Sunday, May 04, 2014

God, Evil, and Morality

God, Evil, and Morality

Certain things that happen in the world can be properly described as “evil.” Genocide, infanticide, and rape are factually morally evil. When we assert that those things are evil we do not mean simply that we dislike them or that they make us uncomfortable and therefore we would rather they did not exist. On the contrary, we are claiming that they are objectively evil at all times, for everyone. If this is correct, what is the explanation for the existence of such moral intuitions? More specifically, is theism a better explanation for morality than naturalism? These metaethical questions about the source and nature of moral values and obligations will be the subject of this short study. In order to explore the available options some definitions may be in order:  

Subjective. Subjective is that which pertains to a subject’s evaluation or estimation of it; a private opinion about something. In the treatment of this question, subjective is that which an individual believes for whatever personal reasons. It is a matter of personal preference, taste, or individual belief.  

Objective. Objective is that which is independent of a certain subject; rather than expressing an opinion, it is seen as something actually describing a factual thing, independent of any subject or individual that may or may not agree with its claim. Objective is that which is true by its very nature, independently of what any individual may believe or prefer.  

Naturalism. For the purposes of the present questions we will equate naturalism to non-theism. For naturalism, moral convictions whether subjective or objective do not have their source in God but rather in man’s own nature, however such a nature came about to its present state or condition.

Furthermore, we will assume that both theists and (at least some) non-theists recognize that objective moral values do exist and that things like considering child abuse as a moral evil are not subjective opinions dependent on individuals or societies but are factually, inescapably morally evil. The contention between theists and naturalist on this subject comes not from the actual existence of moral norms but on what the best explanation for morality is. It must be noted that the debate is not about whether someone must believe in God in order to live a moral life. Theists grant that non-theists can and many do live ethical lives. The issue is actually about the foundation of moral duties. The theist argues that, “moral epistemology must be anchored in the metaphysical resources of theism to provide the most plausible context to account for objective moral values.”* In the theist’s point of view the naturalist, who should be more in tune with nihilism but contends for morality does it without a dependable way to account for moral values and is living a life incompatible with her own worldview. Jean-Paul Sartre, Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, and other non-theists have agreed that in the absence of God moral facts are meaningless and non-existent. Where, then do those naturalists that disagree anchor their beliefs in objective moral properties? How do they justify moral accountability?

Christian Philosopher Paul Copan, in his essay “Ethics Needs God,” declares that theists base their belief in objective moral values on the fact that mankind was created in the image of God and was therefore endowed with “objective moral values, moral obligation, human dignity, and rights.” By contrast, the problem with naturalism is that all it can attempt to do is to describe human behavior and a psychology of that behavior which at the most gives us an “is” but does not serve as grounding for an “ought.” That is, it is descriptive rather than prescriptive.

How can the naturalist trust the impulses or moral instincts of a creature that evolved by chance, possesses no free will (or at most has only the illusion of free will) and is predetermined by its own genes and chemical reactions to act a certain way? One must remember that naturalistic evolution is survivalist, not a truth-seeking enterprise. Naturalism cannot account for things like self-awareness or consciousness (which plays a part in intentionality and choice) and reason (which gives humans the capacity for moral judgments). Some non-theistic philosophers have retreated to a less than ideal position regarding such issues to a type of “accidental true belief” which is a far cry from true knowledge (and thus from true objectivity). Finally, naturalism cannot account for free will neither for moral responsibility.

Going a step further, it can be argued that objective moral values exist only if God exists. In the absence of an all-good holy God morality is just a human convention that can be neither normative nor binding on all people at all times. This strongly suggests that theism is by far a superior explanation for morality than naturalism ever could.


 * Paul Copan, “Ethics Needs God,” in Debating Christian Theism, Oxford University Press, 2013.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

DVD ~ Three Persons at the Baptism of Jesus?

Three Divine Persons at the Baptism of Jesus?

This DVD was recorded during the "Defenders of the Faith" Conference on Apostolic Doctrine.

James Anderson responds to the question:
Were there three Divine Persons present at the baptism of Christ?

To see a clip of this resource, visit: Defensores de la Fe YouTube

To order this resource for $10 click in the button below:


Monday, February 04, 2013

The Global-Warming Deception by Grant R. Jeffrey

The Global-Warming Deception

Global warming’s hidden agenda: a global socialist government 

The worldwide effort to combat man-made global warming is history’s most far-reaching hoax. In The Global-Warming Deception, Grant R. Jeffrey documents the orchestrated campaign of political pressure, flawed science, and falsified data—all designed to sell an environmental lie and bring the West to its knees.

United Nations agencies use the threat of rising ocean levels, crop failure, expanding deserts, and the extinction of species to convince western nations to surrender their sovereignty. As these developments play out, we see the globalists consolidating their power.
In The Global-Warming Deception, you will find proof that:

   • Laws and regulations to reduce carbon emissions are designed to destroy the free-enterprise system and drain wealth from western nations.

   • The religion of eco-fundamentalism denies the existence of God and substitutes in His place the worship of the earth.

   • The coming economic collapse, hastened by global-warming laws, will lead to international chaos. A one-world government will be presented as the solution, followed by the arrival of the Antichrist. Your liberty is at stake. Now is the time to learn all you can about the socialist-Marxist elite that is advancing the false threat of global warming—the most deadly deception in history.
The Global-Warming Deception
224 pages
Retail: $14.99

Our price: $5.99

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

T. D. Jakes embraces the Trinity

This is taken from the second-annual Elephant Room, an event that brings together Christian figures from different backgrounds for what organizers call "conversations you never thought you'd hear." This year's Elephant Room was held at Harvest Bible Chapel in Illinois and was simulcast to other locations nationwide.

Following is the transcript of the conversation between T.D. Jakes, Mark Driscoll and James MacDonald on the Trinity, beginning after Jakes was asked about his background:

Jakes: My father was Methodist. My mother was Baptist. My father's family was Methodist as far back as I can remember. I was raised in a Baptist church. But I was raised in church but I really didn't have a real committed experience with Christ until my father died. When my father died, I had a real experience with Christ -- a real conversion in Christ, and I had it in a Oneness church.

By Oneness meaning [what]? -- for those who do not know all the theological terms.

Jakes: Well it would be like, how do I explain it? It was not a UPC [United Pentecostal] church, in spite of the blogs. It was not a UPC church, but somewhat similar.

Driscoll: Jesus only, modalism?

Jakes: "Jesus only -- modalism" which is still a theological term. ... But Christians and Christians [who] believe in Jesus Christ, believe He died and rose from the dead, coming back again -- all the same things that you do. Pentecostal Christians by its virtue. But how they described and explained the Godhead in a traditional oneness sense is very, very different from how traditional Trinitarians describe the Gospel. And I was in that church and raised in that church for a number of years. My problem with it as I began to go on and as God began to develop my ministry, I started preaching from that church and from that pulpit and that sort of thing. But I'm also informed by the infiltration from my Baptist experience and my Methodist experience, so I ended up Metha-Bapti-Costal in a way. So I'm kind of like a mixed breed sitting up here, OK? And what I began to find out [is that] it is easy to throw rocks at people that you don't know, but the more you really get to know them and see Christ work in their lives, regardless of their belief system, you begin to try to be a bridge-builder. ... When you try to build bridges between people who've been fighting for hundreds of years -- hundreds of years before you ever even got into the discussion. There is an old adage that says 'he who stands in the middle of the road gets hit by both sides.' So as I began to progress, I began to understand that some of the dogma that I was taught in the Oneness movement was very dogmatic and very narrow and really not the best description of how I now understand the Godhead. I still did not want to switch teams and start throwing rocks back across the street, because much of what we do today is teach people to take sides. But I believe we are called as the Body of Christ to reconcile wherever possible.

