Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Ever wanted to visit Joel Osteen's church? Sit back and read a detailed trip of one man's experience...

Last Saturday my good friend Justin Peters visited Joel Osteen's church. I thought you'd be interested in reading what he wrote to me just last night about what happened. Here it goes:

"I looked on Lakewood's website for any Bible study classes. The only thing I could find was something called "Compass." I arrived early and asked the guy at the service desk what kind of adult Bible study classes were available. He said there were two classes - one for young marrieds and one for all adults. I chose the latter.

When the class began there were all of 10 people in attendance - this at the largest "evangelical" church in the country. Now, to be fair, I may have missed something, but I don't think so. The lady who was teaching the class began with talking about her and her husband's close friendship with Jerry Savelle, a popular Word-Faith teacher and regular guest on Kenneth Copeland's program. The entire lesson was laden with W-F terminology and doctrine.

At one point, surprisingly, she mentioned the Bereans, Acts 17:11 and talked about how we should judge everything preached by the Word. Well, I just couldn't help myself. I raised my hand and she said, "yes, Justin" (I was wearing a name tag). I said, "I appreciate you mentioning that passage as it is so important and it is one I mention often myself. In the spirit of being a Berean, I was watching Joel Osteen a few months back on the Glenn Beck program on FoxNews and in that interview he said that he had been to India and seen the Hindus over there and he knows that they love God. Now, given that Hindus do not even believe in God how can they love Him? They have millions of pagan gods. He had an opportunity to take a stand for the exclusivity of Christ and but he didn't. Why?" This caught her completely off-guard. She stumbled around for a few minutes but never offered a coherent answer. She struck me as a nice lady but she is steeped in W-F theology and tried to defend a defenseless statement by her pastor.

After class I talked with her about her position on healing given that she made several references to the subject in her lesson. She said that it is always God's will for us to be physically healed. I said, "Well, I prayed for my healing from Cerebral Palsy for years but 'm not healed. So, it must be my fault, right?" She said, "Well, maybe you just haven't gotten revelation knowledge yet." I then gently pointed out her own arthritis I could clearly see in her fingers and asked her why it was that she had not been healed from her illness. She said only that she had been healed "from many other things" and then said she had to go meet her husband who was waiting for her....

Osteen was not there as he was on his way back from a trip to Australia. One of his associate pastors, Marcos Witt, preached. Witt preached on bearing fruit and to illustrate his overall point, for much of the sermon he wore a hat with fruit piled up on top of it - a-la the Chiquita banana lady. I don't even remember him referencing scripture but if he dd so, it was only in passing. There was no Gospel presented at all. Very sad. All I could think of is how many thousands of people in Osteen's church and millions around the world who watch him and read his books are being presented a false hope."

Then he wrote to me this morning and said:

"Good morning Trish -

Forgot to mention a couple of things.

While talking with the Bible study teacher (I think her name was Susan but wouldn't bet on it) she said that when it comes to healing we should never pray for it. We should just believe for it and call it in. I mentioned the Lord's Prayer to her and she replied that that was a Jewish prayer and not meant to be followed today."

34 comments:

JenT said...

So sad.

fisherwoman said...

I dont know what to say...maybe if more folks could get in and ask questions from laypeople or teachers, they might begin to wonder if what they believe is true?

I'm grieved.

So thankful Father has revealed truth to me. And Justin, your website is still on the back of my car! I've gotten so many stares...hope they go there and check it out!

Lisa said...

Now I understand the banana lady. I thank God that He has brought me to a Bible believing church and surrounded me with Christians who know what God's Word says (and doesn't say).

Heath The Blogless said...

I was just listening to John Piper on the way to work today. His sermon "Watch Out for Those Who Lead You Away from the Truth" Romans 16:17-20

One thing that struck me was that he said "False Teachers Seem Nice".
But that they are so concerned at being nice that in the end they are not loving the people they are trying to reach, because they compromise the truth.

He closed by saying "Watch out for smooth talkers who pastor large churches, write many books, lead wide ministries, and do not manifestly prize above their earthly good the whole counsel of God."

I wasn't even thinking about Joel Osteen when I herd this, I was think about other teachers who tare apart Gods word to be inclusive.

Thanks Trish and Justin for the post.

Leon Brown's Blog said...

Very interesting, Trisha. May we continue to pray for men and women like this. We serve a sovereign God, and I am convinced if He can turn me around, He can turn those in leadership at Osteen's church around, including him.

Leon

dede said...

to Heath the Blogless,
thanks for referring to the word smooth talkers...now i understand, in today's scenario who my KJV is referring to when it mentions "soothsayers"

thanks Trish,
makes me want to preach the "Good News" more.

Maverick said...

