Joel and Oprah

Tim Schraeder has written a wonderful synopsis of Joel Osteen’s appearance on Oprah’s new show over the weekend.  I think it’s worth your read.

Some of the more interesting things to me:

On preaching prosperity:

Why would people think preaching prosperity is a bad thing?

  • I don’t know who would say that you aren’t supposed to leave your children better off than you were.
  • Prosperity isn’t just financial… it’s abundant life… body, soul, mind, and spirit.
  • You can’t be a blessing if you are poor, broke and depressed.

If you are poor, broke, and depressed is it because you aren’t praying enough or aren’t in alignment?

  • It’s a mixture of things.
  • I think there are forces trying to hold us all down.
  • A lot of it is just that we choose to accept things as they are.
  • We have to choose to rise out of it.

On criticism:

You have been criticized by fundamentalists about the lack of doctrine or Christ in the messages… 

  • I try to search my own heart every morning.
  • I feel like if I am pure before God and my heart is right, I don’t have to listen to my critics or answer to them.
  • I answer to God.
  • I try to stay focused on what God has called me to do.

On money:

Where does the money you live your life with come from?

  • We don’t take a salary from the ministry.
  • It comes from books sales and other things like that.
  • I don’t make apologies for God’s blessings.
  • We’re big givers, we practice what we preach.
  • Money should never be the focus of your life.
  • Your focus should be to be a blessings to others.
  • Wishing you were someone else is an insult to God.
  • He made each one of us as a masterpiece.

Universalism and Homosexuality:

Are there many paths to get to the one God?

  • Jesus is the way to the one God.
  • And I believe there are many paths to Jesus.
  • I’m not into excluding people.

Are gay people also included?

  • Absolutely.
  • I believe gay people will be accepted in Heaven.
  • We look at being gay as being a bigger sin than being prideful.
  • I don’t believe God categorizes sins.
  • We are all changing.
  • We need to be willing to change and grow.
  • Heaven is open for all of us.

Are you saying that being gay is a sin?

  • I believe homosexuality is a sin, according to the Bible.
  • When I read the Scripture with good faith, I see it as being a sin.

Overall, it looks like a good performance by Osteen.

Your thoughts?

Take a moment to read more of Tim’s synopsis of the whole interview here…





  • Tim Schraeder January 10, 2012 Reply

    Thanks for sharing, Todd! Can’t wait to see the conversation around this!

  • LeadHership January 10, 2012 Reply

    I really wanted to see this interview, but missed it due to ministry duty. I used to judge Joel Osteen all the time. Got convicted about it, & stopped. Simple as that. Thank you for this synopsis.

  • Scott January 10, 2012 Reply

    I’m not a Joel Osteen fan, but I watched it. His answers to Oprah’s questions were pretty good, especially regarding salvation and homosexuality. I have different opinion regarding some of his prosperity beliefs, but I have no problem with his lifestyle; his money from his book – more power to him.

  • Gerry January 10, 2012 Reply

    I love your conclusion that it was a ‘good performance’. Is that what we do?

  • Debbie January 10, 2012 Reply

    I watched it. I was not a huge Joel Osteen fan before (though that’s really neither here nor there; doesn’t matter in the least) but I must say, I thought he did really well and I was appropriately impressed by his honest answers and transparency. And whether I agree with or like everything he preaches, perhaps I disagree with it less now that I’ve heard him in his own context–answering for himself (and not the postings, opinions, etc., of others). I appreciated his willingness (and courage?) to openly call homosexuality a sin to a less than politically correct audience, and totally agreed that it is basically us humans who “rate” sin (as if my sin will allow me into heaven but your sin may not). All in all, it was nice to hear from him and understand a little of his story, and I think I’d even like him if I met him in person. 🙂

  • steve miller January 10, 2012 Reply

    I think Joel is a nice guy. I would totally hang out with him, go out for coffee and let my kids play in his yard. Nice, nice dude. I’m not the only one, I think lots of people like him, but I don’t think those are the foundational qualities for being a good preacher. Warm personable qualities will help you be a social policy maker, a politician, a teacher, or a public figure, but mouthpiece for Holy God, not really. Handle the truth, tell the truth, and don’t soft sell the truth.

    Joel’s isn’t really a Christian preacher, maybe at best he is sort of a spiritual teacher, I think he claims as much on his website, which I find confusing because people seem to think they are gong to a church. He doesn’t really start with the Gospel and make that the central applicable truth which guides his talks. It seems more like he believes God is nice and friendly and would like to be nice and friendly with you. He is very warm and personable, but as far as getting people to understand God is holy, and his plan is to make us holy people, Kingdom citizens-I don’t hear that from Joel. Joel’s God seems more like Mr. Rogers than the conquering LORD of all creation revealed in Revelations. The fiercely loving God holding back deserved wrath against sin by offering us time to repent just doesn’t seem to get mentioned much. Apologetics should not sound like apologizing.

