Skip to comments.On judging Joel Osteen (Is it judgmental to call Osteen 'insufferable'?)
Posted on 10/31/2011 10:27:17 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
It turns out that criticizing Joel Osteen ruffles feathers. Perhaps this shouldn't surprise. His congregation is more than forty-thousand strong, his sermons air worldwide, and his book sales are stratospheric. He's got more than a few fans available to take offense at someone holding his feet to the fire.
In response to my piece Friday, “The insufferable Joel Osteen,” several people said that I was “judging” Osteen, which is a considerable no-no. I was told I should be ashamed and that I should apologize.
But not so fast.
Is saying that a man is wrong “judging” him? “Judge not, that you be not judged,” said Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 7.1). But was the Lord saying that we should suspend our critical faculties? Was he saying that we should not correct others, an action that necessitates judging whether something is right or wrong? I don’t see how that’s possible since Paul directly tells Timothy to “[R]eprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching” (2 Tim. 4.2). It’s safe to say that Christ and his foremost apostle are singing from the same hymnal. Perhaps this all a bit more nuanced than not voicing a negative opinion about what another Christian says.
Importantly, I was not judging Osteen in the sense of identifying and condemning him for his sins, let alone calling his salvation into question. I was identifying an egregious theological error (equating Mormonism and Christian belief) and saying that he was not fit for his current job, points that are at least arguable if not self-evident. Since Paul clearly tells us that a minister of the gospel needs to have his doctrinal ducks in a row, this error seems like a big deal.
“He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke [there's that word again] those who contradict it” (Tit. 1.9).
Osteen flunks the test. He said that Mormons believe the same “core” teachings that Christians do. By any reading of their doctrinal statements or history, they clearly do not. Mormons follow another faith altogether at best or are at worst a new spin on the ancient heresy of Arianism (teaching that Jesus is a created being, something that Mormons confess). For Osteen to get this wrong is to be either negligent or ignorant — neither of which are okay for a man in his position.
Rebuking Osteen for making such an error is hardly an error unto itself. Is he not responsible for his pronouncements, accountable for what he says? Equating Mormonism and orthodox Christianity is wrong and reproachful. He deserves to have people call him on it.
If this were any other area of life, you can be sure we’d apply a different standard. Had Osteen, for example, suggested that taxes be increased (or lowered), that Occupy Wall Street protesters are justified (or not), or that Steve Jobs was the greatest (or most overrated) innovator of the last century, hackles and howls would rise from one quarter or another — and no one would suggest it was wrong to criticize him for his utterances, let alone say that the critic was in sin.
Yet we are to believe that if his statements are religious, then they are untouchable? That can’t be right. Given the gravity of theological or doctrinal statements, shouldn’t they be more seriously, critically, heavily scrutinized? Of course. As John says in his first letter, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4.1). Is testing judging? In a sense, but apparently not in the sense Jesus forbids because John here commands it. So we test the spirits. And what do we do with spirits that don’t pass the test? We call them out and reject them.
Directly following his directions to rebuke and reprove, Paul tells Timothy this: “[T]he 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, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Tim. 4.3-4).
At the risk of incurring further wrath, let me say what is increasingly obvious to me: Osteen sounds conspicuously like one of these teachers. When I hear Joel Osteen, I don’t hear the gospel. I hear American materialism and shallow self-actualization dressed up like the gospel. I could be wrong, and God forgive me if I am, but that’s how I see it.
At the very least he is ill-equipped to serve and speak as he does. And saying as much is not shameful, nor does it deserve an apology.
I won’t call his salvation into question, just whether or not he is really preaching the gospel, or just what his “flock” wants to hear.
another “Christian” envious of the osteen family success.
Great posting. Well said.
I'm sure he's got a lot of overhead to take care of, and if his congregation starts to thin out, he and his beautiful wife will be broke.
Osteen is a modern day prophet. The kind that hung around the court of the Northern king and told him how great he was, how with the Lord he was.
Agreed. We have no idea if this man is being rescued by Christ, or not. What we can tell is that he teaches an insipid, unbiblical spirituality that has little resemblance to the message delivered by Paul. This may explain why 40K go hear Osteen and most towns arrested/stoned Paul.
