In Response to the Osteen Debacle

file000108313920Let me begin by saying I am not a fan of the Osteens but then again I have not attended their church or read any of their books. However, there are a few factors to consider prior to pointing any fingers declaring them to be heretical, false prophets or any such thing.

1. A Woman Caught in Adultery. In John Chapter 8 the scribes and Pharisees ganged up on a woman who had been caught in sin and threw her down at Jesus’ feet.  Look at verse 7 closely.  It says, “So when they continued to ask Jesus [about stoning her], He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  What was Jesus’ response to the woman? She was guilty of the sin but what did He say in verse 11? I’ll tell you. Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

2. The Love Factor.  First Corinthians 13:1 says, ‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal’ and verse 4, ‘love suffers long and is kind’. Hmm, are we speaking in love? Are we judging someone’s heart by a 2 minute video clip? Could Victoria Osteen have made a mistake? Have you ever made a mistake? I have. I have said some very dumb things in my life and words I regretted. I’ve pointed many fingers completely past the plank in my own eye, much to my own chagrin. How about you?

3. David and Saul. We can learn from them. David, a man after God’s own heart, refused to do any harm to King Saul, even though Saul was trying to kill him. David understood God had put Saul as king over Israel because that’s what the people wanted, a king and it was not David’s job to take Saul out, even though he could have.

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In my opinion, the church of America is broken, powerless and ineffective because of all the backbiting, finger pointing judgment we insist upon doing to one another instead of loving our brothers with words of edification and exhortation. Maybe God put the Osteens in a place of leadership to judge our hearts when we see a video of something appearing inaccurate. I would hate for people to judge my whole life and career based on a few soundbites.

Now, lest anyone freak out believing I am saying the Osteens are innocent, let me make myself clear. I am not declaring guilt or innocent either way. What I won’t do is condemn because I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know if that video clip took something out of context. I don’t know what is in Victoria or Joel Osteen’s heart, only God does.

I only know that my heart still contains sin, I cannot throw a stone, I can only hope in the righteousness of Christ.

God loves Joel and Victoria Osteen just as much as He loves me or you, so how about we pray for them and repent for the times we judged anyone besides ourselves?

How about we pray for unity in the body of Christ?

As a Christ follower it is my responsibility to follow Christ: to go where the Father says to go, to do what the Father says to do, to say what the Father says to say.

That is all.

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Ezekiel 18:30

“Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

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6 thoughts on “In Response to the Osteen Debacle

  1. Hi Susan. Your above blog is great and right on. I must be in a media black hole because I know of nothing about the Osteens, or missppeak of any kind.
    Having been in leadership ourselves for over 30 years, I aware of the great responsibility to represent Christ properly, and to whom much is given, much is required. You said everything well, and I will conclude by saying that high pedestal falls are a long way down and the crash can make a big splat. Jesus is the one we should keep our focus on, and the one we pattern our lives by. He will never fail, though humans will continue to blow it, myself included. But for the grace of God, there go I….

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    • Jackie –
      The Osteens are pastors of a mega-church in Houston whom many are labeling heretical and false prophets in response to a 2 minute video of Victoria Osteen on stage. Googling the subject brings a plethora of articles set to condemn. Thanks for reading!

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  2. Sharon,

    You make some excellent points. I myself have not thrown my own two-farthing’s worth into this debate because I heard about it only a day or so ago, and then only because an atheist friend of my atheist nephew used the clip to deride and demean all Christians. (I am reminded of Romans 2:24, “For ‘the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ just as it is written.”) However, you are quite correct in pointing out that much of what has been presented does not help us love or heal, but seems calculated to shame and dishonor. And of course, those doing it shame and dishonor themselves if their motive is anything other than correction, healing, and restoration.

    I will take your points in order.

    (1) You are quite correct that we cannot judge their motives or their hearts, that is God’s province alone. Nor are we in any position to make pronouncements about their fate, or deal out punishments as the crowd was trying to do in bringing the woman caught in adultery for stoning (aside: if they caught her “in the act” does anyone wonder where her adulterous partner was in all this?)

    (2) If there was a mistake made, has there been any correction or clarification from the Osteens? I admit I haven’t gone looking for one, but then again I didn’t go looking for the original video clip, and I don’t consider the specifics of this matter something upon which I can even intelligently comment. In general, I can say “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.” Matthew 18:15. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are not private. If anyone wishes to attempt to correct them, this public forum is not the place. “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:14-15

    (3) We must not attack a *person*, but if you believe that the *message* or doctrine is suspect then “come, let us reason together” — from the Scriptures and from the leading of the Holy Spirit. Present your arguments as one would lay out facts in a case, without wrath, without name-calling, and without prejudice. In Acts 17 the people of Berea responding to the message of Paul proved themselves “more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica…examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” We are not to *condemn* the person, for that is the province of God alone. We are to *appraise* the message using the Scripture as the standard. “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:24. Paul describes the overseer (or bishop) must be “holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.” God put them in charge of the nation’s largest megachurch for His reasons, and we must tread most carefully when bringing an accusation against anyone in authority we must act in humility, not in arrogance or spite.

    In conclusion, I will not comment on whether I think the Osteens are in error, I have enough trouble keeping my own feet on the straight and narrow. Much of what I have said is aimed squarely at my own heart, and written only so that I can clarify my thoughts. If anyone else can profit by this, “soli deo gloria.” (To God alone be the glory.)

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