Megachurch minister Joel Osteen’s wife and pastor, Victoria, is under fire for making comments during a recent Sunday morning service that were considered blasphemous by orthodox Christians.
Victoria, who was addressing Lakewood Church’s large congregation while standing next to her husband, said, “I just want to encourage everyone of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God – I mean, that’s one way to look at it – we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. So I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy.”
While Victoria’s take on obedience and worship is in tune with her latest book titled Love Your Life, it is quite out of sync with the Bible, according to online critics.
Steve Camp, who is a pastor at Cross Church in Palm City, pointed out to the media in a long rant that Victoria’s words were indeed blasphemous.
“It’s the age old sin of idolatry – that it’s not about God, it’s about us. True worship for the humanist is about how we feel at the end of the day and what gives us meaning, as opposed to what gives God glory. She honestly believes that God exists to make us happy rather than holy. She honestly believes that worship is about our fulfillment rather than His glory. That’s the bottom issue here. First Corinthians so clearly says that whether we eat or drink, do it all to the glory of God. It’s not just self. Jesus said in Matthew 16, ‘Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Me.’ The Osteens have just inverted that. They think it’s not the denial of self, but the exaltation of self. They’re not trying to pursue a cross; they’re trying to pursue prosperity. And they’re certainly not following the biblical Jesus. They’re following whatever brings happiness and contentment,” he said.
Camp was not the only one that thought Victoria had uttered blasphemous words that she should not have. For instance, Tony Reinke, author of “Desiring God,” tweeted against her comments as well.
Victoria Osteen: God’s glory and your joy are at odds. http://t.co/T1538oRe88 ...
— Tony Reinke ن (@TonyReinke) August 29, 2014
Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of a leading website, too, quoted the 1995 movie “Billy Madison” to criticize Victoria’s comments.
“What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely, idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point, in your rambling, incoherent response, were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. May God have mercy on your soul,” he wrote.
And just when everyone started assuming the internet was the only place Victoria would receive flak for what she had said, 30-year-old Michael David Fletcher entered the bookstore attached to Lakewood Church and started knocking Victoria’s books off the shelves and throwing them all over the place while citing the Bible verse Matthew 21:12.
“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves,” he was heard repeating.
Eventually, security personnel escorted Fletcher out of the bookstore and a felony charge of criminal mischief was filed against him.
Earlier, Osteen himself raised many eyebrows when he spoke out in favour of homosexuality, saying God approves of everyone, including homosexuals.
After host Josh Zepps quoted from his book titled “Break Out! 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life,” saying, “It doesn’t matter who likes you or who doesn’t like you, all that matters is God likes you. He accepts you, he approves of you,” he asked Osteen if that included homosexuals.
“Absolutely, I believe that God has breathed his life into every single person. We’re all on a journey. Nobody’s perfect,” he said.
Osteen is responsible for a significantly large congregation, constituting 45,000 followers, and has often expressed reluctance when asked to categorize sin.
“The Bible said a sin is pride, a sin is selfish ambition. We tend to pick out these certain things. But I believe every person is made in the image of God, and you have accept them as they are, on their journey. I’m not here to be preaching hate, pushing people down. I’m not here telling people what they’re doing wrong,” he has said.
Photo Credits: David Dobson Photo