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Thursday, 23 July 2015

A Faith Of One's Own

My girlfriend, Jeanille, is a big fan of the messages of Joel Osteen and as I mentioned yesterday that I was watching one of his messages that she shared: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtwX3xJl-pI
It struck me today that there is more I wish to talk about to do with the idea of Christians who judge him and other famous pastors or preachers. First let me bring to you the idea of how you truly recognise false prophets which Joel Osteen has been accused of being. It's found in Matthew 7:16 "By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" Now I don't know about you, but a church full of people coming to God in one form or another and worshipping Him seems like the fruit of someone serving God. Someone else said it better in this post about why Joel Osteen has been successful: http://www.charismanews.com/us/40377-the-joel-osteen-most-people-don-t-know

Now I'm not standing here to write a defence of Joel Osteen, or any famous pastor for that matter, in fact I'm actually sitting down as I type this. But I am typing an argument to Christians and exhorting them to stop judging fellow believers because you don't believe they are, essentially, Christian enough. William Booth said this: "The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell." However, I would also say that another danger is that we as the Church become so distracted by our bickering over differences and 'who is right or wrong' that we forget what our real call is to do: go and make disciples. Essentially, making disciples - teaching others about the good news of salvation and following Jesus as Lord is really a part of the essential reason we were created; to worship God. 

I'm not saying that you should go the other way and essentially believe everything that people like Joel Osteen say. In fact I would discourage it. I simply believe that he, as part of the body, has his own way of spreading the gospel. Maybe we should spend less time looking at and judging the faith of others and more time on what we ourselves believe. 

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:10-12 " ..10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known."

When I was a child my faith was based on what my parents believed. As I grew up into a man I developed my own faith and relationship with Jesus Christ and that gives me revelations on particular topics and ideas that others may not see. Not better revelations or more perfect revelations (I still only know in part) but they are my own revelations. My encouragement is that we can all continue to grow up and think like adults, developing our own faith and relationships with Christ. And while that happens let's not judge what God is doing through someone else, unless the fruit of that is opposite to what God's word states.