As a retired Lutheran Chinese-speaking missionary and stateside pastor for 55 years, I definitely do not regard Joel Osteen as anywhere on a par with Billy Graham (“The new Billy Graham?” June 14 ).
True, Joel Osteen draws vast crowds. But his content does not focus, as does Graham’s, on what the entire New Testament focuses — namely, the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for taking away our guilt before God and bestowing on us hope and meaning in this life and for eternal life.
Osteen highlights hope, but focuses on what we can do from within ourselves to deal with adversity and find purpose in life.
The centrality of God’s will and action in his son to restore us to an eternally joyous and meaningful relation with him and with one another is clear in the ministries of Billy Graham but not, in my perception, in Joel Osteen’s.
— Ronald Halamka, Graham