Joel Osteen and Jesus are mutually exclusive

A few weeks ago, the Spirit began pricking me over Joel Osteen. I've written about him many times and in fact I thought it was obvious that Osteen is a false teacher who brings a different gospel and I moved on to other discernment topics. But in the last few weeks, I've prepared in draft several blog essays about him, aggravated in my spirit over this man's teachings but not feeling the go-ahead from the Holy Spirit yet.

Then in the last few days I have had some conversations about Joel Osteen. More than a few people have said to me, "Oh, I like Joel Osteen." And now the news that Osteen was one of the paid consultants to the  producers of the History Channel's mini-series, "The Bible", my mind and heart went "Aha!"

Osteen has been successful to insert his erroneous theology into our faith. But it is not enough for me to say “He is wrong,” I need to offer you some examples of how or why as talking points so that when you have conversations yourself about the man, you can use them, as will I. I give these to you as food for thought, because right now if you like Joel Osteen, I am contending for you in the faith.

Osteen’s appeal is always the same as satan’s. What satan offered Eve in the garden, Osteen offers us today. The danger of a man like Osteen, who in fact was raised up as our judgment, is that not ALL he teaches is wrong. Not ALL of it is totally off. He has successfully melded false and true in a seamless way that the tickled ears often has a hard time discerning.

What did satan offer to Eve? Health, wealth, god-hood, success, and prosperity.

“But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…” (Genesis 3:4-6a)

What Joel Osteen preaches is the same, including that we are little gods. Here is how.

In a sermon from Lakewood, Osteen was speaking as to how much our words have power over God. He fleshed this concept out in his recent book, “I Declare”. In this pulpit example, Osteen is talking about the power of our words, and gave a ‘biblical example’ of Zechariah as the angel prophesied to him that he and his wife Elizabeth were going to birth the Messiah’s forerunner, John the Baptist. Zechariah didn’t believe the angel, and God shut Zechariah’s mouth. Osteen explained why God did this:

"See, God knows the power of our words. He knows we prophesy our future, and He knew Zechariah’s own negative words would stop His plan."

Quote. Unquote.
"Osteen is giving more power to the creature — us — than to the Creator. As sons and daughters of God, we reflect the communicable attributes of God, such as love and intelligence, but we don’t reflect His incommunicable attributes, such as omnipotence. Our words don’t contain any magical power that can upset God’s plans." (source)
Osteen has no knowledge of the sovereignty of God, but preaches that we are in fact in control of Him, and we are in fact in control of our lives, and thus, He is not in control of the universe. If He is not in control of the universe, He is not sovereign.

These kind of preachers do not know the real God and His sovereign will. He hates God, because he continually masks Him from his followers. As a matter of fact, Osteen declared his intention to hide the God of the universe from his followers in this quote from an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien:

"She then said, “When you say homosexuality is a sin and there’s a bunch of people who clearly are gay in your church. You’re calling them sinners. I mean, that’s the opposite of uplifting, I would think.” She established the perfect platform for Osteen to respond with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but he did not. “Well, Soledad, I don’t necessarily focus on that. I only talk about that in interviews,” he said." (read more here on Osteen from Al Mohler). Refusing to preach sin, masks God and dilutes the necessity for Jesus.

Other examples of Osteen's preaching that is directly contrary to God’s word:

He has said, “99.9% of people are good people, they just make bad decisions.” You veritably heard Osteen's voice saying the same thing through Noah's narration in the recent mini-series segment from the History Channel called 'The Bible'. Osteen was listed as one of the paid bible consultants for the series. You heard the same theme bad choices, bad decisions theme, when Noah said the reason for the flood was "Wrong choices, wrong decisions, that's why this [the flood] is happening." Osteen brought us from the biblical presentation of man as totally corrupt and evil continually (Genesis 6:5), to, "oops, bad choice," like it was a decision between sauerkraut or no sauerkraut on your hot dog. Saturating sin and total depravity is not a mistake, it is a condition.

Osteen minimizes sin and the necessity for Jesus and instead preaches using the bible as a 'how to get through life manual' rather than instruction as to the revelation of who God is. He says, "What I do," evangelist Joel Osteen told CNN's Larry King in 2005, "is just try to teach practical principles. I may not bring the Scripture in until the end of my sermon, and I don't feel bad about that."

