web analytics

Piers Morgan Is Interviewing You on CNN about Basket Weaving. Out of Nowhere He Asks: “Is Homosexuality a Sin?” Your Response?

March 23, 2012 by  
Filed under Radio Program Hour 1, Radio Show

Play

Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.” Colossians 4:5-6

Earlier this month, born-again Christian actor Kirk Cameron was interviewed (perhaps “ambushed” is a better word) by Piers Morgan on CNN.

The interview was purportedly about Cameron’s upcoming documentary film (“Monumental”) on the Christian foundations of America, but the subject of the film was not what sparked worldwide controversy.  It was Kirk Cameron’s response to Piers Morgan’s questions about homosexuality.

Homosexuality has become the anvil upon which those who hold to a biblical stance get pounded.  This Saturday on The Christian Worldview, we’ll hear sound bites from the interview and then discuss what is the best way, the biblical way, for you and me to respond to homosexuality when we’re confronted with it in our workplace, school, church, home … or on CNN.

Dragged Kicking and Screaming into the Modern Age? Lessons from Piers Morgan’s Interview with Joel Osteen

October 7, 2011 by  
Filed under The Latest from Our Blog

Published with permission from Dr. Albert Mohler

An interview that begins with a statement like, “Well, Piers, to me, faith is all about learning to be happy where you are,” is probably not going to end well. Piers Morgan’s interview with Joel and Victoria Osteen Tuesday night was very revealing about the Osteens — but little Christian truth was revealed. At the same time, the interview deserves closer attention than you might expect.

After introducing the Osteens, Morgan let Joel talk about his latest book, Every Day A Friday, How To Be Happier 7 Days a Week. Like the book itself, Joel’s presentation could be reduced to his own brand of highly therapeutic prosperity theology. For Joel Osteen, it’s not a theology that is reducible to money alone. Instead, his focus is more on individual happiness and self-fulfillment. In his rendering, God might not want everyone to be rich, but he does want his creatures to experience every day as . . . a Friday?

Then, the conversation shifted to issues in the news, such as abortion and capital punishment. On both topics, Piers Morgan pressed Joel to speak clearly, which he was clearly reluctant to do. On both topics, Osteen steered clear of disaster by saying as little as possible, in what can only be described as a garble.

On capital punishment: “You know, it’s a complicated issue, Piers. I haven’t thought a whole lot about it but, of course, you know, and I’m for second chances and mercy, yet, the flip side is there’s consequences for what we’ve done and, so, I — I don’t know what my total stance is . . . ”

On a moral link between abortion and capital punishment: “Well, I think there could be when you say may or may not. You know, that’s the troublesome thing, if we don’t know for sure and, you know.”

There, that clears it all up nicely. The saddest thing about Joel Osteen’s incoherence on all this is the fact that he seems to be totally unaware that Christians have been engaging these issues seriously for centuries. When even Piers Morgan chided Osteen for his fuzziness and lack of an answer to questions, saying to Osteen, “you need to be more definitive,” Osteen responded: “Yes. Well, if I could I would but I’d have to — let me study it and I’ll come back with a great answer someday for you.” Not exactly a “here I stand” moment, to say the very least.

But, with all that as prelude, the interview really got interesting when Morgan turned the conversation to the issue of same-sex marriage. Morgan replayed a clip from Osteen’s appearance earlier this year, when Osteen gave Morgan this statement on homosexuality: “Yes, I’ve always believed, Piers, the scriptures shows that it’s a sin, but, you know, I’m not one of those that are out there to bash homosexuals and tell them that they’re terrible people and all that.” That statement, as Morgan indicated, made headlines.

When pressed, Osteen affirmed his statement: “You know, Piers, it really never changes because mine was — mine’s based out of the scripture. That’s what I believe that the scripture says that — that homosexuality is a sin. So, it — you know, I believed it before and I still believe it now. Again, I would just reiterate what I said, I’m not after — I’m not mad at anybody. I don’t dislike anybody. But, you know, you know, respecting my faith and believing, you know, in — in what the scripture says, that’s the best way I can interpret it.”

But the host’s real intention was to steer Osteen toward the same-sex marriage issue. Would Osteen perform a same-sex marriage?

