John Smith was the only Protestant to move into a large Catholic neighborhood. On the first Friday of the Lenten season, John was outside barbequing a big juicy sirloin steak on his grill. Meanwhile, all of his neighbors were eating cold tuna fish for supper. This went on for each Friday of Lent. On the last Friday of the sacrificial season, the neighborhood men got together and decided something had to be done about John. He was tempting them to eat meat each Friday of Lent, and they couldn’t take it anymore. So they decided to try and convert John to Catholicism. They went over and talked to him and were so happy that he decided to join all of his neighbors and become a Catholic. They took John to their churc,. where the priest sprinkled some water over him and pronounced, “You were born a Baptist, you were raised a Baptist, and now you are Catholic.” The men were so relieved, now their biggest Lenten temptation was finally over. However, when next year’s Lent rolled around and they were all sitting down for a Friday supper of tuna fish, the aroma of sirloin steak cooking on a grill came wafting in through their windows. The men couldn’t believe their noses – what was going on!” They called each other up and decided to meet over in John’s back yard to see if he had forgotten it was the first Friday of Lent. The group arrived just in time to see John standing over his grill with a small pitcher of water. He was sprinkling some drops over the sirloin steak on his grill, proclaiming, “You were born a cow, you were raised a cow, and now you are a fish.”
Rev. Joel Osteen is pastor of the largest congregation in America – Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, with an average Sunday
morning attendance of 38,000 people. When you read the church’s doctrinal statement, all of the traditional orthodox beliefs are there on paper. But when you listen to the pulpit messages, seldom are any of these theological truths taught. Rather, Pastor Joel comes across as a nice guy who goes out of his way not to offend anyone while giving a psychological, feel-good, motivational kind of message (especially avoiding words like, “sinner, judgment, hellfire,” etc.). In light of this, it should come as no surprise that when Rev. Osteen recently visited with Pope Francis at the Vatican (as part of an ecumenical group of fifteen Protestants) he had nothing but gushing praise for the Vicar of Rome. After being wined-and-dined by Vatican officials, including a personal tour and private dinner, here are the comments of the man voted as the most influential religious leader in North America: On The Tour – “It was amazing. To be taken back into that part of the Vatican, there’s just so much history there. You feel their deep respect and reverence for God.” On The Mass – “I just felt very honored and very humbled to be a part of it all. And then afterwards, to see the Pope spend an hour-and-a-half going through the crowd with the Pope-Mobile, greeting worshipers. It was very heartwarming to watch him caring for the people.” On The Trip – “I love the fact that the Holy See has made the church more inclusive, not trying to make it smaller but to make it larger, to take everybody in. And of course, that just resonates with me.” But not one word of the gospel and the salvation Luther stood for, sola fide (by faith alone).
The bottom line? Effusing about the Pope keeps the Catholics sending in money to Osteen’s TV ministry, but at what cost to their still-blinded eternal souls.