In case you missed it, Victoria Osteen, wife of Joel Osteen, has stunned Christendom with … well, I’ll let you listen to her pronouncement.
Amen, Bill. Amen.
Here’s a transcript if you can’t watch the video:
“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God — I mean, that’s one way to look at it — we’re doing it for ourselves because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy. So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”
But wait, doesn’t my post title say something good about what she said? Am I crazy and or heretical? Perhaps yes to the former, but no to the latter. The good thing is about what she said is that she summed up everything about the “your best life now” prosperity “gospel” and put it in a neat little package. Because this is what that theology boils down to: your faith is all about you, not really about God other than what he can do for you. The chief end of God is to make you happy.
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So really, she just did the church a favor, because this is clearly and plainly heretical. Thanks for the clarity, Victoria! Now, can somebody tell her about the gospel of Jesus? Because she really doesn’t seem to know it.
Her heretical nutshell has made me think how I would sum up my theology. As always, a summation is not going to be nuanced, there could be more that could be said and should be said. And furthermore, the sum up doesn’t explain how it looks in practice. So we’re clear, this is my summation, a nutshell, a small “what does it mean to be a Christian” that I’ve been thinking about since I’ve seen that clip.
Our reason for existing is to glorify God and enjoy his presence forever. We are commanded to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our mind, and all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We do this by believing that Jesus is the son of God who died for our sins and rose again. We walk out that faith by dying to our flesh daily and serving him and those he places in our lives, which God enables us to do by the Holy Spirit giving us a new heart and new life in Christ Jesus as adopted sons and daughters of the Living God.
What would your summation paragraph be? What would you tell Mrs. Osteen? (Let’s just assume we’d all start with, “Bless your heart.”)