FWM: We get a lot of criticism for discussing Joel
Osteen, but Joel has elected to spare the people the Gospel Message and to
continue to be a "Motivational Guru" instead of a purveyor of the Gospel of
Osteen took over for his father John Osteen when John passed away in 1999.
Even though John Osteen insisted that God told him he was going to preach
into his 90s, he professed healing on his death bed to no avail. He told
his parishioners that God was going to give him new body parts and that he
was going to be healed. He passed away against his own beliefs that
he would not for years to come.
took over the Ministry even though he readily admits that he did not want
to. His love was for TV production and marketing, but he felt he had no
choice but to step into the pulpit after his father's demise.
Joel's teaching are nothing short of sweet bread for the pew sitters.
He admits that he does not want to talk about anything negative.
Sin, hell, God's wrath onto the unbelievers at the end time are not part
of his vocabulary. He admits that he just wants people to feel good
and to feel good about themselves. The sad part of this is that he
then should have become a counselor or motivational speaker, not a preacher
Here is an article from
that I found very interesting and I couldn't have said it better so I ask
permission to reprint it here. My thanks to Rev. Robert S.
“‘I don’t want this to sound
arrogant, but I believe one day we’re going to have 100,000 a weekend,”
says Pastor Joel Osteen of
By Rev. Robert S. Liichow
to begin this article by giving credit where credit is due.When it comes to the
charismatic mega-church there are aspects of this ministry which must be
cited as worthy.To begin with the church was
originally started by John Osteen, who was originally a Southern Baptist
pastor but after receiving the “baptism” in/with the Holy Spirit he became
enamored with the charismatic renewal movement in its early stage and
eventually became associated with the Word of Faith (WOF) cult.The following commentary was taken from the official web site of
The late John Osteen served the Lord
Jesus Christ as pastor, evangelist, author, and teacher for sixty years.
Ordained as a Southern Baptist, he received the baptism in the Holy Ghost
in 1958, an experience which revolutionized his ministry into a worldwide
outreach…John Osteen began
in a dusty, abandoned feed store on Mother's Day 1959…John Osteen was
driven by an amazing love for people of all ages, races, nationalities and
walks of life.
thing is certain in a time of racial division John Osteen opened wide the
doors of his church to all people, and all shades and classes of
people came.John, even though he had rejected
his Baptist theology (he did actually earn a Masters degree from Northern
Baptist Seminary) he never lost sight of the need for foreign missions and
his congregation supported and still supports a great deal of foreign
mission work.At the time of his death
had risen to 8,000 members.
be honest with you; out of all the WOF teachers my wife and I listened to
we enjoyed John Osteen more than most.He did
have a genuine pastor’s heart and a desire to see people come to a saving
faith in Jesus Christ.We have many of John
Osteen’s books and tapes in the DMI archives.It
seems that his seminary education helped keep John from espousing some of
the most heretical doctrines that are commonly taught by WOF teachers
However, I am under no illusions regarding the WOF “leaven” which John
propagated and is unfortunately being further magnified through his son
Joel Osteen who took over as Pastor when his father died in 1999.John was a big crusader for the error of positive
confession.This is a metaphysical belief
that we can either create or change our reality by the power of our words,
for example he stated the following:
When they say like they did to Smith
Wigglesworth, "How are you feeling today?" He said "Listen, I don't ask my
body how it's feeling; I tell it how to feel." And your words
should not be to describe the situation; your words should be
given to change the situation. And so, read it, meditate upon it,
and speak it
the sum total of what I have been confessing through the years. My
children are the best children that ever lived on the face of the earth.They are blessed of God.They are the sum
total of what Dodie and I have confessed and loved them into being
Osteen is on record as fully endorsing the WOF errant concepts
surrounding financial prosperity:
God's will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It's God's
will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It's God's will for you
to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life
In the above sermon we can see the Health & Wealth
“gospel” summed up three sentences.So despite
the good things that John Osteen did as a Pastor he got ensnared by the
subtlety of false teaching and ended up misleading millions before his
in speaking to His disciples warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees
in the following discussion:
Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees
and of the Sadducees… How is it that ye do not understand that I spake
[it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of
the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?Then
understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread,
but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
though it seems to us that His disciples were a little slow on the
“uptake” at times Jesus makes His point crystal clear to them --- He was
warning them to beware,
to be on guard against the danger of their doctrinal errors, which Jesus
likens to leaven in bread.Jesus knew that if
left unchecked, like leaven in bread, their doctrinal error would
spread.The leaven of false
doctrines which he instilled in his son are now expanding and misleading
more people than John Osteen could have ever imagined.
Joel Osteen Master of Marketeering
Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or experience to
be a pastor.Charismatic pulpits are filled
with people who feel “called” to the pastorate and that is enough for them
and those who follow them.They attempt to build
congregations on the “strength” of their calling.
Some charismatic leaders may go on to some unaccredited “BibleSchool
” for a year or two, none (which encompasses a large group of
ministers) that we were ever acquainted with attended any
you allow a surgeon to operate on you because he felt
“called” to be a surgeon as a child, but never went on to medical school?Or would you allow someone to build your house who firmly believed
God had called him to be an architect yet had never gone on to college to
study architectural design?Of course not, it
would be the height of foolishness!
millions of professing Christians are more than willing to follow a
man (or woman) who says “God” has called them and has supernaturally
equipped them to be ministers. (FWM
doesn't agree with this statement as we believe God can and has called
many a man to the Ministry and has used them greatly who never attended
any type of Bible College, but we do agree that those same men studied
their Bibles daily and learned the Word.) These
especially anointed men and women have no need to study Church history,
hermeneutics, systematic theology and struggle through Greek and Hebrew as
other ministers do.They hear directly from God
(this is especially true for the sign-gift
most seeker-sensitive churches are led by seminary educated
first main concern is that we have a man in the pulpit of the
largest congregation in
, being beamed around the world that has no biblical
education or training for the vocation he says he has!To me we have a clear case of the blind leading the blind (read
Luke 6:39) with the end result being masses of people falling into the
ditch of spiritual ignorance, abuse and/or extremism.
Osteen made the following statement which ought to be enough to drive
1,000’s of people away from his church:
Osteen’s upbeat style is deliberate
and authentic. ‘Make church relevant,’ he says. ‘Give them something to be
able to take away.I find today people
are not looking for theology.There’s a place
for it, [But] in your everyday life you need to know how to live.
That statement is loaded with seeker-sensitive
“code.”My wife and I left a North American
Baptist church of over 1,000 members which had as its acronym “GPARS”
which stood for: (1) Grace; (2) People; (3)
Authenticity; (4) Relevance and (5) Small
course Osteen’s “style” is upbeat, would you
expect negativity from a positive confession devotee?No!Deliberate,
absolutely, he really believes much of the WOF nonsense his father taught
him all his life, not to mention whatever offbeat spirituality he may have
gleaned from his two years at
.Authentic?Without a doubt!What you see is what you
get.Joel Osteen is a man without any biblical
education but an admitted talent for marketing.
To be a success in marketing you have to know where people itch
and scratch it.Or, you have to
create a desire in them by creating a hunger for something they currently
do not have nor formerly knew they needed.All commercials can be condensed down to one of these two truths.
become a mega-church a pastor has to make church relevant.He has to give the people what they want, something
that soothes that spiritual itch.In order to be
a “success” (i.e. large masses of people and money) pastors must
preach unchallenging messages that uplift rather than convict.He must pander to the lowest common denominator and make
sure that whatever is taught does not offend anymore at anytime.What we are seeing is really nothing new, it is a simply
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.
This is exactly where multitudes of people are spiritually today.The above text also helps explain the phenomena of people like
Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and now,
goes on to say that “I find today that people are not looking for
theology.”Well that is obvious because if
they were they would not find any sound theology at
!Although he does not reveal to the readers
where he found this astonishing fact out, it appears the folks he has
talked to have no interest in theology.
you think me a bit harsh let me remind you that theology simply means “the
knowledge of God.”
