I watched Joel Osteen, pastor of Houston's Lakewood Church and author
of the enormously popular book, 'Your Best Life Now' being interviewed
on 60 Minutes Sunday night and again on Monday's Good Morning America
- and I have to say, I really liked the guy. I tried to dislike him -
honestly, I did - but he was just too charming, humble and nice! I
felt like a kid listening to Mr. Rogers. And how could anyone
sincerely say anything derogatory about Mr. Rogers? There are times, I
must admit, I would love to be that likable - that popular - that
successful - that admired and that nice - but at what cost?
I could put this in
theological terms, cite chapter and verse, and stress the importance
of repentance and sound doctrine in the life of a Christian; but in
order to reach those who have been charmed and enchanted by Mr. Osteen
and his negative-free message, a simple illustration might be more
A kind word is like a
piece of candy, isn't it? Most everyone I know likes a little
something sweet after a good meal. And who doesn't enjoy offering a
treat to a child, especially when you know it's going to make their
face light up? Anyone can draw a crowd of kids with candy. In fact,
the more candy you have for them, the more often they will come by and
the longer they will stay. Why do you think grandparents are so
popular and kids love Halloween? It's all about the candy!
But, what if all we fed
children were sweets - trays full of candy, ice cream, cake and sugary
treats? They'd love us, wouldn't they? We would be their heroes and
none of them would have a cross word to say to us or about us. In
fact, they would probably defend us from our critics like no one else.
But they wouldn't be
very healthy for very long, would they?
Someone has to feed them
what their bodies need to survive and thrive, like meat, vegetables,
fruit and breads. And how many smiles do you think nutritious food is
going to get you with so much candy around? And who's going to come to
your aid when critics start complaining about the lack of sweets you
have to offer?
This is why Joel
Osteen's gospel is a problem. He gives people what they want - not
what they need. He feeds them loads of candy to make them smile, feel
better and keep them coming back for more week after week - never
mentioning broccoli, brussel sprouts, lima beans, carrots or squash -
never serving up pot roast and potatoes, liver and onions, pork chops
or a salad from his pulpit - just sweets.
But candy isn't poison,
Maybe not; but if that's
all you have to eat, it may as well be.
"Faithful are the
wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." -
What are your thoughts on this article?