Joel Osteen Again Falls Short of Christian Orthodoxy

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 — 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.]


  • gigglechick

    i’m not a bible banger. (i’m roman catholic actually). and i’ve had issues with the church and also with born agains for years — but… i’ve taken to Joel Osteen. He’s very positive. I have a couple of his books and his podcast on my ipod. he’s not saying “Go out there and make as much money as possible and give it to our church”. Basically he is a power of positive thinking guy and how to meld THAT with the spiritual teachings in the Bible. I guess before folks start growling about him they should read/listen to his books/podcast instead of just a short interview. You know… that whole be Christian and not being judgmental thing.

  • JfTheophilus

    Wow.. just use Christian lingo & you’re a Christian, is what this surmounts to.

    I’m kinda surprised that a mega church pastor would not at least familiarize himself with other beliefs, but then again, this is Joel Osteen.

  • Kevin J

    Mormons believe that Jesus is not God but the “first born” of God the Father (an exalted man – with a body of flesh and bones) out of a literal s-e-x-u-a-l encounter with Mary (which would be incestual since Mary is a child of God). Jesus is the spiritual brother of Lucifer and the only one of the two to be given a fleshly body.

    If this is “Christian” then I am King Kong.

  • Rafael

    Once again, Joel Osteen’s utter failure to uphold Christian truth in an age of apostacy only further supports what is all too clear about his teaching: it is spiritually bankrupt.

    Here is a link to articles our ministry has created on Osteen’s heretical compromise that is anointed as “Christianity” today.

  • Alex

    And I’m sure Jesus was getting caught up on whether we should pray to icons, whether people should be baptised at birth or later in life, and whether priests should be allowed to marry. You people need more GOD and less RELIGION in your lives. And maybe he is knowlegeable about other denominations but he doesn’t like criticizing because he’s a NONDENOMINATIONAL pastor. Geez.

  • Lucas Knisely

    Galatians 1:8
    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

    Apparently this doesn’t apply to feel good motivational speakers. Paul should’ve included that right after “angel”.

  • J. Pat Lamb

    Osteen’s appeal is based on feel-good theology. Not having attended formal training, he is simply mimicking that which he so long has heard and read. He is popular and wealthy…he does not want to jeopardize this standing in the least bit. But, I think, he is sincere in his efforts.

    He interjects just enough “God-talk” to smooth the edges so that his message reaches a broad cross-section of “mediocre” seekers. Unfortunately, there are those who genuinely seek the truth who find in Osteen a “trusted” source simply because of his sincerity and his general reference to scripture. This is most troubling.

    Does Osteen hurt the cause of Christ? He certanly does when his message — dare I say, embraces? — the false religion of Mormonism. To say that Romney is a true believer in Jesus is to at least give tacit agreement to the basic tenet of Mormonism: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”

    Osteen’s massive church membership gives credence to Paul’s warning to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4: 3,4: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the the truth and turn aside to myths.”

    Since the truth sets people free, it’s obvious to me that Osteen is entrapped by the error of the prosperity — signs and wonders — false gospel.

  • Lance

    If Mormons are Christians, why did they form their own church, and why won’t they join other churches?

    Are the differences just denominational or doctrinal?

  • Kevin J

    It is impossible to be a Christian denomination when you refuse to worship Jesus Christ. Mormons do not worship Jesus Christ…they “respect” him as God’s first-begotten son but not as God Himself.

  • Jeremy

    This whole claim is outrageous. Joel admits that he doesn’t know much about the Mormon doctrine so how could you fault him for lack of information? If you claim to know little about history then how can I criticize you for giving an incorrect date or misinterpreting an event? He is only going based on what Mitt Romney has said which is that he believes in Jesus Christ. Based on that one statement, why wouldn’t one be considered Christian? So lay off the criticism and understand where people are coming from before you make such remarks.

  • Chad

    Any educated pastor of the Christian faith likely has experience leading others to Christ. They have probably heard most objections or questions presented as it relates to other denominations. I seriously doubt Joel does not know what a Mormon believes. It just seems his answer is an attempt to once again appeal to the masses.

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