OceanSide church of Christ
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (3)
Victor M. Eskew
A. Asking questions has always been a way of gathering information.
B. To ask a question is easy. To answer an easy question, on the other hand, can be hard.
1. Example: “Where do babies come from?”
2. Example: “Is the church of Christ the only church going to heaven?”
C. We have assigned the first Sunday night of each month as our Q&A Night.
1. You submit your questions in the Question Box in the foyer.
2. I do my best to give you a Bible answer.
D. QUESTION #1: Stated: Can you discuss and/or refute Joel Osteen’s popular doctrine of “speaking blessings into existence”? He has a new book, I Declare, that talks exclusively about this.
I. BACKGROUND OF JOEL OSTEEN
A. Joel Osteen was born in Houston, Texas on March 5, 1963.
B. His parents are John and Dodie Osteen.
C. Joel is currently the senior pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston, TX, a church founded by his father.
D. Joel’s wife is named Victoria and they have two children, Jonathan and Alexandra.
E. Joel has authored numerous books. The one that is the subject of our study bears a 2012 copyright.
II. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS
A. There are many types of so-called “televangelists” that exist.
1. Some are just denominational preachers.
2. Others are motivational speakers. They have the ability to mix pop-psychology, positive thinking and a few passages from God’s Word together to declare what some have referred to as a “feel good” gospel.
3. Still others declare a “prosperity gospel.” They believe that God has promised wealth and riches if man will just sow his “seed faith.” (NOTE: Seed faith is a contribution to the ministry of the particular televangelist that is promoting this message).
4. Joel Osteen is a motivational speaker more than a minister. He is more of a positive thinker than a preacher. He preaches more about riches than he does about redemption.
B. The Bible warns us in numerous places about false teachers.
1. Three passages:
a. Matthew 7:15
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
b. II Peter 2:1
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
c. I John 4:1
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2. Joel Osteen is a false teacher. Let us give some examples that will help to confirm this affirmation.
a. Joel Osteen does not preach all of the truth (Acts 20:26-27).
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
1) He affirms that he focuses on the goodness of God more than upon man’s sin. The sins of man are a vital part of the message of the gospel.
a) All have sinned (Rom. 3:23).
b) The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
c) Jesus died for the sins of the world (I John 2:2).
d) When man obeys the gospel, he can be free from sin (Rom. 6:16-17).
e) One of the functions of the gospel preacher is to rebuke sin (I Tim. 5:20).
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
2) He also boasts that he does not preach on the horrors of hell. This is interesting because Jesus was the one who used the term “gehenna” more than any other preacher in the New Testament.
a) Matthew 10:28
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
b) Jesus would warn individuals about hell (Matt. 23:33).
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
b. Joel Osteen leaves the doors of heaven open to almost everyone.
1) He thinks that Muslims might be saved because only God knows their hearts http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=joel+osteen+with+larry+king&qs=AS&sk=&FORM=QBVR&pq=joel%20osteen%20with%20lar&sc=1-20&sp=1&qs=AS&sk=#view=detail&mid=650172E73B14753BF668650172E73B14753BF668 (See John 14:6; Hebrews 4:12).
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
2) He says that there is a possibility that homosexuals will be saved http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=joel+osteen+with+larry+king&qs=AS&sk=&FORM=QBVR&pq=joel%20osteen%20with%20lar&sc=1-20&sp=1&qs=AS&sk=#view=detail&mid=F9B0422542B0B26FFFCEF9B0422542B0B26FFFCE (See I Cor. 6:9-10)
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
c. Joel Osteen proclaims that a person can be saved simply by saying the sinner’s prayer
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost….Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
d. Joel Osteen is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
1) His outward appearance is top-notch.
2) When he speaks, he speaks kindly and softly.
3) His message is filled with a non-judgmental approach.
4) At the outset of each service at Lakewood, all those in attendance are asked to say “The Bible Pledge.”
"This is my Bible:
I am what it says I am;
I have what it says I have;
I can do what it says I can do.
Today, I will be taught the Word of God.
I'll boldly confess.
My mind is alert;
my heart is receptive;
I will never be the same.
I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible,
ever-living Seed of the Word of God.
I'll never be the same -
never, never, never!
I'll never be the same,
in Jesus' Name.”
III. THE BOOK, I DECLARE
A. In the book, he makes 31 declarations. He believes that if you will say these things and point your life in these various directions, these things will come to pass.
1. Some of the declarations are based upon promises God has made to man in His word. Day 2: “I DECLARE I will experience God’s faithfulness. I will not worry. I will not doubt. I will keep my trust in Him, knowing that He will not fail me.” (See Hebrews 13:5-6)
2. Some of the declarations involve responsibilities that God has given to man already. Day 5: “I DECLARE I am grateful for who God is in my life and for what He’s done. I will not take for granted the people, the opportunities, and the favor He has blessed me with.” (See I Thess. 5:18)
3. Some of the declarations are based upon simple facts from God’s Word. Day 12: “I DECLARE I am special and extraordinary. I am not average! I have been custom-made. I am one of a kind.” (See Ps. 139:13-16)
4. Some of the declarations are manipulations of the Word of God. Day 19: “I DECLARE there is an anointing of ease on my life.” He uses Psalm 23:5 as his text. The psalmist said that God anointed his head with oil. Here is Joel’s interpretation of this:
“Oil makes things flow. Whenever there is friction or things are stuck, oil is used to lubricate it and make it more fluid. That is what God is doing with you when He anoints your head with oil. David went on to say, ‘Because God has anointed me, surely goodness and mercy will follow me wherever I go.’ That means things will be easier. What you used to struggle with will no longer be a struggle. For no reason people will want to be good to you. You will get breaks that you didn’t deserve. You will have good ideas, wisdom, creativity, and you won’t know where it came from. That is the oil God has put upon you. His anointing of ease” (p. 105).
