Joel Osteen -FALSE PROPHET!
. . . Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
The latest "star" among the Christian world is Joel Osteen, pastor of
nondenominational Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Osteen claims the
nation’s largest congregation with over 30,000 members. Lakewood recently
purchased the colossal Compaq Center, formerly home of the NBA’s Houston
Rockets. After a whopping $95 million in renovations, the Compaq Center now
houses Osteen’s empire called Lakewood Church. Osteen continually sells out
huge arenas (at $10 a ticket) across the country. (on ebay Osteen’s tickets
list for over $100—can you say $ch-ching$?) New York Times (July 18,
2005) reports Lakewood’s 2004 revenue’s of $55 million. Osteen’s book of
human-potential, self-esteem, "feel good," self-help-guide titled, Your
Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, ranks
number one on the prestigious "New York Times" best-seller list. Wxyz.com
writes of Osteen’s enormous popularity, "In the world of religion, he’s
achieved the status of a rock star. . ." Clearly, Mr. Osteen wears the
coveted crown prince of the Christian kingdom.
Osteen’s message is described as ". . . simple self-help message that congregants say is both uplifting and accessible. . ." Osteen proudly wears the title of "the smiling preacher." His theology has been described as "cotton candy" theology – tastes good – but no substance.
Before we examine Osteen’s disturbing theology, let us lay some ground work for our critique.
Today’s Christians have been spiritually malnourished with a steady and unrelenting diet of "judge not, that ye be not judged. . .," tolerant, inclusive "junk food" doctrine until they are completely void of any spiritual discernment. May I remind you in Matthew 7 where the popular "judge not, that ye be not judged. . ." mantra occurs contains the harshest warning in the Bible exposing false prophets and exercising personal spiritual discernment. The Lord Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 provides the most enlightening and frightening warning found in all the scriptures. Many (not a few) people that openly call Jesus "Lord, Lord. . ." and many that "prophesy in thy name. . ." and ". . . cast out devils. . ." and in the name of Jesus Christ perform "many wonderful (not hateful, but nice, sweet) works. . ."— Jesus will utter "I NEVER knew you." They were never saved. If they were ever saved—Jesus could not say, I NEVER knew you. Despite their "many wonderful works" in the name of Jesus, despite calling Him "Lord, Lord"—Jesus Christ will cast them into an eternal lake of fire, calling them "ye that work iniquity."
Matthew 7:13-23Matthew 7 (and there are many other scriptures) is an earth-shattering wake-up call for prayerful Bible discernment. If we, as Christians do not shine the exposing light of the Word of God upon preachers, Christians or anyone and everyone, how can we possibly obey the clear admonition of our Lord and Saviour in Matthew 7:15? How can we "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves"— if we do not "judge" who are the "false prophets"? How in the world can we even KNOW who are these "false prophets"? They appear as "sheep" or saved people, but they are "ravening wolves." There is only one way—the unchangeable, perfect Word of God. There is a very serious and very deadly Christian belief perverting Christians that says, "I can’t judge them, I don’t know their heart." The Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 15:19, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man." What comes out the mouth – is in the heart.
And what came out of the heart and mouth of Joel Osteen during the June 20, 2005 interview with Larry King literally sent shivers down my spiritual spine. As a Bible Believing researcher, I have researched many topics, many cultural issues and many false prophets—but what I heard repeatedly from the mouth of Joel Osteen on Larry King clearly ranks as the most disturbing words publicly coming out of a mainstream, accepted preacher. Bar none!
Before we view Osteen’s troubling statements, let me also add: we are not frivolously "sowing discord among brethren. . ." (Proverbs 6:19); we are not blindly, ". . . straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel." (Matthew 23:14); nor is any personal malice or contempt against Mr. Osteen intended.
As Bible Believers, we can disagree on certain doctrinal issues, but never the redemptive work and person of the Lord Jesus Christ. God forbid! God help us to never cease from exposing serious doctrinal errors, and make no mistake about it – several of Joel Osteen’s statements on Larry King Live were serious. Very serious. . .
