Joel Osteen is the Pastor of one of the largest, wealthiest mega churches in America, Lakewood Church in Houston Texas.
Lakewood was founded in 1959 just outside Houston by his preacher father, John Osteen. John Osteen began as a Baptist but became an impassioned Charismatic who imparted to his son the version of the gospel that he had come to embrace. A prolific author and television personality, he spread the gospel of inclusion and prosperity that would come to define Joel’s place in the pantheon of false teachers.
Osteen junior same home from Oral Roberts University in 1982 and produced his fathers television programs until 1999. (www.joelosteen.com)
Osteen Senior was a froth-spewing, babbling, speaker of tongues, (Another Must-See Moment from a 1986 John Osteen Telecast!).
His father’s passing in 1999 left his mother, Dodie, in charge of Lakewood. In violation of God’s Word, (1 Timothy 2:11: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”); not only did she preach, she also appointed Joel senior pastor and thus his emergence onto the world scene began. .
Joel’s signature tome, “Your Best Life Now”, has sold in the millions of copies. A feel-good gospel of earthly treasure-seeking and spiritual self-indulgence, it is a manual for the fallen and a crutch for Christians-in-name-only to lean on while they seek the reward of the here and now.
Your Best Life Now includes the following:
The Lie: “…if you want to be successful, you must follow your dreams. While I’d never suggest that anyone should abandon his or her dreams, the truth is, your life will follow your expectations. What you expect is what you will get.” (p. 13)
The Truth: Ecclesiastes 9:11: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.”
The Lie: “Make room in your thinking for the great things God wants to do. Your best days are ahead of you. God wants to do more than you can even ask or think, but remember, it’s according to the power that works in you.” (p. 27-28)
The Truth: Ecclesiastes 10:14: “No man knows what is to be.”
The Lie: “We make room in our hearts for that bitterness; we learn to live with it. “Well, I’m just an angry person. That’s just my personality. I’m always like this. I’m always bitter. This is who I am.” “No, with all due respect, that’s not who you are.” (p. 156)
The Truth: Proverbs 30:5: “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar”.
The Lie: Osteen’s son has expressed an interest in the ministry and in Osteen’s book is quoted as saying “When I get old enough, I’m going to preach in Reliant Stadium!”. “I thought, I like the fact that he’s got a big dream.” (p. 8-9)
Where is God’s Will in this? Is Osteen prognosticating?
The Truth: James 4:13-16: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit;” whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil”.
The Lie: “God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh ideas, and creativity”. (p. 5)
The Truth: Some believers are poor and some are rich and some are in between: Proverbs 22:2: “The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all”.; James 2:5: “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? 6 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? 7 Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?”
The lies of Osteen are staggering in their breadth. Telling people that God is basically a Wizard of Oz with a bag of rewards for all comers is to reinforce the belief that God wants to reward us all equally with treasures on this earth with no mention of the hereafter.
During an interview with Larry King on June 20, 2005, Osteen in no uncertain terms defined his theology. Though he later ‘apologized’ for some of the following statements: “I appreciate your comments and value your words of correction and encouragement”. “It was never my desire or intention to leave any doubt as to what I believe and whom I serve. I believe with all my heart that it is only through Christ that we have hope in eternal life. I regret and sincerely apologize that I was unclear on the very thing in which I have dedicated my life.” http://www.joelosteenblog.com/2005/07/13/joel-osteens-letter-about-the-interview/
This afterthought of an apology came subsequent to an outpouring of complaints form parishioners and others who loudly questioned his intent and perhaps threatened to affect the net worth of this ‘man of God’ with diminished returns on tithes and offerings.
Interesting that a man who says he studied the gospel for 17 years (CNN Larry King Live, June 20, 2005) in preparation for entrance to the ministry, should not be ready at a moments notice to define and defend his faith, without doubt and with full trust in the truth of the Word.
From the same transcript (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/lkl.01.html):
KING: “What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?”
