Joel Osteen doesn’t do “us” vs “them”

I have seen Joel Osteen’s personal growth books on the secular shelves of bookstores but I’ve never read his work. I’ve never heard him preach. I’m not going to comment on his theology or sincerity because I’m not familiar with his stance or perspective. He declares, I think, that Jesus is LORD and scripture tells us we can’t claim that without the Spirit of God dwelling within us. That being the case, Joel Osteen is my brother in Christ.

Yesterday I heard him in an interview with George Stroumboulopoulos, a CBC host of his own interview show… a young Canadian ‘Charlie Rose’ with a dash of David Letterman thrown in. I also surmise George is an atheist or Buddist from things I’ve heard him say.

What Joel’s particular Christian style or theology might be I don’t know. I gather he isn’t popular with some other high profile pastors or Christian leaders, though I only know that from reference within the interview I heard yesterday.

What I notice about Joel Osteen, based on one interview I saw last night, is that he doesn’t put up barriers between Believers or across the line between Believers and unbelievers. As I don’t think Jesus did either, in that regard, I believe I observed Joel represent Christ well. It is love for one another and compassion for fellow men that Jesus — and Paul — urged, in spite of much opposition.

If Joel Osteen’s ministry is as controversial as suggested last night by George Stromboulopoulos, then I may be ‘tarred and feathered’ for saying that I saw him emulate the heart of Jesus’ message. But in truth, I think we need to get back to Jesus and the Gospel, rather than a brand of Christianity that is expected to be, by outsiders or unbelievers as cold, hard and Pharisaic.

Jesus took most exception to the Pharisees who claimed to know God’s law and to follow it. But they didn’t know God’s heart or recognize His love and so they failed the people miserably. I think the body of Christ, throughout the ages, has erred in the same way. And I think, from what I heard and saw of Joel Osteen last night, he’s attempting to address the balance – not by preaching but by demonstrating grace.

I hope we will all grow in grace as we love and serve our LORD. I’ve a long way to go, but I aim high and am very grateful to the God who teaches and encourages me to love and to receive the love offered to me with grace and gratitude.

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LARUS PRESS is a Christian-based ministry that publishes books, blogs and other written material. Our mission is to inspire and empower believers, to deepen their spiritual growth and to fulfill their unique identity and purpose. We accomplish this through written material, which reflects and illuminates Biblical truths. Subscribe to the free weekly newsletter Soaring Post at www.laruspress.com/about. The primary purpose of Larus Press is to encourage, enrich, enable, educate and equip readers for the purposes to which God has called them. "Larus" is Latin for gull - a symbol of survival and freedom. Larus Press offers promotions and advertising to self-published authors with missions compatible to ours. On-line prayer counseling, speaking engagements are just a part of what Larus Press offers. Sarah Tun's Books on Larus Press: FREE TO BE (in collaboration with Essence Publishing) is a personal growth book, a guide to inspire readers to find their self-esteem through personal reflection, prayer and a deepening relationship with the Holy Spirit. Find it on Amazon (http://amzn.to/17ZJfWe or http://amzn.to/ILsVE2 ) and Smashwords ( http://bit.ly/15Ocez9 ). The preschool book THE FAITHFUL PRINCE inspires families to encourage children to walk out their budding faith with courage and confidence (release date 1st June 2014)

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