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Ministers and money (Osteen, Warren, and other Rich preachers)
Times Leader ^ | 3-22-08 | Mark I Pinsky

Posted on 03/22/2008 8:14:21 AM PDT by Terriergal

TV preacher Joel Osteen shuns lavish lifestyle of some others

MARK I. PINSKY The Orlando Sentinel

ORLANDO, Fla. — If the evangelical world is looking for a poster child to offset the negative publicity surrounding rich televangelists, Joel Osteen would be a good choice.

Joel Osteen, pastor of the nation’s largest megachurch, preaches at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, where services are broadcast around the world.

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Osteen is among the nation’s most widely recognized television ministers, trailing only Billy Graham and Rick Warren, and in 2006 was named the most influential Christian in America by readers of Church Report magazine.

The contrast is stark between Osteen and the six televangelists suspected by Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley of living lavish lifestyles — large estates, vacation homes, exotic trips, luxury cars and private jets — at the expense of their tax-exempt, television ministries. Among the accused are Paula and Randy White of Tampa, Fla., and Benny Hinn, formerly of Orlando, Fla.

Author Herbert E. Brown, in his 2001 book, characterized such high-living pastors as “pimps in the pulpit.”

Osteen lives a much different life.

He has not taken a salary from his Houston mega-church for two years. He owns one house, the same one he has lived in for 13 years, and until recently he drove a 9-year-old car he inherited from his late father.

While on road trips, Osteen pays his own hotel bills, and there is no private jet.

Although the upbeat minister does take collections at services, netting an estimated $43 million a year, Osteen does not ask for money on his television broadcasts, which reach an estimated 7 million viewers weekly in the United States and 100 other countries. Nonetheless, another $30 million comes through the mail. His most recent book deal earned him a $13 million advance.

“We make plenty of money from our books,” said Osteen, 44. “But we just live normal lives. We try to be conservative and honor God with our life and with our example.”

Osteen refuses to condemn the targets of Grassley’s inquiry, or Richard Roberts, who stepped down as president of Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma City amid charges that he used school funds and facilities for his family.

“While I never like to hear negative things about friends and other ministers, I choose to believe the very best in them,” said Osteen. “I believe them all to be people of integrity.”

Osteen leads the 48,000-member Lakewood Church in Houston, based at the Compaq Center, which the non-denominational congregation renovated at a cost of $100 million.

A best-selling author of religious and inspirational books, Osteen’s services border on the nonsectarian, with no crosses in evidence. His theology is more inspirational than theological, with a strong emphasis on self-help, in the feel-good tradition of Norman Vincent Peale and Robert Schuller. Osteen speaks from a lectern he prefers to call a “podium,” rather than a “pulpit.” His books are filled with lots of exclamation points, but the word “Jesus” rarely appears.

Osteen’s first book, “Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential,” sold millions of copies. His latest, “Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day,” is on the New York Times best seller list, and propelled him onto “60 Minutes” and “Larry King Live,” as well as several magazine covers.

In his latest book, Osteen points to himself as an example of unlocking hidden potential. A college dropout with no formal preparation for ministry, he preached for the first time when his father, who founded Lakewood Church, became ill and died. For the preceding 17 years, Joel Osteen had worked behind the scenes in production at the television ministry.

The success of these books raises questions about how religious figures should handle the millions of dollars in royalties and contributions.

Osteen is not the only prominent religious figure who tries to navigate these issues and, by doing so, differentiate himself from such controversies.

Warren, for example, has repaid every dollar he has earned in the pulpit of Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., and pledged to give away 90 percent of his book royalties. He accepts no speaking fees, and is not as reluctant as Osteen to criticize those who are less altruistic.

“Success in any area often creates a spirit of entitlement — ‘I deserve this’ — that is the exact opposite of servant leadership,” Warren said.

“It is evidence of insecurity and low-self esteem. Insecure people show off. Secure people serve.”

Osteen agrees, offering his own definition of the prosperity gospel.

“I never preach a message on money,” he said. “I do believe that God wants us to be blessed, to have good marriages, to have peace in our minds, to have health, to have money to pay our bills. I think God wants us to excel. But everyone isn’t going to be rich — if we’re talking about money.”

“I never preach a message on money. I do believe that God wants us to be blessed, to have good marriages, to have peace in our minds, to have health, to have money to pay our bills. I think God wants us to excel. But everyone isn’t going to be rich — if we’re talking about money.”Joel Osteen
Television minister



TOPICS: Evangelical Christian; Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Theology
KEYWORDS: billygraham; houston; megachurch; osteen; pastor; rickwarren; televangelist
Yeah so he's a nice guy but he isn't a pastor. He's a motivational psychobabble speaker.