Yet Romans 3:12 states there is none good, no, not one. I can give a statistic, 100.00% of people are bad. You are bad. I am bad. Yet Osteen's constant preaching that we are essentially good people undermines the necessity for Jesus to go to the cross. If we are essentially good, that we just make bad decisions, then we have the power in our selves to change that by speaking words, therefore we do not need Jesus.We just need to shape up a little. In Osteen's world, all we need is to adjust our athletic cup or fix our slip, and we're good to go. Ahhh, that's better. But the adjustments he tells us to make are all minor, external and end up just being whitewash on the tomb. (Matthew 23:27).

Look how pretty and white! Oops, they're still dead, though...
Osteen's job as pastor IS to preach scripture, not just as a footnote but as the entire reason for being. What are pastors supposed to do? Give us a pep talk on how to avoid negative thoughts and get a good parking place at the mall? (as stated in Your Best Life Now). No.
"[W]hat then are pastors supposed to do? Quite simply, they are called to equip the holy believers to do all those things (see Eph. 4:11-12). They are called to teach those holy believers to obey all of Christ's commandments (see Matt. 28:19-20) by precept and example (see 1 Tim. 3:2; 4:12-13; 5:17; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:16-4:4; 1Pet. 5:1-4).

Scripture couldn't make this clearer. The biblical role of the pastor is not to gather as many people as possible at Sunday-morning church services. It is to "present every man complete in Christ" (Col. 1:28). Biblical pastors don't tickle peoples' ears (see 2 Tim. 4:3); they teach, train, exhort, admonish, correct, reprove and rebuke, all based on God's Word (see 2 Tim. 3:16-4:4)."

Comparing these qualifications with those that are often listed by institutional churches that are searching for a new pastor reveals the primary problem with so many churches. They are looking for an employee manager/entertainer/short-speech-giver/administrator/ psychologist/activities and program director/fund-raiser/friend-of-everyone/work horse. They want someone to "run the ministry of the church." The biblical overseer, however, above all else must be a man of great character and commitment to Christ, a true servant, because his goal is to reproduce himself. He must be able to say to his flock, "Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1). (source)
John MacArthur also wrote an introduction to a new blog series on The Role of the Pastor.

Osteen has also said--

“Hindus love God. I’ve seen their sincerity.” Larry King live, 2005, and many times afterwards. Yet, Hindus do not know God. No matter how sincere a person is, if they do not have the Son, they do not have the Father. (1 John 2:23). Yes, look how sincere this Hindu is worshiping idols at his home shrine.

Osteen has said that Mormons are Christians. “The Texas pastor did say that the Mormon faith was "not traditional Christianity," but that Mormonism still falls under the umbrella of Christian tenets. "Mormonism is a little different, but I still see them as brothers in Christ," said Osteen.

Yet Mormonism teaches that God used to be a man on another planet.

Osteen has said- "I know when Victoria and I used to travel with my father overseas, a lot of times we would go over a few days early, and it was amazing how many times we would get upgraded to first class. When I’d go up to that counter I’d kid with Victoria and I’d say ‘Watch this! We’re going to get upgraded.’ And I’d go up there expecting to get preferential treatment. I’d go up there knowing that I have an advantage, I’ve got the favor of God….when I’d go up there I’d just smile real big and be real friendly and that whole time under my breath I’d be saying ‘Father, I thank you that I have your favor. I thank you that you’re causing me to stand out in the crowd. I thank you that your light is shining down on me.’ And Victoria will tell you time after time, for no reason at all, they’d bump us up to first class. See, that’s the favor of God… That’s God’s favor giving us preferential treatment."

Does that sound like the Pharisee in Luke 18:11, or what?! "The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector."

Worst of all- Osteen denies the exclusivity of Jesus: saying in January of this year-

“Well, I believe Oprah that there, I believe that Jesus is the way to the one God, but there are many paths to Jesus.” He has said many times on Larry King & other places that Jesus may not be the only way. Many times.

Osteen’s Prosperity theology is a cauldron of cultish doctrines that have been cloaked in Christian terminology so it will fly in under spiritual radars. Osteen and preachers like him are not wrong on just minor theological differences, they are wrong on many of the fundamentals of the faith. It is not a matter of style or delivery or segment of ministry. It is about satan versus Jesus, wrong doctrine vs truth.