In essence Osteen has said that people are really not interested in
learning about God.Somehow (undoubtedly due
to his lack of biblical education) he has made a disconnect between
knowing the God of the Bible via sound biblical theology and “knowing how
Brothers and sisters, my wife and I can testify to you that the more
accurately you understand God within the biblical context the
better life you will live before Him.Tracy
and I have a daughter, she does not like to eat certain vegetables but we
MAKE her eat them from time to time.
Why?As her parents, even though somewhat
distasteful to herwe know that eating them will
same is true for every man who mounts a pulpit!
God does not tell us to feed the sheep what they want to eat.Jesus told Peter “feed My sheep,” (see John 21:16).Jesus said “feed” the sheep not “entertain” them!We are to give them the Word of God in its totality.Any pastor can fall into the trap of becoming a people pleaser.This is why Paul, through the Holy Ghost warned young Timothy in
the verse just above the one I cited:
I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus
Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his
kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove,
rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Timothy is WARNED to be
steadfast in his proclamation of the Gospel to be ready and in his
preaching to: (1) REPROVE; (2) REBUKE; (3) EXHORT the people according to
the Scriptures.How? We are to preach with all
longsuffering (because such preaching is unpleasant to people’s carnal
nature) and with doctrine.GASP!Doctrine?I can hear the seeker-sensitive
pundits saying “oh come now, Rev. Liichow, surely you know
preaching doctrinal messages is passé?”
Osteen would do well to heed the word of the Lord from a genuine prophet
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
Israelthat 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.
There are many biblical themes which are very “unpopular”
and even politically “incorrect” yet the faithful pastor/teacher will
expound on these topics as well so that the flock under his care is
receiving a balanced spiritual diet and is able to walk in the full light
of God’s Word and not in the shadows.
Joel’s educational background and experience?
Since we know his training is not theological, what is it?He did attend
for two years, but his area of study had to do with television production
Meanwhile, son Joel, one of six
children, was learning the business of television… ‘Growing up, I knew
what I wanted to do.I wanted to be involved in
TV production,’ he says. ‘That was just my passion.’In 1981 he came home from Oral Roberts University (ORU) to start
the Lakewood TV ministry.
For seventeen (17) years Joel was behind the scenes handling all the
television and marketing of his father’s ministry.The next statement from the Charisma article is very
The younger Osteen’s television-marketing talents and his dad’s preaching skills resulted eventually in the church churches being aired on stations nationwide and in more than 100 countries.
Joel Osteen had the ability to get his father’s heavily WOF
influenced message out all over
and into 100 foreign markets.Due to this
dynamic-duo of folksy preaching/teaching and highly visible
presence on television
grew to close to 8,000 members at the time of John Osteen’s death in 1999.
With his father sick in the hospital, John asks his son, Joel, to
preach for him that Sunday.Initially Joel balked
at the idea and said “no.”He then relented and
here are Joel’s own words concerning his preaching that day:
I just got up there and told
stories.I was so glad when it was over, I
said, ‘I’ll never do this again in my life.’
was the beginning of his public ministry; he just got up and told
“stories.”Joel has been telling stories that
have been tickling the ears of the multitudes ever since. Here is how the
article describes Joel’s style of preaching:
The appealing style of Osteen’s
personality in the pulpit is unmistakable.It is
part of the reason for the
’s current level of success.
Everyone agrees Osteen’s preaching is a key ingredient.Descriptions of his style include ‘simple,’ ‘down-to-earth,’
‘practical,’ ‘relatable,’ ‘easy,’ ‘folksy,’ ‘humble.’
a.m. when he began his sermon.The theme is
practical as he gives example after example of the importance
of following God’s timing rather than one’s own.
He keeps the t
one cheerful, optimistic. ‘God doesn’t want
anybody walking out of here today heavy-hearted and downcast,”
Osteen is charismatic in his personality.He is not a bad looking man, his delivery is as non-threatening as
the positive messages he delivers.Perhaps I am
reading in to much yet when I read “practical” it makes me think that he
believes teaching theology is somehow “impractical.”The example after example simple means he tells a lot of stories
and anecdotes that somehow relate to the message in which he may cite one
or two proof texts to make his point.
concerns me when a pastor can make the statement that God does not want
anybody walking out of here “heavy-hearted.” My Bible says “godly
sorrow worketh repentance…” (see 2 Cor. 7:10).At times God does want us to walk out of a service
“heavy-hearted” if we have been sinning against His will.We should allow the Word (when properly expounded) and the Spirit
(when genuinely present) to break us, to
convict us of sinful attitudes and practices.
if all you hear is “upbeat,” “cheerful,” and “optimistic” messages there
is little opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work conviction in the hearts
of the hearers.This folksy down home
non-confrontational type of message also goes a long way in explaining the
huge crowds that gather to be entertained.
Let Us Entertain You
Entertained?Oh yes, it is not only Joel’s
preaching style but the music of
is an important ingredient in drawing large hoards of people. Once Joel
took command of
’s already large congregation (between 6,000 to 8,000 members) he began to
expand the musical talent as well.
years ago, when Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff --- former member of the Dove
Award-winning Cruse Family gospel group --- became Lakewood’s minister of
music, the church had only one Sunday morning service…Soon after
Cruse-Ratcliff arrived Lakewood expanded when two Sunday morning services
were added…’The growth was extremely rapid,’ says Cruse-Ra
still serves on the 200-member Lakewood. Staff.
“Star power” brings people to churches as well, especially musical
stars and Joel is not ignorant of this fact.As
minister of music Ms. Ratcliff knows people in the contemporary music
scene and she no doubt help add to the musical strength of this
mega-church by helping bring in some more musical talent:
Helping to spice up that mix are two
of the most prominent names in worship music.
Marcos Witt, who fills stadiums in Latin America for worship concerts was
tapped in 2002 to pastor
’s 3,000 member Hispanic congregation.Also
adding diversity to the
staff is Israel Houghton, whose soulful worship anthems are sung around
is contemporary.They have musical stars that
appeal to Hispanic (Witt), African-American (Houghton) and Caucasian
members (Ratcliff).The musical team writes many
of their own songs and nothing in the article is ever mentioned about
not surprising when you consider that (to our knowledge) no
seeker-sensitive or WOF congregation use hymnals at all, apart from the
occasional singing of Amazing Grace.
The charismatic movement’s brand of music has infiltrated almost all
evangelical congregations that have forsaken the use of the historic
hymns.At our former
seeker-sensitive Baptist church we sang songs that originated from the
“revival” and from the Vineyard movement, two examples of some of the
wildest expressions within the renewal movement.
Musically speaking there is a method “to their madness” at
and other mega-churches.They have a strong
emphasis to cut all ties with traditional Christianity.The classic, highly theological hymns and hymnals virtually scream
out the dreaded word “traditional.”
Out With the Old, In With the New
and all seeker congregations do not want to be associated with any
denominational trappings or any forms of liturgical worship.
Many of these churches have even removed crosses from behind their
pulpits lest they appear to be too churchy to the seeker.
our time spent among both Pentecostal believers and seeker-sensitive
groups we never recited the Lord’s prayer as part of
our worship.We never recited any of the
historic creeds of the orthodox Church.I doubt
there are three people who attend
who could recite the Apostles or Nicene Creeds, probably few know the
Lord’s Prayer.Catechism classes?You’ve got to be kidding!In its place
some groups may offer a new member’s class, but these classes are usually
just general introductions to what the church has to offer the “seeker.”Osteen being a sign-gift believer offers classes which promote the
concept of a second baptism in/with/by the Holy Spirit, but this aspect
seems to be soft-peddled as well.
What Is the Key to Osteen’s Success?
