Joel Osteen Preaches at Mars Hill Church

Well kinda.

If you don’t know this smiley fellow it is America’s pastor. He pastors the largest church in America, that meets in the old arena of the Houston Rockets.

they even have two waterfalls!!

Well Mark Driscoll began his new sermon series this week on the book of Philippians centering around the main theme of biblical joy. Toward the start of the sermon he plays about a three minute clip of Joel Osteen preaching the Christian life and then offers some critique It is worth listening to.

Also view this clip of John Piper speaking about the dangers of the incredible growth of the health and wealth version of the Gospel.

I say all of this not to just rag on Joel Osteen, but because we live in a culture that is dying for its ears to be tickled and many people are willing to do so. We have to realize that if we tell people that above all else God’s central concern is for you to be happy and rich, and you are not, than that means God has failed. This means God has let you down and not delivered and done what you thought he was supposed to. This only leads people away from the living water that Jesus offer us in John 4. People are thirsty and are searching for saviors, and freedom, which contrary to popular sentiment, cannot be found in a big bank account or cosmetic surgery. To point them in the direction of a god who will simply act as a concierge for their whims and materialistic desires, will only leave people feeling disillusioned. We should point them toward the one true fount of life, Jesus. Christ crucified on our behalf who gives us new life, by the atonement of our sin.

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22 Responses

  1. Man, Joel doesn’t even need to write or preach anymore. Just his smilin’ face makes me feel all healthy and wealthy. Outstanding.

  2. I don’t agree with Joel Osteen! But I do wonder why Mark picked on Joel, when he could have choosen to pick on Casy Treat in his own town?? I don’t think mark has the guts to do that! When my best friend told me he did that to Joel, I told him that Mark was like a chiwawa barking at the heals at a greatdane..

  3. Chico,

    Interesting point on Casey Treat. My guess is that no one outside of Seattle really knows who Casey Treat is (or is aware of that he lets running backs share the pulpit on Easter), and that Joel Osteen is the face of the Word of Faith/Health and Wealth Gospel. And he wasn’t picking on him, he was using the most noticeable face of a movement to address a great heresy in the church. Perhaps Casey Treat would have been more Puget Sound appropriate, but the issue isn’t about picking on and having guts, but more picking out as an example. That being said, MH should think twice about cutting and pasting video of the pastor, that might not work out so good if someone did it to Mark.

    Not sure about the chiwawa/greatdane argument. Maybe a Doberman/GreatDane, but chiwawa? That doesn’t make sense considering Driscoll’s influence.

  4. … MH should think twice about cutting and pasting video of the pastor, that might not work out so good if someone did it to Mark.

    Bloggers and critics have been doing just that to Mark Driscoll for years now. The difference is that these are usually out of context personal attacks. At least the clip of Joel Osteen was not a distoration of what he preaches every week. You can hear the same thing from him every time he is on TV.

  5. It was really good to hear what Mark Driscoll had to say. Sometimes I hear people like Joel Osteen and I start to question my own preaching: “Should I start preaching the good life?” And then I’m reminded that, nope, Jesus never promised “the good life.” In fact, if he promised anything, he promised suffering…

  6. Hmmm… Just to be fair, Jesus did promise a good life in the B-attitudes and in the first public sermon when quoting Isaiah 61. We would say these verses are meant to be fully fulfilled (ha!) in the coming kingdom. Yet Jesus does imply an already/not yet aspect to the kingdom. Still, I don’t think his promises are the type of “blessing” that health and wealth guys preach.

    Thanks for the comment Markus, and the transparency of what it is like to have a pulpit. Those comments are always welcome.

  7. Im a Christian and I know that someone like Mark Driscoll is misinformed and should not be preaching. There are people in this world who are blessed with talents and wisdom to interpret the Bibles teachings. Mark Driscoll was not called to preach the Word of God. If you believe what he is saying then you believe in an imperfect God. And to believe that goes against the Bibles teaching. Jesus was not a poor person. In fact Judas was his treasurer among the twelve disciples. Why would a poor person need a treasurer?

    Think about what Mark Driscoll is saying about our Lord and Savior.

