Sunday, December 23, 2007

HOW WIDE IS THE NARROW ROAD AT LAKEWOOD CHURCH?
...Pastor Osteen believes Mormons are Christians too

"[The Pastor] must hold firm to the trustworthy
word as taught, so that he may be able to
give instruction in sound doctrine
and also to refute those who contradict it."
-Titus 1:9


Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX was on Chris Wallace's excellent news broadcast this morning: Fox New Sunday with Chris Wallace.

Once again, Joel speaks sentimentally about spiritual things, but shies away from speaking clearly and biblically about the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And more importantly, speaking against the unorthodox beliefs of those who represent a false gospel dressed in Christian rags - such as Mormonism.
.
This interview represents the tragedy of unbiblical compassion... resulting in a distortion of the truth, an acceptance of a different gospel, and an ecumenical accommodationalism that defects from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

This interview is disappointing on three levels:
1. Joel is a pastor and failed to speak biblically as a pastor on an essential of the faith: what is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and do Mormon beliefs pass the test of orthodoxy according to the standard of Scripture?

2. Because of Joel's large TV audience (especially among nonbelievers) many folks will surely come away from today's broadcast thinking that Mormons are truly Christian when in fact they are not at all.

3. Mitt Romney, though a fine politician, is now further confirmed in his unbelief and his heart a bit more calloused against the biblical gospel because of Joel's words.
This is serious beloved. What Joel affirmed is nothing short of a compromised gospel worthy only of eternal damnation. Mormons believe a different gospel than the biblical gospel and cannot be considered as part of orthodox Christianity under any circumstance (here is an excellent apologetic site that has numerous detailed articles about Mormon beliefs and doctrines.)

In the wake of this unfortunate interview, my prayers today are twofold:
1. that Joel Osteen would daily study to show himself approved unto God as a workman unashamed by handling accurately the word of truth. Eight years is a long enough time beloved for any man in pastoral ministry (seminary educated or not) to be thoroughly acquainted with the essentials of the faith - especially the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to clearly represent its truth.

And 2. that the Lord would bring truly saved men and women into the Romney household to proclaim to them the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; warning them to flee the wrath to come; compelling them to be reconciled to God; commanding them to repent of their sins; and calling them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone... follow Him as their Lord and Savior.
Below you will find a section of the transcript of the broadcast. The video can be watched here or read the entire transcript can be read here.


WALLACE:
And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?

OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. (emphasis mine).

And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.

WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?

OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.

I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.


36 comments:

johnMark said...

Steve,

Joel's main problem is summed up in his answer "that's what I believe". It's about what "he" believes not about what God has revealed to us via Scripture.

This really is sad.

Mark

SJ Camp said...

I sadly agree.

I also think the most repeated phrase he uses in interviews like this is "I don't know." As a pastor he should know about what makes the claims of Christ unique compared to those of Joseph Smith.

For him to give any credibility to Mr. Romney's confession absent of sound doctrine, belief in the One Triune God of the Bible, and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is tantamount to saying the demons are Christians too because they believe Jesus is the Son of the most high God and even tremble; that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it.

Very tragic...
Steve

jasonk said...

Joel Osteen is on television so much, it is hard to not see him at some point. Recently my wife and I paused on a channel where he was preaching, and we listened for a while. It was very encouraging, uplifting, and felt good. But that was about it. No challenge. No real deep spiritual truth. Just feel good. Candy.
I have seen a few interviews with him. 60 Minutes rebroadcast their recent interview tonight. My perception is that Joel is just not very smart. He is a good speaker, and an encouraging guy, but he just doesn't know very much. That's probably why he doesn't ever question anyone's faith--he doesn't know enough to debate many issues, so he doesn't.
Its unfortunate, since so many people put so much stock in what he says. The bottom line is that he is just in over his head. His father died prematurely, and Joel was forced to take the helm before he was ready.
Very sad.

gigantor1231 said...

