Originally published May 17, 2015
So last night I stumbled across a post on my friends Facebook page titled I’m Sorry Joel Osteen. You’ll probably want to follow the link and read the article for the rest of my post to make sense. I was a huge Joel Osteen fan for years and years prior to actually choosing to accept and follow Christ, and it’s amazing what a year of intense Bible study will do for your discernment and understanding of many of today’s so-called preachers. This post is fairly long, and I’m going to be starting a blog series expanding on these topics so I believe anyone wanting to grow in the area of discernment will greatly benefit from this and future posts.
I really don’t like being the person making negative or critical comments, but I have to say I feel that this article is total propaganda. I honestly have a hard time believing the person even actually attended a Lakewood service, instead it seems more like someone who is being paid to do a PR piece for Joel’s ministry. You’ll notice on the blog the author shut down the comments pretty fast after one discerning believer posted in attempt to call out the falsehood of the writing. Someone truly confident in their stand doesn’t get defensive and wouldn’t block an opposing view but welcome it. So feel free to comment your feedback here as well to this piece.
Now I have to preface this by first expressing that Joel Osteen and his ministry will always have a place in my heart, because the Lakewood environment softened me up to considering that maybe Christianity had more to offer than just fire and brimstone if you didn’t obey God. However after attending Lakewood for several years and watching the TV broadcasts for many more years I see now that Joel is more of an inspirational speaker than a true pastor of the Gospel and teacher of the Word of God. If I had spent as many years listening to someone actually teaching the word of God as I listened to Joel I might have surrendered my life to Christ’s Lordship 5-10 years earlier than I did, instead of just allowing Joel’s messages to cheer me up and allow me to live a life of un-repented sin.
I think that if the Apostle Paul were here he would give Lakewood members the same chastening about spiritual maturity that he gave in his epistle to the Hebrews.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. – Hebrews 5:12-14
I must say I find the writer’s claim of the moving altar call very interesting because I have never once seen Joel do this. He always closes his broadcast with a chance for people to make Jesus the Lord of their life, which is better than nothing, but I’ve never once seen a major display asking people to stand or come forward. So if that’s true that’s great that has happened.
What I find most entertaining about this article is the claim that she saw people healed! Exactly how to you witness this in a crowd of 30,000+ people? Did you see medical reports of the church attendees from this church you visited once before and after they got prayed for? No, of course you didn’t. So to make this claim is utterly preposterous.
Will you be warmly greeted if you attend Lakewood? Absolutely! Is the congregation full of incredible people? Yes! Are Joel and Victoria nice and sincere people? I believe so! Once I even waited in the line to get through Joel’s security to meet him and get an autograph, and he seemed as nice and genuine in person as he does on stage. However you can feel really great and get “warm fuzzies” in a good movie, a concert, or at a dinner table with family or friends too, that doesn’t mean it’s anything unique. And her pastor saying “the Holy Spirit was there….”, of course He was, the Holy Spirit is everywhere. God is omnipresent, that has nothing to do with the truth of the service.
The truth is that Joel does give messages that make you feel good, the problem is they don’t convict you of your sin, nor even mention the word. They also don’t stress repentance, one of the most critical and fundamental aspects of a healthy Christian life. And when you get a congregation of people who aren’t convicted of their sin and therefore repenting of their sin, laying their hands on other’s living in sin, there are some big problems. This gives legal right for any demonic influence to transfer from one party to the next. Yes, a true, born-again believer can have a demon or demons.
I think that Joel and Victoria are good people with good intentions, however they really need our prayers. They have forgotten that their duty as ministry leaders is to be equipping believers as disciples and giving them the tools they need to live a victorious Christian life, not just giving them a pep talk every week. Watch a clip of Rob Schneider’s “you can do it” blurbs from all his appearances in Adam Sandler movies and that is basically the same thing you get from watching Joel Osteen every week.
Joel needs to spend more time reading his Bible in preparation for his sermons and less time, scouring the internet for heartwarming jokes, articles and new age philosophies that he can disguise as the Gospel and dupe his millions of followers to believe. Anybody can use their own creativity to write a motivating message and cherry-pick random, out of context Bible verses to make it seem biblically accurate, but that doesn’t make it right. Satan knows the word of God too. Never forget that.
A preacher of the Gospel must address sin, repentance and the surrender and obedience to the will of God. God doesn’t want everyone to be rich and successful and prosperous. Why? Because God doesn’t want things to happen to his children that He knows will destroy them. And most people don’t have the spiritual maturity to stay grounded and become ultra successful, it’s just how it is. It doesn’t mean you can’t be a good Christian and be prosperous, it just means that a message like that is not something that can be blanketed over an audience of millions of people. God doesn’t give us what we want, He gives us what we need.
Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen’s ministry might be a good place to start if you are anti-religion, anti-christian like I was. It opened me up a little. However anyone who continues to use that as a source of sustenance is never going to grow and mature in your walk with Jesus.
As Paul says below, you should be ready to receive solid food, and not still surviving on milk.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
Bottom line, that sad truth is that a large number of pastors today preach happiness, not holiness. They are seeking to gain followers personally, not train disciples for Christ. I defended Joel Osteen like crazy to all the people who told me I should “be careful” at the beginning of my walk with the Lord. It just took about a year reading the Bible every day to realize they were right and I needed to move on if I wanted to grow and mature spiritually.
Someone really wanting to develop intimacy with Jesus needs to realize that real relationships do more than just give us a positive emotional response. A lot of time the things God want us to do are hard, and our emotions go berserk, Jesus plea in the Garden of Gethsemane to have his Father “take his cup from him” shows us this. When we move past seeking God simply to make us feel good, and truly wanting His Holy Spirit to fill us, overtake us and possess us to the deepest part of our being, then true spiritual progress can happen.
May God Bless You Always,
Below is a great documentary if you actually want to know the satanic roots of most of the messaging spread by Joel Osteen’s ministry.
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