Piers Morgan’s Drive-by of Joel & Victoria Osteen

I am no fan of Joel and Victoria Osteen.  Far from it.  Any Christian pastor like Osteen who uses Israel’s most wicked King — Ahab — as a positive example of faith in God will not often evoke much, if any, sympathy from me.  However, last night I found myself at times strangely sympathetic towards Joel (Victoria not so much) Osteen as he was being “interviewed” by America’s favorite nit-wit Brit, Piers Morgan.  If one of my church members had not called to let me know my “favorite” pastor was on CNN’s low-rated replacement for Larry King Live, I would have missed watching Mr. Morgan’s drive-by attack on America’s most well-known Christian minister.

In the old days, when Larry King was still at the helm, the Osteens were given the kid glove treatment by King, who in the last stages of his long-running talk show was not known for asking hard-hitting follow-up questions of the Osteens.  Not so with Piers Morgan.  While I mercifully missed the first 15 minutes of the Osteen’s interview, what I did see was almost too painful to watch.  But, I figured I owed it to my faithful readers and to members of my congregation to be able to warn them about the latest theological error likely to come out of Joel Osteen’s mouth.  I was not disappointed.

One of Joel’s trademark lines — “I don’t know” —  was trotted out often, especially after Piers Morgan began questioning the Osteens about their views on Capital Punishment.  Right before a commercial, Morgan teased that he would ask the Osteens about “Executions.”  At this point, I realized two things.  One, this would be good, and by good I mean that the Osteens — particularly Joel — would not be prepared for this line of questioning regarding Capital Punishment.  I hate to say it, but I was spot on.  The second thing I realized is that both Joel and Victoria were being set up for what would be an unrelenting, 45-minute drive-by attack by the irritating and unlikable Morgan.  Someone has to be such an arrogant jerk in their questioning that would even allow me to have the tiniest inkling of sympathy for Joel Osteen.  Morgan, ever the smarmy Brit, fit the bill.

Morgan, who was raised Catholic, appeared antagonistic towards orthodox, conservative Christianity from the moment he started asking the Osteens about political/moral/religious issues.  From his disdain for the Scriptures (“We need to bring them kicking and screaming into the 21st century”) to his twisted logic in using Osteen’s view on abortion to trip him up on the Capital Punishment question, Piers Morgan was relentless in his attack on the first couple of American Christendom.  Like a dear in the headlights, Joel never knew what hit him.  From the look on Victoria’s face (pained, but priceless), it was obvious she knew what was happening, but had absolutely no power to stop it (save from walking off the set, which might not have been a bad move).

While Joel Osteen maybe a great motivational speaker, no one will ever mistake him for a deep thinker or gifted theologian.  A learned pastor able to answer the most basic questions about faith and moral issues would be nice, but that’s still too much to ask for Joel Osteen.  Having badly wounded Joel with his questions regarding Capital Punishment — which Joel said he hadn’t thought too much about — Morgan went for the kill shot, a question about every pagan’s favorite topic, homosexuality.  Having heard Joel Osteen’s painful answers to this topic on Larry King Live, I just knew that he would fain ignorance and try to move the interview along.

Much to my surprise, Joel Osteen, at least at first, acquitted himself quite well when responding to Morgan’s predictably asinine line of questioning regarding same-sex marriage.  Joel, in a fairly strong way (at least for him) stood on the authority of God’s Word that homosexuality is a sin.  He turned to Scripture for his understanding of marriage, even pointing out that no where in the Bible does it mention two people of the same gender getting married.  If Morgan would have moved on, the Osteens would have gotten a solid “B” for their stand on homosexual marriage.  Morgan didn’t and the Osteens subsequent answers brought this portion of their test down to a “D+.”  Their overall grade was still an “F,” but they at least tried on this issue to withstand Morgan’s attacks.

Even though Joel Osteen was clear that he would not perform a same-sex marriage and that he believed the Bible’s language clearly prohibits same-sex marriages and will still be clear 200 years from now on the issue of gay marriage, Morgan was not through with the questions on homosexuality.  Asking Joel if he would ever attend a gay wedding, Joel hesitated.  What would he say?  Surely he wouldn’t attend a same-sex wedding, would he?  Before he could answer, Lakewood’s Co-Pastor, Victoria Osteen, piped up and said she would most definitely attend a gay friend’s wedding if asked and if she had the time.  By this time, Joel also has to admit that he would attend his friend’s same-sex wedding to “show respect” for his friend.  While this might sound admirable at first blush, for America’s leading “pastor” to tell Piers Morgan that he would attend a gay wedding makes about as much sense as saying that he would attend a friend’s first-ever pole dance at the local strip club!  A Christian pastor has no business at either event, even if people find it disrespectful not to attend.

After watching this painful interview, I came away with a tinge of sympathy for Joel Osteen.  He seems like a nice man who is a great husband and father.  No one will mistake him for Billy Graham or Charles Spurgeon.  However, whether we like it or not (I don’t), Joel Osteen has become the face of evangelical Christianity in America.  Piers Morgan knows it.  That’s why he tried his best to take out Joel on Tuesday night.  Badly wounded in the drive-by, Joel Osteen will live to fight another day.  Perhaps he will come better prepared and well-armed with Scripture.  More drive-by attacks will come and they won’t just be directed at Osteen.  I may not like his theology or methodology, but on this night, I’m glad Joel survived this well-planned drive-by attack.

 

5 comments for “Piers Morgan’s Drive-by of Joel & Victoria Osteen

  1. brent
    October 5, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    Sorry but I think he did worse then D+. Did you see the part about his views on Mormonism and Mitt Romney. Peirs asked him if he disagreed with Mormons beliefs and Joel said yes. Peirs followed up and asked him what parts. Joel responded that he didn’t know and hasn’t studied Mormonism. WHAT? This man is a pastor! This was an opportunity where he could have possibily helped someone indoctrinated in mormonism or perhaps looking into it. He later said the important thing is that Romney believes in Jesus. Mormons believes a whole other gospel!

    • October 5, 2011 at 7:50 AM

      Brent,

      I won’t disagree with you. There was so much bad in this interview. I could probably write several posts on the errant theology (that’s being charitable) of the Osteens. My main point wasn’t to give Osteen a passing grade as much as it was to show that Piers Morgan had an agenda to take down America’s leading
      Christian “pastor.” I put pastor in quotes because I don’t believe Osteen is a pastor. He maybe a good motivational speaker (although I don’t get him at all), but, like it or not (I don’t and you probably don’t), Osteen has become the face of American Christianity. When Piers Morgan attacks Osteen, he is using Osteen as a proxy for all conservative-minded Christians. The same happens when Catholic priests are attacked or belittled. It’s not about the Catholocism as much as it is about attacking Christianity in general. From a Christian perspective, the interview that the Osteens gave was pathetic. Osteen doesn’t really know what he believes, but he just spouts feel-good nonsense that tickles the ears of those who eat this stuff up. I guess my “grace” part got the better of me when I was writing, so I gave him a “D+.” On further reflection, you’re probably right. Just because Piers Morgan had an agenda doesn’t mean giving the Osteens a pass. As far as Christian theology is concerned, an “F” would not be out of line. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment this morning. God bless,

      Howell

  2. Scott Shaffer
    October 9, 2011 at 7:08 AM

    It wasn’t so much a drive-by as a full frontal assault, and Osteen was not up to the task. He doesn’t belong in a Christian pulpit because he doesn’t preach the true gospel. The fact that he is seen as a leading voice for evangelical Christianity is a shame.

    • October 10, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      Scott,

      Osteen will never be up to the task. I completely agree that it is a shame that Osteen is seen as a leading voice for evangelical Christianity, but that is the reality. I think that Osteen, for some (not me), is seen as a great motivational speaker, but he is not a “pastor” in any true, Biblical sense of the word. Thanks for stopping by. God bless,

      Howell

  3. GB
    November 27, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    Morgan, the pompous, arrogant, pushy bafoon, is hard on the eyes and ears to begin with. His interview with Osteen was painful to watch. Joel skated around every possibly controversial question or where his pearly whites could not shine immediately. I only know he is a wealthy good motivator, (if he sticks to his mainstream themes) but beyond that I don’t know who he is.

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