Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Maybe Joel Osteen is on to something

Though I don't really make a big deal about it, I have not been all that excited about Joel Osteen. I don't have a huge burden to discredit his ministry, because I'm sure that people are being blessed by him to some extent. And though I am not totally prepared to say that he is the greatest thing since sliced bread (he's more of a motivational speaker than anything else), a few things I've learned about him recently have softened my opinion about him.

One of which, if you haven't already seen or heard, is that he has spoken out against eating unclean meats - quite a step for anyone to take, but especially him. He admitted to his church that he has not been eating pork for a while, and that we should abstain from lobster, craw fish, etc.

You can watch the video of this here (Windows Media).

No matter what you think of the man, you at least have to give him credit for talking about this issue and candidly telling his church that something is wrong!


Travis Walker said...


I think I saw that sermon he preached last year on health. Actually I think he did a whole mini series on it. Kudos for Joel!

However I think he presents a seriously watered down gospel, if you can even call it that. He almost never preaches testing messages. But who does these days in the Evangelical world.

But like you said, his messages seem to appeal to a lot of people. Maybe we can learn something from him too?

Shawn Brace said...

Hi Travis,

Thank you for your thoughts. I think we're agreed on this subject! I am not ready to crown him the next Martin Luther, but I have to give credit where credit is due. At least he's planting some seeds!!

Charles said...

Gentlemen, I like both of your blogs and am an SDA living in the heart of convservativism - SW Michigan. I enjoy what you have to say and think that both of you have your hearts in the right place - balanced Christianity and Christ-centeredness. I like that. This post, however, does not fit into your modus operandi...

I think this topic is a wee bit hypocritical. You are approaching this with an attitude of, "Well, he's NOT an SDA and doesn't have the TRUTH, but by golly, he doesn't eat bacon and shrimp. Wonder when he'll accept the Sabbath and EGW?"

As if eating or not eating those things will separate you from God. I wonder what other OT laws, dietary or otherwise, we should follow? So is he a Bible Literalist, a Brain or an Emergent on this topic?

Where is the philosophy of Paul about not judging what you eat or drink?

Just a thought from a mid-30-something-not-entirely-sure if-he-is-a-post-modern-or-emergent Seventh-Day Adventist/Christian.

Shawn Brace said...

Hey Charles,

Thank you, with all sincerity, for your comments. They are very helpful and appropriate. I can't speak for Travis, but if I, in any way, displayed a hypocritical attitude, I am extremely sorry.

I didn't wish to seem as though I was reveling in the idea that Osteen is almost one of us, or that he can now be saved because he's finally seen the light on clean/unclean meats. As you have said, what we eat, drink, etc., doesn't save us. Nothing but Christ's blood saves us.

At the same time, I'm sure you would agree that health principles do matter, in the grand scheme of things. Certainly you wouldn't say that it doesn't matter what a person eats, if, for example, they're lying in a hospital bed, having just come through quadruple bi-pass surgery, fresh off a heart attack. I had a relative who had a very similar thing happen, and the first thing she wanted was a cheeseburger from McDonalds. At that point, I think what a person eats/doesn't eat can take on greater significance.

For what it's worth, I wrote about something very similar in a previous post, which you can read here. Perhaps it will help you understand a little more of where I'm coming from on the aforementioned idea.

At any rate, thanks for your thoughts. And I certainly know what it's like to live in Southwest Michigan - having lived there for six years while at Andrews!!

Charles said...

Hi Shawn. I probably was a bit reactionary in my comments despite. I didn't mean to accuse you of hypocrisy and TASC: "Typical Adventist Superiority Complex".

Initially, it sounded that way and I reacted. I agree that treating our bodies as the temple of God's Spirit is important in our walk. And if God convinces us of something - it behooves us to follow. Actually, after watching the video of Joel Osteen, I admire his boldness. It had to take guts to preach this to his congregation - that alone is a huge act of obedience to his God, and I believe God will honor him for that act.

God bless.


Shawn Brace said...

Hi Charles!

Glad we could get on the same page. Thank you for your insights. They are very helpful.


Anonymous said...

Acts 10:9 refutes the sermon of Joel Osteen.

His teaching is also flawed from the point of simple biology and common sense.

Joel contends that an animal with a 4hr digestive system is incapable of ridding itself of toxins while cattle which has three stomachs and a 24hr digestive system is toxin-free.

Biology 101 tells us the size of an animal determines its digestive system and that the length of a digestive system has nothing to do with imperfect/perfect elimination of waste.

Human beings have a 4hr digestive system; does this mean like the pig, we are full of toxins? If yes, why aren't we dead?

Cows, despite their so-called superior digestive system, have been known to carry killer diseases; ever heard of foot and mouth disease and the Mad Cow Disease which almost crippled the entire cattle industry in Europe?

Poultry contains the highest count of salmonella bacteria and unlike pork must be thoroughly cooked before being eaten, otherwise it causes death by botulism.

Fish from certain countries, with poor aquaculture practices, have been known to carry high levels of mercury and lead and are banned in many First World countries.

Joel Osteen, by this sermon, is leading many believers back into bondage. It will stumble those who have been set free to live a life of self-control and moderation and lead them into observing rituals and superstitious nonsense.

Joel Osteen needs to preach Christ who died for the sins of man and is raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of the Father. Joel Osteen needs to preach repentance from sin and turning back to Jesus Christ.

He should not talk about poisoned meats because his ideas are so loopy even a third-grader will laugh him out of class.

Shawn Brace said...


Three things:

1. You have just outlined a great argument to become total vegetarian.

2. Have you ever heard of trichinosis?

3. Is it a "yoke of bondage" to be healthy and live a few more years with a better quality of life?

Anonymous said...


1. If there’s an outbreak of mad cow disease, abstain from beef. If there’s an outbreak of bird flu virus, abstain from poultry. If there’s an outbreak of nipah virus, abstain from pork. If there’s pancreatic necrosis virus, abstain from fish. If there’s methamidophos poisoning, abstain from vegetables. If there are fat worms all over your organic potato, throw out that potato. In the end, what do we eat? A little of everything, giving thanks to God and being sensible. Don’t be dogmatic and put others into ritualised bondage. Diets can change depending on what we have for the season and where God has placed us. Eg. Eskimos lived healthily on solid animal protein for centuries until the white man came and taught them how to eat flour and sugar and then they started getting diseases and dying prematurely.

2. Trichinosis: Comes from eating uncooked pork from a pig that has fed on raw garbage. Be sensible. a) Cook your meat b) Don’t buy from a butcher who gets pigs that eat raw garbage. Which won’t be too hard cos modern pork farming has pigs eating the same feed used for cattle, sheep, etc. We're no longer in the Dark Ages or even the age of Robin Hood when pigs roamed the streets of our villages eating refuse.

3. It’s not a yoke of bondage to practise moderation and have a balanced diet. But it’s definitely a yoke of bondage when something falls under the 1 Timothy 4 warning:

1 Timothy 4
1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

God loves us and it is He who lengthens our days, not we ourselves.

Anonymous said...

1 Timothy 4:5 It states that the meats mentioned in verse 3 had to be sanctified by the word. The only word Paul could have been talking about was the Torah. There was nothing else or no other word at that time, there still is only one word.

Anonymous said...

Jesus himself said "It's not what enters your body that defiles your body but what comes out - Mathew 15:17 - 19
There are other verses which indicate that if we eat with thansgiving, we can eat anything.
Joel Olsteen should preach the pure Gospel