Posted by: Drew Wilson | May 17, 2010

Why I choose to disagree with Joel Osteen on some key issues

*just to be 100000% clear this blog is my personal take on the issue and not a stance that KSWP/KAVX necessarily takes*

Well allrighty then, there’s been some big talk about Pastor Joel Osteen and me “judging” him recently. I think this is a great opportunity to take a deeper look at why I disagree with some of his teaching and what the bible says about “judging”. This will be part 1 i suppose. I’m sure you can guess by the title which issue we’re talking about in this one.

I considered making a video of my own, as to clearly define my position on how Joel Osteen has misrepresented truth through his preaching but I found a video from pastor Mark Driscoll that did a pretty good job of this.

Lets be very clear going into this: I do not hate Joel Osteen.  I believe he is a Christian. He is not wrong on everything. I do believe is very wrong on some big issues. I do not consider him someone who represents the word of God in a 100% honest way.

I think the strongest point made is the very last thing said here. If we believe that God only wants us to be happy, weathly, with good relationships, free from pain and stress…then how do we explain the fact that Christ followers deal with all those issues? Explain to me why God allowed his apostles to be killed for sharing the gospel. Did they receive “complete victory” in terms of health wealth and so on? (no) So how could someone come to the conclusion that’s what we should experience because of our relationship with God?

I believe the bible clearly teaches that God wants good things for us (matt 7:9-11) and there’s plenty of places to find that, but because of sin in this world we are all going to experience tough circumstances. Whether it be “tough love” and discipline from God or the seemingly unexplainable hardship its going to happen and its going to hurt. God loves you and here’s what he says about being picked on and going through tough times for him…

James 1:2-4

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

We grow and mature through tough times….so tell me, how can we grow like this verse says if God only wants us to be healthy, weathy and have good relationships?

As a parting gift, here’s another quick clip of Joel in an interview with Larry King. I gotta say I completely understand why Joel is not for making blanket condemnation of a group of people. As a preacher of God’s word though, lets not be ambiguous. In the matter of heaven/hell, the bible is crystal clear. Accept Jesus as savior or you will not be in heaven. Its not fun, its very sad but if he isn’t openly honest about the most fundamental truths how can we trust him to be completely honest about deeper issues?

We will pick up next time on what it means to judge others and what God says about that. Thanks for hanging in there on this absurdly long post. I love you guys!



  1. I watch Osteen regularly and have therefore become very familiar with a scripture that he uses often: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD deliveres him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19) I agree that Osteen teaches that God wants the best for us. To believe otherwise is to believe that it is God who brings disease, addiction, persecution, poverty, etc. on His believers. I agree with Osteen that it is not God who causes us to suffer, but it is our enemy (Satan) and sometimes ourselves who author our suffering.
    I have also heard Osteen quote Joseph in Genesis 50:20 on many, many occasions: What was meant for evil against me, God meant for my good. Osteen talks about how God can take your suffering and turn it around for your good. How he can give you “Joy for your ashes.”
    You may not agree with these scriptures as proof that God loves the Believer, and that God cares deeply for us, but I do and there are millions more — besides me — who do as well.

  2. Don’t forget Jody Rogers. He seems to have the same philsophy as Joel Olsteen.
    This statement is NOT being made from listening to his messages, but from the constant barrage of mail from his ministry.

  3. Hey Don,

    Thanks so much for sharing your input. Lets be very clear here. I completely agree with you. Of course I believe that God loves and cares deeply for us. How could a Christian not believe that? Jesus loved us so much he died for us, so that makes us pretty loved and pretty important to God.

    That being said, I believe He cares for me in much deeper ways than just wanting me to be fat, rich and happy. And because of sin, that perfect life he wants for me is only going to happen in heaven.

    So the whole point of this post is not trying to say that God doesn’t love us. If that’s the conclusion you honestly thought i was coming to then you have misinterpreted my thoughts and Mark Driscoll’s video. The conclusion is, if we say God’s love for us must equal us being rich and happy all the time with an easy life then we are setting ourselves up for a big disappointment.

    I believe that Joel knows the truth, but I also believe he twist that truth because he does not share the complete truth of the word of God. (when a preacher refuses to use the word “sin” or “sinner” while preaching, that blows my mind. How can you share God’s complete truth but at the same time choose to omit parts that are not fun to talk about)

    I mean seriously listen to that video of what Joel says… “Jesus died on the cross to…” and any believer I know would finish this sentence with …”forgive me of my sin”. But how does Joel finish that sentence?…answer- “to bring you complete victory”.