I believe is probably the first of many WOF devotee’s who has melded the
successful marketing techniques of the seeker-sensitive mega-churches with
their positive confession health & wealth message.The blend becomes a potent hybrid that appeals to both sign-gift
believers (sort of “charismatic lite”) and baby-boomer seekers.
message that God wants to bless His children with complete physical
health, to give them great financial wealth and to demand little of them
regarding their spiritual life is a highly appealing message.When you combine this with well known Gospel singers, highly
orchestrated praise and worship teams in a decidedly non-church atmosphere
it will appeal to even a wider audience.
cannot forget to mix in the vast television footprint that
Lakewood church promotes, along with its
web site, daddy John Osteen’s books are still in almost all Christian
bookstores so it is not difficult to understand how it can gather 30,000
’s rented 16,000 seat arena, formerly the home of the Houston Rockets.
saddens me the most is that one hears little, if any, Law &
Gospel proclaimed by Joel at
.To quote something I remember hearing “dad”
Hagin say: “how do you poison a dog?You
put the poison in with the good meat.”I do
not want to press the analogy too far but the reality is that 30,000
people are not being biblically fed a balanced spiritual diet that
will promote true growth in their lives.What you
do hear is a synthesis of WOF concepts wrapped up in a seeker-friendly
environment by a young man with a winsome smile.
we cannot lose sight of the fact that a certain synergy builds with any
church when it begins to reach such a size.
People, who have no solid doctrinal foundation, will want to attend the
place where “something” is happening (throw in a coffee bar, ice rink and
gym does not hurt either).In
, bigger is better.After all, many posit, if
Joel was not being used of the Lord then why would God allow all these
people to come to
it be a sign of God’s judgment on His people who have
forsaken His ways?Often we think of God’s
judgment as some divine catastrophe, yet often, and just as catastrophic,
is when He simply allows people to have own way.
I believe the words of Jeremiah are applicable to many in the Church
Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly
afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.For
my people have committed two evils; they have
forsaken me the fountain of living waters, [and] hewed them
out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
As much as Joel no doubt believes the growth they’ve experienced is
due to the blessing of God it really boils down to three simple things,
which have nothing to do with God at all: (1) his father’s legacy and an
already existing mega-church; (2) Joel’s slick marketing abilities; (3) a
biblically errant, but hugely popular message which appeals to the masses
seeking to have their ears tickled and experience a “good time” in church.Please pray for Joel Osteen, like it or not, he currently has a
tremendous impact on many people.Pray the Lord
open his eyes to biblical truth and may he take as bold a stand to expose
you Rev. Liichow
I know that is a lot to
digest but the best is yet to come. When Joel Osteen was interviewed
by Larry King on the Larry King Live program, Joel sounded like the lost
sheep he is. He answered so many questions with "I don't know" and
others he just skirted around so as not to have to take a stance of any
kind. This is the saddest interview I have ever heard, especially
from a man who claims he is now the "Pastor" of over 30,000 people who
cling to every word he speaks. Read the whole interview and be
amazed and saddened.
AND JOEL OSTEEN INTERVIEW
KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Joel Osteen, evangelism's hottest rising star,
pastor for the biggest congregation in the United States. He literally
filled the shoes of his late father who founded the church, and wait until
you hear what he had to overcome to do it. Pastor Joel Osteen is here for
the hour. We'll take your calls. It's next on LARRY KING LIVE.
Joel Osteen is the author of the number one "New York Times" best-seller,
"Your Best Life Now." There you see its cover. "Seven Steps to Living at
Your Full Potential." There is now a compendium been published called
"Your Best Life Now Journal," a guide to reaching that full potential.
Joel Osteen is pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His father
before him. He has been called the smiling preacher. We met.
JOEL OSTEEN, EVANGELIST: Yes.(You will notice later on that Joel claims: "I'm
a reverend and a pastor. A pastor of the church. I go by usually pastor",
see this link
and then later on you will see a conversation about Joel being an
Evangelist and his wife Victoria being an Evangelist's wife.
see this link).
Why did Joel or his wife not correct Larry King
about Joel's being evangelist, there seems to be some confusion with Joel
and his wife both as to what Joel's calling actually is). By the
way, for being a Pastor, Joel does not perform weddings, funerals or
visitations. Quite a gig huh?
KING: Long ago with your father.
OSTEEN: We did. We met at a charity event for
the Heart Association down there with Dr. DeBakey, I believe, or Dr.
KING: Dr. Cooley -- about seven, eight years
OSTEEN: You were my dad's favorite. And you
were sitting up at the table and I said, I didn't know any better then. I
said, daddy, let's go, I'll introduce you to him. Like I knew you or
something. And I did. It just made his day. We didn't meet for 10 seconds,
but he loved you.
KING: Why are you a preacher?
OSTEEN: You know, I never was for 17 years. I
worked with my dad there at the church. He tried to get me to minister. I
didn't have it in me. I worked behind the scenes. I loved doing production
and things. But when my father died, I just knew -- I don't know how to
explain it, it sounds kind of odd, but I just knew down to here I was
supposed to step up to the plate and pastor the church. And it was odd
because I had never preached before. But I just knew I was supposed to do
KING: Did it come easily?
OSTEEN: It did. It came -- it came somewhat
easily. I had to study. I was nervous. Still get nervous. But it did. I
believe God gives you the grace to do what you need to do. And the great
thing about it is the people were so loyal to my father. They wanted one
of his sons to take over. And daddy had never really necessarily raised
anybody up under him.
KING: What do the other sons do?
OSTEEN: Well, my brother Paul is a surgeon
and he works with us there at the church. He gave up his practice to work
with us and I have other sisters and brothers that work, as well.
KING: Is -- have you always believed?
OSTEEN: I have always believed. I grew up,
you know, my parents were a good Christian people. They showed us love in
the home. My parents were the same in the pulpit as they were at home. I
think that's where a lot of preachers' kids get off base sometimes.
Because they don't see the same things at both places. But I've always
believed. I saw it through my parents. And I just grew up believing.
KING: But you're not fire and brimstone,
right? You're not pound the decks and hell and dam nation?
OSTEEN: No. That's not me. It's never been
me. I've always been an encourager at heart. And when I took over from my
father he came from the Southern Baptist background and back 40, 50 years
ago there was a lot more of that. But, you know, I just -- I don't believe
in that. I don't believe -- maybe it was for a time. But I don't have it
in my heart to condemn people. I'm there to encourage them. I see myself
more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has
KING: But don't you think if people don't
believe as you believe, they're somehow condemned?
OSTEEN: You know, I think that happens in our
society. But I try not to do that. I tell people all the time, preached a
couple Sundays about it. I'm for everybody. You may not agree with me, but
to me it's not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel
called the good news. My message is a message of hope, that's God's for
you. You can live a good life no matter what's happened to you. And so I
don't know. I know there is condemnation but I don't feel that's my place.
KING: You've been criticized for that,
OSTEEN: I have. I have. Because I don't know.
KING: Good news guy, right?
OSTEEN: Yeah. But you know what? It's just in
me. I search my heart and I think, God, is this what I'm supposed to do? I
made a decision when my father died, you know what? I'm going to be who I
feel like I'm supposed to be. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Not
the end of the world if I'm not the pastor ...
KING: Where were you ordained? OSTEEN: I was
ordained from the church there, Lakewood, under my dad's ministry.
KING: So you didn't go to seminary?
OSTEEN: No, sir, I didn't.
KING: They can just make you a minister?
OSTEEN: You can, you can.
KING: That's kind of an easy way in.
OSTEEN: Yeah, but I think it happens more
than you think. But I didn't go to seminary. I have a lot of great friends
that did. But I didn't. But I did study 17 years under my dad. You know
KING: Are you a pastor? A reverend? Legally
what are you? OSTEEN: I'm a reverend
and a pastor. A pastor of the church. I go by usually pastor.
KING: You can marry people?
