October 29, 2005

I was interviewed this week by the Detroit News looking for some criticism of mega-church pastor and TV celebrity Joel Osteen. We talked during our lunch breaks Ė me from my home and her from a restaurant. I stood by while she ordered her meal.

The reporter seemed somewhat on the defensive Ė she seemed to be a real fan of Joel Osteen. She started the interview with, "Why donít you like Joel Osteen?" I said, "Whatís not to like? Heís handsome, charming, sweet natured, and always upbeat and positive." "Then why do you criticize him?" she asked, referring to an article I wrote about him a couple of years ago for the Christian Sentinel. "Well, because he puts a spin on his messages that is not consistent with the truth of the Bible," I responded. And then I went on to explain to her that the Bible is not a self-help book for those who want to get rich and successful in this life and those who come to God for selfish carnal reasons are spiritual golddiggers. 

"But donít all preachers have their own emphasis on the Bible, focusing on one area of it and not the other?" "Not if they are being faithful to the Bibleís call to Ďdeclare the whole counsel of Godí" I told her. She sounded indignant and said, "how could he be a false teacher when masses of people appreciate him and will flock here to see him at The Palace here this week-end? Could that many people be wrong?" To which I responded, "if Joel spoke in the spirit and power of the Apostle Paul, his ratings would hit rock bottom." She chuckled nervously and said, "yeah thatís probably true."

We talked for quite a while and when her article ran in Thursday, October 27th newspaper, she didnít really do justice to what I told her. But at least she did show some criticism after glowing over him for several graphs. She also quoted Ole Anthony, the media watchdog televangelists fear most. To read the whole article you can get to it on-line at: http://tinyurl.com/dgyd6

On another note Ė a prayer request came in this week on Thursday regarding a court hearing in the case of the Local Church vs. Harvest House Publishers, John Ankerberg and John Weldon. It read in part:

"Tomorrow morning in Houston, Texas the lawyers for Harvest House Publishers are scheduled to present their oral arguments in the $136 million defamation suit filed against them by the Local Church of Witness Lee and their publishing arm, Living Stream Ministry. Please, please pray fervently that God will give them the wisdom, the power, and the grace to prevail. The stakes are so very high".

I donít know what the outcome of Fridayís court session was, but when I find out Iíll update you.

Speaking of John Weldon Ė he has announced that he is moving back to California from Hawaii this week, along with his three cats. He had been living on Maui for the past eight years. For those who might not know John Weldon, he is John Ankerbergís co-author. Their booklets published by Harvest House called "The Facts on . . ." series are handy overviews of various cult groups and spiritual deceptions such as astrology, spirit guides, the Masonic Lodge, Mormonism, Islam, and false teachings in the church.

I first met John Weldon in 1987 when I was a student and staff member at Simon Greenleaf School of Law (now Trinity University International).  I attended his Masterís thesis defense on the Nicheran Shoshu Buddhism cult. Simon Greenleaf was a Christian law school and school of apologetics founded by Lutheran apologist Dr. John Warwick Montgomery. Our teachers included the late Walter Martin (Bible-Anwer-man), Harold Lindsell (author of "Battle for the Bible), and Rod Rosenbladt (frequent guest of the White Horse Inn radio program and professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Apologetics at Concordia University-Irvine).

Please keep John Weldon in your prayers that the Lord would speed up the resolution to this lawsuit and free him up to walk mightily in his spiritual gifts for the benefit of the body of Christ.

Lord Jesus, as we see apostasy creeping into our churches and the cults spreading their nets to ensnare menís souls, please give us the wisdom and power of your Spirit to stand up for your truth. Thy Word is Truth! Give victory to your servants when lawsuits are brought against them by evil men and imposters. And give your bondservants the strength they need to walk uprightly and not fear the judgments of men. Amen!

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