Pastor Hell Versus Pastor Positive

For people who love to study cultural change, the transition from a Billy Graham style of Christianity to the new Joel Osteen style is entertainment supreme.

The generation of Billy Graham is scoffing at Joel Osteen.  “He tells people what they want to hear. He doesn’t follow the scriptures.”   They are only repeating what inevitably was said about Billy Graham by the generation that preceded him.  Graham and Osteen are both products of the popular culture of their times.

Billy Graham followed arena-style preachers.  His delivery,  cadence and persona were tailored to the venues in which he performed.  His southern theology,  groomed to appeal more broadly, told people to feel good about themselves in a back handed way, “You are going to heaven.  People you don’t like, sinners, are going to hell.”

Today, the culture has come to believe negative messages, putting down others, is a bad thing.  Children are taught this and their parents believe it.  Osteen’s message is we don’t have to put others down to feel good about ourselves.  Let’s all be positive about ourselves and others.

Neither Graham nor Osteen can guarantee what they promise you will come true.  Both messages are shrouded in mysterious beings no one has ever seen.  There is no more substance behind Graham’s message of sin and hell than behind Osteen’s Jesus wants you to succeed.

When the Bible was written, it was to appeal to the culture of that time.  As cultures have changed, so has its meaning.

Pastor Hell has been replaced with Pastor Positive.

46 Responses

  1. Henry

    Jon: “People you don’t like, sinners, are going to hell.”

    My intuition tells me this is a mischaracterization. If I heard correctly, Billy referenced all of us as sinners.

    Jon: “Let’s all be positive about ourselves and others.”

    Ok. Quit running Christians down with mischaracterizations. Let’s start in your glass house.

    Full disclosure: I am not into Billy Graham theology.

  2. entech

    Osteen’s message is we don’t have to put others down to feel good about ourselves. Let’s all be positive about ourselves and others.
    Henry you missed a bit.
    Jon how do you like being compared to Osteen, I do wish my bank account equated to his though.
    Henry does this good will and positivity apply to gay people, liberals and all the others you love to denigrate.

    1. Henry

      entech: “Henry you missed a bit.”

      Nope. You did. I didn’t mention Osteen. Therefore, no comparison made. Nice try.

      entech: “Henry does this good will and positivity apply to gay people, liberals and all the others you love to denigrate.”

      Gay people? They are sinners like everyone else. They can choose to repent or not. Their choice. They can participate (or not) in the institution of marriage as practiced by Cass County, ND. Their choice.

      Liberals? Which kind? I love liberals. John Locke is a great example.

      1. entech

        No you didn’t, you just used the part of the paragraph that suited your purpose.

        Like you I am a great admirer of Locke, I also am a fan of Adam Smith (Glasgow version not Chicago) and JS Mill. I could be overstepping in my interpretations here, forgive a foreigner with limited local knowledge, but you seem to equate liberal with Democrat and in fact anything not the Republican Party. I am sure you will enjoy correcting my ignorance.
        In Australia the conservative party is called the Liberal Party, as in classical liberal from the point of view of economics, so people here distinguish between (big L) and (small L) liberals, small l being the social variety.

        Interesting the you did a slight evasion on the ‘Gay’ question. Do you offer good will towards gay people, or, is it dependent on their admitting to sin and being truly repentant.
        Before you can talk about Jon’s glass house you need to consider offering unconditional acceptance to those of God’s creatures who feel attracted to those of the same gender, and act on that attraction.

        1. Henry

          There are a lot of small l liberals around here. Most people are unaware of what a big L liberal is. I must admit that is the first time I heard the lower/upper case thing. However, I was aware of the two concepts of liberalism. I do equate liberalism to demoncrat most of the time, because that is the language people know.

          I forgive them (gays), for they know not what they do. Acceptance? No. They expect the whole package to be accepted, sin and all. Nope. If those are the terms they provide me, I must reject.

          1. Henry

            Based on your other dialogue, you are well schooled on these things. Figure it out. You have the Law and the Prophets.

          2. Demosthenes

            H – I also would fear going on the record with bigoted remarks as those, you can’t be nailed down when all you do is imply.

            In your view, Why can’t god(s) accept his creations?

          3. Henry

            D- As Jon says, this is supposedly a family blog. I need not describe the acts of homosexuality for your gratification.

            Not a fear of going on record. I have actually done that. You must not have been paying attention.

          4. Henry

            “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”
            Romans 8:7, 8

          5. Henry 9:30 “the sinful mind..does not submit to God’s law..”

            A good illustration of the goal of the Biblical authors to control the masses at that time.

          6. Henry

            At the time you refer to, the Romans CONTROLLED the masses. Christianity was very elective. Too bad you fell for some slick soundbite claiming otherwise. That’s ok. That is elective, too.

          7. entech

            I wonder why Christians in general and Henry in particular are so fascinated by, engrossed in the idea , of sin. Seems half of their books, maybe more, are all about this mythical God telling what they can do with their God given equipment. If God found it all so nasty, why on earth wasn’t their some other form of procreation.

          8. entech

            I don’t, it is simply that the method of procreation is is mainly some form of sexual union, pollen from plants to insemination by mammals.

            Sin is a biblical concept, buddhists, Shinto and many others have no doctrine such as yours (Islam, Judaism, Christianity), only Christians have the idea of original sin, born in sin and so on, there is so much that prescribes and proscribes in you holy books that it is no wonder that you are obsessed, that most of you have dirty little minds that find something wrong in almost anything and everything.

