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August 4, 2021

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Joel Osteen – a Charlatan?

3 min read

“All people can reach their God given potential of health, wealth and happiness,” Joel Osteen preaches. He tells women to tell themselves;”Ten years from now I will be married.” and “He’s going to be rich and good looking!”

OMGosh. Is this guy a salesman? It is true that God blesses. He has blessed me and my family on many occassions. But God’s blessings for our family have always been directly connected to the furtherance of HIS plan and ministry, not mine.

For example, did He provide our family with an RV? Yes. But it was after prayer along this line: “Lord, we’d really like to minister at Juventud con Vision in Juarez, Mexico. But as you know, Roland has cancer throughout his bones. If it is your will that we minister in Juarez, please provide comfortable travel for Roland. If it isn’t your will, please give us the grace to accept that and show us where and how you want us to minister. Thank you, Jesus.”

Had we prayed for Roland’s healing? Yes, many times and many ways. Now, we were patient to go ahead with living while waiting God’s answer on that. Our prayer wasn’t for our own self-indulgence. Our prayer was for God to provide one of the tools we needed in order to fulfill what it was that He wanted us to do.

Remember, God’s purpose for us is clearly stated in Genesis 12:1-3 and restated throughout the entire Bible. God’s children have a Great Commission – to be a light to the rest of the world, and preach the Word with the courage he provides through the Holy Spirit. And the Word, the Good News, The Gospel is this: that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to die for us in order to save us, despite the fact that we are all sinners and don’t deserve his gift of salvation. We have been given the gift of salvation, and all we need to do is realize our sinfulness, humble ourselves, repent, ask for forgiveness, and accept His gift.

Osteen chooses to focus on gifts from God rather than sin. He rarely uses Scripture and instead, thinks he is a “life coach.” A purported “Christian” life coach, yet doesn’t use Scripture as a text.

At times, he has seemed to deny that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.

Sociologist Shayne Lee and historian Phillip Sinitiere state in their book, Holy Mavericks: Evangelical Innovators and the Spiritual Marketplace, that “Osteen’s widespread popularity comes from contextualizing Christianity to meet the existential needs and cultural tastes of contemporary Americans.”

That’s right. I see Osteen as a saleman and “Christian” events are his marketplace. Note the amount of money spent at his events, and remember that neither Jesus nor any of his true disciples required funds from their listeners. In fact, Jesus fed the lot of them – for free – simply because they needed to be fed.

No wonder Osteen doesn’t understand the deity and purpose of Jesus Christ, nor the purpose of Scripture, nor the purpose of Christians. Osteen has never studied theology or even religion at a college of seminary. He attended Oral Roberts University for a short time, but apparently didn’t take the theology courses while there.

People, pay close attention to God’s warnings in Matt 7:15, Acts 20:29, Romans 16:18, 2 Timothy 4:3-4, and 2 Peter 2-3.

11 thoughts on “Joel Osteen – a Charlatan?

  1. I believe God has given Joel the gift of encouragement. This world can beat you up and Joel encourages people with the Word of God.

  2. Please find it in your heart to think logically about this one fact – There is one God, one Son, and one Holy Spirit – All part of the one Triune God. Please consider reading John 17 and the prayer Jesus prayed to His Heavenly Father. The ‘One’ he is referring to is the ‘One’ he created.

    God the Father – logically created in the Old Testament – only one way to worship this one God. Jesus – His Son, coming to fulfill the Old Law and it’s method of worship – not to abolish it – commissioned One Church to worship the One God. It was the Holy Spirit – given by Christ to the One Church that Christ created – that continues to fulfill Christ’s mission on earth.

    Why do people like Osteen or any other well intentioned souls – think that God wants another Church – wants one more division – one more offshoot – of the only Church that existed for the first thousand years after Pentecost? Even after the Orthodox Church schism – those two Churches still pray together and worship together in liturgy so common – we can receive each others Eucharist. Osteen, Swaggart, Baker, etc., are all symptoms of the spirit of division – the spirit of the reformation.

    I tell you – in having the heart of a father – and in using the logic of a father – I don’t want divisions in my family. If I tell my children to do something one way – then in that one way – I know it is best for them and avoids the most obstacles for them.

    Again, it’s only logical that if we are truly brothers and sisters in Christ, Our Father would want us to worship Him as One – in One Way – One Truth – One Life. Only One Church can claim that it’s founder was Christ. Through the abuses of human beings – not inherent in the design of the Church – but inherent in the sinfulness of human beings used by God in the Church – did the reformers find it upon themselves to judge those in the Church. Yes – those people needed removed – the Church needed reformed. But the reformers went too far.

    Now you have 30,000+ different denominations – the opposite in answering Christs prayer of Oneness – so that they may know the Father sent Him. Look at the world around you and tell me how strong Christianity, splintered into 30,000 different churches, has spread the message of Jesus.

