I am wondering why it is that Wesley Owen stocks books like those written by Joel Osteen? Even your own description of his most famous work, "Your best life now", is enough to demonstrate that he teaches that simple seven-step plan which, he claims, will result in people enjoying material, personal and social prosperity.He teaches that prosperity is the Christian's for the taking, whereas our Lord told us that we would have to "take up our cross and follow him". He teaches that his seven-steps will result, necessarily, in wealth and happiness, whereas the Bible encourages us to see wealth as a gift of God, whose arm cannot be twisted nor whose goodness faulted. He teaches a rules-based approach to an easy life, whereas the Lord would have us live in trusting dependence upon him. He implies that people who are ill or poor have little faith, when the Lord himself called the poor "blessed" while enjoining the rich to see to it that they did all they could to help those in that estate.The book has been criticised by serious reviewers for all these flaws, and even TIME magazine was able to recognise Osteen's teachings as contrary to the words of our Lord. I asked about this in one of your bookshops, and they informed me that they sell the book because it is one of the top 100 "Christian" books. Please say it ain't so!Wesley Owen has its limits: you don't run the Dawkins book but you run those by his opponents, and quite right too.So will you, in the interests of the responsibility you owe to Christ, his church and his gospel, review Joel Osteen's book without an eye to commercial pressures, and take a view on whether his teachings truly concord with Scripture?I received a prompt reply, which I shall post immediately. The third post will be a little commentary, and I think I will be returning to this topic again.Supplementary notes: the page for Osteen's book at W-O is here. The TIME article I referred to is here. The words of Jesus I referred to can all be found in the Bible, a book with which Osteen seems to have only a passing acquaintance.
Friday, October 12, 2007
A letter to Wesley Owen
A little over amonth ago, I wrote to Wesley Owen, a major "Christian" book retail outfit, inquiring as to why they stock Joel Osteen's books. I wrote as follows.