Unquestionably America’s “smiling pastor” Joel Osteen appears to be a very nice and sincere man. In the introduction to his latest book Become A Better You Osteen writes, “while I can’t guarantee that you will become rich and famous, I can assure you that if you follow [the seven keys within this book], you will live a more fulfilled life” (xv). One could ask, “What’s wrong with that?” On the surface I will say; nothing.

And as I have previously pointed out Joel Osteen: Apprising His Word Faith Teachings if Osteen said that he was only a motivational speaker I would have zero to say about him. But he doesn’t; Joel Osteen also claims to be a pastor, and you will see in this piece that he has followed in the Word Faith footprints of his late father John Osteen.

[An overseer] must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers… (Titus 1:9-10), ESV)

Not Meeting The Basic Biblical Qualifications To Be A Pastor

Joel Osteen is senior pastor of Lakewood Church, which most people today consider as being within the evangelical camp. Therefore when we look at Osteen’s teaching ministry we must assess his doctrine according to the Biblical qualifications of one claiming to be sent forth by Christ as a pastor-teacher.

For example the pastor is one who must – Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:2). What is meant by the Word above is the revealed text of God’s inerrant and infallible Words in the Bible. This isn’t merely a good idea. The preceding verse is actually a “charge”; i.e. a command, for the true pastor.

But as previously cited in Does Joel Osteen Meet the Qualifications Of A Pastor here at Apprising Ministries when he was on 60 Minutes recently Osteen literally says that’s not “my gifting.” Interviewer Byron Pitts first noted:

Osteen preaches his own version of what is known as the “prosperity gospel” – that God is a loving, forgiving God who will reward believers with health, wealth and happiness. It’s the centerpiece of every sermon. (Online source)

And then Pitts presses Osteen as he points out the heart of Osteen’s man-centered message:

To become a better you, you must be positive towards yourself, develop better relationships, embrace the place where you are. Not one mention of God in that. Not one mention of Jesus Christ in that,…

“That’s just my message. There is scripture in there that backs it all up. But I feel like, Byron, I’m called to help people…how do we walk out the Christian life? How do we live it? And these are principles that can help you. I mean, there’s a lot better people qualified to say, ‘Here’s a book that going to explain the scriptures to you.’ I don’t think that’s my gifting,” Osteen says. (ibid.)

While commenting on this above disclosure by Joel Osteen on Pyromaniacs the other day Phil Johnson makes the following astute observation:

Isn’t that an admission from his own lips that he doesn’t fit the basic biblical qualifications to be a pastor in the first place? (Online source)

Smiling And Telling People What They Want To Hear

Indeed it is, but that doesn’t seem to matter much for many in the apostatizing evangelical community. And it certainly matters not to Osteen’s huge contingent of admiring fans wanting to have their ears tickled (see–2 Timothy 4:3) by his man-centered teachings, which are actually a cross between Robert Schuller and Kenneth Copeland. In fact, in the excellent article ‘Success’ Happens When The World Is Your Twin my friend Jim Bublitz of Old shows that Osteen’s message meshes quite nicely with that of self-help guru Tony Robbins, who is not even a professing believer in Christ.

But it is Joel Osteen’s affinity for the Kenneth Copeland-style prosperity gospel which I now want to bring to your attention. The truth is that Osteen is absolutely:

Associated as [was] his late father with the controversial “Word of Faith” movement known for its “prosperity gospel.” (Online source)

It’s also an incontrovertible fact that Joel Osteen has been profoundly influenced by his father John Osteen (1921-1999). Joel even says that his first book Your Best Life Now was:

dedicated to my father… My dad’s integrity, humility, love, and compassion for all people left an indelible impression on my life. I will be eternally grateful for his example.

The example of his father’s theology also made strong impression on Joel Osteen. On Larry King Live not long ago Osteen told King about a large part of his preparation to pastor:

KING: All right, a critic — this quote to — from Reverend Robert Liichow: “Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or experience to be a pastor. Would you allow a surgeon to operate on you because he felt that he should be called a surgeon?”

J. OSTEEN: …I grew up in a preacher’s home. I spent 17 years working with my father. (Online source)

Confessing The Word And Creating God’s Blessings

Those who have experienced Joel Osteen’s preaching will know that he has the congregation hold up their Bibles along with him and then they follow Osteen in a chant which begins, “This is my Bible.” Years ago I personally used to watch his father do the exact same thing as I would monitor Trinity Blasphemy Broadcasting Network. This is something known in the parlance of the Word Faith Movement as “confessing the Word.” It is thought that this is being like God and as such activates/creates His blessings here in the earth realm because the Lord spoke the universe into existence by using His own “faith-filled words.”

