Just How Bad Is Joel Osteen?

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by Jared, Nov 30, 2011.

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  1. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    Just how bad is Joel Osteen?

    I don't care for Osteen. I think he waters down the Gospel. But, just how bad is he? I ask because it seems like there is some disagreement even among conservative evagelical Reformed-thinking people.

    Michael Horton seems to think that Osteen is a false teacher. John Frame seems to disagree with that. Frame has been noted as asking concerning Osteen "Is he really that bad?"

    Also, Mark Driscoll has a video on YouTube where he critiques Osteen, but even at that, Driscoll stops short of saying that Osteen is a heretic. In fact, Driscoll says that he considers Osteen to be a brother in Christ.

    I find Osteen's statements concerning Mormonism very disconcerting.

    What are some categories that we should consider when thinking about people like Osteen who teach false doctrine? Aren't all preachers preaching and teaching some mixture of truth and error? How much error is too much?

    J.I. Packer's definition of a heretic is someone who doesn't preach repentance. I think that fits Joel Osteen. But, Osteen would see it differently I think. He would probably say that he is always telling people they need to change, therefore he is always preaching repentance when he tells people to "become a better you". But Michael Horton would point out (rightly I think) that because Osteen doesn't preach enough of the biblical Gospel, he is not preaching biblical repentance. He is simply moralizing. People need to understand that the motivation for living a godly life should be the grace that comes to us through the Gospel. They don't get that from Osteen.

    In my opinion, Frame is off when it comes to Osteen. Even the pastor of the Pentecostal church that I grew up in realized that Joel Osteen was a false teacher.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

  3. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    It is troubling enough that Osteen is "word of faith" lite in his theology, but his statements about Mormonism show either a woeful ignorance of Mormonism or a woeful ignorance of the gospel.
  4. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
    For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:6-10 ESV)

    He perverts the gospel of grace into one of health, wealth, and prosperity and seeks the approval of man. I think the words of Paul speak clearly enough.
  5. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    A word of advice, unless you want someone who defends the Bible well, don't look to John Frame as a good example of Reformed Theology. The more I read him, the more I like him as a person, but the clearer it becomes he is not reformed in any Historical sense. Worse can be said for Driscoll.

    As for my thoughts on Osteen, it is not my opinion to judge if he's regenerate or not, but if he was a pastor in the same denomination as I, I would write synod or presbytery to take away his preaching rights. I question his biblical and theological knowledge. He dropped out of Oral Robert's University. My opinion is that this is why a theological degree ought to be made mandated before ordination. He seems to be nice, really sincere guy, but has done more to hurt the Biblical Gospel than anyone else in the 20th and 21st century.
  6. ericfromcowtown

    ericfromcowtown Puritan Board Sophomore

  7. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with about 90% of that. I think he goes too far in a couple of places. I don't think Joel is intentionally deceiving people.

    But I would rather listen to MacArthur than Osteen any day.

    I do agree however that the deception of the health/wealth Gospel is demonic.
  8. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    I watch him on a regular basis.
    I truly believe a lot of the false teachers on TBN know they are wrong and are doing it just to get money. The difference with him is that I believe he is sincere and still does it to get money.If that makes him better or not you be the judge
  9. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    I suppose your question is asking several things, such as what is heresy, what is serious error, what are the moral character requirements for church office, what are the duties of Christian charity.

    My understanding of heresy is that it is a specific, extreme word that fits specific circumstance. It is not to be overused and thereby devalued of meaning. Nor in such a way as to unduly divide God's people when there are legitimate biblical differences of interpretation.

    To date, I have not found a definition of heresy that is satisfactory, but this is all

    two cents worth.

    This individual starts with

    Arminian influence + dispensationalism + no confession

    and adds

    a "low" view of the church + a "low view of the sacraments.

    That often is characteristic of "broadly evangelical" teaching which is somewhere between biblical error and serious biblical error, but still charitably Christian.

    Then one gets into the notion of ordinary special revelation coming in extra biblical manner (standard "charismatic/pentecostal" theology as we use those terms in this generation).

    That adds opening for serious error.

    Then add "prosperity gospel" and "positive confession" and one is getting further into not only serious biblical error but also the moral character and qualifications for one to be any sort of officer in Christ's church.

    Then one adds an opulent lifestyle made apparently from such teaching-
    and one is getting to the core of any sort of moral authority to be recognized by God's people.

    Then add stray ideas that false religions are equal to Christianity, imposing the kind of dietary restrictions that the New Testament reveals specifically do not apply to God's people.

    Finally, add a "cult of personality," as a form of idolatry with a "church" centered around the person and his work, rather than the person and work of Jesus Christ.

