Our friends Steve Camp and James White has recently pointed out Joel Osteen's answer to whether or not a Mormon is a true Christian. They've documented and said what needs to be said on the topic. The transcript reads as follows:
WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I've got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that's what I believe, so, you know, I'm not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don't think he would - anything would stop me from voting for him if that's what I felt like.
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
OSTEEN: I probably don't get hung up in them because I haven't really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don't know.
I certainly can't say that I agree with everything that I've heard about it, but from what I've heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that's a common bond.
Another warning though as to the dangers Osteen represents in this new ecumenism is that the Mormon bookseller Deseret Book is selling Osteen's book Become a Better You. Someone might make the inference that Osteen has an ulterior motive in answering the Mormon as Christians question so that his book will sell more copies. I don't think this is the case. As he states in the interview he hasn't really studied the theological issues. This makes Osteen's influence even more dangerous, in my mind, as it gives even more credence to Mormonism to the thousands that listen to him. I imagine that for the Mormons this could open a whole new dialogue starter for their evangelism.
Along the same lines many may not know the history behind Mormon author, Stephen Covey's best selling book either. As Bill Gordon points out in his article 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Mormon, Stephen Covey.
It may come as a surprise to many Christians, but the popular personal growth programs written and promoted by Stephen R. Covey are meant to subtly promote his Mormon beliefs. Ironically, one of the reasons his materials, such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, are so popular among Christian leaders is because they give a prominent place to spirituality in personal growth.
Maybe Osteen feels like he's in good company since Desert Book also sells Hugh Hewitt's book.
(HT: Todd Wood)