Tuesday, August 28, 2012

“Positive Thinking” Theology

When I saw this picture juxtiposing Joel Osteen's book of positive thinking with suffering children, I knew I had to write a post about it.  Even though a picture is worth a 1,000 words, I will add a few of my own.

The message of  Joel Osteen's book "Everyday a Friday" is that if we live our lives with a more positive and optimist spirit, we will be happier (think TGIF).  Tell that to the starving children of Africa, for whom everyday is one of misery, despair, and death.

Sound Bible teaching must be applicable to rich and poor, and to powerful and marginalized alike: the true gospel message must be relevant to all peoples and cultures.   The message of prosperity and positive thinking may look good on a greeting card, but it is shamefully lacking in sound doctrine and good exegesis (1 Tim 1:10; 2 Tim. 2:15).

1 comment:

  1. Greg,

    I'm going to suggest a new way to look at positive thinking or purpose-driven thinking or solution-oriented thinking that actually includes those not currently experiencing abundance like we in America are familiar with--and it is a paraphrase of mine from Jesus' conversation with the disciples in John, chapter 9. The disciples queried Jesus about why the man was born blind, and He basically answered them: what are WE going to do about it? That's collaborative thinking!

    If God brings the needs of people to our attention we need to have collaborative thinking in response. It's not: "what am I (just me) going to do about it?" because that can become overwhelming really fast. And pretty soon we will have conditioned ourselves to turn a deaf ear to most needs that we have the capability to make a difference in. And it's also not: "what are You (Jesus) going to do about it?" which actually can act to excuse us from any involvement that could make a difference.

    But its rather: "what are WE (Jesus and us together) going to do about the situation?" I would say that most of the time this is what Jesus is looking for us to say from our heart when we see a need. We then can tap into God's resources and He can multiply ours.

    That goes way beyond positive thinking.