    Not much left to be charitable about as to presuming their spiritual condition.

    Absolutely none left for presuming moral authority to teach, disciple God's people.
  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    If Horton says "black" then Frame says "white." It seems that it's just about gotten that bad. Frame has been defending broad evangelicals for years vs. perceived unfair attacks on them by confessional Reformed people, especially his former colleagues at WSCAL.

    Bob L. Ross (Pilgrim Publications) also acquitted Osteen some time ago based on a report he heard from a friend about an Osteen service. (It's on one of his blogs, either "Calvinist Flyswatter" or "Reformed Flyswatter.") He's Calvinistic, although perhaps not in what some would consider to be a conventional sense. (He calls himself a "Creedal Calvinist" but I've never been quite sure what he means by that with the exception of his dissenting from regeneration preceding faith in the way that some articulate that idea. If I recall correctly he thinks that it happens simultaneously.) If Founders or James White say "white" he says "black," with this perhaps being the most glaring example. But all thank him for putting the Passmore & Alabaster set of Spurgeon's Sermons back into print in the 70's.

    When Anne Rice left the RC Church over gay rights, etc. a year or two ago, Driscoll said that Anne Rice was a "baby Christian," apparently merely on the account of her returning to the Catholicism of her youth. But then he'll turn around and make statements that fundamentalism is the other side of the coin from liberalism, perhaps leaving the impression with some, perhaps especially the uninitiated, that fundys (which he never really defined in the message I saw but which might even include some on this board) are going to hell.
  11. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Joel Osteen's qualifications for being senior pastor: His dad died, so he gave up being cameraman and AV technician and started preaching. :think: Yep, he just took over the family business, Word of Faith heresies included. He just doesn't hammer some of the lying symptoms and little gods stuff. He hammers the positive confession and prosperity stuff. Aw shucks, he makes people feel so good.........in a chauffeur driven limo headed for hell, on a smooth, wide highway.
  12. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    Couldn't have said it better Rich. Osteen doesn't preach the whole Gospel message as many prosperity preachers do the same. Sadly I hear so many Baptists today say he is OK by them. And even worse most of them like his preaching. The recognition Osteen gets as a good preacher is an indictment against Christianity, it only goes to show how shallow we are theologically. I really cringe when I hear someone gloat about him or even say. "I was watching Joel". There is little discernment in the church today.
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Some of Osteens delivery and mannerisms are somewhat reminiscent of Charles Stanley's. But compared to Osteen, Stanley is like Spurgeon.

    A lot of people just like listening to what they'd consider to be well delivered sermons and lack discernment to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. One Calvinistic brother told me that he preaches regularly in nursing homes. He'll go in one week and people will tell him how good his sermon/teaching was. But then they'll tell him that Bro. Jones preached last Wed. and was great too, with Bro. Jones being a pentecostal or whatever.
  14. Eric

    Eric Puritan Board Freshman

  15. Mediaeval

    Mediaeval Puritan Board Freshman

    Considering that he couldn't give a straight answer to "Is Jesus the only way to heaven?" I'm pretty sure he really is that bad.
  16. Douglas P.

    Douglas P. Puritan Board Freshman

    I love what MacArthur says @ 0:40 regarding Osteen's book Your Best Life Now "and that ought to be a dead give away, since the only way this could be your best life is if you are going to hell".

    That made me laugh.
  17. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    If he knows certain truths about the Bible (i.e. regarding sin and hell) but chooses to teach a fuzzy 'me'-centric Christianity, he is deceiving people. If he is avoiding the hard messages of Scripture intentionally, then he is intentionally deceiving people; whether or not he would say, "Ha! I'm intentionally deceiving them!" is irrelevent.

    ---------- Post added at 03:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:58 PM ----------

    By the way, did you all hear that Joel Osteen is going to have a new reality tv show?! Google it if you're curious about it.
  18. O'GodHowGreatThouArt

    O'GodHowGreatThouArt Puritan Board Sophomore

    It's more sickening than laughable brother. I still cannot believe that Christianity has gotten to such a position in this country that things like this have to be said. I mean, it's one thing to deal with Modalism, since it can be partially defended (albeit wrongly) with Scripture. But its another thing to boast in theology that cannot be defended Scripturally without tearing it out of context so severely even the Atheists will notice.

    Pastors should be telling their congregations that they're dead without Christ. Instead, many are telling them that they can perform CPR on themselves, or even worse, are alive from the very start.

    Barring a revival from God, I do not foresee freedom of religion still being around on the day I die. We're moving rapidly towards persecution (and it's already coming from our own government), and generally, few are actually doing something about it. Many of them will be the first to deny when they are threatened bodily harm.
  19. baron

    baron Puritan Board Graduate

    I think he is bad, but who am I?