S.J.

MONEY!

Ken Silva said...

Unfortunately Osteen's comments about Mormons may be part of a bigger change in some areas of the evangelical camp.

In The Mormon Church, the Deity of Christ & Philippians 2:5-6 I talk a bit about LDS apologist Robert Millet's book "A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-Day Saints." In it Richard Mouw of Fuller said that Millet “is in fact trusting in the Jesus of the Bible for his salvation.”

However, in his textbook "The Kingdom of the Cults" Dr. Walter Martin as dead on target when he said: "The Mormon “Savior” is not the second person of the Christian Trinity,… Mormons reject the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, and he is not even a careful replica of the New Testament Redeemer... the Mormon concept of the Virgin Birth alone distinguishes their “Christ” from the Christ of the Bible." (252)

Jerry said...

Further proof that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between Mormonism and Joel Osteen's brand of Christianity-Lite.

SJ Camp said...

Ken
Very insightful--excellent.

Question for you: do you think that the theological underpinnings at Fuller really do favor an inclusivistic view of salvation i.e. Mormonism?

And if so, anyone else besides Mouw affirming such?

Thanks brother. As always I appreciate you and the work you do for the kingdom.

open mind said...

I'm sad too; but apparently for a different reason.

Why do you find a need to criticize Mormons and now criticize anyone who may seem to you to be kind or sympathetic to Mormons? This seems especially disturbing during this season when we come together to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.

The Mormons are no threat to you. Go look at their website; there is no anti-evangelical rhetoric, there is no anti-Baptist rhetoric and a matter of fact there is nothing judgmental or critical about any other religion.

http://www.lds.org

May I suggest a good Mormon Book to read is “Jesus the Christ”, by James Talmage.

It's time to stop the hatred; let go of the fear and try to show more love, tolerance and compassion. Merry Christmas.

Don P said...

I started watching that interview,the first thought that ran through my mind was "itching ears". It is bizarre, and frightening to think that so many people would follow someone who doesn't know what he himself believes.

Missy said...

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

2 Cor. 11:13-15

gigantor1231 said...

Open Mind

It is not about fear or who is right or wrong, it is simply about truth. We are concerned about the eternal condition of the soul of those who hold to the Mormon system of beliefs, it is simply a lie, and the fruit of what you call no threat shows that, if you actually care to look at the Mormon faith. The fact is that those that are Mormons are on a broad road to destruction, they need to be saved, so do you!
By the way, show your profile so we know who we are talking with please.

LivingDust said...

Open Mind, you asked -
"Why do you find a need to criticize Mormons and now criticize anyone who may seem to you to be kind or sympathetic to Mormons?"

Answer - The Mormon cult teaches and preaches doctrines of demons. The Mormon cult DECEIVES people. The DECEPTIVE teachings are meant cause human beings to miss the mark. By believing the FALSE doctrines of the demonic Mormon cult the souls of the deceived will face the wrath of God and will be condemned to an eternity separated from Him, in hell.

Open Mind, there is only one Gospel - learn it, share it.

R W S said...

Time and again Joel Osteen has shown himself to be a false teacher. Plus I do not accept , well he has little training argument. All he has to do is open a book or go to some excellent web sites like Desiring God ,Modern Reformation ,James White etc... He seems to want to be all things to all men and has no time for the truth of the gospel! Money speaks very loud I think!!

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

Thank you Steve Camp for an honest reporting of Joel Osteen. I know that you have spoken with Osteen in the past, and have confirmed what it seems to the rest of us - that he is a very nice guy. Unfortunately though, heretics don't walk around with easily identifiable horns sticking out of their head; sometimes they are very kind people.

We've come to expect this from some of our nation's largest churches. TD Jakes is another one, and even if you put aside his modalism (as the Emergents would have us do), we are still left with his statements about Jesus saying "I have other sheep" relating not to gentiles - but other world religions! Again, another "nice guy" though; remember President Bush standing arm and arm with him after helping all of those Katrina victims?