  3. I am afraid that your interpretation of Pastor Osteen hits its mark all to well. No body is in the ministry to serve anymore, they are there to get what they can. His ministry is a sign of the times, people flock to hear his message of “give me” “give me”. I equate to to the vending machine worship: I put my dollar in and get my blessing out..
    Pastor Ken

  4. Amen, Pastor Ken and Michele.

    LukeOneTwentyEight, thank you. I understand what you are expressing. I was also raised Catholic. My aunt is a Franciscan nun. I agree with you completely concerning our Triune God.

    I also agree that there are many wolves out there deceiving God’s people and leading them astray.

    I also agree that it wasn’t God’s “church” that caused atrocities 1000 years ago, (or even today), but certain people.

    However, there seemed to have been certain laws created by the Roman Catholic leadership that allowed and encouraged certain atrocities to happen.

    But I am among those that chose to leave the Catholic Church.

    I won’t get into the details as to why; I’ll just say that I do believe many of us who worship outside the Catholic Church are still worshiping in the manner God has asked us to. I have seen and continue to see the blessings and fruit of our walk with him over and over these last two decades.

    I believe you and I are brother and sister in Christ, but I don’t see in Scripture a mandate to worship in a specific manner – Just that we come together in fellowship, encourage each other with God’s Word, pray together, and praise God together.

    I believe that the “Church” isn’t actually a building or a denomination. I believe the Church consists of God’s true believers; those that love the Lord with all their heart and have determined to serve Him obediently with every aspect of their lives.

    I believe these people can be found in most Christian churches. Some Church buildings have more believers within than others. Some have none. But the building itself isn’t what matters (as long as our Triune God is the focus of worship and God’s Holy Scriptures are taken seriously).

    What matters is the heart. God knows our hearts. God searches our hearts. And above all else, we are to guard our hearts. If there is no heart for God and worship is just some rote dogma, than there is nothing of essence happening within that worship service. It’s nothing more than clanging cymbals.

    I have heard Protestants say that there aren’t any true believers within the Catholic Church, and I have heard Catholics say that there are no true Christians within the Protestant Churches. I disagree.

    I have met phonies within both groups, but I have also met wonderfully strong believers within the Catholic congregations and wonderfully strong believers within Protestant congregations.

    I believe these scattered saints are all in fact members of the same Church, all worshipping Him as one.

    I can also see how the splintering served God’s purposes by spreading God’s Word farther, faster. Think about the split between Paul and Barnabas. On the one hand, it’s sad that they split. On the other hand, when they did, they traipsed off into two different directions, spreading the Word that much faster.

    I’ve heard it illustrated this way. (In Randy Alcorn’s book, Safely Home)…The hero in the book, a Chinese Christian who was speaking to a hidden, forbidden church, took a glass and smashed it on the floor. Then, without saying a word, (if I remember right) his attempt to clean it up but spread it further. Then he stomped on the glass, imbedding some under his show, giving opportunity for it to be spread even further when he walked. Having done all this silently, he sat down. His audience joyfully applauded.

    What he had silently expressed was how 3000 denominations, some of them persecuted and further smashed, are spreading God’s word and fulfilling God’s purpose.

    Bless you. You have an awesome heart for the Lord.

  5. Lisa,

    God bless you as well. However, throughout the Old Testament pulses a familiar theme – God’s covenant love for His people. Even when we as His children broke our covenants with Him, God continually has given His children the chance to turn back to Him throughout all the Old Testament. He gave specific ways for people to do this….namely through a structured worship even to the point of giving precise measurements of how things should be built.

    There are many reasons to believe that the Father only wants one way to come to Him. Yes, Church leaders violated and abused their authorities – but through their own human frailty and not the frailty of the Mystical Body of Christ – the Church. The Church is Holy – the people are not. It’s the Divinity of Christ in His Mystical Body – the guarantee and promise that He would be with us all days – in this Mystical Body – that makes it Holy.

    People worship Christ in other churches as they are instructed to. I have no doubts. But only One Church worships as instructed by Christ most completely.

    My neighbor, an Assembly of God pastor – is a great friend. However, he has laid down the law – his law – that he won’t try to change me, if I don’t try to change him. In trying to see this law through Christ’s eyes, what do you think Christ sees? I think He sees much the same division He saw which became the subject of His prayer in John 17.

    The fact of the matter is, there may be many reasons one can find to leave the Church to join another….but none good enough for Christ when it was His prayer that we all may be one. In baptism we become Christians – brothers and sisters in Christ. But brothers and sisters in name only as much as brothers and sisters in any earthly divided family. Through common worship under one roof we become the One Church Christ prayed for – we become family.

