Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions What’s the Problem With Joel Osteen?

What’s the Problem With Joel Osteen?

Our church has a ‘shallow end of the pool’ – it’s an entry point- we don’t teach everything we believe every time we speak.  There is a ‘deep end of the pool’ as well – it’s discipleship.  Much more is taught to people in those areas of our church ministry.

Joel Osteen does not teach classes on theology, the differences of Mormonism and Christianity or a thorough presentation of the foundational beliefs of Christianity.

He’s a pastor with an evangelism gift.

Pastors at Joel Osteen’s church, Lakewood Church, disciple people, teach doctrinal truths of the Bible and train people for ministry. They teach people truth from error.

It reminds me of how much criticism Billy Graham took from evangelical leaders who criticized him and questioned his faith and integrity because of how he conducted his evangelistic efforts.  Now most people hold him in high regard and an example to be followed.

We pray for the lost in America and then when God is using someone to reach the people that other ministers have not been able to reach – we tear them down.  God forgive us.

Have we considered that fact that TV hosts like Larry King, interview Joel and not the leaders who attack him, because Joel communicates the grace that others do not.

So what’s the problem – really?

Is it jealousy? Is it arrogance and self-righteousness?

I’m not sure.

But I do know that Joel reaches people others do not reach.  I see that Joel gets interviewed by new reporters who won’t interview other pastors and leaders.  And Joel sells books about hope and faith to the thousands who will not buy the critics books.  Hmmm?

I recently read a blog by Joel E. Miller, the vice president of editorial and acquisitions for Thomas Nelson, who wrote, “Osteen parades himself around as a minister of the gospel.”  Nice.

He posted a photo of Joel Osteen with a ‘Joker face’ (as in Batman) ‘photo-shopped’ on his face.

This horribly embarrassing blog was tweeted by Michael Hyatt, The Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers on a couple of occasions, obviously lending his support and endorsement to these self indulgent and reckless assessments.

I was shocked, saddened, disappointed and discouraged by the attitudes of these Christian influencers.

I have read many of Michael Hyatt’s blogs.  I like him and his writing.  But this is just not right and should not be overlooked because of his stature and position.

Do these publishers know everything their authors believe? Everything? Do they know when their authors have ‘mis spoken’ or not articulated something correctly or made a mistake?

Does Thomas Nelson write blogs to publically ridicule and humiliate their authors who have their own flaws?   The comments that Joel J. Miller makes are not intellectually honest nor are they spiritually appropriate.

As I stated earlier, the main thing leaders should be “called out for” is publically attacking the authenticity of another’s ministry.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-31 NIV

Arrogance is really hard to see in the mirror.

I don’t know that those who have spoken from arrogance would apologize or recognize their error – but I’m hoping that you – the reader – will be more aware of what is appropriate and Christ like.

Christians Please!  Don’t follow this example and criticize publicly those ministers whose methods you don’t agree with or understand.

Leaders – this has got to stop. Please, Please – it’s not your job to judge everyone publicly.

Let’s encourage each other, lets pray for one another and teach those you influence – to have more grace.

It is difficult enough to be a minister because of the challenges we face – the spiritual warfare we encounter! We don’t need our own brothers needlessly attacking.

Let’s preach what we are FOR not what we are AGAINST.

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philipwagner@churchleaders.com'
Philip Wagner is Lead Pastor of Oasis Church in Los Angeles and founder of Generositywater.org. Oasis is an innovative and racially diverse church, largely comprised of people in their 20’s & 30’s. Oasis is known for its local and global outreach to the impoverished; especially orphans and widows, and funding clean water projects. Philip and his wife, Holly, started Oasis in 1984, in Beverly Hills with10 people. Today they’ve grown to 3000+ members.