Ed Stetzer? The same guy who writes for the most disgraceful fake Christian website today in Charisma News? His talking point here is what is known as a strawman argument. It is used by people who realize their weakened position in the discussion. The issue is not about hating Joel Osteen. I hate that he preaches a false gospel that is leading people to hell but I do not know him personally. He seems like a nice guy who may perfectly well not understand what he is doing. I also might add here that if he had simply come out on Monday and said, wow we could have handled this better then that would have been enough for me. Anyone can make errors in planning and decision making. Instead he did not plan to help anyone even though everyone knew on Wednesday that Houston was going to get creamed. On Saturday he cancels services. On Sunday he claims flooding that was proven to not be true and directs people to other shelters. On Monday he tries to blame everything but himself including the city not asking him. Like they asked all of the places that served as shelters. On Tuesday he relents and says that Lakewood would help people -- after all the other shelters were full. These are the facts beloved. They are not in dispute. If you wish to defend that more power to you but I cannot. Our difference I bet is more a case of your idolization of the cult of personality than some imaginary "hate" I hold for Osteen. By the way, the point of rebuke is not only to correct. It can also be to expose. To mark those who teach falsely.
"Rebuke or Revenge? Consider the effect that social-media shaming has on the lives of those who receive our scorn. Is our zeal for truth fueled by personal contempt or love for their eternal soul? Technology makes it easy to lose sight of the image-bearer we're addressing. Rather than creating a sorrow that leads to repentance, our public rebuke can generate shame, which leads to despair." -- Gaye Clark
Love for their eternal soul? Where is the love for the eternal souls who died in the hurricane or were displaced for what likely will be months and years? This is the horrific double standard always employed by defenders of false teachers. They are ultimately concerned about one wolf instead of the all the bloody sheep lying at his feet. The Bible does not instruct me to play with wolves. It does not instruct me to pet them, take them in, or even pray for them. Say what preacher? We really need to understand our Bibles better. God, who sees all time, penned the key verses through the Apostle Peter about false teachers. They are unthinking animals. They scoff at things they do not understand. They will be destroyed. Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done! Never lose sight of the harm they do! They are a disgrace and a stain among you! They delight in deception even as they eat with you. They commit adultery with their eyes. They lure unstable people into sin, are well trained in greed, and are under God's curse. Earlier in this chapter God says that He condemned them long ago. Not one word about praying for them. Not one word about worrying about their eternal souls. This may seem like a hard word but that is only if you have taken your eyes off of the sheep. The public shaming of Joel Osteen was deserved and resulted in appropriate shame which finally led him to do something right in this situation.
"Scott Sauls expresses this point well: As a Christian who is active on social media, I often remind myself that each image-bearing name is sacred. The ninth commandment, which warns against bearing false testimony of any kind about one's neighbor, must remain in the forefront. I must remove all negative caricature--the exaggeration of someone's worst features and the censoring out of her or his best ones--from my words, both spoken and written. It is unChristian to bless God while cursing a person with a soul." -- Gaye Clark
Wow, that sounds so pious. Too bad it is not biblical too. First of all it is utter hyperbole. It is exaggeration for the sake of defending someone who does not deserve our defense. No one "cursed" Joel Osteen, well except God according to the key verses. There is also nothing false about the accusations leveled at Osteen. Let me be clear. If there were I would openly rebuke them. Let me give you a practical example. Last year Victoria Osteen said during a sermon that we do not worship God for Him but rather for ourselves. It was a horrible statement of pure narcissism but I did not write about it. I wanted to give her time to reflect on it and clean up the point she was trying to make. I assumed the best. A week later she came out and doubled down on her heretical statement and Joel stood there nodding his head in agreement. That was when I wrote about it. This is about the truth and what is most unchristian is siding with someone who is false in general and false in the situation you are defending them in. Clark and Sauls seem very concerned about how Joel might feel when he reads the criticisms but not a word about the countless thousands who watched Osteen close his church and then lie about why. The lost who now will never give the Gospel a chance because of the witness Osteen and his defenders provided during one of the worst natural disasters of their lifetimes.
"Christians wouldn't murder someone they disagree with in the name of standing for the truth. Yet some believers use social media to assassinate an individual's character, going far beyond the critique of a specific action or words. As James writes, "From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so" (James 3:10). How often do we read of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation due to being confronted and shamed on social media? And if someone does publicly repent, how likely will those on social media receive them back? As Sauls points out, "Apologies don't make good stories, do they? They aren't as tweetable." -- Gaye Clark
Murder someone? Seriously? How much hyperbole and ridiculous exaggeration do we have to endure? Osteen did not suffer character assassination beloved. He was rightly criticized for how he handled the hurricane situation in which his church resides. Apologies are absolutely tweetable but the problem is that he has not apologized. He has deflected, obfuscated, and relied upon people like Gaye Clark and the Gospel Coalition to do his dirty work for him. All the while the unsaved watch in disbelief. The things of God may be foolishness to them but the things of foolishness? They understand that quite well.
"More Excellent Way. When possible, we ought to confront one another in person. It helps to look them in the eye when we speak of their heart. Acts 18 tells of an intriguing encounter with two laypeople, Priscilla and Aquila, and a Greek scholar named Apollos. An "eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures," Apollos preached publicly to many, but his theology needed correction. So Priscilla and Aquilla pulled him aside privately and "explained to him the way of God more adequately." Their correction didn't invalidate Apollos as a minister. Afterward he returned to public ministry with Priscilla and Aquilla's blessing. Instead of destroying community, this confrontation built redemptive relationships." -- Gaye Clark