First Pork, Then Circumcision?

(HT: 1517 )Joel says that God says that we can’t eat pork or shell fish. What’s next? Righteousness through circumcision? If he’s going to ignore Mark 7:19 and Acts 10 why not Galatians 2-3 and Romans 4? There’s an indication in the clip that he’s headed that way. Does he not say something like “God helps those who help themselves”?

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  1. First: I love that the people in the congregation are just laughing at him. Second, if you’re going to preach a works based righteousness, does it really matter which works you preach?

  2. I’m not sure which is worse, his unchristian use of the law or his seemingly flippant attitude about something that he believes to be divine law. This is the definition of “law lite.”

    • Luke,

      That was exactly my thought. Clearly Joel is clueless concerning the covenants. But if this is God’s law, God’s command then why is Joel not appealing to his flock in clear terms to obey the commands of God? Once again we see Osteen preaching what Michael Horton refers to as “the law with a smile.”

  3. We can be thankful that this sort of doctrine is so easy to refute with scripture and that it so plainly shows God’s elect which teachers and congregations have been given over to demonic teachings.

    1 Tim 4:1-5
    “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”

    Acts 10:9-16
    “9 The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour [2] to pray. 10 And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance 11 and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. 12 In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him: “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” 14 But Peter said, “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” 15 And the voice came to him again a second time, “What God has made clean, do not call common.” 16 This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.”

  4. From all sedition, privy conspiracy, and rebellion; from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and Commandment,

    Good Lord, deliver us.
    Said with military regularity on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Said to include, but not limited to: TBN and Osteen. Their names are pencilled in the margins.

  5. I have a hard time being surprised by this from Osteen. I mean, the guy openly admits that he doesn’t study theology so why should I expect him to actually understand it?

    The problem, of course, comes from the fact that he’s teaching these things as truth while remaining in that state of willfull ignorance.

  6. Sadly, I’ve seen this before and the context was a Muslim “Amening” what Osteen was preaching . I have been sharing the Gospel with Muslims for years. My Muslim friend chastised me for not believing the Old Testament. His proof was that Christians eat pork. To add authority to what he was saying he sent me the link to Osteen’s preaching on this subject. His point was that a “leader” in the Christian church agreed with him, and therefore I must be wrong!

  7. The critique of Olsteen seems a bit overweening. Is there not a place for ethics within a sermon without it being identified as a search for self-justification? Not committing adultery is not necessarily a search for self-justification, just simple Christian obedience, right?

    The real question should be: is the Christian required to keep this law any longer?

    Olsteen has deeper problems than this. But, we need to aim better.

  8. The real question is: Why is the Christian no longer required to keep this law any longer? Answer: Because God said, “What God has made clean, do not call common.”

    This is really about the Gospel, that the work of Christ has made even Gentiles clean. In fact, the whole of the ceremonial law is about God’s holiness, our uncleanness, and our need of Christ to make us perfectly clean in God’s sight.

    Joel Osteen has taken what was meant to point to Christ and turned it into a self-help teaching. Joel Osteen has undermined the Gospel…again.

    • BB,
      Not to be snarky, but your question assumes the answer. I know the arguments for dining on clams, etc. But, the making of Gentiles clean does not suddenly make the meat clean. Besides, not every Gentile is clean. There are still those who live outside of the covenant. The distinctions still stand to some degree, if we are the New Israel…

      I am playing a devil’s advocate here, but the question is not a bad one to ask. The early church did. The distinction between the ceremonial and normative laws is not easy, given the fact that the Sabbath is called a sign (Exodus 31:13), and the Pauline discussion involves Sabbaths as well as food (Col. 2:16). If one would suggest that the distinction between foods started with Moses, well Noah (Gen. 8:20) should be consulted too.

      Further, it was considered an abomination that a pig is brought into the temple, and this after the resurrection of Christ (Mark 13:14 — I am a preterist by the way).

      Detractors from the classic reading won’t be convinced by assumed answers. Olsteen is a goof-ball (which speaks more to the mentality of so many Americans than it does to him), but I am not willing to go after a guy’s arguments just because he is a freak.

      Grace and peace,

  9. I just have this overwhelming feeling that Osteen thinks that the “Bible times” was when Moses and Jesus sat down one afternoon after a long day’s teaching, and said “Hey! Let’s write this stuff down!”

