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Joel Osteen and Being Ready To Give An Answer

Joel and Victoria Osteen were on Piers Morgan’s show on CNN this week. I want to begin with the positive portion of the interview. If you have not seen parts of the interview, you can find it on YouTube. Here is a link to one segment below:

First, the positive. I appreciate that Joel Osteen came on television, and in the face of a fairly aggressive interview, calmly declared that homosexuality is a sin and that view will not change because his view is based on the scriptures. This is what needs to be declared openly and publicly. I appreciate how Osteen continues to present that message. It is not that Christians hate people. It is not that we are angry with people who practice homosexuality. It is the simple fact that the scriptures declare homosexuality to be sin, and time cannot change that truth.

Now, Piers Morgan clearly does not accept this answer and tries to catch Osteen by presenting that we are in a modern world. Morgan says, “Shouldn’t the scripture be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age. … Not everything in the scripture is, really, in my view, conducive to modern life. Like everything else, doesn’t it have to move with the times?” I was disappointed in how Joel Osteen answered Morgan’s attack. Now, I want to be upfront that I have not been on a national news show and cannot imagine the pressure of speaking off the top of my head on a hot-button issue. But the scriptures teach us that we need to be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15). We have to be ready to respond to people in the world who use this. This argument made by Morgan needs to be addressed and defeated.

No, the scriptures do not need to be interpreted differently in the modern age. This is the problem with our society. God’s laws do not change. We are the ones who have to change to God’s laws and change what we are doing. We must stop trying to change the scriptures to match how we want to live our lives. If God is God, then it is about doing what he says because he is God, not what we wish God had said. Giving Joel Osteen the best of intentions, I believe that he was trying to make such a point, since he said there are other laws of God that cannot change, so this is one that cannot be updated, modernized, or made progressive. As Christians, we need to make an emphatic point to the world that we are to change to God’s laws and stop trying to change what God said.

Morgan then tries to use the “law of the land” argument against Osteen. Christians are to obey the law of the land. However, this was a missed opportunity to point out that the law of the land never supersedes God’s law. If the law of the land says it is okay to murder, that does not mean that people can murder because it breaks God’s law. This is no different than our current social condition on divorce. The law of the land says one can divorce for any reason. God says that divorce is only approved if in the case of sexual immorality (Matthew 19:9). Therefore, we must obey the law of God over the law of the land.

Up to this point of the interview, I think Joel Osteen has done fine. He missed some opportunities but he has said the scriptures teach. But then, in my opinion, he appears to do some backpedaling. Or, he at the very least says some things that can be completely misunderstood about God.

Part two of this post coming next…

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