And Joel Osteen believes the same things as did his father John who also taught this metaphysical mind-over-matter neo-Gnostic foolishness. For example in his book The Rise of Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen former Word Faith pastor Richard Young tells us that:

John [Osteen] made it clear to his Lakewood congregation that God wanted His people to plant a seed in the ministry of Lakewood Church and that God wanted Lakewood Church to plant seeds in ministries all over the world… He began to teach his congregation to speak and confess the Word of God.

In the church services John would have the people make bold confessions aloud in unison, “My house is paid for. My cars are paid for. All my bills are paid. I don’t owe anybody anything. I have money in the bank. I am not stingy. I am not covetous. I am evangelizing the world.” (67)

The Teachings Of Both Osteens Espouse Confession and Prosperity Doctrine

Anyone familiar with the above will immediately recognize that it is classic Word Faith methodology. As G. Richard Fisher of the solid discernment ministry Personal Freedom Outreach has also noted:

John Osteen is on record as fully endorsing the errant Word Faith concepts surrounding financial prosperity:

“I look at the great truths of Almighty God and with the sixth sense in my spirit man, I believe I have a consciousness that they are mine. I see and believe salvation is mine. Healing is mine. Prosperity is mine. All of God’s blessings are mine. On the basis of this information from the sixth sense of faith, I can confidently say, ‘I am healed! I am blessed! I am redeemed! I am prosperous!’”

In the citation above, he summed up the “health and wealth gospel” in just a few short sentences. (The Quarterly Journal, October-December 2004, Vol. 24, No. 4, 15)

Christian apologist Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries further enlightens us that:

Joel’s father, John Osteen, was into the word faith teaching of Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland. In late 1998-99 he became sick. The church that was also trained in word faith philosophies began their positive confessions saying, “God has promised him that he will be preaching into his early 90’s, and he is only 77 now. God gave him a vision for “Seven Years of Harvest”, and we are just beginning our 6th year of this special thrust for world evangelism. God has promised our staff that He will bring our pastor’s kidneys on a platter of praise. The God who began this universe as a mighty Creator is creating what our Pastor needs in his body” (Lakewood Church prayer request Jan 19, 1999). Two weeks later, John Osteen died. (Online source)

And Oppenheimer is dead on target as he points out that:

Any of [the following] could easily have been said by Kenneth Copeland or other word faith teachers–You know, it’s wonderful to know that faith is a power and a force. And I’m starting a series of messages today to help you understand faith in God. Bible faith. Because you see, when you realize that God works by faith, then you’ll know how important it is. The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” Impossible. So, if it’s impossible for us to please God without faith, we ought to understand what faith is.” (John Osteen, Sermon, “Developing Miracle Working Faith,” FA- 006)

This is not surprising, since his dad (John) referred to Copland in positive way. “I like the story Brother Kenneth Copeland told. He’s a pilot.” (John Osteen, Sermon, “Faith to Change the World,” FA-005) “You know, that story that Kenneth Copeland tells in one of his books about the bull fighter.” (John Osteen, sermon, “The People Who Know Their God Part 1,” PEO-001)

“You may have sickness in your body, you need to call in health. You may be in debt, you need to boldly say that you are the head and not the tail” (Joel Osteen, “Speaking Faith Filled Words,” Tape # 223. Daystar Television, May 2, 2004) (ibid.)

Here’s a couple more quotes from Joel Osteen himself:

You can cancel out God’s plan by speaking negative words. God works by laws. (“Speaking Faith Filled Words,” op. cit.)

You’ve got to speak it out. Your words have creative power. One of the primary ways we release our faith is through our words. There is a divine connection between you declaring God’s favor and seeing God’s favor manifested in your life. And some of you are doing your best to please the Lord. You are living a holy consecrated life, but you’re not really experiencing God’s supernatural favor. And it’s simply because you’re not declaring it. You’ve got to give life to your faith by speaking it out. (Audio clip from Bible Answer-Man Broadcast, April 26, 2004).

“Early in our marriage, Victoria and I were out walking through our neighborhood one day when we came upon a beautiful new home in the final stages of construction… Victoria was excited. She turned around, looked back at the home, and said, ‘Joel, one day we’re going to live in a beautiful home just like that!…’ Over the next several months, she kept speaking words of faith and victory, and she finally talked me into it. She convinced me that we could live in an elegant home like the one we saw. I got rid of my limited thinking and I started agreeing with her. I started believing that somehow, some way, God could bring it to pass. We kept on believing it, seeing it, and speaking it (Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, Chapter One).

Let me conclude by saying that these teachings by Joel Osteen clearly show that he is indeed aligned with the highly aberrant and heretical theology of the Word Faith Movement. And the truth is Mike Oppenheimer is exactly right when he states:

[The above] again is word faith theology. That what you speak, you can have. Nowhere in the New Testament is the church taught this. (ibid.)

See also: