Saturday, October 22, 2005

Joel Osteen and Anthony Robbins - Twins?

Go here and read a great comparison between infomercial star Anthony "Tony" Robbins and pastor Joel Osteen.


The comparison between the two "daily devotionals" shown above, is not the end of the similarities between these men. Whether the similarities are intentional or not, they may give us a clue as to how "numeric-success" is often achieved in the modern church. It may be that it's achieved by looking and sounding like the world's formula for self-empowerment and self-esteem.

As you consider their books and quotes below, keep in mind that Robbins is NOT attempting to speak a Christian message at all; his is a secular "personal success" message. Though the words are not identical, their "power within" theme is a striking commonality. Judge for yourself whether any of the quotes that you see below (from either man) can be substantiated biblically.

(HT: Reformation 21)


Dennis said...

Interesting stuff.... Thanks!

Dennis Laing

Kelley Bell said...

Similar, yes.
And they are both making LOTS of money.

But, whats wrong with that? Walmart makes loads of money selling cheap junk, Dick Cheney made a fortune on his halaburton stock, Mel Gibson cashed in on his bloody Jesus flick...

What's the beef?

Maybe the complaint is based on the idea that some folks don't like it when other folks have beliefs that they personally don't agree with, even if the message is just a secular, positive thinking thing.

Well, Right on guys! If these two are out there trying to say things that will help troubled people feel better and live better and improve their lives, then ya all just get blogging and point fingers and complain as much as you can. How dare they make a living that way!

After all, there is only ONE right way to think and live, and worship.

Keep up the good work.
Long live the American Taliban.

mrclm said...

Have you ever actually heard Joel Osteen, and listened with discerning ears? His use of the Bible is generally appalling. If he was just doing self help and not peddling it off as Christianity, I'd leave him alone. I haven't ever posted on Tony Robbins (other than this link to show just how atrocious Osteen's theology is). If people want to buy Robbins' stuff, go right ahead. My problem with Osteen isn't about money, I haven't heard any complaints about him other than he's made plenty off his book, and there's nothing wrong with that. My problem is because of his watered down theology, and his pop psychology. Because he at times seems to embrace a name it claim it theology, similar to the Word of Faith garbage. I have previously pointed to other's posts on Osteen's garbage teachings - Rick Phillips article where he says the following:

During our recent vacation, my wife and I were thumbing through the channels and came across the dedication service for Joel Osteen’s opening of Houston’s former basketball arena. We thought we would watch a bit just to get a feel for Osteen and ended up watching the whole show. It was horrifying. Here are a few observations, which I think are relevant because of the broad phenomenon and appeal that Osteen represents:

1. It was a great celebration of human achievement. For all the supposed praising of God, it was all about man: namely, Osteen (plus his father, his lovely wife, and his well-behaved children). Osteen’s wife stood before the vast throng and heaped praise upon her husband for ten minutes. The message: What a great man he is, and if you become like him you can be great, too – in your own little way. Then came Osteen’s sermon. It was all about his father’s example of faith and optimism, which he has exemplified and which resulted in the triumph of having enough money to lease a huge arena. There was almost no reference to the Bible and absolutely no Bible teaching. At one point, I opened my Bible during this litany of self-praise and read aloud the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. See if you can guess which one was Osteen. “Lord, I thank you that I am…”

2. It was thoroughly anti-Christian. Not just un-Christian, but anti-Christian. Osteen’s message is the exact opposite of the Bible’s. I think it could be summarized this way: “You have been taught to believe that you are bad, but you really are good. You should repent of bad thoughts and believe in yourself, knowing that God loves you and that your dreams will come true.” In contrast, the Bible says, “You have been taught to believe that you are good, but you really are bad. You should repent of your pride and sin and believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, knowing that only then will God accept you and that in Christ God will bless you spiritually.” The latter message – that of Christianity – was openly ridiculed by Osteen & Co. all through the service.

3. It was blatantly idolatrous. And not just in the normal celebrity-worshiping way that is so endemic to all us Americans. But Osteen openly takes the place of God (with a big smile, of course). At the end, he prayed and my wife and I were stunned speechless. He began by telling God how he has no authority of his own and how everything he has God has given him. That lasted a few sentences. Then – still praying, mind you – Osteen began a long series of declarations which he addressed to the people: “I declare you blessed. I pronounce you victorious. I declare you in God’s favor.” On it went. Instead of praying to God, he had taken the place of God. Not only was there no mention of the reality that many of the people he was addressing are in fact under God’s just wrath. In sum, it was the idolatrous pretense of a true false prophet, all with a great, big, smile, of course.

4. But there was a brief altar call. This was fascinating, because it was done half-heartedly as an after thought. Osteen literally said, “Oh, before we go, don’t let me forget to do this.” Very revealing, I thought. It was almost as if Osteen was saying, “Hey, we’re supposed to be revivalists and this exercise is therefore mandatory.” He even mentioned, in the invitation/prayer-to-the-audience, being cleansed by Jesus’ blood. I wonder what the audience thought that meant, because if everything Osteen had said up to that point is true – that through positive thinking we can know God’s love and experience victory – then, as Paul pointed out, Christ died for nothing.

After viewing this spectacle and then the post-game color commentary (which included, of all things, a warm interview with Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who was gleefully in attendance), my wife and I experienced a feeling of depression. Then I thought of Paul’s encouragement to Timothy. It helped me to take what we had seen as simply a bracing exhortation to biblical faithfulness. For God’s Word to not tell me, “Do what it takes to get into a big building like Osteen’s.” Instead, Paul wrote, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Tim. 4:2-5).

The difference Kelley, is that each of the people you reference are making their money in secular markets. Walmart, Halaburton, and the Movie industry work with a completely different goal than that of the Bride of Christ, the Church. If you don't understand that difference, if you don't understand the purpose GOD has ordained for His Church, then I would understand why you might be so quick to want to defend Osteen.

Big Chris

nick said...

VERY well put Big Chris. i have often stood in shock and horror while sometimes catching Joel Olsteen's "act." when i hear people and preachers like him, i honestly and truly get saddened to my core. the constant teaching of these prosperity ministers is sickining. if and when they actually do use the Bible, its as if its nothing more than one big check book. when i catch a glimpse of Joel im angered. as he struts across the stage with his huge white smile, doing nothing but telling stories, it becomes so clear to me that we truly are living in the last days. a false prophet in the flesh.
i watched larry king interview him once, and Joel O. stuttered and had no conviction or answer whatsoever when larry king asked him about salvation and his beliefs. his answer was something to the effect "well gee larry, what i believe in is my way, but i cant sit here and tell you that its the the way for everybody"... some CHRISTian he is huh?

Anonymous said...

Dont you think you are sowing hate which is against the bible and still judging Joel Osteen.It doesn't matter what format he uses as long as he leads people to Christ.Why do we want to tell Christians to agree to be poor,suffer and not teach them to be successful in this life.Of all people as a church minister you shouldn't judge other leave it to God to judge.

mrclm said...

No hate. I don't have a hatred toward either man. But discernment, yes. I do wish both men were more Biblical in their approaches, especially Osteen who is a pastor. As the comparison shows, Osteen's material does not look any different than the guy who is not trying to make his stuff Christian (Robbins). If you cannot discern between what a pastor is producing, and what a motivational speaking is producing, there is a problem. We MUST preach Christ. The Bible, beginning to end, is about Christ. Osteen misses that, or at least he chooses to ignore that.