Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Food For Thought - Joel Osteen

Critique at your own will :)


Steeejei said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steeejei said...

Sorry - typing error corrected from previous deleted comment!


Can I just point out a few things:

- I'm by no means a Joel Osteen fan. I have great concerns over his doctrine, teaching and shepherding of some 30,000 plus people (and countless others on TV) each week.

- I think this video clip is a somewhat caricatured view of Osteen, but that said, you can only be caricatured when you give people something to laugh at.

- A lot of what Osteen says in this video is rubbish, unbiblical and utterly devoid of the true gospel.

Now, that said, some thoughts:

- While Osteen does a pretty bad job of exegesis, the editor of this video commits the same error. Osteen often uses texts out of context - but the editor of this video does *exactly* the same thing. For instance the use of John 8:44, 'You and your father [are] the devil' lacks any context and reference to the fact that Jesus is talking to the Pharisees. Throwing random bible verses out to make your case against the inappropriate use of throwing out random bible verses is not a good way of winning people over.

- Being able to appropriately critique something requires a comparison of an inferior item to a superior item. People who read criticisms of Osteen's material and who find it harsh and overly critical have not heard better preaching. We can't keep saying, 'This stuff is just bad...' when we have nothing to say how bad it is in comparison to something else.

- The editor of this video makes the point that Osteen's use of Ephesians 1:4 is 'not what the bible actually says'. The editor is both right, and wrong. Well, maybe not wrong, but his wording is misleading on a number of fronts:

1. The bible version used by Osteen is 'The Message' - which isn't a translation of the bible, but a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson, a wonderful bible teacher and author. I find criticism of 'The Message' highly strange for the fact that Peterson wrote it primarily out of an often used pastoral tool - getting people to rewrite bible verses in order to teach it to them. ie, 'How would you rephrase what Paul has said here in Ephesians 1:4?'

2. Does 'The Message', then, contain an accurate reflection of what Paul intended to say in the original Greek text? Maybe - the language used in 'The Message' gives a highly interpretive understanding of the text, but this understanding isn't necessarily false.

3. Does that mean we should use 'The Message' in our bible teaching from the pulpit? The answer to this question is a resounding NO. While I don't mind 'The Message' I think it's highly suspect to be exegeting this paraphrase of the Bible (it's a paraphrase, not a translation! Even Peterson makes this clear!) - as it leads to highly questionable logic from the passage, as Osteen demonstrates in this video. He takes an interesting interpretation of a passage and pushes it beyond what I believe the Apostle Paul or Eugene Peterson ever intended.

- I think Mark Driscoll has a fair critique of this sermon by Osteen. Far better done than the editor of this video. You can find it here:

Joshi said...

Agreed Mister college boy :) Thanks for your insights!

treee said...

wowww, i'm impressed that you analysed all that!