Joel is not teaching the gospel or the Bible. He is teaching humanism. Not sure exactly what spirits are influencing him, but the message is not pure. “Insufferable” characterizes him as far as I am concerned.
A success not unlike that of the Borgia family?
Osteen is the Werner Erhard of post-modern Christianity.
RE: Osteen is the Werner Erhard of post-modern Christianity.
For those who don’t know him:
Werner Hans Erhard (born John Paul Rosenberg, 5 September 1935) is an author of transformational models and applications for individuals, groups, and organizations.
He is currently writing about integrity, performance and leadership and has lectured at (among others) Harvard, Yale, USC, the University of Rochester and Rotterdam School of Management.
I have no problem with Joel Osteen. I see him more as a motivational speaker than anything else. The people I have a problem with are frauds like Rod Parsley. His broadcasts aren’t sermons - they’re infomercials. According to Parsley, God wants to bless me, but can’t do it until my check clears first.
“Joel is not teaching the gospel or the Bible.”
I wonder if Joel Osteen ever read Ephesians, in particular Ephesians 2:8-9 and Ephesians 3:28.
Jesus said that we should not judge what any person’s final fate will be. But He also said, according to Paul, that when a fellow Christian starts spreading obvious errors, the first thing you shoul do is quietly correct him. And then publicly correct him or even throw him out of the Church if he refuses to amend his errors.
To say that Mormons are Christians like everyone else simply is not true. It contradicts several Mormon teachings, including most importantly the teaching that Jesus is only another human being. No divinity for Jesus, no Trinity for God.
That is not to say that Mormons do not have a right to believe what they like, but rather to say that it is NOT Christian according to the normal sense of the word.
Radical Islam, for one, has produced nothing but poverty and violence for its followers.
Rev. Wright and Obama, his chief protegee, has produced a dangerous form of racism and anti-Americanism.
The Calvinist extremists produced mass executions of Catholics and the Salem witch trials.
The Catholics who couldn't separate their religion and political power produced the reign of bloody Mary in England and the Spanish inquisition.
Their character shaped by the Calvinist persecutions, they later gave us the armies who beat back the Muslim hordes at the gates of Vienna and the Muslim navies off the coast of Lepanto.
The Catholics who gave us Pope John Paul II played a major role in bringing down the iron curtain.
Mormons have given us the most conservative voting religious demographic in America.
Osteen, at the very least, has given us a number of self-improvement best sellers including one which one of his readers successfully used to convince a murderer to give up peacefully.
Meanwhile, those who scream the loudest about cults, have done nothing but divide the faith communities with their Taliban brand of Christianity to such an extent that most mainline Protestant denominations have gone the way of the ELCA in supporting liberal political causes such as gay marriage and colonization of America with third world people with third world values contrary to the principles of freedom and responsibility on which this nation was founded.
Success at what?
No, they won’t be broke. They have probably stashed plenty away because even they know you can carry on a scam only so long. Even Jimmy Swaggart and James Bakker came back from the dead lands though maybe a little singed but still, they are back.
The Osteens are a business model in the Houston area for several congregations and I’ll be switched if I can figure out what the draw is. Mostly entertainment I think. Osteen learned from his daddy really well and took it to a much higher level. The Shook brothers have done so well I think the are about to franchise. The Woodlands, Texas is a profitable area full of do-gooders or wannabes.
I guess one can justify just about anything in the name of God, it has all been tried one time or another.
Every tub has to sit on its own bottom and everybody is going to have to answer for what they have done some time or another whether it is to the law or a Higher Power.
We have the power of discernment and are obligated to use it. If that is judgement, I be the judge.
That's how I see it, too.
Exactly. It’s amazing how these folks can get away with saying that God wants us to be prosperous, when Christ himself had “no place to lay his head.” Guess he just wasn’t spiritual enough, huh?
Green-eyed jealousy dressed in regal robes of self-righteousness.
SOME PEOPLE can’t stand to see someone actually LIVING out the promises of the Word.
John 10:10b I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
Psa 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.
Pro 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Whenever I “hear” someone like this bad-mouthing a Christian for being prosperous and happy, I always conclude that the accusing person is NOT a tither, or if they ever did tithe, they did it grudgingly and not out of love and gratitude to God.
