Posted by: Captain Howdy | April 23, 2009

Joel Osteen verses John Calvin: Your Best Life Now – or – Your Best Life In Eternity?

Fwd: Joel v. John (Your Best Life Later)

My good friend, general counsel, and confidant, Mr. Austin Kinghorn, recently wrote a blog entry I would like to share.  As always, his thoughts are both witty and weighty.

If you could choose five people, dead or alive, to sit down with over a meal, who would you choose? We all get asked this question at some point in our lives. 

I would not pick John Calvin. Why waste a seat on a man who so eloquently and perfectly expressed himself in his life when you could invite someone who, in spite of everything he said and wrote, still has a lot of explaining to do. Which is why I’d invite Joel Osteen.

Joel Osteen claims faith in God’s promises will deliver your best life now, but the God of the Bible promises something far different but ultimately more rewarding—your best life later. (Credit given to Jake Porter for coining that response.)  

If John Calvin and Joel Osteen sat down for a meal, I think Calvin would light Joel’s world on fire and would probably lead off with the passage below from The Institutes of Christian Religion. And his beard was definitely cooler than Joel’s mullet. 

“God knows very well that we are naturally drawn to love this world. So, to keep us from clinging to it too closely, he finds good reason to call us away and wake us up. You would think that heaven and immortality would be the height of our ambition through life. We should be ashamed to be no better than the animal world, since our hope of life beyond the grave is the only thing which makes their position lower than ours! But when we look at men’s plans, desires and actions, there seem to be nothing but earthly values. How stupid we are! Our minds are so dazzled with the glare of wealth, power and honors, that we cannot see beyond them. The heart also, preoccupied with greed, ambition and lust, is in the grip of worldly attractions, and looks for happiness only here on earth. To combat this disease, the Lord makes his people aware of the futility of their present life by frequent proof of its misery. So that we don’t have false hopes of deep and lasting peace, he often allows us to be disturbed by war, riots, burglary and a variety of other disasters. So that we don’t get over-ambitious for wealth that doesn’t last or rely on what we already have, he reduces us to poverty or, at least, a modest income. So that we don’t become selfishly preoccupied with married life, he even allows us to be saddened by the foolish behavior of our partners, the wickedness of our children or the trauma of bereavement. If we are spared this, he still has to keep us from pride and complacency. He shows us by illness or accident how all human advantages are flimsy and fleeting. We profit by the discipline of the cross when we realize that this life is, in itself, restless, troubled and unhappy. Even its so-called blessings are uncertain, passing, empty and tinged with evil. From all this, we have to conclude that the best we can hope for here is a struggle. When we think of the crown of life, we must look up to heaven. We must realize that our minds never genuinely long for future joy until they have learned to make little of this present life.”

Part IX, Chapter 9, Section 1
The Institutes of Christian Religion by John Calvin



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