Joel Osteen, or also know as Mr. Guy Smiley, is one of America’s most popular televangelists with a weekly church attendance of nearly 45,000 people at their Lakewood facility. Osteen’s preaching is seen in nearly 100 nations worldwide. He has also authored several popular books including, "You’re Best Life Now" and "Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential". Osteen took over his father’s church on October 3, 1999 after 17 years of producing the church’s television show and his father’s death. Joel Osteen’s father John Osteen, a Southern Baptist preacher turned charismatic in the late 1950’s starting Lakewood Church on Mothers days 1959.
Many have questioned Osteen’s place as a pastor because of lack of education. Thought a degree is not required to preach the word of God a proper understanding of theology and biblical hermeneutics is required. We are told in Titus 1:9 what the qualifications of a pastor are; “He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” Is Osteen able to do this? Does he refute those who oppose sound doctrine? Sadly the answer to this is no. As seen in an interview on Fox News in 2008 during the U.S. Presidential primary race, when discussing whether he thought that a Mormon was a Christian, Osteen indicated that he believed that they were.  For this we can see that Osteen is less than qualified to be a pastor. No pastor with the size of the church Osteen has ever should be saying that Mormons are Christians. It has been widely reported that Osteen attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for a two year period without receiving a degree. Likewise, it has been reported that he has no higher level training in religious matters or Bible studies, which can be demonstrated by his preaching style. In an appearance on Piers Morgan Tonight in January, 2011, Osteen mentioned that he had never attended seminary.
Osteen’s preaching style has been described as light hearted, or better know as feel good preaching. His preaching focuses on Gods “love” instead focusing or addressing the topic of “sin”. While this type of preaching may make people feel good this is not biblical preaching. By focusing on only Gods “love” and not “sin” you nullify the need for the atonement of Christ’s work on the cross. When Osteen is preaching and refuses to address the topic of sin he is actually refusing to preach the full console of God in his messages. By doing so he is actually preaching heresy. Another notable problem with Osteen’s preaching style is his use of or better lack of the use of Scripture in his sermons. Osteen very seldom uses more than one verse in his sermons. He tries to justify this by saying that he doesn’t want to burden people with scripture. The truth of the matter is that Osteen himself does not know scripture the way someone claiming to a pastor should. His not burdening people with scripture is more to do with his own lack of knowledge than wanting to burned who he is preaching too. The Word of God is never a “burden” to those who are truly called to be one of Christ elect. The “burden” for the elect is not hearing the word of God preached in a sermon. Osteen theology can best be summed up as have it your way theology. Another point that should be addressed is how Osteen closes his sermons; with a simple prayer stating that if you say this prayer you are now a Christian. Saying a prayer does not make you a Christian. Osteen is misleading many who have said this prayer into false conversion. While prayer is important, it is the working of the Holy Spirit that does the converting of one’s heart to the Lord, not a silly little prayer done for show.
While Osteen may make a great motivational speaker he does not make a good pastor. His preaching style and lack of proper rendering of the word of God makes him one of America’s most unfit people to be called a pastor and he should not be holding the office of a Pastor.
- Uplifting preaching, easy to listen too.
- Preaches a positive message.
- Good motivational speaker.
- Confirms basic tenants orthodox teaching.
- Confirms the Trinity.
- Lack of biblical references or Scripture in preaching.
- Lack of hermeneutical understanding.
- Confirms Mormonism as Christianity
- Refuses to address the topic of sin in sermons.
- More concerned on popularity and numbers than biblical truth.
- Has a synergistic view of salvation.
- A Sinners prayer that does not address sin.
- Have it your way theology.
- Lack of biblical commitment.