The insufferable Joel Osteen

The insufferable Joel Osteen October 28, 2011
Every Day a Friday
Joel Osteen's 'Every Day a Friday'

Few things rub me the wrong way as much as poseurs masquerading as pastors. If that sounds unduly harsh, forgive me, but I don’t think this is undue.

Al Mohler recently published a piece on Joel Osteen’s equation of Mormonism with evangelical and Catholic Christianity. In a conversation with the Washington Times, Osteen said the faiths were basically similar on the “core” issues and he didn’t want to quibble about theological details. Mohler understandably cried foul and said that Osteen was being theologically irresponsible.

Mohler may sound like a crank to some, but I’m about to sound crankier still. Bear with me. It’s for a good cause.

While I read Mohler’s piece at the Christian Post, by the magic of internet advertising algorithms, up popped an ad for Osteen’s new book, Every Day a Friday. After troubling the air with audible groan, I ventured to Amazon to read some of the volume. I usually try to avoid such books, but I was already feeling unwell, so why not? It’s an insufferable, oozing mess of a book that hardly deserves the time it takes to criticize, but one thing needs attention.

“My purpose in writing this book is to help you arrange your mind so that you choose happiness each and every day,” says Osteen in chapter one, after which he mentions “a recent study that found happiness increases 10 percent on Fridays.” On this point hangs the central hope of the book. Some hope: Read my book and you can make your life 10 percent happier every day, not just the usual uptick you experience at the end of your workweek. I don’t think that’s is going to cut the mustard.

Osteen parades himself around as a minister of the gospel. Let’s be frank: The guy should be writing copy for Hallmark (best case scenario), not preaching the gospel. Is feeling 10 percent better about your life the good news promised in the Bible? Is a marginal increase in your mood the best life God has to offer?

Like I said, I’m cranky, but stay with me. Even the title of his book is offensive. Mohler chides Osteen for being negligent in the theology department. Nothing says that so simply and shouts it so loudly as the phrase “Every Day a Friday.”

The good news isn’t about Friday. It’s about Sunday. Christians gather to celebrate the eucharist on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, because it’s the day that Jesus rose from the grave. Jesus isn’t interested in boosting your mood a meager 10 percent. Jesus went to the grave on Friday, experienced the agony of execution on Friday, endured the passion of the cross on Friday, suffered and died on Friday so that he could set us free, redeem us, remake us, rejoin us to communion with the Father and each other on Sunday when he defeated sin, the devil, and death itself in the resurrection. Osteen’s elevation of the lightly elevated mood is absurd and silly by comparison. How about we make every day a Sunday instead?

In his talk with the Times Osteen said that he saw faith at an all-time high in America today. Super. But it doesn’t mean much if it’s a misdirected faith in good vibes and not the real hope of the good news.

(Personal note to Rev. Osteen: Here’s some job opportunity information for Hallmark I found. I didn’t see anything specific about this in the FAQ there, but to apply you shouldn’t have to do anything more than send a few copies of your complete published works.)

November 16, 2011, update: When I originally published this piece I included an image of Osteen that many found objectionable. In retrospect I think that the image was gratuitous and its inclusion unwise. Because of that I have replaced it with the cover of Every Day a Friday.

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  • In my novella length allegory of the book of Jonah, my Jonah character is Joel O. a television minister who also has a line of best selling books. I am on the verge of giving away a copy of the novella in pdf format for email subscribers to my blog. The key point in my allegory is that Jonah is not the protagonist but rather the antagonist. I long ago realized this means that I cannot market the book to Osteen’s agent or publisher.

    • A freebie for blog subscribers is a great idea.

    • Tim Sanders

      Jonathan – My agent is Joel’s and she’s got a pretty good sense of humor/thick skin. If you like, I’ll make an introduction.

  • If Jesus is our true example of a holy life, than being happy should not be our priority, definitely. Neither having possessions.
    If we read the history of the early church (or at least the book of Acts) we see that no disciple of Jesus was looking for happiness. They wanted to do whatever God’s will, even if it meant personal suffering, criticism, rejection, or even death.
    Joel, I understand your “crankiness”, and I am too worried that christians are more and more worried about their comfort and “happiness” instead of pursuing a relationship with Him.

