Orthodox Up, Osteen

Like it or not (and I don’t), Pastor Joel Osteen has become the church’s spokesman. I guess that comes with being pastor of the nation’s largest church. Lakewood Church in Houston has around 50,000 members. Osteen’s books (It’s Your Time, Become a Better You, Your Best Life Now, and Everyday a Friday) have made him millions. Did you pick up on his theological bent here? He’s certainly having his “best life now.” I have seen estimates of his net worth anywhere from 40 million to one billion. His 17,000 sq. ft. home has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, and three elevators. He and his wife Victoria pay nearly $300,000 a year in property taxes alone on their multi-million dollar mansion. The guy is financially successful; but he sure can’t give an orthodox response when interviewed.

This past week, while on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Osteen was at it again. This time repeating what he has said before regarding Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith: Mitt’s a Christian and that Mormon’s are our brothers in Christ. Rarely does Osteen say anything with a straight face, the smiling pastor went on to say: “I hear Mitt Romney say that he believes that Jesus is the Son of God—that he’s the Christ, raised from the dead, that he’s his Savior—that’s good enough for me.”

But does Osteen even know that Mormonism rejects orthodox Christianity as the very argument for its own existence and that it clearly identifies historic Christianity as a false faith? Does he know that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, claimed true Christianity did not exist from the time of the Apostles until he restored it in 1830? Does he know that Mormonism teaches that we are now what God once was (a man) and we are becoming what He now is (a God)?

But as a guy who Michael Horton describes core message as being “God is nice, you’re nice, be nice” isn’t likely to stand for truth—because as many have noted over the years, sometimes the truth hurts. It’s why Osteen has stricken the words “sin” and “judgment” from his sermons; one of his 50,000 sheep might not like it.

This blog isn’t about whether a Christian should vote for a Mormon this fall. It’s about whether a pastor should give legitimacy to a sect that is clearly not Christian.

Al Mohler wrote recently: “It is neither slander nor condescension to state clearly that Mormonism is not Christianity. Taking Mormonism on its own terms, one finds a comprehensive set of teachings and doctrines that are self-consciously set against historic Christianity. The larger world may be confused about this, but biblical Christians cannot make this error, for we are certain that the consequences are eternal” (www.albertmohler.com/2011/10/10).

It is especially why the pastor of the nation’s largest church cannot be confused or make this error, either. But maybe Osteen is the pastor of the nation’s largest church precisely because he’s good at saying nothing. Sometimes the truth hurts.

Pastor Rich Hamlin

April 26, 2012

1 comment

  1. Good on you! I saw an interview recently where Joel responded to the homosexual question with “That is not God’s best plan.” But that is as far as he would go. May your tribe increase!

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