Dear Joel Osteen Bashers… Some Thoughts To Consider
So there I was, hoping that the power would stay on and that house wasn’t going to flood out when I saw social media begin to blow up about Joel Osteen.
He was getting a thrashing (still is amazingly) about how he and his church did not open their doors right away to the public to receive evacuees.
A little context is important here. Those that have listened to even a little bit of my teaching over the years know I’m not an apologist for Osteen by any means. I’m not a fan in general. Doctrinally we’re about as far apart as you get if we’re strictly talking theology.
But the shots he’s taking right now… more than a little off base.
Few thoughts based on the common themes found in the social media bashing of Joel…
Churches Call Their Own Shots
Most of the folks I see on Twitter, FB, etc who are railing about Joel are not even members of Lakewood Church. Folks, let me help you out. New Testament Churches post the Reformation are by design local, autonomous, bodies that get to call their own shots. If you want to have some input on that, join the church, get on the board, become a Deacon, etc… If not, you really don’t get to vote on what happens there.
The Size Of Osteen’s House and Bank Account Is Irrelevant
The “Joel lives in a mansion” arguments are really tired. That has what to do with this exactly? Joel’s money is made off of books, products, speaking engagements, etc… If he does in fact pull a salary which at last glance I don’t believe he does, his church board decides that. If they are good with his salary the issue stops there. Again, if you want that to be different, join the church, get on the board, and voice your thoughts. Otherwise, it’s none of your business.
While We’re Talking About Money…
But about that money and house thing because the social media meme explosion about this seems to love to harp on it…
Most of the folks I see up in arms about this are not even Christians so the discussion really stops there. For my Christian friends who blast those in the Word Of Faith movement like Osteen, you keep throwing out that Pastors houses are too much, too big, etc…
Ok fair. Let’s do this…
Can you give me chapter and verse on exactly what the right specs are? I keep looking up in the concordance for the salary ranges, square footage, for a geographic region, etc… but they are not there. That’s because the Bible is silent on such things.
This area of ministry is subjective and thus local church bodies get to figure out what works for them.
By the way, if you want to play the “they should all live in poverty” card I would encourage you to return back to the scriptures, read the entire thing cover to cover and rethink that. You won’t hear me arguing that Pastor’s should drive Lambo’s but I also don’t see any clear scripture that they should be destitute either. Again. the congregation and board decide. Simple.
Charity Requires Discernment and Practical Planning
About that “What would Jesus” do posts… Really? Often this is coming from folks who haven’t dusted off a Bible in years or if ever, and only sit on a pew on Easter and maybe Christmas.
“What would Jesus do” is often a catch phrase barked from the cheap seats by lukewarm Christians.
I believe based on Scripture Jesus was a very practical guy. Opening up the doors with zero prep, logistical support, etc… could have been a total nightmare not only for the people evacuating into there but also for the structure itself which by definition needs to be around to provide spiritual and emotional support long after the weather event happens.
Do you remember Katrina? The Superdome? That’s what happens when you slam tons of people into a big building that isn’t ready to go. People died there. It was horrible. Lakewood is a HUGE church. That can’t be opened and fully staffed with one phone call. The storm was still going on and many of the staff of the church were all over the city dealing their own issues. It takes time to mobilize.
Facts Still Actually Matter
I’m continually amazed that folks who are not involved with certain groups be it religious, political, or otherwise feel that they get a say in what happens in those groups.
I’m still baffled that folks who have never been in Church X or Church Y are convinced they know what’s best for that place or feel the need to pass judgment on what goes on there.
I have this crazy thought.
Unless someone is actually in a group or congregation they really shouldn’t say anything because, in reality, they don’t really know what they are talking about. They’re guessing at best, gossiping at worst, and nothing gets better.
The good money is the only reason you’re bagging on Joel is your anti-church anything OR you’re a Christian of a different ilk and dislike Joel’s Theology. Pseudo self-righteous blather about “the right thing” or “what would Jesus do” with no personal experience in the matter is shaky… really shaky.