OSTEEN: Yes, sir.
KING: So the church in a sense ordained you?
OSTEEN: Right. And then you're ordained
through the State of Texas.
KING: How'd it grow so much?
OSTEEN: I don't know, Larry. I don't know if
there was one thing. I think part of it was my dad had such a great
foundation. Then all of a sudden here comes somebody 40 years younger,
just new energy. New life. You know. I think one thing is my dad had a
television ministry to start with. So all of a sudden here I was 36 years
old and I was on television. Well, most young men that age, they're
building a congregation and it costs a lot of money to be on television
and all that. So all of a sudden there was a young minister across
America. So I don't know if it's part of that. I think part of it is the
message of hope and that I'm for people.
KING: You're nondenominational?
OSTEEN: We are, we are.
KING: Your father, though, was ...
OSTEEN: He was Southern Baptist. But he left
that way back in the early '60s. And then he just started Lakewood Church.
And we've always been independent and just for everybody.
KING: Many evangelists feel that the church,
the church itself, the religion, has failed. You share that view?
OSTEEN: Well, I think in a sense when you see
certain things in society you would think that. But in another sense I see
faith in America. Faith in the world. At an all-time high today. When I
was growing up it was a big deal to have a church of 1,000. Now there's
churches of 10,000. So many of them. So I think in one sense I can agree
with that point. But
in another sense I see a real spiritual awakening
KING: How many people come to your church?
OSTEEN: We have about 30,000 each weekend.
KING: How do you hold them?
OSTEEN: We have multiple services. It holds
8,000. But we're about to move into a new facility. But we just do a lot
KING: You work all day Sunday?
OSTEEN: We do. And Saturday. We do one
Saturday night and then four -- three Sunday and one Spanish. So it's a
lot of work.
KING: You write all your own?
OSTEEN: I do. I do all my own research and do
all my own service.
KING: And when are you on television?
OSTEEN: We're on different times. We're in
the top 25 markets on one of the network stations.
KING: Sundays usually?
OSTEEN: Yes, sir. Usually Sundays.
KING: Are you asking for money?
OSTEEN: We never have. Never have. Since my
dad started. I started a television ministry for my father back in '83.
That was one decision we made. We just don't ask for money. We never have,
we never will. You know, it's -- I don't criticize people that do. Some of
them have to. But I just, I don't want anything to pull away from the
KING: How do you get the money to get the
time on television?
OSTEEN: The church supports it.
KING: How does the church get the money? OSTEEN: Well, they just give. There are just a lot of them, they're
faithful, they're loyal people, they believe in giving. And the other
thing too, what's interesting, Larry, we don't ask for money on
television. But people see your heart. People send in money like you
wouldn't imagine to underwrite it. KING: Really? Without your ever saying
order this medal?
OSTEEN: Exactly. It's a testament to, you
know, I think if people can see your heart is right. I'm certainly not the
only one. But I don't get on there and beg for money. People send it in.
You'd be amazed.
Do you think there's too much of that, send in this, my new book is out?
I think in general there probably is. Because people are so skeptical
anyway. Why are you on there? You just want my money. We just try to stay
away from it. I don't know if there is or not. To me sometimes I think,
you know. I would -- I think people get on and they have to make the
television audience underwrite it. And then they spend their time doing
that. (Here we have Joel telling a actual lie on national television. Here Joel is saying that there is in general too much advertising going on with preachers trying to sell their books, etc. on TV and that "We just try to stay away from that". When in actuality you cannot watch one of Joel's television programs without having NUMEROUS advertisements blocking out about 1/4 of the screen advertising either Joel's Book, or an upcoming Tour date which both cost money!)
KING: So it's self-fulfilling. Billy Graham
was here last Thursday.
OSTEEN: I saw.
KING: Might have been his last interview. Is
he a hero to the evangelists?
OSTEEN: He is a hero to us all. His life of
integrity. Somebody that can stick with for that long and just stick with
his message. What I love about Dr. Graham is he stayed on course. He
didn't get sidetracked. That's what happens to so many people today. It's
a good lesson for me, a good example for me to say, you know what, Joel,
you may have a lot now but I want to be here 40 years from now sitting
KING: Do you share Billy's beliefs of life
after death in a sense of going somewhere?
OSTEEN: I do. I do. We probably agree on 99
percent. I do. I believe there's a heaven you know. Afterwards, there's,
you know, a place called hell. And I believe it's when we have a
relationship with God and his son Jesus and that's what the Bible teaches
us. I believe it.
KING: Our guest is Joel Osteen. The senior
pastor for Lakewood Church in Houston, the author of "Your Best Life Now,"
amazing bestseller. We'll be right back.
OSTEEN: See people are watching you.
Especially your children. They're taking in every single thing you do.
They are like video cameras with legs. And they are always in the record
mode. They learn more from what you do than from what you say. Like that
old saying, I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
And when you are tempted to compromise and just take the easy way out, I
challenge you to think generationally. Know that every right choice you
make you are making it a little bit easier on those that come after you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Our guest, Joel Osteen. Why do you
think "Your Best Life Now" did as well as it did?
OSTEEN: It surprised me.
KING: There's a lot of books about improving
OSTEEN: Yeah. I don't know. I think coming
from the Christian base, and I think the fact that I don't know, it's a
book of encouragement and inspiration. And to me it seems like there's so
much pulling us down in our society today. There's so much negative. Most
of my book is about how you can live a good life today in spite of all
that. So I think that had a big part of it.
KING: But it doesn't quote a lot of biblical
passages until the back of the book, right?
OSTEEN: It doesn't do a whole lot of it. My
message, I wanted to reach the mainstream. We've reached the church
audience. So I just try to, what I do is just try to teach practical
principles. I may not bring the scripture in until the end of my sermon
and I might feel bad about that. Here's the thought. I talked yesterday
about living to give. That's what a life should be about. I brought in at
the end about some of the scriptures that talk about that. But same
principal in the book.
KING: Is it hard to lead a Christian life?
OSTEEN: I don't think it's that hard. To me
it's fun. We have joy and happiness. Our family -- I don't feel like that
at all. I'm not trying to follow a set of rules and stuff. I'm just living
KING: But you have rules, don't you?
OSTEEN: We do have rules. But the main rule
to me is to honor God with your life. To life a live of integrity. Not be
selfish. You know, help others. But that's really the essence of the
KING: That we live in deeds?
OSTEEN: I don't know. What do you mean by
we've had ministers on who said, your record don't count. You either
believe in Christ or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are
going to heaven. And if you don't no matter what you've done in your life,
you ain't. OSTEEN:
Yeah, I don't know. There's probably a balance between. I believe you have
to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you're a believer
in God, you're going to have some good works. I think it's a cop-out to
say I'm a Christian but I don't ever do anything ... KING:
What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all? OSTEEN:
You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to
heaven. I don't know ... KING: If
you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they? OSTEEN:
Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the
Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I
just think that only God with judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of
time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I
know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I
don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a
relationship with Jesus.(Since this interview Joel has apologized to his congregation for his failure to express what he truly believed. If Joel didn't actually believe the statements above, then why did he say them to start with. THE TRUTH BE KNOWN, Joel has a real problem on his hands that he is hiding from the public and from himself. I believe that he actually does believe what he said during the interview, but because of criticism he received for making them, he gave an apology. Unless Joel actually changes his belief and not just act like it, he is certainly in for a rude awakening come judgment day).
KING: The Senate apologized last week for slavery. You think the Southern Baptists and a lot of the churches in the South owe some apology, too?
OSTEEN: I've never thought about it. Because
I just didn't -- wasn't raised in it.
KING: But you know its history.
OSTEEN: Oh, absolutely. I think that it would
never hurt; anything we could do to make amends, the better it can be.
That's what I love about our church. It's made up of all different races.
That's what life should all be about. That's what God wants it to be.
