Pastor Joel Osteen, famous for his books and talks on self-esteem and positive thinking, established a pledge with which he starts each of his sermons. The pledge, which has become popular throughout the Emergent Church Movement, begins like this:
“This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do…”
The irresistible conclusion from a preamble like this is that the Bible is a book written by God about the individuals he has created. That the subject matter of the Bible is human beings.
This philosophy is reinforced in the “Praise and Worship” body of music with such lyrics as “you made me to know me.” The implication here being that God needed or at the very least wanted, a creation he could know and love.
In the Awakening 2011 Conference, musician Kim Walker of Jesus Culture gave her testimony in which she said:
“Anthony Skinner says, ‘You need to ask God two questions: How much do you love me, and what were you thinking when you created me?’
“I’m in Jesus’ arms just trembling and shaking, and finally I get the courage. I finally say ‘How much do you love me?’ Jesus puts me down and he starts stretching out his arms and it looked like Stretch Armstrong. His arms are stretching out forever and ever. And I’m looking and I can’t see the ends. And he starts laughing and says ‘I love you this much, ha ha ha ha!’
“A few months later, I’m at the prayer house, and all of the sudden I feel the presence of the Lord literally walk into the room. I suddenly felt almost the fear of the Lord. And I can feel him walking close to me, and I suddenly had this revelation: He has come for that question.
“I feel him come right up to me. His presence is so strong. And I feel him saying ‘Kim. Please ask me that question. Please, please ask me that question!’
“And I finally ask him “Jesus, what were you thinking when you created me?”
“And suddenly I’m standing with Jesus, and right in front of me is God the Father, and he’s got a table in front of him. And he reaches into his heart, and he rips a chunk out of his heart, and he throws it on the table, and it’s suddenly like clay or play-dough. And he starts molding it and shaping it. And I’m like ‘Jesus, what is he doing, what is he making?’ And all of the sudden I see he makes me. I’m there. On the table. And he reaches over and grabs this box and brings it over, and I’m sitting there on the box, and – you know those little jewelry boxes that little girls have where you open it up and it plays music, and the little ballerina twirls? It was a box like that. And he shuts the box, and he gets in front of it, and he’s really excited. He kind of looks around, and he opens the box, real fast. And when he does, inside, I start twirling and dancing, and singing to him, and worshiping him, and he goes: ‘WOOHOO!!’ and he runs around, and closes the box, and he throws it open again …it’s so crazy he gets so excited every single time!”
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul addresses a potential complaint that people might give against God. He says:
“But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?”
It is Paul’s argument here that the Creator is greater than his creation and has the right to do with it what he wishes. This argument is presented in the Old Testament as well when the prophet Isaiah talks about the absurdity of idolatry. Isaiah speaks about a man who cuts down a tree and takes the lumber: “Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!””
It is patently ridiculous that a craftsman should worship that which he has crafted. The item crafted exists to serve some purpose for the creator.
In the Fourth Presbyterian Church article, The Nature of Worship, the writer claims that humans were made to worship God. This is, of course, putting the cart before the horse. Humans are required to worship God because God is fundamentally worthy of worship. Worshiping God is simply acknowledging the truth of his nature. But to say that God created people for that express purpose would mean that God needed or wanted someone to worship him. This would make God reliant to some degree rather than being entirely self-reliant; a fact that would ultimately diminish his worthiness.
It is easy to see why someone would adopt the view that God requires human beings. As Kim Walker mentioned earlier in her testimony, she had always felt like her existence was a mistake. A vision of God molding her from his own essence and then worshiping her image quite understandably boosted her self-esteem.
The problem is that when God starts writing books about people as Joel Osteen believes, when he has to make humans in order to have someone to love, when he falls down and worships the image of his creation, then humanity becomes the god of God.