I recently read a blog asking the question whether or not Joel Osteen and I believed in the same God. It went on to ask and question whether he was preaching the whole gospel. I just saw a book review where someone who knows they don't agree with Joel read the entire book, then wrote a 2000 word review about this book they knew they would not like. Why? Seriously, where are they finding all of this free time?
Just the other day, CNN featured another article with one evangelical leader bashing another. Everywhere you turn it seems someone is either bashing or defending Rachel Held Evens, Rick Warren, or Mark Driscoll. I have not met Rachel, Joel, or Mark. I only "know them" through their social media platforms, but many people think that is enough to form an opinion on someone and go on to let the world know what is wrong or right about them. Now I have met Rick Warren and he blew me away with his kindness, humility, and ability to rock a Tommy Bahama shirt.
The first question isn't even worth answering; sure, we believe in the same God. I do disagree with some things Joel does and says, but then I don't even always agree with my own Pastor. God never called us to be robots. He created us all different, so we should have our own opinions. Does Joel preach the whole gospel? In my opinion, no. I will say that before Joel says a word about what he believe, he has the thousands in the room raise up their Bibles and says this is what matters.
When we start to become consumed with whatever everyone else believes and not living out what we believe, we are missing the point. I shiver to think what those far from God are thinking, looking in from the outside, while we all just throw arrows at one another. Some days it seems like the Christians on the internet are competing in a real life Hunger Games with words.
If you are really offended by Joel, do what he has done. Raise some cash, get some cameras, and buy some airtime on TV. Send your money to Matt Chandler, Steven Furtick, or Andy Stanley and help them buy more airtime. You can always tell how deeply concerned people are about something by how they spend their money.
I have friends that speak of nothing but God's wrath and judgement; they are not preaching the whole gospel either. The gospel means good news. Yet so often it's delivered like it's the worst news you could receive. Imagine the celebration that would happen if you showed up at a graveyard and dead people came back to life. Isn't that what the gospel is? I am just gonna guess there would be a pretty large party. You've seen the Thriller video, right?
What God wants me to answer for is about me and "preaching the whole gospel" with my whole life. Which, in my opinion, is about more than the sermons I may preach or the books I may write. Those far from God could care less about our theology if it doesn't change the way I live. It breaks my heart that we have chosen to use our platforms to point out that someone else is wrong.
I am not asking you agree or disagree with Joel Osteen's theology, or mine for that matter. I would imagine that most of you reading this would disagree with him. Let's spend less time worrying about what a mega church pastor is preaching on TV, and start worrying about the great news that God is with us. I wonder what would happen if we were so consumed with loving people the way that Jesus called us to love.