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September 05, 2014

Folks Call Out Osteens On Lakewood’s “Christianity Lite”

I was not a fan of his father’s more fundamentalist brand of Christianity, but I’m much more troubled by the theological fluff that comes from Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria, as a part of their “ministry” at Lakewood “Church”.

Lakewood church's Victoria Osteen is at the center of a social media storm after daring to suggest that people should "obey" God because it will make them happy.

Osteen's sermon from last month is making the rounds online. It now has an additional clip from "The Cosby Show" tagged to the end where Bill Cosby simply states,"That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life."

The controversy centers around Osteen's statement that people should, "Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy."

With her husband Joel Osteen standing beside her, Mrs. Osteen continues that, "When you come to church, when you worship Him, you're not doing it for God really. You're doing it for yourself, because that's what makes God happy."

Sorry, that just isn’t Christianity. A Christian worships God because that worship is what God is due from all of creation and because our faith in God compels us to honor God with worship and praise. We are commanded by God to worship him and such commands are found in Scripture and in scriptural prayers. Indeed, the Benedicite, that great canticle adapted from the Book of Daniel (found in the rites of the Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran traditions) makes that quite clear. Consider this version found in the 1979 Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Glorify the Lord, all you works of the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
In the firmament of his power, glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, you angels and all powers of the Lord,
O heavens and all waters above the heavens,
Sun and moon and stars of the sky, glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, every shower of rain and fall of dew,
all winds and fire and heat.
Winter and summer, glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O chill and cold,
drops of dew and flakes of snow.
Frost and cold, ice and sleet, glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O nights and days,
O shining light and enfolding dark.
Storm clouds and thunderbolts, glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Let the earth glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O mountains and hills,
and all that grows upon the earth,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O springs of water, seas, and streams,
O whales and all that move in the waters,
All birds of the air, glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O beasts of the wild,
and all you flocks and herds,
O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Let the people of God glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O priests and servants of the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
Glorify the Lord, O spirits and souls of the righteous,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.
You that are holy and humble of heart, glorify the Lord,
praise him and highly exalt him for ever.

Similarly, Psalm 148 makes our obligation to worship God in his glory quite clear.

Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For He commanded and they were created.
He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.
And He has exalted the horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints—
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.
Praise the Lord!

Yes, all creation is to worship the Lord because it is his due – not because it makes us happy to do so. The heretical notion given out by Victoria Osteen inverts the relationship between man and God, and must be rejected by those who practice the Christian faith. This “feel good gospel” is simply one in a long line of false teachings proclaimed by the ear-ticklers St. Paul warned the early believers about.





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