Alright, but before we even get into -- and I think what you're leading us into is wise and helpful and it reflects why we're here -- how we relate to people who differ is on subject. Before we even go to that, I'd love to give you an opportunity to just -- like there were some particular Scriptures that began to inform you, you began to move and develop in what you personally believe. I'd like to just hear you articulate that.

Jakes: My struggle after I was ordained and consecrated in the Oneness church was in several passages, sometimes the doctrine fits; sometimes it doesn't. And when the doctrine becomes the primary thing you force it into many places where it doesn't fit. I really at this point in my life don't want to force my theology to fit within my denomination. I am open to hear whatever God is saying. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, for example, coming up out of the water the Holy Spirit descends like a dove, the Father speaks from heaven -- and we see all three of them on one occasion, or in Genesis "let us make man in our own likeness" or Elohim -- He is the one God who manifest Himself in a plurality of ways. Or what Jesus says, "I am with the Father, and the Father is in me" and understanding -- or attempting to understand. And that began to make me rethink some of my ideas and some of the things that I was taught. I got kind of quiet about it for a while. Because when you are a leader and you are in a position of authority, sometimes you have to back up and ponder for a minute, and really think things through. I began to realize that there are some things that could be said about the Father that could not be said about the Son. There are distinctives between the working of the Holy Spirit and the moving of the Holy Spirit, and the working of the redemptive work of Christ. I'm very comfortable with that. You and I have talked; [Jack] Graham and I have talked; there is very little difference in what I believe and what you believe. But here is where I find the problem: I don't think anything that any of us believes fully describes who God is. And if we would ever humble down to admit that we in our finite minds cannot fully describe an infinite God.

Driscoll: ... We all would agree in the nature of God there is mystery, and it's like a dimmer switch: how much certainty, how much mystery. But within that, Bishop Jakes, for you the issue between Trinitarianism and Modalism at its essence is one God manifesting Himself successively in three ways? Or one God three persons simultaneously existing eternally. ... And I understand, there is some mystery -- for sure. Would you say it's One God manifesting Himself in three ways, or One God in three persons?

Jakes: I believe that neither one of them totally did it for me, but I think the latter one is where I stand today.

One God, three Persons?

One God, three Persons. One God, Three Persons, and here is why -- I am not crazy about the word "persons." ... My doctrinal statement is no different from yours except for the ...

Driscoll: The word "manifestation."

Jakes: Manifest instead of persons. Which you describe as modalist, and I describe it as Pauline. Let me show you what I'm saying. When I read 1 Timothy 3:16, I didn't create this. ... "And without controversy," which I think we have been bickering about something that is what Paul describes as a mystery, and I don't think we should do that. "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness. So God was manifest in the flesh." Now Paul was not a modalist, but he does not think that it is robbery to the divinity of God to say God was manifest in the flesh. And I think maybe it's semantics. But Paul says this before this fight was started. But He also says God "was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached until the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up into glory." Now, when we start talking about that sort of thing, I think that it is important that we realize that there are distinctives between the Father and the working of the Son. The Father didn't bleed, the Father didn't die -- [that happened] only in the person of Jesus Christ. Coming back for us in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ has with us, but only indwells us through the person of the Holy Spirit; we are baptized into the body of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. I don't think any of that is objectionable to any of the three of us.

Not at all.

Jakes: So that is consistent with my belief system. I'm with you. I have been with you. I teach/preach that all the time. There are many people within and outside quote unquote denominations that are labeled Oneness that would describe that the same way. There are some that would not. But when we get to know people by their labels, then comes all the baggage of how we define that label. ... it's almost like the stereotypical ideologies we have about races. We have little ideas about denominations and movements. The reason I applauded what you said earlier about people who have dual affiliations: We are taught in society that if we disagree with any movement, we leave. We sever. Oh, you said something I disagree with we fall out and then we walk away. I still have fellowship, associations, relationship, and positions within and without Trinitarian and Onenness movements, because I believe that until we bridge the gap between our thinking and humble both sides and say, "We are both attempting to describe a God we love, that we serve, and that we have not seen. And that we are viewing Him through the context of the Scriptures, but that with a glass darkly." Why should I fall out and hate and throw names at you when all that I know and understand, be it very orthodox, is still through a glass darkly? And then face to face. None of our books about the Godhead or anything else will be on sale in heaven. You know why? Because we're only authorities down here, with our little kingdoms in this world. I think it's so important that we realize that our God is beyond our intellect. And if you can define Him and completely describe Him and say you are the end-all definition of who God is, then He ceases to be God. Because the reason Paul says it is a mystery, is that we deify the fact that God does things that don't fit our formulas.

Driscoll: Let me jump in here. I want to say a couple of things. Thank you for joining us. You don't have to be there. You were on the cover of Time magazine. You have options of where you go.

MacDonald: This isn't your biggest gig ever? [laughter]

Driscoll: It takes a lot of courage and humility to put yourself in an unscripted situation and to be outside of your normal tribe. And the fact that you showed up to dinner last night, I was shocked. I was like, "T.D. Jakes is coming to dinner?" I loved you. I enjoyed you. I really appreciated hearing your story of your family in context and your upbringing. And I walked away going, "I really appreciate getting to meet and know and enjoy that man. So thank-you for being gracious; thank-you for being courageous; and thank-you for being humble. And I think it might be helpful because, You're coming out of a Oneness background and out of a different context than a lot of us are. You've demonstrated humility, saying "I've been studying the Bible and I'm even changing some thinking as I'm studying." A lot of pastors will just defend their first position to death rather than humbly reconsidering it biblically. Maybe to help others understand you, on the flip side, How have you been treated and what has the response been from some who were friends that you don't want to throw rocks at, but because of your transition.

Jakes: That's what's funny about this, that's what's really funny to me.

Driscoll: Are you the heretic to them?

Jakes: Oh, very much so in many circles ... Many of the circles that I came from would never allow me in their pulpit because they consider me a heretic. I have to read the article to see which heretic I am.

MacDonald: We'd be honored if you'd come be with us and let's all grow together.

Jakes: OK, and that'd be great. But I think the time has come for us to be willing to take the heat to have a conversation. Because if we do not do this, and we continue to divide ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves with ourselves, we do it at the expense of decreasing numbers of new Christians in our country. We have to mobilize. Just for your consideration: This is the only thing that Jesus prayed that we can answer. He only prayed, "Father, I pray that they may be one even as You and I are also one." And this is the one thing that is within our power to answer, and we do not do it.

Driscoll: Can I ask a couple of quick questions, and then we can do whatever you want. Do you believe this is the perfect, inspired, final authority Word of God? [Driscoll holds up a Bible]

Jakes: Absolutely.

Driscoll: So you believe there's one God, Three Persons -- Father, Son and Holy Spirit? You believe Jesus was fully God, fully Man?

Jakes: Absolutely.

Driscoll: You believe He died on the cross in our place for our sins?

Jakes: Absolutely.

Driscoll: You believe He bodily rose from death?

Jakes: Absolutely.

Driscoll: You believe that He is the judge of the living and the dead?

Jakes: Yes.

Driscoll: And you believe that Apart from Jesus there is no salvation?

Jakes: Absolutely.

