(02)Joel Osteen as a Word-Faith Preacher

Joel Osteen is the author of  [Your Best Life Now:

7 Steps to Living  at Your Full Potential] and [Become a

Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day].

.

The article about Joel Osteen  is  entitled [The Leaven of

Lakewood]. 

                    http://www.discernment.org/LeavenLakewood.htm

 The following is extracted from this article.

 1.JOEL OSTEEN’S FAMILY BACKGROUND

 When it comes to the LAKEWOOD CHARISMATIC

MEGA-CHURCH there are aspects of this ministry which must

be cited as worthy.  To begin with the church was originally

started by JOHN OSTEEN, who was originally a Southern

Baptist pastor but after receiving the “baptism” in/with the

Holy Spirit he became enamored with the CHARISMATIC

renewal movement in its early stage and eventually became

associated with the WORD OF FAITH (WOF) cult. 

.

 However, I am under no illusions regarding the WORD-OF-

FAITH “leaven” which John propagated and is unfortunately

being further magnified through HIS SON JOEL OSTEEN

who took over as Pastor when his father died in 1999. 

 John was a big crusader for the error of POSITIVE

CONFESSION.  This is a metaphysical belief that we can either

create or change our reality by the power of our words,

for example he stated the following:

.

When they say like they did to Smith Wigglesworth, “How are

you feeling today?” He said “Listen, I don’t ask my body

how it’s feeling; I tell it how to feel.” And your words

should not be to describe the situation; your words

should be given to change the situation. And so, read it,

meditate upon it, and speak it.

.

OSTEEN is on record as FULLY ENDORSING the WORD-OF

FAITH errant concepts surrounding FINANCIAL

PROSPERITY:

.

It’s God’s will for you to live in PROSPERITY instead of

poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in

debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in HEALTH and not in sickness

all the days of your life.

.

In the above sermon we can see the HEALTH & WEALTH

 “GOSPEL” summed up three sentences. 

 . 

 2. JOEL OSTEEN EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND

AND EXPERIENCE

.

 Since we know his training is not theological, what is it?  He did

attend Oral Roberts University for two years, but his area of study

had to do with television production and marketing.

.

 For seventeen (17) years Joel was behind the scenes handling

all the television and marketing of his father’s ministry. 

 Joel Osteen had the ability to get his father’s heavily WORD-OF

FAITH influenced message out all over America and into 100

foreign markets.  

.

With his father sick in the hospital, John asks his son, Joel, to

preach for him that Sunday.  Initially Joel balked at the idea

and said “no.”  He then relented and here are Joel’s own words

concerning his preaching that day:

.

I just got up there and told stories.  I was so glad when it was over,

I said, ‘I’ll never do this again in my life.

That was the beginning of his public ministry; he just got up and

told “stories.”  Joel has been telling stories that have been tickling

the ears of the multitudes ever since.

.

 Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or

experience to be a pastor. To me we have a clear case of the

blind leading the blind (read Luke 6:39) with the end result being

masses of people falling into the ditch of spiritual ignorance,

abuse and/or extremism.

3. JOEL OSTEEN’S PREACHING STYLE

 Osteen’s upbeat style is deliberate and authentic.

 Of course Osteen’s “style” is upbeat, would you expect

negativity from a positive confession devotee?  No! 

 Deliberate, absolutely, he really BELIEVES much of the

WORD-OF-FAITH nonsense his father taught him all his life.

.

 Authentic?  Without a doubt!  What you see is what you get. 

Joel Osteen is a man without any biblical education but an

admitted talent for marketing. 

.

 Descriptions of his style include ‘simple,’ ‘down-to-earth,’

 ‘practical,’ ‘relatable,’ ‘easy,’ ‘folksy,’ ‘humble.

.

 “It’s 10 a.m. when he began his sermon.  The theme is practical

as he gives example after example of the importance of

following God’s timing rather than one’s own.  He keeps the tone

cheerful, optimistic. ‘God doesn’t want anybody walking out

of here today heavy-hearted and downcast,’ Osteen says.”

.

 Joel Osteen is charismatic in his personality.  He is not a bad

looking man, his delivery is as non-threatening as the positive

messages he delivers.  Perhaps I am reading in to much yet when

I read “practical” it makes me think that he believes teaching

theology is somehow “impractical.”  The example after

example simple means he tells a lot of stories and

anecdotes that somehow relate to the message in which he may

cite one or two proof texts to make his point.

.

It also concerns me when a pastor can make the statement that

God does not want anybody walking out of here “heavy-hearted.”

.