    • Cris, I couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing wrong with happiness, but this is a disordered focus on it and one that is so disordered it obscures the real priorities of the faith. How would the martyrs and confessors of the church respond to a message so shallow?

    • My

      @ Cris: Amen!
      oh it’s such a blessing to discover your blog! Osteen should be a marketing guy, not a preacher. His wife knows better. But the Bible doesn’t qualify her to preach. 1Ti 2:12 But I do not allow a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence.
      1Co 14:34 Let your women be silent in the churches; for it is not permitted to them to speak, but to be in subjection, as the Law also says. 1Co 14:35 And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home; for it is a shame for a woman to speak in a church.
      Ive seen the video of Prince and Osteen, both with their wives. By their fruit you shall know them. No offense meant for Osteen’s followers. This is just an observation.

  • Pete Dingeldey

    We are in “violent agreement”! Listen to one sermon and you’ve heard them all. His current comments re: LDS are uninformed and not theologically correct.

    • Al Mohler points out in his article what anyone who dips into Mormon history knows: The whole Latter-day Saints movement is a reaction against historical Christianity. Joseph Smith would object to anyone saying Mormonism was the same as mainstream Christianity, more than even Al Mohler. We don’t need to slur Mormonism, but neither should we be dunderheaded and purposefully ignorant.

      • Pete Dingeldey

        Concur – moral, non-drinkers/non-smokers do not Christians make.

  • Elijah Reynolds

    I don’t think Joel O. ever read Brave New World. It sounds like he’s peddling Huxley’s soma in book form. Scary.

  • Its what an old nun i used to look up to called a lack of sound doctrine . A version of Jesus with all the miracles and no cross

    • I’ve heard Fr. Tom Hopko many times quote the H. Richard Niebuhr line about the modern gospel. Sounds much the same: “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

      Lord, have mercy.

  • Tom Hoffman

    Overdue. And with an awesome photo, to boot. I pause as I say that, but it’s true. Where the Joker is a malevolent nihilist, Osteen’s nihilism is as desperate and empty. Nothing means anything, so think happy thoughts.

  • Stephanie

    Why are so many of the religious wannabes so drawn to him. I see some of my own friends tweeting about spending time w/him and bragging about him. I never have bought into it. My father knew his father very well said he was an incredible man! Is it because people are going thru so much that they buy into his own theology that gives them fleshly gratification? Life is hard! None of us are free from trials and storms. I am all about speaking life instead of death but yet we cant have true life without death. I am just sick that some of the ones I grew up with are buying into His religion and selling God’s theology for a short span of fame and running with the “Big” guys.

    • Stephanie, that’s very disappointing. I’m sorry to hear it. American Christianity is so materialistic and self-focused, Osteen makes a great spokesperson for it. He tells us what we want to hear, not what we need to hear.

  • Somewhere I read a list of encouraging sayings. The trick was to determine which came from Joel Osteen and which came from fortune cookies. I could not tell the difference!

  • so … you’re not a fan?

