November 1, 2014

A Christian Theology Survey

Below is a survey that I have reproduced from Lifeway (the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention). The survey was an attempt to gauge the theological knowledge of people in America. I am reproducing this survey in an attempt to gauge that same knowledge within and around my sphere of influence. If you would please take this survey, I would very much appreciate it.  Also, if you wouldn't mind sharing this with your family, friends, contacts, or whatever, I would appreciate it.

Thanks,

David S. Dittmer

September 5, 2014

The Osteens and the Purpose of Life

Okay, I know that I am a little late on the party to criticize Victoria Osteen, but after reading her response today, I wanted to respond – if for no other reason, than to clarify my own thoughts.

The original message that Mrs. Osteen gave was as follows:
“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God we’re not doing it for God — I mean that’s one way to look at it,” she said from the pulpit. “We’re doing it for yourself, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives him the greatest joy this morning … just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy.”

She added, “When you come to church when you worship him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy.”

After much criticism from the evangelical community this week, she clarified her statements :
“While I admit that I could have been more articulate in my remarks, I stand by my point that when we worship God and are obedient to Him we will be better for it,” she said. “I did not mean to imply that we don’t worship God; that’s ridiculous, and only the critics and cynics are interpreting my remarks that way.”
Frankly, I think that she just does not get why people were criticizing her.  In some sense, she was so close to stating something good and true - that our obedience to God does benefit us.  However, the way that she said this made it sound as though that is the ultimate reason for our worship, which is an abominable lie.

The bible states that in whatever we do, we are to glorify God (1 Cor. 10:31).  In other words, God's glory is to be our highest aim and ultimate goal - our primary purpose in life.  When we act in obedience to God, we should be doing it because we love Him and wish to bring glory to Him.  The fact that it does ultimately benefit us, is just a sort of happy accident and to do it for this reason, as Mrs. Osteen suggests, puts us in the place of God.  She is encouraging the people that her and her husband lead to commit idolatry.

All Christians are sinners saved by the grace of God.  As long as we are in this life we are not going to be perfect, but the purpose of this life is to grow in sanctification - to grow ever more Christ-like.  We should be turning from an attitude of self-centeredness and moving toward Christ-centeredness.  Remember, our primary purpose is to glorify God, not ourselves.

Soli Deo Gloria