"Get up, each day, expecting God's far-and-beyond favor. Then you will see God show up and do amazing things in your life." (Via Twitter)
In his usual fashion, he sets up what are supposedly "biblical promises" presented in an "if/then" form. "You do this and I will do that." The majority of Pastor Osteen's "encouragements" are like this.
Granted there are promises of God which are in fact stated this way in the Bible but never to the exclusion of God's sovereignty. As he has stated it, God's actions in our lives are based on, and contingent on, OUR expectation and ability to "see" what it is we are demanding. (In his best selling book--Your Best Life Now--this is reiterated.) He equates this to "faith." This is not only wrong it is offensive to a holy God who does not operate capriciously or Who is coerced into action because of our demandingness.
In my forthcoming book--The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity--I give specific examples from Joel's writings showing the discouraging nature of what he advances as "encouragement."
Sunday, March 27, 2011
As a columnist for the Central Maine newspaper group for nearly a decade my hard hitting, no holds barred, opinion column was the best read column (according to my editors)during the time my columns ran. As a committed follower of Jesus Christ, the Bible is my reference point for all aspects of the world in which we live.
My columns garnered 4 annual "Amy foundation" writing awards with their attendant $1000 prize the first 8 years of my column. Following my time with the Central Maine newspapers I syndicated with the same foundation that had recognized my writing with their recognition.
As the leader of a large church in Central Maine, fro twenty years, I have gained an appreciation for the dire need of teaching the Scriptures in the context in which they appear in the inspired, infallible, inerrant, authoritative Word of God. There is a paucity of exegetical exposition of the Word with the overwhelming majority of what is "out there" as little more than proof-texting. This is the common form of "biblical teaching" that has taken over the "Christian" church. It is the methodology that proves you can indeed prove anything you want from the Bible.
As I was approaching my first sabbatical of my pastoral ministry, I was being drawn to perversion of Scripture that essentially teaches that God is our personal magic man who exists to make us happy and fulfill all our wishes. It is not new. This "gospel of prosperity" was perhaps first popularized by the likes of Norman Vincent Peale with his power of positive thinking and carried on by Robert Schuller of The Hour of Power fame. Today it is present as the dominant message in the Church of Jesus Christ both here and abroad. While the more outlandish iterations of this gospel perversion are parodied in the characters of men like Andrew Wommack, Zack Timmons, and Leroy Jenkins but has gained tremendous"respectability" through the mainstreaming of the vending machine God by the popularity of Joel Osteen and the phenomenal success of his book "Your Best Life Now."
The Proper Pursuit of Prosperity is a balanced approach concerning the biblical teaching of a true prosperity promised by God but both His promises and His timing must be understood biblically, not on presumptuous, wishful thinking and worst the kind of demandingness taught by men like Pastor Osteen.
The Proper Pursuit will be released in the late Spring or early Summer by Tate Publishing Enterprises. I am excited to put this important book into your hands! It will be available through Amazon, Borders to name only a couple or directly from the publisher. It will also be available as an E-book. Visit my blog for updates!