2nd Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
2nd Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
But the bottom line is: If you can’t stand to watch or listen to a happy prosperous Christian, DON’T WATCH IT!
This person would REALLY have had problems with Abraham, and Lot, and Isaac and Job, and R.G. LeTourneau and Stanley Tam, et al. The patriarchs, in today’s dollars, would make Joel look like a pauper.....except for his Joy in the Lord.
Prophets often died because they dared to preach the Gospel. If you can't love people enough to preach the Truth because you don't want to offend, then maybe you weren't called to preach. Allowing Mormons to die and spend eternity in hell because we didn't want to offend, puts their blood on our hands. Whether Romney is president or not has nothing to do with whether he follows a cult. It should say something about his discernment however.
If he has had trouble deciding that a baby is a human, or homosexuality is a sin, then why would anyone trust his judgement on tax policy or war in the ME. If one believes the Bible, then hearing the beliefs of Mormonism should be painful if you trust apostles that knew Jesus over someone in the 1800's telling a tall tale. If you preach Jesus' virgin birth, sinless life, sacrifice on the cross, death and resurrection, rising to the Right Hand of God to become King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then the other discrepancies can be argued over without a break from the covenant. How a religion treats Jesus is always the measure of Truth and Mormonism falls short just as Islam does.
If Osteen truly was called to preach the Gospel and allows known error in his church, then the punishment will be double on him. If you can't stand up to the world and preach Jesus and only Jesus, then you can't stand against the Antichrist and will take the mark to save your life. The spirit of Antichrist has been around since Jesus, and to preach anything but Jesus is to take part in that. To try to introduce grey areas is to rebel against Christ and blaspheme Him. Joseph Smith is that doctrine as much as Mohammedanism.
By supporting Harry Reid and the Rino Romney - right.
They're not the standard though. The standard is Christ, who humbled himself and became as a servant. He had no outward riches in his life on Earth. We are not to seek after riches, but rather to seek to emulate Christ, if God desires to grant us prosperity fine, but it should not be the overriding goal of our lives. If we "worship" God because we think he will then be obligated to give us something in return, we are fooling ourselves.
LOL. Forgive me. Your correct observation is just so ironic, I couldn't help it. Where in the world did this doctrine of demons (health & wealth) come from? How does it persist?
Joel Osteen is SO VERY “of this world”. No wonder he gets so much love from lost souls.
Straight from the pit I would wager.
How does it persist?
Because adherents have the wrong perspective of God.
Tragic, but true.
Judgemental people are the worst.
< donning flame suit >
I watch Joel Osteen every Sunday morning at 8am before heading out to church with my family.
As a Christian, I see Joel as a great messenger to open someone’s heart to Christ. Not one unsaved person I know wants to be a “miserable, poor and unhappy Christian”. Joel shows that you can be a happy and prosperous Christian as long as you give God all of the credit.
Joel Osteen closes every show with an alter call and instructions to join a Bible-based church. If he has saved souls with his method, then I don’t see how any Christian can find fault with it.
God uses everyone and everything to His purpose and we will not always understand with His Way of doing things - but we know that it is the right way.
To the ones on this thread criticising Joel, I ask that you tune in on Sunday morning and actually watch before jumping on the “beat the guy on our team” bandwagon.
Once Mr Osteen’s message is measured against the Bible then it is easy to see that he is in error and the popularity of his message is rooted in the “tickling of ears” and not the Gospel.
If he has saved them then they ain't saved!
Preach that to those who turn to Christ in the moslem countries and China and see how far that gets you.
there is no ephesians 3:28.
You’re right, there is no Ephesians 3:28. My bad, flawed creature that I am! I meant Romans.
Interesting that you chose Haiti as a rebuttal example, but now that you did; all I care to say on it is that if they forsook VOODOO, and trusted The Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior....and then began to tithe WHATEVER THEY HAVE, be it gold bars or seashells, God would be as good as His Word, and would bless them. And if, as the blessings increased, their tithes increased, there would be NO LIMIT to what could come their way. God has given His Word and He will NOT go back on it! Lest you think there may be a small chance that God might not honor His Word......
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
In closing May I stress the fact that The United States of America is the richest place on Earth, to paraphrase what you said, BECAUSE it was FOUNDED upon the principles of The Word of God, and has been especially blessed BECAUSE of that fact.
