Saturday, June 25, 2005

Joel Osteen Responds

Apparently a number of Joel Osteen's ministry supporters voiced concern about the ambiguity of his comments on Larry King Live (see yesterday's post), leading him to post this letter of clarification. He writes in part:
Jesus declared in John 14; I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but by me.   I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the way to salvation.  However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven.  It’s about the individual’s choice to follow Him.
God has given me a platform to present the Gospel to a very diverse audience.  In my desire not to alienate the people that Jesus came to save, I did not clearly communicate the convictions that I hold so precious.
I still have major disagreements with the content and emphases of Osteen's ministry - enough that I do not commend it to others. Nevertheless, I admire the manner in which he dealt with this situation.

I've felt the desire to which Osteen refers - that of not wanting to alienate those I'm seeking to win to Christ. I'd like to think that the desire has always been pure but I know better. It's tainted by the fear of man - the dread of being thought a fool for the sake of Christ.

The gospel is intrinsically offensive in that it assaults self-righteousness. I have only to think back to how bitter I once found the gospel whose taste is now sweet. There's simply no way to state God's assessment of our condition in a positive, upbeat way that avoids offending those who hear. The preaching of the need for an alien righteousness will always alienate sinners. But by the sovereign grace of God that same preaching will draw men and women to saving faith in His Son.


YnottonY said...

Thanks for posting this material Keith. I did not see the interview with Osteen, but I did catch the interview King did with Billy Graham. It was sad to see Graham try to downplay the offense of the gospel with his emphasis on love. One of the major reasons why Jesus was put to death was because of his damning assessment of human nature. While we should try to live peaceably with all men as much as possible (Rom. 12:18), we should not sidestep the offensive nature of the cross and it's implications.

p.s. I finally started blogging :-)

KP said...

Tony, I almost clutched my heart in Fred Sanford fashion to learn that you started blogging! I'm glad you did and I look forward to reading more of your meditations. From the looks of what you've quoted from it, I'm going to have to get that New Dictionary of Thoughts. Good stuff!

Oh. I wanted to leave this comment on your blog but you disabled the comments! What's up with that?

YnottonY said...

Thanks for letting me know Keith. The problem is now corrected :-)