More dross from the Osteens
October 26, 2008
Lisa Miller has posted some insightful comments on Victoria Osteen's new book "Love Your Life."
Prosperity preachers are neither new nor unique in America, but the Osteens' version seems especially self-serving. Victoria's book betrays her interest in the kind of small gratifications that rarely extend to other people, let alone to the larger world. She recommends that women take "me time" every day, and indulge occasionally in a (fat-free!) ice cream. She writes repeatedly about her love for the gym. Her relationship advice is retrograde dross: submit to your man, or at least pretend you're submitting, and then do what you want anyway. "I know if I just wait long enough," she writes, "eventually my idea will become Joel's idea, and it will come to pass." When I asked her how she kept her two children interested in church, she answered that even though they were a broccoli and lean-meats household, she gave them doughnuts as a special treat on Sundays. All this is fine, in the pages of a women's magazine or a self-help book. But what has God got to do with it?
It should capture the attention of Christians, particularly pastors to read a secular journal which appears to have better theology and discernment than much of the Christian publishing industry and many regular church attendees.
Miller rightly identifies the "small gratifications" in which the Osteens and other prosperity preachers engage. Theirs is a narcisistic message. Even the title of Mrs. Osteen's book puts her at odds with the apostle Paul who, rather than loving his life declared to the Ephesian edlers, "However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." To the Philippians he wrote, "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (3:8).
You can read Lisa Miller's entire article HERE.