I just watched the "60 Minutes" piece on Joel Osteen, & it wasn't quite what I expected. I figured a puff piece on America's premiere purveyor of soft serve Christianity was in order from the left-leaning media. While they did allow him to present his view extensively, they also allowed Westminster Seminary a rebuttal. But my favorite point was made by the CBS correspondent as he walked Osteen's stage & queried what the pastor termed the piece of furniture he gave his sermons from. Osteen said he called it a podium, the reporter stated many preachers would call it a pulpit, & asked if Osteen thought that was "old-school" terminology. The pastor wouldn't respond to that, but reaffirmed his thought that it should be called a podium.
Charles Spurgeon preached from a pulpit. The word speaks to a place where a hard, but needed message is spoken from. Even in the secular, the term infers a place where a difficult, hard to swallow truth is spoken- hence the President's "bully pulpit".Sometimes the most insidious message is the not the one explicitly teaching falsehoods, but the one with a misplaced focus on minor issues, therein overshadowing the major issues. We don’t see anything contrary to God’s Word taught, so we relax & take in what is taught as good & right. But before we get comfortable we should step back & judge what seems to be the aim of the ministry- empowering “your best life now”- then we should see the incongruity of this ministry with Jesus’ ministry. Oftentimes, even as the Savior met peoples’ most obvious, apparent, & present needs, He would overshadow these needs by majoring on their deepest need- for a Savior to rescue them from judgment for their sin. Clearly, Jesus saw the the paralytic’s faith in Christ, but did not regard his infirmity as his fundamental lack, as the first thing He said to him was “Man, your sins are forgiven you" (Luke 5:20).
Thus, the danger of the subtle lie. The Gospel should not be reduced to one line at the end of a message. The Gospel should be the message.
I praise God that despite the masses & their itching ears desiring a podium, God has still seen fit to provide this country with plenty of firmly ensconced "old school" pulpits & truly caring pastors to serve behind them.
And I pray that all the elect of God seated comfortably before podiums would escape the snare of the "peaches & cream" messenger.