SJ Camp said...

open mind
You said, "Go look at their website; there is no anti-evangelical rhetoric, there is no anti-Baptist rhetoric and a matter of fact there is nothing judgmental or critical about any other religion. "

I understand that... for the cults want to remain as inclusive and tolerant as possible to become as popular as possible. But there is an offense to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:18-23); and any other gospel other than the one preached by our Lord or the Apostles reaps only eternal perdition (Gal. 1:6-9).

The anti-evangelical or anit-baptist rhetoric is not my concern; it is the anti-biblical beliefs that are.

Mormon's do believe that Jesus was a created being and is the older brother of Lucifer; they deny the doctrine of the Trinity; they deny the authority of God's Word; they teach that God the Father has a physical body; and they teach salvation by other means rather than by grace through faith in Christ alone. IOW, they worship not the God of the Bible, but a god of their own imagination.

That is eternally serious.

I am not threatened by Mormons or angry at them; I am burdened for them that they come to know genuine salvation through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is a hard post to put up the day before Christmas; but it is precisely what we are talking about Immanuel, God with us; Jesus who shall save His people from their sins that makes it vitally important.

Christmas is not about sentimentality, but a Savior - God come to earth. And that way to heaven OM that He alone provides is a narrow road. You must come to salvation on His terms not yours.

May I encourage you to please read carefully today the gospel of John and the epistle of 1 John. Then I would ask you read Matthew chapter 7. I will pray for you, if you are Mormon and don't know the Lord Jesus, that He would grant you saving faith and the godly sorrow over your sin that leads to repentance. Trust in Christ alone; come to the end of yourself; take up your cross and follow Him; confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God has raised Him from the dead.

He alone is the resurrection and the life--there is hope in no other.

Grace and peace,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5-7

Ken Silva said...

Steve,

I'm sorry, I didn't see this until this morning. No doubt I appreciate your labors in the Lord as well my brother.

You asked me: "do you think that the theological underpinnings at Fuller really do favor an inclusivistic view of salvation i.e. Mormonism? And if so, anyone else besides Mouw affirming such?"


It is certainly headed that way. I personally think the liberalism among their professors - which even Dr. Walter Martin talked about in the early 80's - is at the root. Though Mouw is the only one I have seen say this publicly though re. Mormonism - specifically about Millet's book.

As you know Fuller gave birth to the new evangelical Church Growth Movement. So I don't find it surprising this is where Warren got his doctorate and Bell his Masters.

junkyardboyz said...

how tragic that the church has to debate this amongst itself.
how tragic that those supposedly called to feed the flock use i don't know as an answer.
how tragic that the church goes around endorsing political candidates as if that is a solution to the darkness that has a death grip on this world.
how tragic that the church today has embraced the world as if this is our home.
how tragic that we seem to have forgotten that regeneration begins with a broken heart at the foot of the cross.
ken, steve and all who labor faithfully, keep on keeping on for the time is coming where no man can work.

JustJan said...

Joel's gospel is inoffensive. That is it's primary point.

BECAUSE Joel preaches a shadow of Christianity that is not offensive , he will continue to be called on to represent Christianity in the media.

The day is coming when those of us who believe John 14:6 and the rest of what God has said about Himself in His Word will be seen as a cult.

SJ Camp said...

Thanks Ken...
We need to remember those training men for ministry at the seminaries in prayer about these things. To me, it is another proof that elders/pastors should be trained within the local church model and not a university model.

To All:
If you go to Joel's website, the online gospel presentation and "sinner's prayer" (which I don't advocate btw) are very sound and biblical. Lakewood's own statement of faith is also quite good.

Joel needs to be held accountable to its truth and standard that his own church embraces and chiefly to the standard of God's Word for the pastor as primarily explained in Acts 20 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus.

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 3:16-17

Kevin said...