The first very alarming portrait of Osteen’s heart (Matthew 12:34) deals with the most important subject in the Bible—salvation is only through the redemptive blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. Nothing is more important. Nothing is more evident in the scriptures. The following scriptures (among many) loudly and boldly proclaim Jesus Christ as the ONE and ONLY way of salvation, without any room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. The Bible makes this crystal-clear. Other doctrines may have opportunity for argument, but not this one.
John 14:6On Larry King Live, the following very disturbing conversation occurred with Larry King and Joel Osteen:
KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?At this point, even Larry King appears surprised by Osteen’s answer. Then Larry tosses Osteen a "soft-ball" to explain his previous answer. And again Osteen openly denies that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way of salvation.
KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?Again Osteen denies the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice, he praises the pagan, false-religion of India as "I know they love God." Unbelievable. . .
I’m sure some reading this are thinking, "Well, maybe Larry caught Joel Osteen flat footed. Maybe Osteen wasn’t prepared." If Osteen only had been given another chance to testify of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, he’d get it straightened out.
Osteen did get another chance. . .
After Larry King opened the phone lines, a concerned Christian asks Joel to clarify his previous statement (which we just viewed). Again Osteen could easily clear this up.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth.And here Larry really tosses Joel a soft-ball. How about a God-defying atheist? And again, Osteen will not confess that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way of salvation.
KING: What about atheists?Friend, the Bible is clear. There is one, and only one way out of an eternal hell and that is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not simply "a relationship with Jesus Christ." Judas Iscariot had a "relationship" with Jesus Christ, walking and talking with the Lord, and even "kissing" the Lord (Luke 22:47), but Judas went to hell (Acts 1:25). Revelation 2:15 reads, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
What can wash away my sins – NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!
The teaching professed by Osteen that ". . . God’s got to look at your heart. . ." for salvation is wrong. It is grossly wrong. It is deadly wrong. God has already "looked at you heart." In Jeremiah 17:9, the Lord says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Proverbs 28:26, says, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool. . ." The Lord Jesus says, in Matthew 15 "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:"
Osteen’s refusal to confess the sole redemptive salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ sent shock waves among many of Osteen’s followers. Because of the amount of email and letters questioning his statements, Osteen issued an apology on his web site, stating:
Many other statements from Osteen during the Larry King interview were blatantly in opposition to the Word of God.
KING: But you're not fire and brimstone, right? You're not pound the decks and hell and damnation?Friend, the greatest "fire and brimstone" preacher that ever lived was the Lord Jesus! He preached about hell more than any other subject. If you don’t believe in proclaiming "fire and brimstone, as Osteen openly confesses, you do not believe the Bible! It’s that simple.
Jesus Christ took hell very serious. In Mark 9:43-47 the Lord says,
43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
Jesus Christ took hell so serious — He could say without the slightest hesitation — to remove your eye, cut off your hand or foot, if that would keep you out of hell!
If hell is not real — Jesus Christ was the most deceived man that ever lived!
Osteen may sound pious and sweet to say, ". . . I don't have it in my heart to condemn people," but according to the Lord Jesus, they are already condemned. The Lord says in John 3:18, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." The Christian’s message is not condemnation, but the way out of ALREADY condemnation. If there is no "hell fire and brimstone"—there is no reason for Jesus dieing on the cross. It was a waste. Hell is as much a part of the gospel, as the blood of Jesus Christ. No hell. No blood. No heaven. No gospel. . .
Friend, if we believe the Bible it is our duty and decency to warn people about hell! Warning someone of the fires of eternal hell is not condemning them - it is just the opposite - we are trying to keep them from being condemned in hell!
Because of Osteen's vague and confusing answers, Larry King point-blank asks Osteen if he believed the Bible. (What a strange question to ask the pastor of the largest church in Amerca?)
KING: You believe in the Bible literally?There is a problem here - a very, very serious problem. Here is a man that claims to believe the Bible literally. And the Bible over and over and over, warns of a place of called hell, a place of eternal fire and torments where the majority of people will suffer in torments for all eternity.