His answer: “Well, you know what, I’m going to respect the law and I’m going to respect gay people like I do now, you know, have plenty of people that come to our church and friends, I would call, that are gay so I’m going to respect that. I think where it puts a difficult situation is me being a Christian pastor believing the scripture, you know, it would be against my faith to marry two gay people.” Later, he added: “No, it would be against what I believe the scripture teaches and, so, that’s where I think the rub comes in with people like myself. It’s not that I’m against anybody or, you know, if people want to live together, that’s up to them. But, my faith, when we say marriage, I mean, I think about it, Piers, and all through the Bible there are, you know, hundreds of marriages but none of them are shown as between, you know, the same sex. And, again, I’m not against anything but I just believe that’s what the Bible teaches . . .”

Morgan would not let the topic drop, clearly sensing an opportunity to find a crack in Osteen’s position. The host then asked the Osteens if they would attend a same-sex marriage ceremony. Joel Osteen said that he would, if the individuals were friends.

Morgan pressed further. How does this fit within Osteen’s previous statement: “Well, I haven’t been to many weddings lately to begin with and I’m talking about somebody that was, you know, dear to us. I’m not going to disrespect somebody that’s dear to us and say, you know what, you’re not good enough for us or something like that. That’s the way that I would see it. Now, I’m not going to just run off and go attend, you know, certain marriages just to make a statement because that’s not who I am and that’s not what I stand for and, again, I don’t look down on those people.”

In other words, Joel Osteen sees homosexuality as a sin and same-sex marriage to be contrary to God’s will. He cannot perform same-sex marriage ceremonies or endorse same-sex marriage, because he is bound by Scripture. On the other hand, he can attend a same-sex ceremony, if the participants are friends, and thus endorse by his presence the credibility of the ceremony itself and join in the celebration of what he believes, or says he believes, is sin.

This is beyond mere incoherence. It is moral and theological nonsense. More than that, it is a massive statement of ministerial malpractice. Piers Morgan had the sense to see that much. You cannot celebrate what you say you know to be sin. You cannot honestly say that same-sex marriage defies the law of God, and then join in the celebration of that ceremony.

Joel Osteen should know better, but you can add that to the things that someone like Joel Osteen should know, if indeed he is to present himself as a Christian preacher and leader.

The larger problem is that many evangelical Christians would follow Joel Osteen’s logic without a second thought, or without even what the psychologists would describe as “cognitive dissonance.” They say they believe that homosexuality is a sin, and that same-sex marriage is contrary to God’s will. But they allow personal relationships and social pressure to override their (evidently) lightly-held convictions.

The hypothetical case Piers Morgan invented for his interview with Joel and Victoria Osteen is precisely the reality many American Christians will face — or have already faced — with the legalization of same-sex marriage. Unless convictions are deeply held, they will melt away in the face of cultural pressure.

Oh, one final and very significant statement from the interview demands attention. Piers Morgan looked at Joel Osteen and asked the million-dollar question:

But, I mean, shouldn’t the scripture be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age. I mean, we were talking before the break about the issue about eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, not everything in the scriptures, really, is, in my view, conducive to modern life. I mean, like everything else, doesn’t it have to move with the times and isn’t it down again to people like you to interpret it in a way that evolves when you’re known as a very progressive preacher?

Shouldn’t the Bible be “dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age”? There you have the modernist worldview reduced to a single question. The Bible will simply have to give way to modern moral authorities, and have to be interpreted “in a way that evolves.”

To his credit, Joel Osteen tried to stand his ground. To his discredit, he didn’t stand very well, and he seemed to lack all of the vital faculties for holding theological traction. We can only hope that other pastors — and other Christians — will do better. Sadly, without developing deeper biblical commitments and without drawing from the full wealth of Christian conviction, that is not going to happen.

Sadly, without a deep, humble, and faithful commitment to Christ, the Gospel, the Bible, and the structures of Christian thought, both the church and the Bible will be, to use Piers Morgan’s unforgettable phrase, “dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age” — and we know exactly what that means.


I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at mail@albertmohler.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler

Transcript, Piers Morgan Tonight, CNN, Tuesday, October 4, 2011.

The Osteen Moment — Your Own Moment Will Come Soon Enough

January 27, 2011 by  
Filed under The Latest from Our Blog

published with permission from Dr. Albert Mohler

Joel Osteen found himself forced to answer a question that every Christian — and certainly every Christian leader — will be forced to answer. When that moment comes, and come it will, those who express confidence in the Bible’s teaching that homosexuality is a sin will find themselves facing the same shock and censure from the very same quarters.

