Joel Osteen is a false teacher (see previous posts). I think he’s sincere about his beliefs, but that only makes his ministry all the more tragic and dangerous. Unfortunately, Osteen demonstrated again this weekend why his commitment to Christian orthodoxy is often questioned. In an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” the following exchange occurred. (Click the play button and read along with the transcript.)
WALLACE: And what about Mitt Romney? And I’ve got to ask you the question, because it is a question whether it should be or not in this campaign, is a Mormon a true Christian?
OSTEEN: Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that’s what I believe, so, you know, I’m not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.
And so, you know, Mitt Romney seems like a man of character and integrity to me, and I don’t think he would â€” anything would stop me from voting for him if that’s what I felt like.
WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?
OSTEEN: I probably don’t get hung up in them because I haven’t really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know.
I certainly can’t say that I agree with everything that I’ve heard about it, but from what I’ve heard from Mitt, when he says that Christ is his savior, to me that’s a common bond.
Many people are liable to be misled by Osteen on this point, and that is why it’s tragic that his influence extends as far as it does. At best, we might surmise that Osteen simply has a deficient understanding of Mormonism, which is outside the life giving stream of Christian orthodoxy. At worst, we might conclude that Osteen believes Trinitarianism to be an optional detail that has nothing to do with the essence of Christianity. I fear that the latter may be the case, though the former isn’t much better.
[Here’s the transcript.]