Posted by: Damon Whitsell | December 18, 2014

“What’s the Problem with Joel Osteen?” Good Question! by Pamela Couvrette

I was blessed today to get a good internet connection again and to run into an ex-occultist named Pamela Couvrette who dabbled in the Word of Faith movement after becoming a Christian. Her testimony and writings are very good. She has many great writings. And she is going to allow me to post any that I want here so she will be posting here as a guest writer. I will post a couple of her post per day and you can see them all here. THANKS PAMELA for caring and sharing with us. We are honored to have you “guest write”. I am sure your work will help someone by you allowing us to post your work. 🙂

joel say champion

SOURCE: I’ve managed to mostly stay off Facebook for the past couple of months, but today I logged in. It’s a breeding ground for heresy and today didn’t disappoint. To correct every post would take every waking moment. But there was a posted article that I can’t turn a blind eye to.  I’m referring to this article which asked “What’s the problem with Joel Osteen?”. I’m so glad he asked and I would love to address the author’s question.

Initially I was going to respond point by point according to Mr. Wagner’s article, but I’ll just cover the basics which should address most points. (Words in pink are from the article).

1.  “He preaches the most clear and simple gospel message a person could hear”.

What gospel is that I wonder? This article sums up Mr. Osteen’s gospel:

“God loves you and wants to save you from  life of mediocrity and small dreams. Therefore, if you believe in God and be obedient to him, God will give you a plan for your life that includes big dreams,  self esteem, favor, health and wealth, influence, a better job, a positive self image and a fulfilled life free of negativity”.

Of course this god would attract people! Even the World would love this Jesus. Sign me up! This version of The Law of Attraction/New Age/The Secret just might work!

And what happens when it doesn’t? “Over one million people have received Christ through Joel’s “Night of Hope”…” Which Jesus did they receive? 2 Corinthians 11:4. Are they healthy and wealthy yet? How long is their “receiving Christ” going to last if they are not blessed with a $10 million home?

Where is repentance and grief over sin, crying out desperately to the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved and delivered? Where is the resurrection? In fact, where is Jesus? This article reports that Joel Osteen repeatedly mentions god, but not Jesus. In fact, in 806 tweets, Jesus was mentioned once. Once. I had to say that twice.

I was a follower of Joel Osteen until I started actually comparing what he was saying to scripture according to 1 John 4:1.  Many years were a mass of confusion for me as I listened to proponents of Word of Faith. I’ve had chronic pain for over half my life. I also have hyperacusis (everyday normal sounds are excruciatingly painful for me). God wants me healthy? I would just like to type this without pain. Or be with friends and family without sound waves stabbing my ears. God wants me to have a “better job”? How about a job? Wealth? Come on. I’m sure you get the picture. Can you imagine what that did to my faith and my relationship with God? I was so preoccupied with attaining what the Word of Faith movement promised that obedience and mortification of sin took a back seat.

And I speak from a blessed, comfortable, 1st world, life. What about those in third world countries? War torn countries? What about persecuted Christians who are tortured for the saving gospel? What about those who have been martyred? What about the deaths of the Apostles! God had a plan for them and it wasn’t “self esteem”.

Now, what does scripture say? Matthew 5:11 says we will be persecuted on the account of Jesus and Matthew 10:22 says we will be hated. Is that the “influence” Mr. Osteen speaks of? It certainly isn’t free of negativity.

Romans 12:1-2 says we are to present ourselves as a living sacrifice and not to be conformed to this world. In Acts 9:16 God told Ananias how much Paul was going to suffer for His namesake. In 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 Paul says he was

in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.  (NKJV)

How does Mr. Osteen’s message fit with this account? It doesn’t. (Ironically, Paul was speaking of these experiences to the church of Corinth because of the false teachers).

In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul speaks of a thorn in his flesh that God chose not to heal? Why? Many Word of Faith Preachers would say Paul did not have enough faith. That is what I thought for many years when God chose not to heal me. It’s a horrible place to be in.

God has used my infirmities to spiritually mature me and if healing meant I would go back to where I was spiritually, I wouldn’t want it. They have been gifts to me. Scripture is replete with the benefits of suffering. One of many benefits I have received is rightly dividing the word of God 2 Timothy 2:15 and 1 Corinthians 3:2 and Hebrews 5:12. It’s been a blessed and most undeserved gift to cause me to truly seek out proper interpretation of scripture. My relationship with God is abounding in many ways compared to my lost years.

2.  In Mr. Wagner’s article, those who are discerning and warn about false teachers and teachings are called “haters, attacking, slanderous, disrespectful, arrogant, divisive, Christian critics and I think he implied that we don’t have “hearts” when he said “-problem is in the hearts of the ‘Christian Critics’ (sounds like an oxymoron)“.  Well, we do have hearts, and even if we were all those things he called us, it wouldn’t be an oxymoron, because scripture says the heart is deceitful and sick (Jeremiah 17:9).

