Thursday, June 23, 2005

Joel Osteen- Happy Preacher or Heretic?

On Monday night I was flipping through the channels and came across Larry King Live, I usually don't watch his show, but I was very interested in his guest. It was none other than the smiling preacher himself, Joel Osteen. I used to think that Joel was a harmless happy preacher, focusing only on the positive, but the interview with Larry King does proves that his theology is heretical. Now, please understand me, I do not like throwing around the H-word very often, but in cases like these you have to call it like you see it. Please don't take my word for it read, the transcript on Larry King's website. Here a few of the low points of the interview:

KING: But you're not fire and brimstone, right? You're not pound the decks and hell and dam nation?

OSTEEN: No. That's not me. It's never been me. I've always been an encourager at heart. And when I took over from my father he came from the Southern Baptist background and back 40, 50 years ago there was a lot more of that. But, you know, I just -- I don't believe in that. I don't believe -- maybe it was for a time. But I don't have it in my heart to condemn people. I'm there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us.

KING: But don't you think if people don't believe as you believe, they're somehow condemned?

OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a couple Sundays about it. I'm for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it's not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that's God's for you. You can live a good life no matter what's happened to you. And so I don't know. I know there is condemnation but I don't feel that's my place

KING: Do you share Billy's (Graham) beliefs of life after death in a sense of going somewhere?

OSTEEN: I do. I do. We probably agree on 99 percent. I do. I believe there's a heaven you know. Afterwards, there's, you know, a place called hell. And I believe it's when we have a relationship with God and his son Jesus and that's what the Bible teaches us. I believe it.

KING: But it doesn't quote a lot of biblical passages until the back of the book, right?

OSTEEN: It doesn't do a whole lot of it. My message, I wanted to reach the mainstream. We've reached the church audience. So I just try to, what I do is just try to teach practical principles. I may not bring the scripture in until the end of my sermon and I might feel bad about that. Here's the thought. I talked yesterday about living to give. That's what a life should be about. I brought in at the end about some of the scriptures that talk about that. But same principal in the book

KING: Because we've had ministers on who said, your record don't count. You either believe in Christ or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don't no matter what you've done in your life, you ain't.

OSTEEN: Yeah, I don't know. There's probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you're a believer in God, you're going to have some good works. I think it's a cop-out to say I'm a Christian but I don't ever do anything ...

KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth.

OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that...

KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?

OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say, here's what the bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just...

KING: But you believe your way.

OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.

KING: But for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he?

OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let god be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know.

KING: So you make no judgment on anyone?

OSTEEN: No. But I...

KING: What about atheists?

OSTEEN: You know what, I'm going to let someone -- I'm going to let god be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just -- again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around telling everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their choice. God's got to look at your own heart. God's got to look at your heart, and only god knows that.

Decide for yourself if he is a happy preacher or a heretic. Just keep in mind that it is ok not to want to judge people, but when it come to God judging people, we already know what is going to happen.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

you may be interested in the letter on his website www.joelosteen.com that clarifies what he says he believes...basically his response to his appearance on the show

Warren said...

You only got one comment on this?? I've got people telling me I need to go pick a different fight!

Anonymous said...

On the whole Joel Osteen thing, i think that he is a man of God and that he does preach the word. Yeah sometimes he makes it seem like hes wanting to please to many people but i think that he is just trying to not make anybody feel uncomfortable. Hes trying to let others know that we are all sinners and that it is by grace that we are saved, not one sin is more than another. But yes, there is a line when it comes to making people feel comfortable and speaking the whole truth. All im trying to say is that i think that he is doing God's will and leading others to christ, God will bless him for his efforts(matt. 5:11).
Bryan, i know you very well, better than you think. I am not as well educated as you and am still in college but i do know that when people get all upedy about little deals like this it causes other people to stumble. On the contrary i love your website and plan to visit it again in the future.