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Joel Osteen

Pages In This Entry:

  1. Joel Osteen
  2. Joel Osteen - Lakewood Church
  3. Joel Osteen - Young, Energetic, Media-Savvy
  4. Joel Osteen - "Christianity Lite"
  5. Joel Osteen - 'Blab it and Grab it'
  6. Joel Osteen on Mormonism
  7. Joel Osteen - Research Resources
  8. Joel Osteen - Your Comments

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Dubbed "The Smiling Preacher," Joel Osteen is the hugely popular pastor of Lakewood Church - a mega-church in Houston, Texas.

Lakewood Church is, in fact, America's largest church, with its Sunday services drawing up to 40,000 people a week. [Mar. 30, 2006] In July, 2005, the church moved into the former Compaq Center - once home to the Houston Rockets.

Osteen inherited the church from his father, John Osteen:

Joel Osteen, whose gospel of optimism and telegenic good looks have turned him into a fast-rising star in the nation's evangelical firmament, is nothing if not confident.

Just days after his father, the Rev. John Osteen, died suddenly in 1999, the minister's son stepped into the pulpit for the first time, facing thousands of worshippers at Houston's Lakewood Church.

"I had never preached before," recalls Osteen, 41. "It was kind of a weird thing. I never wanted to preach, but I knew in my heart it was what I was supposed to do. I knew I was supposed to step up."

In the five years since he preached his first sermon, Osteen's rise has been meteoric. While his congregation has grown from 7,000 to 30,000, Osteen has become one of the most popular religious broadcasters in the country, filling arenas as far away as Madison Square Garden.
- Source: Fate put him in pulpit, Joel Osteen does the rest, Orlando Sentinel, Nov. 27, 2004.

Osteen's detractors often refer to his message as "Christianity Lite." This clip, taken from a June, 2005 interview with Larry King, shows how Joel Osteen fails to present a clear, Biblical gospel message:

See the full interview:

Indeed, his primary emphasis is on positive thinking, success and wealth - not on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Last Sunday morning, as usual, the ever-smiling preacher, best-selling author and religious broadcaster Joel Osteen took the stage at Lakewood Church, formerly known as the Compaq Center, the 16,000-seat home of the Houston Rockets basketball team.

After a warm-up of rousing original rock and gospel hymns with lyrics and videos flashing on jumbo screens around the arena, Mr. Osteen began to speak. "We come with good news each week," he told the packed crowd at his gigachurch in his native Texan twang.

The news for Mr. Osteen has lately been very good indeed: two weeks ago he signed a contract with Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, that could bring him as much as $13 million for a follow-up book to his debut spiritual guide, "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential," which, since it was published by Warner Faith in 2004, has sold more than three million copies. "I believe God wants us to prosper" is the gospel according to Mr. Osteen, 43, who offers no apologies for his wealth.

"You know what, I've never done it for the money," he said in an interview after Sunday's service, which he led with his glamorous wife and co-pastor, Victoria. "I've never asked for money on television." But opening oneself to God's favors was a blessing, he said. "I believe it's God rewarding you."

Again and again in the first book, Mr. Osteen exhorts readers to shun negativity and develop "a prosperous mindset" as a way of drawing God's favor. He tells the story of a passenger on a cruise ship who fed himself on cheese and crackers before realizing that sumptuous meals were included. "Friend, I don't know about you, but I'm tired of those cheese and crackers!," Mr. Osteen writes. "It's time to step up to God's dining table."

Or, as he also puts it: "God wants you to be a winner, not a whiner." [...]
- Source: A Preacher's Credo: Eliminate the Negative, Accentuate Prosperity, The New York Times, Mar. 29, 2006

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30 Responses to “Joel Osteen”

  1. This kind of suposed Christianity is quite humorous to me as I listen to men such as olsteen speak. Although the severity of the deception is often overlooked while the spiritual condition of the western church shows it's true colors. The gospel I know is not the one that presents itself at the front of the line. In fact it is more often than not found at the back, despised and looked down upon by men. The cross we are called to carry and the path we are lead to walk in Christ is not one that many find let alone take. True discipleship and identifying with Christ come through suffering and providing a witness to the reality of God and the life of the world to come. To be so concerned with stuff and even with appearing happy are in themselves vain and a great hinderance to the persuit of a true believer. Giving not recieving is the principal, serving not being served is the example. Those who were "pennyless" in Hebrews 12 were also called heroes of faith in following verses. These preachers should seek to get a Christian historical and modern world view and forget about the ways that seem right to them.

