Amy and I watched a segment of 60 minutes a few days ago that dealt with the popularity of mega preacher (I guess that’s what you call a preacher of a mega church) Joel Osteen. After all, he’s filling out basketball arenas and has a viewing audience of over 7 million.
Why is he so popular? Part of it deals with the fact that he really doesn’t deal with sin. Osteen said something to the effect of, “People already know how bad they are, I don’t need to beat them down.”
I often need to be reminded that I am that bad, that I desperately need the gospel. That makes me love Jesus a ton more, and live a lot more humbly than if I thought I were good. Believe me. Am I the only one that needs to hear the bad news, so that I can make sense and rejoice over the good news?
Another telling sign was when the reporter asked about his self help book, “There really is no mention of God or Jesus Christ in here. It could just be Dr. Phil or Oprah.”
The response was, “Well much of what they say is found in scripture.” Sure Oprah does great work in needy areas in Africa (good stuff too), but her be-true-to-yourself ethos is entirely anti-scriptural. Just watch her show. Amy fills me in.
There was another little clip where Osteen was signing books. A man comes up and says, “I’m a Jew, and my wife is a Roman Catholic, and we love listening to you.” That might make me a little concerned that Jesus, a huge stumbling block, might not be getting the ‘pub’ in your messages.
1 Corinthians 1:23 “….but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.”
I (as a preacher about 8-10 times a year) would be a little concerned if a Jew said that he loved my preaching and messages. It would certainly make me question whether I was actually preaching Christ and Him crucified or simply telling people to be good. Every religion tells people to be good. Christianity says you’ll never be good enough, Jesus has to be good in your place. And that offends. For some the message is sweet; for others the message stinks like a paper mill.
If you want to watch the special, click here