Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water

I have seen a few posts of late which concern me a little. They concern me because the devil has managed to get us to throw the baby out with the bath water. We see someone doing something wrong, we should separate the good from the bad, take the good on board and reject the bad. We don’t seem to do this, we end up throwing everything that they say out of the window, even the good. A few of these posts that I have seen have been about the same person, so I have decided to address it here and give my point of view.

Joel Osteen. Just mentioning the name will raise some Christian’s blood pressure, others are a fan. Let me make it clear from the beginning that I am not the biggest Joel Osteen fan, I don’t follow his teaching, but that doesn’t mean that everything that he says is bad. I have my beliefs based on scripture, whenever I hear anything from anyone, I run it through scripture and embrace the truth while rejecting the lies. I believe that Joel’s ministry contains truths and lies. This doesn’t justify the hate-speech and quite disturbing things that self-confessed Christians write about him though, let me explain. Joel’s main point seems to be about wealth, but we as Christians usually seem to have it in our mind that God wants us poor. I don’t believe that He does. Does He want us all stinking rich? No. Is wealth His main focus for us? No. He does want us to have life in abundance, and part of life is money. If you’re thinking about quoting the scripture about the rich young ruler, or the love of money being a root of evil, or the verse about how hard is is for a rich person to get into heaven, don’t. Those are all warnings, yes, and they are legitimate. It does not prove that God wants us poor. The problem with Joel’s ministry is that he focuses on wealth. Most of his talks and sermons seem to be about us building personal wealth. This was not God’s focus. I believe this to be wrong.

Joel teaches about speaking things into being. I happen to agree with this (read Mind Your Tongue for more about this). We do have the authority as believers, to speak the Word of God into being here on earth. I’m not just talking about prayer. Jesus told us to SPEAK to the mountain and believe, then the mountain would move. The problem I have is that Joel seems to only apply this to wealth. I don’t see articles about Him teaching us to speak truth into our lives, speak God’s will over our lives. I don’t see teaching about the disciplines of being a believer, fasting, praying, repentance. I don’t see the gospel message, I don’t see the ‘difficult’ messages. It all appears to be about money. Maybe I have just missed his sermons that weren’t about money, but it does seem to be his pet subject. The problem is that we disregard all that he says because he is so focussed on wealth. This is also not right.

His method is biblical. The idea that God wants to bless us is biblical. The complete pursuit of personal wealth is not. If you have an issue with what he (or anyone else) is preaching, please run what they say through scripture. Take what is good, and reject what is bad, but don’t just assume that because one thing they say is wrong, that everything that they have said must be wrong. People say that Joel sees God as a genie, this is not true, and it shows that you really don’t understand what he is talking about. I have a small understanding of how our authority works, and it is powerful. We are using the authority that we have in Christ, we are ‘enforcing God’s will’, if that is easier to understand, not forcing His hand or treating Him as a genie.

I do not agree with Joel Osteen’s pursuit of personal wealth, but I do see value in his methods. I do think that they are biblical. Before you throw everything that he says out of the window, see if there is any truth in it first.

If you throw the truth out, all you are left with is lies.

Richard

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