It will be filled for a second time to hear Joel Osteen. So, why are not Billy Graham’s sons, daughters or grandchildren the headliners today?
I think it’s partly due to hell. Billy Graham’s Southern Baptist message was about sin and its consequences. Joel Osteen preaches heaven is here on earth. You just have to be optimistic enough to find it. Jesus is pulling for you.
If hell is slowly removed from the Christian message, what will happen to sin? When you think about it, there really is no sin if there are not consequences. If hell evaporates, goodbye sin.
The biggest sin denomination, Southern Baptist Convention, is shrinking by ten percent a year. Liberal denominations are shrinking also, but feel good mega churches like Osteen’s are going strong.
The image of Billy Graham is that of the wise elder statesman of evangelism. Few criticized him him and many sought out his wisdom. The culture of the times he preached in fit him to a tee.
Today, something different seems to be required. My thinking is the unequal income distribution has contributed to a certain melancholy preachers can touch with messages of hope and optimism. Sin and hell do not reach this state of mind.
Personally, I would miss sin. It is entertaining to watch what is considered sin and how it changes.
TV preachers carrying on about the sin of gay marriage and abortion will be hard to replace.