Monday, December 03, 2007

Televangelist Joel Osteen brings out crowds

I have decidedly mixed feelings about Joel Osteen. On one hand people who would not normally listen to a preacher listen to him. Yet, he makes me uncomfortable. He has been called Church lite, and that is part of it. Another part is the over reliance of the feel good factor. While God certainly makes us feel good, that is not what Christianity is all about. There is pain and suffering and we all go through it. The one thing the Christian has is hope, both for the present and the future.

So while I believe Osteen is doing a good work in many ways, it just strikes me as not being the whole Gospel message.

“You don’t have to be a Christian to get his message of hope — that no matter where you are in life, you can be better and do better,” said Berning, 51.

Osteen connects with a broad audience, including many who do not attend church regularly or watch Christian television.

“My core message is to bring hope and encouragement, and that’s what I’m best at,” he said in a soft Southern accent. Read More.

Update on Osteen and Warren. Must admit this is a good thing and Warren is spot on.

Concerning Osteen:

He has not taken a salary from his Houston megachurch for two years. He owns one house — the same one he and his wife, Victoria, have lived in for 13 years — and until recently he drove a 9-year-old car he inherited from his late father. Osteen pays his own hotel bills, and there is no private jet.

Although the upbeat minister does take collections at services, netting an estimated $43 million a year, Osteen does not ask for money on his broadcasts, which reach an estimated 7 million viewers weekly in the U.S. and 100 other countries. Nonetheless, an additional $30 million comes through the mail. His most recent book deal earned him a $13 million advance.

“We make plenty of money from our books,” said Osteen, 44. “But we just live normal lives. We try to be conservative and honor God with our life and with our example.”

Osteen refuses to condemn the targets of Grassley’s inquiry, or Richard Roberts, who quit as president of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., amid charges that he used school funds and facilities for his family.

“While I never like to hear negative things about friends and other ministers, I choose to believe the very best in them,” Osteen said.

And Warren makes me proud:

Warren, for example, has repaid every dollar he has earned in the pulpit of Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., and pledged to give away 90 percent of his book royalties. He accepts no speaking fees and is not as reluctant as Osteen to criticize those who are less altruistic.

“The opulent lifestyles of televangelists make me sick,” said Warren, of those ministries now under investigation. The scandals, he said, flow from the “prosperity gospel” that many televangelists preach.

“Success in any area often creates a spirit of entitlement — ‘I deserve this’ — that is the exact opposite of servant leadership,” Warren said.

Osteen agrees, offering his own definition of the prosperity gospel: “I never preach a message on money,” he said. “I do believe that God wants us to be blessed, to have good marriages, to have peace in our minds, to have health, to have money to pay our bills. I think God wants us to excel. But everyone isn’t going to be rich — if we’re talking about money.” Link.


Ray said...

Joel Osteen is doing good work, however, I too wonder about the minimization of the gospel in his message. Too little for a Christian ministry. But a nice message for a secular, positive message ministry.

Ron Ballew said...

The update I found very interesting and am impressed.