In avoidance of Beast Mode, Pastor Johnston, like Apostle Paul, reminds Christians to make the Gospel attractive, meaning to ensure that " ... the way we act decorates the Gospel by making it more engaging to the world around us," Johnston wrote in his book.
But the act of making the Gospel more attractive also raises another question: can a believer go too far in the opposite direction? In their attempt to decorate the Gospel, can one make the mistake of improperly representing the faith by omitting crucial tenets in order to make it more appealing?
That's exactly what Texas-based Lakewood megachurch pastor Joel Osteen was accused of earlier this year.
Known for his perennially inspirational and uplifting sermons rooted in faith and positivity, and for his tendency to avoid preaching about hell, Osteen has been questioned about whether or not he is painting a complete picture of eternity for those who follow his teachings.
As previously reported by The Christian Post, Osteen does not regret the content of his sermons, or lack thereof, saying, "most people are beaten down enough by life. They already feel guilty enough. They're not doing what they should, raising their kids — we can all find reasons. So I want them to come to Lakewood or our meetings and be lifted up, to say, 'You know what? I may not be perfect, but I'm moving forward. I'm doing better.' And I think that motivates you to do better."
To the contrary, Johnston says that a pastor's sermons about heaven and hell should never be watered down. "I always like to follow Jesus, and Jesus never shied away from mentioning hell, and therefore I don't think we should either, " he said. "He did share the entire counsel of God's Word," Johnston added.
"He (Jesus) didn't scare anyone into heaven or into following Him, but He did share eternal realities, and I think that we rob people when we don't share the eternal reality — both of heaven and of hell — that really there is an eternal life, we see that, and we need to live our life for Jesus Christ."
Johnston continued, "Yes, we want to do what Titus 2:10 says — make teaching about our God and savior attractive in every way — but, you know who wrote that verse? The Apostle Paul, and we don't see the Apostle Paul backing down — even though he did everything to adorn the Gospel, that doesn't mean leaving things out for fear of offending someone."
Joel Osteen's seemingly perpetual positivity and buoyant mindset, however, just may have a little help from his family genes. The preacher recently touted his father's own resilient attitude during an interview with Tracy Smith of CBS "Sunday Morning."
Having been born into abject poverty, John Osteen maintained a positive mindset as a child and pulled himself up by his bootstraps, according to Joel Osteen.
"You know, my dad was very, very poor," he told Smith. "No milk, no food, no heating in the winter. And you know what? He stepped up. And he had a big dream for his life. And look what he's done for us. And so that's my whole thing is, you don't have to stay there. You gotta believe that you can rise higher."
While Osteen's approach to decorating the Gospel may be questionable, suffice it to say that the megachurch pastor is likely in no immediate danger of going Beast Mode on those who don't yet know Christ.