I have to be up front and admit that I’ve never been a fan of Joel Osteen as a teacher. I know he has a huge following but a huge following doesn’t prove that he’s a sound teacher regarding the truth. Although it does mean that people find his message and/or his style attractive.
I’m not fond of him because I think his message, whether he intends it to be this way or not, is geared toward the proclaiming the good news of the Christian message at the expense of neglecting the bad news. Nobody’s really fond of the bad news but the good news really isn’t good news unless the bad news is understood. I’ll be much more likely to follow through with my doctors prescription if instead of telling me “it’ll make you feel better” he informs me that while I may feel fine now I have a great deal of pain ahead of me if I don’t follow his advice and I’ll be fine if I follow the prescription. Now all of a sudden the good news makes sense. This bad news good news pattern is found throughout the book of Acts and is the foundation for effectively communicating the good news of Christ and the mission He completed on earth.
I thought it was funny then when I came across a blog entry about televangelists from an atheist (Hemant) whose blog I read from time to time. He lists his top 5 from the perspective of how entertaining they are and his #1 televangelist is Joel Osteen.
Hemant says he likes Joel because, “He just tells you how to use Christian morals to live your life positively…Sure there’s a Bible verse thrown in there every now and then, and sometimes he does talk about waiting for God to answer your prayers…but still. You can ignore those bits and get to the secular message pretty often.”