Joel Osteen and his "type" of preaching.
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Vance Havner pointed out, "We have comfortable homes to ride in comfortable cars to sit in comfortable Churches to hear comfortable sermons. What do we know about the reproach of Christ?" Prophet Ezekiel was given a vision of the backslidden people of God. Nothing but a valley of "very many" and "very dry" bones could explain their awful condition. They seemed to have gone to a point of no return. The people themselves cried, "Our hope is lost!" (v11). God asked the prophet, "Can these bones live?" He threw back the question to God saying, "Lord, You only know!" The situation from a human viewpoint was i-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e! The Church is no better today. There is form but no power. "They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly" (2 Tim 3:5). There is a name but no life. Christ rebuked the Church in Sardis, "You have a reputation for being alive — but you are dead" (Rev 3:1). There is wealth but no vision (Rev 3:17). There are activities but no love (Rev 2:2-4). Instead of multiplication there are only divisions. In the words of the Preacher, "In the place of justice, wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, iniquity was there" (Eccl 3:16). What do we know about the reproach of Christ?" An artist once was asked to paint a picture that would portray a dying Church, hoping if even that might inspire the congregation to realise their need for revival. The painting showed a grand Church building with tall spires, magnificently carved-out pulpit stand, exquisite stained glass windows, huge wooden doors and glittering chandelier lights. Near the huge doors was a small offertory box, the mouth of which was covered by cobweb. Yes, any Church that does not send or support missionaries is a dead Church. As Dr. Oswald J. Smith (1889-1986) put it, "A Church that does not evangelize will fossilize!" But God has not given up on the Church. The gates of hell will have to ultimately give in to the Church (Mt 16:18). On our part we must obey like Prophet Ezekiel and keep on prophesying (Ezek 37). "Cry aloud, spare not. Lift up your voice like the trumpet. Tell My people of their sins! Yet they act so pious!" (Isa 58:1). The Church will then come back to where it should be. It will stand up "like a great army" and conquer the world for Christ (Ezek 37:10). The world at its worst needs the Church at its best! O Breath of Life, come sweeping thro' us. Revive Thy Church with life and power; O Breath of Life, come, cleanse, renew us, And fit Thy Church to meet this hour! (Bessie P. Head, 1850-1936)
There are many terms that are related to "feel-good" Christianity but all of them are some form of false teaching. Some others that are answered well on the Gotquestions.org web site are prosperity gospel (http://www.gotquestions.org/prosperity-gospel.html), cheap grace, antinomianism, hyper-grace and easy believism. "Feel good" Christianity is preaching a gospel different from the true gospel that starts with no one is good and no one seeks God. (Psalm 14:3, Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:11-12) In order to be popular and big churches, they don't want anyone to feel bad which goes against the preaching of truth. The true gospel does make people feel bad to begin with in that they are lost sinners without a Savior who are headed to destruction. It is also considered a "hell-less" gospel. Jesus talked about hell much more than He talked about heaven. For instance, in the parable of the talents the worthless servant is put into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:14-30) I have heard a "feel-good" Christianity preacher say that this doesn't mean hell which is false teaching. Jesus said that the way to heaven is narrow and few will find it. Broad is the way that leads to hell. If you don't want people to feel bad you will give people words that lead to a false sense of security or false assurance. Repentance isn't preached by "feel-good" churches. True repentance is produced by godly sorrow- 2 Corinthians 7:10. After true repentance there is an order to salvation that then, after experiencing being born of the Holy Spirit, justification through the blood of Jesus Christ and resulting in transformation/sanctification, there is a joy that the Christ-follower comes to know and experience. But just like Paul, you remember how lost you were in your sins before your spiritual birth. Other verses that come to mind are 2 Peter 2 (false teachers wanting money), 2 Timothy 4:3, (false teachers for itching ears) and Jude1: 4 (in churches teaching marvelous grace that ignores immoral living). Throughout the Bible we are instructed to develop discernment and listen to the truth instead of lies. The churches in Revelation 2 and 3 were warned not to listen to false teaching too. The truth about the Christian life is that there is joy in knowing Jesus personally but not happiness a lot of the time. There must be suffering and persecution for the true Christ follower. 1 and 2 Peter talk about the suffering extensively. Paul explained both repeatedly. Christ followers are not to be surprised that the world hates them because Jesus said that they would. (John 15:17-19) and Matthew 5: 10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. 11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way. So think about it. If a preacher is making people feel good while they are lost in their sins, he is attracting large followings of people while he is saying "peace, peace when there is no peace". (Jeremiah 6:14, 8:11) Also they are not speaking what Jesus first said "Repent" but telling people they are okay--Jeremiah 23:17 They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The Lord says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’ The gospel is confrontational which "feel-good" preachers don't want to do. The true gospel confronts the sinner. The more you read the Bible and see how much God hates sin so much He sent Jesus Christ to suffer and die for sin you will feel bad for your sin and run to the only answer to receive cleansing of your sin. Jesus Christ suffered and died for sin and defeated Satan and death by rising from the dead.
