Lakewood Church has been all over social media for the past few days. If you are unfamiliar with Lakewood Church, this is the Church that Joel Osteen is a pastor of. The mega church is located in Houston Texas, in the heart of hurricane Harvey's destruction. The 606,000 square foot Church was the former home of the Houston Rockets. Lakewood Church purchased the large building in 2010. The Church has been getting a lot of heat for not opening their doors to flood victims. The Church claims that it did not shut its doors to flood victims. Residents insist that the Church refused to help people.
So who is telling the truth in this situation? From what I gathered, there is more to the story than what you hear in the headlines. According to sources, roads to the facility were flooded and impassable. After the flooding receded and the roads were usable, the Church opened up its doors to the public. Critics say that the Church only offered to help flood victims after being publicly shamed. The Church responded by saying that there was no way for people to get to the Church. As soon as the road situation improved, volunteers opened up the Church.
Lakewood Church is not the only focus of critics recently. Joel Osteen has been criticized for not opening up his $10.5 million dollars 17,000 square foot home to flood victims as well. Critics point out areas in the Bible about doing things to the least of these and helping the poor. Osteen has been a target for many years due to his lavish lifestyle of luxury.
Did Lakewood Church lead as Jesus would expect us to?
There are opinions on both sides of the Lakewood Church argument. What I do know is that we are all called to help those in need. In fact, we are to put others above ourselves.
Philippians 2:3 NASB Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
When doing a self-assessment, do you find yourself helping others? Do you help others in a way that puts them above yourself? If you have trouble answering both of those questions, you should go back to your Bible and see how Jesus treated others. When we find ourselves in a position to help others, we should ask Christ-like. In the situation of Lakewood Church, there is some built up resentment from past dealings. It is hard to justify spending over $100 million on a facility and act as humble servants. No one can justify spending that amount of money and claim to be humble as presented by Jesus in the Bible.
Modern Prosperity Theology
If you look at the Lakewood Church situation, prosperity theology has created an abundance of negative implications. Firstly, if you look in the Bible, God does not bless people with more things because they are better Christians. Secondly, how can you possibly appeal to the lost when you put yourself on a pedestal? Prosperity theology is a much larger topic for discussion. My blog for tomorrow will focus on my thoughts about prosperity theology.