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Joel and Victoria Osteen appeared on the Today Show on Monday.  Here’s what Joel had to say when asked about gun control:
For what I’m doing, I’m trying to reach as many people as possible. There are good people on both sides of the aisle, and I don’t know what the best answer there is either, but I just try to guide them and give them hope in this time of need.
Another quote:
God gave us all our own free will. He gives us freedom of choice, He didn’t make us his robots…Unfortunately, some people choose to do evil, and we don’t always understand it, but I still believe that God is good and God is for us, but He doesn’t make us do what’s right.
Read more here… How did you think Joel did?  Would you say anything differently if you had that forum? Todd Here’s the video:


Tim Challies’ post today is entitled “Smilingly Leading You to Hell”… in which he says that nice guys many times do not give a full gospel message. He cites Brian McLaren and Joel Osteen as examples in point. On Joel Osteen, he writes:
Both the history of the church and contemporary Evangelical church are replete with nice people who are in complete rebellion against God. Is there anyone nicer than Joel Osteen? Yet is there anyone whose message has less of the gospel and more anti-biblical nonsense? You can watch him in this video, sitting with Oprah, receiving accolades, nicely, smilingly leading an eager crowd farther and farther from the cross. He is nice, but he, too, will nice you straight to the gates of hell, flashing that brilliant smile all the while.
OK… I agree that the niceness of a person does not indicate the level of their gospel presentation. But my question for you is… is this a bit strong? Is it fair to say that Joel Osteen is leading people straight to the gates of hell and that he is in complete rebellion against God? Easy question.  Difficult answer.  What do you think?  Yes or no? I have a whole blog post inside of me on Joel Osteen… maybe this will give me reason to actually write it. Read Tim Challies’ post here. Todd

It’s that time again folks… time for my friend Matt Steen and myself to dive into the world of what’s happening in the church and give you our weekly wrap-up of all-things churchy:

Hit or Miss

Jack Schaap faces 10 years after plea deal (0:26) Pastors are Hurting (2:45) Robert A. Schuller defaults on Home (6:22) That he is renting out for retreats… (June 2012) (9:26) It Has to Stop (11:06) Joel Osteen on Homosexuality (13:20) Is This a Social Statement? (20:02) Split Congregation Locks Some Members Out (22:55) Less Than 20% of Church Goers Read their Bible Daily (26:55) Church Abuse Scandal in Tulsa (29:42)


Is Your Cell Phone Making You a Jerk? (33:30) How Your Cell Phone Hurts Your Relationships (33:30) Smartphones and Relationships, or My Eyes are Up Here (33:30) Updated Trends on Megachurches (38:28) Do Mega-Churches Hurt the Poor? (43:34)

In Our Heads

Ministering to Sex Offenders, from a protected conversation within the GCM Collective (51:08) This weekend at the church down the street (53:30)

Current Events
Wow.  You know you’ve made it when TMZ publishes a picture of you with no shirt on. Did you click on that link?  You sicko. Joel Osteen can now add ‘hunk’ to his resume, after the Hollywood gossip website featured a picture of Joel coming out of the water with his surfboard in Hawaii on a family vacation. Does Joel have stinkin’ paparazzi?  Or did someone with a camera phone call TMZ and say… boy do I have a picture for you. Either way… I’m collecting this for my “Men of the Word” 2013 calendar.  I figure by the end of the year, TMZ will probably collect a bunch of famous pastors with their shirts off. We already have Mr. January:  Eddie Long, from that famous self-clicked mirror shot. We’ll give Joel the February shot. I’m guessing December will be Rick Warren… after he’s lost all of the weight from their campaign. My advice to Rick… stay off the beach… someone WILL take your picture and send it in. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But seriously… I would hate to be Joel or Rick.  Truth is… there is not ever a private moment these days.  You’d think on Hawaii at the beach, you’d at least have a little bit of privacy… you know… being thousands of miles away from home.  But nope.  I would hate it if someone caught a picture of me at Walmart in my pajamas and posted it for all to see.  Thankfully for me… no body cares.  Not even TMZ.

Joel Osteen is clarifying his position that Mitt Romney is, indeed, a Christian.  Here’s his quote:
“What I see about Gov. Romney is that he says ‘I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He’s raised from the dead and he’s my savior.’ I see him as being a believer in Christ like me…  That’s enough for me… There’s differences in all religion. I realize that Mormonism is different from Christianity, but you know what he’s a man of faith and values. And to me that’s strong.”
Here’s the video: OK… so what do YOU think? When someone says ‘I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He’s raised from the dead and he’s my savior,’ is that enough? If they’re mormon?  If they use the NIV11?  If they’re homosexual?  If they’re catholic?  If they get drunk?  If they don’t believe in hell?  If they are living with their girlfriend?  If they’re obese?  What if they don’t ever attend church? What exactly is the litmus test after the above statement? I realize I’m agitating here… but I’m guessing that we all come down slightly differently on this.  Let the theological debate begin… Leave your comments below…