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." 2 Timothy 4:3 We American Christians are just like our non-Christian counterparts. We put self above essentially everything. We worry greatly about our appearance, the perception that other people have of us and what we perceive as success. We like to feel good and will do what it takes to achieve that end. One of the ways we feel good is not to be told that we are not only imperfect, but hopelessly imperfect. We mince words to shelter each other's feelings, but gossip behind each other's back. We are so very inwardly focused that it consumes us. Many Christians in America give their ultimate allegiance to man-made systems and customs. We are afraid to be different. Our great concern is to be accepted socially. We live by some such principle as this: "everybody is doing it, so it must be alright." For so many us morality is merely group consensus. In your modern sociological lingo, the mores are accepted as the right ways. We have unconsciously come to believe that right is discovered by taking a sort of Gallup poll of the majority opinion. Many are giving their ultimate allegiance to this way. It is easier and much more comfortable for us to hear a touchy feely sermon which assures us that if we pray enough, that God will baby us and make us feel good and loved. Also remember that by and large churches these days, especially the denominational power houses are a business. That business depends on putting people in the seats. Not many people want to hear a sermon that convicts. What we hear from most pulpits these days is a lukewarm mixture of loosely interpreted scripture which we can apply to our lives to solve our problems along with a pitch for our salvation. I have gotten to where I avoid the word salvation because it has become the pinnacle of our walk of faith. The culmination of our spiritual experience. It is our fire insurance. We were not saved just so that we can go to heaven. Because we are saved we will, but that by no means is the purpose of our justification. That purpose is to cleanse us by the propitiation of the blood of the perfect sacrifice that we may be added unto the Body as adopted Sons. As heirs and Sons we have a purpose here. That purpose has nothing to do with making ourselves happy most of the time. When we walk in God's purpose for us, we will experience all the good feelings which we want to feel by dodging convicting people or sermons. That is why in today's churches, especially mega churches nothing is stated about the power of the Holy Spirit that can enable one to conquer evil pulls. Nothing is taught about the real purpose of life, and what man must do to attain it. People are simply taught to enjoy themselves and to fellowship with one another. They have never been taught “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” Matt. 7:13. The key to attracting members is an emotional appeal that is non-threatening. As a result, shallow messages about Christian life, self-esteem, and dealing with personal problems are employed. But this in itself will not generate a desire for people to attend, so entertainment must be utilized to draw in and keep up the numbers. The aim is to help people to enjoy themselves and to gain a sense of power and joyfulness. So that members will feel positive and energized, church services are designed to create an emotionally uplifting experience. Such a response is bound to bring people back week after week. In brief, these churches promote a “feel good” religion, and worship has become entertainment. Gene Tomlinson Executive Director Abilene Damacus Road, Inc.
So.. "feel good Christianity"... let's call it like a "new age church"... basicly means that all that's old--like replacing the old musical instruments with new ones, old music style with rock style--we renew the church to atract more people, we make it more attractive for them because we need to compete with a lot of attractions from the world. Jesus Culture is an example of this approach. Some will say that we bring the devil in the church; some will love it... not the devil, the new approach, One thing I know for sure, as long we don't get far from the Bible and we keep our path clean, it doesn't matter if we are "feeling good Christians" or "old style Christians". Do what God's Word tells you to do. Not just a phrase from the Bible, all of God's Word. Be blessed!
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