I was a little uneasy when I learned that a couple of my family members were getting into Joel Osteen. But I was wrong. I should have been very uneasy.
I have just read The Osteenification of American Christianity by Hank Hanegraaff, radio’s “The Bible Answer Man.” You can read this little book in a sitting, and it’s available from Hank’s ministry at http://www.equip.org .
There’s plenty of Joel Osteen video on the Internet. Here is a mercifully brief example, http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/joel-osteen-faith-positive-thinking-14524517 .
OK, I’m not much for worship service that looks like a rock concert. But there’s something about this whole enterprise that stinks. Maybe it’s that cheesy grin that’s always on his face. Or maybe it’s just Osteen’s message, a combination of New Age superstition, mangled and distorted Scripture, and what Hank Hanegraaff charitably calls “urban legends” but are more accurately described as pure B.S.
Really, you’d think any 10-year-old of average intelligence could see through one of these stories. Like the one about the guy who froze to death in the refrigerated railroad car that wasn’t turned on and wasn’t cold, just because he thought he was going to freeze. Presto, human popsicle–because whatever you say or think, claims Osteen, good or bad, is just naturally gonna come to pass.
This guy’s theology is so far out of the Biblical mainstream, it can’t properly be called Christianity at all. Osteen borrows Christian names and terminology, but what he’s selling is a kind of mish-mosh paganism. He couldn’t be less Christian if he performed sacrifices to Zeus.
That this man is so widely successful, so influential, so big, says a lot about the dereliction of duty by America’s churches. There should be no way this guy should be able to hoodwink Christians. But Biblical illiteracy and loosy-goosy doctrine have done their work only too well.
After all, you don’t have to go to Osteen’s mega-church to find idolatry and paganism.
It’s on the menu of a mainline church near you.