Sunday, December 02, 2007

Much Love for Osteen

I recently found this article in the Orlando Sentinel, which outlines the way that Joel Osteen steers clear of the type of negative publicity like the cloud currently surrounding some television ministers targeted by a Republican senator for their lavish lifestyles.

Although I won't retract the statements I've made condemning Osteen's low-density teaching style, I feel like the smiling pastor is deserving of a few compliments.

For one, while Osteen likes the expensive gadgets - like a giant globe, sweet light displays and other delights - for his huge auditorium, he does a great job of not mixing business with ministry. According to the article, he dropped his church salary two years ago, and he until recently he drove a nine-year-old, hand-me-down car. Among other key attributes that differentiate him from those under fire: He does not ask for money on his television broadcasts. With a ministry that already takes in $43 million per year, I'm sure that he could line his pockets nicely if he really wanted to, but the fact that he doesn't shows his dedication to his message, however light it may be.

I also think that Osteen does a great job at obeying the Biblical commands to shun "foolish and stupid arguments" and live by the mantra that says, "as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." True to his positive vibe, Osteen rarely, if ever, says anything negative about anyone in public. Part of the reason for this could be good marketing, and part could be a fear of public confrontation that might force his discussions to a deeper level. But nonetheless, he's doing his best to live at peace with those around him, even in the face of tight media scrutiny, and that's a quality I'll always commend.

1 comment:

Chasing the adventure said...

Trevor -
I happen to agree with your postings on Osteen. I saw the article about his decision to waive a salary and drive a used car and that he doesn't own a jet, etc. Yet that same week, I saw a report on him saying he got paid a $14 million signing bonus for the book and he does - in fact - travel on a private jet. It seems his wife (and co-pastor) got into an scuffle with a Continental Airlines flight attendant. Joel's wife paid the FAA a $3,000 fine for her disturbance on a flight and is being sued by the flight attendant. Osteen says it is simply an attack on their fame and to avoid that in the future, they now travel on a private jet. His family is served by full-time staff because his wife is too busy to run the home and the kids are home schooled by private teachers.

So yes, he doesn't take a "salary" but the man makes millions a year and sports around in a private jet.

I've read the replies to your blog and all those people who say he "does such good for God". I am in your camp on this one - he isn't preaching the Gospel. He doesn't preach the finality of the Cross (see my blog post on The Cross). He is all about "God-love", "can't we all just get along" and "7 steps to a more prosperous life". That isn't the Gospel. It is the truth altered and prettied up so that it will be pleasing to man, make man feel better about himself and it ignores the work of Christ on the Cross.

Look, all this sounds like one Christian tearing down the work of another. That isn't the case. I think we need to just be aware of what is really going on in these mega-churches with their CEO pastors. The "church" becomes all about the pastor and not the Savior.