Joel Osteen is a huge threat to Biblical Christianity today. He lives in Houston, Texas and teaches every Sunday in a basketball arena that holds 44, 000 people. Besides that, millions of people watch his services over the television all over the world and listen to his podcasts online.
However, for all that, he is preaching nothing but a watered down, “Christian” message. He makes no mention of sin, hell, or Satan in his sermons. Instead he tells his followers how much God loves them and wants them to live a happy life. He does not want people to feel bad about themselves, so he tickles their ears like a politician rather than a preacher.
I am not just saying that he is teaching a false Christianity; the Bible states precisely the same thing. First, man absolutely needs to know about his sin to be saved. Christ states explicitly in Luke 5:32 and throughout the gospel accounts, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Christ calls the sinners to repentance, which involves preaching sin. The very act of repentance is a confessing of sin and guilt before God and turning from it. Further, I Corinthians 6:10 tells us, “Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” The preacher must preach against sin, for man to repent!
Second, Joel Osteen states, “I find today that people are not looking for theology.” If people are not interested in theology and are not looking for it, it is not possible to call them Christian. Being a Christian means being a follower of Christ. A follower wants to know everything about who he is following. He wants to aspire to be like who he is following. A Christian who does not like theology is a big paradox. If God did not want us to study Him, then why did He give us the Bible? The Bible is meant to study God, to study theology. That is why Paul tells Timothy in II Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” Scripture is profitable for all these things, but largely for doctrine. That is why Paul lists it first, to show emphasis.
Third, Christ told Peter to feed the sheep in John 21:16. This does not mean give them what they want to hear. It also does not mean what the prophets in Israel were doing in Ezekiel 34: 2 -3, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.” It means what Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” Verse three and four are especially a condemnation of Joel Osteen and his followers, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Osteen has done exactly that, he has turned the gospel into a fable about how to live a good life and how to be happy with yourself! His followers are no better, they want the message that Osteen proclaims. They do not want the true gospel! They do not want to hear about the true God, all they want is the fulfillment of their own happiness.
Finally, he begins all his messages with jokes about God and Christianity. This is no way to talk about God! It brings Him down to nothing more than a common, senseless joke. God is the Almighty King of kings. Most would even have a higher respect for a prime minister or a president than that man has for God! By bringing God down to such a level he and his followers (by laughing at the joke) are seriously breaking the third commandment.
Thus, Joel Osteen is just another false teacher that is only interested in the popularity of the ministry. He is in no way interested in bringing people to the truth of the Scriptures.