I’m not going to go into detail about what I think of Joel Osteen as a person because to me that’s pointless. What matters is what I think of Jesus and of the Gospel and what other people are thinking because of his “preaching”.
I watched some videos of interviews with Osteen and the one that is particularly troubling to me is the Piers Morgan interview. Nothing about what he said about homosexuality is troubling. First of all because he does call it sin and because he and his wife talk about how it is a heart issue JUST LIKE any other sin (that everyone on this earth struggles with) and they are interested in people and reaching them with the Gospel. That I think is great and is how Christians should view any sin.
However what bothers me is that he openly admits that he does not address sin from the pulpit very often and that his goal is to lift people up. You cannot preach the Gospel (which is truly the only way to “lift someone up”) without addressing sin. He also kind of mentions and then glosses over the fact that he never went to seminary. Now, I know that you don’t necessarily need seminary to preach the Gospel, if that was the truth then we would ALL need to be in seminary for we ALL are called to preach the Gospel DAILY. However I do think it is important when leading a church to have seminary experience, and that leads me to ask how did he come to lead his church? Because of his dad? Because he preaches prosperity in all things and that’s it, so millions of people love to listen to him? I don’t know, but my thoughts on him are that I believe he does know and believe the Gospel personally, but he is certainly not willing to preach it in it’s entirety.
That being said, he does occasionally have good things to say and it seems that a better ministry for him might be a Christian motivational speaker who only speaks to Christians and helps them to live their “best life now”. The truth of the matter is his message of grace and prosperity ONLY APPLIES TO CHRISTIANS who have already been saved and justified by faith in Christ as the only way, truth and life. And even then there are some holes because Christians aren’t going to live a perfect life here on earth free of persecution and trial, not even Joel Osteen as we can see in his interview with Piers Morgan. We are going to face such tough questions and we must be able to contend for the Gospel. I don’t see Osteen effectively contending for the Gospel at this point in his ministry.
The purpose of writing this blog was not to place blame, or pass judgment on Osteen, I too believe that it is not my place to necessarily judge anyone. However, since he is claiming to be a Christian and to follow Christ, he is my brother, and I am my brother’s keeper. Therefore, it is my place, as a fellow believer, to point out where I see him not glorifying the Lord. My prayer for him, and for all of us who claim to follow the Lord, is that God would reach into our hearts and give us a strong desire, a passion, to contend for the Gospel regardless of the effect it may have on our image in the public eye! As a preacher in the public eye, Osteen is going to be called on even moreso to contend.
It can be extremely frustrating and flustering to be questioned on such difficult issues by this world, as you will see if you watch the interview, however we MUST NOT back down. The world is going to hate us if we are truly preaching the Gospel and following in the foot steps of our Savior (John 15:18-27), that’s how we know we are doing something right!