Seems to me an entirely 'upright life' isn't a previous requirement of a servant of God. But speaking the truth of the Gospel is. (e.g. Paul had been responsible for the deaths of many Christians before he came to the knowledge of the WHOLE truth -- and then began to preach it himself!)

1 posted on 03/22/2008 8:14:22 AM PDT by Terriergal
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To: Terriergal

So? This piece sounds like class hatred and jealousy to me.


2 posted on 03/22/2008 8:31:00 AM PDT by JaneNC (I)
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To: Terriergal

While I certainly have my issues with Osteen’s message, and wonder about his qualifications as a pastor, this article surprised me. If what is said about Osteen in this article is true, then I must say that I misjudged him and that I have much more respect for him as a man. Not necessarily as a pastor. But as a man.


3 posted on 03/22/2008 8:33:32 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Terriergal

Joel Osteen is the pastor of Lakewood Church, and his gift in ministry is encouragement. There are gifts that God gives, and they differ by person.
Yes, you are correct that an upright life isn’t a requirement to be a servant, because God will purge your life and make you a servant if willing.
Lastly, the bible says “in the last days men will say godliness is great gain, but I tell you godliness with contentment is great gain”. The prosperity doctrine has lost more christian because not everyone is going to be rich. When they buy into that lie, then they become discouraged when it doesn’t happen to them. God wants to bless us as we give, but we don’t give to get, because giving tithes and offerings are a part of doing the right thing.
Osteen has always told the truth biblically, but his gift is to appeal to those who need Jesus, and not those who already have him.


4 posted on 03/22/2008 8:36:51 AM PDT by Kackikat (.)
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To: Terriergal
I have never understood why people get so agitated if a pastor (lead elder) has financial means.
It is how they live their lives beyond that, thats a clue to their inner being and commitment to The Kingdom.
5 posted on 03/22/2008 8:38:23 AM PDT by svcw (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
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To: P-Marlowe

When you say “qualifications” to be a pastor (lead elder) what do you mean?


6 posted on 03/22/2008 8:39:58 AM PDT by svcw (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
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To: Terriergal
Here's my story. When Jim and Tammy Fay were arrested, my sister called me and said she couldn't believe it was happening to "such nice people."

My sister had worked at Heritage USA in one of the gift shops. She said she saw Tammy give a poor woman the $5,000 mink coat off her back. I asked my sister, where Tammy got the money for the coat. I said she took it from contributions from poor people on social security at $25 a month.

But in the words of Reverend Ike "God wants you to be rich and I'm setting the example."

7 posted on 03/22/2008 8:44:22 AM PDT by purpleraine
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To: Kackikat; Terriergal

“his gift in ministry is encouragement. There are gifts that God gives,”

You are exactly correct. Joel Osteen brings people to know and love God. I do not see where he deserves any critisism.


8 posted on 03/22/2008 8:44:39 AM PDT by FReepapalooza (Joshua 3:4 ..."for ye have not passed this way heretofore.")
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To: FReepapalooza

Me either. Joel Osteen teaches ppl WHO they are in Christ...


9 posted on 03/22/2008 8:46:05 AM PDT by JaneNC (I)
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To: Terriergal

Didn’t his wife throw one of those “don’t you know who I am?” tantrums on a plane a few years ago?


10 posted on 03/22/2008 8:49:06 AM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we write in marble. JHuett)
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To: svcw
When you say “qualifications” to be a pastor (lead elder) what do you mean?

I have noticed that Osteen preaches a watered down feel good gospel, which is a disservice to those who come to his church. He also appears to emphasize personal material reward for service to God rather than service to God on its own without consideration of whether you receive anything on earth in return.

When one sees what the Christians in African nations are enduring and know that their faith and service puts ours to shame (they are laying down their lives for Christ), the feel good messages of Joel Osteen fall flat. We ought not to worship God for what we can get out of it. We ought to Worship God for who God is and if God chooses to reward us for our service by giving us trials and tribulations rather than material comforts, then we ought to count it all joy. I don't think I've seen such a message from Joel. His emphasis appears to be on material blessings as a reward for service to God.

If you can prove me wrong, I'd appreciate it.

11 posted on 03/22/2008 8:52:17 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe

“He also appears to emphasize personal material reward for service to God rather than service to God on its own without consideration of whether you receive anything on earth in return.”

No he doesn’t. He even makes a point to say that the good we do while we are here may not bear fruit for us but will be a blessing to our children and grandchildren. What’s material about that?


12 posted on 03/22/2008 9:04:03 AM PDT by FReepapalooza (Joshua 3:4 ..."for ye have not passed this way heretofore.")
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To: FReepapalooza

Maybe I’m wrong.


