Al Mohler and Joel Osteen
Dr. Al Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary recently commented on the ministry of Joel Osteen. Dr. Mohler asks, "Would anyone watching his television program, or sitting in his vast church facility, hear in Mr. Osteen's message a clear and undiluted message of Gospel proclamation?"
Seeing that he is a seminary president, I am glad that Dr. Mohler is concerned about truth. However, in my article, Southern Baptist seminary professor affirms "regeneration before faith" heterodoxy, I asked why Dr. Mohler would hire someone who teaches contrary to the truth of what most Southern Baptists believe. Dr. Mohler has no problem with his seminary professors teaching the strange doctrine that a person can be born again before they believe in Jesus Christ, yet he appears to be very concerned about Joel Osteen's ministry. Go figure.
I will be the first to say I do not know a great deal about Brother Joel. I have not watched him very much on TV, and I have not read his book. But Brother Bob Ross has, and he has some comments about why Dr. Mohler is questioning Brother Joel's ministry.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>MOHLER MULLS MESSAGE OF MY MAIN MINISTER ON SUNDAY A.M. -- JOEL OSTEEN OF LAKEWOOD CHURCH IN HOUSTON [04/06/06]
Paradoxically, I share with my good friend and acquaintence, Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky a concern about a certain well-known broadcaster' s message. Dr. Mohler loves Spurgeon, and when he was a Baptist editor in Georgia several years ago, we cooperated with Dr. Mohler and help him obtain an entire set of Spurgeon's sermons. I have met and heard him speak since then, when we were both at a Spurgeon Conference in Liberty, Missouri at William Jewell College.
However, Dr. Mohler's concern and my concern are not about the same man. Dr. Mohler is concerned about my favorite Sunday morning TV preacher, Joel Osteen. My concern is about Dr. Mohler's favorite "Family man," Dr. James Dobson. Both Joel and James are broadcasters and have large listening audiences.
Dr. Mohler is on the Board of Focus on the Family, headed by Dr. Dobson. Unless I have been totally misinformed, Dr. Dobson is a Nazarene. If he is a loyal member of the Nazarene Church for which his father was a minister, he believes in the theology known as "Arminianism" -- Five Point Arminianism -- perhaps even "Pelagianism" in some respects. Some hae been known to even accuse the Nazarene Church of advocating a form of "salvation by works."
Dr. Dobson, as a loyal Nazarene church member, would of course believe in the highly debatable theory of "Entire Sanctification," a rather peculiar notion long held by his church, which they refer to as a "Second Work of Grace," or as some call it, "Sinless Perfection," the "Eradication of the old Adamic Nature."
I have a book in front of me now entitled, "The Second Work of Grace," edited and compiled years ago by Nazarene leader, Dr. D. Shelby Corlett. It was published by the Nazarene Publishing House in 1950. It contains quite a number of individual articles by several Nazarene ministers expounding this theme. The Foreword of the book says:
"The distinguishing doctrine of the Church of the Nazarene is the Wesleyan teaching of ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION as a SECOND WORK OF GRACE" (page 7).
This "second work" supposedly is necessary to make one "holy" and to prevent a believer from having "a sinning religion." Supposedly, the "carnal nature" is destroyed to facilitate this "holiness" in life.
I was raised in the same city as Dr. William ("Billy") Greathouse -- Jackson, Tennessee -- and I was somewhat enabled to pass Algebra and Geometry at Jackson High because I sat next to "Charlie" Greathouse, "Billy's" brother. "Charlie" has a genius IQ, and he hardly needed to "crack a book." He would sometimes snicker at me because I had wrinkles in my brow, struggling with the "theorems" and other such items in class. But due to his wisdom, I was often helped to understand the subject and get by.
I knew William Greathouse later on when he became a Nazarene leader, and I visited him when he was President of the Nazarene Seminary in Kansas City. At my request, he wrote an article of us to use on a jacket of Spurgeon's sermons letting Nazarenes know what a great Nazarene preacher thought about Spurgeon's sermons.
I was also a personal acquaintance and friend of the late Dr. L. B. Hicks, Pastor of the Nazarene Church in Ashland, Kentucky where I once lived. A young R. T. Kendall was converted to Christ at this church, as I recall. After I came to Texas in late 1966, Dr. Hicks also came to hold a big Nazarene evangelistic meeting in Houston at one of Houston's largest auditoriums at that time, and I attended the meeting. Before Dr. Hicks preached to the large crowd that evening, he had me standup and be recognized as his "Baptist friend from Kentucky who had recently moved to Texas."