  • As a Conservative Christian, I have always had a serious problem with Fluff & Feel-good Fellas like Ol’Joel. He surely doesn’t speak for the majority of Evangelicals. A good test is to review his books and listen to his sermons (if you can even call them sermons???) and see how often he even mentions JESUS’ Name… And, that would be hardly, if ever. His references to Scripture are convenient and contrived. (Whether or Not being a Mormon should be an issue in elections is another debate???) But, Ol’Joel is sorely misrepresenting the facts. Ask a Mormon if he is a “Christian”, and you will get a very cagey answer, for they do not call themselves Christians. Their cultish theology is based on a “Star Wars-ian” kind of origin. Their concept of GOD and JESUS are completely foriegn to the Christian Bible. Their notion of Who JESUS is runs 100% perpendicular to what BIBLE-believing Christians believe. They believe the Divine Person of JESUS was a created being and is the “Spirit-Brother” of Satan. They re-write John 1:1 to make JESUS far less than equal to GOD. If one has such a contrary theology of Who JESUS is, then they are a CULT that exists outside the boundaries of Christendom.
    Even Evangelicals, Protestants, & Catholics are in full agreement about the Complete Divinity of JESUS. Groups like the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Moonies, etc. are defined as CULTS, because they purposefully choose to hold beliefs that are contray and opposed to the most central of all Christian Teaching. I might have differences with Catholics on points of doctrine~ but, I know they still believe in the same JESUS that I do. Boiled down to the most basic point of separation~
    Mormonism is not Christian, because they believe in a completely different identity of Who JESUS is than the rest of Christendom. Now, they will strongly counter by saying that they do so believe in JESUS…But, it’s the JESUS of The Book of Mormon and their altered version of The Bible~ not the JESUS that the rest of Christendom embraces as GOD, LORD, & SAVIOR. Even Muslims freely claim to believe in Jesus~ but, not as Christians believe. Muslims believe in a Jesus who was much less than what The Church preaches & teaches…Mormons believe in a Jesus that is much less than the JESUS that The Church believes in.

    • Mr. Wickline: it is obvious that you do not have a clue about the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Mormons”). The LDS Church uses the King James version of the Bible.

  • Andrew Beltz

    AMEN! It took several televised sermons for me to pinpoint my discomfort with Mr. Osteen’s “sermons:” three sermons and not one mention of the name, “Jesus.”

  • I love your post. I had not paid much attention to Mr. Osteen other than knowing who the media thinks he is until I saw him and his wife a few weeks ago on Piers Morgan. He had real difficulty in expressing his views on a number of topics including the discussion on Mormonism and other subjects he could not clearly express his views on or was very flip-flop in what he said.

    I believe Hallmark sentiments are more sincere that than Mr. Osteen can be so this might not be the right fit for him either.

    I was raised in a family of pastors. I was never in doubt on their opinions on morals, the politics of the day or their theology. I got to hear it several times a week from the pulpit and in person if I violated any of their standards.

    Thanks for such an honest post.

  • Staci

    Wow. You are just so right. It is much better to spread crankiness and hateful comments. That makes the world a much better place. Disagreeing is one thing. You don’t have to like him. But to show this sort of hostility is very unappealing and unchristian to be frank. So you disagree with Joel Osteen- so what? Do you write an article so distasteful about everyone you dislike? But of course I guess you believe Christ wants you to say these things.

    • Staci, if you would scan the archives of this blog you’d find very few posts that take such a harsh tone. Being harsh is not necessarily un-Christian; though it certainly can be. I would strongly disagree that there is anything hateful in the piece above. Osteen is either negligent or ignorant in his handling of the gospel and the truth of the faith, neither of which is okay. For a man to hold himself out as he does while being unable or unwilling to address basic issues of doctrine is inexcusable. That is to say nothing of his wrongheaded and disordered presentation of values like happiness and self-fulfillment, which as stated above in the comments, would baffle the martyrs and confessors of the faith, who gave their lives for much, much more than the “good news” that Osteen offers the world.

      • Nice response here Joel. Should we forget that both Jesus and Paul had harsh things to say towards religious leaders who distorted the truth? “Brood of vipers!” sounds a little harsh to me. If you can’t handle the harsh then you can’t handle Jesus’ fierce resolve against religious teachers who lead people away from God rather than to him.

  • Osteen lost me at,”Be sure and thank God when you get a good parking spot.” With that being said, I will add this: Christians are often among the most miserable people walking around and that is just as troubling to me. I remember a co-worker of mine named Steve walking down the hall towards me. He was smiling and whistling. Jokingly I said to him, “Hey, no whistling!” He replied, “Why not? I’m going to heaven!” THAT my friend is how Christians should feel. If you truly believe in the end of the story, then can you at LEAST be a little joyful?

    • Curt, I’m all for joy! Christians should be joyful. Jesus conquered sin, the devil, and death, and we live eternally because of that. It’s not called the good news for nothing. I think the problem with Osteen is that he elevates a shallow sort of self-fulfillment to the same level. It’s a counterfeit.

  • Really did you blog this I really lost respect for @MichaelHyatt Sheila’s reply to UR blog here;I am very disappointed in your tweet and blog about Joel Osteen. Who are you to judge  Joel Osteen’s  mission and the purpose God has for him? 
    My husband and I have pastored for 25 years and one of the greatest needs that people have is to be encouraged, given hope, reminded that God Loves them, wants to forgive them, help them & bless them. 
    My respect for you  & Thomas Nelson publishing has gone down. I used to tell people to follow you! But, someone who sets himself as a judge of people. 
    Question:  How many people have you led to Jesus Christ today? This week?  100s were saved through His  ministry this week. Joel Osteen bears fruit.  It seems like you could find something better to do  with your time than to write about Joel  Osteen! 
    RT @joeljmiller: New blog post: “The insufferable Joel Osteen”

    • First, these are my opinions and not my employer’s (see here, scroll down to “Disclaimer”).

      Next, I am certainly neither equipped nor called to judge Joel Osteen’s standing before God. But I do know what God expects from his ministers, that they be fluent in the word and the teaching (doctrine). I didn’t say that; the Apostle Paul did (Titus 1.9). Based on his ignorance of Christian teaching, it does not seem as if Osteen is fit for the position he holds.

      And as to the question of judging generally, it his words and pronouncements, not his soul, that are under scrutiny. Is the man not responsible for his statements? Is he not accountable for what he says? What Osteen says in public should be addressed and challenged in public if it’s wrong. There is nothing in the body of Scripture or the tradition of the church that would say we should be mum when a man is speaking nonsense. By conflating a correction of a person’s words with “judging” his soul, we make his words untouchable. But that’s bogus. They certainly are touchable, particularly if they’re wrong. It would be far more egregious to not speak up.

      You may disagree with my tone. Fine. You’ll note that throughout the archives of this blog my tone is decidedly more irenic than in this particular post. But a stern word is not a bad word if it is deserved, and Osteen has certainly deserved it.

      • Joel – This is my first time to your blog, and I’m really loving how you are handling some of these comments. You handled this one beautifully! Osteen needs to be called out – he’s been tickling ears for too long. I wonder how Paul would have handled him…

  • saleena

    I think there is a way to disagree with someone and how they do something but I don’t think as Christians we are meant to do things that are not honoring. I feel like the picture of Joel is very dishonorable and that jiving him over find a job at Hallmark is very disrespectful as well. Instead if he is truly wrong why not restore gently. I think that is actually biblical.

    • I don’t think that saying he should work for Hallmark is disrespectful. His work fits greeting cards better than it does a pulpit or Christian book. I’m sure a lot of great people work for Hallmark. That’s an evaluation, not disrespect.

    • I stated this in another comment, but I’ll repeat it here. Would you consider calling religious leaders a “brood of vipers” and “white-washed tombs” a gentle way of handling things? Religious leaders who are leading people astray are consistently Rebuked in the NT. Gently restoring is for those who realize their folly and repent. Osteen doesn’t fit in that camp – at least not yet.

    • Janise

      I agree! I think your blog, Joel, is disrespectful. Joel Osteen may not be for everyone, but too many Christians walk around moaning and groaning and suffering. Jesus said that He came that we might have abundant life! That is the theme of Joel’s preaching. Joel’s messages have been of such encouragement to me personally as I have been going through some hard times lately. I have been encouraged to trust God, to be positive and to know God is using my tough times and difficult people to shape my character. Personally, I would rather hang with someone who lives Joel’s philosophy of life, rather than some of the sour and too-serious Christians I know!

  • Sheila Gerald


    You can explain it away all you want, but putting a picture like you did of Him as the ‘Osteen Joker’ is slanderous and irresponsible.

  • Ken

    The comment replies are trumping the article here. Conflating, egregious, irenic…makes me want to push your buttons as I see the heat is elevating the word flow. 🙂

    Pro bloggers seem to prefer that 8th grade reading level for better engagement and Alexa scores. I prefer the writer use the tools at his disposal without sounding supercilious.