    Again I have nothing against Joel personally, It is not my goal or intent to cut him down or hurt him but I’m going with the blunt honest truth of the Bible over what any preacher says any day.

  4. Drew: Why do you characterize Osteen’s teaching as “God’s love for us must equal us being rich and happy all the time with an easy life?” As I mentioned, I watch Osteen often and I have never heard him teach that.
    In fact, this is why I think Mark Driscoll is so ineffective in his crusade against Osteen. Anyone who listens to Osteen regularly, never hears Osteen say the things that Driscoll claims Osteen says. For instance, there is not a single record (written or spoken) of Osteen claiming that “God wants us to be rich.” One can argue that Osteen has said that, but yet noone can produce any actual evidence.

    Finally, “Complete victory”… that is exactly what we received when Jesus rose from the dead. You and I (and Osteen) all agree that our sins are washed clean… but why do you stop there? I, and Osteen, see believers the way the Apostle Peter saw believers: “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God…” It doesn’t get any better than that! Once you get that concept, how can you not feel that you are living in Total and Complete Victory?
    Simply put, it’s a mindset. Some Christians have it, some don’t.

  5. Don:

    In the video i posted he does not say that he believe God wants us to be rich. That is true. But he does say that being in poverty is not “complete victory”. I would dare say that Jesus lived in poverty, his apostles lived in poverty so would you say they did not have completely victory? Of course not, they followed the path that God had for them and that included poverty, rejection and death. That doesn’t sound like the “complete victory” Osteen is talking about to me. To me the complete victory happens when Christ returns and sin, death and satan are destroyed.

    In the video i posted, the Osteen part starts with this quote:

    “because of the price He paid, we have the right to live in total victory” He then goes on to explain total victory as being in good health, not being in poverty, not having any strained relationships…etc. I don’t think i’m reading too much into this when i say it sounds like he is saying that having a problem free life is God’s plan for all of us. And I don’t think that is biblical.

    Once again, I do not believe that Osteen is wrong on everything. I do believe he leaves out truth that is unpopular.

  6. I don’t know Jody Rogers, but on the topic of mass mail….I got this “prayer rug” one time in the mail. It was a piece of paper that was printed like a rug and the letter said that if I prayed on this rug that God would give me what i asked for. And it had all these testimonies of people who said that they prayed on the rug and God gave them this that and the I was completely stunned. I have no clue how people who produce those things can sleep at night.

  7. Drew: Now, I am guilty of that which I subscribe to others. I didn’t watch the video (oooops!). Did Christ live in poverty? He supported his ministry and at least 12 others besides himself. He paid taxes for himself and his group (yes… ONCE he got the coin from a fish, but his ministry lasted 3+ years and he paid his taxes more than once.) For a man that lived in poverty, he had a treasurer (Judas). What was that about? He was also friends with Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha with whom he apparently lodged frequently. (It is noteworthy that he chose this rich guy to resurrect from the dead in front of everyone.) That’s a sermon isn’t it?… “Rich guys can be resurrected too!”
    When I look at Jesus, I consider Him to be God on this earth. Therefore, I can see God’s heart toward us. Jesus had great compassion for us and he spent His entire ministry making life better for everyone who asked. Jesus healed them all! The only time he didn’t heal was when they didn’t believe.
    So Drew, you can believe that GOd wants the best for you or you can believe that he delights in our suffering. It’s up to you.

  8. Hey Don:
    Lets put some of this conversation on hold and focus on one part: You seem to imply we have two choices. 1-God wants the best for us. 2. God loves for us to suffer.

    My viewpoint is: God loves us. He wants the best for us but while we are living in a sinful world we will deal with difficulty and we should use it to grow closer to him.

    John 15:20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

    God is not saying he’s delighted when we are persecuted, but if we stand for the truth we will face opposition and difficulty and perhaps rejection and death. That doesn’t mean for one second that God doesn’t love us. He gave his son to die and suffer and I don’t think there is any kind of argument that God delighted in the suffering of his son. But he knew it was necessary and he loved us enough to make that sacrifice.

    We are victorious in Christ, no doubt. But that victory does not mean a difficulty free life on this earth.

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