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Joel Osteen Tries to Parse Reality

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Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. - 1Timothy 6: 2-7 (ESV)

The truth is always more interesting than fiction. Christianity is nearly overrun in these last days with false teachers and prophets. People who claim the mantle of Christ but do not preach His true Gospel. The most dangerous are people like Joseph Prince, whose preaching sounds so right but has a thread of leaven running through it that will consign people to eternal hell. The one who has done the most damage to Christianity is Rick Warren. Not because of his clear ecumenicalism but rather because of his work with pastors; teaching them to build purpose driven, seeker friendly, pastor as a CEO model churches. The result is the unsaved become the churched but are still unsaved. They exchange the darkness they were walking in for faux light but are assured they are in the family of God until the fateful day they stand before Christ to discover He never knew them. Then we have the poster child for word-faith prosperity doctrine, Joel Osteen. Yet according to Pastor Joel...he is not a prosperity preacher. Yes indeed, the truth is always more interesting than fiction.

The above link is to a recent interview conducted by Huffington Post Live with Osteen as he is promoting his Nights of Hope across America. In it Osteen answers the question of whether he is a prosperity preacher by saying no. The defense he offers is that he does not preach about money all the time. The reality is that under that strict parsing of terms, he is not strictly a prosperity preacher; I agree. He is not let's say like Mike Murdoch who unashamedly and consistently tries to get you to send him money. Osteen is also not of the ilk that clubs people over the head with tithing, let's say like Robert Morris. I have always stated that one of the positives about Osteen is he does not make a public push for donations on television and does not take a salary from his church. Also to his credit there has never been a whiff of financial impropriety. These are all positive things that Joel Osteen should get credit for. To claim however that he does not preach financial blessings seems to indicate that he has not read his own books:

"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." - Excerpt from "Live Your Best Life Now"

In fact if you tend to watch Joel Osteen it is clear that he deals in prosperity. But his heresy is multifaceted, so I understand where some can be easily confused. Besides preaching a typical prosperity - God - quid pro quo gospel, he is also deeply into the word faith teachings. Osteen routinely preaches about the power our words have to create reality. On TBN he was quoted as follows:

"you should declare good things. Just look in the mirror and say 'I am strong, I am healthy, I'm rising to new levels, I'm excited about my future.' When you say that, it may not be true. You may not be very healthy today, or maybe you don't have a lot of things to look forward to, but the Scripture tells us in Romans we have to call the things that are not as if they already were."

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