  2. T. Brown says:

    I agree with Mr. Tierney 100%. Apostasy is running rampant in this country.I see pride and self in this man. I am not judging him. I have eyes to see and ears to hear. I also have a Spirit that bears witness. These are truly the days of the Laodicean Church. Revelation, Chapter 3

  3. We should pray for spiritual blessings, not worldly blessings. We should pray for God’s will, not our will. We should serve God (and not ourselves) in everything that we do. Joel would have us believe that we should get our rewards during our life here on earth. In Chapter 2 of his book, Joel Osteen quotes Colossians 3:2 as :”Set your mind and keep it set on the higher things.” In this particular section he is telling his readers how to “program their mind for success” and says that we should expect people to go out of their way to help us.

    Now I’m not sure which translation of the bible that Joel is quoting there… but here are the KJV and NIV translations of Colossians 3:2…

    (KJV) Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

    (NIV) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

  4. S. Crudup says:

    Mr. Brown, you nailed it right on the head. We are definitely in the Laodicean era. From 1900 to the present, the church continues to boast about its riches. Jesus made it clear. "You think you're rich, but you're dirt poor." (my version) Lukewarm and you make me sick. I also am not judging but it is what it is.

  5. It seems that the verse osteen quoted is from his own version. I tried every version from literal to even the message version and cannot find it written this way.
    But, for a man who can't state that you must believe in Jesus in order to be saved, can we trust anything he says? and with that any quotes he gives?

  6. Aracelli says:

    I have a serious problem with believing in the illumination of Joel Osteen, mainly because he comes across as a motivational speaker who uses religion in a cross intended purpose. It is not fair, that he is making an income using the Bible for his talks, when in reality what he does has more to do with motivational conversations that appear like a theater of illusion in which he demonstrates a histrionic control such as any actor would for a movie, but that has not much to do with the spirit, or with the spiritual realities of a believer. It is unfortunate that the media is so one-sided, and no public criticisms are being broadcast of the misguidance that such speakers can bring to larger audiences, in particular to those who aren't prepared to see the difference between a spiritual speaker and a motivational talker.

  7. Andrew Almodova says:

    In reality Christ spoke more about Hell than He did about Heaven. There is a real hell to be shunned and a real Heaven that only the Lord Jesus can give us if we beleive in Him as Lord, and Savior. Christ's messages are there to remind us that we all miss the mark and fall short of His Glory. The truth is there to show that we are in desperate need of Him, our perfect Lamb of God.
    Mr. Olsteen may be a great motivational speaker, but the message of salvation can hardly be heard through all the scratching of itchy ears.

  8. Chris Burrell says:

    According to Joel, the apostle Paul didn't have the favor and blessing of God in his life then. Jesus told Ananias that he would show Paul how much he had to suffer for Christ's sake(Acts 10:15).
    Paul said in 1Cor. 4:11-13 how he was hungery,thirsty,poorly clothed, beaten,homeless and ect.. He also told Timothy in 2Timothy 3:12 that all who would live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Jesus said that if the world hated Him then the world would hate His followers(John 15:18-19. So, according to Joel the apostle Paul must have not have chosen to think right and not acted on faith because Paul was poor, beaten and left for dead several times, was forced out of cities, shipwrecked, snakebitten, and thrown in prison, and finally martyed for his witness. I wonder who is right? The inspired word of God, or Joel? I would find it hard to believe that Joel Osteen would even endure 1\10 of the hardship and suffering that the apostle Paul had to endure throught his life for Christ without forsaking the faith.

  9. Colin W says:

    Personally, I am not an advocate for prosperity theology as it is being taught, though I do believe that God is more than capable of taking care of His own, especially those who stretch their faith and step out of the boat. There is nothing that says God will not bless us immesurably, and having money to take care of oneself and family, and to do all that God places in one's heart is not a bad thing.

    The problem with how Osteen teaches is that God becomes a means to an end, not the end in itself, and though Jesus is mentioned in his message, one is hard pressed to find truths about his Crucifixion, Resurrection or Atonement. It is not wealth itself that disqualifies but the inability to understand its relative worthlessness compared with the riches of heaven. Jesus did not condemn wealth; He taught that there was a higher goal and purpose to be achieved, and strictly speaking, I do not see them as mutually exclusive.

