Friday, August 15, 2008

Osteen's Best Life Includes Courtroom Dramas

Joel Osteen's wife, Victoria, was acquitted yesterday after becoming embroiled in a case of alleged assault on an airline attendant. The attendant, Sharon Brown, sued the Osteens for $405,000.00 for pain, suffering, and punitive damages, claiming that Victoria shoved her and elbowed her in the breast when there was a delay in cleaning up a spill on her seat. She also claimed that the harm caused her by Mrs. Osteen resulted in her "losing her faith." The Osteens claimed that it was Miss Brown who became agitated and threatening when Victoria asked for help.

While it is tempting to run to wild speculation for or against either party, we who were not involved cannot pass a judgment on the situation. What we can say is that whether or not Mrs. Osteen did anything wrong in the situation, there have been numerous biblical mandates and considerations that were ignored before and after the incident occurred.

First, in pursuit of their best life now, Joel and Victoria have amassed considerable wealth. This is a wretched practice for Christians, often practiced by certain Pentecostals who have espoused what has become called the "name-it-and-claim-it" movement. This theology looks at certain key verses (esp. Matt. 6:33, Matt. 7:7-8, Matt. 18:18-19) which are taken out of context and then applied to the rest of Scripture. This is "supported" with a flawed and modern expression of the Mosaic Law in which God would bless Israel's obedience with physical blessings. Yet these people forget James 4:1-10! They also forget that the blessings to Israel under the Law, and the blessings to Christians under grace are not for mere personal enjoyment. They are given to make the nations envious and bring them to repentance and faith.

Scripture has certainly taught us about how we should view, use, and spend our money. In fact Scripture teaches plainly on money more than on any other subject. Here are a few references that are appropriate to the situation (Psalm 39:6; Prov. 13:8, 15:16, 22:1, 27:23-24, 30:7-9; Eccl. 5:10; Matt. 19:24; Jam. 5:1-5). Especially telling are Proverbs 13:8, "A man's riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat," and Proverbs 15:16, "Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil." We can plainly see that the exorbitant amount that Miss Brown sued for was monetarily motivated. If the Osteens did not have the wealth they did, and the situation was unavoidable, the lawsuit would not have been for so much. Here wealth has brought trouble.

Second, the Osteens have been heard praising God in the court room for the acquittal and expressing interest in putting the situation behind them. This seems at odds with Scriptural mandates on serving as a witness to God and saving faith in him. I guess the best life does not include perceived sin, accountability concerning their money and their actions, or taking opportunities like this one to proclaim the Gospel and share Christ's compassion with an admittedly lost woman. The Osteens seem to be more interested in their image than in the Gospel. Why did they not follow Matt. 5:23-26, reconciling with Miss Brown? While this viewpoint may be inordinately harsh, a question remains: what sort of life is this best life, and what does it have to do with God?

1 comment:

Santini said...

Hey men what's up it's santini!
Send me an email when you have time.
You won't believe where I am.