KING: Doesn't it hurt you that people 50
years ago talking about God and Christ also didn't -- Martin Luther King
call 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning the most segregated hour in America? Does
it bother you to know that predecessors of yours ..
OSTEEN: Yeah, absolutely bothers me. It's not
right. It's a shame, and I don't know how they could do it with a pure
heart to God but, you know what? It happened.
I want to get to the seven steps. But when the
people call you cotton candy theology. Someone said you're very good but
there's no spiritual nourishment. I don't know what that means ...
OSTEEN: I think, I hear
it meaning a lot of different things. One I think a lot of it is that I'm
not condemning people. And I don't know, but Larry I talk, I mean every
week in our church we're dealing with people that are fighting cancer,
that have their lost loved ones. That are going through a divorce. I mean,
I talk about those issues, and to me I don't see how it can get any more,
you know, real than that. So I don't know what the criticism is.
(How about Salvation, repenting of your sins,
how about accepting Jesus.
Is that real enough? All the things Joel talked about are issues
which are certainly important issues but are not the Salvation message
that should be preached).
KING: What is
the prosperity gospel? OSTEEN: I
think the prosperity gospel in general is -- well I don't know. I hear it
too. I don't know. I think what sometimes you
see is it's just all about money. That's not what I believe. It's the
attitude of your heart, and so you know, we believe -- but I do believe
this, that God wants us to be blessed. He wants us to be able to send our
kids to college, excel in our careers. But prosperity to me, Larry, is not
just money, it's having health. What good is money if you don't have
KING: Also many in the Christian belief are
wary of too much material, aren't they?
OSTEEN: Yeah, I think some of them are. But
to me, you know, I hope people get blessed if they can handle it right.
Because it takes money to do good. You know to do things for people. To
spread the good news. So I think it's all a matter of your heart.
KING: You think other preachers are envious
OSTEEN: If they are, I don't feel it. I've
got so many good friends. And the ones I know are encouraging me. I don't
hear anything but good things from them. I hope they're not. Because we're
all in it together.
KING: You want to do this the rest of your
OSTEEN: I do. I do. I know it's what I'm
called to do. I feel like this is why I was born. Even though I never
dreamed I'd be doing it. But I know now I never dreamed I'd be able to get
to help people like this. I never dreamed it was in me. I didn't know I
could get up to speak in front of people and impact people's lives. I
didn't know I could do that. I was shy.
KING: We'll get to those seven steps in a
minute. We'll be taking your calls, as well. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OSTEEN: And our attitude should be, I refuse
to dwell on the negative things that have happened to me. I'm not going to
go around thinking about all that I've lost. I'm not going to focus on
what could have been or should have done. No, I'm going to draw the line
in the sand. This is a new day and I'm going to start moving forward
knowing that God has a bright future in store for me. If you do that, God
will give you a new beginning.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Joel Osteen. The book "Your Best Life Now" a major bestseller. "Seven steps to living at your full potential." The new one "Your Best Life Now, A Journal." It's a guide for the earlier book, right? You used it as a compendium, in a sense.
OSTEEN: That's exactly right. It's just
something to put your notes in. Kind of help you get along there.
KING: Don't you ever
OSTEEN: No. I
don't -- I wouldn't say that I do. I guess I do and I don't think about it
too much. (Lord help us! How confused can a person sound in one
KING: Well, 9/11.
OSTEEN: Well, yeah.
KING: Didn't you say what? Why?
OSTEEN: You do. You definitely do.
KING: And how do you answer?
OSTEEN: To me it comes back and God's given
us all our own free will. And it's a shame but people choose ...
KING: The people in the building didn't have
OSTEEN: But the thing is, people can choose
to do evil with that will. And that's what's unfortunate. But you know, of
course you always doubt. I mean, you have to override it. But we see in
the church every week, somebody's coming up and my baby was not born
properly and you know, all these other things. You just ...
But don't you want to know, why would an omnipotent -- assuming he is
omnipotent -- God permit that?
I don't know, Larry. I don't know it all. (Not only does Joel not have an answer to
why God would permit something, he never even corrected Larry King about
God being omnipotent!)
KING: A deformed baby had nothing to do with
OSTEEN: Exactly. I don't claim to know it
all. I just think that trusting God means we're going to have unanswered
questions and God is so much bigger than us we're never going to
understand them all. And I tell people that have lost a child or that have
gone through some kind of tragedy, you've got to have a file in your mind
called and I don't understand it file. And you've got to put it in there
and not try to figure it out and not let it ruin the rest of your life and
not get bitter. And that's what we see so many people do.
KING: But you're not asking for blind faith.
Don't you want people to question?
OSTEEN: Oh, I do. I think you do at a certain
point. But I don't think you can let something ruin -- I've seen too many
people angry at God and they live the rest of their life that way. You've
got to say God, I don't understand why this happened to me but I'm going
to move on. The worst thing we can do is wallow around in self- pity. I
talk in the book, too, about letting go of the past. I know it's hard. I'm
making it sound easy, it's not. But sometimes you've got to say I don't
understand it. We were all praying for my dad. He was 77 when he died.
You'd think we've got a church full of people praying but I don't know. It
was probably his time to go, obviously. But I don't understand until (ph)
some of the others.
KING: Do you ever involve politics in the
OSTEEN: Never do. My father never ...
KING: Never mention President Bush?
OSTEEN: Well, only to pray. Only to pray. We
prayed for President Bush, Clinton, all of them. But I've never been
political. My father hasn't. I just, I have no ...
KING: How about issues
that the church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?
You know what, Larry? I don't go there. I just ...
KING: You have
OSTEEN: I have
thoughts. I just, you know, I don't think that a same-sex marriage is the
way God intended it to be. I don't think abortion is the best. I think
there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I'm not
going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open
KING: You don't
call them sinners?
OSTEEN: I don't.
KING: Is that a
word you don't use?
OSTEEN: I don't
use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don't. But most people
already know what they're doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to
tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in your life. So
I don't go down the road of condemning.
KING: You believe in the Bible literally?
OSTEEN: I do, I do.
KING: Noah had an ark and Adam and Eve?
OSTEEN: I do. I do. I believe that. I believe
KING: Isn't it hard to accept that one day
appeared two people and they ate an apple and ...
OSTEEN: It is. But it's also hard, too, to
look at our bodies and say, my brother's a surgeon, how could our bodies
be made like this? We couldn't have just come from something. It's just
hard, when my child was born I thought seeing him in the little sonogram I
thought look at that. He's got eyes. How is that developing? It's just, I
don't know. I look at it like that.
KING: The book describes seven steps to
living at full potential. I want to ask you about -- Choose to be happy.
Now, how the heck do you do that?
OSTEEN: Well, I think, Larry. It's just an
attitude we've got to get up and make a decision every single day. I mean,
what so many people today do, they focus on what they don't have instead
of what they do have. They focus on what's wrong instead of what's right.
And I believe that all of us, if we want to, can be happy right where we
are. We may not be laughing our heads off but we can get up and say, you
know what, I'm in a tough situation, but this is where God has me and I'm
going to make the most of it. And I think that that's where so many of us
miss it today. We're waiting to be happy one day.
KING: How about the Eastern philosophy that
says you're not entitled to today. Today is a gift. So -- it doesn't
matter if it's raining. It's a beautiful gift today.
OSTEEN: I've not heard it. But I'd degree
KING: You aren't entitled to today.
OSTEEN: Well, that's right. It's a gift God
gave us. What if we weren't here? To me, I say it all the time, every day
we live negative and discouraged and unhappy, that's a day we've wasted.
And I'm not going to waste you know, just because I don't get my way or
KING: Another seven steps -- one of the seven
steps is live to give, charity is, in the Talmud, the greatest thing of
OSTEEN: Yeah. I believe it is. I believe
that's the whole spirit of Christianity is, you know, having a lifestyle
of giving. Not giving at Christmas, not giving every once in awhile but
having an attitude to give. I've always said this, if you'll get up and
make it your business to make somebody else's day, God will make your own
KING: I love to give.
