Case study #1- Joel Osteen on Larry King just two days ago. King asks him about gay marriage. View his response-
Very simply, for a person in the position of Joel Osteen to say "I'm not sure I understand" at least three times is inexcusable. Every biblically faithful pastor should be able to give a well-reasoned, biblically based, compassionate reason for why marriage and homosexual practice are not related. Instead, Osteen does his very best to offend no one and simply say what might keep the masses buying his self-help excrement. Osteen is someone who should not be anywhere near a pulpit or a ministry position that is charged with preaching the Word of God.
Case Study #2- Rick Warren also appeared on Larry King addressing the same basic issue Osteen waxed poetically on. Rick Warren, unlike Osteen, is not one to say "I'm not sure I understand". Watch his interchange with King in it's entirety-
Rick Warren appears to be a more articulate version of Joel Osteen. Did you catch his basic mode? He takes the pulse of culture and morphs his approach and much of his message to accommodate. He talks of how his church has recently developed programs to meet the masses of recession-provoked "seekers".
In this clip Warren typifies what is wrong with evangelicalism today. Instead of being a prophetic (yet compassionate) voice speaking in to a culture desperately needing redemption (which only Christ can bring), he tries to be America's empathizing buddy hoping to get a chance to tell people God cares for and loves them, especially when their 401k's have been wiped out. Yuck! Just Yuck!
If Warren is typical of evangelical thinking today, the problem is clear- We have ceased to lead. We have become a group of reactors instead of leaders.
Instead of confidently, compassionately, and honestly teaching and proclaiming God's Word, we try to avoid those issues addressed by Scripture that might offend people in this particular culture.
Yes God cares about the AIDS epidemic in Africa and the genocide in Darfur, however, when He has placed pastors in a land that is moving rapidly to re-define the very foundation of society (marriage) and is complicitous in the murder of over 1,000,000 unborn human beings every year, it is clear what should be a major part of our prophetic effort. To infer the gay marriage issue isn't that important to him seems cowardly (he doesn't want people mad at him) and pastorally unfaithful. Yes, address the various injustices around the world, but be sure to confront the particular issues in your own back yard- that's what the Church must do in each unique setting. It's almost humorous that we (America) think we have some kind of moral clout that allows us to address the aforementioned issues plaguing Africa. We're all confused about what marriage is and when life begins and we're going to help stem the AIDS epidemic in Africa? Seriously? Guess how America is addressing it- by giving Africans condoms and abortions.
What I see in this video is a guy who has a potion for whatever ails you. Just tell him your symptoms and he'll concoct a God-fix.
What America so desperately needs is for the Church to regain it's prophetic voice and moral clout. May God grant such a reformation and revival. The thing called "Evangelicalism" is no longer a relevant force in U.S. culture- almost completely saltless.