13 posted on 03/22/2008 9:05:09 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Terriergal
I don't trust anyone who's career path entails getting wealthy shilling for God. Getting wealthy doing anything else...good for ya and thanks for contributing to the wealth of the nation. Somehow getting rich off God just seems to contradict the humble life Jesus led and the whole "I am the way, the truth and the life" thing He left us with.
14 posted on 03/22/2008 9:27:52 AM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("Preach the Gospel always, and when necessary use words". ~ St. Francis of Assisi)
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To: P-Marlowe
I do not really know much about Osteen but I can tell you I am sick to death of “feel good preaching”. Sometimes we are offended by the Word because we are sinners and just had a mirror reflect out true selves.
I am sick to death of churches that preach God is a genie for our desires.
15 posted on 03/22/2008 9:49:20 AM PDT by svcw (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
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To: svcw
I am sick to death of churches that preach God is a genie for our desires.

Don't watch TBN.

16 posted on 03/22/2008 9:54:05 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe

TBN is blocked on our TV.


17 posted on 03/22/2008 10:15:35 AM PDT by svcw (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
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To: Terriergal

I wonder how what Osteen’s wife owns


18 posted on 03/22/2008 10:19:07 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: svcw
I have never understood why people get so agitated if a pastor (lead elder) has financial means.

Because it is virtually impossible to tell what comes money comes from God and what money comes from Satan. It's the same color.

19 posted on 03/22/2008 10:20:30 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: svcw

Osteen’s message is more like Santa than God. “Your Best Life Now”???? Think about that one. You think this place is better then Heaven? If this is your best life, you are going to Hell.


20 posted on 03/22/2008 10:22:11 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: svcw

The Coral Ridge Hour is on TBN.


21 posted on 03/22/2008 10:28:03 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe

I do not know what that is.


22 posted on 03/22/2008 10:38:45 AM PDT by svcw (The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.)
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To: AppyPappy
Come on, all of you have not laid a glove on Joel. I watch him every Sunday Evening, and have not yet found one thing to complain about. You don't need a formal Religious Education to preach. Look at the Motley Crew Jesus gather around himself. I look at the number of people Joel has in attendance every Sunday, Rick Warren is also not taking a salary from his church.It would appear to me that the message these people deliver is what the public wants to hear. They want a message to help them get through another week , to help them meet the trials and tribulations of life, and someone to remind them that this life we lead is just for a very short time, and that we will spend eternity in a life beyond this one, and we should attempt to prepare for this next life. For you doubters, you should read Rick Warren's ( A Purpose driven Life)/ So don't be beating on Joel, or Rick, spend your time preparing for your next life.
23 posted on 03/22/2008 10:47:11 AM PDT by BooBoo1000 (Some times I wake up grumpy, other times I let her sleep/)
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To: Terriergal

Your on a roll today. You go girl!!!!!


24 posted on 03/22/2008 10:48:00 AM PDT by fkabuckeyesrule (I'm a happy man, I have a new battery for my remote control!!!)
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To: Terriergal
This article is strange. Osteen made $13M on one book alone and drives around in a 9-year old car? He hasn't taken a salary for 2 (count them) years (how much did he make from his books)? He doesn't fly around in "private" jets? How does he get around? Didn't his wife get thrown off a plane from first class? And while the article is entitled Osteen, Warren, and other Rich Preacher, its focus is on Osteen.

I don't begrudge ministers for making money. There is nothing in scripture that states pastors have to be poor. That being said, I hate to sound skeptical but there is something fishy in this article. While everything that is said in the article may be true, I suspect there is more to this story.

25 posted on 03/22/2008 1:08:50 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: P-Marlowe

There are several televangelists who preach the “Prosperity Gospel” that you are talking about, however Olsteen is much more conservative declaring what the Bible says about it which is in Malachi Ch 3:6-12.
I do not agree with the prosperity gospel, but I do believe in the universal laws God spoke into existence when he created the world. “You reap what you sow”, and if you sow tomato seeds, you get tomatoes. If you sow kindness you will reap kindess, and so on. So there is a law spoken into existence that brings a blessing down the road when you are a blessing. And that’s the points I have heard him make, although I don’t watch him regularly.


26 posted on 03/22/2008 4:24:49 PM PDT by Kackikat (.)
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To: AppyPappy

I have read the book, and its more about finding out how to make the most of your life while you are here, and finding your purpose so you will be happier. Some people are just plain negative and stubborn and refuse to enjoy life, and will never figure out why God placed them here. They are just too happy being a sourpuss.


