Joel Osteen is probably the most well known pastor in the United States. He also has the biggest church in the United States. What a shame because he is a false teacher leading thousands astray. Joel is all about positive confession. And he is raking in all kinds of money with his positive self help message. Unfortunately his message is far from biblical. Falling in line with other false teachers of his mindset, Joel goes after the paralytic lying by the pool of Bethesda. Joel claims he was there because he laid around for 38 years feeling sorry for himself. So basically he is saying it was his own fault for not getting up and doing something about it. Imagine if you were a handicapped person at Osteen’s church who heard this message. You would constantly feel as if your handicap was your fault because of lack of faith. The beginning of John 9 stands in direct opposition of this idea that it was necessarily his own fault. As Jesus and his disciples passed a man blind from birth, the disciples who had sinned to cause the man’s blindness. Jesus said it was not because of something him or his parents did, but that the works of God may be displayed in him. This is an example of Joel twisting scripture to fit his message.
If you have never seen the interview of Joel on Larry King’s show you need to check it out. As the pastor of the largest church in America, he should be able to clearly identify and proclaim what it takes to get to Heaven. He could not do so in this interview. When asked if someone who doesn’t believe in Christ can get to heaven, he replied that he didn’t know. He said that he couldn’t judge their hearts. He went on to say that when he went to India he saw how sincere they were in their worship of their God. This is game over territory. This puts him outside what is accepted in Christian orthodoxy. This at the least makes him a false teacher, and in my opinion makes him a heretic. There is only one way to Heaven, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. The same Jesus who said that he was the way, the truth and the life. And that no one comes to the Father except through Him. It doesn’t matter how sincere you are in your false beliefs, without Christ there is no hope for Heaven.
Joel also avoids talking about sin like it is the plague. He doesn’t use the word sin and says he doesn’t talk about it because people already know what they are doing wrong. The Law was given to us for a reason. God gave it so that we could see that we are sinners and that we can not make it to Heaven by being good. No one could or can fulfill the requirements of the Law except Jesus. If a person is not teaching the whole counsel of God, they are not teaching the true and living God. Joel’s refusal to teach on sin means he is not teaching the true God.
His other main heretical view is of the atonement of Christ. He claims that the atonement took place in hell not on the cross. He says that after Jesus died on the cross, he went to hell to do battle with Satan. There was this clash of titans in hell and Jesus beat up Satan and dragged him through hell for all the demons to see. There is not even the slightest hint of this anywhere in the Bible, and it makes Jesus out to be a liar. On the cross Jesus said tetelestai, which means the debt had been paid in full. He also said “Father into your hands I commit my spirit.” Jesus atoned for our sins on the cross and nowhere else.
Osteen is to be avoided at all costs. He make you feel really good about yourself, but there are many who felt good about themselves in hell. The teachings of Osteen are leading many down a broad path that ends in hell. Following Jesus is not easy, and it will not always bring wealth and health. It is important to place faith where it belongs, in Christ. We have misplaced our faith if we are putting it in the power of own words. Those following Osteen have definitely placed their trust in one who is leading them astray.