Prosperity Minister Joel Olsteen is nothing short of a phenomenon. His ministry is huge and gets “huger” by the second.
Preaching prosperity is a profitable enterprise. Profit isn’t a bad thing. Still, this brand of preaching, this message selectively interprets Gospel. While not unusual in that regard: many ministries emphasize a certain aspect or aspects of the Bible while ignoring or minimizing others, the “prosperity” message is seductive and to me, in terms of what I understand of Christ’s teachings,superficial–if not an outright distortion.
While a practicing Catholic, I nevertheless resist absolutes about gospel, dogma and faith. I believe what I believe and most of it lines up with my church. Because I believe in an afterlife, a supreme deity and for me, Christ, I want to be right but it’s strictly a matter of faith. One thing I do believe, though, is if a religious leader preaches to a packed stadium, (and in this, I must include the Pope, sorry,) I’m going to be a little suspicious. How many attended the Sermon on the Mount? That to me seems like a decent yardstick. Anything more than that’s just clever marketing.
Polycarp over at The Church of Jesus Christ posted this clip featuring Mark Driscoll, which addresses my differences with Mr. Olsteen far better and more comprehensively than I ever could. If you’ve ever watched or listened to Mr. Olsteen, you may find it interesting.