Driscoll: Thank-you. [applause]

MacDonald: That was crazy! I've just want to say this: I am so weary of people thinking they know -- they don't know I think you honor us and you humble us, a man of your stature and commitment to the Gospel and fruitfulness would come and sit in this room, let you and me ask him what he believes? ... I just want to say this, I think you've honored us, and you've shown immense humility, and I want to be in the world where I believe that Jesus Christ stands. And He's told us again and again He stands with the humble. "Get to those people who love my Son, who believe my Word, who express humility." And I'm honored to hear what you said. I want to just say, further, Mark, if I could contribute to this, that I feel deeply in my heart that God is both three and one. Three and one. I believe the Scripture is very clear when we get to heaven, we are going to see Jesus -- the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declare. Jesus is the only God we will ever see. When I was studying Revelation last year I was struck by the number of times that I saw in the book of Revelation that it almost seems in the text like the Father and the Son are on the same throne, and when I start to think about this, I believe in God eternally existing in three persons. But, the more I think about it, the more I feel like my head is going to explode, and I get a little weary of people who feel that they need to erase mystery and replace it with certainty as a test of orthodoxy. If what we have heard today doesn't satisfy, then the person is insatiable, and I'm ready to move on to a new subject. I believe that very strongly.

Jakes: Let me just make one little comment: One of the things that you said at the end, even as we talked about it before, and I've heard Jack Graham say this, too, that there is going to be one throne and there's going to be one God we can see. And I thought the more I hear everybody arguing about this, we're all saying the same thing. And we like fight about it to the death, and I just think that in the world that we're living in today, if we could just connect, and I know that there will always be distracters and there will always be people who define themselves by their differences rather than their connections, who are more comfortable with being known by what they are against than by what they are for. But when I hear you say that there's going to be one throne and one God on that throne, My soul leaps in celebration, and I hear both of us stumbling trying to explain how God does what He does like He does. I think THAT stumbling is worship. I think THAT stumbling is worship. I think the fact that we would humble ourselves and say, "Your thoughts and ways are beyond human comprehension" is what makes worship fill the room.


Trinitarian Malcolm B. Yarnell III, director of the Center for Theological Research at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, came out with the following reply:

In response to T.D. Jakes' recent statements on the Trinity, we can affirm seven things, though with some cautionary statements included, especially about proper biblical exegesis:

First, the goal of unity in Christ (John 17:21-23) is both laudable and necessary. Yet such unity must be founded on the "truth" (John 17:17) revealed by God in Jesus Christ and recorded in the Word inspired by the Spirit. True unity requires that we confess the true Christ, the second person of the Trinity revealed in Scripture, and not a Christ of our own fashioning.

the call for civility in Christian discourse is also much appreciated. We ought to restrain ourselves from loosely casting around such terms as "heretic" or "heresy." Before using these terms, we should be absolutely sure what the terms mean and that they actually apply.

Third, Jakes is correct that Scripture should shape our theology and not that we should make Scripture fit into our theology. And though I agree with him on this in theory, he has unfortunately misread Scripture to fit his purpose of "building bridges."

Fourth, Jakes is correct that we must know and speak about what we are for rather than what we are against. This is living with our eyes on the positive nature of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fifth, it is encouraging to see T.D. Jakes moving away from the heresy of modalism. However, we should pray for him and exhort him privately and publicly to move into biblical orthodoxy without equivocation. Much of what Jakes stated about God the Trinity in this interview was correct. For instance he noted the simultaneous but distinct movements of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the baptism of Jesus. This is very true, though I might have described it differently.

On the other hand, Jakes also speaks errantly. This derives from the fact that he is effectively trying to hold two positions without seeing that his proffered mediating category is ultimately untenable. Jakes stated he wants to have "dual affiliations" with both Oneness and Trinitarian churches. This is the goal behind his equivocation, and he relies on unique terminology to enable his dual theology. Although stating he is willing to use "persons" to describe the Trinity, he is also clear he would prefer not to do so. (There have been orthodox theologians who also registered difficulty with the term "person," but typically they object to modernist meanings attached to the term, meanings different from the classical Christian understanding. Jakes, however, is rejecting the term not because it has been misunderstood but because it is offensive to Oneness Pentecostals, whom he deems Christian.)

T.D. Jakes wants to have both Trinitarians and Oneness Pentecostals, who are Unitarian Modalists, classified as brothers in Christ at the same time. But you cannot affirm both are in the realm of truth without removing the Trinity as a fundamental basis of the Christian faith. You cannot have both beliefs at the same time: either God is both three and one (as Trinitarians believe and Unitarians deny) or God is only one (as Unitarians like Oneness Pentecostals believe and Trinitarians deny). There is no bridging this divide without losing the Trinity itself, for He is the God we worship.

Instead of using the term "persons," Jakes has long confessed he believes the "one God" is "eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (see Potter's House Belief Statement at Jakes then proceeds to use "manifestations" in ways he hopes that both Trinitarians and Unitarians might find acceptable. Jakes, moreover, argues that "manifestations" derives from 1 Timothy 3:16. But he misuses the term's meaning in that passage, wrenching it from its Christological context and transferring it to the Trinity. The only "manifestation" to which 1 Timothy 3:16 refers is the incarnation of God in Christ. God was "manifested" in the flesh of Christ; this Christ was "justified" or "vindicated" by the Spirit through the Resurrection; this Christ was "received up into glory." The manifestation of God was Christ in 1 Timothy 3:16, not the Father and not the Holy Spirit. The Father and the Spirit are indeed at work in this passage but not as "manifestations." Instead, the Father and Spirit work through the Son, who is God manifested in flesh so we can see and hear and touch Him. Jakes simply does not offer a proper exegetical basis for his unique theological term.

Sixth, with regard to the same biblical passage, let us recognize that although there is "mystery" in Scripture, this is no reason to paper over real differences in theology. Where God reveals, there is no more hiddenness in the mystery, for the mystery has now been disclosed, for us in Scripture. The point of 1 Timothy 3:16 is not to say that the Trinity is an undisclosed mystery but that the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ is the mystery of God now disclosed. An appeal to a continuing mystery in this passage actually subverts the passage's meaning. Moreover, to claim that Scripture is dark is a repudiation of the Reformation rediscovery of the clarity of Scripture. Scripture is clear and God has sent His Spirit to lead us into all the truth He inspired the apostles and prophets to record therein (John 14:26, 16:12-15).

Seventh and finally, as a fallen human being saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, I concur with Jakes that theology, the human attempt to explain divine revelation, is a "stumbling" matter. I also agree with Jakes' interlocutors that we are all growing in our theology. However, I must disagree with T.D. Jakes when he says, "we're all saying the same thing," because Trinitarians and Unitarians definitely are not saying the same thing. But I hope he keeps reflecting on Scripture, which he has been doing, for it clearly and unequivocally reveals the eternally Triune God, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit, into whose entire name orthodox Christians are baptized.


Taken from the Baptist Press website.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Book: I AM: A Oneness Pentecostal Theology

A Oneness Pentecostal Theology
By David S. Norris
WAP Academic
385 Pages

The first book that addresses the oneness of God at an academic level, interacting with the very best theologians the world has to offer. In the end, the oneness of God is the irrefutable Bible truth.

From the Publisher:

In I AM, the author engages hundreds of academic works to construct a particular kind of argument. Rejecting a triumphalistic reading of church history, he argues that the first century church had a very specific christological confession, one very different from what the church later came to believe. Combining theological, biblical, and historical method, Norris works to demonstrate that this christological understanding is biblical, historical, and logical.

"David Norris has written an excellent, long-needed study of Oneness Pentecostal theology for those inside and outside the movement. His writing is both scholarly and readable. Using an Apostolic hermeneutic, the explains the Oneness understandings of christology and the new covenant." ~ David K. Bernard

To order the book for $30, plus $6 S&H, please click the button below:


Monday, November 07, 2011

Why were Nadab and Abihu killed by God?

"And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD." (Leviticus 10:1–2)

The sin of Nadab and Abihu was offering “strange fire before YHWH, which he commanded them not.” (Lev. 10:1) Strange fire most probably has to do with the kind of “fire” they used. Everything in the Tabernacle was purified with blood because “without blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22) and “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Leviticus 17:11).

The fire to be used in the censers was supposed to come from the altar of sacrifice. Any other fire was not purified for such a holy purpose and was, therefore, “strange fire.”

“And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it . . . Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon. And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.” (Exodus 30:1, 9–10)

God describes this in more detail:
“And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail; and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not.” (Lev. 16:12–13).

It is possible that Nadab and Abihu saw how God’s presence filled the place when they offered incense and thought it was their doing. They thought they could conjure up God’s presence in a “carnal” way. Even though they offered that incense “before YHWH” (Lev. 10:1), God was forced to show them He meant what He had declared earlier. There’s only one way to please and follow God: His way. Sincerity is not enough. All branches of Christendom, and all other religions, would do well to learn this lesson.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Joel Osteen: "I don't -- I don't know"

Joel Osteen does it again on live television. When asked about the most pressing issues of the day Joel Osteen had no sure answers, and they certainly were not biblical. Here's the complete transcript of the interview with Piers Morgan on CNN.



Amanda Knox Freed

Aired October 4, 2011 - 21:00 ET


MORGAN: Up next, my in depth interview and extraordinary conversation in many ways with Victoria and Joel Olsteen, quite a fascinating encounter. You won't want to miss this with America's most famous preacher and his wife.


MORGAN: Victoria, Joel, welcome back.


MORGAN: It seems like only yesterday you were gracing me with your presence. Now, you're here because you've got this great new book, Every Day's A Friday, How To Be Happier Seven Days a Week, and I'm thinking to myself, you are the two happiest people I've ever met anyway. How could you possibly get any happier? J. OLSTEEN: Well, you know, I think we all can if we -- if we learned what to ignore and certain battles not to fight, just, you know, I think we can all be improving and growing and being happier.

MORGAN: Why Fridays? Because, when I came to New York, in particular, I was horrified. On Fridays my staff all came in dressed like, you know, people on the street because it was apparently dress down Friday and I was like, what does that mean? Apparently, it means you dress badly, wear jeans and old T-shirts and things. So, to me, I associate Friday with this unkempt sort of misery. Why have you selected Friday as a day of great joy and happiness?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, Piers, for the most people, the studies show that people are happier on Fridays.


J. OLSTEEN: I think people are looking for the weekends, looking forward to it, getting to relax, you know, done with work and, you know, I've also read, Piers, where there's more heart attacks on Monday than any other day.

MORGAN: The stress of going back to work.

J. OLSTEEN: Yes, the stress. People just...

MORGAN: (INAUDIBLE) because most people don't enjoy their jobs? I don't know about you but I look forward to Mondays. I don't really like Fridays because everything sort of winds down, you know, everything slows down, you're not really working as hard. I don't really like it.

J. OLSTEEN: Yes, I'm the same way because, of course, we work weekends and I enjoy what we do -- what we do but not everybody's like that and, just, you know, the thought is in general, you've heard of that, thank God it's Friday. You know, we should -- we have the right perspective. We don't have to dread going to work, even if it's not the perfect job. When you have the right perspective and you think, hey, I'm alive, I'm healthy, I've got a lot right in my life, you can enjoy each day. Maybe not jumping up and down but you can enjoy it.

MORGAN: But, the theme of the book is very much that you make your own decisions about your life and your life will be happier. Is it as simple as that? I mean, lots of people, through circumstance, are not really in a position to do much about their lot in life. However, I mean, it's an easy thing to say and, you know, the critics will say it's all right with you Joel, you're worth $100 million. What about the poor guy who's trapped in a factory job or something or maybe has no job who, just through lack of opportunity and bad circumstance, is unhappy because he can't get out of that?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, Piers, to me, faith is all about learning to be happy where you are. I mean, it doesn't take any faith to be happy when everything's going your way, when the economy is great, when you get good breaks. But, you know, there are many people that are in a situation that seems like they're stuck but, you know, my belief is if you put your trust in God you can be peace -- you can -- you can have peace, you can be happy right where you are and I always say this, if you don't get happy where you are, you probably won't get to where you want to be because these are tests you have to pass as far as I'm concerned.

You've got to pass those tests, say God, I'm at a job and I don't like it or I've got some medical problems but I want to be good to somebody, I'm going to put a smile on my face anyway. When you do that, to me, you're releasing your faith and that's what allows God to change people.

MORGAN: Do you believe, fundamentally, that money can make people happier?

J. OLSTEEN: You know...

MORGAN: Victoria, you're shaking your head, why?

VICTORIA OLSTEEN: Well, I mean, it helps, I mean, it helps but, no, I don't -- I've seen people who are very wealthy and they're unhappy, they don't have good relationships, they may even have bad health and ...

MORGAN: Yes, I think I've met more unhappy rich people than poor people and the reason I say that, I went to South Africa. I went to the Soweto Township. There are millions of people living in complete poverty, some of the happiest people I've ever met. Their spirits were just alive with happiness and I couldn't really understand it. I still don't really understand it but it was a fact, I saw it with my own eyes. Why is that? You must have been in many of these places over the years.


MORGAN: Why can poverty stricken people sometimes find joy in their lives?

J. OLSTEEN: I think there's not so many distractions. I think they have their priorities where they love their family, they're with their family, they don't have a million things that are getting them off course and they just take every day for what it is, just the simple things in life, getting up and enjoying family times and just not fighting a lot of the battles that we allow to steal our joy.

MORGAN: Does he ever get angry?

V. OLSTEEN: Angry?

MORGAN: Or is he always this content happy chap?

V. OLSTEEN: Angry, no. Is he content, yes. I think he chooses it. I mean, there's things that I'm sure that are stressful...

MORGAN: What really flips him out? What gets his goat?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, I don't really think he flips out but what -- he likes things to be right, you know, and, you know, I've watched him when things aren't right and he chooses to see the best in the situation. He's always really great about finding what is right, you know, because I -- you know, a lot of people have a tendency to look at the wrong -- one wrong thing.

MORGAN: When's the last time you heard him -- when's the last time you heard him shout, Victoria, come on?

V. OLSTEEN: Never.

MORGAN: You've never heard him shout?

V. OLSTEEN: No, he's never shouted ...

MORGAN: He's never shouted?

V. OLSTEEN: ...and if you -- listen, if you live with me and you don't shout, you're pretty good.

MORGAN: You're quite a live wire. I remember from our last interview. And I would imagine you can be quite lively, right?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, you know, I like to keep things hopping?

MORGAN: Do you have a temper?

V. OLSTEEN: Do I have a temper? I've grown out of my temper living with him. I don't have a temper.

MORGAN: So he really is this kind of bastion of calm...

V. OLSTEEN: He's infectious.

MORGAN: ...serenity. Do you never shout at anybody?

J. OLSTEEN: No, no, that's not my personality. A lot of it is just your personality. I've been like this my whole life. So, no, I don't -- I don't...

MORGAN: Let me just clarify, you've never shouted in your life?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I probably have, you know...

MORGAN: When was the last time?

J. OLSTEEN: ...I can't remember.

V. OLSTEEN: He doesn't shout.

J. OLSTEEN: I don't -- I don't shout.

V. OLSTEEN: He doesn't really shout but he does have a look, like when he's aggravated at you.

MORGAN: What's the look?

V. OLSTEEN: It's like ...

MORGAN: And that's when you know...

V. OLSTEEN: ...that's when it's like, OK everybody, kids, let's go, let's go, let's everybody be right.

MORGAN: That's blind fear. So, what -- what frustrates in the noisy, what can ruin your Friday?

