Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Olsteen Heresy

Let me begin by thanking you for praying for Jerry yesterday. The doctor told him that the "tumor" on his leg is probably only an infected lymph node. Praise God!


My son, Josh, sent me an article yesterday from Time Magazine entitled, "Does God Want You To Be Rich." To its credit, the article was pretty balanced. It mainly dealt with Joel Olsteen and his gospel of "God will only let good things happen to you -- all the days of your life." But the article also quoted Rick Warren quite a bit. Warren cut Olsteen no slack -- calling his "gospel" a farce.

Josh is so passionate in his desire to minister to the poor. The church he serves is in an impoverished area of Houston -- but in the shadows of Olsteen's megachurch. So, understandably, Josh gets pretty passionate about Olsteen's lies. Truthfully, how long can such a gospel impact a person's life? What is a follower of Olsteen's to do when bad stuff happens (and it will)? Job lay-off. Bankruptcy. What can one do except to blame God for not fulfilling His "promise"? And what does such a gospel say to the Christians in China -- whose lives are made more difficult because they are Christ-followers? And if Olsteen's gospel is true -- then God short-changed His own Son as well as the apostles.

Yeah, he has a nice smile. His words seem so warm. People are flowing in droves to hear him speak. But he is a heretic. He has trashed the cross and all of its implications. He has made a mockery of Jesus' call to give up self.

So many churches across our land are filled with people who just "want to feel good." As I start my series on Acts this week, I am reminded how starkly that church would stand in comparison. All they wanted to do was talk about the One who was crucified and risen. No thought for their own well-being. And they changed the world.


Jeff said...

I catch him sometimes on Sunday mornings and can see why so many people are attracted to him. It's a good story he tells. It's easy to come away thinking that we will be rewarded in this life.

I hear what you are saying about what God wants for our lives and agree completely. I guess I look at it in the sense that God wants us to have a good life because we are focused on Him and what comes after this world. Almost all of us will suffer, some worse than others, but living a life for God will be a good life because of the reward - Heaven.

Josh Ross said...

Confession time, "American" Christianity makes me sick sometimes; well, most of the time. We live in a materialistic world, and our churches are caught up in it.
Studies show that Christianity is declining in the US, but it is exploding in 3rd World Countries. Why? Because following Jesus COSTS something. It calls for total surrender.

Two principles I liked in the article were:
1) Jesus says, "You can gain the entire world, yet forfeit your soul." However, we often live as if to say, "Why can't I gain the whole world and have a soul?" Is it an either/or, or, is it a both/and?
2) The article speaks about people having this notion that God is an ATM machine. Know God--get blessed. Uhhh…doesn’t line up with Jesus!

Let's be content. If you're making $50,000, and you get a $25,000 raise, don't feel that you now have to live like you make $75,000 instead of $50,000--bigger home, nicer cars, and more money to put away in retirement. Think in terms of service, generosity, hospitality, missions, etc.
Following Jesus costs something--YOUR LIFE!!!

Now, let's sing all 17 verses of "Just as I Am"