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Friday, November 25, 2005

Joel Osteen or Jesus

Joel Osteen is pastor of the fast-growing Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He promotes a prosperity gospel which is no gospel at all. His is the gospel of self-esteem. The Christian Research Journal published a helpful article, which you can find here, about his latest book. To sum it up, Osteen is a false prophet who fails to preach Christ crucified.

The letters in the above picture lapel pin stand for "I Watch Joel Osteen." To be fair, it should be stated that this pin is not being sold by Pastor Osteen or his church, but by a misguided devotee.

The fish symbol has been used since ancient times by Christians to identify themselves to one another. This is how it works. The Greek word for fish is ichthus. Ancient believers used each letter of the Greek word for fish as the beginning of another word spelling out this early confession of faith: Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.

The makers of the Joel Osteen fish pin claim that they are trying to help people share their faith. Supposedly if someone asks you about the IWJO, you get to tell them about Joel Osteen and then they'll watch him too and get saved. But honestly, if the goal is to share one's faith, why not stick with the original so that instead of telling your friend about Osteen, you'll be talking about the Savior Himself?

It is offensive and possibly blasphemous for someone to take a universally recognized Christian symbol and remove the name of Jesus, replacing it with the name of a mere man. Now this would be bad enough, but it adds injury to insult (intended) when the man whose name you substitute doesn't even preach the correct message.

Hat Tip: Orthodixie

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The Heresy Hunter said...

I appreciate the reference to the Journal article I did. There is a better looking version of my article in PDF format at
Hope you liked the Walther quote - I like to sneak in a Lutheran quote in any articles I do (see Luther in the Tommy Tenney article on the same website)

Bob Hunter

Anonymous said...

I saw Joel Osteen interviewed on a morning show. He said he stumbled upon N. Vincent Peale's literature and felt that Peale thought like him, or he like Peale. I think he said this happened before he began his ministry.
Anyway, it was a red flag for me, because I don't believe my thoughts create my reality.

The Cubicle Reverend said...

It does not suprise me. We are seeing a church where the pastor (no offense rev.) can become bigger than God. While visiting a friend up at Princeton Seminary I noticed that a lot of the seminary students were basing their faith off of various authors they read (thank you Brian McClaren!!!) and not off of schripture. In essence, the substance of their faith is based off of various works by writers, and not off of scripture. Is it any wonder we are lead astray? We know more about these other writers than we do about scripture.

And I say this as someone who followed Creflo Dollar, the man who came before Olsteen.

disgruntled world citizen said...

I have a small silver ICHTUS ring on the right hand. Every once in a while I get a comment about it, usually positive. Sadly, I've had a couple people say they like my "Darwin fish," it gives me an opening to witness, but generally I have to be careful-- more often than not it occurs when I'm on the clock helping a customer.

Joel kind of scares me. He's just creepy in the used car saleman kind of way. He's got that "twinkle" in his eye that makes me guard my wallet and that slick Texas accent... gives me the willies, he does.

The Heresy Hunter said...

To be fair, I don't think he's the typical Word of Faith teacher in that he is open to correction. On Larry King he fudged on whether Jesus was the only way to salvation. When approached about it he published an apology on his website which, I believe, is still there. My sense is that he isn't out to con anyone (I think some are), but, of course, he is definitely misled and is, in turn, misleading other people. Interestingly, at the opening of the new church at the Compaq Center his mother Dodie noted "I’m so proud of Joel. He’s just done such a tremendous job. He loves people. He hasn’t been to seminary. Thank God for that! I’m glad he hasn’t."

The Cubicle Reverend said...

A lot of these guys aren't out to con people. They believe everything that they say. They have good reason to. When we shovel off our money to their ministries giving them more and more they can point to themselves and say, "See it works for us."

Darrell said...

Speaking of "clergymen" who don't preach the Gospel, I recently heard for the first time of Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong. I read about him in Dave Shiflett's decent but thin volume called Exodus. Blessedly, I'd been sheltered from even knowing this guy existed... I can't imagine how far down the wrong path I might be if I'd heard of him during my "agnostic" years. Have you read any of his ideas? Whew!! Why didn't the ECUSA bring this guy up on heresy charges?

The Cubicle Reverend said...

Because he's huge! he's from my area, I'm sad to say. I read his books. Quite fascinating, if not highly off the mark. What I do not understand by his thinking if the ressurrection never happened, then why bother believing in Christ at all? There is no point to it. I think he's an atheist trapped in a clergyman's body. What I love is you have to pay to be a part of his web sight.

TKls2myhrt said...

False teachings aside, my biggest problem with Joel Osteen is the insults he continually hurls toward his wife. Has anyone else noticed that? Of course, I don't watch too often, but every time I have he's at it.

~Mark said...

Nice to almost meet you Sunday night pastor!

By the way, I agree that when anything we do starts pointing to the ambassador instead of the King, it's gone wrong. I was just dwelling on this issue recently as concerning "Christian" music.

Matt said...

A religious leader with an ego?
Who would have thunk?

New Curriculum at Concordia Theological Seminary