How quick we are to judge, when the Lord himself said judgment will be His. Many now reading these words are passing judgment. Repent now and come unto Christ the Lord.

Ken Silva said...

Kevin,

You said: "Many now reading these words are passing judgment."

With all due respect you have just passed passed judgment yourself. The fact is as Christ's ambassadors we are to make judgment on what someone's teaching.

The Master even tells - "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." (John 7:24) What we are not to do is judge someone's motivation as to why they teach it.

tk said...

Gigantor, Living Dust & SJ Camp.

1. Gigantor - "It is not about fear or who is right or wrong, it is simply about truth. We are concerned about the eternal condition of the soul of those who hold to the Mormon system of beliefs,"

Are you concerned only about the Mormon souls or are other religions a concern for you as well? Who gave you authoity to know the status of my soul and judge if I am in need of saving? You have never met me and based on one blog post you know if I need saving?" I would never assume that authority over another person. This is a judgment belongs to God not man. I'm sure you agree.


2. Living Dust - "Answer - The Mormon cult teaches and preaches doctrines of demons... there is only one Gospel - learn it, share it.

How did you learn about the Mormon Church to know they teach about demons? Did you go to one of their churches, did you read the book "Jesus the Christ"?

How do I know that what you teach is truth?


3. SJ Camp - You gave me several scriptures to read. However, everyone thinks they have the truth, this is no sure test of knowledge or authority. Jesus was very specific about those that have Priesthood Authority to act in his name. He ordained his chosen to His Priesthood. John 15:16; By what authority do you preach? Mark 11:28

The Catholics claim their authority came from Peter. The Jews claim their authority came by God through Moses. Muslums claim their authority is from God through Mohamd.

Where is your authority?

Wm Mallory said...

Steve,

Here is the link to that interview on foxnews.com

http://www.foxnews.com/video2/player06.html?122307/122307_fns_osteen&FNS&Joel%20Osteen%20on%20%27FOX%20News%20Sunday%27&acc&US&-1&News&829&&&exp


Bill

Marcus said...

Regarding online statements of faith and prayers... most supposed false prophets and false teachers have them on their websites (like Benny Hinn, for instance). They are there, so they can point to them when challenged about doctrine, but they themselves don't use them for their teachings.

Whether Joel Osteen falls into this category or not, some would say the jury is still out. After this with Mormonism, I'd say the jury just got back with their verdict.

SJ Camp said...

Bill
Thank you... I encoded it for the main page.

Blessings,
Steve

Alan Kurschner said...

God bless you brother Steve. Merry Christmas

LivingDust said...

TK,

I have read the Book of Mormon and the writings of others who have done extensive research into the teaching of the Mormon cult. It's plain to see that the Jesus of the Mormon cult is NOT the Jesus of the Holy Bible.

The Scriptures exhort us in 1 John 4:1-6 - Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

TK - let me encourage you to search the Scriptures, examine the evidence and as John writes - test the spirits.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you Alan... you too my brother. Merry Christmas and may the Lord honor your faithfulness to Christ and His Word.

livingdust
Amen and well said. Excellent counsel. Thank you.

Steve

Reformation Nation said...

Thanks for this post Steve. It seems more and more professing Christians are more than willing to help blur the lines between right and wrong.

For some great discussions on the subject of Mormonism (including with Mormons) check out:
http://reformationnation.wordpress.com/category/mormonism/

Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,
The Pilgrim
from www.ReformationNation.net

Reformation Nation said...

Thanks for this post. It seems more and more professing Christians are more than willing to help blur the lines between black and white.

For more great discourse on the cult of Mormonism, check out: http://reformationnation.wordpress.com/category/mormonism/

Sincerely,
- The Pilgrim
from www.ReformationNation.net

donsands said...

When I was a new Christain I thought Mormans were included.

I used to cheer for BYU football. Then with a short season God set me right through His Word, which is truth.

I learned the truth, and I also gained some knowledge of Mormon doctrine.