OSTEEN: I know.
KING: Giving is selfish. You get a great
OSTEEN: I know, you really do. That's what
life is all about. We were not made to be ingrown. I believe, maybe I'm
off. But that's probably 95 percent of unhappiness is selfishness. I'm
only focused on my problems or thinking about how I get ahead in my
career. And certainly we want to do some of that. But we need to get up
and focus on others.
KING: Find strength through adversity. Bad is
OSTEEN: Well, I think the way I believe that
god won't let something come into your life unless he's going to use it
for your good. Now you've got to keep the right attitude for that to
happen. But that helps us in our struggles to, say you know what? God's
going to get something good out of this. This is a tough time but I'm just
going to believe, I'm going to trust. I may not see it for a year or five
years but I believe it's going to turn around. And a great example is in
my dad's death. My dad and I were best friends. Worked with him for 17
years. I told before my wife I don't know what I'm going to do when my dad
dies. I loved him. We were good friends. But when my father died the
darkest hour of my life is when I felt that stinging here, that I was
supposed to step up and preach.
So I see how in my darkest hour something new was born. I believe that God
always opens up a new door.
KING: Do you know you're getting through to
people? Billy Graham used to know it because they came down and gave
themselves to Christ. How do you know?
OSTEEN: I feel the same way. I can see it
there in the church when I see my book do what it did. And when we go to
arenas across the country and every one of them has been
sold out (notice he says sold out, not filled
up). Its just, you know, we get thousands of letters and stuff. And
you know, I feel like we are, you know. I feel like we're making a
KING: We'll be right back. We'll include your
phone calls for Joel Osteen, senior pastor of the Lakewood Church in
Houston. Reportedly the largest, fastest growing congregation in the
United States and the author of "Your Best Life Now" and now "Your Best
Life Now Journal." Don't go away.
OSTEEN: And there's nothing the enemy would
love any more than for you to go around thinking about your faults and
weaknesses, all the mistakes you made last week and all the times you
messed up last month.
No, don't even go down that road. Quit dwelling on what you've done wrong
and start dwelling on what you've done right. You may not be all you're
supposed to be, but at least you can thank God you're not what you used to
be. And we all make mistakes. But you know what? You need to learn to just
be quick to repent. Say God, I'm sorry, forgive me. Help me to do better
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with Joel Osteen, the pastor
of the Lakewood Church in Houston. The author of "The New York Times"
best-seller "Your Best Life Now." He's been called the smiling preacher.
You like that?
OSTEEN: It doesn't bother me. I like it.
KING: You do smile a lot.
Fontana, California. Hello. CALLER: Yes -- Joel?
CALLER: I have a
question for you. We're a small congregational church here and we'd like
to come and see you next month, but you charge to get in and we're a very
poor congregation. Why do you charge to get in to your appearances?
OSTEEN: Yes. The
only reason we charge -- I hated to charge. The only we charge...
KING: You charge
at the church?
OSTEEN: No, no,
never. Never. (Yet their website has an advertisement for their
Christmas show that says tickets are on sale now for $10)
see Joel Osteen's Rock Show
KING: When you
The only reason we did is because when we went New York to Madison Square
Garden they wouldn't let us do an event without doing a ticketed event
because of the crowds. We sold it out two nights and we turned so many
people away in Anaheim and Atlanta, it was just a shame to do that.
Hey, you know, you need to write the church, because we'll make a way that
anybody can get in to those events. I don't like charging.
KING: What do
KING: To Milford, Delaware. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Joel?
CALLER: I have a question for you.
OSTEEN: OK. Go ahead.
CALLER: OK. I heard years ago that your
mother was healed of cancer. Do you know why it's not God's will that
everyone is healed of cancer?
You know, I can't answer that. I
think it's a good question...
KING: Do you wonder, though?
OSTEEN: Sure, sure we all do. I don't know
what it is and I just know that I'd rather believe and just stay in faith
and just hope and you know, that's the best thing to do. That's better in
KING: So, you've never had an answer to why
he lives and he dies.
OSTEEN: No. We don't. I don't think we do. I
think that's in God's hands and I don't understand it. I don't claim to
understand it all. I just thank God that my mother was healed and we pray
for others and ask for that same mercy on their lives and we've seen it
happen. And you know there are others that don't.
KING: How do you balance the personal
appearances with the church?
You need to pastor.
OSTEEN: Well, I'm just very careful in that I
put my first priority there at the church and I'll take a -- I'll preach
the -- a lot of times the same message there at the church on Sunday that
I preach on a Friday night event. So, I don't let them take away from the
church, but we just wanted to get out and be with the people. So...
KING: Are you out every week?
OSTEEN: No. We went -- we're out 20 weeks
this -- or 20 dates this year, but like 15 weeks.
Like concert tours dates? OSTEEN: Exactly.
Just like that.
KING: You're in big arenas?
OSTEEN: Big arenas. Big arenas.
Yes. It's something, Larry, we never dreamed of. I wanted to do some last
year and we -- when we went to -- we picked a couple cities and I told
some guys on the team, "I don't know if we should get an auditorium of a
thousand, or 5,000 or 10,000 and finally I said, "Let's get a basketball
arena and we'll turn off the top, you know, the top lights if nobody shows
up. We did it in Atlanta and the building was filled up, you know, an hour
before and hey had to shut it down. So, you know, God's blessed us.
KING: Do you get a lot of young people?
OSTEEN: Yes, lots of young people. It's good.
A lot of young people.
KING: Studio City, California. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, how are you?
CALLER: Hi, my name is Tricia (ph), Joel. How
OSTEEN: Good, thank you. CALLER: Good, thank
you. I was just interested in finding out: You're such a busy man, how do
you juggle family and your personal life and what do you like to do for
OSTEEN: What I like to do for fun is to play
basketball, play with my kids, hang out with my family. They're my main
friends, my family and I think it's just what you said, we just -- you
just have to balance your life. I don't -- it's a big church but I have a
good staff. I don't -- unfortunately I don't do the weddings and the
funerals and a lot of things that a pastor of a smaller church does.
So, I just -- you know, I made a decision that I don't want my kids to
grow up and not know me just because I'm so busy and on Dr. Graham talks
about that -- I just I stay at home.
KING: How have you handled fame?
OSTEEN: You know, I never think about it. I
never think about it. I don't feel like I changed at all. I haven't
changed my routine. I haven't, you know, I don't -- I guess the main
thing: I feel a bigger responsibility. I spend plenty of quiet time in the
morning searching my heart, staying on the right course and just staying
humble before God.
KING: Not let it get to you?
OSTEEN: Not let it get to your head.
Because I've seen too many.
They've been where I am and way past and they've come falling down.
KING: Many people have been calling here
telling me -- asking about your schedule. Is it printed anywhere? You
know, when you're appearing?
OSTEEN: Yes. It can be on -- it's on the Web
KING: And what's that?
OSTEEN: That is JoelOsteen.com. I guess just
my name dot-com, I think.
KING: OK. You just go to JoelOsteen.com.
OSTEEN: Yes. They can get it.
KING: And you get the schedule.
OSTEEN: Exactly. We're going to be in Anaheim and back to Madison Square
Garden. We have quite a few more dates this year. Love to have people come
KING: Do you ever use a show business term:
Bomb? In other words, do you ever not connect? Are you ever speaking and
like a third of the way in saying, "I don't have 'em?"
OSTEEN: I think so. I think so.
KING: Can't be perfect all the time.
OSTEEN: Even at my own church, sometimes I
feel like: You know what, I don't know if they're receiving this and
sometimes it's me because I'm tired. Sometimes when I feel I've done the
worst, people come up to me and say, "Man, that was great today."
