Pastor Shane Idleman Advises Joel Osteen to Preach God’s Truth; Don’t Avoid Sin, Repentance

Shane Idleman
Shane Idleman

I thank God for the wonderful work that many large ministries have done over the years, but there is a very troubling trend in the evangelical church as a whole. And I believe that the pulpit is partly to blame.

Pastor Joel Osteen has been very clear many times that he doesn’t talk about hell, sin, or damnation, or anything that is hard to hear.

He recently said this in a special Easter edition of CBS Sunday Morning, “… most people are beaten down enough by life. They already feel guilty enough. They’re not doing what they should, raising their kids — we can all find reasons. So I want them to come to Lakewood or our meetings and be lifted up, to say, ‘You know what? I may not be perfect, but I’m moving forward. I’m doing better.’ And I think that motivates you to do better.”

I agree that we all need encouragement, that’s a given, but, in my opinion, most people feel beaten down because they’re not looking to the totality of God’s truth but only certain portions. The truth is often watered-down in the hope of not offending members and building a large audience. Judgment is never mentioned and repentance is rarely sought. We want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict.

This is not a letter of rebuke (I’m in no position to do that) — it’s a tear stained plea that we return fully to God’s truth … that’s the encouragement. You cannot teach on being a better parent without teaching repentance. You can’t teach on having a strong marriage without dying to self.

Pastor Joel, I don’t know much about your ministry, but it appears that your gift is motivation — please use it to motivate people to turn from sin. We don’t beat people up with the truth, but we do lovingly point them to it.

The pulpit regulates the spiritual condition of God’s people which affects the nation. A lukewarm, sex-saturated culture (and church) simply reflects the lack of conviction in the pulpit as well as the pew. Most pastors, including myself, struggle with speaking about controversial issues, but it must be done. A motivational speaker might be able to avoid the difficult truths of the Bible, but a pastor cannot.

We must preach the difficult truths as well as the joyful ones; preach the cross and the new life; preach hell and preach heaven; preach damnation and preach salvation; preach sin and preach grace; preach wrath and preach love; preach judgment and preach mercy; preach obedience and preach forgiveness; preach that God “is love,” but don’t forget that God is just. It is the love of God that compels us to share all of His truth.

Paul said to Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).

This should sound an alarm in the the heart of every preacher, pastor, and teacher to seriously reevaluate their ministry — are we encouraging sin by not warning? If so, we’re heading down a dangerous path.

I believe that we can be both loving and truthful. How can we warn if we won’t confront? How can we correct if we won’t challenge? How can we contend for the faith if we won’t question lifestyles that oppose it?

“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state” (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

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SOURCE: The Christian Post
Shane Idleman