Sometimes I get confused watching these mega-church preachers.
Are they reading the same Bible I’m reading?
Do they really have an intimate relationship with the same Jesus I know?
Is the Holy Spirit actually working within them – providing the kind of discernment He promises believers?
These questions came to mind while watching Joel Osteen and his lovely wife, Victoria, on CNN’s “Larry King Live” last week.
Is this the new face of American Christianity? Is this why Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected? Is this the Good News? Or is this some other religion altogether?
Admittedly, Osteen ticked me off right out of the gate by praising Barack Obama: “Well, I think he’s doing a great job. I’m impressed with his skill, his calmness, his just strength under pressure. These are tough times for him.”
Actually, no. These aren’t tough times for Obama. He’s having the time of his life. He’s partying it up and eating $100-a-pound beef in the White House. We should all face such tough times. Maybe that’s how the mega-wealthy Osteens define tough times. But I submit to you it is the American people who are suffering – not the Obamas.
But the interview actually went downhill from there.
King pointed out that many Americans are still confused about Obama’s religion and asked, “Does it matter?”
“Well, it matters to me,” said Osteen. “It matters to me that I know he loves the Lord, and I think it’s important that he has convictions from his faith. So to me, it matters when I’m making my personal decisions.”
Mrs. Osteen weighed in, too: “It does. It matters to me. … I believe he is a Christian.”
Now, let’s stop right there for a moment of reflection.
How do we know someone else is a believer? Is someone a Christian simply because they proclaim to be one? The Bible tells us we will know them by their fruits. I wonder what fruits the Osteens are seeing that would suggest to them Obama is a Christian?
In John 14:15, Jesus explains, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.”
Now, I won’t run through all of the Ten Commandments, but let’s stick to just one – the eighth: “Thou shall not steal.”
Not only is Obama stealing wealth from Americans today, he is stealing from our grandchildren – and our great-grandchildren!
But maybe that commandment is not in the Joel Osteen New Living Translation of the Bible the Osteens were hawking on the King show.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to see some real holy men in America stand up like the prophet Nathan and hold people – and especially our leaders – accountable to the Word of God.
Is that too much to ask?
America is going down the tubes fast, and the new faces of Christianity are playing patty-cake. They’re acting like the latest self-help gurus.
We need some wisdom, and we’re just not getting it from these lukewarm pretenders.
Now, look, I don’t care if Christian pastors want to keep their heads in the sand and protect their precious 501(c)3 corporations by avoiding politics altogether, as most of them do. But when they stand up on national television and proclaim Obama is a Christian and doing a good job, I have a real problem with that.
It’s a lie.
Obama is breaking his covenant with the American people every day. That covenant is the Constitution of the United States.
The Osteens cannot even stand up for the institution of marriage without equivocating.
True followers of Jesus win converts when they show people their sin and explain the consequences of sin. They don’t soft-pedal it. They’re not afraid of offending people. We can pretend to love everyone and watch them go right to hell. That is not the kind of love my messiah showed. And it is not the kind I expect to see from ministers of the Gospel.