Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Joel Osteen's Popularity

Over at Reformation 21 Sean Lucas has written an interesting post concerning Joel Osteen's massive popularity. Along the way Lucas helps us reflect on what we truly value about the Gospel.

Here is a portion:

I think the driving reason that Osteen is hugely popular is that he sells hope. Books like Your Best Life Now and Become a Better You provide a message of hope that my life does not have to be the way it is right now; that God is powerful and able to change my life; that God is profoundly interested in my life and is near to me. And while that message of hope is packaged in the code language of the prosperity Gospel and positive psychology (like the phenomenally successful book by Tal Ben-Shahar, Happier), at the end of the day, people leave Lakewood feeling as though there is a greater meaning and purpose for their lives.

As I thought about all this, though, I couldn't help but think about John Piper's question from God is the Gospel (and other places): do you delight more in the fact that God makes much of you in the Gospel or that the Gospel frees you to make much of God? The fault in Osteen's message is that it overplays and wrongly prioritizes the fact that God makes much of us (and God does make much of us: as I read in my morning worship today, God cried out to a wayward Israel, "How can I give you up, O Ephraim?...My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender" Hosea 11:8).

Read the entire post HERE.


toothdoc said...

That is well put. So many times I celebrate the cross as Christ looking down on me (as he did look to John and his mother) and Christ knowing that his sacrifice was making my life better. Instead I should look at the cross as John and Paul did and see a saviour clearing a path from me to the Almighty. I firmly believe that Satan has encouraged this subtle twist in our viewpoint to turn men from the true meaning of the cross. Oh to taste the sweet power of grace instead of the bitter vinegar of comfort.

John van der Veen said...

I think this article was well written.

The sad thing is that Joel sounds so good. Regrettably, isn't it what we all want to hear?

"You can change and you have the power to do it?"

The beauty of the Gospel is twofold. First it shows us how incapable we are of making ourselves right in God's eyes and second, how Jesus does make us right in God's eyes.

How amazing is that?

Caron said...

Check out and watch "demo." Justin spoke at my church on Osteen and others like him and comes highly recommended by my pastor, Dr. John MacArthur.

His demo does not discuss Osteen specifically, but his seminar covers Osteen a good deal.

Also, he was just interviewed on the Al Mohler radio show regarding Lakeland...

See: July 21st...