During an recent interview promoting his new book, Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll talked about fellow megachurch pastor Joel Osteen and how some of his Reformed brethren “like to treat him like a pinata,” but that “there are worse things than being happy and encouraging at a time when the most common prescription medications are antidepressants.” Driscoll also called Osteen “the most well-known pastor in America” and said that “it doesn’t bother me that he’s happy all the time, because maybe his spiritual gift is encouragement.”
“A few guys in our tribe could learn to talk about something other than painful, arduous suffering once and a while — if nothing else than for the sake of variety,” Driscoll also said during the interview. As reported by The Christian Post, Driscoll acknowledged the “theological differences” between his church and Osteen’s, and he even agreed that “God wants you to prosper in your health, in your family, in your relationships, in your business, and in your career…” But he also said he was concerned about “this whole wave of Christian thinking that says joy is to be found in the same place that culture and spirituality tells us. Get rich. Get healthy. Be happy … Health and wealth. Prosperity.”
Driscoll’s new book, Who Do You Think You Are?, released in January by Thomas Nelson, says that Christians should be “appreciated people” who “exchange grumbling for praying … performing for serving, and boasting for encouraging.” But he maintained that Christians shouldn’t pay too much attention to either joy or suffering. “Our identity is in Christ, whether we have joy or are suffering.”
“In any case … God loves us, he is aware of our life, and he appreciates our grace-centered efforts to serve and obey…” he explained.
Osteen’s church, Lakewood Church in Houston, welcomes more than 43,000 people to his church each week. Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church is located in Seattle and has 14 locations throughout the U.S.