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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
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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…      
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Controversy
Mike Bickle, leader of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), has said that 57-year-old former talk show host Oprah Winfrey is “the antichrist.” Bickle has received criticism and backlash for his statements in a film released by People for the American Way Right Wing Watch which was aired on God TV. He stated, “I believe that one of the main pastors, as a forerunner to the Harlot movement, it’s not the Harlot movement yet, is Oprah.” The evangelical pastor continued, “She is winsome, she is kind, she is reasonable, she is utterly deceived, utterly deceived… “ The “Harlot movement” Bickle speaks of includes doing good deeds “for all the wrong reasons.” He called Winfrey “a classy woman, a cool woman, but has a spirit of deception and she is one of the clear pastors, forerunners to the Harlot movement.” via Oprah Winfrey Called ‘Antichrist’ by Christian Evangelical, Christian News.
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