    Think about his words. I quote “It is OK to be discouraged”

    He actually says this in his sermon. The Bible says do not be discouraged, over and over. And we see this in Paul’s message also. Paul went through a very hard time, but he was strong and did not become discouraged! He looked at things in a positive light and through faith he was able to withstand the many trials he came across.

    Think about what this guy is saying. Do not let Satan twist the Bible’s words through people like him. We as Christians should be supporting each other and not criticizing each other especially if we’re talking about the good things that God has for us and especially if we’re reaching more people without God. Just as a good father on Earth wishes the very best for his children, so does our Creator and Father in Heaven.

    Remember this, God created this world perfectly and Satan has made it what it is today. We need to be strong and collective in faith in our Almighty God. Faith and his Word are what are lives should be based on. Be careful and be positive and do not be discouraged! Everyday we step out into the world we’re stepping into a battle. We must be strong to be all God has called us to be!

  8. So Jak, I guess Jesus was a huge sinner in your opinion. Seeing as how the Bible calls him, and I quote:

    “A man of sorrows, acquainted with suffering”

    My suggestion, avoid any theology that excludes Jesus from your team. In this case, you excluded Jesus from your team. NOT A GOOD IDEA.

    SO for me, I’m with Driscoll. If it’s good for Jesus its good for me.

    How dare you say we “should not be criticizing each other” in the middle of criticizing the guy who agrees with Jesus.

    Shame on you.

  9. Matt, help me understand where you are coming from. Do you understand the meaning of God’s suffering for us. Which can also be equated with his love for us? Im not sure where you got the notion that I was calling Jesus a sinner. And exclusion from my team..what do you mean. Im not here to argue. Just so you know and to make things clear. I believe Jesus is God’s son, perfect and sinless, who died for our sins. Yes he suffered for us more than we will ever know, that we may enter God’s kingdom. He suffered so that we may not. Im on God’s side.

    I disagree with any teaching that involves any biased human interpretation. As a Christian, our faith calls us to believe in the supernatural. I believe in divine interpretation of the Bible. Driscoll’s teaching contradicts with what the Bible says. Its not faith based teaching.

    What possible good could come out of his teaching that says Jesus was poor and its OK to get down on what the world puts on us?

    I apologize for any misunderstanding and just felt really strongly when I stumbled upon this blog and heard Driscoll’s sermon.

    I pray that you grow in your relationship with God. Take care!

  10. Jak,

    I am humbled by your attitude and graciousness in your response. Hopefully myself or Ryan can answer your questions over the next few days.

  11. Jak I am not sure where you are coming from but all interpretation of the Bible is done by humans. The Bible has a level of perspicuity, meaning that it was written with for the purpose of humans being able to interpret the bible. There is no need to set faith in antithesis to human interpretation.

    Yet Jak I think it is vital for you to understand that suffering is not what Jesus came to save us from. He came to save us from our sinful nature which inhibited us from having reconciliation with God. Jesus makes no promise of constant happiness and positivity in this life. Rather in Philippians Paul tells us to rejoice in All circumstances. How is this possible? Because our joy does not come FROM our circumstances, but often it is in spite of our circumstances. Because even if life is hard and we are facing trials we have Christ and that is gain. Look at the life of Paul Jak, he was constantly suffering but saw his suffering as being worth it since it was for Jesus.

    Next Look at the opening verse of the book of James as he is writing to a people that are facing massive suffering and oppression. “Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters when you face trials of all kinds because you know the testing of your faith produces endurance…” Do you see the theme here Jak? The suffering these people are facing has a greater end, in other words it is redemptive, it is not pointless and in vain rather it leads to something much greater and joyful that could not be had without the suffering, deeper intimacy with Jesus.

    Jak it is key that our faith is big enough to leave room for the providence of God, even in the midst of suffering. This what the entire story of Joseph is about, it is Joseph believing in the goodness of God and his plans in spite of his circumstances. We see this in his culminating statement to his brothers in Gen. 50, “what you meant for evil the Lord used for Good…”

    So I would push back Jak and ask you to have more faith, that God is big enough and good enough to work through suffering and sorrow. Especially since the Old Testament is an entire narrative on a nation that is often in the midst of lament and exile, waiting and trusting in the goodness of the Lord.