J. OLSTEEN: You know, I don't know if it would ruin my Friday but I -- like she said, I like things to be right, I like, you know, I like organization. You know, I just -- I -- you know, I like to -- I expect excellence but not in the wrong sense but I believe we're supposed to be excellent so, if, you know, if we put things into -- into place and people aren't doing their job, you know, there are some times you think, OK, come on guys, let's get going.

But, you know, I -- I choose to believe -- you know, to use that energy to make things right and not just to yell at people or anything like that, that's just not who I am.

MORGAN: Have you ever had a fist fight?

J. OLSTEEN: I never have -- I never have. No.

MORGAN: Not even when you were a kid?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, probably with my brother, yes. Or my cousin.

MORGAN: That doesn't count. Brothers deserve it.

V. OLSTEEN: Now, you would wrestle with your brother but not a fist fight.

J. OLSTEEN: No, no.

MORGAN: Never actually -- have you ever been punched in the face?


MORGAN: Never.

J. OLSTEEN: Never have.

MORGAN: Incredible life you've had.

J. OLSTEEN: I've been blessed.

V. OLSTEEN: Have you ever been punched in the face?


V. OLSTEEN: You have?

MORGAN: Yes. Many times. I thought it was all part of life's rich tapestry but at least I'm not like you and I think I've missed out here. I think about a life of total serenity.

J. OLSTEEN: No. Now we've all had challenges. We all have to -- you know, the scripture calls it fighting the good fight of faith and that's when you know God's in control and, you know, I used to get frustrated when things weren't happening the way I wanted to or, you know what, I had everything worked out and my -- my plans didn't go the way I wanted it to but now I've learned to say, God, here's my plans for today, I'm going to do my best, if it doesn't work out I believe you're in control, that you're opening the right doors and what we don't, you know, hear a lot is sometimes God closes a door on purpose. And, I used to think, oh God that was a good opportunity, why didn't it work out? But, you know, I've learned now just to trust. God knows what's best for each one of us.

MORGAN: What do you say, we had the 10th anniversary of 9/11 recently and it's extraordinary being, you know, in America. I was in New York City after it happened and I came back here for the anniversary and so on. It's very hard to tell God-fearing people who've prayed all their lives, it's very hard to tell them that they lost relatives in that kind of thing that there is a merciful God.

I mean, they just -- they all, when I've seen them be interviewed, many of them, particularly if they're devout Christians or Muslims or all the denominations who perished on that day, what do you say to them? How do you explain that a just God can allow these kind of atrocities to happen, ruining so many lives?

J. OLSTEEN: You know, it's difficult, Piers, but the world we live in is not a perfect world. We're living in a fallen world and, you know, to simplify it, God's given us all our free choice. We can do what we want to do and, unfortunately, some people choose to do evil. I mean, God didn't make us as robots and, you know, it -- it's hard to explain because God is good. Obviously, God could have stopped it but he didn't but there's much about faith that I don't understand and I think that ...

MORGAN: Has it ever -- did your faith ever get dented?

J. OLSTEEN: You know, it really...

MORGAN: You always sound very unequivocal and I watch you on Sunday mornings and, you know, it's fantastic to watch, you're an incredibly inspiring speaker. But, I wonder, you know, I've had relatives who, for example, renounce their Catholic belief and their faith in God after the Holocaust who lived through the war who just couldn't understand how any God could allow 5 million Jews to be -- to have their lives taken in such a ghastly manner. And, it's hard to argue. You know, I -- I find it difficult. What do you say to people, again, who might come to you and say, I -- I can't continue having this faith because some appalling thing has happened?

J. OLSTEEN: You know what, that happens from time to time but, again, I go back to the fact that, you know what, having faith means you're going to have unanswered questions. I mean, that's what faith is all about. So, I can't explain why, you know, parents will come to me and their little child has cancer. I can't -- I don't -- I still believe God ...

MORGAN: What do you say to them?

J. OLSTEEN: What I say is this, God's got you in the palm of his hand. None of this is a surprise to God, you may be hurting, our hearts break with you but we're going to pray for you and God's going to give you a strength that you've never felt before and if you turn to God and turn to your faith and you don't get bitter and start blaming God and blaming everybody else and give up on your dreams, I believe somehow, someway, that God can bring good out of it. He can give you a new beginning. I know you'll never get your loved one back but God can make the rest of your life still very fulfilling if you'll -- if you'll (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: Victoria, have you ever had your faith dented?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, no, I've never -- I never have, you know. It's like what Joel is saying. A lot of times we don't -- we want to see everything happen but God's a supernatural God and he can bring grace and comfort into your life just by a state of peace and joy, even though when ...

MORGAN: How do you have -- how do you have moments, for example, when something bad has happened, you know, in your life or something that's really affected you badly and you've prayed to God to have that situation end in a happy way and then it hasn't, your prayers haven't been answered, in that circumstance do you not feel slightly let down?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, you know what, I can't tell God what to do. I can ask God what to do, I can -- I can ask him to do things for me but I know in my core that he's got my best interest at heart and it may not look good but there's -- but, somehow, some good can come out of it. And, you know what, you can't bring people back, you can't bring things, maybe, that you've lost back sometimes. But, God has a way of somehow getting you out of yourself and into a new place in your life.

MORGAN: We're going to take a little break and come back and talk to you about executions which is a burning issue right now, many people believing that America should now join most of the rest of the world and abandon executions.



J. OLSTEEN: (INAUDIBLE) I can do what it says I can do. Today, I will be taught the word of God. I won't be convinced. My mind is alert. My heart is receptive. I will never be the same.


MORGAN: That was Joel and Victoria Olsteen. Do you ever watch yourself back on TV?

J. OLSTEEN: I do. I still edit my sermons. MORGAN: Do you?

J. OLSTEEN: I do still edit them. I mean, I edit with somebody now but I did that for 17 years for my dad and, so, after I, you know, speak my sermon on Sundays, I like to edit it because I know what I -- where I messed up or where I could do better and you know how you do with editing now.

MORGAN: Well, yes, but, I mean, I've watched you. It's almost always word perfect. I mean, you have an extraordinary style. How have you developed that?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, my mother has had a great memory and when I started, you know, my dad just spoke extemporaneously and just would go and I couldn't do that. I had to write out what I'm going to say so a lot of mine I've put in me, I go over it for two or three hours a couple of days before and I get it so much in me that, you know, it can come out pretty good now.

MORGAN: I mean it's huge pressure now because you've got so many people tuning in to -- to watch these sermons. You can't get them wrong, can you? Every word gets analyzed.

J. OLSTEEN: Well, you do. You have to, you know, it makes me very responsible in what I'm going to say because people are going to, you know, some people are making decisions based off of what you are saying so you've got to think, OK, how is this coming across. This is the way I mean it but is it coming across that way? So, I try to think through it a lot.

MORGAN: There was a recent survey, which I found quite fascinating, New York Times named you one of the most influential figures worldwide on Twitter and you actually beat people like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Rachel Maddow, Arianna Huffington, and so on, really big Tweeters themselves because they deemed that your influence, which they assess by the number of your Tweets that were re-Tweeted, actually exceeded all of them. I mean, that shows that you've got proper influence and I would say power.

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I felt very, you know, honored when I heard that and, you know, but we've found, Piers, people come to us for inspiration for those little quotes and so we try to stay really focused on what can I speak to people that will help improve their day? My -- my Tweets are not about what I did that day.

It's always about something that they can use and I think when you give people good material they like to pass it on because, you know, the fact is, there's a lot pushing us down these days.

There's a lot of negativity so when you tell somebody go out and be good to somebody today, make somebody else's day and God will make your own day, to give them smaller tidbits like that, you know, that resonates on the inside.

