As I mentioned in my last post, Joel Osteen was going to be interviewed last night on 60 Minutes.  Joel is the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX.  It’s the largest church in America with 47,000 in attendance.  I enjoy watching these types of interviews to hear what is said by both the interviewers and the interviewees.

Here’s some of the good:

  • Joel has helped thousands of people to live better lives.
  • Joel did deflect credit and say it was God using him.
  • Joel seemed humbled (sincerely emotional) when he is questioned about how he is used to change people’s lives.
  • Joel is a great motivational speaker and author.

Here’s some of the bad:

  • Joel’s theology is flawed in many ways.
  • He has been wishy-washy on whether Jesus is the only way to God.  See his previous interview on Larry King.  This is a crucial tenet of our faith.  See John 14:6.  We cannot change our theology in order to not offend anyone.
  • Prosperity theology.  Osteen says things such as: “It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life.”  These statements line up with the Word of Faith movement.  It’s definitely positive thinking, but you have to take Scripture out of context to back up these statements.
  • Joel doesn’t make much mention of Jesus or God in his books?  Is he called to be a pastor or simply a motivational speaker and author?
  • Joel’s messages are full of fluff that just makes people feel good.  There is very little Scripture used.  I’ve personally downloaded a few of his messages and listened.  I feel good after them, but there is no depth.

In conclusion, I personally feel like Joel is sincerely a great guy who truly loves God, his family and his church.  I believe his amazing “success” has placed him in a great position of influence.  I believe that he has sold out in several areas of practice and theology in order to draw a bigger audience.  What I wonder is how many of the thousands of followers are actually followers of Joel and not followers of Jesus?  At his book signing you could get a glimpse into the possible answer to that question.

We must remember that having a big crowd doesn’t make someone or something right?  We must never water down our message or theology in order to reach our community.