Be silent until there is something to say.
So, I never thought I’d write a post defending Joel Osteen….
But, seriously, the floodgates of media unleashed against Joel Osteen, based on an unclear church statement and fanned by agenda-driven social media, tells me that we have a cultural problem. The fact that many Christians have joined in shows me it is a Christian problem. It’s wrong in both cases, but disturbing to see some Christians joining in.
It seems some Christians hate Joel Osteen more than they love the truth. I’d expect that from the world, but I hoped for better in the church.
So we are clear, Osteen and I are not on the same page theologically. And I have serious problems with the prosperity gospel. Furthermore, his platitudes and lifestyle have not helped in this moment.
But do we have to join the deluge of hatred toward him for what is a questionable situation—at best?
In other words, I get some people are upset about Osteen’s theology and approach to his work. But why are so many Christians joining in on spreading a false narrative about his actions in Houston?
Apparently, Osteen had canceled church on Sunday and the church indicated (perhaps inarticulately) that the church was impassable. (They did not say it was flooded, though who needs to worry about facts when we hate someone, right?) The church directed their people, and presumably others, to take shelter with friends, family, or at the George Brown Convention Center.
As the waters rose in Houston, social media spread the word that Lakewood Church, housed in a 16,800 seat arena, was turning people away who were seeking shelter.
Nope. They said that is not what happened.
You can see more facts here, here, and here.Continue reading…