I always knew he was a cheerleader or motivational speaker rather than a preacher. I tried to do what Justin did at a Reformed Hebrew synagogue but the Rabbi just shut me down. That is what would have happened had one of the staff been in the class. The poor lady knew she was outgunned and tried to run.

Heath, John Piper has a small problem with that as well when he tossed biblical baptism aside for whatever is meaningful to you. There is only one candidate for baptism and only one mode. Everything else is error and should not be accepted for any reason.

Maverick said...

email is mavmin@live.com

Leon Brown's Blog said...

Maverick,

Actually, John Piper did not do that. The amendment that he made to the church's "order" was made according to the ruling of the elder board. It wasn't simply 1 person's choice. That is typically how a "good" functioning elder board runs. But I would definitely say you can read that on his site, if you have not already.

Additionally, since the audience is so large that visits Trisha's blog, maybe you could be a little gentle on the subject on baptism. That is only a suggestion.

I have spent nearly 1 year studying baptism and I have a 30-page paper on the subject of paedo or credo-baptism due September 2, 2009. And while some make it out to be an "easy" decision, it doesn't work that way.

Read Meredith Kline's "By Oath Consigned" (Paedo). Or try reading Strawbridge's Collective work on baptism (Paedo).

If you have not read those books, start there. From there, you can venture into Jewitt's work (credo), Kingdon's work (credo), and various others.

Also, your view on baptism is going to be affected by the "type" of theology you hold. I hold to a covenantal framework, and I am a Baptist. If you are dispensational or a "leaky" dispensationalist as MacArthur is, then it will be easier to discount paedo baptism.

Again, I am a Baptist, but from my encounters, many Baptists have not studied this topic at length. Master's Seminary, for instance, doesn't even place this topic before its students. But thank God I attend Westminster because they have afforded me the opportunity to study the subject.

Be fair! Be open! And critique in a scholarly manner. That is always helpful.

Take care, and lets be sensitive of others.

Leon
www.evangelismteam.com
www.pressonuntilglory.com

ExPatMatt said...

Trish,

In your opinion, do Joel and co, think that they are teaching the correct Word (and possibly think that you are on the wrong path) and are still saved, or are they fully aware that they are diluting the Gospel as a means to garner a bigger audience (in which case, I'd assume they're not saved)?

What are you thought? I understand if you don't necessarily know or want to forward an opinion on such a sensitive matter.

Regards,

Laura Caudill said...

Wow, I had no idea how J.Olsteen taught or believed. My sister who is homebound listens to him and defends him all the time. I need to pray for her. Thanks Trish for making this known.

daisyseeds said...

I saw Osteen on Larry King and was just so upset that he didn't call sin for what it is. He was very soft of issues. Very politically correct. I was also sadden that he says Mormons are practically the same as Christians. Coming out of Mormonism I can say they have a differnt God a different Jesus and a false salvation. I wish he would take some more classes and gain further knowledge on the God of the bible.

Heath The Blogless said...

Hi Leon Brown's Blog

Thanks for your response, I was not sure what Maverick was talking about with Baptism. Sadly I am one of those people that have not studied Baptism at length. I will have to look into Yours and Maverick's comments more deeply.

Maverick when you said John Piper has a small problem with that as well when he tossed biblical baptism aside for whatever is meaningful to you.
What is the "That" and what do you mean by "whatever is meaningful to you". Could you please explain what you are talking about.

Thanks

Leon Brown's Blog said...

Heath,

I would definitely look into the doctrine of baptism. Understanding baptism is not merely about "who" gets baptized (e.g. only adults who profess faith in Christ or adults who profess Christ as Lord and infants), but it affects how you define the family of God (the church), it affects how you understand the promises of God, it affects the emphasis placed on how you raise your children (oddly enough), it affects your understanding of the Old Testament, it affects your understanding of the New Testament, and much more. The things I listed were merely what popped into my mind initially. I could write about other things the understanding of baptism affects if I thought for 5 minutes more, but I won't bore you with that.
I would definitely look into it. Blessings as you go on this tour down "baptism" lane. It's a rocky one.

Leon
www.evangelismteam.com
www.pressonuntilglory.com

Fish with Trish said...

ExPattMatt,

"In your opinion, do Joel and co"

who's "co"?

ExPatMatt said...

Trish,

co = company. Its a general usage abbreviation to indicate anyone who shares the views of the aforementioned personage or might be part of their team, club or, in this case, church. I assume that he's not a one man show?

I hope that you actually didn't know this and aren't just avoiding answering an honest question, because I'd really like to know your (or anyone's) thoughts on this.

Cheers,

PS. when talking about book authors; 'et al' doesn't mean 'and Alan' - just so you know!


Regards,

John Tucker said...

Trish, I think ExPattMatt means "Joel and company", or Joel and his church staff. -John

Fish with Trish said...

