Frat Boys in the Pulpit: Toga, Toga, Toga

I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.    ~ C.S. Lewis

Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.”     ~C.S. Lewis


Due to circumstances beyond our control, we will begin our series on the money to be had in Christian conferences, book publications, etc. Today, we will take a look at two pastors behaving inappropriately in the pulpit. . What concerns us the most is that Joel Osteen is being touted as “America’s Pastor.” Young’s church averages attendance on Sundays in excess of 20,000 folks. while Osteen’s church averages over 45,000 attendees each week!


Have you ever been to a service at Fellowship Church? It’s the greatest free show in Dallas. Back about 17 years ago, when one of us attended this church. Ed Young Jr., the pastor (son of Ed Young of Second Baptist, Houston), did not bring a Bible into the pulpit because he didn’t want to “upset” the seekers. From what she learned, it was his hope that folks would enjoy church so much that they might take advantage of other opportunities to learn about the Bible on different days of the week.


The only problem was that the average attendee had very little understanding of orthodox Christianity. He would not allow Sunday school teachers to take questions from the attendees, both children and adult classes. His mantra was “If you allow people to ask questions, you don’t know what questions they will ask. “ Huh? I think one of the reasons behind this slogan is explained by the next story.


One Sunday school teacher had attended the church for a year. She told me she had left Fellowship church and was now attending a Unity Church. I told her that the Unity church was not a Christian church as defined by the Apostles’ Creed. She reassured me not to worry, “You would love it. It’s exactly like Fellowship but a bit more loving!” It was far easier for Ed to hand everyone a lesson to follow verbatim. Obviously, he couldn’t trust his teachers nor did he seem to care about finding teachers who actually knew enough about the faith to handle simple questions. Can you imagine how the early church would have fared if they spoke and refused to answer questions?


Theology is not Ed’s strong suite. He was once quoted in a Dallas newspaper as saying that doctrine just confuses people. This man’s theological understanding appears to be an inch deep and a mile wide. He may have 20,000 people attending his church but, for the most part, they are watching a one-man show. Lots of celebrities and cutesy gimmicks add to the Sunday extravaganza. He once rode a tank on the stage (whoops, pulpit). To be fair, there was the occasional tip of the hat to God, that great old guy. Please read our April 1st post on one of his current gambits.


So, Mr. Theology has decided to reach out to a few of the other good old boys. However, they have to be like him, huge church, lots of admiration for the pastor, lots of publicity, and a penchant for a theology of convenience. One of his pals is Joel Osteen. Now, lets get something straight, fast. Osteen is no whiz kid. He dropped out of Bob Jones University (that bastion of theological enlightenment) and took over his daddy’s church. By promoting a theology of “think and say happy thoughts and you will get what you want”, he has amassed a huge following and a huge income.


We know one family who had a daughter die of leukemia. Can you imagine the guilt such a theology puts on them? You see, if they only thought happy things, she shouldn’t have died. Maybe the death was her parent’s fault. It may have even been her fault because she wasn’t positive enough. How awful!


Osteen’s message is pretty straightforward. He believes that one can call things into existence, as if they already were. He utilizes Romans 4:17 as his proof text, neglecting to mention that it is God that calls things into existence, not us. He believes Mormons are Christians because they follow Jesus. He doesn’t seem to give a hoot that the Mormon Jesus is not the same Jesus talked about in the Bible.


He also regularly talks about an experiment that the US Military did in which they extracted blood cells from volunteers. He said that they then exposed the blood donors to violent movies in a nearby room and that the blood cells appear agitated. THIS IS AN URBAN LEGEND. IT DID NOT HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He says that this proves that generational curses are passed down in our genes and that negativity affects out genes! So, if we think happy thoughts, imagine ourselves with lots and lots of moola, it will happen and we will be very happy, just like Joel. Please refer to that excellent book, Christianity in Crisis 21st Century by Hank Hanegraaff to corroborate this information. Osteen is featured on pages 34-39.


So what happens when the “boys” get together? What you are about to see should cause you to be uncomfortable. Both of these men should be ashamed of themselves. They are having a good old laugh, imitating each other and waving the Bible around while on the stage (once again, whoops…pulpit). So grab a drink and let’s party with the Frat Boys in the pulpit. Wanna join their fraternity called Alpha Beta Moola? You’ll have to compromise your theology. Toga on down with Ed and Joel. (It begins with Young walking into Osteen’s church).


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