MORGAN: One of the key things in the book is that forgiveness of sins is one of the central tenets of Christianity in many ways. And you're -- I know you're, by nature, a very forgiving man. I've watched you do these sermons and interviewed you before about this. What is your view of state executions and, in particular, the Troy Davis thing which happened recently where, by common consent, there was enough doubt that that man really could not be 100 percent said to have committed the crime, certainly no DNA evidence. What do you think of the whole issue?

J. OLSTEEN: 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 because I'm so full of ...

MORGAN: A life for a life?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I don't -- I don't know that that's -- you know, I -- it's -- it's hard for me.

MORGAN: You know, I don't think that you can say that. And I've had this debate with you before about these things. You can't be the man who influences millions of people and sit on the fence about key moral issues like that, key moral stroke ethical issues and you've got to have a view haven't you?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I think the thing is, is we have a justice system and I believe in our system of justice, number one. Part of me, the human part of me, the merciful part of me is wow, let's just give everybody a chance and if there is any, you know -- it's hard for me to say, yes, let's kill this person because he's so bad, you know, and they can be redeemed, they can be forgiven but you still, you know, they may still have to be put to death. That's hard for me. I don't know what's the right thing. I mean, there's people smarter than me that make all the laws. I do stand by our systems.

MORGAN: Two-thirds of all executions in America have taken place in five states, most of them southern states near where you're from, including Texas. Texas is well known to be -- may even be the highest in terms of executions for any state in America. So, I guess the part of your issue, unless I'm wrong, is it a lot of your brethren, that come to watch you, presumably, would support the death penalty.

J. OLSTEEN: Sure, I think so. I think -- I -- I don't know for a fact but I think many of them -- many people do and, you know, I, just again, I don't know the right answer. It's hard for me to tell someone to be put to death.

MORGAN: If you came out, particularly in somewhere like Texas, you, Joel Olsteen, came out and said enough, I don't think we can continue with this, particularly based on the -- on the facts, see, Joel, my problem with the whole death penalty debate are the statistics these days are alarming. Over a hundred people in America who are on death row have had their sentences commuted because of new evidence, 17 of them because DNA evidence proved they didn't commit the crime.

When you hear that, surely you begin to think that this isn't right and you have a lot of influence in your state. People will be watching this thinking, well, what does he think? Is he in favor of state killings or is he actually against it because they might take their lead from you.

J. OLSTEEN: Well, Piers, I don't know that I'm the one to give the final answer on that.

MORGAN: You're the perfect guy to ask.

J. OLSTEEN: You know, I guess, Piers, because I've not studied on it and I stay focused on what I feel like I'm called to do and I'm just careful about, you know, there's -- it's a more complicated issue than that than to just throw something out there and create a lot of waves and so that's probably the reason why I just ...

MORGAN: If I asked you about abortion, what would you say?

J. OLSTEEN: ...well, abortion, I -- I feel stronger about because it -- I feel like...

MORGAN: What's your view?

J. OLSTEEN: view is that every baby should live, that, you know, that God's created that life and, so, again, that's what I feel strongly about.

MORGAN: There's a lot of contradiction between the sanctity of life with an abortion and the sanctity of life for somebody who may or may not have committed a crime. Should there not be a more consistent view?

J. OLSTEEN: 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.

MORGAN: Well, how can you know for sure, really? I mean, very few cases are completely clear-cut.


MORGAN: And, really it comes down to just a general principle, whether in a modern civilized society, you know, especially in a country with many, many people -- millions, tens of millions go to church every Sunday and they kind of look to religious leaders to say, what should we be thinking? They'll all be a bit confused. So, you know, I know I do this to you when you come on but I sort of feel like you need to be more definitive.

J. OLSTEEN: 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.

MORGAN: We'll going to have a little break, Joel, and come back and pin you to the floor on another issue where I've tried to pin you on the floor before and see whether your views have changed about homosexuality in light of the fact that now five states in America support same-sex marriage.


MORGAN: Back with my guests, the Olsteens, and let's move on to another rather contentious issue, Joel, because last time you came on this show, the pair of you, and you were excellent guests, this happened, and I want to talk about this answer because it made a few headlines.


MORGAN: Is homosexuality a sin, in your eyes?

J. OLSTEEN: 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.


MORGAN: So, I suppose the obvious question is -- we did that back in January, has your position changed at all after that? Because it raised a lot of headlines, a lot of controversy. Since then, more states have endorsed same-sex marriage. It's becoming much less of a prohibitive kind of issue than it used to be. What's your view now?

J. OLSTEEN: 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.

MORGAN: 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?

J. OLSTEEN: Sure. Well, we want to be progressive but sometimes -- sometimes I just, when I read it, I can't see how you would change that, just like you wouldn't, you know, change some other main things, you know, in the scripture. I just, I don't see how that, you know, if you don't have a basis of truth, and that's what I base mine off of, the scripture, everybody else doesn't and I don't fault them if they don't, but this is just the way I choose to -- to live my life and what I teach based out of the scripture. So, I don't think, you know, I think, you know, personally, 200 years from now the scripture is still going to say that.

MORGAN: Yes, but the law of the land may not and it may not in your state and the law of the land is changing fast and, you know, your argument about executions was well, it's the law of the land in somewhere like Texas. What if Texas eventually, in a moment it's an unlikely place I would imagine to bring this in, but it may change with enough pressure, Texas brings in a law that same-sex marriage is permissible, how would you feel then if it's the law of the land?

J. OLSTEEN: 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.

MORGAN: You could never do that?

J. OLSTEEN: 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 and that's how we've chosen to (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: Joel, do you feel a bit uneasy? The last person I heard speaking like this was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He's the President of Iran, who says there are no gay people in Iran and it's a terrible sin and curse. I mean, Victoria, what -- what do you think of all this -- the gay marriage debate. I mean, could you ever imagine attending a gay marriage between two people who come to your church, for example, if they invited you?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, I think if it was that easy, that we would have figured it out by now but it's been overthrown, states go for it and then they overthrow it, so it's very difficult for ...

MORGAN: But accepting an...

V. OLSTEEN: ...people...

MORGAN: ...but accepting an invitation is easy. So, would you accept one or not?

V. OLSTEEN: Would I accept one?

MORGAN: Two gay people who attend your church invite you to their wedding.

V. OLSTEEN: Sure, I would go.

MORGAN: You would?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, I don't -- you know, if I had time I would.

MORGAN: Joel, would you go?

J. OLSTEEN: If they were friends of mine...


J. OLSTEEN: ...and I respect them, I would certainly go.

MORGAN: You would watch two people you think are sinners committing the ultimate sin.

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I'm looking at it, I don't think it's the ultimate sin, but I'm looking at it from another point of view of respect to that person and, you know, it's -- you know, it gets convoluted but I'm looking at it as respect to that person.

MORGAN: Could you -- could you in your position actually actively encourage people to go through a same-sex marriage? Could you be seen to do -- could you be photographed at such an event?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I would not...

MORGAN: Would that cause you problems.

J. OLSTEEN: Well, you know, there's -- it's such a hypothetical and I'm talking about...

MORGAN: Well, not really because you said lots of gay people go to your church so it might happen.

J. OLSTEEN: 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.

MORGAN: After the break, let's talk a little bit more about politics. I know it's a bit of a minefield for you. I'm curious who you think of all the Republican runners and riders at the moment, who's been catching your eye as potentially a leader for America.


MORGAN: Back with Joel and Victoria Olsteen. Let's talk politics for a moment, Joel, because I know this is a bit -- as I said before the break, a bit of a minefield but of all the Republican runners and riders in the race so far to be the nominee, who -- who do you think is the most impressive leader potentially that you've seen.