    Last I would just say that trying to argue that Jesus was rich because he had a treasurer is just plain wrong and a bad understanding of the Bible. Plus that’s like saying since an elementary school student council has a treasurer they must be rich. The word is not interchangeable with rich. Just read Isaiah 53 to see confirmation of Jesus’ suffering and poverty.

  12. Even if jesus was rich (Which if you think about it would have gone against some of his own teachings) he didnt flaunt his money.

    and i think thats the point that christendom has gotten to.
    We have become this body of people devoted to this idea that God blesses us so that we can be comfortable.
    It has become about this accumulation of stuff for oneself
    so we can retire at 50 and move to Florida

    This is not the gospel that Jesus preached.
    He constantly reached out to others
    and the poor
    and the rejected
    and the prostitutes
    and the leapors

    and the point of it all is this
    sure, God wants us to be blessed
    So that we may bless others

    Jak, you say you are a christian
    so im assuming you see how in the Bible countless times it is mentioned to care for the widows and orphans
    implying that There will be those less fortunate
    and God will use us, to bless them with our blessings.
    because Im convinced jesus would have given the poor and oppressed the clothes off of his back if needed.

    because that is the Gospel
    and true worship

  13. rymk. The holy spirit is what allows humans to interpret the bible. Without it you can not nor will understand it. Jak is being misunderstood by you and spencer. He only wanted to say he disagreed with the teachings of mark driscoll. And needed a valid point to back up his statement and probably didnt word it to its perfect nature, and as humans we are all easily manipulated by words, logos, its our nature. As we all have different opinions and perspectives. We all perceive even one word different then the other. It seems Jak is being badgered and/or jumped in this discussion. That wasn’t Jesus teachings correct. Its to understand and love one another. Such a simple notion. Theres no need for quotes or complicated words. Love is all we need. God= Love. We should save such energy for conversion of atheists not our own people. Even as Christians we will still maintain our separate opinions. We must accept it and yet rejoice we all agree on one thing. The Lord Jesus is our savior and our God. We live our life the best we can to his example. Praise him. And God bless you all. Remember, we must acquire wisdom more than the finest gold and knowledge more than the purest silver.

  14. The bottom line is Jesus! I agree 100% with Rocky, Rocky, Rocky…

  15. Jak,

    The Word says about Jesus,

    “The Son of Man had no place to lay His head.”

    And, Judas as “treasurer” had the responsibility to carry the money bag so Christ’s ministtry could keep moving, giving to the poor, buying simple food for Him and His disciples, as needed, etc. Jesus was not a financially rich man like the proposerity preachers would have us believe. If He walked the earth today, He would definitely not be driving a big Benny Hinn Mercedes with gold trim.

    Speaking of Jesus, it says, “He became poor that we might become rich” – meaning, spiritually rich. The Word says “the flesh profits nothing.”

    Where our treasure is stored up, whether in serving others and God, or in lusting after worldly riches that are corruptible, there also is where our hearts are.

    Peace in Christ,

    -Marcus

  16. I am not a preacher. And maybe the words I wrote might have been misconstrued. But I do know this. God’s message was love and is love. I believe its the very reason we exist.

    God became human and went through every imaginable obstacle and trial Satan put upon him. Sometimes I think about all the things he went through, and I say wow he really does know our problems, he really does know what we are going through. Maybe this was God’s reply to His people, “Look I understand, I was here, in the flesh!” He paid an incredible price because he loved us. This is a love I dont think we as humans will ever be able to fully grasp. And when he paid this price, he freed us from sin. SIN. He freed us from SIN. Sin is the very reason we are suffering here.

    Yeah life isn’t easy, of course. I dont think theres one person on this planet that has that perspective, whether they have money or not or whether they attend Joel Osteen’s church 7 days a week or have never gone to church. (And I’m not really sure why Mark Driscoll would have the audacity to attack the thousands of people that attend Joel Osteen’s church by saying so. Yes, by attacking Joel Osteen’s message he also made a statement about Osteen’s congregation. But that is besides the point.) The message of Christianity is that we have hope, the price has been paid and we are free from the bondage of sin.

    If we as Christians fully believe that God was The Creator and is perfect in all things, then we have to believe that the imperfections of this world was a result of sin.

