Paul's Passing Thoughts

Matt Walsh Jumps on the Joel Osteen Scapegoat Bandwagon

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on August 30, 2017

ppt-jpeg4“…being happy requires courage and risk.”

I said I was going to stop it altogether and I have been good until now; that is, playing the Protestant error Whack-A-Mole game. A key to Protestant survival thus far in history is keeping people busy arguing about “issues that scholars have debated for hundreds of years.”
Therefore, all is well because the religious experts are in the process of ironing out the wrinkles in the Reformation that turned the world right-side-up after being in darkness for thousands of years. Supposedly.

Hence, it is assumed that Protestant “essentials” are unarguable and the church is the undisputed moral compass of society that married reason and logic to religion; “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity” (St. Augustine). This is why the bulk of Protestant activity is debate, if anyone would care to pay attention: Protestantism is the epitome of contradiction and doublespeak.

There is only one thing worse than being a Protestant; spending your whole life exposing the low-hanging poisonous fruit in its gargantuan forest. Nevertheless, I will take another bite at the apple after reading an article by Matt Walsh about Joel Osteen. After succumbing to temptation and eating from a forbidden tree one more time, I will tell you what we need to start dong instead.

Since Protestantism is supposedly the beacon of truth and goodness in Western culture, it must invest heavily in warning Churchianity against imposters. And seemingly, Joel Osteen is the chief of all imposters; the consummate “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

And why is that? Because he preaches the worst false gospel of all, yes, the dreaded, “prosperity gospel.” This is so indicative of Protestantism; a prosperity gospel scorning those who propagate a prosperity gospel. A works salvation scorning works salvation. A Jesus plus something else gospel scorning Jesus plus something else gospels. A…, well, you get the point, and there is no room here to name the hundreds of other examples.

In its endeavor to keep followers busy looking at the church’s enemies lest someone would have time to stumble upon the simple theological math that makes Protestantism a house of cards, they focus on “heretics” that are soft theological targets and affect the church’s bottom financial line which makes Osteen a prime and favorite target. His following constitutes a significant GNP GCP (gross church product). In other words, Osteen is competition that affects the church’s bottom line, and his theology is easily refuted.

Joseph Prince, a close friend of Osteen who would normally fall into the high GCP category and a strong advocate of the prosperity gospel is barely addressed by church stalwarts and the reason is instructive for making the point of this article. Other than his prosperity gospel, Prince is also known as “the prince of grace.” Nobody, but nobody, preaches a more articulate version of the Reformation’s “justification by faith.” The only close second was Tullian Tchividjian who was disposed of for not using nuance enough. Tchividjian was easy to dispose of because his personal moral failures were known among powerful evangelicals. Apparently, Prince is not vulnerable in this regard so they stay clear of him; criticism would bring attention to him which would also reveal that he preaches the exact same gospel as Protestant darlings like John MacArthur Jr. et al. There is irony here that will be addressed later, but unlike Osteen, Prince emphasizes authentic Protestant law/gospel which would make his prosperity message a “non-essential.” By the way, Osteen believes the same gospel as well, but does not articulate it as well as Prince and not nearly as much. So, is accusing Osteen of teaching a “prosperity gospel” a distortion of truth and a false accusation? Absolutely. The issue is really a question of how Christianity is experienced, not how people get saved. But this is but a small whiff of what Protestants do.

Let’s sum up the thesis of this article so far and finish the defining of it: Protestantism, which is truly a prosperity gospel, accuses Osteen of preaching a prosperity gospel which is not true; it is truer to say he preaches an exaggerated prosperity sanctification. Moreover, Osteen is more righteous than his evangelical accusers. Lastly, all parties are guilty of teaching a false gospel. This is an epic example of the pot calling the kettle black on steroids with the kettle being much less worthy of damnation.

Now let’s put feet on the thesis.

We are using Walsh’s article, so let us begin; the subject of his article focuses on criticism that Osteen didn’t open his church building to victims of Hurricane Harvey:

I’m more eager to know why the good pastor hasn’t opened his 10 million dollar, 17,000 square foot mansion to the public. Actually I’d like to know how he justifies ever having bought it in the first place. Well, I know how he justifies it. He and his wife “positioned themselves for a blessing,” as they like to say. Those of us who don’t live in opulent estates just haven’t put ourselves in the right place to receive such rewards.

Um, this assumes that mainline evangelicals do not partake in the same “opulent” lifestyles. Seriously, the press on this is so vast we shouldn’t even have to go there, but we will partake in a short indulgence. James MacDonald, and the Chuck Swindoll 2-million-dollar vacation home controversy to name two among hundreds. Does Walsh wish to ask the same of them? Cognitive dissonance much?

This is the essence of the Prosperity Gospel preached by Osteen and his ilk. It’s insidious and heretical, but crowd pleasing. A Gospel that tells us to embrace suffering and poverty will not pack a 17,000 seat arena. It won’t sell books. It cannot be monetized. It won’t buy you mansions and private planes. It won’t make you famous. People don’t want to hear it. They want to hear something else. They want to hear that fortune and luxury are just around the corner — God wants us to have these things, as Osteen constantly insists — and all we need to do is be a little more positive and probably buy one or two more Joel Osteen books.

This is the Gospel of the World. The Gospel of Osteen. A Gospel specifically tailored to challenge no one, offend no one, and make everyone happy. And it fails miserably on every count.

Huh? Where to begin? A gospel that tells us to embrace suffering doesn’t sell? Is Walsh oblivious to the reality we are swimming in, viz, the massive Neo-Protestant movement of our day? John Piper doesn’t have money? Al Mohler doesn’t have money? They don’t have conferences in Palm Springs? John MacArthur doesn’t have Bible studies on lavish cruises? James MacDonald doesn’t live in a mansion? And they don’t sell a gospel that embraces suffering and the total depravity/inability of mankind?

What is Walsh smoking?

Now let’s talk about the real prosperity gospel of Protestantism and how it compares morally to Osteen’s. Osteen doesn’t sell salvation for a 10% temple tax, he sells “your best life now.” In contrast, Protestantism claims to be God’s authority on earth in regard to the “process of salvation” found only in the institutional church. The “means of grace (salvation)” can only be found in the institutional church, and one of the “means of grace” is none other than the good ole fashioned 10% tithe along with anything extra for good measure. Mainline evangelicals like John MacArthur Jr. routinely teach that there is no salvation apart from putting yourself under the authority of the local church, and tithing less than 10% is robbing God.

Furthermore, they advocate John Calvin’s “power of the keys” which gives the church authority over individual salvation; whatever the church binds on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever the church will loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. If the church likes you—you are in, and the church likes nothing more than a “cheerful giver.”

Joel Osteen sells no such thing. He simply requests donations based on perceived benefits received from his ministry and claims no authority over salvation. He sells a positive message as opposed to the fear of eternal damnation for those who would dare disagree with him which makes him the better of the two.

And there is another major difference between the two. Seemingly all but absent from the health and wealth venue is the Protestant child rape culture that evangelicals refuse to openly confront. Evangelicals who constantly berate Osteen remain silent against organizations like ABWE that partook in a criminal 20-year cover-up of rampant pedophilia amongst its missionaries. John MacArthur Jr., who routinely targets Osteen with his disdain, still endorses CJ Mahaney who covered up child molestation in his church for years and is on tape attempting to blackmail a former ministry associate. It is unclear how Osteen would respond to such scandals in his church because the opportunity has never presented itself, but is this telling if one wants to judge between the two?

The Protestant prosperity gospel is one of negative reward; it’s like a child who demands a reward for doing good and is told the reward is the absence of a spanking. If you obey the Protestant church, your reward is heaven and not hell. It’s the peddling of eternal wellbeing which is many times more valuable than present cash. It is the paramount prosperity gospel. It whispers its vile sins in the ears of goats like Osteen and sends them into the wilderness of social media.

But why does suffering sell? In contrast to Walsh’s cognitive dissonance treatise, why has nihilism, zero sum life, fear, and total depravity always been a dominant ideology of the world and religionists? Because it’s easy and requires less thinking, and doesn’t take courage. You see, being happy requires courage and risk. Like the person who avoids deep relationships for fear of getting hurt, the gospel of suffering and total depravity wishes to stand outside of life and look upon it as one emotionally detached while labeling such indifference “peace that passeth all understanding.” After all, life sucks and ALL people possess “hearts full of darkness.” And don’t you know, you need to get over it because you are no less a sinner saved by grace than the elder who raped your child.

As aforementioned, Osteen is not pushing a gospel to begin with, but more along the lines of a lifestyle that actually requires some effort in embracing life as something positive, albeit errant. And while Osteen receives riches from the freewill of others, evangelicals extract their wealth through tyranny and fear.

What should we do about this? Answer: not what I am doing here. Attempting to fully unravel the depths of Protestant folly is a fool’s errand. Our time needs to be spent reinstating the laity movement known in the first century as the “assembly of Christ.” We need to invest our time in proclaiming a justification by new birth, not a “legal declaration” which is not a righteousness “apart from the law” (obviously) and is a mere declaration—not a state of being. We need Christians to function as a cooperative body in a literal family fellowship, not according to the authority of a manmade institution that usurps the rightful place of Christ as the head of his body.

And this we will do if Christ wills, and He does.


3 Responses

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  1. John said, on August 31, 2017 at 5:14 AM

    And to think this pompous little Matt Walsh is a full-blown Catholic. How on earth are we going to link these two huge dots? Pretentious little know-it-all. Here, be sick (at my expense): (Contains language unfit for a born-again Christian . . . but then again, we’re talking ’bout the movements outside born-again Christianity.)


  2. republican mother said, on August 31, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    Low hanging fruit indeed. As long as there are prosperity preachers with loaded down with Brylcreem and veneered teeth, the Reformed and/or traditional churches can point to them as the false teachers mentioned in the Bible- take no heed of us. As if there can be more than one flavor of false teacher.

    I hear you on the debate thing. All Sunday School has become is a 45 minute marinating session where we remark how far away we are from perfection. Like, no kidding! Could we be doing something more productive? Maybe like a war-room situation where we figure out how to help people practically. But that’s not in the quarterly that we slavishly read. The one regret I have from my last time in church was not ripping that thing up in front of them and pitching in the trash can.

    I don’t think it’s necessary to rehash it all either. People who aren’t Christians that go into one of these vampiric worship spirit sucker emporiums can feel that it’s not right. Words aren’t necessary to illustrate that something in there is very wrong.


  3. Susan said, on August 31, 2017 at 10:32 PM

    I am reminded of the story of the good Samaritan. The Priest and the Levi walked around the beaten and dying man. They looked the other way and did not offer any help. It was the despised Samaritan who cleaned and bound the man’s wounds, lifted him onto his donkey and took him to an inn and paid for the man’s care.

    Who are the priests and levis of our day? Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen? Who is the Samaritan man? The Cajun Navy who drove into Texas from other parts of the state and from Louisiana? They came with pick up trucks filled with supplies — towing boats to launch rescues of those trapped in their homes by flood water.

    I suspect that most of men who came to help were simple humble working class guys — living in modest homes — certainly not multi-millionaires. The men of the Cajun Navy “prayed” by guiding their boats towards white sheets and people calling for help — trapped in flood waters. And the people they helped were total strangers.

    The difference between Lakewood Church/ Joel Osteen AND the Cajun Navy is stunning. Was Lakewood Church inaccessible because of floodwater? I don’t know. It is hard to figure out what version of the story is actually true. What I do know is that Osteen made a major public relations blunder in how he handled things.

    By their fruits you will know them. People can sense fake and fraud and charlatan. Just like people can sense that there is something wrong (seriously wrong!) with what is being preached from the pulpits. Come out from among them. And I’d rather be one of the men of the Cajun Navy on judgment day — and NOT Joel Osteen.

    Liked by 1 person

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