Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Flying Pig Report and a Comment on Judgment

Well, one pig we know can fly! Mega-rich conman and professional Christian Joel Osteen gets it right in spite of himself on CNN.

Μὴ κρίνετε, ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε.
—Matthew 7:1

I heard about Piers Morgan’s roasting Kirk Cameron on his CNN show within a day of it happening; which was just over two weeks ago. I caught the video on Youtube soon after and commented on it here. Yesterday I came across a video of Piers Morgan interviewing another famous “Christian”, Joel Osteen. Once again, Morgan pulled out the kryptonite of camera-hungry preachers: The Gay Challenge.

And, once again, the professional Christian is left sounding like an auctioneer with a stutter.

My first reaction after watching the skewering was “what was Osteen thinking? Didn’t he see the Cameron interview? He should sack all of his media people.” But today, going over the video again researching for this post, I realized that the Osteen interview had taken place back in January...of 2011!

Oops! Looks like it’s Cameron who should sack all of his media people.

In any case, just like Cameron was to do a year later, Osteen cast his pearls before a swine and, just as Jesus warned it would, it turned around and bit him. Here’s the vid:

I have to say, just like Morgan, I’m extremely surprised that Osteen actually used the word “sin”. I’m doubly surprised that he used it in connection with homosexuality. If Osteen is known for anything, it’s for steering well clear of the whole sin thing—even Piers Morgan knew that about him. He’s one of the most successful prosperity preachers today because he absolutely refuses to mention sin at his church meetings. Osteen wants his punters to think about what they’re doing right (especially tithing to his church), not what they’re doing wrong. That’s where the cash is.

So, wonder of wonders, Osteen managed to admit to believing an unpalatable biblical truth: Homosexuality is a sin!

But there’s no way to talk about sin without also talking about judgment; they go hand-in-hand. So, knowing this (sinners are hyper-sensitive to judgment), Morgan accused him of judging gay people by calling them sinners and Osteen was immediately thrown. He’d been preaching to the converted so long, he’d forgotten that, to unbelievers, calling someone’s behavior sinful is the same thing as judging him. And that to then insist that pronouncing someone a sinner is not the same thing as judging them, doesn’t sound like incontrovertible wisdom, but lame hypocrisy.

To be fair to Osteen though, he’s absolutely right. A Christian calling someone a sinner is not the same as him judging that person, it’s the same as him saying he believes God is judging that person. The distinction is subtle, even to believers, and Osteen wasn’t up to explaining it.

Actually, it’s doubtful that Osteen even understands it that well. In fact, it’s doubtful that most Christians understand it that well. Many of them have been so misled by the wrong interpretation of Jesus’ words regarding judgment, that they are wary to the point of apoplexy of pronouncing any kind of judgment regarding any type of human behavior, except maybe child-molestation and smoking.

One of these misinterpreted verses is found in the Gospel of Matthew:
7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
The militant atheists love this verse, because they, like too many confused Christians, think it means we are not allowed to call anyone out on their behavior, period. But this interpretation is clearly faulty when we read in the Gospel of John that we are to judge:
7:23 Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.
What Jesus is saying is that human beings are not to judge according to their own flawed vision, but by the perspective of God as revealed in His Word. We are to use His judgment, because only His is righteous (Rom 3:9-10). Regardless of what we think or feel about someone, we are to judge them guilty or innocent according to what He has said.

When we do this, we are truly just and judging is a joy:
[It is] joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction [shall be] to the workers of iniquity.
(Proverbs 21:15)
Of course, unbelievers will call that a cop-out. They’ll say it’s just our way of rationalizing away our hatred of gay people (or whomever), because, like I mentioned in my Cameron post, they just can’t understand spiritual things (1 Cor 2:14); which is why I also mentioned in my Cameron post that Jesus said we aren’t to give godly wisdom to the ungodly—we are not to cast our pearls before swine.

In actual fact, our righteous judgment is to be reserved for other believers who have sinned; believers aren’t supposed to judge unbelievers at all. That is the exclusive preserve of God. As the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:
12For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
The word translated “without” is ἔξω [ekso], meaning “out of doors”. It is used figuratively in the NT for those who are outside the Household of God, or, in other words, unbelievers.

After all is said and done, then, and no matter how it pains me to say it, Osteen is right, with regards to homosexuality and his insistence that he is not to judge gay people; even though he might not know why he’s right.

Of course, we shouldn’t even know his opinions on these matters, because he’s wrong for going on TV for the purpose of increasing his fame and fortune disguised as a Christian.

All of which means that that pig in the sky is only half-flying, I guess.

P.S. Don’t ever use the unbiblical phrase about God “loving the sinner, but hating the sin”. That’s a nonsense. God hates sin and the people who practice it. It’s why they don’t fair so well on Judgment Day.
The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
(Psalm 5:5)

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