    Forgiveness was a message Christ preached heavily. Judging others – and how we shouldn’t also was a message Christ preached. In this day and age of intense spiritual warfare – where brothers like Osteen are in trouble – isn’t it time that we all come together to discern how unity – how in being one – can help to solve so many problems?

    There’s only One Church that’s claimed what it’s claimed for 2000 years and the Bible – is a gift of that Church to the world. Those books of the Bible you read were approved by a Church council held by it. Why do you trust the Church to give you those books that you read and have such awesome knowledge of, but in all other respects regarding Church teaching, you turn away? Did Christ not say He would give the Church His Holy Spirit? Did He not build His Church upon Peter, the rock? Through historical research – you can see the unbroken line of Popes. Through Apostolic Succession you can see the continuance of Christ teaching in His Church through written and spoken Word.

    Please use your logic of being a mother or father and seeing your own family separated. Then put on Christ so as to see with the eyes of a loving Father and open your heart and come home to the Church Christ intended and prayed for. Christ – True God and True Man founded One Church. Many men – have founded many others.

    If any of you are touched at all by what I say – I pray the Holy Spirit will move you to look further for yourself at what Christ wanted for His Church – at what the Father wants for His family.

    Here are a few links:





    But please don’t stop there. If you are sincere in finding the Way, the Truth, and the Life of not only Christ Himself, but also of the Church – the Mystical Body of Christ, please pray sincerely to the Holy Spirit for guidance in doing so and dig deep. Put aside resentments and judgments.

    God bless you all and please come visit me:


  6. Right. We have a covenant relationship with God, absolutely.

    I also agree that there is only one way to the Father… through Jesus Christ. You mention that only One Church worships as instructed by Christ “most completely.” Please, provide Scriptural references of Christ's worship instructions so that I can study them and the manner in which various churches practice those verses.

    I agree that in baptism we become Christians – brothers & sisters in Christ – as long as we knowingly chose to be baptized and we did it with sincerity of heart for repentance of sins. What I see from Scripture is that through common, sincere worship under the one Triune God, we become the “One Church” Christ prayed for – the family of God under several church roofs.

    I also agree with your reference to forgiveness and not judging others. But Jesus Christ also warned us to be discerning, as noted in the verses in my original post. We need God's wisdom to discern those that would lead us astray, and then we need to back them away from leadership positions.

    I understand that the Church needs to be united in these hard times in order to persevere and solve problems. The word “denomination” merely means a “measure,” a certain amount or number from the whole. Again, as Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, I see us as already being united. I believe that early church leaders, our brothers in Christ, were the foundation for all of us – no matter the current denomination.

    I do agree with you that Jesus gave us all the Holy Spirit. But the point concerning Peter has been misconstrued for centuries. It wasn’t originally a position held by founding fathers or even the early Catholic Church. It was an idea that was created later by a certain pope to create more papal power in Rome and then added upon by a couple of subsequent popes.

    You mention an unbroken line of Popes – but that isn’t quite accurate, either. The line of popes was broken again and again. At one point, there were three popes, all claiming to be true. Not all of the Popes or Bishops were men of prayer and humility, with their knees bent in obedience to the one true God. (Triune) Some popes actually purchased their position or manipulated the deciding votes one way or another. (There weren’t always as many Bishops as there are today, and at times, the number of voting Bishops was quite small) Some had even used jail cells or murder to help obtain their positions.
    So it is questionable that all these men were in an Apostolic Succession or that all of them were concerned with Christ's teaching.

    Again, I believe True Christian brethren exist within many churches and denominations. Almost all churches also contain non-believers in their memberships; people with various other motivations for being part of a congregation. Our Christian brethren are the ones that fear God, take prayer seriously, and strive to follow His word. The brethren are the believers, no matter where they are found.

    As a parent, (in your request that I search my heart as a mother) I have had to ask one of the children I had raised (legal custody, not birth) to leave my home. We aren’t judges and can’t know another person’s heart. But the fruit that came from his heart was very hurtful toward others. I had tried over and over again to help him, guide him, and discipline him. Again and again, no matter what had been done to help, he returned not only to alcohol and drugs, but to hurting people, deceiving people, and to leading underage kids, my own and others, into a corrupt lifestyle. I finally had to separate him from my home.

    Should he change his heart, (ie…seek and allow it to be changed) I would welcome him back. But as long as he continues to choose to hurt others, ignore God, and love no one; No, I won't take him back. After years of giving him second chances and benefit of the doubt, I am perfectly comfortable with that decision. It's all about the heart.

  7. If we can all agree that Christ is the Word of God made flesh, that the Word is God, that in the beginning was the Word, then start back in the Old Testament and you can begin your journey. Sacrifice…the perpetuity of sacrifice is the common theme also of the Old Covenant – but didn’t stop in the New Covenant. For Christ became the spotless Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. The Old Testament requirement of the sacrifice was that not only should the lamb die – but that the Israelites eat and consume the lamb.