(See II Cor. 12:7-10)
B. We mentioned earlier that Joel Osteen is a positive thinker and a motivational speaker. One of the techniques used by positive thinkers is “positive affirma-tion.”
1. The view states that there is power in words. In essence, we become the things that we say.
2. Joel’s premise: “You’ve got to send your word out in the direction you want your life to go” (p. v, x).
3. Many of the declarations in the book are geared to bring one prosperity. By prosperity we mean: riches and wealth, overcoming sickness and disease, more business opportunities, the accomplishment of all the dreams of your heart.
a. Day 1: “I DECLARE God’s incredible blessings over my life. I will see an explosion of God’s goodness, a sudden widespread increase.”
1) A 4 year scholarship when just a few days before nothing was available.
2) A large inheritance from a family member one did not know he had.
3) Income to assist you in getting out of debt.
b. Day 7: “I DECLARE that God has a great plan for my life.”
c. Day 8: “I DECLARE God’s dream for my life is coming to pass.”
d. Day 9: “I DECLARE unexpected blessings are coming my way. I will move forward from barely making it to having more than enough. God will open up supernatural doors for me.”
e. Day 10: “I DECLARE that God will accelerate His plan for my life as I put my trust in Him. I will accomplish my dreams faster than I thought possible.”
f. Day 17: “I DECLARE I will put actions behind my faith. I will not be passive or indifferent. I will demonstrate my faith by taking bold steps to move toward what God has put in my heart.”
g. Day 18: “I DECLARE breakthroughs are coming in my life, sudden bursts of God’s goodness. Not a trickle. Not a stream. But a flood of God’s power. A flood of healing. A flood of wisdom. A flood of favor.”
h. Day 21: “I DECLARE God’s supernatural favor over my life. What I could not make happen on my own, God will make happen for me. Super-natural opportunities, healing, restoration, and breakthroughs are coming my way.”
i. Day 24: “I DECLARE I will speak only positive words of faith and victory over myself, my family, and my future.”
j. Day 26: “I DECLARE I will choose faith over fear! I will meditate on what is positive and what is good about my situation. I will use my energy not to worry but believe. Fear has no part of my life. I will not dwell on negative, discouraging thoughts. My mind is set on what God says about me. I know His plan for me is success, victory, and abundance. This is my declaration.”
k. Day 27: “I DECLARE God is working all things together for my good. He has a master plan for my life….I will see God’s amazing plan taking me places I never dreamed of. This is my declaration.”
l. Day 30: “I DECLARE God is going before me making crooked places straight. He has already lined up the right people, the right opportunities and solutions to problems I haven’t had. No person, no sickness, no dis-appointment, can stop His plan. What he promised will come to pass. This is my declaration.”
m. Day 31: “I DECLARE everything that doesn’t line up with God’s vision for my life is subject to change. Sickness, trouble, lack, mediocrity, are not permanent. They are only temporary. I will not be moved by what I see but by what I know. I am a victor and never a victim. I will become all God has created me to be. This is my declaration.”
C. Comments about the book:
1. There is some truth to the idea that how and what we think and say influences our lives.
a. Proverbs 23:7
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…
b. Proverbs 4:23
Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.
c. There have been individuals who have told that they would be failures. These people, however, believed that they would succeed, worked hard, and became success stories.
2. Problems with Joel’s teaching:
a. Joel appears to be teaching individual predestination.
1) God has an exact plan for our lives.
2) He puts His desires for our lives in our hearts.
3) When we seek these desires, then God will make our way prosperous.
b. Joel makes it sound like God will intervene every time in our lives to make us prosperous, healthy, and successful.
1) “If you’ve dealt with long-term sickness, depression, or addiction, it may seem like it’s never going to change, but when you speak words of faith, something happens in the unseen realm. Mountains crumble. The forces of darkness are defeated. The enemy trembles” (pp. 162-163).
2) Two points:
a) Jesus did not promise a life in the lap of luxury and a bed of roses. In fact, Jesus promised us tribulation here (John 16:33).
These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
b) God does not always remove every obstacle, nor does He grant every blessing. God’s will often involves suffering and discipline. He does not always grant prosperity, but calls His children to contentment (II Cor. 12:7-9; Heb. 12:5-7; Phil. 4:11-12; I Tim. 6-8).
c. These thoughts lead to the biggest problem that I see with the book. It promotes what could be called “false hope” and guilt.
a) You will recover from cancer, but you do not.
b) Your prodigal child will return to the faith, but does not.
c) Your business will grow and prosper, but it does not.
d) You will get a 4-year scholarship to college, but you do not.
e) You will become wealthy, but you do not.
2) NOTE: When you do not receive your blessings, whose fault it is?
a) It is not God’s fault.
b) It must be yours. You were not positive enough. You did not believe enough. You gave up too early.
A. This writer is not nearly as concerned with Joel Osteen’s message of positive thinking as he is about his false teaching.
B. Thousands flock to the Lakewood Church every Lord’s Day. Almost everyone of them leaves believing that he is in an acceptable condition with God.
1. A person is not acceptable to God if he is still in his sin.
2. A person is not acceptable to God is he has sought God’s righteousness through a man-made plan of redemption.
3. A person is not acceptable to God if he fell away from the faith, and then tried to return to the Lord by a false gospel.
C. Salvation is found only in Christ (Acts 4:12). His plan to redeem man is found in the gospel of Christ (Rom. 1:16-17). In order for a man to be saved, he must obey from the heart the precious doctrine of Christ (Rom. 6:17-18). This plan involves baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) and faithful service in the body of Christ, which is the Church (Rev. 2:10; Eph. 4:15-16).