Thursday, January 03, 2008

Joel Osteen--he's so...nice. Confused, but nice. Biblically illiterate, but nice. We could call it heresy with a smile. I'm not a heresy hunter by nature, but sometimes duty demands we speak out. Because of his popularity, wide audience, and influence in evangelicalism--likely even among some of our church members--it's important to look beyond the smile and listen to what he says. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Here's an article from Steve Camp:

By Steve Camp Posted: 12/31/2007
How Wide is the Narrow Road at Lakewood Church?...Pastor Osteen believes Mormons are Christians too
"[The Pastor] must hold firm to the trustworthy
word as taught, so that he may be able to
give instruction in sound doctrine
and also to refute those who contradict it."
-Titus 1:9

Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX was on Chris Wallace's excellent news broadcast this morning: Fox New Sunday with Chris Wallace.
Once again, Joel speaks sentimentally about spiritual things, but shies away from speaking clearly and biblically about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And more importantly, speaking against the unorthodox beliefs of those who represent a false gospel dressed in Christian rags - such as Mormonism.. This interview represents the tragedy of unbiblical compassion... resulting in a distortion of the truth, an acceptance of a different gospel, and an ecumenical accommodationalism that defects from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
This interview is disappointing on three levels:
1. Joel is a pastor and failed to speak biblically as a pastor on an essential of the faith: what is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and do Mormon beliefs pass the test of orthodoxy according to the standard of Scripture?
2. Because of Joel's large TV audience (especially among nonbelievers) many folks will surely come away from today's broadcast thinking that Mormons are truly Christian when in fact they are not at all.
3. Mitt Romney, though a fine politician, is now further confirmed in his unbelief and his heart a bit more calloused against the biblical gospel because of Joel's words.
This is serious beloved. What Joel affirmed is nothing short of a compromised gospel worthy only of
eternal damnation. Mormons believe a different gospel than the biblical gospel and cannot be considered as part of orthodox Christianity under any circumstance (here is an excellent apologetic site that has numerous detailed articles about Mormon beliefs and doctrines.)
In the wake of this unfortunate interview, my prayers today are twofold:
1. that Joel Osteen would daily study to show himself approved unto God as a workman unashamed by handling accurately the word of truth. Eight years is a long enough time beloved for any man in pastoral ministry (seminary educated or not) to be thoroughly acquainted with the essentials of the faith - especially the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to clearly represent its truth.And 2. that the Lord would bring truly saved men and women into the Romney household to proclaim to them the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; warning them to flee the wrath to come; compelling them to be reconciled to God; commanding them to repent of their sins; and calling them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone... follow Him as their Lord and Savior.
Below you will find a section of the transcript of the broadcast. The video can be watched
here or read the entire transcript can be read here.
WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. (emphasis mine).And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.
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