Joel Osteen and In-N-Out

Are our hearts changed by something within us or by Someone outside us?

So, do you see the completely backward message of Joel Osteen? Not only is it not biblical (Did you hear a single mention of Jesus, or a single passage of scripture in his discussion ) it’s the polar OPPOSITE of biblical Christianity. And he’s telling unregenerate sinners (who the bible says are slaves to sin and UNABLE to please God) that they are blessed and victorious? That’s not just incorrect, it’s rank heresy. He’s speaking peace and victory to people who in their unregenerate state are destined for hell. Smiley face and sweet voice or not.. that’s the cruelest act I can think of a man committing, and to do it while presenting himself as a “Pastor”? God have mercy!

 

If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating an In-N-Out Burger, you are missing out on one of the little, artery clogging,  pleasures of life.

As for the name, it’s about as basic and simple as you could get.  You come in, get your burger, and go out.  Fast, easy, and well.. tasty.

Inside of you is hunger, outside of you are tasty burgers for your enjoyment.  You go there, get one, and satisfy your hunger. There are no burgers inside of me, so I go out, where there are burgers.  Simple. Not exactly deep theology here.. right?

Can you imagine the absurdity and utter confusion of getting that basic premise wrong?

Would it be absurd? Would it be mocked?  You would think so, but I recently saw this obvious error applauded and treated as if it was the deepest, most philosophical, life-changing truth imaginable by no lesser names than media mogul Oprah Winfrey and “christian” Pastor Joel Osteen.

Before you think I unfairly listed Osteen as “christian” (in quotes), let’s watch his latest appearance on Oprah’s “Lifeclass.”

Did you catch the quote?

“You’ll never rise any higher than you see yourself.” – Joel Osteen

Hmm.  So, how high I rise (externally/out) is based upon me (internal/in) and how I see myself (internal/in).

So the answer to the external is from within.. how I view myself, and as he states later, what words I speak about myself.

You’ve got to see this … Joel Osteen’s view, his teaching in the role of “Pastor” is that the external is determined by the internal (You, your view, your mindset, and your words).

Sounds good, and boy, does it sell.  Oprah has built a multi-billion dollar media empire. Joel Osteen “Pastors” the largest church in the United States, it’s also helped sell books like “The Secret” and spin up careers of Oprah’s other Lifeclass speakers.  But what does scripture say?  Is THIS the message of Christianity, that the internal controls the external?  That it’s IN that controls OUT?

The written word of God, inspired by God the Holy Spirit is clear.. it’s not the SOLUTION that’s in us, it’s the PROBLEM!

(I’m going to intentionally quote a LOT of scripture this week. I want the sheer weight and volume of scripture which speaks to this core issue to blow you away.  While Joel Osteen doesn’t quote a single verse, here is a mere sampling of God’s word on the issue. Read them all now, or later, but they’re here for your reference.)

1. Men are born in sin:

  • Psalm 51:5 - Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.
  • Genesis 8:21 - the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”
  • Psalm 58:3 - The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.
  • John 3:6 - “That which is born of the flesh is flesh”

2. As all men have sinned, they are slaves to sin:

  • John 8:34 - Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.”
  • Titus 3:3 - For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
  • Galatians 4:8-9 - Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?
  • Romans 6:6,16,17,19,20 - We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey…? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed… For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
  • Romans 7:14 - For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.

3. The heart of sin is UNABLE and UNWILLING to do good. It is, in fact, HOSTILE to God:

  • John 3:20 - “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”
  • Romans 8:7-8 - For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God
  • Colossians 1:21 - And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds
  • Psalm 58:3 - The wicked are estranged from the womb;
  • Ephesians 2:12-13 - remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
  • Ephesians 2:3 - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
  • Proverbs 15:9 - The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord
  • Proverbs 15:8 - The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord (c.f. Proverbs 21:27)
  • Proverbs 28:9 - If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.
  • Isaiah 64:6 - We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
  • Hebrews 11:6 - And without faith it is impossible to please [God]
  • Romans 8:7-8 - Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
  • Psalm 10:4 - In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
  • John 3:20 - “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”
  • Isaiah 65:1 - “I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.
  • Isaiah 64:7 - There is no one who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have made us melt in the hand of our iniquities.
  • Romans 3:10-12 - “no one seeks for God.”

So, if we are born in sin, slaves to sin and hostile to God, unable to do good works… is the heart a good place to be looking?

Yes, for those in Christ, He has changed their heart of stone into a heart of flesh.  But.. where does that come from? IN or OUT?

Our righteousness? OUT! It is an external (or what some call “alien”) righteousness. Our only hope in life and death is the external/OUT righteousness of Christ!

“The first is alien righteousness, that is the righteousness of another, instilled from without.  This is the righteousness of Christ by which he justifies though faith, as it is written in I Cor. 1:30:  “whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.”  In John 11:25-26, Christ himself states:  “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me…..shall never die.”  Later he adds in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”  This righteousness, then, is given to men in baptism and whenever they are truly repentant.  Therefore a man can with confidence boast in Christ and say:  “Mine are Christ’s living, doing, and speaking, his suffering and dying, mine as much as if I had lived, done, spoken, suffered, and died as he did.”  Just as a bridegroom possesses all that is his bride’s and she all that is his—for the two have all things in common because they are one flesh[Gen. 2:24]—so Christ and the church are one spirit [Eph. 5:29-32].  Thus the blessed God and Father of mercies has, according to Peter, granted to us very great and precious gifts in Christ [II Pet. 1:4].  Paul writes in II Cor. 1:3; “Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.”

- Martin Luther

So, do you see the completely backward message of Joel Osteen? Not only is it not biblical (Did you hear a single mention of Jesus, or a single passage of scripture in his dicussion?) it’s the polar OPPOSITE of biblical Christianity.  And he’s telling unregenerate sinners (who the bible says are slaves to sin and UNABLE to please God) that they are blessed and victorious?  That’s not just incorrect, it’s rank heresy. He’s speaking peace and victory to people who in their unregenerate state are destined for hell.  Smiley face and sweet voice or not.. that’s the cruelest act I can think of a man committing, and to do it while presenting himself as a “Pastor”?  God have mercy!

False teacher much?

So, the takeaway here is this:  Get the In-N-Out right, your only hope is OUT, through the external/alien righteousness of Jesus Christ through faith in Him for the forgiveness of sins.

This article first appeared on Marc5Solas and is used with permission.