Saturday, April 5, 2014

A short note on Joel Osteen

To research some background on a recent blog essay, I listened to a short interview by a reporter from the Wall Street Journal blog and Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston. He was being interviewed on the occasion of the release of his latest book (October 2013) "Break Out!" In the interview, the reporter asked Osteen what he thought of the (then) new Pope, Francis. Osteen lauded the new pope. He loved the Pope's "inclusive" message and how he got out "among the people."

The reporter picked up on Osteen's mention of inclusiveness and asked him how to reconcile what the bible says about, say, gay people, and welcoming same sex couples to church. 'How do you walk that line?' the reporter asked.

Osteen said, "Jesus said ‘you will know them by their love for one another’ so you have to say, you know, I may not agree with you, but I’m going to accept you and I’m going to love you. We believe what the bible teaches but we also we believe the bible says to accept and love everyone.

The scripture Osteen was twisting here is "you will know them by their fruits". (Matthew 7:16). Jesus most assuredly did NOT say you will know them by their love. And, in an ironic turn of events, just who is it that we will know? Jesus is actually talking about false prophets.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-16a)

Does the bible teach us to accept everyone? It sounds nice, but no. "Accepting" same sex couples in church is accepting that they are deliberately flaunting their sin in direct opposition to God's holy standards. It is the same with any unrepentant person. If a drunk were to come drunk to church every single week, with a vodka bottle, saying "I'm PROUD of my drunkenness!" would you accept that as God-honoring church behavior? This is why we have a process for church discipline, to bring that person to repentance. If they do not repent, we excommunicate them. We do NOT accept flagrant sin. It dishonors the name of Christ, and it also allows sin to spread like a cancer. God wants His bride to remain pure and undefiled. (Ephesians 5:25-27). We never "accept" sin. Never. Christ's blood is too precious.

More to the point, accepting people's sin is paving the way to hell for them. The Lord will richly repay Joel Osteen for his evil deeds.

Asked about why he is successful, he said,
“I try to make my message not heavy on doctrine necessarily”

Well, of course. "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires," (1 Timothy 4:3)

I hope you will not even post one quote from Mr Osteen on your Facebook page, or buy one book of his, or listen to even one more second of his "sermons." He is a scripture twisting, hell paving, evil minister of darkness. He is untaught and unstable.

The untaught and unstable twist them to their own destruction, as they also do with the rest of the Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:16)

12 comments:

  1. I'm not in disagreement with your overall post and conclusion about Joel, but I assume he was instead attempting to invoke John 13:35 (ESV):

    "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

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    1. Hi Nuke,

      He very could have been attempting to invoke a different verse. That's the point- he is never clear. 'You will know them by their love" is a rookie, ridiculous mistake to make, not one that a seasoned "pastor" of over 20 years makes. And in addition, it's still a twist, because if it *was* the John verse, Jesus is giving a commandment for the disciples to distinguish themselves by loving one another, not sinners bringing sin into the church. And lastly,it is wrong to equate overlooking sin with love

      So while Osteen could have been trying to use a different verse than the one I thought he was, that's the point. Clarity is a hallmark of the Spirit's work, for God is not the author of confusion.

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    2. Very timely article Elizabeth!! Great work!


      Liberal churches, along with the New Age, Charismatic, emerging churches all seem to have at least one thing in common. They all "quote" Scripture but do so in ways that "attempt" to mold its content to whatever point that suits their purpose. It doesn't matter that the verses they choose have nothing to do with their subject. To the contrary, the verses used are often in direct opposition. Quite often they even substitute "words" in the verses quoted and don't even bother nor care to see if it is in context. Details details! The wonderful example given by Elizabeth exposes Osteen’s total mauling of "you will know them by their fruits". (Matthew 7:16)


      Unfortunately, many born again Believers’ lack of discernment involving the misuse and deliberate distortion of God's Word has become pandemic. There is a noticeable absence of involvement, concern, comment, correction and rebuke by the Christian community. Or maybe it is simply a matter of becoming "desensitized" thus disinterested. Perhaps it could also be due to an increasing number of Biblically Illiterate Believers (BIBs works nicely here) who just do not recognize its occurrence even when it should be painfully obvious. This, of course, is frighteningly evident by the scarcity of Biblical responses from the Christians in general. Being vocal doesn’t seem to be a problem with the Osteen’s’, Hinn’s, Warren’s and Copeland’s of the world. Why is it for so many of those who say they love our Lord?


