A real Christian pastor took Joel Osteen to the woodshed on Thursday for his un-Christian behavior toward the people of Houston during historic flooding.
Rather than open up his megachurch to those in need of shelter, Osteen shut the doors in their faces and claimed that he had to close it due to flooding .
Except that his church had not been flooded at all and was accessible .
If you don’t know who Osteen is, he is a “prosperity gospel” pastor who preaches that if congregants make him rich they will be rewarded with trickle-down wealth from God.
That’s why Osteen lives in a lavish mansion and has more money than most people will ever see in their lifetimes, especially Osteen’s congregants since they are giving him their money in the hope that they can also be rich someday.
But Osteen only offered religious platitudes instead of shelter when his congregants needed help the most after Hurricane Harvey flooded Houston and caused tremendous devastation and loss.
After waves of criticism, Osteen seemed to blame the city of Houston for not asking him to open the doors of his Lakewood Church to those in need. But that doesn’t fly at all. Osteen should have immediately volunteered his 16,000 seat church as a shelter before the storm even hit. That’s what real Christian leaders like John Pavlovitz would have done.
Pastor Pavlovitz leads the North Raleigh Community Church in North Carolina. In an open letter published on Thursday, Pavlovitz called out Osteen for being a greedy self-serving fake Christian.
“Over the past few days you’ve faced an unrelenting wave of Internet shaming, and you’ve experienced the wrath of millions of people who watched the week unfold and determined they were witnessing in you and your megachurch’s response to the hurricane—everything they believe is wrong about organized Christianity; its self-serving greed, its callousness, its tone-deafness in the face of a hurting multitude, its lack of something that looks like Jesus,” Pavlovitz began.
Pavlovitz pointed out that local Muslim mosques opened their doors immediately to those in need as Osteen waited and proceeded to rip the wealthy televangelist for not following the example of Jesus.
They witnessed with disgust what they deemed as your late and underwhelming act of kindness performed under duress. They raged at your excuse that Houston didn’t ask you to receive victims—because (whether Christian or not) they realized that Jesus’ life was marked by an overflow of generosity and compassion and sacrifice that rarely required official invitation.”
Pavlovitz then explained to Osteen why he deserved the criticism and the anger.
For quite a while, Pastor, many people have rightly concluded that the kind of opulence you sit nestled in no way resembles the homeless, itinerant street preacher Jesus who relied on the goodness of ordinary people to provide his daily needs. They rightly recognized that mansions are not places that servant leaders emulating this humble, foot-washing Jesus occupy. They correctly saw the massive chasm between the ever-grinning, your ship is coming in, name it and claim it prosperity promise that is your bread and butter—and the difficult, painful, sacrificial “you will have trouble” life that Jesus and those who followed him lived in the Gospels.
They also see the great disparity between your coddled, cozy, stock photo existence—and the sleep-deprived, paycheck to paycheck, perpetually behind struggle that is their daily life.”
The letter concluded by reminding Osteen that he shouldn’t have required an invitation to help people who are suffering. His alleged religious beliefs should have prompted him into immediate service of his fellow human beings.
Joel Osteen revealed himself as the fraud he is this week. All it took was a natural disaster to make people wake up to the fact that Osteen is more interested in enriching himself than he is in practicing what he preaches. Instead of donating to his church, people should donate to charities and emergency organizations from now on. Because it is clear that Osteen is more interested in using people’s hard-earned money to help himself than he is in using it to help others.
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