For the sake of knowing that I'm trying to give an unbiased opinion, I am stating heretofore, that I am not an Osteen advocate. I don't even watch him on T.V. (regularly) I don't send Lakewood money. I don't go to Lakewood when I'm in town. (not that going there would be bad. It's fun! I've been!) Me and the Lord were and are getting on just dandy without his books and sermons. That's because I'm not a light reader. You are talking to a man who reads Aquinas' Summa Theologica on the can for fun. Even Lucado, Lord bless him and wonderful cash-cow gifts, bores me up one tree and down the other these days. But that's just me. Lucado is a great writer. I just don't go in for the light theological reading these days, or anything written in the last fifty years. So why talk about Osteen?
First, I like shaking things up. Most of you know that. It's fun (for me) to wrestle with issues, learn and be sharpened. There are some things I know a lot about, there are some things I don't know much about, but I'm learning. So about Joel... I don't know much about him, but I've heard a bunch of stuff about him, and some of that stuff includes damning the guy to hell for telling people that God wants to bless them. I've got a hunch that there is a bunch of jealous, pastor-envy going on in the undertones of damnation.
Second, I don't believe in taking someone's word about someone else. (Unless they are an unrepentant murderer being chased on the news.) Especially when it has to do with their eternity. I like to dig in and find out for myself. This is what I'm doing with Joel Osteen, and his message. I've heard the opposite arguments presented, and the other day, I picked up his latest book at B&N, and after reading it, I decided that... he ain't so bad. A lot of big-wig Christians disagree with Joel, but then again, a lot of Christians disagree with the Pope. Big surprise. In the below discussion, we are talking about Joel, and his most current book, and the accusations that have been made towards him. You are welcome to join in, even though it might get pretty heavy sometimes. (Meaning: If you don't like theological, eschatological talk, you might fall asleep in parts. But I hope not!)
For me, this kind of stuff is what I live for. I could sit around the fire all night talking about this stuff. But one reason I picked this topic with Joel, is that for me, it goes further, deeper. It has to do with Christ's Kingdom here and now, and what all that means. For me, its been something I've been thinking about since I read St. Augustine's City of God. (A book all Christians should read. Especially the chapter on heaven. Wow.) More on that later. For now, let's talk Osteen. See comments in post below! Me and Cach and C-ham are at it! Wahoo!