    So let’s bring things back to the subject which was Mark Driscoll’s lesson on the dangers of prosperity teaching. I watched it again, and I have to say again what he did was wrong. He in a roundabout way twisted Joel Osteen’s message. Now if youve ever watched Joel Osteen, youll know he pretty much preaches the same message every Sunday but you have to understand what he’s teaching. He preaches faith. Belief in God. Belief in an Almighty, Perfect God. Very simple. Thats the root of his teaching. Faith in God. But what Mark Driscoll does is he twists it. He doesn’t mention Joel Osteen’s message is about faith. What he tells his congregation is that Joel Osteens message is about becoming a Christian and then becoming healthy and wealthy by being one. Now who ever is reading this, I hope I didnt lose you. But if you watch Driscoll’s teaching again youll see where he directs his focus. Now we can argue about perspective all day long. But in the end, there is a truth no matter what. There is no “middle” ground when discussing Christianity. Somebody is going to be wrong.

    I think all pastors, not just Mark Driscoll, get caught up in their own perspective on things. But we as a Christian congregation have a responsibility to recognize Bible teaching. We have to know the fundamentals of Christianity and not solely depend on our pastors for the Word. In other words, don’t be ignorant to the Bible! We have to see the root in the Christian message, because if we don’t, then we introduce confusion and conflict into the Christian body.

  17. First i wanna say may God continue blessing pastor joel osteen and all his ministries.Pastor u are touching peoples life all over the world each and every time.u are really an outstanding keep doing it .God bless u.

  18. nice information keep it up

  19. Jak,

    If your basic premise is that Jesus died to free us from sin and immorality (which he absolutely did), hence making us healthy and wealthy because sin causes us to be poor and sick, how do you reconcile history, recent and past?

    It begs the question, how do you account for the following: Robert Schuller, who is one of the father’s of Word-Faith/Prosperity Theology, who built the Crystal Cathedral is now bankrupt and 55 million dollars in debt. The Senate Finance Committee’s investigation of Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland, and Joyce Meyer? Why doesn’t everyone instantaneously become rich and healthy when they except Christ into their heart? Why, every time I speak to my bank account in the name of Jesus does it not fill up with money? Why did Paul say in 1 Timothy 6 “who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”? Why did all the early church fathers and Christians suffer incessantly at the hands of Diocletian, Caligula and others? Why did thousands of Christians, i.e. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, die and suffer at the hands of the Nazi Regime in Europe? Why do Christians in third world countries suffer extraordinarily? It is easy to preach the Prosperity Gospel in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, South Africa and all the industrialized countries, where affluence and materialism isn’t just common but is the norm, where our social structures of Capitalism and Free Enterprise allows for great financial gain. But what about the orphan in Africa, or the destitute in India, or the war weary of Myanmar or the Congo? Does the Prosperity Gospel preach there? Do you tell them God wants them to be rich and healty? If the Prosperity Gospel cannot be preached in poor third world countries then it is not the true Gospel.
    Why does Jesus say that there will always be poor among you? Why do Christians all over the world die of incurable diseases every day? How do you explain to a mother and father of a three year old child who has passed away from leukemia the providence of God? Now make that couple pastors? Do you cheapen God’s sovereignty and say they did not have enough faith, they were sinful?

    Just some questions on your perceived perfect worldview…

  20. All of your questions can be answered by answering these questions.

    1. Do you believe in God? The God that created the Universe and everything you see. A good God.

    2. Do you believe in Satan? Did you know that he is the ruler of this planet and is against God’s plan for our salvation?

    3. Do you believe in Jesus and that he came down to suffer so that we might know how powerful faith can be, that there is hope for the lost, and to show us what real love is?

    4. Do you believe in the Bible and that It is the Word of God?

    5. Do you know what our mission is, as Christians at this time?

    6. Can you define prosperity gospel? Does the definition involve words such as faith and hope?

    I do not believe in a perfect world, I only believe in a perfect God.

  21. Concerning the verses in 1 Timothy 6, we must first understand who Timothy was and the situation at that moment. For the sake of time, I urge you to research the state of Ephesus at the time of the writing of this book. Paul was teaching about the dangers associated with having a mind after riches and not God. He was speaking to Christian leadership about being content with living within your means, not below or not above, to avoid the dangers of the love of money. God should always be the priority and this foundational teaching was essential to early church leadership as well as church leadership today.

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