J. OLSTEEN: Piers, they all look like great leaders to me.

MORGAN: That's a terrible answer.

J. OLSTEEN: Now, I can't pick out one. Now, Governor Perry is the Governor of Texas, a friend of ours, I've never met Mitt...

V. OLSTEEN: A great Governor.

J. OLSTEEN: ...a great Governor, a great, great man, a great friend of the ministry and I've never met Mitt Romney but, man, he looks fantastic and smart people and I can go down the row but I -- I don't know.

MORGAN: Rick Perry's not going to be a friend much longer if you keep saying how fantastic Mitt Romney is.

J. OLSTEEN: Well...

MORGAN: You have to make your mind up somewhere down the line. Got to back the right horse here.

J. OLSTEEN: ...well, to me, I'm just taking it all in like everybody else. I'm just an outsider looking in and, so.

MORGAN: But you are a Republican aren't you? You have to be.

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I've voted both ways before...

MORGAN: Really?

J. OLSTEEN: ...but, I'm -- I'm conservative, you know, that's who I've always been. But, you know.

MORGAN: You -- you're very conservative aren't you? You would say?

V. OLSTEEN: I like to vote on the candidate.

MORGAN: Who do you like out there?

V. OLSTEEN: Who do I like out there? I'm still watching.

MORGAN: Right now, if you had to put an X by someone's name...

V. OLSTEEN: Yes...

MORGAN: ...who would it be?

V. OLSTEEN: ...good thing I don't have to right now because it's too early in the race.

MORGAN: Is Rick Perry your kind of guy? Is he the kind of guy...

V. OLSTEEN: I like Rick Perry. He's been a fantastic Governor. He's really done amazing things for Texas and, so, let's see -- let's see how he fares with all this. I think he'll do well.

MORGAN: Victoria, what do you -- what do you think are the key issues in society today? What do you think people most care about?

V. OLSTEEN: I think -- are you talking about political issues ...

MORGAN: Anything. Anything. When people come to your church, what are -- what's really concerning them?

V. OLSTEEN: They care about their relationships -- their relationships, their finances, and their health.

MORGAN: Yes, I would say that's what most people care most about. Do you think politicians, today, are doing the right kind of thing or are they too busy scuffling with each other in Washington to understand clearly, as you've just defined it, what the real issues are for people in America?

V. OLSTEEN: Yes, I think they're squabbling too much.


V. OLSTEEN: Yes, I think they're squabbling too much.

MORGAN: There is, isn't it? I mean, they just spent a lot of time shouting at each other. We've already discussed that you don't shout. When you see them all ranting and raving and being deliberately obstructive to getting things done, what do you think?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I think, like most Americans, I would hope that they would work together and, you know, what I -- what I see that's difficult these days is any kind of compromise and, you know, it's hard to get 100 percent of what you want. You know, just like some of these issues we're talking about in this, I think it's getting more difficult for some people to have some type of compromise to say nothing's going to get done if we don't all come together. So, that would be my hope that we would -- you know, but it's difficult.

MORGAN: Are you comfortable with a Mormon becoming President if Mitt Romney won, for example, or John Huntsman? I mean they're both Mormons. Would you be comfortable with that?

J. OLSTEEN: You know what, I'm comfortable with -- that would not stop me from voting for somebody. I would look at the total candidate though, you know, what's their experience, what's their education? You know, what do they stand for? I don't think I would vote for somebody just because they're a Mormon or anything like that.

MORGAN: Are there aspects to Mormonism which you find offensive?

J. OLSTEEN: I don't know a lot about it and here I go again but I don't know a lot...

MORGAN: How can you keep saying that?

J. OLSTEEN: ...I don't know a lot about it but here -- here's the thing.

MORGAN: I bet you do but you just don't -- you don't want me to think you know lots about it, otherwise it makes the argument more difficult. J. OLSTEEN: Well, you know what, I haven't studied it. I hear things from time to time. There are certain things about the Mormon religion that I don't agree with...

MORGAN: Like what?

J. OLSTEEN: I don't know -- I don't...

V. OLSTEEN: Well, I think there's different degrees in religion too. It's just like being a Christian, you know, you could say, this -- these people think it's OK to do this, this, and this and they're Christian and these people say, oh, no, we don't do it like you're saying the Catholic Church, well they won't let you do this, this, and this. So, I think it has to do with degrees of how much you practice that religion, so.

MORGAN: Well, what are the things about Mormonism which are awkward for you?

J. OLSTEEN: You know what, I don't know enough about their -- their beliefs to -- to point out what they are, to articulate it well but here's what I -- here's what I believe that, you know, Mitt Romney says he believes that Jesus is the Son of God, that he believes Jesus is his savior, that's the -- to me, those are the foundational things, when I look at somebody, could I vote for them, do they believe, you know, in the major things like me. I don't know what all the other church doctrine is.

MORGAN: Could you vote for a Jewish candidate?

J. OLSTEEN: Sure, I could vote for a Jewish candidate. I mean, Jews, that's how our faith was started. They're God's chosen people in the scripture, I mean, sure I could.

MORGAN: So, you don't really mind, particularly, what religion. Could you vote for a Muslim candidate.

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I think -- I think I could. I would have to look at it all but I would have to look at, you know, it's -- it's so hypothetical because, you know, if we're talking about for America, you know, 90 percent of America is Christian so I -- I am pretty sure that I would find somebody that more shares my beliefs and is educated and qualified so it's hard for me to go there because I think I don't think we'll come to that point.

MORGAN: What do you make of what's going on with the Palestinians and the Israelis right now?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, it's a -- it's a difficult situation. It's been that way for so many years. I mean, I -- you know, the scripture says we pay -- pray for peace for over there, we stand with the Israeli people, our hearts go out to the Palestinian people as well. They want peace. They want to live their life, you know, in victory and it's a difficult thing.

MORGAN: You've both been out there recently I think, to Israel, right?

J. OLSTEEN: We did. We went out in February.

MORGAN: Tell me about that. How did you find it?

V. OLSTEEN: We found it very peaceful. It's amazing, a country that has been under such conflict for so long. You know, you -- you hear stories in America like it's dangerous and, you know, you see like the worst but you go in there and the people are very solid, they're very peaceful, they have a lot of confidence in the fact that they're going to be OK.

Yes, they want to fight for what they feel like is rightfully theirs but it was quite interesting, we had a night of hope over there and we had -- the auditorium was full, we had a wonderful time and we just -- we thought it was a very fascinating, very -- it really brings the Bible alive, you go to these places where, you know, Jesus walked, where he prayed, where the disciples were, you know, the Sea of Galilee. We found it fascinating.

MORGAN: Does it worry you that so many areas of conflict of the world are religion prompted?

J. OLSTEEN: Well, I don't...

MORGAN: Sort of goes against the grain, doesn't it, in terms of the theory of these things, they're supposed to all be peace-loving religions but they all turn out to be excuses to kill people.

J. OLSTEEN: Well, it's been that way for, you know, hundreds, if not thousands, of years so it is -- it is a shame that -- that we can't get along in the day that we're living in today that you would think you would still have to kill people to try to get your point of view. But, you know, it is difficult but you just have to keep believing and hoping and praying and, you know, I think that's all you can do in some of these situations.

MORGAN: We're going to take another break, come back and talk about Olsteen, Incorporated, the burgeoning empire of the number one rock star preacher in the world. You don't look like a rock star.


MORGAN: Back with the Olsteens. You'll be pleased to know this is the final segment. Three minutes of hell left, Joel, and you're off the hook again. Do you like being interviewed or do you find it a bit of a minefield?

J. OLSTEEN: You know what, I enjoy it. I don't always know the, you know, subjects I'm not always familiar with but I enjoy talking with different people, especially you.

