What I am about to propose to you should not shock you nor come as a surprise, though it will not be what you might suspect regarding an opinion as to why Victoria Osteen, the wife of the very well-known Pastor Joel Osteen (actually Co-Pastor seeing that both husband and wife are the Pastors), said what she said recently about the Christian’s happiness, doing good and God’s relationship to it all. If you are not familiar with assertion or have not even heard of the event, here is what Victoria Osteen recently proposed as proper Christian doctrine and practice:
When we obey God, we're not doing it for God...we're doing it for ourself. Because God takes pleasure when we're happy. Do good 'cause God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you're not doing it for God, really. You're doing it for yourself because that's what makes God happy.
Now my title is rather plain in its giveaway but that is fine. I am not going to do a great deal of elaboration, rather a comparison. Think about what she said and consider how it parallels to many of the statements by John Piper, the originator of the novel theological heterodoxy, if not heresy, he calls “Christian Hedonism”.
- The longing to be happy is a universal human experience, and it is good, not sinful.
- We should never try to deny or resist our longing to be happy, as though it were a bad impulse. Instead we should seek to intensify this longing and nourish it with whatever will provide the deepest and most enduring satisfaction.
- The deepest and most enduring happiness is found only in God.
- The happiness we find in God reaches its consummation when it expands to meet the needs of others in the manifold ways of love.
- To the extent we try to abandon the pursuit of our own pleasure, we fail to honor God and love people. Or, to put it positively: the pursuit of pleasure is a necessary part of all worship and virtue.
By Christian Hedonism, I do not mean that our happiness is the highest good. I mean that pursuing the highest good will always result in our greatest happiness in the end. But almost all Christians believe this. Christian Hedonism says more, namely, that we should pursue happiness, and pursue it with all our might. The desire to be happy is a proper motive for every good deed, and if you abandon the pursuit of your own joy you cannot love man or please God - that's what makes Christian Hedonism controversial.
Hmmmm.....has Victoria been reading John Piper’s books? You cannot “please God” if you don't pursue happiness, says John Piper while Victoria says when you make yourself happy this makes God happy. Granted, they aren’t identical statements but they are kissing cousins at least and so far this is the most plausible explanation I can think of as to where Victoria got her errant pleasure orientation doctrine.