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17 Feb '11

Osteen Moments

Posted by T.J. Addington in ethics, gospel, Jesus, society
In our politically correct climate and culture, there is confusion regarding right and wrong and on what issues we can or should make judgments. Making judgments on many issues today is neither popular nor easy. And, if we do, the mantra, “Christians should not judge” is often the response – from both Christ followers and others.

We need to be reminded, however, that Jesus and Scripture make judgments on many issues. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.” In other words, there are no alternate routes to God except through Jesus. That is unambiguous and offensive in our culture but it is the truth of God. In our age of materialism, Jesus says, “you cannot serve both God and money.” We must make choices about who we serve and therefore the priorities we choose.

Of all the offensive words of Jesus, perhaps none are as offensive as His words that there is eternal life for those who follow Him but eternal suffering for those who reject him: “The Son of Man will sent out his angels, and they will weed out of his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:41-43).

Because we are called to be Holy as God is Holy and because Scripture reflects the character of God, Scripture makes judgments on many issues and is clear, unambiguous and definitive on those issues. Jesus, Paul and Scripture are not always comfortable and almost never politically correct. As Christ followers we too must make judgments on many issues, even when they are unpopular.

Joel Osteen found himself in this position recently when pressed on a national television show as to whether homosexuality was OK with God. Clearly uncomfortable with the question given his desire to not offend anyone he finally said that he did not believe it was God’s best and that it is sin. The surprised host said that he was being judgmental and Osteen will never again be seen as the all inclusive person his preaching seems to portray. Osteen, when pressed, like all of us, must make judgments where Scripture makes judgments – if we are going to stand with Christ. For many, Osteen has lost his luster because he is no longer politically correct or all inclusive of all lifestyles.

Jesus made judgments all the time but He was not judgmental toward people – with the exception of the Pharisees and hypocrites. With the woman caught in adultery, for instance, Jesus did not condemn her but did say, “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:11). He made a judgment regarding her lifestyle but expressed, love, compassion and grace to her personally. He was not judgmental toward her but made a judgment regarding her behavior.

This is the Biblical balance. Jesus had grace, love and compassion toward all who came to him (with the exceptions mentioned above) and did not condemn people. But He was clear at the same time about truth and its path and untruth and its ultimate path. In His Osteen moments he was always gracious but always defining. He did not hesitate to draw people to Himself or to be defining about the issues.

All of us have Osteen moments when if we are going to stand with Jesus, we must be clear about what He and scripture say. Much of the politically correct Christianity is nothing less than heresy and there is huge illiteracy regarding Scripture. But when those moments come we do so with love, compassion and grace. It is a tough but necessary balance.