I am surprised that some of the things Joel Osteen has said and done have not drawn more criticism from other religious leaders in the various denominations that fill the religious landscape. I would like to comment on some of his proclamations and deeds.
“This is my wallet”
In a similar way, the 2001 Real Estate Guide valued Joel Osteens home at $1,265,500 (Google search). This should be outrageous to anyone who desires to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and recognizes that all things come from God. Could not this money be used to further the preaching of the gospel in other countries? If his book is so important, could this money not be used to give his book for free to anyone who asked him for it? Could this money not be used in a variety of good and righteous ways, rather than on himself? I am not suggesting that Joel Osteen ought to live like a poor person. But I am saying that he ought to live equally with the world he is trying to teach. I am saying that he ought to live equally with the majority of his congregation. Who can imagine Jesus to live in such extravagance and then preach, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20)? How could Jesus ever say, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort” (Luke 6:24)? Joel Osteen has most certainly already received his reward.
“$10 a sermon, please”
If these things were not enough, then consider Joel Osteens current national tour. Joel Osteen is going across the country preaching his message of blessings through positive thinking. He is probably coming to a city near where you live right now. Would you like to go hear Joel Osteen preach? Go to Ticketmaster. Yes, to hear Joel Osteen preach you must buy $10 tickets through Ticketmaster outlets. I can understand the need for tickets due to his popularity, but why the cost? Why charge money so people can hear the gospel message?
Can anyone see Paul going through the major metropolises of the Roman Empire like Ephesus and Corinth and charging admission to hear his speak? Can you imagine Paul charging an entry fee into the school of Tyrannus where he lectured (Acts 19:9)? Perhaps Paul could have charged the people who came to hear him speak while imprisoned in Rome! But if this is not bad enough, I have one other word: Ticketmaster! Are you kidding me? Not only is Joel Osteen charging to hear the gospel, but Ticketmaster is getting a cut as well from their handling and convenience charges. Ticketmaster has placed a $4.80 convenience charge on each ticket. Perhaps Joel Osteen has not read this part of the Bible: “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Timothy 6:3-5; NIV). One of Pauls definitions for a false teacher is someone who sees godliness as a moneymaking operation.
This should draw outrage from everyone and cause all of his followers to leave him. This is the clearest evidence of all that this man is truly not preaching because he is compelled to save souls. Rather, he is compelled to make money and lots of it. Let us turn our eyes to the scriptures and not follow those who see the gospel as a way to make money.