And sometimes, you know, you're looking for a little bit of feedback and
if you don't get -- but I just try to stay focused, say, "you know what, I
believe this is what I'm supposed to be doing." I'm not perfect.
KING: What do you wonder about the most? Now,
I mean, you accept things as they are: He gets cancer, she doesn't. What
do you -- what though, boggles your mind about this world?
OSTEEN: What do I wonder about? You know
I don't know. I don't know. Nothing comes to the forefront of my mind. I
KING: There's no great searching?
OSTEEN: There's no great thing
KING: Or on going problem?
No, no. I just...
KING: Let's take depression, it affects over
20 million people.
OSTEEN: Sure. Yes, I just think that, you
know, I speak a lot about that, and you know, I don't -- I just think, you
know, that's just one way that we all have to deal with -- sometimes it's
clinically. A lot of times, it's an attitude and it's that we've gotten so
focused on, like I said, ourselves and things like that. So, I don't know,
Larry. I don't have any great wonderment.
KING: "Let Go of the past," is another one of your seven steps.
That's not easy to do, since the only thing we have right to this minute
is our past.
OSTEEN: It is and I should have said let go
of the negative things of the past and really my thing is this: You can't
receive the new things God wants to do if you won't let go of the old. And
bye that I mean, we talk with so many people -- they've been through a
bitter divorce and they want to live their life angry. Maybe it wasn't
their fault, somebody hurt them and I just think that, you know, dragging
yesterday into today, the negative things, is only going to ruin today. So
KING: You think we choose to be angry?
OSTEEN: I think we do. I think we do and over time it becomes a habit and
all of a sudden, you know, we think that's just who I am.
No. That's who we've developed into being, because I don't think we have
to be like that.
KING: Back with more of Joel Osteen.
More of your phone calls right after this.
OSTEEN: Archie and Jack argued for years
whether Jesus was white or black. Archie was certain that Jesus was white
and Jack was just as sure that Jesus was black. As fate would have it,
they both died on the same day and they rushed to the pearly gates and
they said, "St. Peter please tell us: Is Jesus white or black? we've been
arguing our whole lifetime."
About that time Jesus walked up and said, "Buenos dias."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OSTEEN: Some of you
ladies have been wearing the same flannel bathrobe to bed every night that
your grandmother gave you 30 years ago. It's got holes in it. It's as ugly
as it can be, and you know it doesn't do anything for you, and it
certainly doesn't do anything for your husband. One of the best things
that you can do for your marriage is to throw that thing away, and go down
to Victoria's Secret and get something good that you can wear. You wonder
why Victoria and I have a great relationship? It's called Victoria's
(This is not the type of
language to be used in a Church setting with children of all ages present
along with teenagers, etc. Also, does this sound like a man of God or a
marriage counselor or psychologist. This type of activity only
proves that Joel does not have the Wisdom needed to be leading a
congregation of any size let alone one of multiple tens of thousands )
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Good line. Houston, Texas, hello.
CALLER: Yes, hi.
KING: Hi, go ahead.
CALLER: I was just wondering what Joel -- hi,
Joel. I just finished your book on Saturday. Actually it was audio that my
sister sent me two weeks ago and I think it's the best thing I've ever
listened to in my life, and I just wanted to thank you. But my question
was, I was wondering how old you were?
OSTEEN: I'm 42 years old.
KING: You look 14.
OSTEEN: Thank you.
KING: Bellbrook, Ohio, hello.
CALLER: Yes, my name is Matt Maynard, and
Pastor Joel, I'm calling to tell you, my grandma Bebby (ph) and I, we
watch you every day and we love you so much and your mom and Victoria,
Lisa and Paul, and we know you came from behind the scenes to being the
pastor of the church, and I would like to know, what gives you strength to
get up in front of all those people every single day? Is it knowing that
you touched so many people? And do you get nervous?
OSTEEN: You know, I still get nervous, and I
think what gives you strength is, god gives you the grace to do it. You
know, just -- now I've done it for six years, so I've got a little more
confidence, but yes, it's...
KING: It's only been six years, though?
OSTEEN: That's right.
KING: Grand Forks, North Dakota, hello.
CALLER: Hey, I was calling -- I'm Jerry
Lundabee (ph). I attend Bible Baptist Church in Grand Forks, North Dakota,
and one of my -- I have a few questions here. I wonder if you might
entertain all of them. My first question was -- is, do you believe that
the bible is god's inspired word? I haven't heard you answer that question
KING: And your second question is what?
CALLER: My second question would be -- I
don't know -- I heard him talking a little bit ago about how he sees faith
getting stronger in America and across the world, and I believe that it's
the opposite, that -- we're seeing higher rates of divorce, higher rates
of drug and alcohol use among young people, and old, and with abductions,
and things like that getting worse and worse.
KING: What do you think, Joel? First,
OSTEEN: Yes, I believe the bible is god's
inspired word. As far as the other we kind of talked about, I can see his
point, but I think there's another point. How can we be moving our church
into our basketball arena that seats 16,000 people? I mean, people are
hungry for hope and encouragement.
KING: But there's never been more division
than now in the United States, politically, certainly.
OSTEEN: That is true. That is true. So, I
don't know. You can look at it. We could debate it...
KING: You're a glass-half-full, right?
OSTEEN: I am. I see, like I said, you look
back 10 years ago, there was, you know, not that many churches that had
over 1,000 or 5,000 people. It's a different day today.
KING: We'll be back with more, and later, in
a little while, we'll met Mrs. Osteen. Don't go away.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
OSTEEN: There's been eagles spotted as high
as 20,000 feet, up there where the jets fly. The point is if you want to
get rid of your past, you've got to come up higher. Don't ever sink down
to their level. Don't ever sink down to their level. Don't try to argue.
Don't try to pay somebody back. Don't give them the cold shoulder. Be the
bigger person. Overlook their faults. Walk in love. Learn to even bless
your enemies. Somebody's talking about you. Somebody's doing you wrong.
Just bless them and move on anyway. Let me tell you, in the long run,
crows can't hang with eagles. You do that and you'll rise above all that
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Hillsboro, Wisconsin with Joel Osteen.
CALLER: Good evening. Joel, I had
the privilege a year ago February of attending Lakewood and got a chance
to meet you, and it was really a wonderful experience. My question is, I
was just in a conversation with a friend recently, and he said he believed
that Lucifer was going to be the last one to enter heaven after the
rapture because he believed that god is a forgiving god, and even Lucifer
will be forgiven. And that just blew me away. And I wondered what your
thought would be on that. OSTEEN: That sounds
odd to me. I've never heard that. And it sounds very off-the-wall to me.
Reverend Graham if god loves the devil. Didn't -- couldn't -- he'd never
been asked it before. OSTEEN:
thought of it either. I don't know. KING:
everything. Does he love... OSTEEN: I don't know.
I'll leave that for Dr. Graham.
KING: Phoenix, Arizona.
Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your
positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you
side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The
bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and
the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of
condemnation but of truth. OSTEEN:
Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that... KING: So
then a Jew is not going to heaven?
Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only
god can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not
my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say,
here's what the bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And
I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're
not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my
way. I'm just...
KING: But you
believe your way. OSTEEN: I
believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart. KING: But
for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he? OSTEEN:
Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present
my way, but I'm just going to let god be the judge of that. I don't know.
I don't know.
KING: So you
make no judgment on anyone? OSTEEN:
No. But I... KING:
What about atheists? OSTEEN:
You know what, I'm going to let someone -- I'm going to let god be the
judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just -- again, I present the
truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship
with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around telling
everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their
choice. God's got to look at your own heart. God's got to look at your
heart, and only god knows that.
KING: You believe there's a place called
OSTEEN: I believe there is. Yes. You know,
you've had a lot of the near-death experiences and things like that. Some
of that is very, to me, not that you need that as proof, but it shows you
these little kids seeing the angels and things like that.
