At the Heart of Heresy

I think these thoughts shared by Victoria Osteen are the heart of every great heresy.  There might be more controversial quotes from the Osteens floating around but this one captures the lie behind every single one of them.  “YOU are the center of the story and God plays a part in it.”


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About Tim

Evangelical Christian living in Southern California. I live with my wife and whatever foster children happen to be in our home at this moment. I love photography, baseball, movies and I'm fascinated by Mormonism.

17 thoughts on “At the Heart of Heresy

  1. In almost every lie (or heresy), there’s some truth. That’s part of what makes them so appealing.

    In any case, I find it interesting that I came across this while I was working on my Sunday school lesson for this coming Sunday. Somehow, I have to encapsulate the book of Job — probably the most complex book of the Bible — into 40 minutes. I’m not sure it can be done and still give the book justice. But this video helped give me some focus.

    It strikes me that Job’s “comforters” and indeed Job himself spend nearly the entire book teaching Ms. Osteen’s heresy. The reason Job suffers, his cohorts tell him, is because he sinned (it’s the flip side of the prosperity gospel). But Job comforted himself by saying that couldn’t be the reason he’s suffering, because he was so righteous.

    In the end, though, Yahweh sets them all straight. The “comforters” depart from the scene. And although certainly a good man by the usual standards, Job ends up having to eat his words once he comes face to face with the majesty of God.

    At least that’s my interpretation.

  2. Once again, Tim, you’ve shown yourself as a master of taking people out of context. It’s too bad because you are robbing yourself of blessings—primarily slices of the Lord’s presence (peace and joy)—that you could have experienced had you demonstrated fairness and mercy. “In the same way you judge others, you will be judged” (Matt. 7:2). I’m saying this because I love ya.

    Victoria’s words taken by themselves could be considered heresy but I know what she’s saying. She’s speaking of the unselfishness of God. He gets turned on by turning us on. Though God is sovereign, he’s not on a selfish ego trip. People who have met Jesus in heaven in a vision or near-death or death experience have been amazed at the servant in him. He’s our Lord and our servant at the same time. In John 13:14 Jesus said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet [he washed their feet], you also should wash one another’s feet.”

    Kullervo, that was funny.

    theoldadam, some rewards don’t come until the next life.

    Eric, I hope you’ll include in your lesson the VERY end of Job’s story!

    God’s blessings to you all.

  3. Eric,

    Derek Thomas makes the same point, in a lecture at the Calgary Reformed conference, that Job’s comforters have only one unsatisfactory answer for his suffering, the health and wealth gospel.

  4. Hi Gundek. I was referring to the last 8 verses of Job. I agree with Eric’s assessment of the book of Job. (Enjoy your Labor Day.)

  5. Ligon Duncan’s response was good:

    So, do we worship for God’s own glory, or do we worship God for our own good? The Reformed steadfastly affirm that the fundamental purpose of human existence is God’s glory, but we refuse to pit God’s glory and human happiness against one another (as Ms. Osteen, perhaps unwittingly does in her misguided exhortation). The very first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism gets at this. “What is man’s chief end?,” it asks. The resounding answer is: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” In other words, our chief and highest purpose, goal and end in life is God’s glory. That is what we live for. Whereas many of our contemporaries think that God is the chief means to our highest end (happiness), the Reformed do not believe that God is a means to an end, he is The End. He is the reason and aspiration for which we exist. There is no ultimate happiness and satisfaction and fulfillment and joy apart from him.

    BUT, the Reformed do not believe that God’s glory and our joy stand in opposition. We do not believe that those two things are in contradiction. Indeed, we believe that they are inseparable. The Reformed believe that it is impossible to pursue God’s glory without our own souls being blessed with everlasting good. We think that our fullest joy cannot be realized or experienced apart from the pursuit of God’s glory. Listen to the answer to the question again: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” Man’s chief end (not, notice, ends) involves both God’s glory and our enjoyment of God. You can’t glorify the true God without enjoying him and you can’t enjoy the true God without glorifying him.

    Hence, when we gather to worship, we come BOTH to bless God and to receive God’s blessing (Psalm 134). A well-instructed congregation appreciates that Christian worship is both something that we do and something that is enabled by God. And also that Christian worship is both something that we give to God and in which God showers his favors and presence upon us. Worship is offered to God by believers but that does not mean that there is “nothing in it for us.” True worship is both God-glorifying and soul-satisfying. It is tenaciously focused upon God himself, but it is abundantly overflowing with every Spiritual blessing. Why? Because the highest blessing of worship is the blessing of God giving himself to us. Because he is the highest blessing, as well as our highest end. Hence, for the believer, worship is duty and delight, a duty that is inseparable from delight, a pursuit that renders duty a delight.

    h/t Aaron S.

  6. There’s no denying the truth mixed in with her fallacy. It’s the context of her ministry as a whole and the flippant way she expresses herself that reveals that she believes she as at the heart of her worship.

  7. I think that at the heart of every great heresy is the promise that you will not surely die, but will be as the gods, knowing good from evil.

  8. “You will not surely die, but will be as the gods, knowing good from evil.”

    Is the heresy contained in the first clause or the second, or both?

    Is the truth: “You will surely die and you will not be like the gods, within yourself, you will not know good from evil.”

  9. I cannot remember who said it but I have always though that at the heart of every heresy is a Christological error. It seemed a reasonable explanation from a Protestant view.

  10. LDS believe that the first part is the deception (i.e. you will surely die), the second part is the word of God, the natural consequence of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good an evil. So eating the fruit left Adam and his kin doubly screwed: accountable for choosing the right (and on the hook for the punishment for disobedienc), plus, we are all dead meat.

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