Tuesday, September 12, 2006

iMonk on Osteen

Michael Spencer, who goes by the blogger name of Internet Monk, has written two posts critical of Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. You can view them here and here.

The iMonk concludes:
Osteen appears to be continuing on his chosen trajectory to become the most influential preacher on the planet by abandoning the Christian faith in favor of a very American and very Christless message of salvation from a bad life by positive thinking and behavior change. Osteen’s charm and good looks have won over millions, and most evangelicals are too mired in the materialism and “good life” pursuits at the root of Osteen’s message to effectively challenge him.

Conservative evangelicals are strangely silent about Osteen, even though he outdoes liberals, mystics, the emerging church and many outright apostates in his abandonment of the Gospel. One of the reasons I am a post-evangelical is that I see little evidence that evangelicalism has the ability to separate itself from a successful minister who threw the Gospel itself away in order to be popular. Osteen is the present and the future of evangelicalism. If this is where we’re going, you can have him, and the whole movement.

I’ll close with a summary of my criticisms of Joel Osteen.
1) As presented in his books and messages, Joel Osteen isn’t an evangelical. He’s a motivational speaker.
2) No matter what his personal or occasional doctrinal statements, Osteen’s books and sermons are absent the Gospel message.
3) The vast majority of Osteen’s message is simply advice for being a better person- the antithesis of the cross and the Gospel.
4) The MSMs attention to Osteen as a successor to Billy Graham should be loudly opposed by every pastor, preacher, teacher, leader and blogger in evangelicalism.
5) The promotion of Osteen by publishing interests is an outright detriment to the cause of Christ in the name of making money.

From what I've seen of Osteen's program on TV, the iMonk has a correct assessment of him.

Related: Does God want you to be rich?


  1. Anyone who thinks that evangelicals haven't criticized Osteen must truly be a monk. Just listen to John McCarthur once in a while, or visit sites like Slice of Laodecia.

  2. MacArthur is the only one I know of who has. I wouldn't necessarily count Ingrid and Pastor Silva - the ones who run the SOL site - as "leading evangelicals," but they do appear to have a bit of influence. I believe he's talking about some of the other big names, such as Swindoll or Dobson or Tony Evans - you know, the ones who have their own radio programs.