This is my Bible…


and I’m showing it to you now ’cause this is the last reference we’ll make to it today.

Joel Osteen, the Bible, and the Gospel.

My wife had never heard Joel Osteen “preach” before, so we watched a little bit of his show the other day. As I watched, I was sickened.

Joel Osteen makes a big production before his sermon about the Bible being God’s Word, I am what it says I am, I can do what it says I can do, etc., ad nauseam. And who wouldn’t agree with those words at face value? I know I do…I think, I can’t remember the whole mantra, but I do believe that I am exactly what the Bible says I am (a dirty rotten sinner saved by grace), I can do what it says I can do (whatever that may be, which may be a problem, because I’m pretty sure he believes the Bible says we can do a lot more than it says that we can, to the exclusion of what the Bible actually says we can do).

But after the ‘Bible Mantra’, he really didn’t have a lot to say about the Bible, much less from the Bible. Instead, his sermon began with these words, “We are told by many psychologists…” The sermon didn’t get anymore Bible/God/Cross-centered than that. And it never will. The ‘gospel’ Joel Osteen preaches is not a gospel of the good news of sin’s penalty paid in full, it is a ‘gospel’ of self-help/fulfillment/love/esteem. And you really can’t find that kind of ‘gospel’ in the Bible.

So, what is the Gospel that we do find in the Bible? It is a Gospel of God (2 Cor. 4:1-6). You can’t help yourself, but God can, you can’t find fulfillment on your own, but God can fulfill you, you can’t love yourself enough, but God does. And this is how we know God’s love…Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for our sin( John 3:16, 1 John 3:16). Essentially the Gospel is this, God gives us Himself. In Creation, God gave us many things, that is to say, everything that He created (Gen. 1-2). But by our sin we lost it all (Gen. 3). But the good news (Gospel) is this, by God’s redemptive acts, He has not only begun the restoration of all things to us in Christ, but He has now given us Himself (John 17:20-24).

Think of it with me. God gave us Himself when He sent His Son into the world (Matt. 1:23). He ‘pitched His tent among us’ (John 1:14). Then, when Christ ascended to His Father, He sent His Spirit to live in us (John 14:16-17). Finally, at the return of Christ, God dwells with us in the fullness of His Glory (Rev. 21:3-4). That, my friends, is the great goal of the Gospel. God in us, with us, and for us.

The Cross is the means by which God gives Himself to us. When God sent His Son into this world, it was for a specific purpose. Not only did it show God’s intent to dwell among His creatures (John 14:1-3), but He was making it possible to dwell among His creatures (2 Cor. 5:18-21). Christ died to reconcile us with God. We needed to be reconciled with God because we had rebelled against Him. Adam’s sin, and every sin we commit ourselves, is an act of treason against our Creator and Sovereign King. They are all acts intended to dethrone the King of the universe, whether or not you recognize them as such (Psalm 2). Obviously if God is truly God, these acts can never dethrone Him, but they do affect how we relate to Him. They make us God’s enemies.

God will give to His enemies what they deserve. Since their sin is a sin against the God who created them, the fitting penalty is eternal death in hell. That certainly precludes God’s intention of ‘dwelling’ with His people, doesn’t it? No, not really. That’s because God has this other thing that He is doing called ‘Redemption’. Redemption means that God is buying something back. That something He is buying back is humanity. And the price He is paying must be paid to Himself. Remember that it is God who has been sinned against. Therefore it is God who must satisfied. The payment that God pays is to Himself, by Himself, and for Himself. To pay Himself he must become man. In a mystery that we can never understand, God, who is Trinity, sends His Son to become man in order that He may pay Himself the payment He requires, eternal death.

Jesus, God’s Son, is the perfect man. He is also God. He is the God-man. The God-man pays the price for our sin. His death is of eternal value, even though He rises from the dead, because He Himself is eternal. Before Jesus died He lived a sinless life. But His life was not merely sinless, it was a life of positive righteousness. That means that He didn’t merely not sin, but that He also actively did good. That ‘good’ that He did is placed in our accounts. And then He took our sin and put it in His account and died in our place. So we are not only redeemed, but we are forgiven of our sins, and justified by Christ’s righteousness before God.

I say all of that, because Joel Osteen didn’t say it. He said something else. His ‘gospel’ didn’t involve God, the Bible, or the Cross. The ‘gospel’ he preached was, “You need to feel better about yourself and stop thinking negative thoughts.” Negative thoughts were the problem, and the good news was feel good about yourself. The solution was to think positively. That’s not the Gospel. It is in the Bible one place though…but it’s condemned (Gal. 1:6-9).



Filed under Bible, Gospel, preaching

17 responses to “This is my Bible…

  1. Thanks for saying what Joel apparently cannot, since he obviously doesn’t understand it. Great exposition of the substitutional atonement!

  2. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Right on…

    Jeremy, since I am teaching through Galatians on Wednesday nights, and we are at verses 6-9 of chapter 1, and I am going to take several weeks to go through the false and distorted gospels, teaching discernment, I respectfully tell you that I am taking this entire post (minus the first couple of sentences) and using it as one of the examples for modern day application. I will attribute you as the author of course. We do print out our studies in their entirety for all who attend regularly, but it is informal, free, not for profit type thing, strictly edification and education.

