A Hard Pill To Swallow

I don’t typically openly criticize Christian leaders, because they have the most difficult job in the world – preaching the Gospel. However, when it is someone who has thousands, if not millions, of followers, and I see little to no biblical truth laced in what they’re preaching, I don’t have a problem openly stating my opinion. Before I receive ANY amount of criticism, be it good or bad, I would encourage you to read this entire blog, not just pieces of it. If you find an err in what I say, then by all means, email me. lifeaccordingtohannah@yahoo.com However, if you choose to, I would HIGHLY encourage you to use Scripture to back up what it is you’re going to say to me. And by highly, I mean any and all complaints will be deleted that don’t contain solid, Scriptural reference. Please keep in mind you’re reading a personal blog, not something that’s been published. These are strictly my opinions.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
-Matthew 7:13-23

Joel Osteen. If you know who this man is, you just had one of two reactions. One, you either automatically agreed with me, or two, you’re ready to spit fire because without reading what I’m going to say, you’ve decided that I, along with every other Christian who is against him, am wrong.

Allow me to share with you bits from an interview between Mr. Osteen and Larry King from the show Larry King Live.


KING: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …

 

At this point, even Larry King appears surprised by Osteen’s answer. Then Larry tosses Osteen a “soft-ball” to explain his previous answer. And again Osteen openly denies that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way of salvation.

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity.So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

To be fair, I will say that Osteen is correct in not judging a person’s heart. But where do you draw the line between pushing certain behaviors under the rug and warning others about correcting sinful behavior? Let me make this clear: At some point, you’re probably going to come across as judging. At SOME point. Not at every twist and turn, not every second of every day. At some point, someone probably SHOULD accuse you of being judgmental. Why? Because God said go and make disciples. Disciple.. Discipline.. Okay, we see the connection between the two words. Discipline is training, is it not? Discipleship is training for obedience to Christ. At some point, people have to know they’re disobedient to Christ. That’s part of the gig. That’s part of salvation – it’s called repentance. At some point, one must realize that their lifestyle is imperfect and they are in need of salvation. Now, if my logic serves me correctly, after said repentance, you now live with an understanding that certain lifestyles are wrong. AND, if you’re wanting to save people from the fires of Hell, you must also tell others about wrong lifestyles, yes? Well I’m sorry to burst the bubble of some, but even if you break it down and make it sound like a warning, as I just did, there are people who will still consider that judging. So, while we should not be like Westboro Baptist Church and go around holding up signs that say, “GOD HATES FAGS,” I’m pretty sure that we SHOULD be yes, accepting of the homosexuals in our church, but at some point, they’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that homosexuality is wrong. And before you point out that I used a target group, at some point you’re also going to have to look the man in the eye who has a wandering eye and tell him that his wife is his wife. Love & respect her. You’re also going to have to look the woman in the eye and tell her to quiet her mouth when she turns to gossip. At some point we stop silencing the fact that there are people in our churches who not only struggle with things like homosexuality, but also porn addictions in male and females alike, gossip issues, gluttony issues, drinking issues, anorexia issues, so on and so forth. At some point, you’re going to have to look at yourself in the mirror and admit your own personal battle and struggle. Bottom line: The American Church is in desperate need of reformation. Desperate. Unfortunately, we live in a world that only allow political correctness. Hey Christians: Jesus wasn’t politically correct.

I would also like to point out that Joel Osteen HAS judged peoples’ hearts.. He said so when he  said, “I know they loved God.” How? Their sincerity? I believe Joel Osteen is sincere in what he believes, but I believe he’s wrong. Loving God means warning others about their lifestyles. He sweeps them under the rug. Not cool.

At this point, King opened up the phone lines..

CALLER: Hello, Larry. You’re the best, and thank you, Joe — Joel — for your positive messages and your book. I’m wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry’s earlier question about how we get to heaven? The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That’s not really a message of condemnation but of truth.

OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that. . .

KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

OSTEEN: No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only God can look at somebody’s heart, and so — I don’t know. To me, it’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the Bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it’s wrong when you go around saying, you’re saying you’re not going, you’re not going, you’re not going, because it’s not exactly my way. I’m just…

KING: But you believe your way.

OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.

KING: But for someone who doesn’t share it is wrong, isn’t he?

OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don’t know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I’m just going to let God be the judge of that. I don’t know. I don’t know.

KING: So you make no judgment on anyone?

OSTEEN: No. But I..

Kudos for realizing that you can’t go around saying, “You’re going, you’re not going, you’re going, you’re not going,” because the truth is, you really don’t know someone’s heart. However, how can you not acknowledge that someone who spits in the face of God, has not chosen Christ as their savior, and lives a life completely apart from God, will clearly not be going to heaven? He made that VERY clear. And I’m sorry to say it, but even those “good people” we all know won’t make it. This is an inconvenient truth, one I can’t apologize for. Why? Because as Christians, if we’re doing our jobs, then these people will hear the message of Christ. This is a hard pill to swallow. Trust me, I know. I have a father who I’m not sure knows Christ personally. If you don’t think that doesn’t bring me to my knees nearly every night, then think again. This truth is difficult for everyone to swallow. Joel Osteen needs to man up and face this fact.

