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Joel Osteen Is a Spiritual "Midget" and other Interesting Stuff from Around the Web

I didn't say it, Joel did, and then Victoria spilled the beans to the media.  While they were dating, Victoria was quite disappointed in Joel's command (or lack thereof) of Scripture, during which time he referred to himself a "spiritual midget."  After all of his success, Victoria's now "amazed" at how much Scripture he knows.  From my perspective, I think Joel's a genius.  You gotta be pretty sharp to preach the exact same sermon every Sunday (in terms of content) and make it sound like a different sermon.  Click here: Beliefwatch: The Osteens As Spiritual Midgets | Newsweek BeliefWatch: Lisa Miller |

This article somewhat confirms something I've long thought, and which I frequently hear from mega-church refugees.  Mega-churches are quite friendly, and do a good job of promoting community--despite frequent charges to the contrary.  The reason for this is the huge paid-staff at these churches whose task it is to oversee this very thing.  The gripe with mega-churches (at least as reported to me) is the lack of any solid theological content, and the shallowness of the whole enterprise.  People tell me that mega-churches are very friendly, and that is what they found attractive about them in the first place.  Click here: Big Churches Not Always Impersonal, Study Finds -

Is she a Muslim, or is she an Episcopal Priest?  While she's perfectly content with claiming to be both, Rev. Ann Holmes Redding's diocese isn't.  You really have to cross the line to be deposed from the Episcopal church.  The most likely way to get into trouble is to embrace orthodox doctrine (and renounce Protestant liberalism).  The other way is to be an Episcopal Priest and a Muslim simultaneously.  Everything else goes.  Click here: Local News | Episcopal priest given ultimatum | Seattle Times Newspaper

Speaking of those in the Episcopal Church fighting against the rampant unbelief consuming what's left of their church, fighting the good fight of faith just might cost you your church property, and all your cash assets.  Of course, those who remain in ECUSA, think all church property and money belongs to them, even though they are the ones who have departed from the faith. Click here: After Theological Split, a Clash Over Church Assets -

Reader Comments (13)

I remember reading about "Rev. Ann Holmes Redding" at least a year ago and how she was trying to be a bridge builder. (Maybe I read it on the Riddleblog?) It's one of those stories that I shrug my shoulders, shake my head and can't figure out whether I should laugh , throw up or cry. She claims she was, "called to it", I suppose she is correct, but the question is by whom?
October 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris Sherman
From the article:
'Getting to know Islam was "like falling in love," she said. "You want to share it, you want to get on a rooftop and start shouting."'

I can imagine her sitting by the fire at Episcopal/Islam camp singing, "It only take a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around will warm up to its glowing. I'll shout it from the mountain top-- 'Praise Allah and Mohammed His Prophet!'"
October 13, 2008 | Unregistered Commentershirohniichan
But if she shouts the praises of Islam, as a woman, won't her co-religionists tell her to put her burka and and shut up?
October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDB
Willow Creek services are definitely impressive. The music is top-notch. They send the leaders in the music ministry to top rated training seminars- like those used on American idol. Bill Hybels has stated that it is his responsibility to keep "wowing" the audience to keep them coming back. Putting together the services each week must be an Herculean task. And they keep doing it on a consistent basis week in and week out. The priority is definitely on the production of the service not on the ministry of the Word of God and theology. They will unashamedly admit this too. It makes sense with the theology they adhere to. Didn't Charles Finney say exactly the same thing during the heydays of his ministry? His services were designed to attract the masses and wow the audience with supposedly supernatural manifestations. You do not see that kind of stuff at Willow Creek though. They emphasis excellence in the professionalism of the services and attract people that way. The drama that is performed there is also well done. Kind of like Saturday night live skits- with a Christian message that is somehow related to the preaching of that day. You cannot pull that off without actor type wanna bees- they train them well too.

The message is usually a simple salvation message with not much theological depth. They supposedly say the Wednesday services get into more deeper theological realms but they never delve that deeply into controversial theological topics. You never get a comparison of different theological systems and perspectives. Although John Ortberg who has written many books and used to be the "theology guy" there did a pretty thorough job in a series on eschatology. He came off as a amillenialist too and really hammered Tim Lehaye and the left behind series. Although he might have been more postmillenial then amillenial. It was a while back and I am not very well versed on the different eschatological views.

