Friday, February 4, 2011

Who Are We Thinking Like?

How wise it is be always prepared.

Nowhere has this been more apparent recently than in the unfortunate, if notable, interview of mega-minister Joel Osteen by newly transplanted CNN host, Piers Morgan. One can only hope that Mr. Osteen and his lovely wife knew what they were walking into when they accepted this national interview…and with whom they were dealing.

If they weren’t, they have underestimated the value of being prepared and of making every effort to redeem a media opportunity to proclaim truth.

As Albert Mohler so cogently explained in his recent Crosswalk column, [], Mr. Morgan’s direct question as to whether his guest considers homosexuality a sin, constituted the “Osteen Moment”. That is, when boxed into a corner on a provocative issue by a persistent interviewer, Osteen had no viable choice but to give a straightforward answer. And on that answer hung his reputation as a biblical believer or a mere happy-talker.

Fortunately, Osteen did not fail this test, and asserted that,” Yes, I've always believed, Piers, the Scripture shows that homosexuality it's a sin.” To no one’s astonishment, this statement elicited much media-hyped controversy. And why controversial? Because, up to now, Osteen has carefully navigated around positions that can be construed as “negative”. He prefers to emphasize “the positives in life.”
That’s what people want to hear, afterall; who wants to be faced with that pesky issue of personal sin?

How much better for a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which Osteen claims to be, to simply align himself with God’s perspective? Isn’t that what the believer’s life is about, in essence? God is. We agree with what God says about our sin, our broken relationship with Him, and our need to do something about it. And, best of all, the good news of the Gospel: a word which derives from the Old English gōd-spell meaning "good news" or "glad tidings".

This is a matter which we all make a choice about, even if by default in not answering…and there are consequences any way you slice it. There’s also the inevitability of our coming appointments with God at the threshold of eternity…appointments that no one can opt out of, afterall.

This recasts the question to what it is ultimately about: what does God think? Oh, Him…well, He’s not really part of this interview…the CNN producers didn’t set things up with His people.

But, like it or not, the question of homosexuality is a moral one. We, in fact, live in a world of axiomatic moral order. If this were not the case, there would be no basis for judging—yes, Piers, we all make judgments—right from wrong. And any honest person must acknowledge that there is a difference. What are lawsuits about, if no one believes he has been wronged? And from where does that moral sense derive? From God Himself.

The other disappointing aspect of this interview is that the persistent Morgan, who is unabashedly interested in his ratings first and foremost, had such an easy time of it. It may be nearly impossible to gain the upper hand with an interviewer who ostensibly has not the slightest interest in spiritual reality. But let’s at least draw the real lines of the argument. A wise and shrewd believer--one who is prepared--can certainly put up a better fight. He can drill down to the actual issue and frame it accurately: this is matter of human opinion v. God’s revealed truth. Any interviewer’s attempt to negate this fact does not change the Truth, and if they insist on their position, we must respectfully disagree.

If I had the temerity to advise Mr. Osteen, I might suggest the following:
“Thank you for asking, Piers. In answering your question, I have to make it clear that I align my position with God’s . I agree with Him. I honestly can’t answer your question in any other context. Who better, Piers, to agree with than God Himself? As for Elton John, whom you asked me about, and any others living as homosexuals, their argument isn’t with me. It’s ultimately with the God who loves them more than they can understand.”

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