Tag Archives: Maturity

Osteen and Oprah

I was watching Oprah the other day with my wife.  She likes Oprah, so I watch it with her.  This was one of her new shows where she takes a behind the scenes type look at different influential people.  This one was about Joel Osteen.

Now I will be honest and say I have never been able to watch a full broadcast of one of his services, but I do not want to jump on the bandwagon and bash him the way some other Christians do.  Well not completely.

My problems with his show is that very little of it actually appeals to me.  It is rather upbeat and encouraging, but sometimes really comes off as more of a Tony Robbins type positive thinking seminar.  Now I do not doubt that he is a Christian or that he is saved.  He is not the most theologically based pastors, but I have noticed that those who have more degrees have a tendency to be rather superior acting.  I think this is one reason of his popularity.

There are churches all over Houston.  Texas, like other states in the south, has more than enough churches, so it isn’t like people are flocking to Osteen because he is the only game in town.

I think so many people have been turned off of these other churches that want to shove doctrine down your throat that they go to a place that does not resemble this.  Now this is not always a good thing, as you don’t want the church to not know the basic foundations of Christianity, but at least they are still being fed something.

There is another complaint that people could make is that Osteen just feeds them a watered down gospel.  I don’t think that is the case.  Hebrews 5:12 talks about people who need “milk” instead of solid food, and this is referring to the level of maturity that the people are operating in.  from what I have seen, Osteen is giving out a milky type experience, but there are so many churches around that want to tout their solid food theological approach that they are either missing the fact that they fail to feed milk to the new people or that the solid food they are dishing out is so bitter that no one wants to eat it.

We should be thankful that God is using Osteen to reach those that we have failed to reach.  There will come a time when I believe that some of them will feel that urge to move on to a deeper understanding of God and will need to change churches, but there are some that just refuse to move out of that infancy stage because it is safe.

I do like how he told Oprah that Jesus is the only way to heaven.  He did add that there could possibly be multiple ways to Jesus though, but I don’t think that is too far off either.

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Repeating Christian Patterns

I guess it was a couple of weeks ago Internet Monk was writing about the benefit of liturgy in the worship process. How many people are returning to liturgical churches because they miss the rituals and imagery during the worship process. While I do not hold to that need, I can understand and appreciate it.

Roger Olson wrote earlier this week asking when was the last time people heard a sermon solely about the cross and that used words such as “blood” and “agony” and “sacrifice”. The point of the article was to show how evangelical churches have a tendency of moving away from crucicentrism, or the atoning work of Christ on the cross. I have seen similar conversations from other blogs on this as well.

I feel like the two issues are somewhat connected as they show that people are missing parts of their spiritual foundation.

The tabernacle was full of imagery. From the bronze laver and alter to the number of loaves on the Table of Showbread, the imagery in the ritual of sacrificial worship was everywhere. The ritual continued with the Ark was lost and it still continued when David put the Ark out for all to come and worship. The ritual reminds us of God’s promises but it is not required to worship God. When we are unable to worship without the ritual, we have a problem in our walk with God. This is true then as it is now. Liturgy offers valid benefits to people, but if our worship experience does not seem valid without it, then something is missing in our relationship with God.

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses made altars when God did something for them. It was a place of reminder for them and those they told to the faithfulness and glory of God. When they saw the altars they remembered what God had done in their life and it was an encouragement. Their faith would be strengthened and increased as they continued on with their life, but they would not run out every week to see if it was still there. When we can not move past the foundation of what God has done and embrace what He is doing, then there is something missing in our relationship with God.

Got stuck here. I wanted to make this great point as to how wrong those people are, but I think I am wrong in wanting to do so.

I truly feel blessed that I am part of a church that preaches from the Bible and stresses maturity and a need to grow your relationship with God. Of course not all of the people who attend mature. There are several, probably at least half, who are content coming every week just to feel good and get encouraged then they go about their life as normal.

I know others feel blessed by their church and probably see what I am saying is wrong. Some of it might be. I hope I am open enough to correction to see where I am. I know I am saddened when I see those who are stuck and not moving forward. I know that they are in their comfort zone for whatever reason and they do not or can not move forward at this time. I am saddened when I see myself repeating a pattern, so I know there must be others who are saddened to see the areas I get stuck in.

It is part of being a Christian. It would be easy if there was a clear path of progression that we could all follow, but that is not how relationships work. We are all in the process of learning how to be sons and daughters of God. We are doing this while we are surrounded with ideas and behaviors that are contrary to Him. Have to be thankful for the mercy and grace we are shown.

I think the point of this post is to say that we don’t always have to repeat the pattern and getting out of our comfort zone is not pleasant at first, but the pain associated with it is primarily in our mind. God knows I get stuck on foolish things more often than I would like, so this is more for me than for others.

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