My Bible says “godly sorrow worketh repentance…”

(see 2 Cor. 7:10).  At times God does want us to walk out

of a service “heavy-hearted” if we have been sinning

against His will.  We should allow the Word (when properly

expounded) and the Spirit (when genuinely present) to break us,

to convict us of sinful attitudes and practices. 

.

 However if all you hear is “upbeat,” “cheerful,” and

“optimistic” messages there is little opportunity for the

Holy Spirit to work conviction in the hearts of the

hearers.  

.

 “Let Us Entertain You, ” he says.

Entertained?  Oh yes, it is not only Joel’s preaching style but the

music of Lakewood is an important ingredient in drawing large

hoards of people. The music at Lakewood is contemporary. 

.

They have musical stars that appeal to Hispanic (Witt),

African-American (Houghton) and Caucasian members

(Ratcliff).  The musical team writes many of their own songs

and nothing in the article is ever mentioned about hymns.

4. JOEL OSTEEN’S MARKETING TECHNIQUES

  ‘Make church relevant,’ he says.

 To be a success in marketing you have to know where people itch

and scratch it.  Or, you have to create a desire in them by

creating a hunger for something they currently do not

have nor formerly knew they needed.  All commercials can be

condensed down to one of these two truths. So to become a

mega-church a pastor has to make church relevant. 

.

 ‘Give them something to be able to take away,’ he says.

 He has to give the people what they want, something that

soothes that spiritual itch.  In order to be a “success”

(i.e. large masses of people and money) pastors must

preach unchallenging messages that uplift rather than

convict.  He must pander to the lowest common denominator

and make sure that whatever is taught does not offend

anymore at anytime.

.

 I find today people are not looking for theology,’ he says. 

There’s a place for it, but in your everyday life you need

to know how to live.

.

Well that is obvious because if they were they would not find any

sound theology at Lakewood! Lest you think me a bit harsh let

me remind you that theology simply means

“the knowledge of God.” 

.

In essence Osteen has said that people are really not interested

in learning about God. Somehow (undoubtedly due to his lack

of biblical education) he has made a disconnect between

knowing the God of the Bible via sound biblical theology

and “knowing how to live.”

.

Brothers and sisters, my wife and I can testify to you that the

more accurately you understand God within the

biblical context the better life you will live before Him.

.

 God does not tell us to feed the sheep what they want to eat. 

Jesus told Peter “feed My sheep,” (see John 21:16).  Jesus said

“feed” the sheep not “entertain” them!  We are to give them the

Word of God in its totality.  Any pastor can fall into the trap

of becoming a people pleaser.  

.

There are many biblical themes which are very “unpopular” and

even politically “incorrect” yet the faithful pastor/teacher will

expound on these topics as well so that the flock under his care

is receiving a balanced spiritual diet and is able to walk

in the full light of God’s Word and not in the shadows.

 .

5. THE KEY TO JOEL OSTEEN’S SUCCESS

Osteen I believe is probably the first of many WORD-OF-FAITH

devotee’swho has melded the successful marketing

techniques of the seeker-sensitive mega-churches with their

positive confession health & wealth message.

.

The message that God wants to bless His children with

complete physical health, to give them great financial wealth

and to demand little of them regarding their spiritual life is a

highly appealing message.  When you combine this with

well known Gospel singers, highly orchestrated praise

and worship teams in a decidedly non-church atmosphere

it will appeal to even a wider audience.

6. FINAL WARNING:

 What saddens me the most is that one hears little, if any,

Law & Gospel proclaimed by Joel at Lakewood Church. 

 To quote something I remember hearing Hagin say: “how

do you poison a dog?  You put the poison in with the

good meat.”

.

 I do not want to press the analogy too far but the reality

is that 30,000 people are NOT being biblically fed a

balanced spiritual diet that will promote true growth

in their lives.

.

What you do hear is a synthesis of WORD-OF-FAITH

concepts wrapped up in a seeker-friendly environment by a

young man with a winsome smile.

.

After all, many posit, if Joel was not being used of the

Lord then why would God allow all these people to

come to Lakewood church?

.

Could it be a sign of GOD’S JUDGMENT on HIS PEOPLE

who have forsaken His ways?  Often we think of God’s

judgment as some divine catastrophe, yet often, and just as

catastrophic, is when He simply allows people to have

own way.  I believe the words of Jeremiah are applicable to

many in the Church today:

Jer 2:12-13

[Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid,

be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.  For my people have

committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain

of living waters, [and] hewed them out cisterns,

broken cisterns, that can hold no water].

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