That being said, I find it strange that the very thing he seems to depise (Christians “attacking” Christians) is the very thing he is doing.

Regarding public accusations, Paul named Phygelus and Hermogenes in 2 Timothy 1:15, Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Timothy 2:17, Jannes and Jambres in 2 Timothy 3:8, Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10 and Alexander in 2 Timothy 4:14. John named Diotrephes in 3 John 1:9 and in Matthew 23 and Luke 11, Jesus rebuked false teachers.

Furthermore, 2 Tim 2:25 commands us to correct those in opposition, Ephesians 5:11 commands us to expose false teachers, Romans 16:17-18 commands us to mark them out (KJV), 1 Timothy 5:20 tells us to rebuke them before everyone. That is not the full list of verses commanding us to correct and warn about false teaching, but even if there were just one verse, that would be sufficient.

Regarding false teachers, 2 Timothy 3:5 commands us to avoid such people, Jude 1:4 warns us false teachers have crept in, 2 Peter 2:1-2 says they secretly bring in destructive heresies, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 says let no one deceive you, Acts 20:28-31 warns of fierce wolves coming in to destroy the flock, 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 warns about another Jesus and a different gospel, 1 Timothy 4:1 warns of doctrines of demons, 2 Corinthians 11:13 warns of false apostles disguising themselves as agents of Christ, Revelations 2:2 warns of false apostles and commands us to test them.

In Matthew 24:4-28 when the disciples asked Jesus to tell them what the sign of His return will be He mentioned false teachers more than anything else.

Notice words like “crept in”, “disguised”, “secretly” and “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. It’s not “wolves among sheep”. They are disguised. Hidden. Among sheep. Don’t assume that because they sound Christian they are, and don’t assume that their definitions of doctrine are the same as yours.

Obviously that is not a complete list of every scripture verse warning about false teachers, false prophets and false gospels because both the Old Testament and New Testament are full of warnings. It’s talked about the most because we are to honor and stand up for Truth and not be led astray by lies Ephesians 4:14.

3. “I believe the main thing leaders should be “called out for” is the arrogance and the divisive example…”

I will only respond to the “divisive” remark because that seems to be a favorite statement to discerning people. First, if disagreeing is divisive, then the article I am responding to is divisive.

Secondly, Truth divides itself from lies naturally. Hebrews 4:12. I have already pointed out the many warnings of false teachings and the commands to publicly rebuke them, so naturally there will be a division.

In addition, in 1 Corinthians 11:18-19, Paul said there must be factions in the church so those who are genuine may be recognized. In other words, there will be divisions. If wolves in sheep’s clothing are in the church (Matthew 7:15), to be non divisive would be a nightmare.

There are many terrible tragedies and suffering in this world, but a false gospel and a different Jesus lead to eternal damnation.

4. Popularity does not equal truth.

Many people (and it seems this article, with the many references to Mr. Osteen’s popularity), equate a large following with Truth. There are more Muslims than Joel Osteen fans so it would follow that Muslims are speaking truth. Although, I’m sure there are many Muslims who are fans of Mr. Osteen. Remember, if the World likes what is being preached, it’s not the gospel (John 15:18-25, Matthew 10:22).

5. Time and again I see, “we are commanded to love one another, stop criticizing”.

Let me ask you this: when you tell people about Jesus, don’t you do it because you love them and you want them to have eternal life? If they said to you “stop being divisive and just love me”, wouldn’t you say, “but I am loving you”?

In the many scripture warnings above, there are words like, “wolves”, “destructive”, “deceive”, “fierce”, and “doctrines of demons” – isn’t it loving to warn about that?! When we see criminals on the news, their names and pictures are released. Does anyone say, “Those reporters are being divisive and unloving by telling everyone of their crime!”  Or, if there is a criminal in the neighborhood, is anyone satisfied if the police say to them, “Mam, there is a group of home invaders in the neighborhood. We have their names and pictures but we can’t release that to you because it would be unloving. So I’m just here to warn you that they may sneak in like fierce wolves and destroy you”. No, because it would be ridiculous. And unloving.

I warn others because I have been deceived many times. I warn others because I do love them. I hate the enemy of this world and his lies. I warn others because I am commanded to.

I have done my best to keep my response centered around scripture and not conjecture and personal opinion. I trust I have merely compared the teachings of Mr. Osteen to scripture which we are commanded to do in 1 Thess 5:21. But don’t take my word for it. Your final authority is the inspired word of God 2 Timothy 3:16.

So, what’s the problem with Joel Osteen? I pray that now you know.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pamela Couvrette


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