The Gospel according to Joel and Victoria Osteen – Another Gospel but Mohler does not get its origins right
Albert Mohler has written a very good, if not in a hurry, piece about Victoria Osteen’s comments about not doing things for God but for us:
I am with Mohler with his critique, that you can find on his page,
But Mohler seems to be suffering himself of mental amnesia. He blames the Prosperity Gospel heresy (which it is) on Pentescostalism:
Judged in theological terms, the Osteen message is the latest and slickest version of Prosperity Theology. That American heresy has now spread throughout much of the world, but it began in the context of American Pentecostalism in the early twentieth century.
I am aware of Mohler’s disdain for Pentecostalism and anything charismatic. But to go not far enough to trace the roots of the prosperity Gospel is very selective of him.
I would like to remind him (if he ever reads this) that she should look two centuries before (although we could go all the way back to the founding of the North American colonies by the British), but I would like to mention something that would be more familiar to him. The Slavery in the South by “pious” Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and the like in the South of the USA during the 18-19 centuries.
All of these streams of Christianity believed in the American dream, for wealth and prosperity. It’s even engraved in the American Declaration of Independence:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
This is what the Southern Plantation owners believed, and practiced by slaving fellow human beings. So if Mohler wants to point the finger to the origin of Prosperity Gospel, well, he has his own backyard to deal with. I don’t deny that lately, from the 50’s on, it is certain branches of Pentecostalism that took over the spread of this American heresy, but Mohler deals in historical deconstructionism if he doesn’t see the real origin, and promoters of such a heresy.
So yes, America deserves the Osteens, they are part and fabric of the American project, but Mohler, as in the case of inerrancy, chooses to ignore the entirety of history, and picks on the usual suspects. I am sorry, but Mohler’s cultural blindness is seen much to often, and you pick it up if you, like me, listen to him on his daily show, The Briefing.