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.