free flying soul

"this world has nothing for me and this world has everything...all that I could want and nothing that I need"

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Location: Macclesfield, North Carolina, United States

Born: 1970; Graduated High School: 1988; Married: 1991; Children: 1996, 2000, 2005; Graduated College: 2008; Figured Out This Faith Thing: In Progress

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Worse Than I Thought

Well...I made it through the first two chapters of Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen. I'm afraid that I have found exactly what I was looking for. There have been precious few scriptural references and those have been questionable. Osteen has pulled some verses out of the Bible and attatched meanings that I don't believe are anywhere near the intended meanings. I will now illustrate.

On page five Osteen tells us that God wants to pour out "His far and beyond favor." He wants us to have the best time in our lives right now. This is an interesting take on Ephesians 2:7 in which we're told that God will "show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." This is right in the middle of a passage explaining how we were dead in our sin and that God's grace saved us. Nowhere do we see the idea that God wants us to win some sort of supernatural lottery. The passage is clearly talking about salvation, not material blessings.

A second example can be found on page six when Osteen explains the passage on new wine in old wineskins. Osteen explains that in these verses Jesus is encouraging his disciples to enlarge their vision. The old skins represent negative thinking and the new wine represents the blessings that God is waiting to pour out. All we have to do is do away with those old ideas and replace them with the "new skins" of positive thinking. What Osteen fails to mention is that Jesus isn't talking to his followers in that passaage. He is addressing disciples of John the Baptist who have asked why Jesus' disciples didn't fast. Jesus uses three illustrations: the bridegroom and attendants, a new patch on an old garment, and new wine in old wineskins. Nowhere in the passage are we given the impression that Jesus is telling us to change our attitudes. I believe Osteen has twisted a familiar passage and given it a totally un-Biblical application.

Once again, I'm trying to give Osteen the benefit of the doubt. I do believe he means well and that his core message is good. We don't need to dwell on the negative. We should think of the positive and trust that God will provide. But that is a far cry from turning God into some sort of magic genie who answers our every whim.


Blogger Benj said...

He is a Scripture magician.

6:33 PM  

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