September 21, 2012

Another Gospel: Self-Help without Christ

Two self-help gurus on the set of CNN this week: "a priceless demonstration of the fact that the New Thought positive thinking philosophy that drives them both can be grafted onto either Christianity or Eastern religion."

Joel Osteen is coming to Oklahoma City a week from tonight. He'll be at the Chesapeake Energy Arena -- after all, that's where entertainers perform (next month: Carrie Underwood, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Batman Live, and WWE: Raw!). When I checked online tonight, tickets to see Osteen -- a man who sells out arenas by selling out -- were going from $39 to $322 each.

Right on time comes a terrific blog post today ("Staying in His Lane—Joel Osteen's Gospel of Affirmation Without Salvation") from the indispensable Al Mohler, who happened to catch Mr. Osteen on CNN this week.
The most enthusiastic response to Osteen's message came from Deepak Chopra, the New Age self-help guru, who was also on the CNN program. ... The two self-help experts then elaborated on their ideas, with Osteen urging "activating faith," because "faith is what causes God to work." ...

The appearance of Osteen and Chopra together was a priceless demonstration of the fact that the New Thought positive thinking philosophy that drives them both can be grafted onto either Christianity or Eastern religion. In the end, it all sounds the same. Chopra's New Age spirituality and Osteen’s updated version of the word-faith movement end up as the same message, only with different trappings. ...
Viewers of CNN saw a display of confusion, evasion, and equivocation coming from one presented as a Christian pastor. What they were really seeing is the total theological bankruptcy of the word of faith movement and the gospel of positive thinking. Osteen cannot, or at least will not, speak even the simplest word of biblical conviction. He states his intention to stay in his "lane" of glib affirmation.

Affirmation is important, and humans crave it. But affirmation as a sinner is the worst possible form of pastoral malpractice. Christianity is based on the truth that sinners need a Savior, not merely a coach or a therapist.

Joel Osteen’s appearance on CNN Thursday revealed little that is new. It was Osteen as always—evasive and confused, but constantly smiling. This is now his calculated and well-practiced approach. He offered no word of the gospel, and no reference to Jesus Christ, but he was introduced as "one of the most recognizable faces of Christianity in America today."
People desperately need some good news, but they won't get it from self-help gurus like Deepak Chopra and Joel Osteen.

2 comments:

  1. Susan Andrews9:45 PM

    Thanks for posting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous1:17 AM

    Thanks - I couldn't agree more.

    ReplyDelete