The bottom line with Mormonism is it's a false religion of works. Their gospel is a perverted gospel.

They may argue grace, but their grace is works.

They do not believe Christ is our salvation, but that our salvation is up to our repenting, believeing, and then continuing to live lives that are acceptable to the Bible and the book of mormon.

So if you ever bump into a couple of genuinely gracious young men, and then want to talk about God, Joseph Smith, and heaven, then go right to the bottom line of being saved by grace alone through faith alone. Amen.

Thanks for the heads-up Steve.
Hope you had a great Christmas!

Sad about Osteen. He should know better, and God will certainly hold him responsible. Be not many teachers, for your judgement will be according to your stature.
I pray Joel would repent, and start speaking the truth of God's Word in love. Amen.

S.J. Walker said...

TK,

Okay. Are you a Mormon?

kingofbleh said...

Steve -

As I sit here shaking my head in disbelief once again after another Joel Osteen interview on a national TV news program, the only thought I can muster right now is that Joel Osteen had better repent now for leading so many people astray by false doctrine because the wrath of God looms heavy over such remarks.

Lucas Defalco

S.J. Walker said...

Tk,

Thanks for the answer to my question.

kingofbleh said...

tk -

I know you asked these questions of other people, but I will attempt to respond on my own behalf and you can feel free to ignore or respond.

"Are you concerned only about the Mormon souls or are other religions a concern for you as well? Who gave you authoity to know the status of my soul and judge if I am in need of saving? You have never met me and based on one blog post you know if I need saving?" I would never assume that authority over another person. This is a judgment belongs to God not man. I'm sure you agree."

Clearly nobody has the ability to know with perfect certainty whether or not you are regenerate. Only God knows that. But those who have been called and regenerated have been given the command to discern false gospels from the true gospel. Mormonism preaches a false gospel and this must be pointed out. Furthermore, regenerate people are called to compel people to listen to the true gospel and repent, especially those who advocate another gospel message.

See: Matt 7:15; 24:11; 24:24; 1 Cor 11:13; Gal 5:20; 2 Pet 2:1; 1 John 4:1


"How did you learn about the Mormon Church to know they teach about demons? Did you go to one of their churches, did you read the book "Jesus the Christ"?

How do I know that what you teach is truth?"


I don't know about anyone else but I learned what I know by reading the Book of Mormon, the Doctrines and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. The funny thing to me has been that the BOM told me that simply reading the KJV bible was enough for me to see the truth of the Mormon gospel. Then the D&C told me I had to read the BOM to understand the Bible. Then I had two Mormon elders tell me recently that I head to read the D&C to understand either one. Now it appears you are telling me I have to read something else. Where does this end? How many more books does a person have to read in order to understand the true gospel that Joseph Smith says can be found in the Bible?

"The Catholics claim their authority came from Peter. The Jews claim their authority came by God through Moses. Muslums claim their authority is from God through Mohamd.

Where is your authority?"


Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Also, let me add one more to your list. The LDS church claims it's authority from unseen golden plates written in a fictitious language translated by a convicted felon.

Moreover, the tone of your comments would seem to indicate that you are simply a skeptic and not a fully committed Mormon believer. Regardless, I would plead with you to simply consider the truth found in the message of Christ. If something is true, you should not have to add something else to it in order to see it's truthfulness.

Lucas Defalco

Don P said...

With regards to knowing who to believe, when there are so many "holy books" and so many opinions, it was once explained to me in this way:
If we are to assume that there is a creator God, and further assume that He cared about his creatures, then it would follow that He would seek to communicate with them. Further, He would provide his communication in such a manner that any who took the time could understand it. Since Mormons, Jehovah's Witness' and Muslims all agree that the Bible is in fact God's word then why would He need men to interpret for him? Is He unable to make himself understood? Is He unable to preserve his inspired word from error? Why then do we need to look to men to interpret for us what God has enabled us to understand for ourselves.