I hope these quotes and facts open your eyes to the fact that Osteen is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, Satan is subtle, he is not going to come in with a pitchfork and all ugly. He will smilingly lead you to hell. Osteen sows corruption (Galatians 5:9) & confusion but God is not a God of confusion but of peace (1 Cor 14:33). Osteen is the very definition of this verse:

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3)

Look at his book covers. It's obvious who Osteen cares about most.
Can you watch a preacher who teaches the unwary that our words are more powerful than God’s plan? That we have the power to declare and create over our own lives? That Jesus is not the only way and that Mormons and Hindus if they are sincere, will also attain heaven? That your best life is now? Are you are essentially saying to Jesus that you disagree with Him and agree with Osteen that you will trade health, wealth, prosperity, and success as your best life now? Yet Jesus offers so much more. Osteen's Jesus only offers us sin for a season - but Jesus offers eternal life. The two are mutually exclusive.


  1. i definitely appreciate your blog. It encourages me to test the spirit(s).

  2. Just one more item about Joel and Mormonism. He actually stated to Larry King that Mitt Romney worships the same god that he (Joel) worships. Since the god Romney worships is not the God of the Bible, I guess that is another BIG clue what god Joel really worships.

  3. Amen. This is a great post. The comment that Osteen made about hindus made me shudder. I recently watched a program with Michael Palin when he visited the Himilayas and the surrounding cultures. At one point the camera showed an India hindu shrine painted with phallic symbols. And, said Palin, nobody here bats an eye. No, I don't suppose they do since they are dead in trespasses and sins.

    Elizabeth, I feel like our society has been so lied to. And even in the visible church we have been lied to that people are good..just, like you said, a little off. Just need an adjustment, some education, just need a little advice, etc. What? The scriptures could not be more clear. The front page of the newspaper could not be more clear. And for Osteen to stand up with his big grin and amuse people on their way to hell is just unconscionable.

  4. The book cover image, with all of them juxtaposed, was very poignant and you drove that point home very well (as with your other points, I'm just visual and appreciate powerful images like that).

    I agree with John MacArthur -- or maybe it was Paul Washer (chances are they've both said the same thing by now): that Joel Osteen is not victimizing those who listen to him. He is God's judgment upon them, for not wanting to listen to God but desiring a false gospel. So God has raised up false teachers for them to be a judgment upon their wickedness.

    That's scary.

  5. Dear Father please help this man to know who you are. Jesus taught us to speak His Words over any situation to change them for the way God intends them to be for his will for us. Which is health, prosperity, and salvation. That is what Joel O. Preaches. He honors God and worships him. Satan doesn't. Who is the false prophet here??

    1. The false prophet here is Joel Osteen. If you believe as you state that we can speak words that changes God's will, and that speaking words can enact prosperity for us, is heresy. Additionally, if as you state that it is God's will for us to be healthy, prosperous and saved, then God fails, because many people will go to hell. Many people are sick. And many people are poor.

      Joel Osteen preaches Joel Osteen and that is who he worships. Osteen does not worship Jesus. Here is the first paragraph of an essay on the prosperity Gospel, I encourage you to read it and then go to the link to read the rest. It mirrors exactly what you stated.
      "In the prosperity gospel, also known as the “Word of Faith,” the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite—God uses the believer. Word of Faith or prosperity theology sees the Holy Spirit as a power to be put to use for whatever the believer wills. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person who enables the believer to do God's will. The prosperity gospel movement closely resembles some of the destructive greed sects that infiltrated the early church. Paul and the other apostles were not accommodating to or conciliatory with the false teachers who propagated such heresy. They identified them as dangerous false teachers and urged Christians to avoid them."

      Read more:

  6. Any saved in Osteen's church or during his ministry are not saved because of his teaching, but in spite of it. That is a true wonder of God. God chooses and saves people out of Osteen's heresy, and it is wonderful. What a testimony to God's sovereignty, mercy, and grace.

    1. John Bevere- one of the few charismatic ministers I still respect- teaches that not all altar calls bring people to salvation, especially if there is no mention of the judgment sinners are under, sin, the blood of Jesus and true repentance. Osteen has said in a Katie Couric interview that he "doesn't like to bear down on people" with things such as that. When asked to sum up his message, his reply was not "Christ died to save sinners and we must repent and be born again to be saved" but rather "God wants you to be the best you you can be". New Age people would have no problem with that "false gospel". I would suggest that saved people may listen to or attend Osteen services, but in the process they would begin to start failing "to continue in My Word" and "endure till the end". False doctrines are designed to lead people to apostasy and sitting under them is a spiritual health hazard.

  7. Definitely false teacher , many will be deceived!


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