I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine over the weekend about Joel Olsteen. He is an inspiration to many and a false prophet to others. He is soundly criticized for preaching prosperity and good things for those who love Jesus instead of focusing on the need for repentance and suffering.
I watched an interview of him and he said that he believes people already know that they aren’t right with God and they don’t need someone telling them how bad they are all the time and beating them up. He has a young smiling face and cheerful attitude and he exudes optimism and inspiration. He states that he has been called to encourage people and give them hope.
Others say that he is about personal enrichment and they point to the hundreds of millions dollars, grand homes, private jets he has accumulated. They further state that he is not using his platform to preach repentance, and that we must suffer with Jesus through this world of turmoil and snares. They say not everyone is going to be a millionaire like him and he is giving them false hope.
I view this controversy from both angles. Yes, we should encourage and offer the hope of a loving God to allow us to live a life of abundance in this world and the next, and yes we should encourage to resist temptation and repent of our mistakes lest we fall and spend eternity in hell separated from God forever.
Sometimes what gets lost in all of this is the fact that God has created everyone different. No one is the same. The body of Christ is comprised of many members just like the human body. If we were all eyes we could see extremely well but that would be it. We need hands, feet, arms, etc. to function. I believe God used these words and this analogy of the “body” of Christ to illustrate this point that not everyone is the same, or SHOULD be the same. He wants us to be different.
One reason we are so divisive in this country is that we are so intolerant of each other. God said of the people building the tower of Babel that there was nothing they could not achieve when working together as one, but since their hearts were based only upon evil God scattered the nations and gave them different languages to stop their unholy progress that was contrary to his will dead in its tracks.
Christ prayed in John 21 that His church would become one as He and the Father are One in order that many would believe in Jesus and be saved. Unity with God and His church is necessary to combat the curse of this world and the power of Satan. We should not be so quick to demand that everyone see things from our own point of view and be tolerant of one another’s ministry, provided it is not in direct contradiction to God’s Holy Word. To do otherwise goes against God’s command that we be united.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!
January 16 2017 – Click here to listen