Current Events
Tim Schraeder has written a wonderful synopsis of Joel Osteen’s appearance on Oprah’s new show over the weekend.  I think it’s worth your read. Some of the more interesting things to me: On preaching prosperity: Why would people think preaching prosperity is a bad thing?
  • I don’t know who would say that you aren’t supposed to leave your children better off than you were.
  • Prosperity isn’t just financial… it’s abundant life… body, soul, mind, and spirit.
  • You can’t be a blessing if you are poor, broke and depressed.
If you are poor, broke, and depressed is it because you aren’t praying enough or aren’t in alignment?
  • It’s a mixture of things.
  • I think there are forces trying to hold us all down.
  • A lot of it is just that we choose to accept things as they are.
  • We have to choose to rise out of it.
On criticism: You have been criticized by fundamentalists about the lack of doctrine or Christ in the messages… 
  • I try to search my own heart every morning.
  • I feel like if I am pure before God and my heart is right, I don’t have to listen to my critics or answer to them.
  • I answer to God.
  • I try to stay focused on what God has called me to do.
On money: Where does the money you live your life with come from?
  • We don’t take a salary from the ministry.
  • It comes from books sales and other things like that.
  • I don’t make apologies for God’s blessings.
  • We’re big givers, we practice what we preach.
  • Money should never be the focus of your life.
  • Your focus should be to be a blessings to others.
  • Wishing you were someone else is an insult to God.
  • He made each one of us as a masterpiece.
Universalism and Homosexuality: Are there many paths to get to the one God?
  • Jesus is the way to the one God.
  • And I believe there are many paths to Jesus.
  • I’m not into excluding people.
Are gay people also included?
  • Absolutely.
  • I believe gay people will be accepted in Heaven.
  • We look at being gay as being a bigger sin than being prideful.
  • I don’t believe God categorizes sins.
  • We are all changing.
  • We need to be willing to change and grow.
  • Heaven is open for all of us.
Are you saying that being gay is a sin?
  • I believe homosexuality is a sin, according to the Bible.
  • When I read the Scripture with good faith, I see it as being a sin.
Overall, it looks like a good performance by Osteen. Your thoughts? Take a moment to read more of Tim’s synopsis of the whole interview here…      

Joel Osteen is getting ready to let the masses see how he walks out his faith in a new reality TV series that will inspire people to help people. Osteen is joining forces with Survivor producer Mark Burnett on the prime-time network show that will begin airing in 2012. Burnett told TMZ the premise of the show is that ordinary people will give up several days or longer to go on a mission with Osteen. The missions aim to “start fixing things.” “A big part of our ministry is we’re blessed to be a blessing to somebody else,” Osteen told FOX 26 in Houston. “The thought is people would give up their time and not necessarily know where they’re going that day, but show up, load up in planes and head out and make a difference in the world. We’re going to be ambassadors of goodwill, hope and faith, and have fun along the way.” The Osteens are friends with Burnett and his wife, Roma Downey, who are professing Christians. The program doesn’t have a network or a name yet, but the episodes will reportedly focus on service projects like Generation Hope in Washington, D.C. Generation Hope is a movement of the next generation to awaken, unite and mobilize young adults to bring hope to the hurting and lost world by tangibly serving the community. “We do these projects without the cameras rolling,” said Iloff. “But Jesus said, ‘Let your light shine. Don’t hide it under a bushel.’” SOURCE So… will you be watching, or would you pass?  

Quote from Joel Osteen in the Washington Times: “I believe that [Mormons] are Christians,” Mr. Osteen said. “I don’t know if it’s the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with. But you know what, I know Mormons. I hear Mitt Romney — and I’ve never met him — but I hear him say, ‘I believe Jesus is the son of God,’ ‘I believe he’s my savior,’ and that’s one of the core issues. “I’m sure there are other issues that we don’t agree on. But you know, I can say that the Baptists and the Methodists and the Catholics don’t all agree on everything. So that would be my take on it.” Agree or disagree? Todd  

The New York Times Magazine used Twitalyzer to score celebrities’ influence through Twitter, ranking them according to retweets and mentions. In the category of religion, the top five were: 1. Rick Warren Followers: 236,054 Influence: 87 2. Joel Osteen Followers: 160,445 Influence: 87 3. Deepak Chopra Followers: 401,709 Influence: 85 4. Dalai Lama Followers: 1,313,098 Influence: 75 5. Joyce Meyer Followers: 181,281 Influence: 52 In a post on Economix, David Leonhardt wrote:
One thing you’ll notice is that a handful of religious leaders may do a better job than anyone of punching above their weight. Deepak Chopra, the spiritual writer, had only about 400,000 followers when we collected the data. The evangelist Rick Warren had about 240,000, and the evangelist Joel Osteen had about 160,000. Yet each of three had an influence score of at least 85, making them among the most quoted and cited people on Twitter.
via Joel Osteen, Rick Warren named most influential religious leaders on Twitter | Believe It or Not | Who do you follow ‘religiously’ on Twitter?