Saturday, April 01, 2006

Joel Osteen revisited

Lots of folks drink frequently from the well of Houston's Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen. I penned two brief articles about Osteen's teachings and Lakewood's ways about this time last year in our church e-News. Shortly after those articles appeared, a good friend of mine, Dan Williams, preaching minister with the College Ave. Church of Christ in El Dorado, AR, asked for copies of them so he could post them on College Ave.'s website. I compiled and re-worked the two articles into a single piece for that purpose. In fact, that article can still be read on their website today. I continue to receive e-mail regarding this article.

In fact, having had a year to think about it and to gauge this article by people's reactions (which tended to be either strongly "pro" or "con," I might add), you might wonder what would I do with that writing articles today if I could reel it in and decide whether or not to recast it. Here's your answer - I'd reprint it in a heartbeat without a single change. That's where I was then and that's where I'm still at now.

However, I mention all of that really just to say this, though - if you didn't notice Ralph Blumenthal's article in this past Wednesday's New York Times entitled "A Preacher's Credo: Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate Prosperity" you not only need to notice it, but read it. This piece is well done.

When you're through with it, cruise on over to Ben Witherington's blog and notice his post yesterday (March 30) entitled "What's Wrong with Prospering?: The Gospel according to Joel Osteen." Ben Witherington is a household name among New Testament scholars, as well as a prolific and articulate writer of some of the finest New Testament research being published today. He does an outstanding job of contrasting Scripture's teaching with Osteen's fundamental teaching on money and possessions. Ben and I see eye-to-eye on this aspect of Osteen/Lakewood and so I especially commend this post of his to you.