            This does not mean that any rational human would find many things abhorrent, but that is because it is awful, anything that involves the strong dominating the weak or any abuse of a position of power or authority is wrong, quite simply wrong and awful. Without your interpretation of your gods requirements life would be a lot easier.

          9. Henry

            “I don’t”

            You did. You broadbrushed implying that Christians think all sex is sin or “nasty”, so much so that you question the method of procreation from our perspective. Sorry, pal. The practicing Christians I am affiliated with, when the topic of sex comes up, indicate a very fulfilling experience for themselves. All gifts from God can be corrupted. Sex is included on that list.

  3. Your way off track

    So many things you bring up have no real basis or meaning, I guess considering your “beliefs” I am not surprised.

    When you say “When the Bible was written, it was to appeal to the culture of that time. As cultures have changed, so has its meaning.”. You have no idea what your talking about. The Bible is the living word of God. It was not written for the “people at the time”. The Bible is a divine message to all believers from our Heavenly Father for all times.

    Your “freethinking” ways are going to have one heck of an impact once you stand before our God in Heaven. I pray you get your heart and spirit back inline to what is real and true, not the nonsense you currently spew out. I really wonder about the Forum communications and the new messages they are sending out with articles like this.

    This is only one example of your “free thinking” errors. I would expand bit somehow I have a hunch the reply wont be posted.

    1. Your Way Off Track 6:23 Thanks for taking the time to commment. All comments are welcome here.

      “The Bible is the living word of God.”

      Your have expressed a view very popular in the world. Because it is the Bible that says it is the living word, Freethinkers find this circular reasoning. To us, to me at least, the best evidence is the Bible’s authors were writing for their own time only. The assignment of sort of magical thinking about the Bible was assigned later, again by people with their own regional and current affairs in mind.

      1. Your way off track

        I understand that you try and make sense and reason everything out but keep in mind there are countless things we as persons created by God will never understand nor can/should we. That’s where Faith comes into play.

        If we understood everything in this world we wouldn’t be people created by God, we would be God. I hope before you meet our Lord face to face you may turn your heart again to Him.

    2. Demosthenes

      @Your way off track May 1, 2012 at 6:23 am

      “Your “freethinking” ways are going to have one heck of an impact once you stand before our God in Heaven.”

      What makes your god(s) so much more bad ass then Allah or Mars or the hundreds of other gods? Also since when can you judge non-believers, that doesn’t sound very Christian of you. Isn’t your god(s) suppose to do the judging instead?

      “The Bible is the living word of God.” And I suppose the bible told you he had a bridge to sell you as well?

      1. Demosthenes 4:10 Most everyone who saw an advertisement that said, “Our company has done the objective research. That research concluded our product is the best for you,” would be skeptical. For some reason, when the Bible says the same thing, “We’ve decided we are the truth,” the skeptical guard people have in every other situation evaporates.

  4. Bob

    The whole heaven and hell thing seems kind of childish to me, elementary, something small children would invent and put in their stories. Naughty or Nice? Good or Bad? Simple punishment really, and not a very mature concept.
    People used to die very young long ago when the bible was written, so it makes sense immature people wrote it.
    Older experienced folks get it that life is usually in the gray areas. Yes, you might have done wrong, but situational ethics and life experiences tells you there is more to the story.
    The Abrahamic texts do seem to be written by very un-experienced and immature people from cultures where the majority couldn’t and didn’t read. So…the Zeus/Epic Fantasy like nature of the Abrahamic texts probably did appeal as great story telling to a crowd of very young people whose most sophisticated technology was the wheelbarrel.
    Its very funny and strange to me that with the amazing advances in science, like cell phones, internet, quantum entanglement, DNA, GPS, and 10 hour flights to anywhere in the world, so many still worship those old fantasy Abrahamic texts.
    Parents need to supply their children with lots of science fiction books to expand and free up their vulnerable minds.
    Hell to me would being mind-stuck, or mind-prisoner of the bionary immature fantasy concept of heaven/hell theme.

    1. Henry

      Bob: “The whole heaven and hell thing seems kind of childish to me, elementary, something small children would invent and put in their stories.”

      You should read the bible. It will better define heaven and hell. You must be getting some information from elsewhere.

  5. Bob

    Henry 12:09
    I’ve read enough to know that when I do, all three Abrahamic texts are nauseating to me.
    You can keep them Henry, just keep them the heck out of my life and out of my face.

    1. Henry

      But, Bob. You keep bringing “Abrahamic texts” up when the root topic is “pastors”. How am I to comply with your requirement?
      1. You say to keep the bible out of your face.
      2. You keep bringing the bible (Abrahamic texts) up.

      Please let me know how to proceed.

  6. Bob

    Henry 2:47
    I don’t think pastors are anymore special than imams or rabbis, buddist monks or wiccan coven leaders.

    1. Henry

      No claim was made to that effect. Why the refutation? The issue was you bringing up the bible when the topic was “pastors”, and then complaining about all the bible talk in your face.

  7. entech

    Henry, re your little conversation with Bob. 2:47 onwards. Can you honestly say you have invariably kept strictly to the topic, never ever deviated to make a point?

    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.; a great line I wonder why it doesn’t show up in the earlier Gospels.

    1. Henry

      The point is not deviance from the topic. That happens frequently by all parties. The point is Bob’s conflicted demands as clearly pointed out earlier.

      1. entech

        Thanks for the compliment, glad you appreciate the level of scholarship. 😉

        I did say before we really need an icon or emoticon to indicate sarcasm.

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