  10. Joah says:

    I am appalled at this "man's" teaching. He is a false prophet leading so many astray with his prosperity gospel. We should all be praying for this man that he "repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand"

  11. Andrew says:

    (2Ti 4:3) For the time will come when they will not take the true teaching; but, moved by their desires, they will get for themselves a great number of teachers for the pleasure of hearing them;

  12. Joe Burton says:

    It is not fair, that he is making an income using the Bible for his talks, when in reality what he does has more to do with motivational conversations that appear like a theater of illusion in which he demonstrates a histrionic control such as any actor would for a movie, but that has not much to do with the spirit, or with the spiritual realities of a believer.

  13. Jim Evans says:

    Apparently, Joel Osteen would have us believe it is 'more blessed to receive than to give'!

    It's nothing new! Materialistic and Consumeristic re-writes of Scripture have flooded 'Christian' TV programing and literature for years now. Even Bible based ministries are flirting with the message and methods of today's 'mega churches' because they seem to be so 'successful',therefore, they must be 'right'.

    Conscientious and Bible based leaders and churches need to step up to the pulpit and 'hold fast the faithful Word which is in accordance with 'the teaching', that they (and those that hear them) may be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.' (Titus 1:9)

    Actually, the teaching of ministries like Joel Olsteen's are in Scripture! they are found in passages like 2 Tim. 4:3-4 and Titus 1:10-11. Rebellious, empty talking deceivers who distrupt ministries and lives for the sake of 'sordid gain' "MUST BE SILENCED" says Paul (Titus 1:10-11). And if they won't volunteer, 'Berean Believers'(Acts 17:11)need to pray that God will be their silencer!

    What should be said to preachers and teachers like these..."But as for you, (START) speaking the things which are fitting for sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1)...or STOP speaking at all!

  14. R Rice says:

    I am deeply distressed by the herecy spread by Joel Osteen. I encourage all believers to pray fervently for this man, that God would reveal the folly of this teaching to Mr. Osteen, and that the more impressionable believers will not be led astray. I praise God that He has given me thge ability to recognize this for what it is, UNBIBLICAL! However, Christ loves Joel Osteen, even died for him, knowing that he would be presenting false doctrine. Let's imitate Christ in His love and interceed on behalf of Joel Osteen, his wife, and his learners.

  15. According to Joel the apostle Paul must have not have chosen to think right and not acted on faith because Paul was poor, beaten and left for dead several times, was forced out of cities, shipwrecked, snakebitten, and thrown in prison, and finally martyed for his witness.

  16. Rob, Australia. says:

    I was absent from the Assemblies of God for nearly 30yrs (from 1979) and the difference now is TOTAL! The Gospel of salvation seems to have been upsized to the gospel of prosperity and personalities. Where's the precious word of God in all of this? Bring back the old time religion! Please!!

  17. John Shepherd says:

    One of the problems I have with Osteen, among many is this. If something is true, it’s true in every corner of the globe, for all people, for all time. His brand of "Christianity" speaks to the ease and comfort that we experience in America, where the biggest daily battle for many is what flavor Starbucks to get in the morning, or even worse, battling a low self-esteem. Do you really think his message of self-esteem and self love would be relevant to Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, who in 155 AD was MARTYED for his faith in Jesus? He was burned at the stake and jabbed with a spear!! Would Osteens message be relevant to any of the millions of people who were slaughtered during those early waves of persecution in church history? Or any group of Christians going through persecution, including our brothers and sisters who even now are dying by the TENS of THOUSANDS every week? What most Americans fail to realize is that this country and its ideals are a small experiment in the grand scheme of history. We have a myopic view, assuming that history MUST be filled with wonderful examples of freedom loving democratic societies. History shows us the opposite is true. If Osteens message isn’t applicable to the Christians being slaughtered in the Sudan, is it applicable for me or for you? Can you imagine the persecuted church gathering secretly, meeting underground and talking about "Your Best Life Now"? No, they are clinging to the Word of God. As should you, as should I. Brothers and Sisters, we need to move away from the Osteen self-esteem gospel of "I can do all things" back again to "I can do all things through CHRIST which strengthens me".

