Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Monday, November 24, 2014

THE  INAUTHENTIC  OPTIMISM  OF  JOEL  OSTEEN 

AND  HIS  PREDECESSORS  --  AND  WHAT  TO  DO  

ABOUT  IT


By  Forrest  W.  Schultz 
 
     Joel Osteen's ideas and their popularity are NOT new.  Similar ideas were propounded by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, a New York City pastor, in his book titled The Power of Positive Thinking
published in 1952, which sold millions of copies because its message was so popular.  Later in the twentieth century Robert H. Schuller, pastor of the infamous Crystal Cathedral, coined the term "possibility thinking" and he acknowledged Peale's influence upon him and he had Peale (who then was in his nineties) as a guest on his television show.
 
     During the past sixty years Peale, then Schuller, and now Osteen have been the three most popular examples of this kind of thinking, which was characterized by Os Guinness in his 1973 book Dust of Death as "optimism without sufficient basis".  This inauthentic optimism has been a plague down through church history at least since the time of Pelagius, who I guess, could be regarded as Osteen's ultimate predecessor.
 
     Augustine found it easy to refute Pelagianism from Scripture BUT he was unable, due to the influence upon his thinking of evolutionist and Platonist ideas, to compose the authentic Biblical optimism to take its place.  AND this remains the situation -- most of today's Calvinists can easily refute Osteen (and Pelaginism and Arminianism) but due to the influence on their thinking of evolutionist and Platonist ideas, they are unable to articulate the authentic Biblical optimism because their understanding of the Biblical world view is very defective.  They lack the Van Til Tool, which Rushdoony used to discover and promote the Biblical creationist world view.  Without Biblical Creation and Biblical Law we will be severely hampered in efforts to learn the authentic christian world-view.  Denouncing Osteen is easy; wielding the Van Til Tool is difficult but lots of fun.
 
    Just remember that anyone can denounce evil.  Doing good takes talent!