Osteen bashing

I’m using the term ‘bashing’ in an Australian colloquial way: “to relentlessly criticise or pursue, eg; bible bashing means to forcefully evangelise.” So please don’t be offended by my controversial title – I hope Joel is doing well.


I don’t really have a lot to say about Joel. I’ve never met the guy, but thanks to 10 years experience in ‘Word Faith’ I do understand where he is coming from and why he says what he says. I now know that this ministry is something worthy of being concerned about. I want to share an article that could be most helpful if you’ve managed to see the 60 Minutes story on JO. Please focus on the practical implications of his popularity and poor gospel message.


The full article is available at the Westminster Seminary:


“Law-Lite”: Salvation From Unhappiness By Doing Your Best

There is no condemnation in Osteen’s message for failing to fulfill God’s righteous law. On the other hand, there is no justification. Instead of either message, there is an upbeat moralism that is somewhere in the middle: Do your best, follow the instructions I give you, and God will make your life successful. “Don’t sit back passively,” he warns, but with a gentle pleading suggests that the only reason we need to follow his advice is because it’s useful for getting what we want. God is a buddy or partner who exists primarily to make sure we are happy. “You do your part, and God will do his part.” (2) “Sure we have our faults,” he says, but “the good news is, God loves us anyway.” (3) Instead of accepting God’s just verdict on our own righteousness and fleeing to Christ for justification, Osteen counsels readers simply to reject guilt and condemnation.(4) Yet it is hard to do that successfully when God’s favor and blessing on my life depend entirely on how well I can put his commands to work. “If you will simply obey his commands, He will change things in your favor.”(5) That’s all: “…simply obey his commands.”

Michael S. Horton (2007) Joel Osteen and the Glory Story: A Case Study

If you think that this is a harsh criticism, here is a quote from a ‘pro-Osteen’ article linked from Osteen’s website which praises his message and what it is achieving:


“Few individuals have been as successful as Joel in spreading God’s word,” stated Young. “Joel understands today’s culture and that messages of damnation and of a vengeful God no longer resonate with an overstressed society that already believes they are living in Hell daily.

“Instead, Joel tells people that if they draw closer to God that their lives will be better. This is a message that our society is eager to embrace. Who doesn’t seek a fuller life on earth?”

Osteen calls himself a motivator who preaches a message of hope and tells people they can live a good life no matter what’s happened.

By Lillian Kwon, Christian Post Reporter

So unfortunately, many people could embrace Osteenism but never encounter biblical teaching on salvation and how God requires His people to respond in faith in Christ alone and to forsake and turn from sin. The tragedy for Osteenites is that they may think they are of Christ, but they have never embraced Christ as Lord and Saviour.


4 Responses to Osteen bashing

  1. tassie63 says:

    Hi, as a Christian, I am always so Amaized at so many other God fearing people like to Bash, another Christian, Who in the best of the Ability that God has given them are out there in amongst all the crooked things in life thats going on.
    And they refuse to hide their light under a bushell, but are willing to go and share what they have learned, No where in Scripture does it give you the Right to bag and shun another christian for sharing their faith, because we will never know it all, the Bible tells us we look through a glass dimly, meaning its not all clear cut.
    And many of those do gooder’s who think they have it all together, and have a very criticl Spirit against another brother who is out there doing it for Jesus, many in their ivory Tower’s are going to hear those Awful words depart from me because i never knew you, so please be careful how you critiscise your brother Pray for them that they will be set free because In John.14:6. I Am the way The Truth and the Life, and if we pray for God to set them free, we will be reinforcing his word into their lives, make sure you have the Log out of your own Eyes before you seek to take the Spec out of his Eyes ok God bless you in His service from Australaia. Tassie63

  2. Tassie63, it’s nice to meet you.

    How do we know that someone is preaching the Bible or preaching falsely? The Bible tells us this in John 10:4, 5 (NIV):
    “When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.’ ”
    You will know a false preacher because his voice will not be Jesus’. So what am I trying to say? I am saying that you should and must compare all preachers’ messages against the Word of God.
    If you look at what Osteen preaches, that we should be blessed with lots of money and such, look at what Jesus says: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’ ” (Mark 10:25, NIV)

    Look at other verses about money. Look in a concordance. Whatever you do, I am certain that you will find that the Bible preaches that a man should not desire money.

    THAT is why some Christians think Osteen is a false teacher.

    By the way, the Bible says that there will be false teachers in this age, so we must be careful- always make sure to test all teachings against the Bible.

    God bless you, Tassie63, and make sure to read your Bible.

  3. Thanks Return to Christianity,

    So the bible is clear: false teachers do exist. My question to Tassie is, ‘What does a false teacher look like and what do they sound like?’

    Also, you also said:

    make sure you have the Log out of your own Eyes before you seek to take the Spec out of his Eyes…

    Are you aware that that verse you have referred to is not a call for Christians to make no judgements, but instead it is a call to make THE RIGHT JUDGEMENT.

    I am sorry if you feel that the fact that I have made a judgement on Joel’s gospel message (or lack thereof) somehow makes me ‘self righteous.’ No, I know that in me dwells no good thing. I am fully relying on Christ’s righteousness alone that He offers through His work on the cross – enduring the full wrath of God in the place of sinners.

  4. Rafael says:

    Once again, Joel Osteen’s utter failure to uphold Christian truth in an age of apostacy only further supports what is all too clear about his teaching: it is spiritually bankrupt.

    Here is a link to articles our ministry has created on Osteen’s heretical compromise that is anointed as “Christianity” today.


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