Saturday, January 14, 2012

My Thoughts On Oprah's Interview with Joel Osteen

Let me start off by saying the following comments are my opinion. You can watch the interview yourself, which I encourage you to do, and come to your own conclusion. My comments reflect my thoughts on the answers given during Joel Osteen's interview with Oprah. If you'd like to share your opinion on the interview, or my post, please feel free to leave a comment. We are all entitled to our opinion. HOWEVER, I am only interested in making sure if someone is speaking something they claim is Biblical truth... I want to make sure it is ACTUALLY Biblical truth!!!

Now, it is true that I've never been much of a Joel Osteen fan. I just don't care for his constant preaching of the "Health, Wealth and Prosperity" gospel. It's one thing to preach sermons here and there on how there is power in prayer and how you can receive blessing from God if you seek Him, etc. But I believe it is important to teach people that sometimes God chooses not to bless us in the ways we ask Him too. There are times where God allows us to go through difficult times, in order to grow and teach us something. There are times when everything in our lives is not going to be going as we planned, or we may be "down in the dumps", but God can do a lot in those times, and no matter how much we think positive thoughts, and no matter how much we pray.... it may not be God's best for us to have what we want or think is right for our lives.

And for anyone who has personally been touched by a sermon Joel Osteen has given.... I am not in any way trying to take that away from you or say you are wrong to have been moved by something he said. I absolutely believe God can use Joel Osteen to reach people, just as He can use any one of us to reach others for Christ. However, I do believe there is a fine line between preaching something as encouragement and making it applicable to our lives, and teaching something as pure, Biblical truth.

Something that really upset me during Joel's interview with Oprah is this direct quote: "I can't be a big blessing to others if I'm poor, broke and depressed, and I don't feel good about myself". How sad if he truly believes that, and how sad that he's saying that to people who may believe that to be true! I believe there are times where we can be the biggest blessing to others when we are in the most difficult stage of our lives. When we are at our lowest point, but still have faith in God to bring us through it, and trust He has a plan for our lives, we are an example to others and a testimony of our faithfulness in Christ. We can show others that no matter what we're going through, we still trust Jesus to bring us through it, and can remain faithful in the good times of life where we're receiving many blessings, as well as in the parts of life where we're "suffering". I was frustrated (to say the least) that Joel made that comment, and my heart broke for anyone who believes that to be true.

Joel also made a comment that he chooses to take bits and pieces of scripture and make them applicable to our lives. Although I love when someone can help me learn to apply scripture to my life, I believe it's of the utmost importance to look at the entire portion of scripture, make sure you have the correct context and then discern it's meaning for your life on a personal level. You can't take "bits and pieces" all the time, without taking the whole "chunk" and teaching it's entire meaning. To me, it's the same thing as someone paraphrasing portions of scripture, when they may leave out the most important part. We need to receive the whole part, as we don't want to misinterpret scripture, or choose what works best for us and leave the rest out. From Joel's own mouth he said he chooses portions to share, as there just isn't enough time to go into the whole thing. Now, I understand there is only so much time in one sermon on Sunday, and pastors have to choose their lesson plans thoughtfully, but in my opinion, if you "don't have time" to thoroughly teach on a portion of the Bible, then make time or create an opportunity to give the Word more thoroughly in a different setting. Don't just "pick and choose" what you want to share.

Another thing I take issue with is the fact that Joel frequently shares how he feels God pours blessing out the more we pray, love him, love others, etc. Now, this is completely false. That is what religion and cults teach... "The more I do, the more favor I earn and the more blessings I receive".... You're right (Joel), it's not hard to love God when everything is going well in our lives. It's not hard to be on fire for Christ when you have a job, get a promotion, a new car, nice house, etc. However, when the people who "follow" Joel Osteen's version of the gospel run into a "storm", I don't believe they will be equipped to rely on God to help them navigate through that storm. What about the people who lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose loved ones, etc.? What happens when all they've been taught from their pastor is to keep praying and God will bless you? To just get right with yourself and things will get better? I believe in those moments, these people need someone who will tell them the entire truth. Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes no matter what you do or how much you pray, things aren't getting better. That God wants to know we trust Him even in the most difficult of times.

If you watched the interview, and took the time to read this post, PLEASE take just a few more minutes to watch this video John Piper is a pastor whom I respect very much. This video clip is an amazing example of loving the God of life, despite our circumstances, and not just because He gives us what WE want... it's a great reminder. Don't fall into the trap of praising God only when things are going right, or only when you're receiving. We can all use the reminder to love him regardless of our circumstances, even when He takes away.

I'd like to add one more thing.... it is difficult for anyone reading this to know my heart completely, and understand my thoughts, as I just can't get them all out on my blog in a way I'd like to... For those of you who read this who don't know me very well, it could be hard for you to read this as I would be speaking it. So.... if you have questions or want further explanation of why I think a certain way, I'm happy to talk with you further about it.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't see the show or know who he is or what he preaches, but I agree with what you had to say.