Piers Morgan certainly knows his script as Joel is interviewed on themes of interest to viewers – aimed to improve ratings. I listened months ago to a less popular preacher Zac Poonen who spoke on “The three dangerous Leavens” (listen to link) and was somewhat surprised that CNN’s coverage “Osteen gets serious on sex, prosperity and politics” somewhat parallels Poonen’s prophetic identification of some of the chief sources of danger and wickedness in the church and indeed in society.
Zac prophetically asserts that open persecution is not the great danger but rather there are more subtle serpentine deceptions that lure more away and wrecks faith. The world’s systems and networks are far more sophisticated in their mission to emasculate the church...and need not terrorise it with bombs like in Pakistan – yet still far more effective than any Taliban.
Mark 8:15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.
Indeed in the past we have said much of the leaven of the Pharisees which manifests in hypocrisy, legalism and a faith that does not look up to Christ but on the visible external human righteousness rather than the invisible inside righteousness of Christ. Zac introduces in this teaching a different but most dangerous leaven - the leaven of Herod. What is the leaven of Herod? Herod enjoyed listening to John (before having him beheaded) while engaging in sensuous debauchery with Salome. The leaven of Herod is the leaven of worldliness fitting in the church - especially in illegitimate sex and its related trappings, wardrobes, styles, accoutrements and other paraphernalia. Illegitimate sex as a form of dangerous leaven is a tremendous force that comes with power to wreck the unguarded and manifests in so many deviant ways. It can creep in through careless unguarded relationships, fashion, worldly lifestyle literature and entertainment and eventually manifests in shocking open licentiousness, divorce, same-sex marriage etc. The gospel of Herod says this is not a real serious problem and this spirit is accommodated warmly in our services...waiting for the best opportunity to cause havoc.
Another manifestation of the leaven of Herod – worldliness is the love of Money. Greed...”The reasons why many Christians love money is because their preachers, leaders and teachers love money and everything has become a money making racket” says Poonen. The love of money becomes the force reflecting in their decisions, thoughts, books, sermons and opinions. It drives "false callings" to rich economies/neighbourhoods even while poorer communities are starved of the word. It is not easy to be free from this force. All the enemy of the soul must do is to open the door for millions of dollars to corrupt even the most fervent... and Prosperity becomes the new lord and not the Lord Jesus Christ.
The love of power – Politics is the third aspect of the leaven of Herod. Herod loves power and so do you. The third thing people want is power. There is politics everywhere (not just in government) ... people want power in the world, in the church, in homes husbands want power to control. The desire to control others is another form of the leaven of Herod. Elders, pastors want to dominate others...this is the way of the world spreading to the church.
In the first part of this post I drew attention to the miraculous revival at Nineveh – and how God used a somewhat grudging and fearful minor prophet – Jonah to bring revival to a great city. Please go to link for Part I : Joel Osteen ... perhaps a better interview but will Nineveh get another chance? for more context.
Back to Piers. He strategically focuses his interview on sex, money and power and probes Joel for his views . His real question for Joel is simple “Are our deviant ways in these areas specially sinful/evil or just normal human naughtiness we can live with alongside other vices?” and he knows the answer that must be given. The hidden objective of Piers, it seems is to evangelise his own gospel to obtain a conclusion that there is no cause for any alarm and further anesthetize the saints.
Piers does capture the attention of millions of viewers ( a congregation any pastor will envy) who believe they are listening to Joel, but in reality being sold on the message - “Be unguarded” "there are no serious dangers in illegitimate sex, greed and the evil desire for control" ... themes which Zac Poonen names amongst today's dangerous leavens. Indeed, Zac feels there are special evils on assignment to do more damage...Christ asks us to beware of them.
... Zac who???
Romans 13 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
“Principalities and powers, mustering their unseen array...wait for our unguarded hours...watch and pray.” Charlotte Elliot 1836