Thursday, December 27, 2007

Become a better Mormon, Joel?


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)


GeneMBridges said...

Quick spelling correction: I think you mean DesERET Books, not Desert Books.

Brenda said...

Speaking of Deseret Book stores. They never sell anti-(insert name of any church) trash. Can you say that about all Christian book stores?

johnMark said...

Gene, thanks I corrected it.

Brenda, as far as I understand it, I can actually say that I've not seen any books like that at Christian bookstores.


Brenda said...

I 've seen it. However it's been quite a while since I've been in one. Hopefully it was an isolated incident.

"the popular personal growth programs written and promoted by Stephen R. Covey are meant to subtly promote his Mormon beliefs"

Mormon beliefs are very uplifting and helpful towards achieving success in life. Maybe people too often reject something of real value, because they can't get past the "Mormon" label.

Shawnie said...

JohnMark, I am surprised you have never seen ANY "anti" religions books in a Christian bookstore. I googled Christian Bookstore and at the first wedsite, I searched for Mormon and got 63 books - only one was (co)written by a Mormon (How Wide the Divide). Not one was published by Deseret Book (the largest LDS publisher). All the rest were anti-mormon books.

If you wanted to learn about Islam, would you expect to get a fair perspective from a Christian author, or would you at least include books written by Muslims?

Unfortunately, most Christians ONLY have access to anti-Mormon books, and have no balanced sources of information.

Christian bookstores even blacklist Mormon singers - even if their lyrics are unobjectionable. If they were at all fair, they would face the same consequences as Joel Osteen and be put out of business.

Mormons are often called a cult - but these kinds of actions seem more cultish than anything Mormons actually commit.