Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Self-Esteem in Hell: An Open Letter to Joel Osteen

I am sure that we are familiar with the perfectly-coiffed image of the TV evangelist, with his pearly-white toothsome grin. And no, sin is never mentioned. No hint of why Jesus suffered on the cross. Only positive, uplifting praise. You are worthy. You are great. God can't help but be your best pal!

Is that a biblical message? I certainly don't think so. Rather, this is what I call the "Osteenification" of the church. And I deny that it is the Gospel.

In Acts chapter 2, starting at verse14, we have the record of a sermon by the Apostle Peter to a crowd of unbelieving Jews. I won't quote it; you can read it yourself.

However, it is the reaction of the audience that I want to emphasize (Acts 2:37): "Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart." Notice the contrast here. While our toothsome televangelists seek to create warm feelings of self-esteem in their audiences, this biblical sermon is brought to a different conclusion: they "were cut to the heart." These people are brought to the point of shame, sorrow, and repentance. They aren't made to feel good about themselves, but rather to understand their wickedness. They aren't told about how much God loves them and wants to give them nice cars. Rather, they are brought to an awareness that they are under the righteous judgment of God. They don't feel good about themselves, but bad!

That is the appalling sin of the feelgood preachers. By refusing to give people the bad news of sin and judgment, they can have no good news to give of redemption, forgiveness, and new life in Jesus Christ. Until a man understands the bad news, he is not ready to hear and understand the good news.

Joel Osteen, God has a message for you (Ezekiel 33:8): "If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand." All of your followers, whether in that false church of yours or the TV audience, are on their way to Hell, because you have refused to give them warning. Yet, that consideration doesn't seem to move you. Maybe this warning in Ezekiel will: if you continue to refuse to repent of your false gospel, your perfectly-coiffed toothsome smile will go into Hell with all of those other people, no matter how much self-esteem you have given them.


Bob Cleveland said...

Question: If you were preaching to an audience of saved people, what would you preach about?

Chris Cole said...

That would depend on what I know about the audience. however, your question includes a bad assumption, that everyone in any particular crowd is saved. Not only is that unlikely, but it wouldn't be given to either of us to know that. So, I will answer your unvoiced question: I would never assume that everyone hearing me is truly saved. And even saved people need to be warned of sin.