2 Timothy 4:3,4–“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; and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
Joel Osteen is not the first public teacher to fulfill Paul’s prophecy in his letter to Timothy. However, since I minister in the Houston area, I want to publicly address this ministry for the sake of the people in my church and all who will read this blog (probably 3 people).
If you missed the interview with Larry King, I would encourage you to check out the transcript at: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0506/20/lkl.01.html
Now, I also want to mention that apparently Osteen received a lot of flack for the way that he dodged clear questions by Larry King. So, he apologized to everyone who was offended…Check out his apology here: http://www.joelosteen.com/site/PageServer?pagename=LarryKingLetter
The main issue in the apology was Joel’s squirming around Jesus as the only way to heaven. When plainly asked if Jews and Hindus and others who don’t trust Christ would be saved, he said that “I don’t know.” This is called universalism and it means that all roads, religions and practices can lead to heaven. It is heresy!
Some of you reading this may not be familiar with the reasons that I am warning people of Joel Osteen. Let me list a few: (by the way, he did not apologize for these in the above letter)
- He does not preach the Gospel! He spends his entire sermons on self-help tips and throws some Scripture in at the end…Followed by an invitation to “accept” Christ. This obviously leads people to false assurance of salvation and a misunderstanding of the nature of grace.
- He does not mention sin. (that’s a big problem when you are a minister of the Gospel and the Gospel is about God’s restoration of a people who are SINFUL by nature). The Bible is clear that the wages of sin are death. Not to discuss this is to deny the authority of Scripture and pervert the Word of God. He claims that he does not want to condemn people so he avoids sin. 1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
- He takes no stance on abortion and same-sex marriage from the pulpit. See his reasoning on this in the interview. Basically he says that he interprets the Bible literally and that it is the inerrant Word of God. But–he does not mention abortion and same-sex marriage because they are political issues. (What does this say about his view of God’s Word? Public opinion trumps Romans 1?)
- He teaches a health and wealth prosperity gospel. In other words, the main goal of Christianity is to be blessed physically. (See article for more)
- He has a following of thousands! Thousands of people (57,000 + opening weekend) are attending Lakewood, thousands of people pack out arena’s across the country at his conferences and thousands more watch by television.
So my warning to you is not to be deceived by this false teacher. Do do say he is a “good preacher” with weak theology. Do not say that he is a “positive preacher” and I listen to him for a lift. Beware! This easy gospel is trapping thousands. Don’t trade “feeling good” for the truth. Perhaps I will write a review of the interview with Larry King in a coming blog, but for now, be warned! Test everything that you hear (including this article) and hold on to the good (1 John 4:1).