Ex Patt Matt,

"In your opinion, do Joel and co, think that they are teaching the correct Word"

Could be.

"(and possibly think that you are on the wrong path)"

Could be.

"or are they fully aware that they are diluting the Gospel as a means to garner a bigger audience"

Could be. Sounds like it to me. I don't see how else they can teach what they teach. I hope and pray that it's the former and not the latter.

All I know is that the Word of God is extremely clear and on several occasions when Osteen has had the opportunity to preach the clear gospel on Larry King LIVE, he never did. Larry King asks him pointed questions where he has the opportunity to really declare the truths of scripture (even if it's not the popular opinion, and he doesn’t.

Perhaps the people following are deceived. It's hard for me to believe that the teachers are deceived. Only God knows. He sees the heart. I use to be in this stuff many years ago but it didn't take long for my eyes to be opened...

All I had to do was read the bible and be honest with what the text was saying.

Not sure if all that is as clear as mud for you. :-)

You can read transcripts here:
http://www.rr-bb.com/showthread.php?t=71035

Trish

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves." 2 Peter 2:1

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires" 2 Tim 4:3

M. Spence said...

Interesting stuff.

Just wanted to expand on Ex Patt Matt's questions for Trish and Trish's answers.

Trish responds:
"All I know is that the Word of God is extremely clear..."
If it is so clear, why are there thousands of Protestant denominations who differ in opinion to what God's Word clearly says?

Further down Trish responds:
"I use to be in this stuff many years ago but it didn't take long for my eyes to be opened...
All I had to do was read the bible and be honest with what the text was saying."
But if the Word of God is so clear like you stated before, why did your eyes need to be opened? So you're saying anyone who reads the bible with an "honest mind" will come to the same conclusion and interpretation as you?

I ask these questions Trish because your answers to Ex Patt Matt were not 'clear as mud' for me. :-) Surprisingly Ex Patt Matt, as an atheist, presented a debatable issue for why Sola Scriptura just does not work.

The fullness of the Gospel is the apostolic tradition which includes either teaching by word of mouth or by letter. Scripture does not say "letter alone." 2 Thessalonians 2:15

The Scriptures are difficult to understand and can be distorted by the ignorant to their destruction. God did not guarantee the Holy Spirit would lead each of us to infallibly interpret the Scriptures. "as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:16

Fish with Trish said...

"I ask these questions Trish because your answers to Ex Patt Matt were not 'clear as mud' for me."

Okay, so if they're not "clear as mud" then it would be the opposite for you. It would be clear.

I'm glad to hear it. :-)

M. Spence said...

Nope Trish not the opposite of mud...your answers were even less than clear as mud...maybe clear as mucky, sludgy, swampy mud. :-)

I await your answers to my questions with anticipation, thanks! :-)

Fish with Trish said...

I'll try to get back to you by early next year. :-)

M. Spence said...

No worries :-) I'm sure one of your buddies like Javier will come out of the woods and give answers to my questions on your behalf.

Hope you and your hubby are having a blessed summer and keeping cool in this TX heat!

Fish with Trish said...

Ha! :-)

You're probably right.

You and your family take care too.

Its something like 105 degrees right now and it's almost 7pm.

M. Spence said...

Thanks, will do!
But I don't think the other commenters will understand your last post if you don't publish my previous one.

It was a high of 109 here today.

Fish with Trish said...

Thanks Melissa for watching out for me. :-)

s said...

"If it is so clear, why are there thousands of Protestant denominations who differ in opinion to what God's Word clearly says?"

First we must look at the differing opinions. Opinions are deduced from life experiences, environmental influences, and educational levels (willingness to learn at the very least). The list goes on and on but bare with my brief examples.

You are asking, “Why doesn't everyone believe scripture is clear?”

Scripture is as clear as you make it. I base this on your willingness to understand it. If I am concerned only with “what scripture means to me” then all my previous listed and (many more) factors will apply and I will interpret scripture based on that premise.

If I attempt to dig deeper into the word and learn what the bible teaches, I will then understand the context and content fully. (At the least have a 'clearer' perspective) If the information is articulated line-by-line word-by-word with the meaning of that content portrayed in a perspective clear and concise you steer away from "what the words mean to you" vs. "what the words mean".

You see many will speak about the word of god with a limited perspective. These same people, sects ect..will interpret the meaning of the content based on life experience before taking the time to understand the true meaning of the words. By true meaning I allude to definition, how it was used in the bible, how it was used in society during the period ect..

Thus you find blurry line of communication that should be clear. When faced with hard-line facts of the gospel these same sects replace it with politically correct nonsense.

You find churches adopting this watered down (heretical) gospel that does more harm then good.