  10. It seems a central issue is that Osteen does not read the Bible as it intends to be read: covenantally. But his interpretation serves as a warning to many “Reformed” folk who engage in a similar hermeneutic. Maybe I’m wrong at this point, but it seems there is a parallel between some young-earth scientific readings of Genesis and Osteen’s scientific-nutritionary interpretation of the Law. Both approaches foist extratextual questions and categories upon the OT, not allowing the OT to speak in its own covenantal terms.

  11. What Osteen does is explain in his own way a particular Bible passage without any regard for how “Scripture interprets Scripture,” or how the drama of redemption will work out the fulfillment of OT types and shadows. This is seen already in the quotations given from the NT (I could add too Mark’s parenthetical statement in Mark 7:19 – “Thus [Jesus] declared all foods clean.”)

    The fact that Osteen doesn’t even look at verses immediately after his text–which contradict the very point he is trying to make–can be seen from this devotional he sent out a couple of years ago:

    I really can’t even fathom why people continue to listen to the man as a supposed “preacher” when he so obviously cannot handle the Word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).

  12. Chase,
    I think most young earth scientists pursue that perspective after the exegetical work has been done, not before. I don’t agree with your argument, but if you want to put people in a box, it would be those who re-calibrate Scripture to fit with modern scientific assumptions, which are the opposite of the young earth view. I won’t name names, but you know who you are.

    Further, divorcing our existential experience from what Scripture says about reality is, well, strange to say the least. How things are described ought to be how we experience them, unless we are reading it wrong. Observing the fact that those animals called unclean ceremonially are in fact really and truly unclean physically, is not extra-biblical, just harmonious reality. As an aside, look at a survey map of cancers across the US over a period of ten years. Stomach cancers predominate in areas where shellfish are consumed regularly. It is interesting to observe.

    Finally, your warning about covenantal hermeneutics is, well, a long-shot. What you are suggesting is that anyone who reads Genesis 1 with an understanding that the days are 24 hour periods is in danger of becoming like Olsteen. Am I reading you correctly here?
    If so, wow. That is a new low in theological debate. You should try that one out at the next Presbtery meeting.

    Grace and peace,

  13. Chris,
    Thanks for the charitable interaction.

    First, I didn’t say all YECs, but I said some YECs appear to argue in a similar fashion. My point is that any reading of Scripture as a scientific text is wrong and anachronistic. The Hebrew Bible is Ancient Near Eastern literature, and we should interpret it accordingly. So those who want to use Scripture to corroborate mainstream science or YEC are going to the wrong source. General revelation is the place to answer such questions, not the Bible. But I honestly don’t know many mainstream scientists who go to the Bible as an authority for their scientific position.

    Second, I’m not sure I follow your point about divorcing “existential experience” from what Scripture says. If the Scripture is speaking to a nutritionary issue, then we have a problem. If the New Testament is inspired revelation, then we have the OT saying pork is unclean and the NT saying pork is clean. So if the Scripture is dealing with nutrition and physical health, then there is a contradiction. The problem is solved when you read “clean/unclean” language in ANE covenantal categories. It is clearly dealing with ritual purity before God. Now that the new age of the Spirit has dawned, Christians no longer deal with the “elemental things,” concerning what foods are clean and unclean.

    Lastly, from what I’ve said above, it seems clear that you are reading me incorrectly. I’m not speaking of those who merely hold the YEC position; I’m addressing HOW the Bible is being used: using Scripture as a scientific authority.


    • Chase,
      I am a little late in replying, but here it goes.
      First, I agree that the Scriptures don’t speak to every detail of discovery, but how do you know what you might know apart from the basic cosmonomic-laws that Scripture implies? If man can obtain true knowledge of the world, knowledge which is never divorced from every other consideration of reality, then we are implying much more about man- and we may as well concede that Thomas Aquinas and even Averroes were right and give up this whole Protestant fight. For real.

      Second, existential reality and symbolism are not contradictory, they are harmonious. God chose dirty animals to make a point about dirty men. That is not a contradiction. Dirtiness exists on a number of levels. The washing of water is real, as I know from a nice shower this morning, but the washing of water at my baptism was no less real. Real water (H2O), real washing (my body, my soul). When Jesus declared animals clean, well perhaps he was making a point about the men as much as the meat, but the meat is less important than the men. This seems to be the whole point of Peter and the sheet. The once-dirty men can come into the temple of God now. But, perhaps the meat never did get an existential cleansing— pigs still eat the garbage, as do clams, crabs, etc. They are the world’s filters. So, we have the cleanness of men (the main point), and the dirty animals (which is not really the main point).

      So anyway, take care.


  14. So he doesn’t read theology but he can master the finer details of the bovine digestive system?

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