For decades here in the United States our secular society has been busily – and not so quietly – turning self-esteem into the neo-pagan god of the modern Western worldview.
What is at the root of this madness? It should be patently obvious to anyone with even a rudimentary grasp of our human nature as revealed in the Bible that the last thing rebellious, foolish, children need is for their natural predilection for self-centeredness and pure unadulterated selfishness to be fed and reinforced by authority figures. The concept is absurd on its face!
Yet with this in mind it ought to be unsurprising that we should find that the wholesale rejection of Biblical principles and anti-Christian hostility which pervade today’s secular institutions of “learning” – so called – have resulted in a populace that utterly loathes authority. This of course poses a bit of a problem for them since God Almighty is the Absolute Ultimate Authority. Plainly this is the reason why the foolish and deceived secular humanists reserve their most passionate and venomous hatred for Him.
Seemingly one of the unintended consequences – at least for professing Christian families, though I imagine this was part of the secularist’s master plan all along – of the failed experiment of the secular public education system in America is the fact that it has resulted in literally generations of children hailing from professing Christian families departing from the faith.
Given the aforementioned conditions should we really be surprised when we find that the church is full of self-centered, selfish, man-centered, fleshy, earthy, What’s In It For Me style carnal “Christians”? After all, if the broader culture is populated by these folks could there have been any doubt that they would infiltrate the church at every level? Furthermore should we be surprised that those same false believers would heap unto themselves false teachers to tickle their itching ears and tell them what they want to hear? I think not.
Read the following sugary sweet, man-centered, “Gawd has a wunnerful plah-yun fer yer life” drivel from the heretical Smilin’ Joel Osteen and pay particular notice to how it’s tailor made and focus group tested and proven to tickle the ears of his massively deceived followers:
“God’s plan for each of our lives is that we continually rise to new levels. But how high we go in life, and how much of God’s favor and blessings we experience, will be directly related to how well we follow His directions.” God “is waiting for your obedience so He can release more of His favor and blessings in your life…My question to you is: How high do you want to rise? Do you want to continue to increase? Do you want to see more of God’s blessings and favor? If so, the higher we go, the more disciplined we must be; the quicker we must obey.” “You don’t get the grace unless you step out. You have to make the first move. God will see that step of faith and He’ll give you supernatural strength to help you overcome any obstacles standing in the way of doing the right thing…Remember: How high you go in life will be directly related to how obedient you are.”
Can you see the works-righteousness of Osteen’s non-gospel of nothingness? Can you see how it’s carefully crafted to appeal to his listener’s innate, refined, and highly cultivated sense of self worth?
Where’s the denial to self?
Where’s the lofty view of God?
Where’s the Bible?
In truth Joel Osteen’s message – his entire worldview – boils down to a profane, blasphemous, perverse game of cosmic “Monkey see, monkey do“.
“Monkey-god see monkey follow his directions, monkey-god give good thing.”
“Monkey-god see monkey obey, monkey-god release blessing.”
“Monkey-god see monkey step out, monkey-god show favor”
“Monkey-god see monkey made first move, monkey-god help”
“Monkey see he control monkey-god by actions, monkey think he is god”
“Good monkey, reward monkey! Bad monkey, no reward monkey!”
Broadly speaking this is the pathetic level to which Christian thought and theology have degenerated as a whole within huge swaths of evangelicalism. Doctrinally speaking the modern church has become a mile wide and an inch deep. In fact today’s breed of emergent/purpose driven/seeker sensitive/word faith professing Christians would have been counted as the vilest heretics breathing had they lived in earlier times. Our modern crop of shameless charlatans and pulpit pimps would have been roundly and soundly rebuked and cast from among the fellowship of Christian believers had they expounded their shameful false doctrines and damnable heresies then as they do now.
Can you imagine the response of the Puritans to profane practice of positive confession which is espoused by the likes of Trinity denying, word faith mogul T.D. Jakes?
How might the Apostle Paul have reacted to the sinless, cheerful, self-esteem messages of man-centeredness spewed forth by the likes of Schuller, Warren, and Osteen?
What do you think the apostles – all of whom were Jewish – would have said in response to John Hagee had he began teaching his dual covenant theology from synagogue to synagogue and proclaiming that Jesus was not the Messiah?
How quickly do you imagine Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt would have been anathematized by the early church had they claimed the universal salvation of every human being regardless of their position relative to Christ?
Friends, the God of the Holy Bible isn’t a cosmic divine monkey who exists primarily to play with you and cheer you up when you’re feeling lonely or downcast. The God of the Holy Bible isn’t impotently dreaming dreams that He wants to come true on earth, but is unable to bring to pass because of the unbelief of sinful men. Nor is the God of the Holy Bible a distant mechanistic legalist who waits for men to say the right words in the right sequence, or to properly “exercise their faith”, or “sow a seed” so he can “pour out blessings” upon them. Those who hold to these types of false teachings will certainly reap a harvest, but the bitter harvest they reap will be the winds of hell.
Let it be known that the God of the Holy Bible is still in the business of seeking and saving sinful men by His good pleasure, and for His glory alone; and not for any good thing He sees that is, or will be, within them.
He is the potter and we are the clay.
He is worthy and we unworthy.
He is true and we are false.
He is fully sovereign and we are utterly hopeless apart from Him.
Let every thing that has breath praise the Lord!