OSTEEN: “You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …”
KING: “If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?”
OSTEEN: “Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. … I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know.”
KING: “How about issues that the church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?”
OSTEEN: “Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don’t go there. I just …”
KING: “You have thoughts, though.”
OSTEEN: “I have thoughts. I just, you know, I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don’t think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I’m not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open for everybody.”
KING: “You don’t call them sinners?”
OSTEEN: “I don’t.”
CALLER: “Hello, Larry. You’re the best, and thank you, Joe — Joel — for your positive messages and your book. I’m wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry’s earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That’s not really a message of condemnation but of truth.”
OSTEEN: “Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that…”
KING: “So then a Jew is not going to heaven?”
OSTEEN: No. Here’s my thing, Larry, is I can’t judge somebody’s heart. You know? Only God can look at somebody’s heart, and so — I don’t know. To me, it’s not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn’t. I just say, here’s what the bible teaches and I’m going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it’s wrong when you go around saying, you’re saying you’re not going, you’re not going, you’re not going, because it’s not exactly my way. I’m just…”
KING: “But you believe your way.”
OSTEEN: “I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.”
KING: “But for someone who doesn’t share it is wrong, isn’t he?”
OSTEEN: “Well, yes. Well, I don’t know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I’m just going to let God be the judge of that. I don’t know. I don’t know.”
KING: “So you make no judgment on anyone?”
OSTEEN: “No. But I…”
KING: “What about atheists?”
OSTEEN: “You know what, I’m going to let someone — I’m going to let God be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just — again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it’s a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I’m not going to go around telling everybody else if they don’t want to believe that that’s going to be their choice. God’s got to look at your own heart. God’s got to look at your heart, and only God knows that.”
OSTEEN: “I think that’s one reason the church has grown is because we’ve changed with the times. I mean, the music is upbeat. My message is what’s going to help you during the week and things like that.”
I wonder what Jesus would say? I mean, I would hope that we as Christians can agree that Jesus was, as our High Priest, probably the most effective preacher of them all. Well, here is what He said:
John 15:22: “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.”
John 3:18-20: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”
So much for Osteen’s feel-good theology of riches and esteem.
Osteen Junior is all about word-faith theology: “You may have sickness in your body, you need to call in health. You may be in debt, you need to boldly say that you are the head and not the tail” (Joel Osteen, “Speaking Faith Filled Words.” Daystar Television, May 2, 2004)
All of this is absent any intent of our Father, fulfillment of His Will, consequences of our actions, et cetera.
Osteen also has an easy and shrewd way with twisting truth to further the ecumenism of his faith with the inclusion of Mormons in the list of saved:
CHRIS WALLACE, DECEMBER 23, 2007: “And I’ve got to ask you the question,…is a Mormon a true Christian?”
OSTEEN: “Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that’s what I believe, so, you know, I’m not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are. And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don’t think he would — anything would stop me from voting for him if that’s what I felt like.”
WALLACE: “So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?”
OSTEEN: “I probably don’t get hung up in them because I haven’t really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know. I certainly can’t say that I agree with everything that I’ve heard about it, but from what I’ve heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his Savior, to me that’s a common bond.” http://www.foxnews.com/story/2007/12/23/transcript-pastor-joel-osteen-on-fns/
So Osteen admits that he has no idea of the fundamental tenets of Mormonism but if Mitt Romney says he believes in Christ, that’s good enough and all Mormons are saved???
James 2:19: “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”
Simply ‘believing’ isn’t enough. Isaiah 1:17: “Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.”
Osteen never uses a Bible in the pulpit except for the intro to his show-sermon where he holds up the Word of God, proclaims it for what it is and promptly puts it away until next week.
After all is said and done, this says it all. Any ‘Man of God’ who doesn’t preach the Word FROM the Word, and does so throughout his sermonizing, is nothing more than an over-compensated life coach leading people away from salvation and toward death by drowning in the excess of their attachment to earth-bound gain.