Saturday Special: Joel Osteen does he preach the gospel?

So I was on twitter and one of the people I follow tweeted to me a Joel Osteen quote.  I challenged him on this and through the conversation I told him that I would post on the blog why I think that Joel Osteen is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

First the gospel:  Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 1Cor.15:1-4

As Paul has succinctly put here is the gospel, this is what we received, this is what we stand in, and this is what is saving us.  It consists of:

  • 1. We are sinners
  • 2. Christ died for our sins
  • 3. That all of this is in accordance to the Scriptures
  • 4.  That Christ was buried
  •  5. That Christ was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.

If the gospel that Joel Osteen preaches doesn’t have these elements in it then it is a false gospel.

So let’s take a look at what Joel Osteen has said about sin:

“Listen; don’t dangle people over the fires of hell. Lisa and I always kid about you know we’re going to dangle them over the fires of hell. Listen, that doesn’t draw people to God. They know what kind of life they live. They know how bad they’ve lived. What you’ve got to do is talk about the goodness of God. Listen, it’s the goodness of God that brings people to repentance. It’s the goodness of God. One thing I always appreciated about my dad is that he instilled into us a good vision of who God was. We learned about a good God.” [Sermon: What the Resurrection Means to Us As Believers

So Joel Osteen is reluctant to talk about the severity of sin where sin leads to or how that God hates all evildoers (Ps. 5:5), hates the wicked (Ps.11:5) and that sinners are children of wrath (Eph. 2:3)

So what does Joel Osteen say about Christ dying for our sins?  Well here is a snippet from a sermon.

For three days Jesus fought with the enemy. It was the battle of the ages, light versus darkness, good versus evil. But thank God Satan was no match for Jesus.” (Joel Osteen, Discover the Champion in You, TBN, April 26, 2004)

Osteen describes what took place in typical word faith color, “He grabbed Satan by the nap [sic] of his neck and He began to slowly drag him down the corridors of hell. All beat up and bruised because He wanted to make sure that every single demon saw very clearly that Jesus was indeed the undisputed Champion of all time!” ( Joel Osteen, “The Truth of Resurrection,” April 23, 2000, Lakewood Church, Sermons, (Cited fromBob Hunter Christianity Still in Crisis? A Word of Faith Update JAW455)

Wow even if Osteen is using hyperbole and I don’t think he is, is this how scripture describes Christ dying for our sins?  Instead of being victorious over sin, death and the grave at the cross Jesus had a fist fight with Satan in hell?  Instead Hebrews 10:10 tells us that we saved by Christ’s offering his body on the cross, that it was his blood that saved us (1Peter 1:9) so it was at the cross that our salvation was accomplished.,

And what about the scripture well when commenting on the lack of scripture in his books Osteen said this:  (From a Larry King interview)

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.

Lastly this is what Joel Osteen preached on the resurrection:

We have a reason to celebrate every day because we serve a God who is alive and filled with resurrection power! Not only did He resurrect Jesus from the dead, but He wants to extend His resurrection power to every area of your life, today!

Maybe you have a dream to get out of debt, pay off your house or be free from that burden of lack, but it looks like it’s impossible in the natural. Business is slow. The economy is down. You’ve gone as far as your education allows. But God is saying, “I’m not limited by those things. I’ve got resurrection power. I can give you one break that will thrust you to a new level. I can open up doors that no man can shut. I can bring talent out of you that you didn’t know you had. I can cause people, for no reason, to go out of their way to want to be good to you.”

Your part is to keep believing today, knowing that He wants to bring you into supernatural increase. Remember, He is risen, He is alive, and He is faithful to His Word. Trust Him today and let His resurrection power work in your life!

So I have to ask is this the gospel?  Is this what Paul taught us that saves us and keeps us?  I don’t thinks so this isn’t any gospel that saves people.

See also:

Staying in his Lane~Albert Mohler

Does Joel Osteen not know or does he not care? ~Albert Mohler

Become a better you:  Reflections on Joel Osteen’s latest book ~Michael Horton


2 Replies to “Saturday Special: Joel Osteen does he preach the gospel?”

  1. I absolutely love John MacArthur and I very much model my theological beliefs from his writings and study materials. Thank you for posting this blog, I enjoyed reading it. I am in full agreement with you on this subject and matter.


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