Ken Silva at Apprising Ministries just posted a comment on my latest Osteen post and referenced an article on his site that links not only to Joel Osteen’s beliefs about Mormonism, but also the fact that Deseret Books, the publishing arm of the Mormon Church, sees such little threat from Osteen’s latest book that they are selling it in their bookstore. Here’s the link.

I reproduce below the “money shot” from an interview that Chris Wallace had with Joel Osteen on Fox News Sunday; the entire transcript is 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.

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.

“…I’m not the one to judge the little details of it.” He’s not the one to judge “little things” like who Jesus is, how we are made right with God through His death, our response of faith. Ah, but he is the one to pastor 50,000 people. Absurd. Utterly absurd.

I’m sorry, but this is astonishing, even for Joel Osteen. I guess it shouldn’t be; I really would have (on what basis, I don’t know) given him the benefit of the doubt that he’d at least know enough not to take this position, but at this point, there really doesn’t appear to be much of anything that Joel would say “negatively” about anybody. Astonishing…

UPDATE: Here’s a thought that I seriously am beginning to wonder about: should followers of Jesus make a decision not to patronize stores, publishers, etc. who call themselves “Christian”, but who carry his drivel? That would mean, for instance, Family Bookstores and Christian Book Distributors, for starters (and, of course, TBN, but there are dozens of reasons not to patronize TBN). Am I calling for a boycott? Well, maybe…what think ye? Of course, you’d have to produce a letter explaining such actions, but I honestly wonder if this might be the issue that begins to return some of these Christian entities to a modicum of sanity. I’m not getting my hopes up, but…

8 responses »

  1. Tim says:

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I know what I believe and I thought I knew the general basics of what Evangelical Christians believe, but looking at how you respond to Joel Olsteen, TBN, and what I thought were mainstreem Christian Bookstores I am not sure.

    What do Evangelical Christians believe?

  2. Ken Silva says:

    …nor am I, my brother. Still, with God all things are possible; even His reviving the corpse-like American Christian Church.

  3. Don says:

    Again, Osteen is a theological lightweight. I’m wondering in this case though if Osteen’s so called ignorance of those Mormon “theological issues” has more to do with dollars and cents then it does theological integrity. We wouldn’t want to offend anyone who might buy a book.

    Concerning a ban on CBD and other stores, publishers, etc. who call themselves “Christian” yet choose to carry Osteen’s books, I think we had this discussion once before. And I still don’t agree. CBD is no Christian business. CBD is a business that sells Christian books. This is still marketing matter. You can’t hold a business to the same standard as an actual ministry.

  4. Ken Silva says:

    Tim,

    You asked: “What do Evangelical Christians believe?” I’m so glad you asked.

    As a place to begin, this piece will give you an idea of where you as a member of the LDS Church would differ with us as Christians on Who Jesus is:

    Mormon Church: Deity of Christ. I pray this helps. 🙂

  5. Byron says:

    To Don, I would disagree in this regard: CBD, and Family Bookstores, market themselves almost exclusively to Christians (particularly CBD). I don’t get Amazon catalogs mailed to the church, you know? And while I agree with you in one sense, I bet you that the folks at CBD see themselves as being a Christian business, same as Family Bookstores, and I’d bet that, for people who work in higher-up positions, a profession of faith in Christ is a prerequisite to hiring. In that sense, I do think that they’re different than “just a business”. “CBD” stands for “Christian Book Distributors”. Either way that they mean the word “Christian”, as an adjective to describe themselves, or as a modifier of the books they sell, they are failing in their mission.

    Now, to Tim, first, thanks for posting. We have significant disagreements on theology, but on this site, we can have a respectful discussion of our differences, so again, welcome!

    Asking “what do evangelicals believe” is a question that I could spend, what, days answering? 🙂 Before answering that (briefly), let me explain the issue with Joel Osteen. First, his actual theology is somewhat undiscernable. The overwhelming impression one gets from reading him and listening to him is that he has a tenuous grasp, at best, on evangelical doctrine. He continually responds to questions that would touch on doctrine with words like, “well, I’ve never looked into that very much”, and the like. My guess is that his church’s official doctrinal statement is pretty evangelical; my guess is that it also was drafted by his daddy, when Joel was in diapers.

    Herein is the problem: it isn’t what Joel believes—because again it’s almost impossible to discern that. That fact is in fact part of the problem: he is so unwilling to articulate any significant theology at all, that we don’t know what he believes, really. But beyond this, the issue is that his preaching and teaching and writing greatly distort the message of the Bible, even if sometimes he says some things that are true. He ignores the important issues of the Bible, almost wholesale, while taking his teaching queues from self-help psychobabble and positive thinking feel-goodisms. He’s Anthony Robbins with a pulpit.

    Here’s a rough analogy: what Joel Osteen does from the pulpit is like a football announcer spending the entire game talking about the concession stands and the end zone markers.

    Evangelicals believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal God (John 1:1), Who was manifest in the flesh at His advent (Galatians 4:4). We believe that His sacrificial death paid the entirety of the price for our redemption from sin, and that men are made right with God by virtue of God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The bodily resurrection of Christ validates and authenticates His life and His message. It is precisely these truths, at the core of our faith, that are effectively never mentioned by Joel Osteen.

    There is, of course, more, but that’s

  6. Todd says:

    If Mitt Romney were the Republican canidate for President I would have no problem casting my vote for him. Thats not to say that I agree with him theologically. We are electing the next President of the United States, not voting in the next Pastor of our church. He may (insert here “jury is still out in my opinion”)make a great President, but I certainly would not invite him to preach/teach in my church.

    A better response by Osteen should have been, “Whether I believe that a Mormon is a true Christian or not has no bearing on how I think Mitt Romney would be as a President. As an Evangelical Christian I believe there are significant differences in our theology and that of Mormonism. As an conservative American I think that Romney would be a much better choice for the next President than any of the other Democratic challengers.”

  7. Byron says:

    Todd, I haven’t decided yet whether I could support Flip Flopney if he gets the nomination; my hope is that he doesn’t get it. I agree, though, with your wording of what Joel ought to have said, except that it stretches the definition of the word for Joel to label himself “evangelical”.

  8. Todd says:

    I guess I was working under the assumption that Romney was the Republican canidate running…anyone would be better than those the other party is throwing up (pun intended). Quite frankly none of the current crop of canidates (either party)excite me much. To me it is like deciding between slamming your hand in a door or stubbing your pinkie toe on the edge of the door frame on a cold morning. Which is going to hurt less, the shortest amount of time?

    As far as Osteen being evangelical, touche.

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