Lakewood Frenzy

Michael Spencer, Outing Joel Osteen came up when I was looking for the largest church in America. It was not what I was expecting.

I’ve been to Lakewood. It’s not what I am seeing on this website.

Aaronimo’s Xanga Site has an article on the problems with Lakewood, specifically the communion service there.

My response to that article:
I have been to Lakewood. I am not a member there. I have been to church when they were having communion.

Lots of churches- Baptist, Church of Christ, Assembly of God, among others- pass the elements around. They also use grape juice, which is unfermented wine, for several reasons. But it is “fruit of the vine.” And, because of recovering alchoholics, it is a useful alternative to wine.

This woman was probably not stating the church’s belief, but hers, concerning the bread and the wine. It may have been her understanding. Which she wouldn’t feel she couldn’t give you, because she does go to the church and she does take part in communion. I wouldn’t say it is a good choice for a proof of what the church as a whole believes or teaches.

I did not hear anyone say that the bread would heal you or that the juice would forgive you.

I also went to Lakewood’s site for their explanation:
This page states what Lakewood believes about Communion. Specifically “WE BELIEVE…in the regular taking of Communion as an act of remembering what the Lord Jesus did for us on the cross.”

Other thoughts related to Aaronimo. A pastor is another name for a preacher/an evangelist. It is not generally used as the pastor/presbyter/elder of the NT. Pastor is actually a use of the word shepherd, so you would think it would refer to elders, but it doesn’t commonly. My church has a pastor who is the preacher/evangelist. The elders are other people.

Just because I call a pig a rose, doesn’t make it a rose. Just because I call an evangelist an elder, doesn’t make him an elder.

3 thoughts on “Lakewood Frenzy

  1. Hi! I just found your blog through blogsearch. I am glad that you’ve posted this partially in response to my blog, but I wish you had let me know, so we could dialogue on the subject. I think perhaps the nature of my blog post was somewhat confusing, because many people have brought up similar concerns to yours, and most of them are not points I would have thought were controversial. Here are a few details I wanted to quibble with you about:

    First, please consider that I did not criticize the passing of the elements. My purpose in asking the question was merely to confirm my assumption that such was the case. I included the quotation in my post in order to catalog the conversation to the best of my ability.

    Second, I am also aware that several denominations use grape juice instead of wine. I also recognize the benefits of doing so. While I have reservations over the legitimacy of such benefits, I do not take great exception to the use of grape juice in the place of wine. My major concern was that I was directed to the “Prayer Ministry” for theological and ecclesiological questions, and that the representative of Lakewood proceeded to tell me that Pastor Joel Osteen explains Communion to everyone, mentioning that the bread is for healing and the wine for forgiveness of sins. Perhaps my criticism is a bit flimsy in your opinion, but it seems to me that the view, itself a terrible perversion of the true meaning of the Supper as a remembrance of Christ’s death, was given to me as Joel Osteen’s explanation of the Supper. Perhaps I erred in taking the woman’s words too literally.

    Third, the word “pastor” appears in the New Testament exactly once in reference to church leadership, and there it is distinguished from evangelist:

    Eph 4:11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
    Eph 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;

    Elsewhere, we can see a derivative of this word used as a description of the duty of a presbyter/elder:

    1Pe 5:1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:
    1Pe 5:2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;
    1Pe 5:3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

    There is no other example in the New Testament to glean what a pastor is except here and in the examples of Christ as Good Shepherd. If you’re at all interested, there’s a great book out there called “Perspectives on Church Government: Five Views of Church Polity” edited by Chad Owen Brand and R. Stanton Norman that gives three congregational models as well as the Presbyterian and Anglican models. Each chapter is critiqued by the other writers (who notably include James White, Robert L. Reymond, and Paul F.M. Zahl), and I think that anyone who reads the book will come away with the overwhelming conviction that the Biblical model for Church oversight includes only two offices: Elder and deacon. There are many gifts, and a person may have many of them, but elders lead the congregation. If Osteen is only a preacher/evangelist, and not an elder/presbyter, then he should not hold authority or oversight at Lakewood.

    In other words, if I grant your argument, new problems arise.

    Finally, I appreciate your desire to clear the air on Lakewood. Many good people have taken exception to what I’ve written, and many of my assumptions have been thoroughly trampled. The tone of my post was most assuredly improper, and I apologize for my own harshness. I have seriously considered what you’ve written, and I have only three remaining questions: Do any of the sermons you’ve heard at Lakewood sound like Paul or Peter or Stephen or any other apostle? Where is the cross in Osteen’s Gospel? Considering John 10:14 and Ephesians 5:1, don’t you think that a good pastor ought to know his sheep?

  2. I don’t know that any of the sermons sound like Paul, Peter, or Stephen. I do think that they sound like Jesus.

    I’ve heard “Go and sin no more.”

    I’ve heard, “No man comes to the Father except through Me (Jesus).”

    I’ve heard the story of the Good Samaritan, and as Jesus gave for his parables, an explanation for what that means in our lives.

    I understand that the church does not seem to be following a biblical model and I do not condone that. However, many churches do not follow a biblical model, so Lakewood is certainly not an exception on that point. In addition, I do not think that our church model is what is going to get us into Heaven. I think that is Jesus. And Lakewood is following Jesus.

  3. Take you for letting me post.
    First when Lifeway and their liberal attitude toward books, refused to sell his books, knowing that by the first twenty pages, the buyer had found over one hundred sentences that contridicted the Word of God. I work for them. Second living in Houston, and some of the workers here sang in the choir and having attended Lakewood for more than a service, I can tell you that I have heard many a false statement about the Word. I went to NOBTS and I think that maybe I have a better understanding of what he says and how he masks his beliefs around wordplay. You can always teach a lesson, quote bible and teach heresy. That was what the gnostics and judaizer did to Paul and why he had the fight them back so many times in his epistles. I am not saying that he is a raving lunatic, of course not, but repentence… of course not. Even on Larry King, he talked about that. He is “not here to bring people down like that, I have an up beat message”
    When you divide the depravity from a man, you dont lift him up, you take him away from the only one that can save him from his sin.
    Thank you for letting me post again

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