Although he seems quite friendly and sincere the truth is that Joel Osteen has followed the footsteps of his late father John into the so-called “Positive Confession” of the heretical Word Faith Movement.

In this piece from Apprising Ministries I point out that Osteen’s message is essentially a blend of the self help mumbo jumbo of Robert Schuller with just a touch of the fictitious faith message of Kenneth Copeland. There’s also an interesting parallel with Joel Osteen and the historical account of the rich young ruler found in the Gospel record.

The idols speak deceit, diviners see visions that lie; they tell dreams that are false, they give comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep oppressed for lack of a shepherd. (Zechariah 10:2)

Prosperity Preacher Joel Osteen

In a recent issue of Time magazine ther was an article entitled Does God Want You To Be Rich? which concerns the “relentlessly upbeat television sermons” of Joel Osteen. I’ll spare you the details but the piece opens with testimony from a man who was inspired by Osteen into a litany of greedy goals. He feels that the “Texas-twanged 43-year-old” Osteen helped “boost him back toward success.” This shouldn’t really come as a surprise because Osteen is essentially a blend of the self help mumbo jumbo of Robert Schuller with just a touch of the fictitious faith message of Kenneth Copeland.

The article then goes on to tell us that indeed “Osteen did.” All because this man was “[i]nspired by the preacher’s insistence that one of God’s top priorities is to shower blessings on Christians in this lifetime.” Now for those of us who follow Joel Osteen’s money “ministry” this is old news as we’ve long known he is the “kindler, gentler side” side of the Word Faith division of the Devil’s Ecumenical Church of Deceit. For more information on this aspect I refer the interested reader to Apprising Joel Osteen’s Word Faith Teachings.

Not long ago my friend Bob DeWaay wrote in his Critical Issues Commentary concerning the subject of prophecy. One might ask: “What does this have to do with Joel Osteen?” Well, the issue of prophecy figures very heavily in the Word Faith Church, plagued as it is with hundreds of self-appointed false “prophets” such as Kim Clement and the aforementioned Copeland. In his article DeWaay correctly points out that proclaiming “the gospel is prophecy in its most important form.”

He then gives an illustration where he speaks hypothetically to one who is not a Christian and says, “if you neglect God’s offer of salvation through the finished work of Christ, you will face God’s wrath in eternity and there will be no escape.” DeWaay is right when he explains that, “I have truly prophesied in a most powerful and true way.” He further points out that his words “have the authority of God not because I uttered them, but because they correctly describe the certainty of the consequences of either faith or unbelief.”

Pastor DeWaay also gives a couple of other examples of this kind of preaching as prophecy:

John MacArthur prophesies in this manner in his book Hard to Believe:

The Lord says, “If you don’t know Me on My terms, I don’t know you at all. If you haven’t come in repentance, conviction of your own sin, and abandonment of self with such desperation that you cry out for salvation and righteousness and heaven, whatever the cost, then you didn’t pass through the narrow gate. You haven’t come humbly seeking forgiveness, knowing you don’t deserve it.”

Martin Luther also prophesied:

What schools! What faculties! What theologians! What bilge! What newfangled rubbish! So much for your understanding of the words of God, namely, captivity to the obedience of Christ. (It is captivity to the obedience of your own understanding.) By divine authority we confidently conclude and boldly declare: “Thus says the Lord of Hosts, monastic vows made and kept apart from faith are sins, and therefore such vows are pointless and blameworthy.”

These are valid prophecies if they contain valid implications from Scripture. Any Christian can judge these by examining the Biblical arguments and evidence that MacArthur and Luther gave that led to these prophesies. If they reflect valid implications from Scripture, they are true prophecies.

This Is What The Lord Says

I pointed all this out because there are many of those in the spiritually proud Word Faith section of the ECoD who think that they are just a little bit better than the rest of us Christians because they believe in “prophecy.” Well now, how do you suppose they are going to handle those of us who also believe in the proper Biblical view of prophecy such as DeWaay and myself? When I was first sent forth to preach from the local church where I was saved the body of elders laid their hands on me and they prayed for me. Then one of them said in effect – Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

So what are Word Faith adherents going to do with me if I were to insist that something like 1 Timothy 4:14 literally happened to me personally? And now let me put what I am about to teach in classic Word Faith-ese in order that the Osteen-ites might better understand it. Because I write critically of others it is very important that I also pray for them as well. Let’s imagine for the sake of argument that today while I was praying to God that Osteen would repent the Lord suddenly “spoke” to me. And what if He said, “Osteen’s like the rich young ruler. He loves money.” Well, what would Joel do now? After all his sermons are littered things like, “God spoke to me”; “God told me,” etc.

You remember the incident from history don’t you? From Luke’s account in chapter 18 and verse 18 we find out that – a certain ruler asked [Jesus], saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

After going through the Commandments the Master finally tells him – sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me (v.22). And this got me to thinking about how Joel Osteen got started in pastoral ministry. The Lakewood Church website once informed us that:

Joel Osteen sat at the knee of a father whose entire life was focused on reaching those in need. While John Osteen was a successful pastor, Joel’s first experiences were in the areas of media and business, where he quickly established an international reputation. Turning to media, Joel became a successful television producer, creating the John Osteen television program, and developing it into a global outreach.

Then in the article How A BIG Church Grew Bigger Ernest Herndon of Charisma Magazine tells us that Joel’s big Lakewood church was actually planted by his dad, “the late John Osteen, [who] was a Southern Baptist pastor.” Herndon also enlightens us that John Osteen’s “first church building was an abandoned feed store.” However, by the time John Osteen died in 1999 Lakewood Church, “the Oasis of Love,” had grown to 8,000 people with a “television program” and “a global outreach.”

So it seems that in a similar fashion to the rich young ruler Joel Osteen himself had quite a bit of “riches” in his own life from the start of his “ministry”. Let me allay suspicions right here that I am “jealous” of Joel Osteen. Despite the hardships I face, Lord willing I am going to continue to stand as in So You Wanna Be A Soldier For Christ? And I’m also on record specifically as not wanting to have to account for a big ministry or riches. If you wish you may listen to my comments on this subject in a recent SliceCast: Rob Bell The Emergent Elvis. O I’m more than quite content to pray as in Proverbs 30:

“Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God” (vv.7-9).

But at the same time I can’t help but wonder; just what would happen if the Lord were to say to the rich young Joel Osteen – “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” (Luke 18:22). I wonder, what would the rich young prosperity teacher himself say in response? How about it Joel? As I ask in So You Want An Abundant Life; if there was absolutely nothing on the Master’s table for you at all, would you still come simply because He’s there?

See also: