Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sycretism and Joel Osteen

I don't always agree with Mark Driscoll on all theological questions, but I think he gets it pretty right when he critiques Joel Osteen, a pastor of one of the largest churches in America. Listen to this and post your thoughts.


Dee said...

I think I would be slow to connect myself with Driscoll's comments. I doubt that he has ever been to Joel's church and has often taken brief comments from messages to support his "personal opinion". I have been to several of Osteen's events and find his preaching to be encouraging and insightful. And certainly the music is all about Jesus, the Cross and redemption. Like the parables of Jesus - Joel's messages are on the surface simple, but they have deep and profound insights. His preaching is full of scriptures and deep biblical truths - you just have to listen with open ears and heart. He may not exegete the scriptures line by line, but I believe that his teaching encourage those who have not believed that Jesus is relavant and encourages them to take a closer look. You may think he is the appitizer or perhaps the dessert... but regardless, in my opinion he is a welcome addition to a good biblical teaching menu.

Nathanael Baker said...

Thanks for your honest thoughts Dee.

A few questions:

Does Joel ever focus on what it means to be a servant?

Does Joel preach that joy comes only from God and not from having things?

Does Joel that being a christian is hard and challenging and not always easy?

What is the treasure that we store up in heaven?

Read further on my blog, I worry that consumerism is the biggest idol we face these days, and that Joels preaching leads us to worshipping ourselves and our stuff rather than God.

tommo39 said...

I agree that not everything preached around the world is necessarily biblical, or is sometimes only part of the truth.

However, the church is copping enough flak from non-Christians, without adding to it ourselves. If we are going to disagree with other Christians (and we do sometimes, which is fine, the apostles didn't always agree in the book of Acts), we should approach that through the appropriate channels and be mature about it.

I don't know Mark Driscoll, but I would also be slow to connect myself with anyone who wants to correct their brother in the Lord by publicly disagreeing. If any of us misrepresent the teachings of the bible, we should correct each other lovingly, and publicly discounting someone else's teaching is leaning more towards the smarty pants end of the spectrum, rather than the loving end.

I don't know Joel either, but unless he's part of some cult or something, Mark could have corrected him in a more private and loving way I think.

I've seen preachers fluff out the Christian faith a bit, perhaps out of fear that preaching an unwelcome truth will make people leave the service not feeling that great, but I will continue to pray for and encourage them in the hope that as they grow in God this will be rectified. I should probably be more open about bringing up any issues with them that I have, but I'm yet to bother to try and catch up with them when this happens (my own fault). My point however, still stands, that it is better not to publicly disagree with someone's teaching if you can help it. Fluffy happy easy Christianity isn't welcome in the church, but neither is division.

Nathanael Baker said...

Hey Tommo, I will have to disagree with you on that point... and I'll try to disagree maturely. I know what your saying, but I think there are points where you can speak out and say somethings wrong. I think it goes further than sugar coated christianity. I worry that Joel is not freeing western christians from thier biggest idol, consumerism and selfishness. I think he's in fact enslaving christians to it, thats my 3 cents worth.

tommo39 said...

As coincidence would have it, we were talking about this very thing in small group yesterday, as we studied 1 Corinthians 12. With verses 21-26 being of particular relevance here.

"The eye cannot say to the hand 'I don't need you!'"

This is assuming of course that Joel is a hand. There is a difference between a hand that should not be discriminated against and a false prophet that should be cut off. But though he has his faults, he doesn't seem to be a false prophet, so I hope Mark has some respect for Joel, they are both important parts of the body.

"and the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty"

I admit that "special modesty" is a broad phrase that could be taken many ways, but I don't think that what Mark is doing is treating Joel with special modesty. Just my opinion.

It depends on context as well of course. Whether Mark preached against Joel after trying to talk to Joel and/or to Joel's fellow leaders would change how I'd question his motives.

Even with that aside though, I have to ask, why did he decide to preach against Joel, and not against prosperity preaching in general? Surely that would be a more biblical way of ensuring people don't fall under false teachings?

Nathanael Baker said...

Hey Tommo

Gracious comments and valid points. Thank you for your comments, sorry If I was too hard in the earlier comment.

Hope to see you around here again soon.