27 posted on 03/22/2008 4:27:03 PM PDT by Kackikat (.)
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To: Kackikat

I like Joel Osteen. He does have the gift of encouragement and I have NEVER heard him ask for money.


28 posted on 03/23/2008 5:18:24 PM PDT by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: P-Marlowe

Vision posts Joel Osteen’s messages. I have found them to be very encouraging and I see very little, if any, emphasis on material things. Why don’t you ask her to send you some?


29 posted on 03/23/2008 5:20:40 PM PDT by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: big'ol_freeper

Osteen doesn’t push money or even talk about it. I’ve never heard him say one word about riches except those found in Christ.


30 posted on 03/23/2008 5:22:17 PM PDT by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: AppyPappy

Ever read the book? He’s talking about living your best life here on earth, Appy. Most of us don’t.


31 posted on 03/23/2008 5:23:14 PM PDT by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: Kackikat

When we give God the First Fruits of our lives, whether it’s in tithes or time, He blesses us. He has to, it’s one of his principles.


32 posted on 03/23/2008 5:25:08 PM PDT by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: Marysecretary

And how does he define his best life?


33 posted on 03/23/2008 6:45:52 PM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: AppyPappy

I’ve only read a couple of chapters so far, but from his programs, our best life is being close to God, to be positive instead of always negative about our situations, to give to others, to be an encourager, to love your family and treat eachother with love and respect. You know, all the good Godly stuff we should be doing instead of mumbling, complaining, expecting the worst in everything.


34 posted on 03/24/2008 7:20:38 AM PDT by Marysecretary (.GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL)
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To: Kackikat
There are several televangelists who preach the “Prosperity Gospel” that you are talking about, however Olsteen is much more conservative declaring what the Bible says about it which is in Malachi Ch 3:6-12.

I have heard sound clips of Osteen declaring that he gets first class upgrades on airplanes because God does this for him. I guess those clips were taken out of context like Rev. Wright's coments?

35 posted on 03/24/2008 9:11:49 AM PDT by Sans-Culotte
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To: Sans-Culotte

Hey, I get gifts and free stuff all the time because I believe in tithing and giving according to God’s word. So what’s your point? If you give regularly and tithe at church, then I am sure you are also being blessed but just don’t realize it.
To compare Osteen with Wright is like comparing daylight and darkness...silly. I think there are a lot of problems with certain types of preaching where money is concerned, and I think Wright’s Black Liberation Theology is just plain divisive and racist.
However I think God’s word is clear what he approves of and doesn’t, and I take my instruction from the Bible not a preacher. The KOOLAID drinkers got their eyes off Jesus and onto Jim Jones, and that’s why they ended up dead.


36 posted on 03/24/2008 11:47:08 AM PDT by Kackikat
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To: Terriergal

Reverend Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright drives a Porsche. I wonder what other finer things he has.


37 posted on 03/27/2008 2:57:41 PM PDT by magellan
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To: magellan

Check out his wrist. I’ll bet there’s a Rolex.


38 posted on 03/27/2008 2:58:38 PM PDT by CholeraJoe (Shallow narcissistic meaningless old perv!)
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To: magellan
Whoot! Dere it is!


39 posted on 03/27/2008 3:02:27 PM PDT by CholeraJoe (Shallow narcissistic meaningless old perv!)
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To: CholeraJoe
Check out Rev. GDA's new $1.6 million, 10,340 sq ft house:

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/03/27/obamas-former-pastor-builds-a-multimillion-dollar-retirement-home/

40 posted on 03/28/2008 7:40:56 PM PDT by magellan
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To: magellan
"Have you seen my property tax assessments, brothers and sisters? God damn America!"
41 posted on 03/28/2008 7:43:08 PM PDT by RichInOC (...William Frank Buckley, Jr., November 24, 1925-February 27, 2008, R.I.P.)
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To: RichInOC
"God Damn America!"

I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message.

42 posted on 03/28/2008 7:57:50 PM PDT by magellan
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To: magellan
Reverend Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright drives a Porsche. I wonder what other finer things he has.

Well I guess he's avoiding 'middle classness.'

43 posted on 03/29/2008 7:31:50 AM PDT by Terriergal ("I am ashamed that women are so simple To offer war where they should kneel for peace," Shakespeare)
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To: Terriergal
"Well I guess he's avoiding 'middle classness.'"

By bypassing it and going straight to upper classness.

44 posted on 03/29/2008 7:38:41 AM PDT by magellan
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To: magellan

yup!!


45 posted on 03/29/2008 8:28:14 AM PDT by Terriergal ("I am ashamed that women are so simple To offer war where they should kneel for peace," Shakespeare)
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