Friday, September 5, 2014

What's being missed about the Osteens

Unless you've been hiding under a rock lately you know about the Osteens latest crack up. Now it's time for what all three of you have been waiting for--my thoughts. I've read a lot of responses to their idiocy so far, from Cosby, to Horton. My person favorite was Lutheran Satire, and I would commend to you to go now and read what Matt Walsh (said here) and Al Mohler had to say. But of them only Walsh seems to almost grasp what is really going on here when he says,

"...From real, redemptive, hopeful, and triumphant, to shallow, corny, and incomplete. From a promise of eternal salvation, to promises of a bigger house and a nice car, until we die and all of these things turn to ash, leaving us alone with our neglected souls."
And as good as those are, the one who really nailed this was C.S. Lewis. I'll give you the three relevant quotes from Screwtape letters that I had in mind.
"We want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbows end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as mere fuel wherewith to heap the alter of the future every real gift which offered them in the present... An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. . . . To get a man’s soul and give him nothing in return–that’s what really gladdens Our Father’s heart."
Bingo. That's the real problem here. What Osteen said about giving glory to yourself makes everyone run around like a rock hitting a hornets nest, but the problem lies in what the prosperity gospel is, which too few people are pointing out. I don't mean to say that all the others have not correctly identified the fact that this prosperity gospel isn't glorious, or Christ dishonoring, or evil, because they have. What I do mean to say is that nobody is pointing out how this is a program straight out of the deepest pit of hell that might have been penned by Wormwood himself.

See, the insidious killer is that the Osteen message first teaches you to be dissatisfied with your current blessings. Forget counting them one by one, now's the time to demand more! It encourages you to sell your current happiness with everything to buy the mere potential of being happy with more stuff later. You liquidate everything you already have, including your current joy, to maybe one day sorta if you're lucky get more of that material stuff which might make you happy. Go up and read that Lewis quote again. That's exactly it. And the tempter keeps them from asking themselves, "If I'm unhappy with all my current possessions, why should I be any happier with more of them? Does my life really consist in the abundance of my possessions?"
The Osteens would have you burning all of the present upon the fire of the uncertain future. We give up our cake on the promise of eating a mouthful of ash. And when the time comes to eat our ashes we can't even get that.  

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