A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood

2 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2007 Vol. 12 Issue 11 – A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood Joel & Victoria Osteen – On Larry King Live 10-16-07 – By Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood

Joel & Victoria Osteen – On Larry King Live 10-16-07

By Rev. Bob Liichow

 Wednesday evening I received a phone call from some good friends (hi Doug & Sherry) telling me that Larry King had quoted me on his program in talking to Joel & Victoria Osteen. Your humble heresy-hunter got a “global” mention! Our friends sent me a video of the program which I watched with great interest.

Frankly, I was hoping that Joel would do a better job this time in exalting our Lord Jesus Christ but again I was sadly disappointed. In the entire interview Joel mentioned Jesus exactly twice. Her is one of the two times he does mention Jesus:

KING: How do you feel about Mitt Romney and being a Mormon? Would that affect whether you vote for him or not?

J. OSTEEN: Well, you know what? I look at people, their character, their values, what they stand for. And I know only Mitt from watching him on your program and reading a couple of articles about him. And I don’t think that that would affect me. I’ve heard him say that he believes Jesus is his savior, just like I do. I’ve studied it deeply, and maybe people don’t agree with me, but I like to look at a person’s values and what they stand for. (1)

I almost fell out of my chair when Joel said that Romney believes that Jesus is his savior “just like I do.” Joel obviously does not even know the rudimentary facts concerning the Mormon cult. If he did then he would have known that Romney’s Jesus is really the spirit brother of Lucifer and that to the Mormons Jesus did not secure redemption for anyone per se. If Joel had some basic theological training he would probably know that Mormons consider themselves the only true Church. I am not sure what Joel is referring to when he says “I’ve studied it deeply” but it surely is not the beliefs of Mormonism.

This was the perfect time for Osteen to say something powerful to Larry about the biblical Jesus. He could have said “well Larry, the Mormon version of Jesus is not the biblical view. Mr. Romney and I do not believe in the same Jesus.” That would have no doubt piqued King’s interest and hopefully Joel could have then shared the biblical Jesus as Savior of sinners with Larry.

Osteen’s congregation has grown since I initially wrote about his first appearance on Larry King Live. At that time Lakewood Church was around 30,000 people in attendance, now it is close to 50,000 people each Sunday. The “sanctuary” holds 16,000 people and they hold 3 services on Sunday, including a fourth one in Spanish. One would imagine that with all those people coming out to listen to Joel preach that he would be continually striving to improve his biblical knowledge so he could adequately feed the souls of the hungry.

KING: Well, you’ve obviously affected a lot of people. The lack of formal biblical study, you did a brief stint at Oral Roberts University, right?

J. OSTEEN: Yes, sir.

KING: All right, a critic — this quote to — from Reverend Robert Liichow: “Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or experience to be a pastor. Would you allow a surgeon to operate on you because he felt that he should be called a surgeon?”

J. OSTEEN: Well, I would think two things, Larry. One, I spent — I grew up in a preacher’s home. I spent 17 years working with my father. The second thing is the disciples that Jesus chose — his main 12 — one was a fisherman, a tax collector. They didn’t have any formal training, as well. The bible says that God chooses people that, you know, are not the most educated or the smartest, to confound other people. So I don’t know, It’s interesting to me that…

KING: So you are not reverend?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I am reverend. I am reverend. You don’t have to necessarily be — go into seminary to be a reverend. But I am — I’m a reverend from our church. But, I am.

KING: OK. No crosses on display at your church.

J. OSTEEN: Yes….

KING: The only church that I know — the Mormons don’t display crosses. (2)

Joel looked like a deer in headlights when Larry mentioned my name to him, he honestly looked like he was going to cry (I think my comments about his lack of education really bothers Joel—Goood!).

It is true that Joel did attend O.R.U., but what he studied was communications and not theology. In my previous article I made the case that it is not enough to be “called” to serve as a pastor. One may be called to a vocation of a doctor or architect, but that person has to develop that calling by gaining the required knowledge to fulfill their vocation.

How does Joel respond to my challenge? He gives two reasons why he believes he does not need any theological education. First, he grew up in the household of a famous charismatic extremist, John Osteen. He spent 17 years working with his father behind the scenes. If Joel’s father had been an airplane pilot are we to assume that Joel would know how to fly a jet? I guess this is theological education b osmosis! What is sad is because Joel does not have any formal biblical education he does not even know that much of what his father taught was false doctrine and in places rank heresy. All of Joel’s life he listened to spiritual poison, I know what I am saying since I come from the same background as his father and was schooled in and later taught the same garbage that John Osteen taught. Unfortunately, the doctrines he did learn from being around his dadf are aberrant.

His next defense is the tired old excuse of pointing to Jesus’ disciples and using them as examples of men without formal training. I beg to differ most strenuously with this type of thinking. Let’s consider the facts: (1) the 12 were handpicked by Jesus. Jesus did not just “call” these 12, they left everything and followed Jesus. (2) These men received hands on training from God the Son in person. From sun-up till they went to sleep, seven days a week (no Christmas or Easter break back then) these men lived with Jesus and were taught by Him. There is no seminary education that can compare with what the original disciples learned firsthand.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.   Acts 4:13

The religious leaders scoffed at Peter and John because they were not from the priestly tribe but they did take not that they had been with Jesus who was accepted as a peripatetic rabbi, i.e. a rabbi who taught as He walked along life’s way. Joel is correct to say that when Jesus initially chose the 12 they did not have formal training but when He breathed the Holy Spirit upon them (see John 20:22) three and a half years later they had the best theological training ever given to mankind!

Lastly Joel tries to make a case for biblical ignorance by saying “hey God chooses us ignorant folk to confound the educated one!” {my paraphrase}. Actually what the Bible says is:

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 1 Cor. 1:26

Paul is telling the Corinthians to think of what they were when God called them. According to the world’s standards they were nothing, yet it is the glory of God to take “nothing” and make something wonderful out of it.

Instead, God has chosen from the world those who seem foolish, weak, and helpless so that he might put to shame the wise and powerful by showing how temporary and insignificant to salvation their achievements are. In his grace he has showered his mercy on them and made them strong and wise in Christ. (3)

In the words of one of Joel’s father’s good friends, Kenneth Copeland “that dog won’t hunt.” Joel’s excuses are just that excuses. Here is a man worth millions of dollars, who is well paid by his “church” and espouses a belief in continual improvement…yet personally refuses to gain any further training for his vocation, it boggles my mind! Joel could easily afford a private personal tutor to educate him in the basics of theology, hermeneutics, Church history, biblical Greek, etc…Yet for some reason he has not yet done so. I know Joel must have read the following text:

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.   James 3:1

Doesn’t Joel realize that when he stands before 46,000 people in Houston and untold thousands more through television that his every word is being measured by a holy God? That one day he will have to give an account of what he has said (see Matt 12:36). How can Joel lead people into a biblical knowledge of Christ Jesus if he himself does not have such knowledge? The answer is — he cannot do so. When the blind lead the blind what happens? They all end up in the ditch of doctrinal ignorance and bondage (see Matt. 15:14).

In closing I repeat, I do not think that Joel is an “evil” person. I believe he is sincere, but like the Jews of old, his zeal is without knowledge (see Rom. 10:2) and the end result, as well intentioned as it might be, is not a good one. People must build their lives on solid biblical doctrine and not sand (see Matt. 7:24-27) in order to survive the storms of life which our enemy throws at us all.

I pray for him and I am sure he would make a fine neighbor {if I lived in a secured gated community of the ultra-wealthy as he & his family do}. Currently he is one of the most visible “preachers” in the world and he is in a position to do great good for the Kingdom of God. Possibly Satan has placed him in his exalted status in order to drag him down later and bring shame to the name of our Lord. Let us all pray for Joel that he will see the seriousness of being a pastor and that in seeing this, he will obtain a sound biblical base upon which to minister to God’s people.    Selah.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. CNN LARRY KING LIVE Interview with Joel and Victoria Osteen Aired – October 16,2007 – 21:00 CNN.com – Transcripts

2. Ibid. Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Obtained from the NIV Bible Commentary on the Zondervan Reference CD Rom. Underlining added.








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