Matthew 13:49-50How can Mr. Osteen, or anyone, claim to believe the Bible and deliberately refuse to warn people about hell? Is anyone that mean or hateful or so depraved that they willingly refuse to warn others? I'm reminded of a gut-wrenching illustration in Why Revival Tarries by Leonard Ravenhill:
Charlie Peace was a criminal. Laws of God or man curbed him not. Finally the law caught up with him, and he was condemned to death. On the fatal morning in Armley Jail, Leeds, England, he was taken on the death-walk. Before him went the prison chaplain, routinely and sleepily reading some Bible verses. The criminal touched the preacher and asked what he was reading. "The Consolations of Religion," was the replay. Charlie Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell. Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase with a tremor? Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, "You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings"? All this was too much for Charlie Peace. So he preached. Listen to his on-the-eve-of-hell sermon.Is it possible that a man could be so cruel and so criminal to actually believe in hell and steadfastly refuse to warn fellow human beings?
Recently, a local TV station interviewed a man that rescued a sleeping family from a burning house. He was riding by the house, saw the raging fire and at the danger of his own life, ran inside the flaming house, screamming and yelling for the family to wake up and get out! The newscaster asked him, "How does it feel to be a hero?" His reply was simply, "I'm no hero; I just did what any decent human being would have done."."
Here me and here me well - a man that professes to believe the Bible and refuses to warn people about hell; either does not really believe that Bible, or they are the worse criminal and villain on this earth! And I don't care how big a church they have, or how nice, sweet, loving, compassionate or pious they may sound - they are a wicked devil in disguise!
In the interview, Larry King tossed Osteen another "soft-ball," asking Osteen about the wicked and vile sins of abortion and homosexuality. Even lost people take a stand on these blatant "sins."Will you go and speak to the sinners blind
KING: How about issues that the church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?Again, Larry appears surprised at Osteen’s waffling. Larry allows Osteen to clarify his confusing position. And again Osteen blatantly contradicts the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
KING: You don't call them sinners?The word "sin" occurs in the King James Bible over 830 times!
After the previous surprising answers, Larry then asks Osteen the obvious question: Do you believe the Bible?
KING: You believe in the Bible literally?The following conversation during King’s interview displays how far Osteen and the Bible differ.
KING: Is it hard to lead a Christian life?The "essence of Osteen’s Christian faith" is to "help others." (And along the way make a few million$.)
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, the apostle Paul gives us the "essence" of the Christian faith:
1 Corinthians 15:3-4Stay away from Joel Osteen and his no condemnation, self-esteem, false-gospel. Warn others. Stay away! There is too much at stake – your eternal soul.Is the popular prosperity teaching of many televangelists and pastors really true? Is worldly prosperity the same as Godly prosperity?
These doctrines of Jesus have the true answer!
Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
Jesus teaches us...
1John 2:15-17 ...not (to) love the world or the things in the world. (For) If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life— is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it...
He teaches us to...
Colossians 3:1-2 Set (our) mind(s) on things above, not on things on the earth.
He told us...
Matthew 6:19-20 ...not (to) lay up for (ourselves) treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but (rather to) lay up for (ourselves) treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
He warned us...
Proverbs 23:17 ...not (to) let (our) heart(s) envy sinners...
Ezra 9:12 ...never seek their peace or prosperity...
He even told us...
Matthew 6:31-33 ...not (to) worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?For (our) heavenly Father knows that (we) need all these things. (Rather He said)...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Hebrews 13:5-6 ...He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “ The LORD is my helper; I will not fear.
Psalm 34:10 …those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing.
Proverbs 28:20...he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
Hebrews 13:5...be content with such things as you have.
Paul himself learned the riches of contentment...
Philippians 4:11-12 (Paul said)...I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
1Timothy 6:6-10 ...godliness with contentment is great gain...we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
BEWARE! Many deceived ministers teach their congregations to pursue being rich; to lay up treasure here on earth and to seek the peace and prosperity of this world. It's important for you to note that the word of Jesus places extremely high value on faithfulness and obedience, while false teachings place the emphasis on worldly success and prosperity. It's more important to Jesus for us to be obedient, which leads to the true riches of Heaven, rather than obtaining the deceptive prosperity of this world. Matthew 13:22 says "...the deceitfulness of riches choke the word..."Proverbs 22:1 says, "A good name is to be chosen rather than riches." Luke 16:15 says, "What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."
Luke 16:14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided (Jesus).