Joel Osteen Can Beat You Up

Reverend [Michael] Horton believes that Osteen tells only half the story of the Bible, focusing on the good news without talking about sin, suffering and redemption.

And Rev. Horton goes even further. He levels the harshest charge of all, calling the Osteen method of teaching heresy.

“It is certainly heresy, I believe, to say that God is our resource for getting our best life now,” Horton says.

“Because?” Pitts asks.

“Well, it makes religion about us instead of about God,” Horton explains.

But Osteen isn’t fazed at all by such criticisms. In fact, I think it is Horton who ought to be scared. The same articles concludes with:

You can see that same diligence in his workouts. Osteen can bench-press 300 lbs., which is twice his body weight. And on the basketball court, even in the simplest of pickup games, he is focused, determined and looking for help from above.

My own opinion is that while it is obvious Osteen has no business in the ministry and is only promoting a self-help humanism, it is difficult to view him as a bad guy. You really just can’t help but feel a mixture of sympathy and humor when Osteen speaks. He comes across a little dim-witted, to say the least. I’d always felt sorry for the cute little guy. He can’t really know what’s going on. Well, besides the money part.

But when I saw him bench 300 lbs., everything changed.

The world is a different place after you find out that Joel Osteen can beat you up.

Apostolic Preaching and the Psalter

Peter and Paul repeatedly show that Jesus was foretold in the Old Testament.  This vindicates his claim to be the messiah and son of God, and it shows that he is the fulfillment of Israel.  It shows that those who follow Jesus Christ are the Israel of God, trusting in the messiah.

It is important that we keep in mind what this style of reading the Bible is supposed to accomplish.  Typology and “narrative” are not meant to simply entertain us or communicate to “visual learners.”  Neither is the main point to exhort us to imitate the various characters, as appropriate as that sometimes may be.  The real goal of typology is to show us God’s over-arching story and Jesus’ role in it.  Through Adam, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, and Ezekiel, God was writing one story.  Every verse of the Bible is about Jesus Christ and his mission.  He is the goal of all things, summing up God’s activity, and we as the body of Christ are God’s one people. 

We also see our own guilt in the Old Testament, as we were once of the raging nations.  We were once enslaved, and now our Moses, our Joshua, our David, our Messiah- Jesus Christ- has lead us out of that slavery. 

Now as we continue as God’s priestly people, we place our trust in this messiah and take comfort in his future coming.  We know that God is setting all things right, and even when we are oppressed and our enemies surround us, we know that our savior will come.  He will judge the nations.  He will smash the teeth of our enemies.  He will keep us safe through the valley of the shadow of death. 

Indeed, the Lord is in His holy temple, the Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, his eyelids test the sons of men.
The Lord tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Upon the wicked He will rain coals;
Fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness;
His countenance beholds the upright.

Take comfort beloved, for the gospel of Christ has revealed the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith.  Live by faith, and the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. 

Believing the Promise

Saying “postmillennialism is the gospel” strikes many as an exaggerated rhetorical statement.  And on some levels it may be.  However, the basic sentiment that goes by the term “postmillennialism” today is that all of the nations of the world will be made holy prior to the consummation of the current time-space situation ie. before Jesus comes back.

In other words, the gospel message is that in Abraham’s seed, Jesus Christ, all of the nations will be blessed.

This is what Abraham was called to believe in, and it is what the apostles preached all throughout the book of Acts.  What the New Perspective on Paul has sometimes failed to do is connect the Jew and Gentile relations in Pauline literature with the larger Old Testament promises.

It was always God’s plan to have a glorified creation.  This is, after all, why he created Eve.  The fact that God did not abandon his creation is testified to in the incarnation, and the fact that He will not discard his creation and start anew is testified to in the resurrection of Jesus.

And so away with invisible remnant religions!  Away with anti-cultural quietists!    Away with forensomonism!

Give us back the gospel!