MORGAN: Your two children are both beginning to signs of real talent. Alexandria sings, she's 13, Jonathan is in a band as well, he's 16. Would you like them to do what you do, take over the business if you suddenly weren't around? Would you be happy with that?

J. OLSTEEN: Oh, I'd be thrilled, you know, nothing greater than for your children to follow in your legacy. I mean, I can't call them, I can't make them, I think it has to be a calling that they feel from on high but, you know, what I like about them is they're way further along than I was at that age. I wouldn't get up in front of people and, yet, they're very comfortable and just great kids.

MORGAN: Do they have to lead really squeaky clean lives? I mean, 16-year-old boys normally, certainly where I come from and this is around the time that they're getting into too many pints of cider and around the back of the bike sheds with, you know, their favorite girl in the town. I mean, are you going to have to keep an extra close eye because you're the Olsteens, everyone be looking to trip them up?

J. OLSTEEN: Oh, you know what, I never feel like it like that. I -- we -- we've tried to set a good example in front of them and, you know, do our best but, you know, they're great kids and, you know, I'm sure they're going to have challenges like we all do but I don't feel -- my parents were never strict on me, they never made me go to church, we went to church because all of our friends were there.

They're the same way. They -- I mean, my daughter had me getting to church at 7 o'clock the other morning. I thought, I don't want to get there that early. She said, oh, we're all getting there early. But, you know, that's what I like, that's where their friends are there and, sometimes, when you over-pressure and you -- I mean, I think the key, Piers, is to set a good example at home. We have fun and we don't have to have a lot of other things to make us happy.

MORGAN: Could you -- could you enjoy all of this without Victoria because even there she was looking at you really adoringly.

J. OLSTEEN: No, I wouldn't enjoy it half as much. I don't think I would be half of who I am without Victoria. She has spoken faith and vision into me from the -- from the beginning, before I was ever a pastor, sitting there when my dad was ministering, she used to say one day you're going to pastor the church and that would make me mad. I would say I can't pastor the church, I don't know how to speak, I don't know how to minister, but she just kept speaking those faith into me and, so, we have fun together too. We don't take -- we don't get -- we take life seriously but we have fun together.

MORGAN: Victoria, how do you have fun together? What's he talking about?

V. OLSTEEN: Oh, well, we -- we have good conversations. We like to do a lot of outdoor things together. We work together.

MORGAN: What the favorite thing you like to do together? On a Friday, when you're feeling your happiest? What's the thing you most like? What's your perfect Friday?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, we like to have a good dinner and we like to either ride our bikes or we like to just hang out and talk or, you know, we may have a few friends over.

MORGAN: Do you love him as much as you did the day ...

V. OLSTEEN: Absolutely.

MORGAN: ... you first met him? What's the secret?

V. OLSTEEN: And I respect him even more.

MORGAN: Yes, what's the secret of the Joel Olsteen magic, you think?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, I think he's a man of what he -- of his word, I think he's a man of what his word, he's -- he's always looking for the best in any situation. He's very respectful. He's very generous and he's very kind and he's extremely wise.

J. OLSTEEN: Do you agree with all that Joel?

MORGAN: Oh, that and more.


V. OLSTEEN: I left a few things out. (INAUDIBLE).

MORGAN: You -- you can't ignore it, I mean, you must get some groupies, any?

J. OLSTEEN: Oh, I have some kind people, I don't call them groupies, but people that, you know, they feel like you've helped them and you know what, I -- listen...

MORGAN: I mean, attractive younger women wanting to throw themselves at you? Do you get all that?

J. OLSTEEN: I don't -- I don't...

MORGAN: Are you like popular like Tom Jones, you know?

J. OLSTEEN: I don't -- no, not in the work we do. I mean, there's people that are respectful but I -- I don't ever -- I don't ever feel that.

MORGAN: Victoria, do you ever have to step in and just -- back off, he's mine. Ever do that?

V. OLSTEEN: Well, I -- you know, it's funny because when I -- when I'm out, even by myself, this is what women say to me, oh, Victoria, I love your husband. And, so, I've learned to say, so do I.


MORGAN: Well, listen, I really appreciate you both coming on, again. It was another lively debate and I hope we can do it again in six months.

J. OLSTEEN: Thank you. I appreciate it very much.

MORGAN: Nice to see you.

J. OLSTEEN: Great being with you.

MORGAN: Thank you. Thanks Victoria. That's all for us tonight.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A scientist weighs in on "Global Warming"

Climate scientists have misinterpreted earth history by rejecting the biblical revelation of a global flood only a few thousand years ago that provides an explanation for the Ice Age and past climate change. Instead, they believe the Ice Age was caused by minor fluctuations i solar heating over millions of years. Consequently, they believe a minor change in global heating introduced by even small amounts of gases or particulates in the atmosphere could cause the earth to reach a "tipping point" and lead to a "runaway greenhouse" or to enter another ice age.

From a creationist perspective, if the Ice Age was a consequence of the catastrophic processes of the Genesis Flood, then earth's climate would not be sensitive to minor influences. The climate appears to be a highly stable system and exhibits oscillations around an equilibrium level rather than being susceptible to transitions to new states. The earth-sun system does oscillate over short periods of time, as evidenced by minor heating and cooling and by the variation in the number of sunspots. But, these fluctuations do not destabilize the climate. So, the introduction of minor changes in gases or particulates in the atmosphere should not cause major changes but rather minor departures from an equilibrium state.

The primary cause of the conflict in the global warming debate is not the observation that carbon dioxide has increased int he atmosphere or that a small amount of warming has occurred, but that the Bible has been rejected as a source of important revelation about earth history. Scripture assures us that "while the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22).


Extracted from an article by Larry Vardiman, Ph.D. in the Acts & Facts Newsletter, Nov. 2011. Dr. Vardiman is Senior Research Scientist, Astro/Geophysics at the Institute for Creation Research.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Essenes: Defenders Theological Dictionary

The Essenes were an apocalyptic sect of Judaism. They had a “revelation” that prompted them to eradicate evil and live righteous, holy lives for the God of Israel. Their zeal drove them to live as a community in the desert, separate from the “apostate” priestly religion of the Temple in Jerusalem. Some of their holy scriptures and other writings were found in caves at Qumran and are known today as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Philo: Defenders Theological Dictionary

PHILO was a Jewish philosopher and theologian that lived in Alexandria, Egypt in the first century. Although he came from a Jewish priestly family, he was highly influenced by Greek Platonic thought. He thought of the Logos as a mediator of God and the creator of the physical world. Philo is well known for making use of allegorical principles in the interpretation of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The Godhead for English Teachers

By J. R. Ensey

Jesus made the shortest complete sentence in history: “I Am!”

English teachers tell us that when we speak of ourselves, it is in the first person. When we address a person with “you,” it is in the second person. When we speak of “he, she, they or them” it is in the third person. Some say God is a trinity and want to make three separate, distinct persons out of God. OK, let’s do it this way:

First person: Jesus said of Himself, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

We speak to Him in the second person: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, [You are] My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

We speak of Him in the third person: “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psalm 18:1-3).

Come on, trinitarians, admit it. We can speak of Jesus in the first, second or third person, but they all say the same thing—He is God in flesh!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January is Pro-Life month

January is Pro-Life month. Take this opportunity to create awareness in your local church by presenting a seminar on the subject. Alert your yound people to the holocaust of abortion.

You may also choose to participate in the battle against abortion by sending a special donation to organizations such as Tupelo Children's Mansion and New Beginnings, or your local Pro-Life charity.

To get better informed about the subject and be prepared when young ones come to you with questions get this amazing little book:

Why Pro-Life?