Jim Bakker is Back At It Again

16 12 2012

Truth Matters, December 2012, Volume 16 Issue 12

Jim Bakker is Back At It Again By Rev. Robert Liichow

            Baby-face Bakker was the former reigning king of charismatic television superstardom.  For many years no one could touch him in ratings and raising millions of dollars from his viewers.  Bakker even began to build his own city/amusement park known as “Heritage USA.”  Jim and Tammy-Faye Bakker were the darlings of Christian television and Paul and Jan Crouch, Pat Roberson, Jerry Falwell and Robert Tilton all stood in the shadow PTL cast. 

Naturally, when it was divulged that Jim had a one-night sexual liaison with Jessica Hawn (who had been being sexually abused by her pastor, who passed her on to Jim) all of the other ‘Christian’ televised charismatic luminaries lined up to take the soon to be vacated throne of beaucoup broadcast bucks.  This was easily seen in the behaviors of the Crouch’s, who to this day do not ever mention the Bakker’s and Mr. Falwell who tried to wrest control of the PTL holdings (remember the infamous waterslide photo of Falwell in his suit going down it out of modesty).  Jim loses control of PTL and eventually goes to trial and is given a very harsh and unreasonable sentence from the judge.  Most sign-gift folks, while mourning the loss of PTL switched over to viewing the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN aka “The Total Blasphemy Network) or The 700 Club hosted by Pat Robertson.

In 1997 Jim Bakker released a book entitled “I Was Wrong.”    He published this fascinating book after serving several years of a forty year prison sentence.  I remember buying the book in Grand Rapids, MI.  at Bakers Bookstore and reading its 480 pages in one sitting (it was sort of long, but I found it a page-turner).

One aspect of the entire Jim & Tammy debacle that was quite telling to me was how quickly ALL the people the Bakker’s had made “stars” due to PTL totally abandoned them in their hour of need.  The Crouches, who owe much of their existence on television to Jim Bakker totally distanced themselves from any Bakker association.  I wondered “where is the love?”

            This book chronicles Bakker’s rise and fall in a fairly honest fashion.  Jim acknowledged that the “prosperity” message was unbalanced and confessed to his sexual sin and other failings.  At the end one is left to believe that five years in the Federal prison changed Jim Bakker.  From a multi-millionaire, to basically a homeless guy when he emerged from jail sans Tammy Faye, who divorced Jim and married Jim’s best friend Roe Messner in 1993 (the same year Roe divorced his wife & married Tammy).  Bakker seemed totally humbled by his “fall” from super stardom.

            Frankly, one would imagine that after what he experienced and learned in prison he would know how to avoid many of the snares set by Satan to entrap him (2 Tim. 2:26).  Sadly, the lessons he may have begun to learn in prison were fleeting at best and the ‘birds of wisdom’ have flown the coup in Bakker’s case.

            Some of our readers may be a bit unfamiliar with PTL (the forerunner to TBN) and the earthly kingdom Jim tried to build called “Heritage USA,” which was a Christian based theme park, schmaltzy shops that sold precious moments idols, and ice cream parlors.  The vision was to have a place where Christians could come with their families for a fun time with a little evangelicalism-lite thrown in.  Before some readers “poo-poo” Heritage USA they might know that by 1986 (it was begun in 1978) it was one of the top entertainment venues in America:

For those who are not familar with it’s story, this place was created by the PTL Ministry which was ran by Jim and Tammy Bakker. Heritage USA started out as a camp ground but quickly grew to be the 3rd most visited theme park in the world attracting over 6 MILLION visitors! Walt Disney World and Disneyland were the only 2 other parks ahead of Heritage USA during one point in the 80’s.[i]

Bakker got into legal trouble it was mainly about allegedly overselling the units in a high-rise hotel he started to build on the grounds, the hotel was never completed and Heritage Village went defunct shortly after Bakker went to the Federal penitentiary.

There have been several attempts in America to establish godly earthly kingdoms, all started by ‘charismatic’ sign-seekers.  The Shiloh Community led by Frank Sanford; Zion, Ill. Founded by John A. Dowie, Miracle Valley AZ started by A.A. Allen, The City of Faith started by Oral Roberts and of course, Heritage Village.

When Jim got out of prison, Dr. Billy Graham (a former frequent guest on PTL) took him in for a bit (none of the Word of Faith crowd he helped make rich, although the Copeland’s did give Tammy some money when she was financially hurting, helped him at all).  Jim returned to South Carolina where he was formerly established.  Earlier in this decade Jim met up with Rick Joyner, head of Morningstar Ministries in Fort Mill, S.C. — the location of the former “Heritage USA.”  Before you could say “divine appointment” Jim joined up with Joyner who was willing to back Jimmy financially to get him back on television.

Who Is Rick Joyner & What is Morningstar Ministries?

Unlike Jerry Collins, a Dog Track owner and gambler who bailed out Oral Roberts back in January of 1987. Remember when Oral said “God” was going to take him home unless he raised several million?  Jerry Collins gave Oral 1.3 million; Rick Joyner is a SINistry whose devotees comprise the very farthest fringe elements of the so-called Prophetic & Apostolic movements.   I believe Mr. Joyner saw an opening to broadcast his specific[ii] perversion of the Gospel.[iii]

Rick Joyner is one of the most egregious of the false-prophets on the scene today.   Joyner sits very high-up on the dais of the ranking (and boy they are rank) prophets today.  In short, Joyner is a huge player in the so-called Prophetic Movement.  In fact, Mr. Joyner was one of the people responsible for the ‘spiritual restoration’ of ex-child molester and false-apostle, Todd Bentley.[iv]

When one goes through the kind of restoration Todd has been through over the last year and a half you usually come out stronger in basic Christian disciplines and character than ever. I feel that is certainly the case with Todd. However, I was surprised by the depth, power, and the impartation of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that was immediately present when we released Todd into limited local ministry…”   Rick Joyner – The ElijahList Email”  ”Check Out These Todd Bentley Events” May 15, 2010

Joyner seems to think Todd is a genuine apostle and is now restored from the ravages of his lust for another woman and the divorce of his wife, along with various lies, false prophetic words, etc.  However, it seems the nation of Great Britain does not view Bentley as a penitent whose been restored, they will not allow Bentley to set foot on their shores![v]

Mr.  Joyner gained a wider audience through the release of his book entitled “The Final Quest” aka online under the title “The Hordes of Hell Are Marching” and it is listed as one of the top one hundred Christian books (depending on which web site you visit).  He reveals in a more recent nighttime phantasy of Joyner we are told that God has given Rick power over all natural laws and that the super-saints will move literal mountains (see Matt. 21:21) before the return of Jesus Christ.[vi]

Joyner is an integral part of the Prophetic movement and as such he believes: (1) in the need for the restoration of apostles and prophets in order for Christ to return; (2) the re-establishment of The Tabernacle of David (see Acts 15:16-17); (3) the validity of the so-called new wine of the Spirit gifts; (4) strategic level spiritual warfare which includes warfare praise, warfare intercession, etc.; (5) the global dominion of the earth by the Church prior to the return of Christ; (6) ultimate victory over death prior to the return of Christ; (7) new revelations from The Holy Spirit via dreams, visions, and trances; and (8) unity in the Church based on experience and not doctrinal confessions.  You can even see Mr. Joyner on video declaring that God was going to send the fire of the Spirit through their cell phones (I kid you not) if the assembled would pull them out and make the call (the crowd did so and went into a frenzy).[vii]

Joyner is associated with every major charismaniac SINister infecting the Body of Christ today.  Now through Bakker’s return to television another wave of spiritual counterfeits are released within the Church and upon the unwary saints due to his association with Rick Joyner.

The Jim & Lori Show

Here is a nasty dirty little secret — the world of ‘Christian’ broadcasting is a cesspool of greed, intimidation, false and/or compromised doctrine, immorality and more.  Jan Crouch pretty much hated the Bakker’s who were the front people for Paul Crouch’s initial foray into television.  Bakker was the reason Crouch had any success, and Jan knew this.  Janny wanted to push her hubby out front of the cameras, so Paul fired the Bakkers.  Jim was very depressed but eventually rebounded.   All of this history is well detailed in Tammy Faye’s book “Telling It My Way” (another page-turner if you are into reading about these folks). 

Jim went home to S.C. and started the PTL Club, and outdid Paul and Jan “in spades” for many years.  The Crouch’s shed few tears when Jimmy was hauled off to prison and his network shut down.  Those blinded by the cathode-ray tube had nowhere else to turn but to TBN, which blew-up huge (a little music industry lingo) in the vacuum created by the absence of PTL.

Understand this fact, TBN (the Crouch juggernaut) is soundly in the Word of Faith (WOF) camp.  The resurrected Heritage International Ministries (HIM) is solidly in the Prophetic camp.  WOF is of the pre-tribulation rapture belief and the Prophetic folk are overwhelmingly dominionists and deny any rapture of the Church.  Now we have two sign-gift networks, which is watched in the same day will no doubt produce a TREMENDOUS amount of doctrinal confusion among the swallow-and-follow crowd.  The following chart is a simple thumbnail sketch of a few of the positions held by the two counterfeits and the historic Church.

Doctrine

WOF Cult

Classic Pentecostalism

Prophetic/Apostolic

Historic Christianity

Restored sign gifts YES YES YES NO
Restored apostles & prophets YES NO YES NO
Pre-Tribulation Rapture YES YES NO NO
Baptism as a means of grace NO NO NO YES
Bible Translation preferred KJV/Amplified KJV Dakes translation Whatever Differs widely over denominational lines.
Lord’s Supper as a means of grace NO NO NO YES
Prayer as a means of grace YES YES YES NO
Financial Prosperity YES NO YES/NO NO
Current & new ‘revelations’ YES NO YES NO (the canon is closed)
Divine healing YES YES YES YES
Being Slain in the spirit YES YES YES NO
Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare NO (although WOF believes in a form of spiritual warfare) NO YES NO
Infant Baptism NO NO NO YES
Discipleship NO NO YES NO (not as practiced by the sign-gift folks). We Catechize. 
Trinity of God YES YES/NO Modalists are the largest in number. Primarily YES, some leaders are Modalists YES

 

The divergence on the cited doctrinal issues is not sufficient to keep both groups from mingling together at times in conferences or at big revival meetings.  Remember the charismaniac war cry “doctrine divides.”   It is not uncommon in large meetings to find a Roman Catholic nun ‘worshipping’ next to a Jesus-only Pentecostal who is standing in front of a “Spirit-filled” Baptist whose is adjacent to a tongue-talking Episcopalian.  Isn’t unity a wonderful thing?  The fact is, none of the aforementioned groups agree with each other on any of the cardinal doctrines of the one holy and Christian apostolic Church.

 Please realize how serious a door Bakker has opened for the enemy of our souls.  Prior to the return of his television show the majority of these so-called restored apostles and prophets did not receive much air time (due to the Crouches opposition to many of their beliefs). Now because of Bakker and his association with a chief false-prophet Rick Joyner another stream of extremism has been released on a viewing worldNow this specific steam of flakes has access to millions instead of a few thousand in conferences.  Now they can proclaim their spurious twist of the Gospel on a global level as Bakker’s empire continues to gather steam.  Now those who were previously unaware of the claims of the prophetic movement now have the opportunity to become beguiled by their lies.

One thing is for certain Jim Bakker has a gift or innate ability for making his televisions programs succeed financially by taking a voracious bite out of the Christian television market share; at least he had such ability prior to prison.   Assuming the Lord tarries, if I was a gambling man, I would put my money on Jim Bakker ending up on top of the charismatic cathode-ray crowd again.  Paul Crouch senior was/is in failing health and there is a huge power-struggle over who will take over at Paul Sr.’s death.

The latest in the nuclear family warfare surrounding the Trinity Broadcasting Network:  A photograph entered into the court record of what appears to be Jan Crouch, her head tossed back in ecstasy, showing off a letter that is alleged to have been written by her husband, Paul, on what was assumed to be his deathbed.[viii]

 Their close to a billion dollar empire is in huge disarray due to the many law suits that have been brought against TBN and Paul and Jan Crouch.  These law suits come from their own immediate family members (truth is stranger than fiction).

Bakker is moving with a much younger pool of sign-seekers than the Crouches.  Paul and Jan seem to appeal to the older middle and ‘blue-haired’ aging crowd.  Perhaps I’d compare Paul and Jan to Paul Harvey and Jim Bakker to Dennis Miller, one of the far more trendy and hip radio talking heads.

Even though Bakker has shifted camps doctrinally he has not changed his time-tested format on raising money.  The television programs seem to run along the lines of promoting a little bit of heresy in short teachings interspersed with a lot of selling products to garner funds for the various “projects” that need the viewers support.  What Bakker is now hawking to his viewers is indicative of his most recent evolution regarding the end times.  Jim begins this catalog off with the following statement:

Many, many Christians believe that the Church will escape the perils detailed in the book of Revelation.  I’d like to believe they are right – but I can’t.  And because I believe that the Church – including here in America – will go through a time on earth of suffering, hunger, violence and persecution, we must be ready.  More than that, we must help prepare our loved ones.[ix]

This statement is a HUGE dividing line among not only American evangelicals but also among the various derivations of sign-seeking groups.  Bakker is no longer among the pre-tribulation, pre-millennial rapture of the Church crowd.[x]  Now Bakker subscribes to a certain aspect of the Kingdom Now or dominionists belief system.[xi]  Bakker believes the Church must go through a literal coming tribulation period of seven years (see Daniel 9:24; Rev. 4) and he is building his empire on people’s fear of an uncertain future.  Let me prove this by giving you some examples from his “Christmas 2012” catalog:

But if I’m right, that nonperishable food may save your life someday. ..Prepare now.  In the days ahead, food will be more valuable than gold.  I totally believe one day that food will be the main tool of bartering for all of our financial and material needs.” Jim Bakker p.4

  1. 1.     TIME OF TROUBLE PLUS Food Buckets                                              $3,000
  2. 2.     YEAR FOR TWO PLUS                                                                          $1,000
  3. 3.     YEAR FOR YOU PLUS                                                                           $500
  4. 4.     TIME OF TROUBLE Dessert Buckets                                                   $1,200
  5. 5.     VEGAN FOOD BUCKET                                                                                    $150
  6. 6.     Morningside Fire NOW Emergency Fuel                                           $100 (“Imagine yourself on a cruise ship, a naval vessel, or a cargo ship, and suddenly the sea turns blood red. . .”)
  7. 7.     29 Blocks of Life Water Storage Containers                                     $580
  8. 8.     Super Silver Starter Kit                                                                       $100
  9. 9.     Fuel-Less Generator (solar kit)                                                          $1,900
  10. 10.  Radiation Water Pitcher & Ultimate Survival Squeeze Btl              $100

Yet Another  DIRTY SECRET REVEALED!

Raising money within Christian circles is often based on either blatant or subtle manipulation.  Within televangelism funds are obtained through the use of two psychological ploys: 1) People will “give” to purchase something, i.e. they are receiving something they want (or think they want/need depending on the giftedness of the salesman to manipulate the audience).  The donor receives some value for their dollar, along with the feeling they are helping support a cause they deem worthy. 2) People will “give” to build something, a cause to propose to build something or go somewhere and people will buy into the vision presented.  This makes the giver feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves.  Manipulation can be brought to bear here through showing images of starving children (if a mission work), the homeless vs. an average home (like the viewers), etc.      Certainly sending out trinkets as point-of-contact fetish items along with an appeal letter is another way of subtly telling the recipient “see we spent money to reach out to you, at least send in something,” and playing on their guilt.  Naturally in both cases the Word of God is horribly abused and twisted by these Gospel pimps to work the miracle of transferring the sheeple’s dollars into their bank accounts (some people think that God’s ‘address’ really is P.O. Box A, Santa Anna, CA).

At the top of each page of this catalog is either an excerpt from Bakker’s latest book “The Time Has Come,” or apocalyptic biblical passage wrest from its context with the intent of driving home the critical need the reader has to order these products.  In a simple 14 page catalog 17 photographic iterations of the Bakker clan are shown.[xii]

Jim uses both time tested techniques on his programs to raise his money.  Money to what end?  To buy more television time, to get more viewers, to get more money, to buy more time, to. . .and so it goes.

I imagine Bakker makes most of his money from selling his End-Time Pepper (perhaps next month we will consider this recent phenomenon from a biblical perspective) supplies because this is the current fear among many Americans due to the current political and economic conditions. 

No SINister worth his or her salt leaves a revenue source untapped; ergo the viewers can support the “Lori’s House” project for unwed teenage girls.  A “project” they can give to and watch being built and for a mere $1,000 gift one can become “A Lori’s House Builder Club” member.  This project is probably perking along pretty well considering it is: (1) pro-life, who isn’t, right?), (2) deals with pregnant teens, who does not want to see them nurtured? (3) Lori herself had several abortions in the past so she can tearfully persuade (sell) the viewers on the need to give.  I can assure you once this project is completed there will be another one to take its place or then the push will/can become to (1) maintain Lori’s House or (2) replicate it elsewhere, etc.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

The more things change, the more they stay the same (a little French lingo) is most certainly true of Mr. Bakker.  He has exchanged his WOF affiliation for acceptance by the so-called Prophetic and New Apostolic Reformation heretics.  Now because of his doctrinal shift there are two MAJOR venues to promulgate WOF heretics (TBN) and Prophetic heresy (Bakker) to an undiscerning audience.

Bakker is using the same technique’s that grew his former SINistry machine and it will probably work again for him in this latest venture.  When I first read his book, written before his association with Joyner and Morningstar, I thought to myself “praise God, Bakker has finally gotten it.”  It is evident that my excitement was ill-timed.  Bakker has yet to produce the fruits of genuine repentance (see Matthew 3:8).  I urge that we pray for Jim and Lori (Tammy-Sue, little Jimmy too) and their viewers.  May our gracious Lord, the One who opened our eyes and has shown us the glorious liberty that is ours in the Christ of the Gospels open the Bakkers and their viewer’s eyes as well.  Selah.


[i] Obtained from http://www.tommyandjames.net/heritageusa.html. Still online as of 12-2-2012

[ii] All tongue-talkers are NOT created “equally.”  They all agree on speaking in tongues and divine healing after that they share few similarities.  Classic Pentecostals and WOF are pre-mill, most Prophetic/Apostolic cults are post-mill.  There is some mutual recognition of self-proclaimed prophets/apostles by both WOF and Prophetic, but much doctrinally divides them.

[iii]  Am not saying that Joyner did not or does not feel sympathy or something for Bakker in his decision to initially bank-roll Bakker, but trust me when I say there is a lot more going on than mere brotherly “love.”

[iv] For more insight’s into this stellar restoration go to: http://www.morningstarministries.org/resources/videos/todd-bentleys-restoration-update

[vi] Obtained from a video of Joyner speaking at a Morningstar Conference at http://www.morningstartv.com/featured-video-week/greater-works.

[ix] Obtained from page 2 of the 2012 Jim and Lori Bakker Christmas Catalog, available online at http://www.jimbakkershow.com/lovegifts/christmas as of 12/01/2012.

 

[x] Even among the pre-tribulation rapture folks there is disagreement.  Some teach all the faithful shall be raptured at that point in time.  Others teach only the overcomers, as delineated by their own set of requirements, will be initially taken up and the others will have to go through either (1) 3.5 years of the tribulation or (2) 7 years of the tribulation.

[xi] Please understand that even among the dominionists they have differing views on the Church during the actual last days.  Some view the Church as rising up and becoming these miracle-wielding super-saints who begin to systematically Christianize the world.  This view sees the Church as overcomers, as Joel’s Army, as conquerors even conquering the last enemy, Death itself!  Others view the Church as being persecuted, decimated, yet being highly empowered in the sign-gifts and out of the rubble of society the Church rises like the Phoenix with healing in Her wings and solutions to the world’s problems.  Then the Church Christianizes the world and hands it to Jesus.  This later view seems to be the one held by Bakker, or at least the view he offers because it is the more lucrative position, only God knows his motives.

[xii] There are reasons why all of these people plaster their faces on virtually every page of their magazines.  It too is done for psychological impact.  The goal is hopefully for the reader to unconsciously relate to the images shown repeatedly.  Also, there is the reality of the pride of life (see 1 John 2:16) that we are all prone to.  These people are very proud, boastful and arrogant and take every opportunity to promote themselves.

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GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out)

16 12 2012

Truth Matters, November 2012, Volume 16 Issue 11

GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out) A Cautionary Tale By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

          Joel Osteen, America’s favorite pastor has published yet again another bestselling book entitled “I Declare 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life.”  However, before we delve into Joel’s latest masterpiece please accompany me for a quick trip in my “Wayback machine.”[1] 

The miracle is in YOUR MOUTH.  Dare to speak those promises out loud.  Say them to yourself!  Say them to the devil!  Say them to the sickness! Say them to your mountain of trouble!  Confess them in the face of all contrary evidence!  Say them while the pain is there!! Say them while you are so sick you can hardly think!!. . .When we SAY and CONFESS His Word, He brings the miracle to pass!![2]

          If John Osteen preached the above words once, he preached them thousands of times.   John Osteen was part of the beginning of the fledgling charismatic movement.  He was formerly a Southern Baptist pastor, and had an earned Master’s degree from Northern Baptist Seminary (one of the few sign-gift leaders with any genuine seminary education).  Osteen was voted out by his congregation and left the Baptists due to his stance over the sign-gifts and began Lakewood Church as an independent ministry in 1958.

Much to my dad’s surprise, many of the people in that congregation didn’t appreciate his fresh discoveries.  They were steeped in their traditions, and because of Daddy’s enthusiastic, fiery messages weren’t exactly what they were used to hearing, it made some of them uncomfortable. . .they were upset that the supernatural God Daddy described didn’t fit into their denominational guidelines.[3]

            Even though I disagree strongly with his theology I will say that John Osteen always struck me as a decent man, good husband and father and faithful pastor to his flock.  To his credit Lakewood was one of the early churches to being openly interracial, which was no small thing in Houston Texas in the 50’s and 60’s.  Lakewood was also one of the largest churches in Texas many years before Joel came onto the silver screen.[4]

            John was one of the main proponents of what was later codified as the Word of Faith (WOF) movement/cult led by its titular head Kenneth Hagin, a close personal friend of Osteen’s.  I’ve heard John proclaim the belief that our words create our reality time and time again.  Osteen was preaching positive confession before anyone heard of Kenny and Gloria Copeland.

            John Osteen practiced what he preached.  His daughter Lisa was born with some serious physical defects, they prayed, they confessed the promises of God and in the end their daughter was totally healed.[5]  Many years later in 1981 John’s wife Dodie was stricken with live cancer.  Even though she had Oral Roberts, Ken & Gloria Copeland, T.L. and Daisy Osborn[6] all pray for her it made no difference.  It was up to her and Jesus if she was going to be healed.

I felt like I was going through a dark tunnel.  There seemed to be no end to it and yet I still confessed, ‘I am healed.’  When anybody would ask me how I felt, I never confessed that I felt bad.  I said, ‘I am blessed of the Lord.’ …Confession did not seem to work for me for quite a while, but it finally did work!  I began to see a faint ray of light.[7]

            Dodie was healed of metastatic liver cancer in 1983 and she shares her story in a little booklet “Healed of Cancer.”  Dodie rightly gives God the glory for healing her body.  However, it is her belief that she would not have been healed had she not done her part, i.e. positively confess God’s promises.  Dodie can be seen sometimes sitting on the front row of her son’s stadium.

            Why this trip in the Wayback machine?  Because when you understand his parents and their home life, which John used to vividly describe in his messages, one begins to comprehend why Joel is as he is today.  Joel was raised in an almost hyper-faith atmosphere.[8]  He never heard a discouraging word at home nor was he allowed to utter one either!  Every week on Sunday, during the mid-week services and daily at home Joel had the precepts of positive confession bringing possession drilled into his young malleable melon.  I am sure his sister Lisa was probably a great “object lesson” to remind the family and congregation about the creative power of their words if anyone began to waver in their confessed hopes.   When Joel eventually attended college he went to Oral Roberts University, Oral was a very close friend of John and Dodie’s.  Even away from home and Lakewood Joel continued to have the hard core beliefs of the WOF cult, seed faith principles, etc. poured into him.  Unlike his father Joel did not earn a degree in theology but was a communications major.  Joel has no formal biblical education at all, and yet he finds himself at the helm of the largest congregation in America and by default is assumed to have God’s blessing due to the size of his church.

            Joel is without a doubt a product of his upbringing, the apple truly did not fall far from the tree.  Joel has taken his father’s errors and spread them much further than his father ever dreamed possible.  There are some major differences however between John and Joel when it comes to ministry.  John Osteen did preach Jesus Christ fairly as the Savior from sin; he did keep that much of his Southern Baptist doctrine active, which I believe if why God allowed him the modicum of success he experienced.  Joel Osteen hardly ever mentions Jesus Christ at all in his sermons or as I will prove, his books.  Why is this?  He did not learn this from his father or at ORU, he bears this guilt alone.  Lakewood was always known as a cutting edge charismatic congregation.  People getting filled with the Spirit and speaking in other tongues, men or women shouting out the occasional prophetic word; folks getting slain in the spirit were part-n-parcel of Lakewood services under John Osteen.  From what I have observed on television Joel’s services are anything but Spirit-led in the Pentecostal sense.  Joel assiduously avoids mentioning speaking in other tongues in his broadcasts; his father worked his enthusiastic experiences into virtually every one of his messages.

            Joel has cleverly marketed himself as everybody’s pastor and has successfully divorced himself, at least publically, from his WOF cultic upbringing and his former charismania.  I don’t know how he transitioned the former charismatic Lakewood into the seeker Lakewood it is today, but he did it and it is some sort of church-growth miracle.  The unknowing channel surfer can watch Joel weekly and never know that Joel: (1) comes from a hyper-charismatic cult background; (2) that Joel and all his family practice speaking in other tongues; (3) everything Joel teaches is based on WOF heresy; (4) has no formal biblical education.  These four “unknowns” are an example of the art of superlative spinning and of a marketing miracle.

            Kenneth Hagin Sr. used to ask rhetorically “how do you poison a dog?  You put the poison in the good meat.”  How best to disseminate error to as many people as possible?  Wrap the error around a fairly good looking guy, with great teeth & hair and winsome demeanor.  Give him a communications background, television and media production experience (Joel was always behind the scenes at Lakewood) and PRESTO {a little magician’s lingo} the leaven of Lakewood is spread to spiritual seekers globally.

I had never preached before! Ever! I had spent seventeen years behind the scenes at Lakewood managing our television production.  Over the course of those years, Daddy tried many times to get me out in the public to speak, but I never had the desire to do it. . .Keep in mind, I had never even prepared a sermon.[9]

            By his own admission Joel was (and is) totally unprepared to serve as a pastor.  He had no actual pastoral training, no seminary education, not even a diploma from an unlicensed “Bible” school!  What he did have was an entire lifetime spent surrounded by the leaders of some of the most extreme enthusiasts around (Oral Roberts, Hagin, Copelands, Price, Yandian, etc.).  Growing up in this environment was all the training Joel has received, and in his mind all he needs.  Gigo, garbage in over a lifetime, now , garbage out to an undiscerning spiritually hungry world.  Some of Joel’s foundational beliefs include things such as:

WOF & Words

God created everything by speaking “faith-filled” words. God created man in His image. Man was to be the ‘god’ of this world, but Adam committed high treason and gave his dominion over to Satan, who became the ‘god’ of this world. Man, like God has the ability to create reality by speaking either faith-filled or fear-filled words.  This is a spiritual law and it works for everybody whether they know it or not, but usually in the negative. Spirit-filled Christians are to function exactly like Jesus did on earth “speaking” to fig trees, mountains, devils, sickness — because we are to do His works & greater works. To learn how to walk like Jesus all it takes is revelation knowledge, which you cannot obtain in seminaries, but you can receive it via “anointed” teachers (Copeland, Hagin, Hinn, Dollar).

As a graduate of Robert Tilton’s Bible School and former WOF cult pastor I can assure you that the lynch-pin of the WOF cult is their alleged doctrine of the creative power of our words.  Virtually everything they teach hinges upon their concept of positive confession (pc).  Once you swallow this false doctrine then everything else they teach makes sense within their specific paradigm.  Everything is traced back to spoken words in their worldview.  For the newer readers, or those without a sign-gift background the following is a very brief peek into the basic WOF doctrine of words:

Most of the above mentioned CON cepts are seen in his books or heard in his messages.  Make no mistake about it — Joel Osteen is an ardent WOF heretic in the same class with Mr. Copeland, Hinn, Dollar, Meyers, Duplantis, et al.

            “I Declare” is Joel’s third major book and it is simply an expansion of some of the CONcepts he plated up for public deception in his prior book “Your Best Life Now.”  In order for us to experience our “best” (as defined by his version of the American dream) now we have to do the following:

As long as you can’t imagine it, as long as you can’t see it, then it is not going to happen for you.  It’s the same way with us. . .We have to conceive it on the inside before we’re ever going to receive it on the outside.[10] But if you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.[11]

God abides by the laws He established, and if you don’t sow, you will not reap.[12]

Your Best Life Now is around 300 pages of well camouflaged WOF ‘101’ doctrine.  The spiritual law goes something like this: (1) First you begin by visualizing what it is you desire, say physical healing.  You must begin to “see” yourself as totally healed, the more precise and vivid an inner picture you and paint the better. (2) Then you must begin to confess verbally to yourself and to others (when asked) that you are totally healed prior to any manifestation of healing at this point.  This confession is usually comprised on various snippets of Bible verses taken out of their context, yet claimed as “God’s promises” for your life. (3) During this time of visualization and positive confession you will have to cast down every thought or report you are given that contradicts your stance.  During the waiting period (between initial confession & final possession) one must guard against digging up their “seed” (words) by giving in and confessing negativity about what you want.  When this happens then one must begin the process over.  Negative words will cancel out the positive ones, if the individual has more faith in the negative coming to pass.

If you allow your thoughts to defeat you and then give birth to negative ideas through your words, you actions will follow suit.  That’s why we need to be extremely careful about what we think and especially careful about what we say.  Our words have tremendous power, and whether we want to or not, we will give life to what we’re saying, either good or bad.[13]

(4) In God’s timing, if you remain steadfast in your confession you will receive what you have conceived in your heart and confessed with your mouth, isn’t this what Jesus taught in Mark 11:24?

            Your Best Life Now lays out the framework for why it is a necessity to verbally proclaiming the BEST desires of your heart until they manifest in your life.  As further proof that Joel is nothing more than a clever redressing of old sign-gift heresy we come to Chapter 28 of this book is called “The Seed Must Lead” and it is a shortened version of Oral Robert’s “seed faith” heresy that he made popular back in the early 1950’s and this false doctrine has syphoned off untold hundreds of millions of dollars from legitimate Church ministries.[14] Gigo, garbage in, garbage out.

            I Declare is Joel’s subtle next step into silently converting his followers into WOF demi-gods.  This is a much shorter book than Your Best Life Now.  This book is very similar to the previous one and honestly, it is like all of John’s and Joel’s sermons; one sort of ‘point’ with a lot of ancillary stories from either his father’s life or from people Joel knows.  On a very infrequent basis Joel attempts to shore up his doctrine with some cherry-picked pericope from the Bible.

            The book consists of 31 declarations aka positive confessions that the reader is to “declare” over their lives at the beginning of each day and then hold fast to that confession regardless of the circumstances or situations life may threw against you.  I have heard Kenny Copeland say on numerous occasions “if you play the game right you win,” meaning that if we simply will implement God’s “laws” regarding our words, then we will be victorious every time!

            The first words on the page of Joel’s latest book PROVE is a WOF heretic by writing the following:

Our words have creative power.  Whenever we speak something, either good or bad, we give life to what we are saying. . .They don’t realize they are prophesying their futures. . .Here is the key; you’ve got to send your words out in the direction you want your life to go.[15]  

            For those who might say that Joel Osteen is not a WOF devotee, because he has never said he was let me simply point you to a few of the following titles, all from people personally known by the Osteen family and apart from Joyce, all of these enthusiasts have helped shape and form Joel Osteen into the proclaimer of error he has become.

Your Words Hold a Miracle: The Power of Speaking God’s Word, John Osteen

There is a Miracle in Your Mouth, John Osteen

Reigning in Life As a King, John Osteen

How To Release The Power of God, John Osteen

Living in the Abundance of God, John Osteen Words, Kenneth E. Hagin

You Can Have What You Say, Kenneth E. Hagin

Right and Wrong Thinking, Kenneth E. Hagin

How To Be A Success In Life, Kenneth E. Hagin The Power of the Tongue, Kenneth Copeland

Living in Heaven’s Blessings Now, Gloria Copeland The Tongue: A Creative Force, Charles Capps

How To Avoid Tragedy and Live a Better Life, Charles Capps Change Your Words, Change Your Life: Understanding the Power of Every Word You Speak, Joyce Meyer Power Thoughts: 12 Strategies to Win the Battle of the Mind, Joyce Meyer

Two Difference Between Joel and these authors —-        

 One major difference between Joel and the fifteen titles I cited (I could easily add 50 more titles) is that the above authors speak basically in reference to Jesus whereas Joel does not. Joel does not even mention Jesus until chapter 10 of his book.  When he does mention our Lord it is in regard to Christ making wine at the wedding “Jesus sped up the winemaking process —God can do in a split second what might otherwise take you many years.”[16]  Joel NEVER refers to Jesus Christ as God the Son, as our Savior, as the sacrifice for the sin of the world.  Nor does he make any appeal to the readers to place their faith in the finished work of Jesus for them.  He does not even invite the reader at the end of the book to consider the claims of Christ, to pray, to receive Him as Lord, nothing like the normal American “evangelical” pattern at all.

Secondly, the above books all proof-text[17] massively whereas Joel does not cite many biblical texts at all and sadly, when he does cite the Bible he also resorts to proof-texting since he has never learned how to properly exegete the texts.  Here are some example of this truth-twisting Joel does:

1)     Ephesians 2:10 says, “You are God’s masterpiece,” (p. 68) — yes we are God’s handiwork (ποίημα or worksmanship) created in CHRIST for good works. Joel leaves this out.

2)     Jesus said ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light.’  God wants to make your life easier, (p. 105).  He was comparing the heavy burden of keeping the Law as opposed to the liberty and freedom that come from walking in the light of the Gospel.  Where does the Bible say God wants to “make our life easier”?  Jesus said in John 16:33 that in this world we shall suffer tribulation, but in Him we have peace. Those who desire to live godly IN CHRIST JESUS shall suffer persecution 2 Timothy 3:12. 1 Peter 4:16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”           

3)     It says in Romans 5:17, “We are to reign in life as kings” (p. 117).  That is a misinterpretation of the text. Here is the entire verse “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ)AGAIN Joel leaves out any reference to reigning in life BY ONE, CHRIST JESUS.  Paul’s entire thought is about Adam’s sin and the remedy for our ancestral and inherited sin —- the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the ungodly!  Joel does not go here at all.

4)     James 4:2 says, ‘You have not because you ask not,’ (p.143). The entire text reads “You desire and do not have; you murder and are filled with envy, and are not able to obtain; you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, in order that you may spend it on your pleasures.  The lack in our lives is because we are not asking God for great things, never mind the part about asking with wrong (selfish) motives, asking for things to bring you pleasure and make your life a waking dream.

5)     And He promises in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for our good” (p. 147). Joel’s statement is FALSE.  God did not promise that all things are working for the readers good.  What He DID promise is this: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

6)     God says, ‘If you take the limits off Me I’ll amaze you with My goodness.  I’ll not only meet your needs, I’ll take it one step further. I’ll give you the desires of your heart.’ (2 Cor. 9:8-9 NIV) (p. 113). The verse reads in the NIV as follows: “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”  There is nothing in this text which indicates that God will give you the desires of your heart. That is a citation from Ps. 37:4.  This text says that IF we delight ourselves in the Lord (only possible for Christians) THEN He will give us their desires of our heart.  Also, does this mean that He will give us “our” hearts desires or that He will place in our hearts His desires?  I believe the latter is true.

 These are not all the examples of Joel’s abuse of the scriptures, but I believe they are indicative of a very troubling pattern I have noticed in Joel’s preaching, in his televised interviews and now his writings —- he seems to intentionally leave out Jesus in all three venues of expression.  I admit that intentionality speaks to motive (a little Barrister lingo here) and no man knows the motives of another man, however I make my claim based on the facts in evidence.

For example why doesn’t Jesus figure prominently in the preaching and writing of America’s leading pastor?  When Jesus is cited it is by example of Him speaking “faith-filled” words into existence or taking life out of existence (the cursed fig tree, p. 164).  He is not shown as God the Son, moving as Emmanuel among the people.  Jesus is not portrayed as the suffering servant (what, Jesus suffer?) who came to die for the sins of the world.

Any Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Unity School member, theosophist, Christian Scientist, even Muslim’s can read this book as it is written and not be offended by its contents.  Nor will they have their current belief system challenged.  The book is so doctrinally insipid that any form of deist could place it on their bookshelves, and no doubt many have done just this.

I have counted the number of times the following words occur in Joel’s book to help prove my contention: the cross – 1 time, p. 17; Christ – 1 time; Jesus – 21 times; God – over 200 times.  In the entire book only 18 times are biblical texts cited.  Virtually every time Joel cites a text he misapplies it to such a degree that it is no longer “God’s Word” because he has made it a lie by taking it so far out of context.  God is never referred to as “the God of the Bible,” or “the Father of Jesus,” He is presented as the generic God that any reader could claim as their current understanding of deity.  The Holy Spirit is also never directly referenced as far as I could tell, after all, to do so might lead some readers to wonder if Joel is some form of Trinitarian (he is, but why share this and confuse others, right?).

  A lot of times we pray about our mountains: God please help me. . .It’s good to ask God to help you.  But when you face a mountain, it’s not enough to pray.  It’s not enough to just believe.  It’s not enough to just think good thoughts. Here’s they key: you have to speak to your mountains.[18]

You may be praying about things you should be speaking to…If you have health problems, instead of begging God to heal you, you need to declare to that sickness, ‘Sickness, you have no right in my body. I’m a child of the Most High God, You are not welcome here…I’m commanding you to leave my body.’[19]

There is a time to pray.  But there is a time to speak.  You don’t pray about your mountains; you speak to your mountains.[20]

            These declarations are not prayers to God, so what are they?  WOF doctrine teaches that words are carriers of either the spiritual force of faith or of fear.  They take quite literally Hebrews 11:1faith is the substance of things hoped for. . .” To Joel faith is an actual spiritual substance, a force which is wielded victoriously via the mouthed words of the adept.  These words (declarations) will cosmically draw the things, people, opportunities (Joel continually refers to them as “good breaks”), and money to us.  Our words are either used by God or the devil and demons to bring to pass whatsoever we confess for good or bad.  Joel is quite adamant about his belief that we all are living the lives we have created for ourselves.

            There are many problems with the doctrine of positive confession which are beyond the scope of this article.  Let the following be sufficient for now: 1) Positive confession is not taught anywhere in the Bible as a doctrine of the Church.  2) None of the writers of the Bible ever teach that our words have creative power similar to God who speaks things into being ex nihilo (out of nothing). 3) None of the Church Fathers wrote anything akin to what Joel is telling his readers to do.  This idea that we create reality by what we believingly confess is a novel idea in the Church and as a teaching is less than seventy (70) years old.  The mind-science cults that served as the fountainhead for this demonic deception are less than 160 years old themselves.

The Tyranny of Words

            One more serious flaw with Joel’s doctrine is that it puts those who adhere to it in bondage.  I experienced this personally as a WOF pastor many years ago.  I learned I could not know how any member of the congregation was really doing by asking the members.  Asking a PC person “how are you doing” will elicit a response of “oh Pastor, I am blessed in the city, blessed in the field, why I am the head and not the tail, blessed by Almighty God, filled with His Spirit, growing from faith to faith and glory to glory.”  Joel, as a pastor, does not want to hear about how big your problems are, he wants to hear how big your God is (see p. 124 Your Best Life Now) and Joel’s people are afraid to confess the truth because then they will dig up and cancel out their (hopefully) sprouting faith-filled words by speaking negative (reality as it is) words.

This places people under a tremendous weight.  They must watch their words at every waking moment.  They must be careful who they associate with, because negative people can also hinder one’s receiving.  Every thought must be held captive to whatever the dream/vision/hope one is trying to create.  Any thought to the contrary (even warning’s from the Lord) to what you are declaring is automatically consigned to Satan and cast down.  Once one starts down the path, there is no turning back unless the goal is willingly forfeited by the practitioner.

There is also the agony of doubt created by such a subjective concept.  Faith-filled words only produce when they are spoken from the heart and not the head (mind).  Their view is of man as a tri-partite being comprised of spirit, soul and body.  The spirit is reborn; the soul (mind, will, emotions) must be renewed by the Word.  Then together these two will control the body.  The only way they can know for certain that they are speaking true faith-filled words is when they receive what they are confessing.  Remember, these folks are either trying to confess the dream in their heart OR they are confessing things mentally to get them down in their spirit.  In either case, the acid test is the obtaining of whatever is being sought.  Since generally the things being sought do not arrive automatically, one must be prepared to begin confessing and never stop until the manifestation, even if it takes many many years.

            Since Joel is very clear that this spiritual law works every time it is properly used I would like him to explain these various events in light of this doctrine.  How did his father John end up on kidney dialysis for several years prior to his death?  John taught Joel all about confession brings possession yet John did not receive his deliverance from kidney failure.  Nor did he receive healing from the heart problems which eventually took his life.  Also, the positive confessions of his entire church for John while he was in the hospital were also of no avail (I will not go into the prophetic words that said John would live and not die, but be died anyway).  How is it that his mother got cancer in the first place?  We rejoice over God’s grace in restoring her, but she should not have gotten ill to begin with, how did that cancer spirit gain entrance?  Why did his sister Lisa’s first marriage end in divorce?  I know beyond any doubt that much confession went up prior to the marriage and during it.  Why didn’t those words work?

Joel’s View of Sin

            Something else is troubling about Joel’s writings.  In these two books and in his preaching and television interviews he does not talk about sin, judgment or hell.  Joel’s father planted the fetid seeds of “you are no long a sinner, you were a sinner but now you are a saint.”[21]  Joel grew up believing that he is not a sinner any longer.  I buttress this belief with these comments:

…King David, made a lot of mistakes. . .David didn’t focus on his faults or on the times he had done wrong.  No, he lived favor-minded.[22]

That’s not to condone wrongdoing, but the truth is, we all have areas in which we need to improve.  We can’t become so focused on our faults that we cease to enjoy who God made us to be.[23]

…David wasn’t perfect.  He made mistakes, he became discouraged, but he prayed. . .You may need to pray something similar. ‘God please help me to get rid of this negative attitude.[24]

Your job is not to judge.  Your job is not to figure out if someone deserves something, or to decide who is right or who is wrong.[25]

            Joel never uses the word “sin” or “sinner” in the entirety of his books.  To say the word “sin” is to give it place in his life and I suppose those of his hearers.  King David did make a lot of mistakes, but he also sinned grievously against his Lord.  He did not confess he missed it, he confessed his sins.

            We should be focused on our faults and wrongdoing if they are indeed sinful, which all wrongdoing is.  Guilt is a good thing when it drives the person to their knees seeking forgiveness from our Lord Jesus Christ.  We should feel guilty when we sin.  However, if we ignore sin and simply cast down guilt feelings immediately as “negative” is spiritually unwise.

            Obviously to Joel sin is no real problem in the Christian life, if it were as a pastor he would surely address it.  No, the pressing problem for us is not sin, but a poor self-image created by our negative words and those who accepted into our hearts from others.  Joel would have people believe that if they just change their thinking, renew their minds according to the cherry-picked promises (many of which are really not promises per se) then their former wrong doing will cease and via their declarations God will bring good things to them.

            Where the Bible does urge we confess — “If we confess (ὁμολογῶμεν) our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)Joel is silent. Or how about in James 5:16Therefore, confess (ἐξομολογέομαι)your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Note that it does not read “confess your mistakes” but says sins.  Lastly, what of our Lord’s own statement in Matthew 10:32-33So everyone who acknowledges(ὁμολογήσει) me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.  Where is the acknowledgement/confession of Jesus Christ as Lord in his preaching or his writing?  It is absent.

            In place of leading the people in a united public confession of sin and then standing before them as Christ’s mouthpiece and speaking forth the words of absolution Joel leads them in another confession he got from his father: ‘No wonder he held up his Bible every service and said, ‘This is my Bible.  I am what it says I am.  I have what I says I have’ (see p.64 Your Best Life Now).  Joel and his people confess a longer form of this same confession in each service.  I doubt Lakewood has ever been led by Joel or anyone in confessing the Apostles or Nicene creeds, I doubt Joel knows them.

            Joel’s latest book is simply more of the same heresy continued from his previous publication.  Both of his books prove beyond any controversy that Mr. Osteen is a Word of Faith heretic.  He may hold the title ‘pastor’ and his people may refer to him as such but Mr. Osteen is no biblical pastor.  He does not meet the qualifications to serve as pastor.  He refuses to preach Christ crucified for the SINS of the world.  He has not openly preached Jesus Christ in his services, books or interviews.  He intentionally leaves Jesus out of the verses that pertain to Him!  Joel is a false shepherd and he is misleading (unintentionally let us hope) multitudes further from Christ and not closer to Him.  DMI urges that prayer is offered for Joel’s deliverance from doctrinal darkness for the sake of his soul and those who follow him.


[1] The Way Back machine was an integral part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show, okay I date myself.

[2] Osteen, John. There is a Miracle in Your Mouth. A John Osteen Publication. Houston, Tx. 1972 p. 6.

[3] Osteen, Joel. Your Best Life Now. Warner Faith. New York, NY, 2004 p.172.  Bold type added for emphasis.

[4] There is no dispute that Lakewood has grown exponentially under Joel’s smiling gaze.  He started with something like a mere 6,000 or people and now speaks to 40,000 people in person on Sunday and multitudes more via television.

[5] There are a great many accounts, sadly, probably most of them that are false.  However in the two cases in the Osteen’s life we see the genuine mercy of God.

[6] Daisy Osborn would later die of cancer, no confessions could heal her.

[7] Osteen, Dodie. Joel . John Osteen Publication. Houston, TX. 1986, pp. 42-43.

[8] I followed the hyper-faith teachers, Dr. Hobart Freeman and Elbert Willis.  These men took the WOF teachings to their logical conclusions.  Eschewing doctors, medicine, insurance, hospitals were all proof of “faith.”  The few hyper-faith teachers were not welcomed by the other WOF leaders, because the hyper-faith preachers “walked the walk,” whereas Hagin, Copeland, Harrison, etc. did not.

[9] Osteen, Joel. Your Best Life Now. Warner Faith. New York, Ny. 2004, p.215. Underlining added for emphasis.

[10] Ibid. p. 3

[11] Ibid. p. 5

[12] Ibid. pp. 256-257

[13] Ibid. pp. 121-122. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

[14] The dirty little secret is that Oral Roberts PAID Eugene Ewing for the CONcept of “seed faith” when Roberts SINistry was about bankrupt in the late 1960’s.  Ewing taught Roberts the whole scheme of “give and God will give back to you.”  Ewing has remained a “mystery man” ever since, his great wealth has kept him well insulated.

[15] Osteen Joel. I Declare. FaithWords. New York, NY. 2012, p. v. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

[16] Ibid. p. 56.

[17] Proof-texting is the bad practice of simply taking a biblical text out of its context, thus making it a pretext and using it to buttress a point being made.  With proof texting the person simply tries to find texts that “fit” their doctrine as opposed to making their doctrine submit to the contextual authority of the passage.

[18] Ibid. p. 161 Underlining & bold type added.

[19] Ibid. p. 162

[20] Ibid. p. 165

[21] This is not a direct quote from John, but he has made this statement, as have virtually all of the WOF cultists.

[22] Osteen, Joel. Your Best Life Now. P. 48

[23] Ibid. p. 66

[24] Ibid. p. 192

[25] Osteen, Joel. I Declare. P. 89