Joel Osteen

There is a lot to be said about Joel Osteen. Most of which has already been said by other (more qualified) critics. However, I feel that I should address my dislike of his message. I've watched his sermons on television, caught clips of his too-painful-to-watch interviews with Larry King, and read a great deal of criticism and praise for the man. After all my research, this is what I've found:

He does not preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the Bible.

What message he does preach is quite unclear to me. It seems that he changes his message to suit his audience, refusing to "condemn anyone." On 6/20/05 he had an interview with Larry King. When asked about heaven, hell, and sin, he skirts around the question. The truth is, if he answered these questions using scripture, he would lose the greater percentage of his audience, the $43 million a year the church brings in, the millions in book revenues, and maybe even the smile on his face.

He is the picture of the "health, wealth, and prosperity gospel." His message feeds on American consumerism. It equates God's blessing with material wealth. If God shows his love for us in that way, then what does it say about the love God has for his own son? Jesus was poor, homeless, abused, and betrayed. According to Osteen's message, Jesus most not have been living his "best life." Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said "The problem with prosperity theology is not that it promises too much, but that it promises so little -- and promises that so falsely." Jesus never promised his disciples material wealth. The "abundant life" Jesus talks about in John 10:10 is about knowing him. Our greatest joy and ultimate satisfaction is not found in health, wealth and prosperity, but in knowing Jesus Christ.

A lot of teachers I admire have addressed the prosperity gospel and Joel Osteen. Here are a few of the better ones.

Dr. John Piper- links to writing and teaching about the prosperity gospel

Mark Driscoll- a clip from the sermon series "The Rebel's Guide to Joy"

Dr. Albert Mohler- links to his blogs and radio shows that address issues surrounding Osteen and the prosperity gospel.

Osteen on 60 Minutes- even from a secular perspective, his gospel looks false.

**I plead for further comments and discussion. Some of you may have further insight and may be better at articulating it than I am.


aleighsweber said...

i think this guy is why verses like this are in the bible:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (1john3:1-6)

also, on a lighter note, you might enjoy this guy's blog. (he often pokes fun at j.o.) http://tominthebox.blogspot.com/

Madly Hatter said...

I found your articulation to be more than adequate...and I agree wholeheartedly. I'm not quite sure how he reconciles so many parts of the Bible with his message. Perhaps he simply does not care. I'd really be interested to know if, deep down, he believes everything he says.