    I also saw on the news today that the largest church and it's pastor (Joel) will be getting their own reality show.
  20. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    Has any good Reformed minister ever tried speaking to Mr. Osteen to convince him of his errors? Or is there some reason that such would not bother with Mr. Osteen? Just curious because I've often wondered that about other influential false teachers.
  21. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    What's it called, "Deceived and lovin' it" ?
  22. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint Puritan Board Sophomore

    It's funny someone stated Charles Staney was similar to Osteen. I was listening to Stanley this weekend and his sermon sounded like what Osteen would preach. It was the Moral theraputic Diesm that Dr Horton speaks of. I was also searching the radio today and came across Joyce Meyer (yuk) and they all sound very similar with different delivery styles. It is all man centered junk. I wish I had a dollar everytime they said me, my, mine, or I instead of God. I do admit Stanley is far above the other two theologically but it seems he too is selling a theraputic God who fills all our every needs. Listening to Paul Washer a few months ago, he stated these preachers need to take a full year and fully study the attrubutes of God and then see if they still preach such a self centered false gospel. Of course the answer is that if Ostenn and all other prosperity preachers preached to give glory alone to God they wouldn't have the following they do.
  23. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    I think it's a two-way street.

    Some Reformed people may think that it's beneath them to talk to people like that.

    And, some WoF teachers wouldn't have anything to do with a Reformed preachrr because they would fear that they would feel obligated to submit to cessationism, RPW, etc.

    That's why IMO, someone like John Zpiper is more effective at reaching out to Charismatics than John MacArthuris. I don'tthink I would believe the doctrines of grace if it wasn't for Piper.

    Piper preaches against the prosperity gospel but he doesn't usually name names like MacArthur does.
  24. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    ^That is a shame if true. =(
  25. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

  26. rookie

    rookie Puritan Board Sophomore

    Personally, what I have found of Joel Osteen, is that he is a phenomenal motivational speaker. If he would just get rid of Christ on his church, and the choir, I would have no issue with him. But he's trying to bring in motivational speaking, with the gospel. They don't go hand in hand, they go against each other.

    And when he was on Larry King Live, when Larry asked him if he had the truth, Joel couldn't make a stand and say yes, Christ is the truth, he just replied back with "I am not going to judge anyone, I'll leave that up to god".

    I didn't want to put a "G" for God since he doesn't worship the same one Christians do.
    The only difference is between him and the other prosperity gospel preachers (Copeland, Meyer, Dollar, Jakes and the rest) is that he's not an in your face kind of preacher. But his message is no different.
  27. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Let's be careful though--Charles Stanley preaches the Gospel while Osteen does not. They are categorically different. I don't agree with the man on a number of things, but he preaches on sin, hell, repentance, sanctification, etc. He is a brother as far as one can tell by his life and teaching, but I will not say the same about Osteen.
  28. NB3K

    NB3K Puritan Board Sophomore

    Osteen is a false teacher. He makes Scripture yield to his message rather making his message yield to Scripture.

    Look on his webpage. They have a section entitled, "Did you say that prayer?" It is sickening. He is the modern day Finney.
  29. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    I wanted to say a couple of things at this point.

    First of all, someone mentioned Osteen being WoF-lite. I have used that term before to refer to people like him and Joyce Meyer, Joseph Prince, and Brian Houston (the pastor of Hillsong church in Sydney, Australia).

    To be fair though, I think you could say the same of Rick Warren, Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, and Andy Stanley, all of whom are (as far as I can tell) soteriologically Reformed.

    I think there is a vast difference though between the former and the latter. The former, for instance, all preach the prosperity gospel while the latter do not.

    Also, for what it's worth, after having listened to numerous sermons from Joel Osteen, I honestly think he has a more biblical view of providence than Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar.

    Don't get me wrong, he's still a heretic, but he doesn't say, like Copeland and Dollar, that God doesn't allow bad things to happen.

    Also, I might add that although Copeland and Dollar are also heretics, they are not afraid to mention sin, hell, and the wrath of God like Osteen is.

    ---------- Post added at 12:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:39 PM ----------

    BTW: When I say that Osteen has a more biblical view of providence than many of his cohorts, I do realize that he flip-flops between having a high view of the sovereignty of God on the one hand and having a high view of the sovereignty of man on the other hand. He talks out of both sides of his mouth.
  30. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    Again, the fact that he sees no problem with Mormonism and its false gospel is extremely troubling. In one sense it's more troubling than the prosperity teaching he propagates.

    BTW, the Paul Washer video is EXCELLENT!
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