When speaking about the additional sects or a pseudo-Christian groups belief you have to take in perspective all the outside influences they allow to water down the gospel. Couple that with legalism, idolatry, and heretical statements, it is not hard for me to understand why script is not 'clear' to them.

ExPatMatt said...

Thanks for answering, Trish,

It must be difficult to see people preaching from the same Book, but not quite getting the message right. And if, as you say, the Word is clear, you must wonder at their motives for getting it wrong!

Maybe they're false converts and so don't reallyknow God in the way you do, in which case, their understanding of scripture isn't based on the guidance of the Holy Spirit (correct me if I'm way off on this) so you can almost forgive their misunderstanding - they're still going to hell though, right?

Maybe they 'know' full well that they're teaching a heretical version of scripture, but don't care because it brings in the big bucks.

Maybe the Bible's just a collection of books and all interpretations are just as valid as each other.

It must be hard not to be able to say for sure.

I guess I'm in agreement with M. Spence here, if the Word is so clear and these people aren't actively seeking to mislead people, how is it that they can fail to get the basic message right?


S,

Being as there are many people with many interpretations, all of whom will claim that they have (at least) a clear understanding of what scripture mean, how can an outsider objectively discern who is teaching the correct Word?


Regards,

s said...

"Being as there are many people with many interpretations, all of whom will claim that they have (at least) a clear understanding of what scripture mean, how can an outsider objectively discern who is teaching the correct Word?"

This is a brilliant question that makes me believe you are putting some thought into this and being objective.

To know the word of God you must plunge yourself into the Word. The really short answer is to study the bible.

Study the word of God and the words themselves. Find an expositor who gives you a line-by-line exposition of the bible. Study how each word was used in the original texts. Research the nuances, how the word(s) are used in history, and how they are used in the entire bible and not just that sentence or verse.

John 14:6
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

Beyond that their are fundamental things that should be preached in every message. What is that? The Gospel. If we repent of sin and have faith in Christ, we are saved. Faith and Repentance are essentials for salvation.

Revelation 22:18
If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book.

You see, what you find is people want to add and take away from the truth of the gospel. We want to make it harder or easier because of our sinful nature.

God is sovereign and his word is sufficient. When we (anyone-any sect, any pseudo-Christian organization, anyone) do or say anything to the contrary of my last statement, I would suggest second guessing the validity of what we (anyone) say.

Larryk12309 said...

At my church we have lots and lots of non members who come week after week but haven't taken the next step.

Let's not forget Jesus had many followers but only 120 made it to The Upper Room on Pentecost.

As for Justin Peters ambushing this poor hapless bible teacher, perhaps she should have just referred him to someone else and said "I can't speak for what what Pastor Osteen said."

For the record I believe the 1 Cor 12 gifts are for today but the W-F people do take things way way way out of balance.

God heals and blesses in many ways. It's just not up to us to start demanding things like spoiled children which is the way they teach it.

No wonder people get burned.

s said...

Larryk12309 Said.."At my church we have lots and lots of non members who come week after week but haven't taken the next step."

The next step? What do you consider being the "Next Step"? They are either called or not. Are you saying they are just going through the motions? Immediately Matthew 7 jumps into my mind.

Matthew 7:22-23
22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'

Larryk12309 Said.."As for Justin Peters ambushing this poor hapless bible teacher, perhaps she should have just referred him to someone else and said "I can't speak for what Pastor Osteen said."

Hapless? Unfortunate? Why? The first issue was a woman teaching this class. This would be your first clue on the road to 'Not Biblically sound'.

Secondly, why would a staunch member of the 'Olsteen' Church not be able to discuss the principals behind the Church that He/She teaches at and attends?

I have to believe that someone who teaches the bible for the church that they attend would agree with, support, and be able to defend said churches beliefs and principals.

Larryk12309 said...

"At my church we have lots and lots of non members who come week after week but haven't taken the next step."

We all come to the Lord in various ways. Some take longer than others.
If someone's not ready to take a membership class it doesn't mean they're not saved.

Everyone including myself needs to check their Pharisee attitude at the front door.

Joel Osteen makes me cringe too, but I'm not ready to condemn the man as a false teacher just yet.

He just needs to turn up the heat every now and then.

chili pepper said...

Thanks for this. I was just talking to someone who mentioned Olsteen and knowing nothing of him, could only state as much. I am glad that I can be more armed in the future.

3B said...

think Joel knows full well what he is doing and why. Look at all the major prosperity folks throughout the years .. When they are busted for tax evasion or some other scandal they end up admitting, or someone discloses, the greedy motives.

As for the folks in the crowd, I would just venture a guess that 90% of those folks read more of Joel's literature as Scripture rather than Scripture itself... Most probably own the Osteen version of the Bible... If that's true it would be easyfor them to slip deeper into false teachings..

Just my thoughts