Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Cowardice and Compromise: The Secrets to Church Growth?

Joel Osteen, pastor of Houston's Lakewood Church (the largest congregation in the United States) and the author of the nation's best-selling book (Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential) seems to be well deserving of the title, "evangelism's hottest rising star." At least, that is the way Larry King referred to him when Osteen showed up for Larry King Live last summer. But does Osteen's success in being popular require the kind of faithlessness he demonstrated on that program?

A friend recently sent to me an excerpt from the transcript of King's interview with "the smiling preacher" and I reprint, without further commentary, that excerpt...

KING: How about issues that the church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?

OSTEEN: Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don't go there. I just ...

KING: You have thoughts, though.

OSTEEN: I have thoughts. I just, you know, I don't think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don't think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I'm not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open for everybody.

KING: You don't call them sinners?

OSTEEN: I don't.

KING: Is that a word you don't use?

OSTEEN: I don't use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don't. But most people already know what they're doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in your life. So I don't go down the road of condemning.

Sigh --- Sorry, I guess that could be considered "further commentary," huh?

Anyhow, the full transcript can be read here.