The Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen: Beware

The Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen: Beware

I wrote a devotion on awareness of the “Balaams” among us – men and women who may have heard from God at some time in their lives and may even preach parts of the truth but who are focused on worldly goals. (See Bad Guys are Good Warnings.)

Jude 1:11 talks of false teachers who “have rushed for profit into Balaam's error.”

Although I mentioned no names, one reader wrote to defend Joel Osteen. The fact that this description of Balaam made her think of Osteen is quite revealing.

Osteen is wildly popular for his teachings on prosperity and self-esteem, and he's well known for his extravagant lifestyle.

The Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen: Beware
This is how I responded to this woman’s defense of Osteen:

I never trust what others say about a teacher or preacher because sometimes they take things they've said out of context or they tell you what the teacher "meant" not what he actually said. And that's slander.

We should never listen to critics who are sarcastic or who make claims without clear evidence.

That's why I have listened to Joel Osteen myself - listened to his words and his teachings. And much of what he says is wrong Scripturally.

One morning I listened to his entire sermon on television. He said whatever follows our “I am” statements will follow us, so we should daily say: “I am beautiful. I am special.” He even claimed that if we say “I am getting younger,” we’ll look more youthful.

But Proverbs 27:2 says: "Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips."

And Romans 12:3 says: "Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you."

Osteen focused on external things like beauty and youth, but God's focus is always on men's hearts:

1 Samuel 16:7: "But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.'"

The Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen: Beware
Next, Osteen said Psalm 139 was David's way of saying: “I am amazing. I am wonderful.”

But Psalm 139 doesn't say those things. It says we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and it is a praise for the Creator, not for ourselves.

Finally, Osteen said Sarah could not have conceived Isaac had she not gained confidence in herself.

But God actually allowed Sarah to conceive despite her doubts in God, herself and her husband's age. Genesis 18:10-15 makes this very clear.

Osteen claimed we should always make positive statements about ourselves, but God calls us to humility, not pride in self. And one of the greatest teachers of the gospel, the Apostle Paul, made this humble "I am" statement in 1 Timothy 1:15: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst."

Scripture is very clear that the only one who deserves constant praise is the Great I Am - our Lord (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58).

All of these errors were contained in a single message that Osteen gave, one which I listened to in its entirety, so nothing I've written here is taken out of context. This sermon promoted love for self, pride, and false promises. And it twisted Scriptures to fit this false teaching.

Of course, we could ask ourselves if Osteen was having a bad day and preached some things without thinking them through. But that's not the case because he's written a book called "The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today." This sermon clearly represents his beliefs.

So, I must disagree with you about Osteen.

He is incredibly popular, and sometimes he says things that are Scriptural, but his teaching is riddled with errors that promote worldly values.
For more about Osteen's Errors:
Osteenification and What it Portends
Review of Osteen's Book Your Best Life Now
False Teachers, False Words

The Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen: Beware

Bible Love Notes


  1. Amen. God deserves the honor and the glory.

  2. It is imperative that all believers of God know and understand how to rightfully handle the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15). Likewise, we, as believers (of God's Word) are not to construct (a personal) Doctrine beyond Scripture. Hosea 4:6 Old speaks of God's displeasure of those who rejected sound and true knowledge of God's Word; and what happened to them and their children... "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge...

    May we all grow in our understanding of God's Word, rightfully handling the Word in Spirit and in truth.

  3. 1 Corinthians 2:2 ...Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

  4. Agree, Olsteen is a false prophet.

  5. You talked about slander, but that's exactly what you just did. We as christians should not attack the person or their character, instead we should point out the action not the person.Specially when the person is not there to defend themselves. Blessings.

    1. Hi Andres,
      You have misunderstood the word slander and you have misunderstood what the Bible teaches about judging others.

      The meaning of slander is to make false and damaging statements about another person. This article explains and documents Osteen's words. I wrote nothing false about Osteen. His words damage his character, not mine.

      Actually, by definition, you have slandered me in this comment by claiming I have slandered Osteen.

      And the Bible clearly commands us to expose false teachers. If what I wrote was based on hearsay, I would need to verify it with Osteen before writing about it, but I am quoting Osteen in context. I don't need to get his side of the story.

    2. Well put Gail! I agree with you totally. We should always go to God's word to verify what a person says and not just take their word.

    3. I disagree with you Andres, my friend. This was not slander. Every word was true. This was a message given to protect us from someone who would lead us astray. Anytime the focus is not on God, but on our self, we are in danger. God is the Great I Am. There is none higher and if we believe we can use self affirmations for spiritual growth, then satan is winning. I can say numerous times. "I am beautiful" and nothing about me will change. But when I read about how God created me and that I wonderously made, my focus is on God and His goodness and majesty. Any minister who does not put God above self is dangerous to his flock. Please try to see the loving protection today's LOVE Note offered from a false prophet.

  6. Amen! Thanks Gail for allowing God to use you...I love how you stick to what the scriptures truly say. So many take them out of context to fit their own agenda. Continual blessings to you.��

  7. Sad to see a friend of mine is very into this man's book, "Your best life now". How can we have our best life now? Unbiblical.

  8. Some people are going to drink the Joel Osteen kool aid and there is nothing anyone can say or do to enlighten them. We know from scripture that their eyes can be blinded to the truth. Joel is a wealthy entertainer and his stage is a pulpit. He never went to a seminary, which is part of the reason he twists passages from the Bible. He does not know or understand the Bible. His brand of religion is so similar to what is taught at sales seminars. Self affirmations do not replace scripture. Sadly my husband's son attends Osteen's church. He moved thousands of miles from to California. Dropped out of Medical school and grew a pony tail to his waist. We were okay with the school and hair, but seeing a bright young person be led astray by Osteen is sad. Our son does not quote or read the Bible anymore, but quotes from Osteen. It is a like a cult. So, you pray for them and leave it to the Lord to remove the scales from their eyes.

    1. I'm so sorry, Jennifer.
      I know this must be heart-breaking.
      I join you in praying for your son's release from this false teaching.
      God bless you.


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