Monday, February 18, 2008
Joel Osteen...True of False?
As Bible Believers, we can disagree on certain doctrinal issues, but never the redemptive work and person of the Lord Jesus Christ. God forbid! God help us to never cease from exposing serious doctrinal errors, and make no mistake about it – several of Joel Osteen’s statements on Larry King Live were serious. Very serious. . .
The first very alarming portrait of Osteen’s heart (Matthew 12:34) deals with the most important subject in the Bible—salvation is only through the redemptive blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary. Nothing is more important. Nothing is more evident in the scriptures. The following scriptures (among many) loudly and boldly proclaim Jesus Christ as the ONE and ONLY way of salvation, without any room for misinterpretation or misunderstanding. The Bible makes this crystal-clear. Other doctrines may have opportunity for argument, but not this one.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
1 Timothy 2:5-6
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
On Larry King Live, the following very disturbing conversation occurred with Larry King and Joel Osteen:
KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?
OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...
At this point, even Larry King appears surprised by Osteen’s answer. Then Larry tosses Osteen a "soft-ball" to explain his previous answer. And again Osteen openly denies that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way of salvation.
KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?
OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.
Again Osteen denies the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice, he praises the pagan, false-religion of India as "I know they love God." Unbelievable. . .
I’m sure some reading this are thinking, "Well, maybe Larry caught Joel Osteen flat footed. Maybe Osteen wasn’t prepared." If Osteen only had been given another chance to testify of the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ, he’d get it straightened out.
Osteen did get another chance. . .
After Larry King opened the phone lines, a concerned Christian asks Joel to clarify his previous statement (which we just viewed). Again Osteen could easily clear this up.
CALLER: Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth.
OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that. . .
KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?
OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only God can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say, here's what the Bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just...
KING: But you believe your way.
OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.
KING: But for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he?
OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let God be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know.
KING: So you make no judgment on anyone?
OSTEEN: No. But I...
And here Larry really tosses Joel a soft-ball. How about a God-defying atheist? And again, Osteen will not confess that Jesus Christ is the ONLY way of salvation.
KING: What about atheists?
OSTEEN: You know what, I'm going to let someone -- I'm going to let God be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just -- again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around telling everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their choice. God's got to look at your own heart. God's got to look at your heart, and only God knows that.
Friend, the Bible is clear. There is one, and only one way out of an eternal hell and that is the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not simply "a relationship with Jesus Christ." Judas Iscariot had a "relationship" with Jesus Christ, walking and talking with the Lord, and even "kissing" the Lord (Luke 22:47), but Judas went to hell (Acts 1:25). Revelation 2:15 reads, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"
What can wash away my sins – NOTHING BUT THE BLOOD OF JESUS!
The teaching professed by Osteen that ". . . God’s got to look at your heart. . ." for salvation is wrong. It is grossly wrong. It is deadly wrong. God has already "looked at you heart." In Jeremiah 17:9, the Lord says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Proverbs 28:26, says, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool. . ." The Lord Jesus says, in Matthew 15 "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:"
Osteen’s refusal to confess the sole redemptive salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ sent shock waves among many of Osteen’s followers. Because of the amount of email and letters questioning his statements, Osteen issued an apology on his web site, stating:
Many of you have called, written or e-mailed regarding my recent appearance on Larry King Live. I appreciate your comments and value your words of correction and encouragement.
It was never my desire or intention to leave any doubt as to what I believe and Whom I serve. I believe with all my heart that it is only through Christ that we have hope in eternal life. I regret and sincerely apologize that I was unclear on the very thing in which I have dedicated my life.
Jesus declared in John 14; I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven. It’s about the individual’s choice to follow Him.
God has given me a platform to present the Gospel to a very diverse audience. In my desire not to alienate the people that Jesus came to save, I did not clearly communicate the convictions that I hold so precious.
I will use this as a learning experience and believe that God will ultimately use it for my good and His glory. I am comforted by the fact that He sees my heart and knows my intentions. I am so thankful that I have friends, like you, who are willing to share their concerns with me.
Thank you again to those who have written. I hope that you accept my deepest apology and see it in your heart to extend to me grace and forgiveness.
As always, I covet your prayers and I am believing for God’s best in your life,
I find it ironic and demeaning that Osteen "was unclear on the very thing in which I have dedicated my life." He was not UNCLEAR. He was crystal clear. He consistently and clearly rejected that the Lord Jesus Christ was the ONLY way of salvation! We're not talking about a "babe in Christ." We are talking about the pastor of the largest church in the nation! Here he is as an ambassador for the Lord Jesus on a very popular television show and refuses to acknowledge the very thing he supposedly has "dedicated his life"? Something's seriously wrong with this picture. . .
Osteen’s glossing, or apologizing for his serious statements, does not negate his repeatedly refusal to confess that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation. If his answers were not so clear, nor given several chances to clarify, his apology might be appropriate. But the heart and soul of the Christian faith is the sole redemptive blood of the Lord Jesus. Without that, there exists no Christian faith. For a preacher to repeatedly refuse to confess that Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation is without excuse, nor apology. 1 Peter 3:15 admonishes the Christian: "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:"
Many other statements from Osteen during the Larry King interview were blatantly in opposition to the Word of God.
KING: But you're not fire and brimstone, right? You're not pound the decks and hell and damnation?
OSTEEN: No. That's not me. It's never been me. I've always been an encourager at heart. And when I took over from my father he came from the Southern Baptist background and back 40, 50 years ago there was a lot more of that. But, you know, I just -- I don't believe in that. I don't believe -- maybe it was for a time. But I don't have it in my heart to condemn people. I'm there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us.
Friend, the greatest "fire and brimstone" preacher that ever lived was the Lord Jesus! He preached about hell more than any other subject. If you don’t believe in proclaiming "fire and brimstone, as Osteen openly confesses, you do not believe the Bible! It’s that simple.
Jesus Christ took hell very serious. In Mark 9:43-47 the Lord says,
43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Jesus Christ took hell so serious — He could say without the slightest hesitation — to remove your eye, cut off your hand or foot, if that would keep you out of hell!