There’s no doubting televangelist Joel Osteen’s appeal to millions of Christians. The senior pastor of the largest Protestant church in the US, Osteen’s televised sermons are seen by more than 20 million viewers monthly in more than 100 countries, and he has written five New York Times bestselling books.
The Texas-based preacher has been lauded for touting God’s love for humanity, efforts to inspire others to overcome personal setbacks and emphasis on the need for mission and purpose in life.
Similarly, Osteen has been criticized for his simplistic black-and-white thinking, being a theological lightweight and applying Scripture out of context.
While I generally keep my distance from televangelists and megachurches, I will also readily admit to not being able to see into the hearts of others.
I can’t determine, in this case, whether Osteen is a well-intentioned individual who is doing his best, and has very likely provided solace to a significant number of people, or if he is part preacher, part carnival barker who has used his ability in the pulpit to enrich himself.
That said, there are many theologically savvy types who have had a field day picking apart Osteen’s teachings. Among them is the individual who created this imaginary back and forth between Osteen and 16th century Protestant reformer and noted killjoy Martin Luther.
While the twitter conversation is, of course, imagined, both Osteen’s and Luther’s quotes are taken from the respective religious figures’ various sayings and/or writings.
Luther, not remembered as a light and fluffy sort, would probably have had Osteen burned at the stake after sitting through just a few minutes of one of the latter’s feel-good services.