What God is This? Osteen on Oprah

This clip is riddled with unbiblical conclusions. Toward the beginning, in reference to Osteen’s prosperity preaching, Oprah asks, “What god would want you to be poor and miserable?” Osteen does say that prosperity includes peace of mind and a healthy body rather than just material wealth.

Osteen also says that there is a belief that says, “You’re supposed to suffer more and be poor and to show your humility.” He then mentions that Jesus died to give us an abundant life in order to be a blessing to others. Further, he claims that he cannot be a blessing to others if he is, “poor and broke and depressed and I don’t feel good about myself.”

At last, Osteen does equivocate much. Are Christians supposed to suffer? Whether Christians are supposed to suffer as those who intentionally seek out suffering is not the question, because Scripture explains that we will suffer. (Cf. For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. Philippians 1:29-30 ESV)

Christians are not supposed to be poor though we may be and we are not supposed to make wealth an idol either. We are to serve God joyfully in whatever situation we may find ourselves. How is humility tacked onto to suffering and being poor? No doubt, both circumstances are humbling, but Christians are to be humble in all circumstances (Phil. 4:11-13).

Osteen implies that to be poor is to be broke and depressed, yet he even said that prosperity is more than material wealth, but includes a healthy mind and body. So which is it? Interestingly enough, secular studies have shown that some of the happiest people in the world are poor. Being poor does not mean one is broke and, for the Christian, it should not mean that one is depressed.

Oprah asks if those who are poor, broke and depressed are in those situations because they are “not praying enough or not in alignment?” Osteen answers no stating that it is a mixture of things and the some people have just not “broken through” in certain areas. He continues that there are “forces” that try to hold us down and that people have not been “trained” or “inspired” that they do not have to stay in such negative circumstances because God has a plan for them.

Osteen is right that people do not have to stay in less desirable circumstances, but Christian happiness should not be tied to such circumstances. The rest of the clip continues with Osteen defending his teachings based on how he feels and tries to act with his ultimate responsibility being that he answers to God.

Osteen does ultimately answer to God. Yet, he claims to be a teacher in Christ’s church where he will be judged greater and has more responsibility (James 3:1). That is, of course, if Osteen is to be counted as a Christian and a teacher in the church. Osteen’s teachings should biblically tested and if found wanting should be avoided and rebuked (Titus 1:9, 1 Tim. 6:3, Rom. 16:17).

Osteen’s subjectivity is just what the doctor ordered, if you accept medicine from an unlicensed doctor. There is really nothing new in this interview clip. However, near the end of this clip Oprah inquires with a very revealing statement, “So you walk the walk, you just don’t talk it?”

Finally, I have suffered enough with this clip.

P.S. Friend and fellow blogger Josh Buice also weighed in: Joel Osteen Does It – Again!

tagged as , in apologetics,Culture,heresy,relativism,theology

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris @ PrayBuddy.com January 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

When I first became a Christian, I really liked Joel Osteen. His preaching style really made me feel that God cared because it sounded like if I had faith, God would give me stuff and bless me. But as I’ve matured in faith in Jesus, I’ve seen how unbiblical his teachings can be. I’ve never heard him preach on sin or repentance. Maybe I missed it. But repentance is necessary for salvation.

He seems to be more focused on this: Believe in God. Believe in yourself. And you can achieve anything you want. This was appealing to me at first because it allowed me to focus on myself – my wants and desires. Now, I see that it’s a shallow way of viewing God and his plan for us. He’s already blessed us beyond all measure by giving us the free gift of salvation. A gift that we could never earn or pay for on our own.

2 Bruce H January 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

In 1961, when I was in 1st grade, my family joined Hibbard Memorial Baptist Church in northeast Houston. The previous pastor was John Osteen. He had been dismissed due to his teachings on the Holy Spirit a year or so prior. He simply went down the road and began Lakewood Church in an old converted chicken coop with a very few people. John had something electrifying about him and built a church like no other in an area where location location location would have to take a back seat. I met John in a clothing store that was closing in 1983. As I walked past him our eyes connected and when I turned around he was looking right at me. We had a very good conversation. The man was an old fashion Southern Baptist soul winner with a flair of the charismatic. Joel was a few years behind me in school and I didn’t know him, however, it seemed that Lakewood Church was known throughout our schools from 1st thru 12th grades. I would have disagreed about the tongues issue with his dad and I have a serious concern with Joel about how he dodges the issue of sin. To me, the greater concern is not so much that he preaches what he preaches but that there are throngs of people who follow his teachings.

I think Jesus’ triumphal entry is the example Joel should be preaching, not a prosperity gospel. It is the poor who are rich in faith.

3 Dave Miller January 9, 2012 at 4:32 pm

C’mon, Mark. Are you accusing Joel Osteen of compromise? Really? That is so out of character for him.

4 Tony March 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm

The recurring thing with Joel- he pauses, gesticulates, winds himself up, and says, “Well I believe that..” I’m sick and tired of it. Erwin Lutzer says not to follow anyone who does not have a good theology of suffering.

5 Stephen SJB April 23, 2013 at 12:22 am

Olsteen took over the family business … What does orthodox theology have to do with it? Any Christian preacher who goes onto Larry King and can’t articulate or confess the true Gospel of Christ should be suspect… any Christian preacher who states Hindu’s will go to Heaven because they have good intentions and are sincere in their religion .. should be seriously reconsidered a Preacher. Sadly the guy really has no clue what it means to be a Good Sheppard and preach the Gospel. Maybe he should read the sermon on the mount?


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