by Jeff Vamos

In response to last Sunday’s sermon, “Getting What You Want,” I’m taking the opportunity to continue the conversation I had with several folks in response to it. The sermon involved a critique of, and reflection upon, the popularity of those who espouse what’s often called the Prosperity Gospel movement. Much of it was a reflection on a recent Op-Ed piece written by an Assistant Professor of church history at Duke Divinity School about her study of the PG movement, in light of her recent diagnosis with stage 4 cancer.

As I mentioned in my sermon – I do think that much, if not most, of the theological emphasis here is right on. And I honor the fact that Joel in particular has helped many people whom I know personally. I am also humble about my familiarity with his preaching – as I have not heard or seen a lot of it. But I appreciate much of what I’ve heard people have gotten from Joel’s messages; namely, that he’s helped people not to be crushed by fear, and the difficulties of life. He’s enabled people to break bad habits, and to understand that being blessed is for the purpose of blessing others – which to me is perhaps a point most to be emphasized in order to ameliorate the theological danger here.

But I wanted to open up the floor to any others who wish to comment further, and to keep the conversation going – please see the comment box below. How has listening to Joel Osteen – or any other of the more well-known preachers of this strand – been helpful (or hurtful) to your life of faith?