KING: What about atheists?

OSTEEN: You know what, I’m going to let someone — I’m going to let God be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just — again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it’s a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I’m not going to go around telling everybody else if they don’t want to believe that that’s going to be their choiceGod’s got to look at your own heart. God’s got to look at your heart, and only God knows that.

Are you reading what I’m reading? Osteen won’t acknowledge the fact that atheists are wrong in what they believe. He’s being politically correct – the EXACT opposite of what Jesus was, and please don’t argue me that he wasn’t. The GOVERNMENT crucified him. He went into the temple and cracked the whip on what was going on. Little Jesus – meek and mild – long, flowing brunette hair – baby blue eyes. Right. The Bible said that Jesus had no true home – his true family members were the ones who accepted him. If he had no true home, I’m going to bank that he probably wasn’t too meek & mild. I’m guessing the man could work with his hands. In fact, in the New Testament, Jesus is called a Tekton, a Greek word for a carpenter, but not one who is just a skilled construction engineer or architecturally gifted, but a Tekton could build a house, construct a temple.. Serious business. Jesus was most likely a beast. And one of my favorite “churched” views is that Jesus had long, flowing hair & a beard.. Remember that Jesus walked around and preached for most of his life. A common practice back in Jesus’ time was that men would keep their hair and beards short to prevent from being robbed. Robbers would hide behind walls, jump out, grab men with long hair from behind, slit their throats and rob them. Could he have had the long hair? Sure, but according to his culture, he wouldn’t have. Brief cultural lesson for you. Anyway. Back to being PC (which Jesus was not). Osteen cares more about the view people have of him than he does preaching Truth. The following is a letter he proceeded to write and publish on his website, but ONLY AFTER numerous complaints were voiced about how he refused to acknowledge, verbally acknowledge, that Christ is the one and ONLY way of receiving salvation. Are Christians really following this guy?

Dear Friend,

Many of you have called, written or e-mailed regarding my recent appearance on Larry King Live.  I appreciate your comments and value your words of correction and encouragement.

It was never my desire or intention to leave any doubt as to what I believe and Whom I serve.  I believe with all my heart that it is only through Christ that we have hope in eternal life.  I regret and sincerely apologize that I was unclear on the very thing in which I have dedicated my life.

Jesus declared in John 14; I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.   I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven.  It’s about the individual’s choice to follow Him.

God has given me a platform to present the Gospel to a very diverse audience.  In my desire not to alienate the people that Jesus came to save, I did not clearly communicate the convictions that I hold so precious.

I will use this as a learning experience and believe that God will ultimately use it for my good and His glory. I am comforted by the fact that He sees my heart and knows my intentions.  I am so thankful that I have friends, like you, who are willing to share their concerns with me.

Thank you again to those who have written. I hope that you accept my deepest apology and see it in your heart to extend to me grace and forgiveness.

As always, I covet your prayers and I am believing for God’s best in your life,

(http://www.joelosteen.com/site/PageServer?pagename=LarryKingLetter)

 

I would like to point out the biggest issue I have with this letter. Please look at the line I have italicized and made bold. I’d like to know the definition of “good” that Osteen is referring to. “Good” as in more wealth and prosperity for him? Or “good” as in maybe a demise of his prosperity gospel in order that Christians have the veil removed from over their eyes? Maybe our definition of “my good” is completely different than God’s definition of “my good.” In fact, I know that’s legit. If you’d like a specific example involving me, get ahold of me. I’d love to share.

I’d like to revert back to what I first posted..

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
-Matthew 7:13-23

Small is the gate.. Narrow is the road. Maybe that’s why swallowing the Truth is so difficult. I’m not saying everything I say is correct. What I’m saying is I would highly encourage challenging what you listen to, and who you listen to. If teachings/preachings don’t stack up biblically, you might consider rethinking. Please note I did NOT say “if it offends you, then don’t listen.” Christ’s teachings were, at points, quite offensive. He looked his disciples in the eye and asked, “You don’t want to leave too, do you?” (John 6:67) And how did Peter reply? “To whom would we go?” Peter recognized Jesus for who he was. The one and ONLY way to God the Father. Christianity is the ultimate definition of putting your ego and yourself on the shelf. Pick up your cross and follow Him. It won’t be comfortable. It won’t be easy. But it will be worth it.

Pray on, friends.

All Joel Osteen manuscript quotes come from http://www.av1611.org/osteen.html
All biblical references, as always, come from http://www.biblegateway.com

Sola gratia.

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One thought on “A Hard Pill To Swallow

  1. Susan Smaltz says:

    Hannah,
    I am so proud of you. I am so proud that you have such a solid, obvious foundation of faith. I am proud that you are not afraid to spread the truth and to tell anyone and everyone who is willing to listen. May God bless you now and in the future. I think you are a wonderful servant for Him…and He may use you to do big things. And I’ll be praying for your dad…God is good:)
    Susan

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