(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

last fall.

.

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

whiner.]

 .

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

college.

.

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,

isn’t it?]

   (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

space?

    (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.

.

 

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