This Sunday Americas hottest televangelistJoel Osteenwill host Americas greatest rapperKanye Westat Americas largest churchLakewood Church in Houston.
Throughout Lakewoods morning service, Osteen will conduct a 15- to 20-minute dialog with the hip-hop artist who just lately turned a born once more Christian. Kanye will return within the night along with his 100-person Gospel choir to placed on a free live performance for 45,000 followers. Kanye and Joel are mates, a consultant for the church stated. Hes been wanting to return out for a while, and it simply labored out for this weekend.
Earlier than Kanye heads to Houston, although, there are some things he ought to learn about his buddy. An important is that Osteen, as Christian rapper Shai Linne famously famous, is a false trainer.
The apostle Paul warned, [T]he time will come when folks is not going to put up with sound doctrine.As an alternative, to go well with their very own wishes, they may collect round them a large number of academics to say what their itching ears need to hear.They are going to flip their ears away from the reality and switch apart to myths (2 Tim 4:3-4). Osteen is a mainstream instance of a false trainer selling the parable of the prosperity gospel. The important message of the prosperity theology, Albert Mohler says, is that its a theology not centered on God and his glory, however an anthropocentric psychological message geared toward making people merely really feel higher about themselves.
Prosperity Gospel for Constructive Thinkers
Osteen appeals to so many as a result of he presents a model of the prosperity gospel that’s not as crass and money-grubbing as that of different prosperity preachers, similar to Paula White. Maybe that’s as a result of he stumbled upon the vocation of false trainer by chance.
Osteen was working for his fathers tv ministry in 1999 when he reluctantly preached his first sermon. Joels father, John, died a number of days later, and by the tip of the yr the 36-year-old TV producer was made the senior pastor of Lakewood Church. Hes admitted that he has no formal theological training, and that earlier than he preached his first sermon (on TV, after all) he had little interest in being a pastor.
Perhaps that’s why Osteen tends to downplay his title of pastor. He doesnt discuss with himself as a pastor within the bios of his social media or on the web site of his ministry (in distinction, his spouse, Victoria, is extra wanting to listing herself as a co-pastor). In an interview with Larry King, Osteen stated, I see myself extra as a [life] coach, as a motivator to assist [people] expertise the lifetime of God that God has for them. His books and sermons certainty give the impression that he’s extra snug with the ideas of the self-help motion than with Christian doctrine.
The Osteen model of the prosperity gospel traces its roots again to the 19th century non secular motion often called New Thought or Increased Thought. Because the Encyclopedia Britannica explains,New Thought advocates believed within the immanence of God, the divine nature of man, the fast availability of Gods energy to man, the non secular character of the universe, and the truth that sin, human issues, and human illness are mainly issues of incorrect considering. Furthermore, based on New Thought, man can dwell in oneness with God in love, fact, peace, well being, and many.
Within the 20th century, the Christianized model of the New Thought philosophy was unfold by Norman Vincent Peale, pastor at Marble Collegiate Church in New York Metropolis. Though Peale was ordained by the Reformed Church in America, he targeted much less on the gospel and extra on constructive considering. Peales most profitable guide,The Energy of Constructive Considering, was first revealed in 1952, and would go on to turn out to be one of many all-time best-selling books of nonfiction.
Since then, Peales philosophy has been adopted and superior by secular gurus like Oprah and Marianne Williamson. However Peale all the time believed the instruments of positivitysuch as constructive imagingwere handiest when linked to faith.
It really works greatest when it’s mixed with a powerful spiritual religion, backed by prayer, and the seemingly illogical strategy of giving thanks for advantages earlier than they’re acquired, Peale wrotes. When the imaging idea is utilized steadily and systematically, it solves issues, strengthens personalities, improves well being, and tremendously enhances the possibilities for achievement in any form of endeavor. Peale even claimed constructive imaging was taught within the Bible: Jesus Christ himself stated, Due to this fact I say unto you, What issues soever ye want, when ye pray, imagine that ye obtain them, and ye shall have them.
New Thought for a New Period of Ear Ticklers
Whereas Osteen brings Peales message into the 21st century, its the identical Christian gloss on New Thought from 100 years in the past. A primary instance of Osteens instructing is his sermon Have a Constructive Mindset, the place he says,
When your thoughts is ready, constructive, hopeful, anticipating good issues, that’s while you’ll go locations that you simply’ve by no means dreamed. New doorways will open. The fitting folks, the fitting alternatives, will come throughout your path. However if you happen to don’t set your thoughts, unfavorable ideas will set it for you. . . . Right here’s my problem to you: hold your thoughts getting into the fitting course. Be taught to assume ideas on goal, “Something good is going to happen to me; 2018 is my year.” In case you’ll develop this behavior of getting a constructive mindset, you can’t be defeated. You’ll not solely dwell more healthy, happier, have extra vitality, however I imagine and declare you’ll accomplish greater than you ever imagined. You’ll overcome obstacles that appeared unimaginable, and you’ll turn out to be the whole lot God’s created you to be. In Jesus’s identify.
There’s nothing inherently unsuitable, after all, with having a constructive mindset. However Osteens sermon gives the look that the excellent news is about overcoming unhealthy occasions by considering pleased ideas, slightly than about how Christ overcame sin and dying. The declare that by having a constructive mindset you can’t be defeated is the gospel of Tony Robbins, not the gospel of Jesus.
No Nourishment in a Cotton Sweet Gospel
This can be a harmful message, particularly for brand spanking new believers like Kanye who’re already susceptible to falling for second-hand New Thought philosophy. In a video final yr Kanye stated everybody has an internal divinity and you could unlock [energy]quicklyusing constructive affirmation. Osteen merely presents a means to talk about such New Age nonsense utilizing Christianese.
Some folks, although, might imagine such concern is unwarranted. In spite of everything, cant God use Osteen to steer Kanye and different believers to a real imaginative and prescient of Christ? Maybe. However such believers want, as the author of Hebrews says, the elementary truths of God’s phrase another time. You want milk, not stable meals! (Heb. 5:12).
What they dont want is to be malnourished by feeding them what theologian Michael Horton calls Osteens cotton sweet gospel. Seekers like Kanye shouldnt be given croutons of constructive considering when they’re in search of the bread of life (Matt. 6:35).