And lest you may have bought into the lie that The Founders intended there to be “separation of church and state” I can knock THAT idea into a cocked hat with one fact. In the early days of Washington, DC there were regular WORSHIP SERVICES held in the Capitol Building for many years.
When Thomas Jefferson was POTUS, he attended services there faithfully! If you would make the effort to do a little digging, you would discover that for the first 100+ years of this Nation our government, our founding documents, our Presidential declarations....EVERYTHING in Washington, DC was SATURATED with refernces and reverance toward God. All the great early monuments in DC contain multiple Scripture references, and appeals to God for His blessings upon our Nation; including the likeness of Moses, and the Ten Commandments prominently displayed in the SCOTUS building.
The recent slide of our Nation and people into financial ruin and moral rot, can be DIRECTLY traced to our willful rejection of our former reverence toward God, and our rush headlong into a cult religion of DEATH, with the most “holy” sacrament being the slaughter of innocent babies upon the altar of ABORTION!
God will once more bless America when America once more blesses God.
2nd Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Your rebuttal MIGHT hold a little water if it had been MAN who pestered God and wheedled and whined until God relented and gave in and said, “Oh, okay! I’ll bless you a little bit, once in a while; but you must crawl on your hands and knees for 40 miles over broken glass to prove your sincerety before I’ll do it!”
NO! It was God’s idea! He brought it up! He gave us Psalms 68:19 “Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits; even the God of our Salvation.”
And Proverbs 10:22 “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.”
And Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.”
And 3rd John 1:2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
Regarding Christ’s poverty; That apparently was part of the plan. And it was apparently FOR OUR SAKES!
2nd Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
I know one thing for sure. I know that when I face my Creator, He will not scold me FOR BELIEVING HIS WORD TOO MUCH!
You either believe every promise in the Scriptures or you call God a liar! You either believe OR YOU DON’T.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Health and wealth or name it and claim it are new doctrines...where are the examples in the New Testament Churches. Are the modern day Christian martyrs at fault for the fate that befalls them?
Osteen lacks either backbone or discernment, maybe both!
Wow. Just wow. As if you had any authority as to what goes on in people's hearts when they ask Jesus to become their Lord and Saviour. Or even when and how God chooses to call them to Him. I wouldn't dare question how God does things, but hey...if that's your view of our Lord..what can I say besides, good luck with that.
No wonder some folks want nothing to do with Christians. Sheesh.
Good grief. I guess then all Christians should cover themselves in sackclothes and sit in ashes until He returns?
I can see how folks will come running to Jesus with that sales pitch!
Come on, get saved and you can be miserable too!
I don’t get why some Christians think having joy and happiness in their lives is somehow offensive to God.
Of course we pray and feel sorrow for our brothers and sisters in countries where they are persecuted, but should I not ever eat again because somewhere out there a Christian is starving?
Fasting may prove helpful to your soul RMD. The point that went over your head is that 'ministers' such as Osteen preach that Christianity is all pink bunnies and unicorns - peace, material prosperity and God just hands out whatever you want. Material wealth provides one with joy and happiness - along with positive mental thinking.
Jesus said take up your cross and follow me.
Jesus said the rich will find it very hard to enter heaven
Jesus never preached pop western materialism - he taught that a Christian's entire focus should be on Him and him alone and that anyone who gets his focus off him and onto the world would be in danger.
Only a life focused on Jesus will provide real joy. Material things here will only rust and be stolen - so don't store up treasures on earth.
If you think you have to 'sell' Jesus so you can get 'things' and worldly happiness - you are pitching the wrong Jesus.
And given the sorry spiritual state our nation is in right now - a good dose of sackcloth and ashes may be in order as well.
Your choices of scripture reinforce my point.
Worldly treasures should not be our goal in serving Christ, "for where your treasure is there your heart will be also" Luke 12:34 and Matt 6:21.
Here is another promise for you, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." John 16:33. How many of you will "name and claim" that one?
So that is the justification for using the world's methods to "draw in" more believers?
Guess God has fallen down on the job. After all Christ did say that "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."
How many "true believers" became that way through the promise of earthly wealth, or popularity? I find both the motives and the motivations specious.