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Archive for May 9th, 2009

Here’s an essay by Michael Horton on what we learn about religion from Joel Osteen. He shows how Joel peddles a false and incomplete gospel.

The attraction of Americans to this version of the “glory story” is evident in the astonishing success of Joel Osteen’s runaway best-seller, Your Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Beyond his charming personality and folksy style, Osteen’s phenomenal attraction is no doubt related to his simple and soothing sampler of the American gospel: a blend of Christian and cultural elements that he picked up not through any formal training, but as the son of a Baptist-turned-prosperity evangelist who was a favorite on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). However, gone are the eccentric caricatures of “prosperity” televangelism, with its flamboyant style and over-the-top rhetoric.

In the Wal-Mart era of religion and spirituality, every particular creed and any denominational distinctives get watered down. We don’t hear (at least explicitly) about our being “little gods,” “part and parcel of God,” or the blood of Christ as a talisman for healing and prosperity. The strange teachings of his father’s generation, still regularly heard on TBN, are not explored in any depth. In fact, nothing is explored in any depth. Osteen still uses the telltale lingo of the health-and-wealth evangelists: “Declare it,” “speak it,” “claim it,” and so forth, but there are no dramatic, made-for-TV healing lines. The pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX, which now owns the Compaq Center, does not come across as a flashy evangelist with jets and yachts, but as a charming next-door-neighbor who always has something nice to say.

Although remarkably gifted at the social psychology of television, Joel Osteen is hardly unique. In fact, his explicit drumbeat of prosperity (word-faith) teaching is communicated in the terms and the ambiance that might be difficult to distinguish from most megachurches. Joel Osteen is the next generation of the health-and-wealth gospel. This time, it’s mainstream.

I have had people leave the church I pastor because I lovingly spoke of the inherent errors of Osteen’s theology. 

Go here to read the brief but substantive article by Dr. Horton.

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A Bible college professor in Australia offers seven principles of prayer:

  • relationship
  • recognition
  • request
  • repetition
  • resignation
  • rejoicing
  • realization

Read the whole thing.

(HT: JT)

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