  18. Al says:

    I don't know why people who belong to the prosperty "gospel" just don't admit that money is their god? Joel is an example in point. He has watered Christianity down to a sugar coated "feel good" ism that appeals to people who are not serious about God, but in their own fiancial gain. They don't go to church to give to God, but to get from God. Their concept of God is some kind of cosmic slot machine. This is a sign of the times. American "Christianity" is nihilistic, materialistic, self-centered and idolatrous. This fact is best represented in churches like Osteen's. This guy doesn't even preach the Scriptures. He's just another motivational teacher. People go to his church to feel good and get an experience. And Osteen provides this form them.

  19. Bob Briggs says:

    To teach people God wants everyone rich financically is not what is meant in the Bible.
    if that were true, what of third world countries? Is everyone that believes in Jesus
    supposed to drive a Corvette? I don't think so!!!

  20. Rev MG says:

    I don't want this to come off sounding holier-than thou. For certain, I am not. I echo the thoughts of many of you. Whether it is Joel Osteen or another prosperity, positive thinking guru. Whether it is Rick Warren and his watered-down, sugar coated, out of context, I - centered ministry.

    The focus of the western church today is not Jesus Christ. It is all about me. The emphasis is placed on "I". It starts with "I believe", while disregarding the fact that Paul says in Ephesians that "faith itself is a gift from God lest we should boast". We move then to "I accept", and then "I chose" regardless of the Scriptural truth laid out by Christ throughout the book of John and echoed in Romans and Ephesians. There is no synergism in salvation. We are saved through no merit and no action on our part. It is not of our Will that we can "seek" Him out. Romans 9:14 tells us we cannot "run" or "will" our way to God. What oxy-moron are we buying into with this "seeker sensitive" philosophy we're instilling.

    What I find especially appalling is that while these types encourage and embrace the worldly pursuit of treasures, making these symbolic of faith... they are willing to overlook that which the Bible calls sin in the name of sensitivity (or is it really fear of biting the hand that feeds them). What we are seeing today is nothing but the "Itching Ears" Syndrome that Paul wanred Timothy would come. It started long ago, and is increasing in energy and momentum. A little leaven has snowballed into an apostate generation. Praise be to God that He knows His sheep and His sheep will hear his voice over the noisemakers like Osteen and Warren.

  21. jen flores says:

    I have won my aunt to Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. I have encouraged her to read the bible also. However, she is drawn to listen to Joel Osteen and is now hooked to his ministry. How can I convince her that his teaching is not biblical! Please help.

  22. Rob says:

    I find it quite interesting and revealing that the centerpiece and focal point that Osteen speaks his messages before is not the Cross but a giant model of THE WORLD. All devoted Bible studying people will find this to be representitive of Mr.Osteen's teachings. I watched his message on TV today (Easter) and heard nothing about our sinful nature and our need for a Redeemer but twice he refered to these convicting teachings as Junk! God Help Him.

  23. I believe that Joel is speaking in a world that is full of preachers and priests that think and preach that you must suffer. If you don't suffer than you truly must not be a Christian.

    Have any of you ever finished one of Joels broadcast's? He always finishes with the simple truth of Christianity. and never ask's anyone to attend or give to his ministry. It seams to me that Joel obviously has God's favor.

    How many of you want your children to have more than your self, be more successfull than yourself and have a better life than you have had. I believe our nation was founded by our fathers searching for a better life for us. Wouldn't it make sense that our Father in heaven would want the very same thing for His children. As a father I would only want as much success as my child could respect and handle in a dignified way. If I had one child that new that everything comes from God and respected all that God gave them, I would want them to have much. This child would be able to do much for God with what He gave them. If I had another child that wanted everything and thought that everything came from thier doings, that child would be full of conceit and could do very little for God. I would want this child have very little, because worldly wealth would most likely destroy this child.

    Each writer I'm sure has a different view of what wealth is. To one a loaf of bread is wealth to another a wallet full of paper that others will trade you things for is wealth. We all may have an idea, but I think we will ALL be surprised what God's definition of wealth is.

    I believe that God has given Joel Osteen a calling to share with Chritain's and non Christian's that God wants the best for all of us. If He didn't why did he come and go through such a horrible death for us. I think that some believe that they must go through suffering even to the point of hanging on a cross themselves. Any suffering that I do for my salvation takes away from Christ. Christ's suferring was sufficiant for my sin.