    Oops – didn’t mean to hijack it. Kudos to Mr. Miller for judiciousness in commenting.

  • While I think your tone is a tad blazing and judgmental here, I cannot disagree with the truth of what you are saying. I read that article on his views on Mormons today and was shocked. It is irresponsible for a leader (agree or disagree with him, he is) like him to be making such uninformed statements. I had always tried to be gracious with him because while I don’t always agree with his approach to ministry, at the end of the day, many people have been exposed to faith that otherwise may not through his work, and like Paul says, ‘Christ is preached’.Phil. 1:18. However, it makes what he said in fact all the more disturbing. I only pray people will seek the truth for themselves.I have many LDS friends who I care about and love, but we know we have theological differences, and I choose to respect them and love them despite those differences. But to say they don’t ‘really’ exist is not accurate and merely shows Osteen’s lack of understanding of his own faith, which as a man of his position is disturbing.

  • louise

    Joel osteen is a true man of God.
    Who are you to judge and condemn? I receive an email daily from Joel osteen ministries and let me tell you the messages are life saving stuff. Each one is a revelation or realisation of God’s awesome power, mercy, love and forgiveness.
    Noone is perfect and i am sure some things Joel osteen says perhaps is not as God intends HOWEVER who are any of us to judge. If you disagree with someone’s thoughts… Fine that’s your choice… But slander is not. I hope you pray for forgiveness.

    • 2 Timothy 3
      3 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; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

      Oh how many are deceived by the likes of Joel Osteen. He has exoressed over and over his ignorance of the Faith. His feel good preaching is not Holy Spirit endorsed nor empowered because it is not based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ nor Sound Biblical doctrine.Paul expressed in tears that teachers like Joel Osteen are ” Enemies of the cross”(Philippians 3:18). Smooth words doesn’t save it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is so sad to see this fraud of a preacher have so many followers and defenders. Truly a sign of the times we are in. Jesus Himself told us to judge many things such as false prophets. He told us not to give that which is holy to dogs or pearls to swine how can we know who is who without discernment (judgment). You may not like the approach of this blogger but I pray that the eyes of your understanding be opened.

  • graycian

    I don’t think these criticisms of the coming from a man of God like J.Miller to another man of God J.Osteen are done in good faith. There’s no love but hatred in all this and it buffles me the more

  • Holly

    Dear Joel,
    This has got to be one of the most mean spirited, irresponsible and un-Christ like blogs I have ever read. Your tone and approach reveals a staggering amount of arrogance. It is sad that by your example, you are teaching your readers that public criticism of people who have a different approach to ministry than you or me is somehow scripturally appropriate. Maybe it would be more inspiring if you wrote blogs about who and what you are for rather than what you are against.

  • Dino Rizzo

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever been ask to read, u have no idea at all about pastor Joels heart . You should keep your mouth shut about someone that has done so much for so many of the poor we serve for the cause of Christ at HPC. We are loyal to our friends in La.

  • Finally. Having viewed J.O. as a good “motivational speaker” for quite some time that was all I could say for him. A feel-good message. But there Gospel lacking. Thank you for your plain truth and calling it like you see it. Finally, someone to be that voice.

  • David

    Wonderful post! You in no way attacked Joel Osteen, rather you took his views on Mormonism and put them through the lens of Scripture. We are told to “test the spirits.” We are all sinners, all pastors and preachers included, and thus we should all be thinking people, with much prayer and study as we compare all beliefs and sermons through Scriptural truth.

    To those who have “judged and slandered” you in the writing of this blog, why is there no mention of the central theme: Mormonism vs Evangelical Christianity? There is no mention of whether or not they agree with you, but rather that you would have the audacity to challenge Osteens view on Scripture.

    I look forward to being challenged by future posts.


    To those who have stated that they will not follow you on twitter any longer or read your blog, seriously? We can’t as Christians continue to dialogue with individuals who have a different view? Surely there is more maturity within the Christian community.