My brother who has been an active member at Willow Creek for many years just told me that all of the "theology guys" have left Wilow and Bill Hybels has taken over the senior Pastor leadership role there again. He claims it was kept hush hush too. So, even he is mystified about what happened.

They also do a lot of interview type services with famous Christian celebrities. They did one with Kurt Warner the now Arizona Cardinals quarterback. Mike Singletarry (sp?) the former Chicago Bear middle linebacker and close friend of Bill Hybels was also interviewed during a service. As was the former tennis star turned nun and cancer ranch retreat center for kids newly diagnosed with terminal cancer owner and operator. Her name now escapes me. The lady whose husband died on the plane heroically that was supposed to be targeted for the White House during 9/11 was another interview. Bill Hybels puts on his Larry King live hat during these extravaganza's. He is obviously well trained for interviews- probably with the help of a top notch journalist.
October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
I have to make one more comment about the Willow Creek services. I used to go there fairly frequently but never became a member. I remember I used to watch Bill Hybels very closely during the services. He would always walk in right when the services started with a cup of coffee in his hand and sit in the right hand corner on the first row in front of the stage. It must have been very satisfying for him to watch all the work of the week unfold in front him and you could see the gloating look on his face. It probably was like producing a work of art or a fine piece of furniture and then getting the satisfaction of watching it unfold. It has to be very addicting to produce this kind of production. It used to remind me of that guy who started Saturday Night Live and the interviews I used to see him on.

I was reading David Wells books at the time- which I have devoured about three times and marveled how the world has infected the work of the Church. I think Wilow Creek would die if something happened to Bill Hybels.
October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
They also collect unbelievable amounts of cash each week to keep the machine running- amazing.
October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
I keep thinking of things to say- this should be the last comment though. When I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan I occasionally went to Mars Hill Church where Rob Bell is the Pastor. He is a very engaging speaker with a lot more theological depth than Hybels. During the mid-week service Pastor Bell would run a series called the Aureopogus (sp?) and talked about theological controversies going on in the Church. They would go into depth about the different theological systems and were well worth attending.

I also saw Rob Bell speak at Willow Creek. I think he draws a lot from N.T. Wright and the new perspective on Paul. I know he attended Fuller theological seminary but there is a lot of different theological perspectives represented at that seminary. Rob is considered one of the leading lights in the emerging Church movement is he not? I have found that He and Tony Jones are worth listening to in order to keep up on what is going on in the emerging movement.
October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
"From my perspective, I think Joel's a genius. You gotta be pretty sharp to preach the exact same sermon every Sunday (in terms of content) and make it sound like a different sermon."

I agree, on the one hand, I find myself disgusted by what Joel's preaching, but on the other hand, it is amazing how he works in the same basic elements every Sunday. I find myself similarly amazed with your average evangelical topical preacher. I typically detest the content of what it is that they preach, while at the same time being a little amazed that they can pull it off each week. If I were to try to preach topically, I think I would waste about 39.5 hours each week trying to decide what it is I'm going to preach about (although, maybe that's why their sermons are so shallow, since they only spend 30 minutes on the actual content of the sermon).

October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick
The Episcopal story does not surprise me. The Anglican Church I attended tasted pluralistic and the preaching was humanistic not Christ centered.
October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRana
From the article:
‘The Baylor researchers found that megachurches tend to be more evangelical than small churches.
And eight in 10 megachurch worshipers believe that the Rapture -- when followers of Jesus Christ believe they will be taken to heaven -- will "absolutely" take place, compared with less than half of those who attend small churches.’

I don't follow, how is dispensationalism evangelical. I hear much more of the Gospel in my small covenantal Presbyterian Church than I did in the Baptist dispensational church of my youth.

Also the ellipses quote believing in hell as 'evangelical'; has the term 'evangelical' so lost meaning that it is no longer associated with the Gospel. I guess the emphasis has been lost on the life and death of Jesus as the Gospel
October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterC T Hall
What it basically comes down to in regards to the mega-Churches is that they really do not trust that the Word of God when rightly and accurately expounded can accomplish God's purposes. They develop any number of man made schemes and programs to replace the active nature of the Word of God.
October 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
Is not that a breaking of the first commandment and basically constructing idols in place of the Words of God?
October 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Yeazel
"Is she a Muslim, or is she an Episcopal Priest? While she's perfectly content with claiming to be both, Rev. Ann Holmes Redding's diocese isn't. "

-Maybe she'll cut off her own head?
October 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterD. Flood

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