I thought maybe I should add this little bit before people continue to read this blog entry. I DO NOT HATE JOEL OSTEEN. I'm not a fan of his, and I think that he may be a little misleading in some of his sermons on what Christianity entails. But, he is a preacher that claims the word of God to be truth. In accordance with the scriptures, when Paul was writing to the Phillipians, chapter 1: "15. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[c] 18. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice".
Ok, now the original blog entry:
This last weekend, my family went trout fishing. Its become an annual tradition. Justin and I go along to enjoy fun times with the fam...but getting up at 5am to go fishin' just isn't our cup of tea. Know what I mean?
My sister and I have a few things in common FOR SURE...singing at the top of our lungs (in beautiful harmony) and making jokes about our crazy family.
However, I discovered this last weekend that my sister and I have one thing that we DEFINITELY don't agree on...JOEL "I'm not gonna say that Larry" OSTEEN. She loves him...I loathe him. Ok, that may be a bit harsh. I "don't care too much for his choice in words and teachings".
If you don't know what "I'm not gonna say that Larry" is referring to, I would encourage you to google the Larry King Live episode when he interviewed Mr. Osteen. Larry King point blank asked Joel Osteen "...do you believe that a belief in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven?" His response was "Well, I don't want to say that. I don't want to say who WILL or WILL not go to heaven. That is for God to choose and judge."
He DID say that he believes that the bible is true and what it says is true. He just kind of danced around the subject and did not want to judge someone and say that they aren't going to heaven. He's right on the fact that it is Gods choosing and judgement. However, God CHOSE to put in scripture that "...no man shall come to the Father except through me." That's pretty clear.
Osteen is pastor to the largest church in the nation. I went to his website today to read in depth about their beliefs or "mission statement". I also wanted to see what this multi million dollar church is doing in the ways of global missions.
Lakewood churches mission statement is short basic and is pretty much the nicene creed. Here's a snippet about salvation:
"Jesus died on the cross and shed His blood for our sins. We believe that salvation is found by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. We believe Jesus rose from the dead and is coming again."
...as for the Larry King interview, he probably should have just quoted his churches mission statement on the show and called it a day. But, he didn't, which is what troubles me, and troubled many folks in his congregation. I heard (no I didn't research this part) that he had to make a statement of apology to his church about his "dance" on the show.
In their mission statement...they never, not once, quoted scripture to back it up. That's strange to me too...but whatever. If you read the comments people have made about this blog entry, you'll see one from John Nelson that kind of puts the hammer down.
As for missions, they have a great mission to Kenya right now that looked pretty awesome. And they do medical missions every year and go to Mexico. Not too bad...but being the multi million dollar mega-church that they are...I, personally, would LOVE to encourage them to do more!!!!
So, in conclusion on Joel Osteen...who knows if he's really a Christian. Only God holds that secret. I'm not going to make that statement. I think my sister and I are going to "agree to disagree" on his biblical standards and choice of teachings. He also said on the interview with King that he doesn't quote scripture in most of his sermons and only uses scripture at the end of his book. That is scary to me. He could start saying ANYTHING and claim it as gospel. But then again...so could any old Televangelist or preacher on the street. I've watched a number of his sermons. From what I've seen...he doesn't teach on the wages of sin...that Christ is the one and only way to heaven...or how this life totally sucks sometimes. But, if he's leading people to Christ (by accident or intent) then he should probably keep doing what he's doing. I just pray that his congregation members don't lose faith if they have a time of drought and sacrifice.
...he is, however, a GREAT motivational speaker.
Of course, I'm going to esteem MY church now. The Grove
. A biblically sound church of about 250 that flaunts sometimes in our sound system and cool graphics...but would rather see our front door revolving from our congregation going out to the mission field, than us to become stagnant and sucked into a comfortable "flame proof" Christianity and not telling others about Christ.
I'm happy to say that we currently have some of our church body members serving in:
China (where we'll be in a little over a year)
And, here is a small snippet of our (rather long) statement of faith. This is the portion on salvation:
We believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins as the only sufficient, substitutionary sacrifice. All who believe in Him are declared justified by the Father on the grounds of Jesus' death and resurrection
. All who receive the Lord Jesus Christ by grace through faith have been regenerated by and baptized in the Holy Spirit. They become, thereby, the children of God forever and members of the one true church, the universal Body of Christ. This salvation will result in righteous living and good works as the believer submits his life to the control of the Holy Spirit who directs the life of the believer in harmony with the Word of God.
(John 1:12, 3:16, 5:24, 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 3:21-26, 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians1:7, 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-7; Hebrews 10:10-12; 1 John 5:11-13)