I have my personal view of Joel and Victoria Osteen, but I wanted to know more after Victoria's recent gaff from the pulpit.
She said what she meant and and meant what she said -- but now she is trying to walk it back and it's not working. Her recent statement taken by itself may not bother some people, but when you look at the broader message from Victoria Osteen and Joel Osteen, co-pastors of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Christians see a real problem. She said:
“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God we’re not doing it for God — I mean that’s one way to look at it,” she said from the pulpit. “We’re doing it for yourself, because God takes pleasure when were happy. That’s the thing that gives him the greatest joy this morning … just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy.”
She added, “When you come to church when you worship him, you’re not doing it for God, really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy.” (The Blaze)
Faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is missing from the Osteen ministry. Also missing is any mention of sin, conviction, repentance, salvation. We attend church to worship God, to be convicted of our sin, to study God's Word, to learn how to be saved by the gift of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Church is the place we get fed, equipped and prepared to go out into the world and share the good news of Jesus Christ with the lost.
Yes, God wants us to be happy, he wants us to have the things we need, he blesses us so that we have the means to help others. What gives God the greatest joy is not doing good for our own self as Victoria Osteen said -- what gives God the greatest joy is seeing people accept Jesus Christ, knowing that they are no longer lost in sin but will have eternal life with Him in Heaven.
“It’s the age old sin of idolatry — that it’s not about God, it’s about us,” [Steve] Camp told Christian News Network last week. “True worship for the humanist is about how we feel at the end of the day and what gives us meaning, as opposed to what gives God glory.” (Christian News)
How qualified are the Osteens to be preaching the Word of God?
Joel Osteen attended Oral Roberts University for one Semester where he studied radio and television communications, production and marketing. He did not graduate and did not attend any other institution of higher learning, secular or religious, that I could find.
Joel's short semester in marketing has paid off.
Victoria attended but dropped out of the University of Houston where she studied psychology. No apparent Bible, theology, Greek/Hebrew, eschatology, etc. training at all.
Joel's father was a pastor and Joel took over his church when the father died. Joel had previously worked behind the scenes in the telecommunications area at his father's church.
As I read somewhere, I never knew that ministers could be 'grandfathered' in, I thought they were called by God. You will not find any mention of either Osteen ever being 'called by God'.
It is obvious why being called by God is a requirement for a preacher/pastor of a congretation and why seminary or a clear understanding of the Word of God is a must:
Should you eschew a formal course of training, and rely instead on your gift of gab, you may end up being outed as a theological neophyte on global TV, like Joel Osteen.
Bestselling author Joel Osteen is the preaching pastor of the biggest church in America. There are regularly 30,000 attendees who pitch up IRL to hear his sermons. This is quite a responsibility. Especially considering Hebrews 13:17 warns that pastors will give an account for each soul in their flock.
And I’m not even referring to the zillions who plug into the televised programming, nor the touring success of sold-out tours stadiums that hold 60,000 fans (at $10 a ticket, I’m sure his staff keep an accurate tally).
But when he was interviewed on the Larry King Live show, the result of being ill-prepared for ministry was painfully obvious. I feel for him as Larry grills him on this sensitive topic. ... (Clint Archer.com)
I have not posted the Larry King interview, you can read part of it at the above link, but Joel Osteen's answer to most questions is, "I don't know", "I don't Know", "I don't know".
Ok, so Pastor Osteen doesn’t know who goes to heaven, he doesn’t know why Muslims/Hindus/Jews are wrong, he doesn’t know what the prosperity gospel is, he doesn’t know why God permits suffering, or why God doesn’t heal everyone. These are pretty important topics for the pastor of America’s biggest church.
The Osteens are phenomenally successful because they are the exaggerated fulfillment of the self-help movement and the cult of celebrity rolled into one massive mega-church media empire. [snip]
The problem with Prosperity Theology is not that it promises too much, but that it aims for so little. What God promises us in Christ is far above anything that can be measured in earthly wealth — and believers are not promised earthly wealth nor the gift of health.
But to talk of the promises of God to believers is actually to jump outside the Osteen audience. The Osteen message does not differentiate between believers and unbelievers — certainly not in terms of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In their sermons, writings, and media appearances, the Osteens insist that God is well-disposed to all people and wills that all flourish, but there is virtually no mention of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No reference to sin as the fundamental issue. No explanation of atonement and resurrection as God’s saving acts; no clarity of any sort on the need for faith in Christ and repentance of sin.
Instead, they focus on happiness and God’s “immeasurable favor” to be poured out on all people, if they will only correct their thinking. [snip]
Mere happiness cannot bear the weight of the Gospel. The message of the real Gospel is found in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” That is a message that can be preached with a straight face, a courageous spirit, and an urgent heart in Munich, in Miami, or in Mosul.
If our message cannot be preached with credibility in Mosul, it should not be preached in Houston. That is the Osteen Predicament. (Albert Mohler.com, emphasis mine)
We can only find our joy in God, not ourselves, just as we can only find salvation through trust in Jesus Christ.
Like all of us, the Osteens will stand before God and be held accountable, one way or the other. I always cringe when I see a missed opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The Osteen ministries reach more than 100 countries, with an estimated 7 million viewers each week. In spite of my personal problems with the Osteen message, I pray that those viewers/listeners will hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and accept Him.