I say these things to simply say that I know whereof I speak about Nazarenes. I have known them personally and I have read some of the writings. They believe in the "second work of grace," "entire sanctification," and the cleansing or eradication of the old Adamic nature. They also believe one can "fall from grace" and lose his salvation. They are disciples of Wesleyan theology.
I do not believe that Dr. Mohler shares their views. I do not believe he shares the idea that there is a "second work of grace" by which the old Adamic nature is eradicated. I do not believe he approves of the doctrine of "falling from grace." I do not believe he approves of their Arminian system of theology.
But nevertheless, he obviously has no qualms about Dr. James Dobson's being a Nazarene. But Dr. Mohler does seem to have qualms about JOEL OSTEEN, who is more of Baptist than anything else, coming from a Baptist preacher's home background.
Joel does not believe the "second work of grace," and he does not believe one can "lose salvation." After every sermon, Joel addresses his listeners and urges them to repent of sin, trust Jesus Christ as Savior, and get into a Bible-believing church. He has an entire page in his book, YOUR BEST LIFE NOW, presenting that same Gospel message. Millions have read it. Millions have heard it.
Dr. Mohler is correct in one sense -- Joel does not preach the "deep" theological doctrines which have become a "shibboleth" for some of the "Calvinist" or "Reformed" brethren with whom Dr. Mohler fellowships. He is not a systematic "tulip" or "five pointer" by any means. He does not advocate that one is "regenerated before faith."
I listen to Dr. Dobson quite often on the radio as I drive to work. If Dr. Dobson ever preached the Gospel on his radio program, unfortunately I missed hearing him that day. I have heard him talk about family, about politics, about conservatism, about abortion, about public schools, about his being slandered in the media, about homosexuality, erroneously about Spurgeon "losing his sons," and all sorts of things of that nature.
But I have NEVER heard Dobson preach the Gospel.
When I wake up Sunday morning, I look for Joel on TV. I at least know that at the end of his sermon, he is going to make a short but SCRIPTURAL appeal to his hearers to repent, trust Christ, be baptized, and get into a Bible-believing church.
On his website, however, Dr. Mohler has recently said about Joel:
The first question is this -- Would anyone watching his television program, or sitting in his vast church facility, hear in Mr. Osteen's message a clear and undiluted message of Gospel proclamation? Would this person have any reason, based on hearing Mr. Osteen's message, to know himself as a sinner and to understand how the cross of Christ is the only ground of his salvation? Would he come to know that Jesus the Christ is fully human and fully divine, and that He came in order that we might have everlasting life -- not just a good parking space?
You can take it from me, Dr. Mohler, a listener to Joel Osteen WILL hear such a message EVERY week. However, he might listen for years on end to Dr. James Dobson, the head of the Focus on the Family board on which you serve, and he might NEVER hear the Gospel.
And to some degree the same might even be said of your friend, R. C. Sproul, who baptizes babies on the pretext that sometime in their infant years either before, at, or after baptism they are "regenerated" by the Holy Spirit.
Joel does not baptize babies like R. C. Sproul, Dr. Mohler's friend. He does not believe that sinners get "regenerated before faith," like Dr. Tom Schreiner one of Dr. Mohler's teachers at Louisville Seminary. Neither does Joel believe in the "second work" which eradicates the old nature, as does Dobson's church, a man on whose Board Dr. Mohler serves.
Why is Dr. Mohler so greatly concerned about Joel Osteen and yet he apparently gives Dr. Dobson and Dr. Sproul a free "pass" in regard to their doctrinal diversions? Why does simple-message Joel stick in Dr. Mohler's craw to the extent that he feels compelled to denigrate Joel and yet says nothing about "sanctified" Dobson and baby-baptizer Sproul and their heresies?
True . . . Joel's message is not of the "Five Point Calvinism" variety, and he will not be using the word "TULIP" and explaining what that stands for. But Joel's message will certainly qualify as being what C. H. Spurgeon called the "ABC Gospel." And I would put this "ABC" message up against the message by Dobson or by Sproul any day!
At a London meeting at which C. H. Spurgeon presided a young minister was asked to speak. He started by saying that he was a poor speaker and all he knew was the A. B. C. Gospel.
He went on to say "A" stands for the text we should all learn first as it is the very beginning of the Gospel for every sinner--
"All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God."
"B" stands for --
"Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
"C" is --
"Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest."
At the close of the address Mr. Spurgeon, with tears streaming down his cheeks, said --
"Stick to that kind of preaching and you will be a real A. B. C."
Mr. Spurgeon meant by this, an "Able Bodied Christian."
-- Bob L. Ross