(01) Joel Osteen and the Prosperity Gospel
The following are excerpts from various articles published in
[The Washington Times], [ABC News], [The Christian Post],
[Fox News], [Business Week], and [CBS News].
1. [The Washington Times] 05/09/2008
His books and message are America’s new civil religion: a
packaging of advice on relationships, health and finances
mixed in with shared values that appeal to people of all or no
faith. About 40 percent of his worldwide TV audience identify
themselves as nonbelievers.
2. [ABC News]
Osteen has been criticized for focusing too much on the almighty
dollar. Walters asked him about preaching what is called
[the prosperity gospel].
[I think the word rich is all relative,] Osteen said. [I think down
and deep in our hearts, we believe that God does want us to live
the abundant life that we can. To me, prosperity is health,
good relationships … and money, of course, is part of it].
3. [The Christian Post]11/12/2006
Osteen goes to church every week with good news, telling tens of
thousands of believers that God wants them to prosper.
Some evangelicals disagree with his messages on prosperity
and omitting the cross and the suffering of Jesus Christ
from his sermons.
4. [Business Week]23/05/2005
Osteen is also a leading proponent of what is sometimes called
the [prosperity gospel]which teaches that God wants people to
prosper in all areas of their lives — including material success.
He outlines these beliefs in his best-seller, Your Best Life Now,
which has sold over 2.5 million copies since it was first published
Q: Some of your critics say that your so-called prosperity Gospel
isn’t in keeping with the traditional Christian message, which has
often been suspicious of material wealth. How do you respond?
A: I believe that God’s dream is that we be successful in our
careers, and that we be able to send our kids to college. I don’t
mean that everyone is going to be rich, and I preach a lot on
blooming where you’re planted. But I don’t have the mindset
that money is a bad thing.
[My views] may go against some of the older, traditional
teachings. But I think we should have a mindset that God wants
us to prosper in our relationships, our health, and our
finances. God’s desire is that we excel. And we see business
leaders who are good strong Christians running [big] companies.
5. [CBS News]08/06/2008
[My message is a message of hope that God is a good God, and
that no matter what we’ve done, where we’ve been, God has
a great plan for our lives. And when we walk in his ways they can
take us places we’ve never dreamed of,] Osteen explains.
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.
Joel Osteen’s messages: [just improve your attitude,
keep your chins up, and God’s blessings will rain
down on you], [God is not looking at what you
have done wrong; He is looking at what you have
done right.] [God wants you to be a winner, not a
Osteen urges people to [enlarge their vision] about the
[good things]. Osteen asserts that when people think
[upbeat, self-confident thoughts about themselves
and speak words of victory] over dire situations,
happiness and abundance will result. To certain extent,
church leaders like Osteen attempt to preach a message that
highlights both prosperity and salvation.
Why is Joel Osteen’s motivational teaching a subtle
form of [Prosperity Gospel]?
Joel Osteen’s motivational teaching baptizes our natural
selfish desires and [felt needs]with Christian terminology.
For Osteen, [Prosperity Gospel] is not a disapproving term.
[Does God want us to be rich?]Joel Osteen asks. [When I hear
that word rich, I think people say, ‘Well, he is preaching that
everybody is going to be a millionaire’, I don’t think that’s it.]
Rather, he explains,[ I preach that anybody can improve their
lives. I think that God wants us to be prosperous. I think
he wants us to be happy. To me, you need to have money
to pay your bills. God wants us to send our kids to
I think he wants us to be a blessing to other people.
But I don’t think I’d say God wants us to be rich. It’s all relative,
(The New York Times 30/03/2006)
Joel Osteen says that our desires to be happy, to be
prosperous, and to feel good about ourselves must be
fulfilled or we are [doomed to a life of sin and misery.]
This is little more than [the psychological equivalent of
the Prosperity Gospel], which also selects certain
common desires e.g. wealth and health and accepts
them as givens that God is obliged to fulfill.
By claiming that our desires to be happy and prosperous
are what God wants to fulfill and must fulfill, Joel Osteen
is using God to fulfill our self-centered priorities.
Such views are not biblical. For real Christians, their hearts’
deepest desires must be re-orientated toward God’s
priority of displaying His glory and spreading His fame.
[He is not shy about calling on the Lord. He writes of praying
for a winning basket in a basketball game, and then sinking it;
and even of circling a parking lot, praying for a space,
and then finding it. Better yet,] he writes, [it was the premier
spot in that parking lot.]
Would anyone watching his television programs, or sitting
in his vast church facility, hear in Mr. Osteen’s message
a clear and undiluted message of Gospel proclamation?
Would this person have any reason, based on hearing
Mr. Osteen’s message, to know himself as a sinner and to
understand how the cross of Christ is the only ground
of his salvation? Would he come to know that Jesus Christ
is fully human and fully divine, and that He came in order
that we might have everlasting life — not just a good parking
(The New York Times 30/03/2006)
These people listening to Joel Osteen’s messages are taught to
overcome adversity by keeping their chins up, and confessing a
suitable ‘positive’ scripture, instead of seeking God’s guidance.
Also, the reality of sin, and the need for forgiveness is
glossed over by teaching that a simple confession of the
Lordship of Jesus will affect a change of lifestyle.