Friday, May 23, 2008

Osteen in the Hall

Pastor Joel Osteen visited Louisville on Sunday night. Peter Smith covered the event for the C-J...

Accompanied by pulsing music, revolving spotlights and multiscreen videos, Houston preacher Joel Osteen brought his message of positive faith to a cheering, clapping, singing crowd of about 11,500 at Freedom Hall last night.

Some had driven for hours to see the nation's biggest religious media superstar in his first visit to Louisville, and he greeted the crowd with his unshakable smile, positive-thinking maxims and Bible verses.

After the intro, Smith doesn't quote any Bible verses from Osteen (either they're not recorded or Smith thought some of Osteen's quips were in the Bible). But Smith does relay a combination of those maxims and theological one-liners. Because it's a newspaper article on one-liners-- and because we're talking about trying to understand and apply what are essentially "proverbs", one must take care.

Here's a few that struck me with some editorial content:

"God's not mad at you, he's madly in love with you," he said at one point.

I guess that works pretty well. God is upset-- even furious (the Biblical term is wrath)-- with your sin. But He sent His Son to die for your sins. What's more loving than that?

"All you have to do is have an attitude to receive," he said at another....

Again, a little trite, but ok in a proverbs-like sense.

Even the currently shaky economy, he said, is not something to worry about. "Thank God the economy is not our source," he said. "God is our source. … It doesn't matter if (gas) goes to $20 a gallon, God is able to take care of us. … God can multiply your gas (and provide) more miles per gallon."...

OK on everything except maybe that last sentence. Even that is possible in the divine economy-- and perhaps even likely for those He wants to bless materially.

But Osteen says he feels called to give discouraged people the uplifting message that "God is on your side."...

Again, yes and no. He's on the side of those who have gotten on His side. (It's never whether He's on our side, but whether we're on His. See: Joshua 5:13-15.) He's passionately against those who oppose Him.

If you're interested, I've written some other stuff on Osteen including a book review of Your Best Life Now.


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