Wednesday, May 28, 2008

On Osteen - Part II

This Sunday's text was going to be the place where I used Osteen's theology to define a person building a house on sand. But, with the help and guidance of fellow bloggers I decided that to name him in the sermon would divide rather than build up. Instead I will preach the gospel and give people a plum line to hold Osteen up to.

With that said I continue my research into his theology. I finished the second section of his book and I found some places I actually agree with him. Part 2 is entitled "Develop a Healthy Self-Image." He goes on to say in the early chapters of this part that we should shed our negative thinking. We should look at ourselves as God's children and created in God's image. God loves his children, that he created, no matter what they do.

All of this is good theology. We should shed our negative thinking and look for the God's actions in our lives. We need to see ourselves and others as God's children. In doing so we open our eyes to see the love God has for us and the rest of the world. We are loved so much by our eternal Father that no matter what we do we are still loved. This is basic and good theology (of course the negative thinking is more secular than Biblically based, but I still think it has value.)

Yet it doesn't take Osteen long to head south in this theology. In the later chapters he continues the thought process. If we think positive and understand that God loves us, THAN...this is where Osteen and I part ways. He states, in my words, that God wants what we think is best. Yet, that is a slight of hand. It should be that we should think of what God wants. Our lives should revolve around God's mind and desires. But Osteen keeps throwing out that God's desires are what our hearts desire and that is simply not true.

Here's a quote to make my point. "God doesn't want you to drag through life, barely making it. He doesn't want you to have to scrimp and scrape, trying to come up with enough money to pay for food, shelter, transportation, to pay your bills, or to worry about how you are going to send your children to college. He doesn't want you to be unhappy in your marriage. It is not His preference for you to live in perpetual pain." (p.76) I can find scripture to back up that God will take care of our needs. Luke 12:26-28 comes to mind. Yet what does God say about college education, paying bills, let alone transportation! A person reading this can very easily slip into the idea that God wants me to drive a nice car, live in a nice house, and go to the right schools. God doesn't promise that...he promises salvation from sin, not salvation from money woes. To think that limits God.

Osteen goes on to talk about thinking big and having a prosperous mindset. This is what really bugs me. We live in a consumer society and this type of thinking that feeds it. The apostles tell us that persecution for following Christ is to be expected. Christ tells us that a camel will fit through the eye of a needle before a rich man gets into heaven. We, as a society, need to tread very lightly around the idea that God's desire is for us to be rich and prosperous. Actually if we step back and take the whole world into consideration, we already are! To ask for more is simply greed.

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