      I would love to see this lop sided battle field leveled. False teaching on television, radio and the Internet are ready made sources for harvesting these abuses of Scripture. Examples could be posted, sources revealed and corrections made as Elizabeth has done here. If possible it would make a great daily or weekly “feature”. (HINT HINT) Readers could become involved by either bringing an example to light and doing the research themselves (subject to Elizabeth’s review and input) or by just asking for Elizabeth’s “take” to begin with. And Elizabeth could continue to provide examples of her own as she has done here.


      The objective should be to get more Christians involved in reading and understanding God’s Word and to provide a source of Biblical truths to be used by us in exposing false teachers while defending our faith.

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    3. That's the point--he doesn't even *know* the Word, let alone preach it.

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  2. Several weeks ago one of my Facebook friends posted a Joel Osteen quote. It had something to do with depression and Isaiah. That didn't ring a bell to me, so I went to Biblegateway.com and searched for the word depression in Isaiah. Couldn't find it even though I tried every modern translation and paraphrase. I then went to Osteen's page and asked for the chapter and verse of the quote about depression, but I never received a reply. The sad thing was how many comments this quote received, like "Amen!", "I needed to hear that today!", things along those lines. People think they're getting bible teaching because he throws in something that sounds familiar, but he doesn't cite chapter and verse which, to me, is a huge red flag.

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  3. I have two sister in laws who get furious with me when I try to talk to them about the apostasy of Joel Osteen. They cannot believe that he would ever teach false doctrine. They also don't want to hear anything about the end times and the rapture. They both attend church weekly and say they are Christians (not for me to judge). How do I get them to see the truth? Or do I just leave them walking blindly since they refuse to listen to what the bible says about false teachers. Also wanted to mention that your posts have been such a blessing to me and have learned so much. God bless.

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  4. Yvonnedean - I have friends who are Osteen fans, as well as some who are, shall we say, lacking in discernment, following every 'Christian' fad that comes down the pike. I used to talk to them, try to get them to see the error of their thinking...but I got nowhere. Most of the time I'd get a deer-in-the-headlights look--they knew I was talking because my mouth was moving, but they could not or would not comprehend my words. So...I gave up. What I do now is pray for them. I pray that the Holy Spirit would give them the wisdom to discern true from false, that their eyes, hearts, and minds would be open to the things of God and reject the things of the world.

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    1. I believe that scripture limits your witness to two or three attempts with a particular person. Remember, it is God who choose each of us. You are not responsible for any who refuse truth.

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    2. Thank you for your comment. Praying is the best thing to do for these people.

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  5. When you tune into a Joel Osteen broadcast from his megachurch, there are two things you will notice. Or maybe I should say *not* notice:

    1. No Bible.

    2. No cross (instead, there is a large globe in the background).

    That tells you pretty much everything you need to know about Joel Osteen.

    1. He doesn't preach the Word: "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."
    (2 Timothy 4:2)

    2. He doesn't preach the cross: "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."
    (1 Corinthians 2:2)

    On the other hand, he's terrific at what he does--he's the best Christianized motivational speaker I've ever heard. It's a shame he's not a preacher--he'd probably be a good one.

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  6. "Jesus most assuredly did NOT say that you will know them by their love . . ." Hmm John 13:35 KJV says "By this shall all men know that ye are my didciples, if ye have love one to another."

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    1. Hello Michael and thank you for reading.

      The verse I quoted in its context is talking about false prophets. Always look at the context to be sure we're comparing apples to apples. Mat 7:15 says,"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." verse 16 continues "You will recognize them [false prophets] by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?"

      The verse you quoted is discussing how *disciples* will be recognized. The two verses are talking about completely different things. They can't be compared.

      False prophets don't have love. Love comes from God.

      "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God." 1 John 4:7

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