    My Father may choose to have me suffer so that I may grow through my suffering and he also may choose to give me great things so that He may do great things through me.

    It seams to me that 70,000 people hearing the bottom line of salvation is a job well done by Joel Osteen. Not to mention all of those who see his weekly broadcast.


  24. God just showed me how to finish what I was trying to say through a small cartoon clip that begun when I turned the TV on this morning.

    Do you remember what Jesus did when he came across the 10 lepers? Jesus healed them all. He wanted them all to be clean and to have "much". 9 of the people could not handle "much" because they couldn't recognize that all things come from God. One man stayed to give thanks to God. This is the child that can handle "much", and I'm sure, did much with what God had given to him.
    Luk 17:11-19

  25. jake crook says:

    Joel Osteen is nothing more than a false teacher. His heresy is sending countless numbers of people straight into the flames of hell. You will never hear anything of sin, righteousness, or judgement from this inspirational speaker. I pray that if you are a professing Christian, that you will take the time and look at the 10 commandments and let them break you as you see how you have broken everyone of them. Then look to the cross and see the true grace of Christ in that while we are so wicked and vile, he still died for us. And truly examine yourself and see if you have been born again. If not, then repent of your sins and put your trust in the savior. Go to and click on "are you a good person?"

  26. truthistheword says:

    Luke 6:19-21
    19And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

    20And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

    21Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

    Matthew 19:24
    And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    I believe that pretty much sums it up :-)


  27. Charlene Roberts says:

    Daer Brother Joel,

    My youngest son of 8 yrs old asked me in Jan 07 if we could start going to church. I said sure let me find one. One week later I decided to go to church I had two churches in mind one close to my house for a 9:30 mass and one that is appx 30 mins from where I live for a 11:00 mass. I have three children so we did not make the 9:30. We did arrive @11:15 at the other church at first I felt bad because I was late, but then I said lets just go in it will be ok. This was a church of no other. When we walked in their might of been 8 people in the church "I said that's ok" sometimes when we go to a big classroom we get timid. I thought well this might be small but I will think of it as a special attention class. my little one of 16 months was clapping her hands to the music and I though how good looking all the people where. Then a pastor stood up and asked us to open our Bible to Joshua. My son said to me "Hey Mom" thats my name. When did they write a story about me? We have been going every week. T Pray for the pastor to have more people come to his church on Sunday. I have my Aunt'church in Kentucky pray for more in his church. I just thought maybe one sunday you could add him in your prayers. His name is: John Elleson the church is located: 1307 E. Palatine Road, Arlington Heights, Il ph:847-259-0700. Every Sunday we sing and rejoice to -Joel Osteen Live Simulcast.

  28. yon says:

    Although I think that Joel Osteen does good in bringing people to God, I agree with the above comments. I think Christians want a relationship with Jesus Christ. I want a relationship with Jesus. However, when I hear Osteen's sermons, rarely do I hear Jesus' name or teachings mentioned. Jesus is the light, the word, the door to heaven. Yet, it is odd that Osteen never mentions His name.

  29. cullen bentley says:

    i have read all this stuff and i am kinda thinking that to much time is spent on finding out what this man does not do instead of what he does. i have listened to him preach and even been to the church a couple of times to see what it was like after his father passed away. John was not the same as Joel. John preached about prosperity and love and also he did about heaven and hell and sin in peoples lives that needed to be forgiven and cleaned from the human nature. Joel has some truth in what he say. or else he could not get the response he does. What troulbes me is that at the end of his message he always offers the audience a chance to accept christ. This is fine and scriptural, but when he begins his prayer he wants the people to ask god to forgive them of their sins. This is my problem more than anything that he teaches becasue why would anyone ask for forgiveness when during the time he preached he not once mentions sin or sinners and the repentence they need to perform by conviction of the holy spirit unto salvation. This to me is worse than the prosperity messsage you all talk about. The lacking of mans sinful nature must be addressed and it is not..

    Also god does financially prosper people and some very much so because he has to have people who have money to give to what he desires to be done and many times it takes alot of money. So yes a billionaire can be saved. But our eyes must first be upon god for one reason only to worship and serve him in the capacity he desires for each one of us.

  30. Administrator says:

    Comment from Apologetics Index: Please note. Additional comments regarding the Joel Osteen entry should be posted here.

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This post was last updated: Apr. 9, 2013