Via Google Alerts, and the Chicago Tribune.

Joel Osteen stands behind the lectern in stylish suits and preaches in a soothing Southern drawl and a big, easy smile. His sermons speak less to Gospel and Scripture than to staying positive and praying for a better life.

Critics have labeled his talks “cotton-candy theology”–sweet and sugary with little nourishment for the soul.

Some religious scholars say Osteen’s simplistic message presents a dangerous, watered-down version of Christianity. His sermons often sound more like motivational speeches than Biblical interpretations.

Michael Horton, a professor of apologetics and theology at Westminster Seminary California, said Osteen trivializes the Christian faith by viewing God as a being who exists solely for our personal happiness. Osteen is part of a growing “prosperity gospel” movement, he said, where followers are instructed to pray to God for health, wealth and happiness.

“In this religion, God is not worshiped. He is used,” said Horton, a minister in the United Reformed Churches of North America.

“Joel Osteen uses the Bible each week like it’s a collection of fortune cookies that can be opened to suit any of your needs or goals in life. The Bible is a story about the redemption of Christ, not a timeless set of principles for success.”

Ooooh. Goooooo apologetics!

Osteen said such criticism unfairly fails to look at his message as a whole.

“When I talk about prosperity and better things, I’m not just talking about financial success,” he said. “I’m talking about prosperity in your marriage, prosperity in your health, and with your kids. I don’t think God wants us to be at the bottom of the totem pole. He wants us to have a better life than our parents did.”

Gag me with a Buick. I’ve started a tradition. Every bookstore i get into, where I see his smiling face looking at me from a book cover – I turn it around. I do it constantly, because I’m in bookstores constantly. Petty, I know… but he annoys me.

Really annoys me.

Go read the article. Typical “religion reporter” fluff. At least they got a good quote in from the apologetics professor.