Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Osteenification of American Evangelicalism: The Smiling Face of Apostasy

American evangelicalism has been taken over by what I call Osteenism, a gospel of self-esteem, with a Jesus as the great psychotherapist and Santa Claus in the sky. We aren't to talk about sin and God's holiness; God is to be presented only and always as a God of syrupy love, never of wrath. This has resulted in professing Christians with an ignorance of doctrine, of the Bible, of truth, and who are utterly incapable of dealing with adversity or addressing our humanistic culture. Since there is nothing wrong with people, according to this teaching, then there is no transformation, either of individuals or of churches, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This not the faith of the Bible.

We see Jacob, the grandson of Adam and founder of the nation of Israel, saying of himself (Genesis 32:10): "I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that You have shown to Your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps." He was blessed by God, enriched in fact, and acknowledges that fact. However, he also recognizes his unworthiness. These gifts have come from the hand of God, not because of Jacob's merits, but in spite of his demerits!

We see the same attitude in II Samuel 7:18: "Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, 'Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that You have brought me thus far?'" King David, one of the most-prominent figures in the Old Testament, had experienced many blessings and protections from God. Was it because he avoided recognizing any failures on his own part? Not at all! Rather, he professes those very inadequacies (compare Psalm 51), and praises God for giving him the exact opposite of what he deserved (II Sam. 7:21): "Because of Your promise, and according to Your own heart, You have brought about all this greatness, to make Your servant know it." In giving His blessings, God never intends for David, or for us, to congratulate ourselves for our magnificence. Rather, it is to cause us to recognize our unworthiness and His magnificence.

In following the prophets of Osteenism, a professing Christian may develop an astounding self-esteem. However, he will never learn proper esteem for God, his mercy, and His gifts.

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