My brother and friend Raekwon wrote on the possibility that Joel Osteen is an “enemy of the Gospel” [his words, not mine; I do find that Osteen is going about many good things in a very, very bad way], and one of Osteen’s fans responded, discussing how Osteen’s “book has changed my life”. It hit me in just the right [or wrong!] way, which inspired the following:
Bob: With respect, the writings of none of our brothers and sistersâ€”as right or as wrong as any of them may beâ€”should ever move us to such actions. If weâ€™re moved to action, it should be an exposition of Truth that causes us to faithfully and purely self-examine and be ever more reliant on the saving power of Jesus Christ, the love of the Father, and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit. Anything else is the deification of any of our favorite writers, whether it be Osteen for you, John Piper for my brother Rae, or John Wesley for my own self.
Some notes on that:
- Yes, I’m trying to be even-handed, which is why I failed to criticize Osteen. Some folks call this weaksauce; I call it nuanced criticism.
- I used the phrase “exposition of Truth” because I don’t think any of us mortal sinners has a complete handle on the Truth. All we’re doing is passing on our little bits. [Yes, yes, Imperfect Mirror, etc. Thanks for catching on to my raison d’Ãªtre here!]
- I inverted my recitation of the Trinity, for my own nefarious reasons. You may feel free to berate me or attempt to dissect that inversion in the comments. 😉 [Damn, I’m full of myself this morning, aren’t I?]
- I threw the JW in so Rae’s readers would know where I stood. Few folks recognize any Methodist theologians outside the bounds of the UMC [heck, few recognize them inside, either!]. I find that I, as many Methodists, are almost as equally affected by the work of Albert C. Outler—remember, it was he who invented the concept of “the Wesleyan quadrilateral” as a convention for contextualizing JW’s expositional methodology—as I am by anything John himself wrote. There are two reasons for that: 1) John’s writing is for another generation, used to his elocution, and 2) Charles wrote all the good hymns, anyway! But yes, I wear my Cross and Flame like a badge of honor in these discussions, something I have yet to repent of [mainly because I think I need to do it and don’t find it sinful, even when I come close to the very deifications I’m arguing against :sigh:].
Okay, I’m ending this entry before I write another parenthetical in an attempt to avoid a run-on sentence or actually, you know, self-editing. 😉