I am so glad that someone finally shared something about this which makes sense. For years now, every time someone has recommended that I read a book by Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer I have politely smiled, but not known what to say.
During my senior year of high school I had Viral Menengitis. I was sick for about eight months, two of which I spent in a dark basement because I was too sensitive to light and sound to be upstairs. Once I was able to tolerate small amounts of light and sound, early in the morning I would turn on some Christian TV channel to hear sermons. One of the preachers I listened to during this time was Joel Osteen.
I’ll admit that during this season of life I enjoyed turning on the TV to hear his sermons. Really, I just enjoyed any form of human contact or something that made me feel connected to the outside world. I liked hearing a positive message. He seemed very friendly. But even then, I knew that this guy’s preaching was not legit. Every message was the same and every message was so surfacey that he might as well just call himself a Motivational Speaker, not a pastor.
Anyway, I share this story because this morning I read something and saw a video that explained some things about Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer (among others) that finally made sense. This was not some kind of whiny article or anything meant to bash or attack them. The truth is, what they teach is a lot easier to stomach than much of what is in the Bible, except that it’s not true.
This topic of the prosperity gospel has been something I have mowed over time and time again in my own personal experience. Why is it that respected Christian theologians from the past few hundred years talk of a Christianity that is so different than much of the Christianity that is preached in the pulpits today? This has always confused me. The perspective on money and suffering seems to have changed so much just recently…
I remember hearing somewhere that if you can’t preach the same message to someone who is dirt poor in India as you do here in America, then it is not the gospel that you are preaching.
The gospel is for everyone. All peoples. Period.
I’m certain I’m getting in a bit over my head, trying to share about this topic. I am not a theologian by any means. I struggle just to be a Bible reader at times.
But I felt this was important to share as best I could. Really, you should just read the article that I read for yourself, since the writers are more credible than me and since most American Christians are affected by the prosperity gospel in one way or another. And made sure to watch the John Piper video that is included too.