KING: We'll take a break, and when we come
back, the better half, Victoria, will join us. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICTORIA OSTEEN, EVANGELIST/WIFE OF PASTOR JOEL OSTEEN: You see, if you
have someone in your life today, and you don't like the way they're
treating you, I want to encourage you to take a look at how you're
treating them. If you will begin to treat them differently, then you will
get a different response. In other words, say your spouse isn't giving you
enough love. They're ignoring you. They're not being kind and considerate
Well, see, human nature is to give them a taste of their own medicine, to
treat them the same way. But when we do that, we're just going to continue
to reap what we're sowing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Joining us now in
our remaining moments -- the screen obviously improves -- Victoria Osteen,
Joel's wife. How'd you two meet?
V. OSTEEN: In my family's jewelry store. He
came in to buy a watch battery. And I sold him a watch. And he says, I've
been taking his money ever since.
KING: When did you get into the preaching
business? We saw that clip of you?
V. OSTEEN: Well, when Joel went through the
transition after his father died, I just -- he wanted me to take part in
every service. So I do. I take part in every service. I do just a little
encouraging piece. And then, this is my fourth Mother's Day message to
bring. So that was on Mother's Day.
KING: Why do you want her in?
OSTEEN: Well, one, she's fantastic. And you
know, she just has so much to give. And two, I think it increases our
whole reach, to be a team, to do it together. I mean, here's some young
people that are excited about God, and you know, there's not a lot of
women in the, you know, ministry.
KING: Were you always a believer?
V. OSTEEN: Yes, I was raised as a believer,
KING: What happens when you -- do you two
V. OSTEEN: Sure. We agree to disagree
sometimes, you know.
KING: You ever disagree on biblical
V. OSTEEN: No, no. We're very -- we're very
much in agreement with the way we believe. And you know, Joel, what's so
interesting about Joel's message is that we've been married 18 years.
KING: Eighteen years?
V. OSTEEN: We've been married 18 years.
KING: He looks 15 and you look 22.
V. OSTEEN: Oh, OK. Golly, you're younger than
me. I'm going to have to do something about that. What I was going to say
was, what he speaks every week is exactly the way he lives. It's the way
he's always lived.
KING: There's no phony here?
V. OSTEEN: No. And you know, that
nonjudgmental, when he sits there and says, you know, I just don't judge
that. Do you know that's always the way he's been? He does not judge
people. He does not...
KING: I'll bet you do sometimes.
V. OSTEEN: Well, you know what? I've gotten
better. I've gotten better living with him. You can't do a whole lot of
judging around our house. You'll get in trouble.
KING: (INAUDIBLE) drive you crazy? He's nice.
I like him. He wasn't so bad. Don't hang up. He's nice.
V. OSTEEN: He's nice. He's real nice. And he
always is nice, but I'm getting nicer. And I like myself better.
KING: What did you think about the Victoria's Secret
I thought it was probably we all needed to
hear that. We can all do better.
KING: Did you think twice before saying go to Victoria's
Secret, to prop up the marriage?
I thought about it, because I write my sermons, and I knew I'd get some
letters. But I thought it kind of made the point. And I liked it. And I
don't know if it was worth all the heat, but it was fun.
Was there a hush in the crowd?
OSTEEN: No, they laughed. They were dying with me, so.
KING: The natural scheme of life is
temptation. It's in front of you every day.
KING: Have you ever been tempted?
OSTEEN: Absolutely. I think we all are, you
know. But you have to resist, and you have to keep your mind and your
thoughts pure. But I think we all are. And the Bible talks about, you've
got to pray to not enter into temptation. It doesn't say to pray that you
won't be tempted. We all are.
KING: Had a near slip?
OSTEEN: I never have.
V. OSTEEN: No.
KING: You get tempted to?
V. OSTEEN: Yeah. I eat that pie when I know I
KING: I'm not talking about that kind of temptation.
V. OSTEEN: No, no. Sexual temptation?
V. OSTEEN: No, no. I don't. I don't put
things in me which, you know, like a lot of times you can watch a lot of
things and you can put things in your mind as a seed, and they can give
birth to that kind of thing. But we really try to guard what we watch. We
guard what we -- what we allow to come in. And you know, I think that's a
lot of it. You have to guard your mind.
KING: Do you think your children have
pressure on them to growing up with a famous pastor?
OSTEEN: I don't think so. I mean, maybe they
KING: Do you want them to be in the church?
OSTEEN: Oh, I would love them to do
something. But I don't know what. Maybe they'll sing. Maybe they'll make
movies. Maybe they'll do something -- maybe they'll be a minister. I don't
know. But my father never pressured me, and we don't pressure ours. But I
do like to expose them to it. Because to me, it's such an opportunity, and
we just have such a heritage.
KING: Would you like to do some sermons, just
V. OSTEEN: Yes.
KING: Take a rest one week and why don't you
V. OSTEEN: Yeah, well -- I -- well...
OSTEEN: As often as she could. She is more
than welcome. And she's great at it. And she does those (INAUDIBLE).
V. OSTEEN: He's so good, though, you know. I
like to sit and watch him.
KING: All right, what makes a good
OSTEEN: Well, I
don't know that I really know, but I think that you have a sincere heart,
that you're pure before God and that you've got a relevant, practical
message. And I think that's one reason the church has grown is because we've changed with the times. I
mean, the music is upbeat. My message is what's going to help you during
the week and things like that. back to text
KING: What makes a good evangelist's wife?
V. OSTEEN: Helping him keep his focus.
V. OSTEEN: I don't criticize, but I make
KING: Does he read you his sermon each week
V. OSTEEN: No.
KING: No, you don't know what he's going to
V. OSTEEN: No. I don't. I could go up to his
office and read it if I wanted to. But since I'm going to hear it so many
KING: You ever get tired of repeating it?
OSTEEN: It gets -- it's -- yeah. It's tiring
KING: You do it five times?
OSTEEN: Yeah, it's physically tiring. But you
know what, you just see the people out there, and it's like you said
earlier, I realize this is the first time they've come this week. I've got
to give it all I've got.
KING: What do you worry about the most?
V. OSTEEN: Probably my children. My children.
I don't -- I'm concerned, you know. Because I'm a mother. And I want the
best for them.
KING: It's not easy growing up.
V. OSTEEN: It's not. But you know, you have
to trust. But I fight that. I fight, you know, not being so fearful, and I
just -- but yeah, that's -- my kids.
KING: Do you have a doubt?
V. OSTEEN: I fight doubt, I do, sure. But I
resist it. I try to change my thinking. Because it's kind of like this,
Larry, you know, Joel says we can choose this. Well, it just makes you
aware that there is another way. It makes you aware that there is a
possibility. You know, if you've had a tragedy in your life, and you have
someone like Joel telling you, you know, you can get over this, and this
is how you can do it, you know, it just opens you up to see another way.
And unless someone gives you another way to think, you'll never know. So I
think that's where it comes, the choosing comes. It's to say, there is
another option out there.
KING: You're going to win the award as the
happiest people ever to be on this program.
OSTEEN: Thank you.
KING: Thank you, Joel.
OSTEEN: God bless you, Larry. My pleasure.
V. OSTEEN: Thank you.
KING: Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen. Joel
is senior pastor of the largest and fastest growing congregation in the
United States, the Lakewood Church in Houston. He's called the Smiling
Preacher. And you can see why. And his number one "New York Times"
best-seller "Your Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full
Potential." The companion now published, "Your Best Life Now Journal," and
Victoria Osteen, as well.
Well, in a
nutshell....Joel Osteen really needs to get it right or he is liable to
lead thousands if not millions into a false security thinking they are
going to heaven just because they are happy and know that God and Jesus
exist, or that they can just lead a "GOOD" life. That is not enough. Let's pray that Joel opens his mind
and heart to the truth of God's Word and changes before it is too late.
Blessings, Robert Wise