I have recently been going through “Becoming a Man of Unwavering Faith” by John Osteen. John Osteen was the founding pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas and the father of Joel “Mr. Smiley” Osteen.
To be quite honest I started the book with a preconceived idea that it would be full of fluffy faith and witty platitudes. Instead I found a book full of God’s Word that teaches strong biblical lessons. I guess that really shouldn’t surprise me as John founded one of the largest churches in America.
This made me start thinking about these big and famous pastors. I call them “plastic preachers” because their hair always looks so nice. Anyhow, there are some people who claim to be “Christians” that take the liberty to speak evil about many of these prominent ministers.
They will talk trash about Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jerry Falwell and many others…and sometimes they will make good points. They claim to use Scripture verses like 1 Timothy 4:1-2 to try to prove their point and discredit the ministry of these and so many more.
They criticize Bill Hybels for being “seeker sensitive.” I always chuckle and say that Bill should definitely be insensitive to people seeking Christ.
They laugh at Rick Warren for trying to get people to live a “Purpose Driven Life.” I agree and say that people should never live with purpose.
They mock Joel Osteen for encouraging people to live their “Best Life Now.” Yes, people should absolutely live their worst life now!
Many will pull out labels like “false prophet,” “false teacher” and “heretic” (of which I am rather fond) and slap them on the backs of preachers they have never even met. I am certainly not standing up for false doctrine, but I don’t think that attacking men of God is the best use of our time.
The funny thing is that the loudest voices criticizing these people are just looking for fault! They never point out the good that the minister is doing. They are looking at the black spot and ignoring the rest
I have discovered something. I will NEVER agree with anyone 100%. In fact, when I show up to Heaven one day if God lays down a cosmic theology quiz in front of me I doubt I will get 100% of the answers correct.
- Will Jesus return before, during or after the Tribulation?
- Describe the Rapture.
- Was the Earth created in a literal six days or figurative?
- If you are “saved” can you ever lose your Salvation?
- Is baptism necessary for Salvation?
- Does sprinkling count as “baptism” or is full immersion required? Explain why.
- Are all of the Gifts of the Spirit still current?
- Are women allowed to serve in ministry and teach men?
- Is King James Version the ONLY accurate version of the Bible?
- Was the book of Job literal or figurative?
- More Questions
- More Questions
- More Questions
I wouldn’t ace the test. I don’t think that I am being cocky to say that you wouldn’t ace it either. Joel Osteen wouldn’t ace it and neither would Billy Graham. The Pope probably wouldn’t get an A+ and Benny Hinn might not fare much better.
Am I worried? Not at all. I believe in studying the Bible as much and thoroughly as possible, however I realize that there are certain obscurities in the Bible. Things that trip people up.
There are smart theologians that argue the concept of “predestination” which is whether or not God chose you to go to Heaven or if you have some say in the matter. These guys are brilliant and yet they sharply disagree. I am not as smart as them, but I realize that the Scripture is not particularly clear on certain topics, and I am OK with that.
Let’s keep the main thing the MAIN THING! There are things that the Bible IS crystal clear on. Jesus, for example.
I can assure you that if we sat in a room with many of these major preachers and asked them their opinion on John 14:6 we would get almost identical answers. They might not agree on much else, but they do agree on this.
John 14:6 Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is the way…the ONLY way to heaven.
We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23).
We deserve death for our sin, but Jesus offers us eternal life (Romans 6:23).
God really loved this ball of dirt so much that he send Jesus to die, come to life and give us a life with him (John 3:26).
If ANY preacher out there blatantly disagrees with these things then I will be willing to stand up and call a spade a spade. But don’t jump down their throat because they teach about God’s love too much.
Yes, I know the Bible teaches about judgement too, but guess what…God IS love! If they only teach about judgement, well that’s kinda harsh, but we should still give them their space.
God is a multidimensional being. Our attempts to describe him are bound to fall entirely short. It is like the story I heard about the three blind men trying to describe an elephant.
One felt the elephant’s leg and said that the elephant is tall and round like a tree. Another blind man felt the elephant’s trunk and disagreed saying that the elephant was long and slender like a snake. The last blind man felt the elephant’s ear and disagreed with the first two saying that the elephant was flat and rough like a piece of leather.
Which blind man was correct?
They all were, but they were all wrong too. They were focusing on one characteristic of the elephant but were not able to see it as a whole beast.
Often God will show himself to one person as a God of love and to another as a God of power. Are either of these incorrect? No! Since I know that God demonstrates both of these qualities does that prove that I know God in his fullness? Hardly.
I am aware of 102 different names of God throughout the Bible and there are probably more. Each name reflects a different virtue of our heavenly Father. Each reveals more about his character.
As long as I am on this earth I will never be able to fully comprehend the complexity of his nature any more than a common ant can understand mine.
So let us be not be quick to judge these spiritual leaders. You may not agree with them, but before you criticize them try extending them some grace.
1 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I know that some of these ministers may rub you the wrong way. It may be irritating how they smile so much and always tell people who God wants to bless them. But what if they are doing exactly what God wants them to do?
Believe me, it is a huge responsibility being a pastor, and I don’t think that these people take that responsibility lightly. Instead of pointing out their flaws look at your own flaws. Don’t forget they are just normal people like you and me.
Psalm 105:15 “Don’t touch my chosen ones! Don’t harm my prophets!”
There was once a person that stood up to rebuke D.L Moody and said crassly, “I don’t like your method of evangelism.”
Dwight looked at the person and humbly asked, “What method of evangelism do you use?”
“Well, I don’t have one.”
Dwight quickly replied, “Well, I like mine better than yours.”
Before we start throwing stones as someone’s ministry let us first evaluate how we are ministering and sharing the Gospel with those around us. I think you will soon find yourself so busy actually serving God yourself that criticizing someone’s ministry won’t seem nearly as important as it once did.