Joel Osteen didn’t get where he is today by staking out controversial positions on biblical and moral issues. America’s prophet of Your Best Life Now built his reputation and his international following on an updated version of prosperity theology, laced with ample doses of pop psychology. The ever-smiling and effervescent pastor of America’s largest congregation has done his best to avoid association with doctrinal matters. More to the point — he has done his best to avoid talking about sin.

Osteen would rather offer platitudes about attitudes. “God wants you to be a winner, not a whiner,” he asserts. Talking in any detail about sin would be to insert negativity into his relentlessly upbeat message.

But now, Osteen finds himself in the midst of controversy. Last night, Joel and Victoria Osteen appeared together on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight and, boxed in by Morgan, Joel Osteen reluctantly confessed that he believes homosexuality to be a sin.

“Yes, I’ve always believed, Piers, the Scripture shows that homosexuality it’s a sin,” he said. He added: “But you know, I’m not one of those that are out there to bash homosexuals and tell them that they’re terrible people and all of that. I mean, there are other sins in the Bible, too. I think sometimes the church — and I don’t mean this critically — but we focus on one issue or two issues, and there’s plenty of other ones. So, I don’t believe homosexuality is God’s best for a person’s life. I mean, sin means to miss the mark.”

Pressed even harder by Morgan, Osteen was asked if singer Elton John is a sinner. He responded: “Well, it’s strictly back to what the Scripture says. I mean, I can’t — I can’t grab one part and say God wants you to be blessed and live an abundant life, and not grab the other part that says, you know what? You know, live — live that kind of life. So it comes back to the Scripture. I’m not the judge. You know, God didn’t tell me to go around judging everybody.”

Morgan appeared shocked at Osteen’s statements and accused the pastor of being hateful and judgmental. He also asked what Osteen would say directly to Elton John or any other homosexual. Osteen made no reference to the Gospel at all, but he did say that God would give strength in the struggle.

At one dramatic moment, Morgan rebutted Osteen’s claim to be non-judgmental: “I’m not so sure though, you see. I think you are a kind of judge. And I — I think you can’t abrogate that responsibility. I think what — because of your influence — there’s seven million — eight million viewers every Sunday, when you say things like homosexuality is a sin, it’s a big statement to make. You are a judge, and you’re encouraging your congregation to believe that.”

To Morgan, making any moral judgment amounts to judgmentalism. Of course, this leads logically to total moral insanity, since the only way to avoid being identified with judgmentalism is to make no moral judgments whatsoever — which no sane person can do.

Osteen’s statements, verbally cushioned in every way he could imagine, fell far short of the full wealth of biblical conviction. Nevertheless, he experienced what might be called the “Osteen Moment,” when his entire ministry, in the public eye, came down to his answer to Piers Morgan’s forced question. To his credit, Osteen did answer his question, and by staking his position on the Bible’s teaching that homosexual acts are sinful, he took the only road available to anyone with any substantial commitment to the truthfulness of the Bible.

Piers Morgan’s response was entirely predictable — as was the eruption of press coverage hyped by CNN itself. The network claimed that the Osteen interview was Morgan’s “most controversial” since he took over the time slot previously held by Larry King Live.

Compare Osteen’s comments last night to this report from The Boston Globe in 2006:

“I don’t think it’s God’s best,” the handsome Holy Roller said of homosexuality. “I never feel like homosexuality is God’s best.”

When pressed on the issue, Osteen said, “I don’t feel like that’s my thrust . . . you know, some of the issues that divide us, and I’m here to let people know that God is for them and he’s on their side.”

Joel Osteen found himself forced to answer a question that every Christian — and certainly every Christian leader — will be forced to answer. When that moment comes, and come it will, those who express confidence in the Bible’s teaching that homosexuality is a sin will find themselves facing the same shock and censure from the very same quarters.

What happened last night on Piers Morgan Tonight is a sign of things to come. After this interview, Joel Osteen will never be seen in the same way by the secular media and a good segment of the public. His efforts to avoid talking about sin failed him, and he ran out of options. Thankfully, he did not deny that homosexuality is a sin. We can only have hoped that he would have given a more bold answer, followed by an equal boldness in the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In any event, Joel Osteen had his moment last night. Most Christians will not face that question on national television, but on a college campus, in a family discussion, in the workplace, or in the heat of debate. But, whatever the circumstances, that moment will soon come.


I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at mail@albertmohler.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler.

Transcript, Piers Morgan Tonight, CNN, Wednesday, January 26, 2011.