The following is the confession that Joel Osteen of Lakewood church in TX gives at the opening of every or most church services. I have been listening to the radio show Issue’s Etc. critique Osteen these last couple months. I found this “confession” on Lakewood’s homepage. Joel says the confession while the congregation repeats the parts back to him. The words in parentheses refer to the congregation.
CONFESSION: This is my Bible. (This is my Bible.) I am what it says I am. (I am what it says I am.) I have what it says I have. (I have what it says I have.) I can do what it says I can do. (I can do what it says I can do.) Today I will be taught the Word of God. (Today I will be taught the Word of God.) I boldly confess. (I boldly confess.) My mind is alert. (My mind is alert.) My heart is receptive. (My heart is receptive.) I will never be the same. (I will never be the same.) I am about to receive (I am about to receive) the incorruptible, (the incorruptible,) indestructible (indestructible) ever-living (ever-living) seed (seed) of the Word of God. (of the Word of God.) I will never be the same. (I will never be the same.) Never, never, never. (Never, never, never.) I’ll never be the same. (I’ll never be the same.) In Jesus’ name. (In Jesus’ name.) God bless you and you may be seated.
This type of “confession” is seemingly foreign to Christianity. It reminds me more of positive self-talk. The center of this confession is “I” or the person confessing. What’s even worse is that, from the sermons I have heard, there is no exegesis of Scripture. What is said to be taught from the “Word of God” is really not. The message usually is, however, centered on the individual person as the confession points. There is no gospel preached. No recognition of sin, repentance, etc. It’s mostly a positive-talk speech about how we should just try to get along and do and think good things. The sermons are normally imbedded with warnings of how we ought not to speak any of our negative thoughts least they create a negative situation. This sounds like the neo-paganism that J. Ligon Duncan spoke about at the Ligioner Conference this year. I wasn’t able to attend, but I was told by some friends who did attend. I should try and track that material down.
It’s very sad when the work of Christ is broken down to some sort of positive and negative individual thought process where we can speak good and bad into existence. Whatever happened to the cross?