On Sunday, February 21st, Pastor Joe Valenti taught out of Acts 4 in our ‘Empowered” series. During his passionate and direct message on the offensive, exclusive and forbidden Gospel of Jesus Christ, he referenced Joel Osteen and statements he made in a 2005 televised interview with Larry King. Within the next 48 hours we had several people engage us with concerns related to calling out the name of a public preacher (Joel Osteen). Pastor Joe had the opportunity to engage people personally on this matter and felt moved to write a comprehensive blog post on his personal blog stating his heart and thoughts on what he shared. You can find that blog post here.
I want to take the opportunity as well, to say that I support Pastor Joe in emphasizing the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ and calling into suspect anyone who would soft-sell the Gospel.
God warned us that in the end times people will stray from sound teaching and follow teachers that speak convincingly to our own interests (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
All of our teaching pastors are prepared to speak against dangerous theology and distorted versions of the Gospel. The pastors at CVC take very seriously God’s call for us to:
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.
(Acts 20:28-31 ESV)
We are not afraid to mention by name those with whom we are skeptical or believe are teaching falsely. Jesus often spoke clearly and publicly against false teachers. The Apostle Paul several times gave several warnings to specifically avoid certain people by name (2 Timothy 1:15; 2:17; 3:8; 4:10; 4:14). I too have great concern with the teachings of Joel Osteen and what I see as a “Self-help gospel.” I do not believe it is efficient or effective to focus on each and every false teacher that pops up, but to boldly speak the biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes our sinfulness, our need for repentance, and our desperate need for a Savior. I also believe we need to speak to these things with tact and wisdom. Let us all grow in our knowledge of God’s Word, ability to recognize dangerous and distorted theology and our bold proclamation of the true gospel of Jesus Christ.