  • I used to work at a Christian bookstore. The sheer volume of product coming through the store would make it impossible to sift out bad theology—or preferences. Whenever a customer would complain of a “bad” product, we would pull it from our shelves and send it back; no questions asked.

    Overtime, we discovered that people came to expect perfection within our four walls. They assumed that every product we carried in our store was safe, because it was within those four walls. And since we would pull product when a complaint was made, this increased trust and decreased risk of being led astray. It was safe; totally safe. So they thought.

    Truth is, it wasn’t safe and it never would be.

    As Christians, our radars should be set to the highest sensitivity no matter where we are, but especially within the four walls of any “Christian” establishment: bookstores, churches, books, magazines or music, just to name a few.

    The same should be said for pastors, teachers, prophets, etc. Not because we want to, but because that’s what the bible commands us to do. .

    J.Miller is right; we have the right to sift and discern J.Olsteens words carefully—just like any respectful pastor would ask of his flock. No pastor, including J.Olsteen is off limits to this kind of inspection. In fact, if you think he is, then I would question what Bible are you reading?

    Great post Joel.

  • Gloria Pruitt

    I have always been taught how you package a thing is how it will be received. I know we are all entitled to speak our own opinion, however if you really wanted the church of Jesus to hear or receive what your opinion is you would not have had a profile pic. of Joel Osteen as the joker. It is so beneath a man such as yourself that holds a higher stander for all of your readers.
    Mudslinging is never the way to reshape neither the Christian world nor the lost. It only divides not conquers. A great quote from the bible “A house divided against itself will not stand” If we devour one another (even w/opinions) It can and will can destroy the body of Christ from within.
    In Eph. 4:3-6 the NIV translation says: Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit. Just as you were called to one hope when you were called. One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all. Who is over all and through all and in all.
    I am certainly not writing for a debate because I know that it would be no contest, just voicing from my heart with my opinion. Even if I agreed with you I would have to disagree with you in the way in which you presented this.
    Thank You.

  • As I tweet out your post I have to say Joel, that your crankiness is very understated and muted!
    Just one suggestion – on Osteen’s photo – can you swap the white background colour and the face colour? That would make him look even more like the clown he is.
    Blessgins, Angus

  • Sandy

    The Joel Osteens of the world are more dangerous to Christianity than the radical muslims who want to destroy Chrisitanity. They (the muslim) come as a thundering herd of buffalo but Osteens kind come in as the wolves in sheeps clothing. The Bible is the only Book we need. Not the smiling faces of Osteen and others who dont even mention Jesus on their covers. Just their secrets to a happier and more prosperous life.
    Jesus didn’t carry a Cross that was lightweight, finely carved and sanded and made to look pretty and easy to carry. His Cross was heavy, rough, splinters showing and Im sure were burying deep into the wounds He had already suffered. The path He took was lined by scoffers, haters, mockers, people spit upon Him, slapped Him, tripped Him. Joel Osteen and his kind have not suffered Jesus’ Cross.

  • vrob125

    While I am not particularly sensitive, I felt slightly ill after reading this blog.
    The picture of Joel Olsteen was quite offensive, but of course, that was the purpose. But what purpose was it? If the purpose was to denigrate another human being, you were quite successful. The fruits of the Spirit were oozing out of you in this article. But what kind of fruits are you bearing?
    So let’s analyze your words:
    They don’t seem to line up with scripture.
    “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23
    Which of these attributes did your article represent? I tried to find them – I think we can agree that they were nowhere in existence in your paragraphs.
    I am not a member of Pastor Olsteen’s church – but frankly, he appears to be bearing fruit that is drawing people to the gospel of Christ.

    • Pat Hall

      I agree, all the negative comments about Joel Osteen, are VICIOUS, and NON-CHRISTIAN! Joel Osteen makes people rejoice, be thankful, joyful, and believe in a God that is just and wants us to be happy. He is up-lifting! He is not racial, deceitful, or misleading as some of these so-called ‘Pastors’ seem to be.
      I would hope that my Aunt Bessie Wilson would be appalled by these statements about a loving, truthful messenger of GOD. Her son Evan is a testament to her belief in Christianity. God Bless Joel Osteen. Pat Dodds Hall

      • What if he’s making them rejoice about un-Christian or misleading things, such as saying that Mormonism is Christian? Or promulgating a theology with no place or appreciation for suffering?

