution. We as Christians should not be worried about getting things on this earth, but rather looking to the rewards in heaven.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:33)

1 comment:

Justin Tapp said...

Yo Gotch!
Scottie pointed out to me today that everyone has a blog except me.
I noticed your comments on Joel Osteen. I live in Big Texas now, so I can tell you that life and churches here are a different world than in KY. Even the SBC churches don't want to use "Baptist" in their title. Cutting-edge media, loud music, smoke and cool colors and lights are the way of the day. People here wouldn't accept anything less, and wouldn't pay attention to anything else.

That said, I've attended several services of a 20,000-person SBC church here and have heard alot less Bible preached there than I've heard from Mr. Olsteen. On non-cable broadcast TV here there are probably 8 different religious channels. Olsteen has a big spot, of course. But, every week he shares from scriptural passages, his congregation brings their Bibles and say a message of affirmation about it being the Word of God and it changing their life each week.

The big SBC church here I've seen, maybe 1% bring a Bible on Sunday. If you hear it espoused or exegeted in a sermon it's a big deal.

I've even heard Mr. Olsteen say the phrase "repent of your sins," as he explains a brief message of salvation at the end of his services. This is something I don't hear from many church pulpits anywhere before an invitation is given.

I know you've got your masters and all kinds of experience, whereas I don't have so much. I'm not defending Olsteen so much as I'm saying there are worse offenders out there. There are people in our own convention whose preaching is considered much "more solid" than Olsteen's, but I find them even more watered-down.
I know Olsteen must have some odd belief somewhere, as we can't find his books at Lifeway, but just by watching his sermons and comparing them to other famous evangelists, I can't see it.

Maybe most preaching everywhere is just watered down these days? I know when I want to hear a good Gospel presentation I watch "Way of the Master."

Keep it real, bro.