    Is that the nice way to say I’m stealing this?…..

  4. Even so…,

    I told someone else earlier this week, “Everything I have is yours.”
    The same applies to you. I think I’m going to make a notation on the sidebar somewhere. You’ve got copyrighted info, don’t you? What is the best way to do this?

  5. If it is on this blog and it is original, it actually IS copyrighted…if you want more airtight legal recourse, a registred trademark is a little bit of a hassle…try what many bloggers do and get a creative commmons thingy, Daniel @ Doulogos, Jollyblogger and many others do this…any level that is done is an effective “shield” if needed later, but if someone wnats to steal (I realize you are saying yuo don’t really care, but there would be cases, like an atheist who the takes you out of context, etc.) you’d have to find them anyway..if they got popular and were using your stuff, making sure your stuff can be traced to a specific date is the thing you would need, that is why dating, linking, trachbacks, etc can be important….

  6. From Wiki…
    A copyright need not be granted or obtained through official registration with any government office. Once an idea has been reduced to tangible form, (like a blog -JDH), the copyright holder is entitled to enforce his or her exclusive rights. However, while a copyright need not be officially registered for the copyright owner to begin exercising his exclusive rights, registration of works (where the laws of that jurisdiction provide for registration) does have benefits; it serves as prima facie evidence of a valid copyright and enables the copyright holder to seek statutory damages and attorney’s fees (whereas in the USA, for instance, registering after an infringement only enables one to receive actual damages and lost profits).


    use control alt c for the symbol, there is no magic to it, and it lets anyone know definitvely that you are “protecting” something to a degree…

  7. Thanks for the info. I may do the ‘Doulogian’ thing later, but in light of what you have said, right now I think I’ll just put up some guidelines for ‘stealing’ from this site. 🙂

  8. Pingback: Thing You All Need to Know About « Pastor Steve Weaver’s Blog

  9. Pastor

    Why are so many of us criticizing Mr. Osteen. We don’t know his heart and his heart is the only part of him that matters to God. If we spend all our time judging him, when we will pray for him. Pray that his words are to help people and that his heart is focused on God. No matter how many references of the bible he uses, if his heart is righr with God than he is a good man.

  10. Pastor (?)

    Joel Osteen is criticized because he is a hireling. He is not a true shepherd of Christ’s sheep because he teaches a different gospel, the one of self esteem and self-help. He is a wolf, a cloud without water, and man without fear (Jude 1:12, 2 Peter 2:14-19) and he is joyfully leading souls astray from the hard truths to the myths of self fulfillment and prosperity in THIS life.

    I am surprised that one referring to themselves as “pastor” would be so blind to the falseness of this man. We are to rebuke those who are in error, so our disdain is completely biblical.

    The man has apparently not considered what James said about people desiring to be teachers and he, as well as many others these days, is an evident fulfilling of Paul’s prophecy of the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-7.

    Our best life now? The Biblical sense is that we have life more abundantly because we hope now of something better after our faith is tested and tried to be true faith. In other words, the world wants the best of life now. True believers surely hope to be blessed in this life, but we’d rather have Jesus than anything this world has to offer.

  11. Pingback: A Parable « DOXOBLOGY

  12. Pastor

    Sir I know what you are saying and I can see why. However, it is still a judgement. God does not ask us to fight against other sinners. No matter how sinful they are tot he world, for in his eyes we are all the same. God says go out unto all the world and preach the Gospel. If you feel Osteen is not doing that then you do that and you pray that God will work on him and change that man for God is the only one capable of that.

  13. Joel Osteen

    Hello everyone, I’m Joel Osteen. I see that you all have posted comments. Some defending me and some agaainst me. I want you all to know that I search the Internet trying to find sites like this so I can tell all that I love God. I am not a fake and I am sorry that my actions reveal a false person. I love God with all of my heart and I try my hardest to preach God’s word. Mr. Weaver I’m sorry that you feel as if my teachings are false. May God bless you and keep you in his hands. God Bless you all!

  14. If you are Joel Osteen, thank you for taking the time to read my critique of your ministry. I wish you would also read the ‘parable’ (not a good one, but it makes my point) I recently posted.
    I do not doubt that you are sincere in your actions, nor do I doubt that you have done good in some people’s lives. However, I believe that you need to take the Bible more at face value and understand that sin is our real problem, and that our sin brigns God’s wrath upon all of mankind. Our only escape is the blood of Christ. Faith in Christ alone justifies the sinner before God. This is the great need in preaching today, strong Gospel content that causes men to understand their desperate need of God, and the provision God has made in sending His Son Jesus the Christ into this world ‘for us and for our salvation’.
    Thank you again for taking the time to read.

  15. Jeremy,

    You reply as if you actually think that it may have been Osteen that commented. I’m confused.

  16. I don’t know if it was Osteen or not. If it wasn’t then whoever commented committed a crime.
    On the off-chance that it was Osteen then I wanted to say that to him.

  17. Oh, you mean that’s illegal? oops!

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