    We can’t confuse God drawing and accepting people through Grace with a misunderstanding that God ignores or excuses our sin because we are now buddies.

    In one of Todd’s other posts he states around 80% of Americans self-identify as Christian. I don’t see an American Nation outside my windows, but I could see 80% of Americans believing in a Divine Mr. Rogers who is irrelevant, and super easy going. A nice Santa Claus God who offers cookies and punch when you pray. Don’t worry about changing your sin, it really isn’t a big deal, and by all means don’t confront anyone else about their sin. Just smile and be happy. It is so important to just get along and maintain unity even at the cost of doctrine. My God had a Son who was savagely tortured and crucified because of sin. My God paid deeply to have a relationship with me, I can’t believe sin demanded such a high cost that God wouldn’t also aggressively seek to remove its rot from my life.

    To be fair, I think Joel does an adequate job of presenting God as a loving warm father figure. But I don’t want a dad who is a wimp. I want a God who also sees sin, sees injustice, and is one day going to right every wrong. Judgment is coming, I sure would hate for someone to miss this fact because they are lost on one of the numerous paths to Joel’s version of Jesus.

  • Dan Smith January 11, 2012 Reply

    This guy surprises me a lot. I catch him on TV every now and again and he just sounds like a motivational speaker, which drives me nuts to be honest. I do think pastors should be motivational, but I also think that doctrine needs to be a part of what they teach as well. However much I don’t like his preaching, I have to admit that I liked his answers to Oprah’s questions. Kind of makes me upset really. He’s not like the normal prosperity gospel preacher.

  • Kathleen January 13, 2012 Reply

    My husband, a pastor, had a friend mention that Joel Osteen was “like apples.” ??? He went on to explain his thought that apples are good for you, but a steady diet of apples only would lead to some illness. I think the analogy works. Joel seems to be a nice, laid-back, harmless guy who doesn’t focus on God’s holiness, but instead on His love and acceptance. Part of the message, but not the whole thing. I couldn’t sit under his teaching for long, as it seems that a large part of God’s character is simply ignored. We’ve got to balance Scripture in teaching, and not simply work to please. It’s a juggling act to keep Scriptural and intellectual integrity. Meat, anyone?

  • Jeremiah January 13, 2012 Reply

    My wife recorded this interview on the DVR for me so I got a chance to watch it last night. I have to say, by far, this is the best interview I have seen Joel’s. I think that he handled himself very well. I have had mixed feelings of Joel for many years. His messages are great & always inspirational but it seems like anytime someone brings him a challenging question he claims up because he doesn’t know the answer. It’s not that fact that he doesn’t know the answer that bothers me, it’s the fact the he attempts to answer the question ignorantly (lacking knowledge). This interview however was not the case.
    I feel like God opened my eyes up to something while I was watching the interview. Joel and Victoria have an amazing mindset; they focus on the positive rather than the negative. I certainly have a lot to learn in this area. I’ve come to understand that the people who have a problem with Joel struggle with a critical spirit (I know that has been the case for me) and their responses typically tear down rather than build up. I think we forget sometimes that Jesus didn’t come with all sorts of laws; he came as a fulfillment to the law and summed it up in two commandments (Mark 12:29-31). It is a lot simpler than we make it out to be, it’s just not easy.
    It is pretty clear that Joel has a gift to encourage and edify others and Romans 12:8a says, “If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging.” I think he does that very well. We are not all going to be carbon copies of one another. We all represent different parts of one body and need to stop trying to compare ourselves against someone else and be the person God created us to be.

  • Barry Nall January 16, 2012 Reply

    I have met the Osteen’s, and spent a little time with them, and after hearing Joel’s vision for God’s calling on his life, I understand him. I’m not like him, I wouldn’t do what he does to every jot and tittle. He wouldn’t be like me either for sure, but I think he accepts me. We are brothers in the Body. I don’t have time to reject and criticize, too many things to to do to help build the kingdom. You haters out there keep on hating, but as for me, God will sort it all out in the end, wheat from tares, sheep from goats. I love the Osteens.

  • Mark Simpson January 17, 2012 Reply

    Oprah, queen of New Age thought in modern TV, had no fear or problem bringing him on because she knew in advance would he would and would not say. It was totally predictable. He is not a Christian herald but a modern motivational speaker, throwing in just enough of God that you can believe if you want that you are actually attending church. Line him up with every faithful voice for God, from Abraham to Paul, and you will see such radical differences, but most Americans now know so little of their Bibles that they could not discern the huge gap. Lord Jesus come.

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