    Christ, the Lamb of God, explicitly instructed His followers – John 6:53 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
    60 On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

    61 Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit[e] and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”

    66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

    67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.

    68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”

    This turning of many away – they thought he was a kook. Then why didn’t Jesus call them back and instead say, “It is not my literal flesh and blood, but it is ‘like’ my flesh and blood”? Don’t we think the Savior of all mankind would go after those who found it hard to accept this teaching to clarify it? It didn’t need clarification because just as the Old Covenant dictated that they eat the imperfect sacrifice they offered to God, in the New Covenant it isn’t enough that the Lamb of God die – we must become One with the Lamb of God in eating His Body and Blood. And notice who speaks up – Peter – the Rock that Christ builds His Church on. There is only One Church to this day that claims most completely this literal translation of John’s Bread of Life discourse – and Peter was it’s first pope.

    As we partake of the common meal understood as the Body and Blood that Christ intended to be understood, in one heart and one mind, we become the One Mystical Body of Christ. THIS IS THE FOUNDATION AND CORNERSTONE OF THE CHURCH. This is the One-ness. Comm-union. Partaking of the SAME family Meal at the SAME family table with the SAME understanding of it all and what “Do this in remembrance of me” means throughout the whole of the New Covenant and as they recognize Him in the ‘breaking of the bread’. Ask yourself then, What Church did Christ have in mind and pray for in John 17? The same Church that will “Do this in remembrance” of Him.

    I won’t continue this conversation here….because of space limitations but if you are sincere, please come visit me: prayjohn17.blogspot.com and I will expand upon what Church really is as found in scripture – nor is it really appropriate to continue it here.

  8. Thanks for the Scripture. You make a very good argument. I will study it and ask a couple of pastors I respect some questions.

    I still don’t hold to Peter being a pope, let alone the first pope. Historically it doesn’t appear to have been claimed until a few centuries later when it became convenient for a certain pope.

    However, your explanation of the transubstantiation is compelling and I will study it.

  9. You as the mother, Lisa, turning away your child, is much what Christ felt, when Luther and the reformers were turned away by the Bride of Christ. The Church as the institution Christ founded, did not deserve then, nor does it deserve now, to be broken to pieces.

    Do more research – not just what you are told. Seek and you will find. Read the books by Dr. Scott Hahn. He is a former Presbyterian anti-Catholic minister, who through his own research of Scripture and the Early Church Fathers, converted to the Catholic Faith. The dude is no pushover and is amazing at the work he does with his knowledge of Scripture. Here are some documents he has written:

    < HREF="http://zuserver2.star.ucl.ac.uk/~vgg/rc/aplgtc/hahn/m1/sctcnv.html" REL="nofollow">Scott Hahn Conversion Story<>

    < HREF="http://zuserver2.star.ucl.ac.uk/~vgg/rc/aplgtc/hahn/m4/pp.html" REL="nofollow">The Pope, Holy Father<>

    < HREF="http://zuserver2.star.ucl.ac.uk/~vgg/rc/aplgtc/hahn/m1/splndr.html" REL="nofollow">The Splendor of the Church<>

    < HREF="http://zuserver2.star.ucl.ac.uk/~vgg/rc/aplgtc/hahn/m4/ech.html" REL="nofollow">Eucharist, Holy Meal<>

    I offer you these links in response to your comments of the biblical basis of the Pope and Church: note especially the Early Church Fathers toward the bottom and what they fought against then as members of the Catholic Church.

    < HREF="http://www.scripturecatholic.com/the_church.html" REL="nofollow">Church according to Holy Scripture<>< HREF="http://www.scripturecatholic.com/primacy_of_peter.html" REL="nofollow">Primacy of Peter<>< HREF="http://www.scripturecatholic.com/the_eucharist.html" REL="nofollow">Eucharist<>Here’s a Google Book about Old Testament worship and how the worship is perfected in the New Testament…dated 1890 but timeless:

    < HREF="http://books.google.com/books?id=xdUWAAAAIAAJ&printsec=titlepage&source=gbs_summary_r&cad=0" REL="nofollow">History of the Worship of God<>

  10. Just one more link you might find of interest:

    < HREF="http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/audio.htm" REL="nofollow">Catholic Apologetics on Audio<>This particular link is chock full of stories of converts from Protestantism and especially noteworthy is the “Journey Home” audio section. I believe all are in mp3 format and works on most all digital music players and iPods if you want to download them and load them to one. I have my 8 gb iPod filled almost all the way up 😉

    I really mean this when I say – God bless you all. I also really mean it when I say – It’s time to come home.

    I can be reached at:



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