I really believe that the scripture talks about, it's our faith that pleases God. It's our belief that "God, you're for me, you're on my side. Yes, it's hard, but I trust you. You're in control." I believe that's what allows God to work in our lives. (src)Selon Osteen, it is our faith that pleases God. Not Christ's righteousness, not his finished work, not anything to do with this person we call Jesus; it is our faith which pleases God. Even if Osteen had the nous to say that our faith is created in us by God—the existence of which nous I seriously doubt—he is still left saying that our acceptance before God is dependent on something worked in us, or, as I suspect he thinks, by us. And yet, this is not good news in the slightest. It means that when I distrust God, and every time I sin I distrust him, then my acceptance before God is destroyed. What right would I have to expect God to look on me as his child, if he is pleased by something that I can ruin?We need a god who imputes righteousness to his children, because if I can get my hands on it, I can ruin it. Praise God that he is such a god.And then note that we "allow God to work in our lives" by acknowledging that he is "in control". A more self-contradictory idea of sovereignty I do not think I have heard. If he is control, then he can work in our lives regardless of whether we want him to do so; if he has to ask for our approval, then he is plainly not in control. And again, this is great news. It is great news firstly because without his uninvited action in our lives, not a one of us would trust in the Saviour. God made his light shine in our hearts: we did not ask him to, and had we been offered the choice, we would have stuck up two digits. And it is great news secondly because there are areas which all of us as Christians would sooner God left alone; but that has not yet stopped him, nor will it stop him. Was Paul consulted before his Damascene conversion? Did David ask God to send Nathan to point out his sin? Did the seven churches ask John to get a message for them?We need a god who is willing to drag us to where we should be, even kicking and screaming, and a god who is able to change our hearts to quell our kicks and screams, because we certainly will not change them ourselves.Praise God that he is not a gentleman.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
God is not a gentleman
Mack Ramer of the BHT recently drew attention to a Beliefnet interview with Joel Osteen. His own peculiar brand of theology is, of course, well known. But here is an interesting little snippet.