        • Elizabeth

          I think you are missing the point entirely. What he said about not fretting over details is right on. He’s pointing out that at all religions are the same at heart–meant to promote love, goodwill, kindness, patience, etc. What do you have against Mormons anyway? What have they ever done to you?

    • Did you read all of Galatians 5 or just the verses that work for you. As I mentioned elsewhere, its in Galatians 5 (verse 12) where an evidently frustrated Paul suggests that other Christians with whom he disagrees (Judiazing Christians) should castrate themselves. That hardly sounds like forbearance as you’re using it here. I think it’s obvious that calling a brother out is more nuanced than saying one should be soft and sweet. Paul, at the start of Galatians 3, calls his readers stupid (or foolish, depending on translation). For the record, I never said Osteen was stupid or that he should castrate himself; I merely said he should work for Hallmark.

  • Jorge

    Hi Joel,

    Two questions:
    1. If you have a point, why do you need to make fun of the man with that picture or the Hallmark job? When you make fun of your oponent, that mean you do not have a good point against him.

    2. I wonder if you talk (email or something) to him in private before address the issue publicly. Have you done that? If not, could you give me your Scriptural foundation?

    • Thanks, Jorge, for commenting.

      I’d respond by saying that making fun does not negate the point. The Hallmark reference was, like all good jokes, mostly true and only partially in jest. The fact is that Osteen is unfit for the ministry and his talents would be better used writing peppy notes on card stock. Some have criticized the image, but I don’t agree that the criticism of Osteen in it is undue: he is, in my opinion, a clown and a disgrace.

      I have no obligation scriptural or otherwise to speak privately to Osteen. He spoke publicly and I answered publicly. He didn’t sin against me so Matthew 18 doesn’t really apply, and further Matthew 18 assumes that there is a final authority in the church to which we could appeal, and that clearly doesn’t exist in this situation. His elder should pull him aside and correct him; that’s fitting, but they likely won’t as they evidently agree with him.

      I do provide some scriptural rationale for confronting him here.

  • PhilipW

    There is a different and valid perspective

    • Philip, thanks for sharing your position. I obviously disagree with it. No surprise there, but thanks for posting the link.

      • Kyle

        Could you be more specific about what you disagree with in Philip Wagner’s response? He was quite thorough (personal opinion with biblical viewpoint) in his review of your post.

  • Binzer

    One thing I’d like to point out is- you say everyday should be Sunday not Friday. Well lets get biblical here, by your logic everyday should be Saturday which is the true Sabbath. Thats not a “jewish” thing thats a God thing. On the 7th day (Saturday) we observe the Sabbath. Since the day is sundown Friday to sundown Saturday in a round about way Joel is correct by your logic. Not that I agree with his preaching but when you get on your soapbox to be correct in God’s eyes at least stay right

  • Shelton Dewayne Markham

    I have a problem with the unbalanced view of God presented by Joel Osteen. I hope his heart is in the right place. I do wish he would present the word of God in its context and not add it in as an afterthought fortune cookie style. I do respect how the church helps other ministries around the world and I know many benefit from his spirit of encouragement. I would not feel comfortable presenting Christianity Lite to the world knowing that God judges teachers of His word more harshly. You can find things much more offensive pictures Joel Osteen’s theology here (it is tough to look at and think about):

  • Elizabeth

    I’m not sure who you are or what your message is, but I’m always wary of those who put this much effort into bringing others down. While I’m not a Christian, every exposure I’ve had to Joel Osteen’s work has been unwaveringly positive and uplifting, and for that reason I follow his sermons and read his books. I could never imagine him writing a similar article about you or anyone else. Something about his loving and inclusive approach to God and humanity feels inherently more right than what you’re putting out there. It might be good for you to take a step back and ask yourself why you have such a big problem with Joel Osteen–it likely has more to do with you.