A recent viewing of CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien" has got me in the mood for a rant.
It concerns me greatly that Joel Osteen's success is giving him so many opportunities to speak in public forums. His bestselling books get him a seat at the table with everyone from Oprah to Piers Morgan. In fact, he was introduced on CNN the other day as "one of the most recognizable faces of Christianity in America today."
While he has a genuine, friendly, and homespun message of encouragement for all, make no mistake: Osteen is not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a native Houstonian who has watched his Lakewood Church grow dramatically through the years, I have done my best to look for the best in him and his message.
I will admit: he is extremely likable. I have listened to many of his sermons, and they are all uplifting. In fact, I will even go so far to say that what he says in his sermons is true. However, he only covers a very small portion of God's Truth. And the parts that Osteen leaves out are very important parts.
It's as if Osteen took the classic "Four Spiritual Laws" gospel presentation and deleted laws 2, 3, and 4. What you are left with is the thesis statement of just about every one of his sermons: "God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life." No further details are ever given about the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, the provision of Christ, or the need to repent.
When Osteen gets into the most trouble is when he is asked about sin and what should be done about it. While I appreciate that he wants to avoid being offensive to a lost world, he has forgotten that, as a minister of the Christian gospel, he is called to "preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles." (I Corinthians 1:23)
We cannot compromise the Truth in an attempt to be nice.
So Joel, if you aren't going to ever talk about sin and the cross of Christ, then please move your books out of the Christian section and over to the self-help section. Because I don't think you are doing a terrific job as the face of Christianity. In your attempt to help people, you may actually be moving people further away from their knowledge of a need for a savior. Please know that I will be praying for you and God would begin to use your influential platform to speak the full gospel of Jesus Christ.
Albert Mohler recently shared some concerns about Osteen that also refer to his recent appearance on CNN. He's a lot smarter than I am so I would love for you to give his post a read: