Earlier today I looked at Joel Osteen’s new book “I Declare”. I closed by saying that I would give at least 5 reasons why Osteen’s teaching isn’t just smiley ignorance but is damnable serpent talk. That might seem strong. Other might wonder why I’m even bothering with an article like this. I hope you see why by the end of the article.
- It tarnishes an actually good practice. This is actually the main reason that I decided to tackle this particular Osteen book. I speak frequently about the benefit of preaching the gospel to ourselves. Though it’s as different as night and day Osteen’s practice could easily be confused with preaching the gospel to yourself. I don’t want people to read Osteen’s book and think, “oh, this is what Pastor Mike is talking about”. No, it’s not. I’m talking about preaching the bloody-Cross gospel and not the smiley-prosperity non-gospel.
- It leads to a wrong focus. Go here. Look at all of the declarations. Now match that up with biblical ambitions. Jesus said, “you’ll know them by their fruits”. It looks to me that for the most part the fruit of “I Declare” is turning God into a big magical genie that grants our wish in 5 years time. I’ve yet to determine what would be worse, if these people actually get their wish or if their hopes are dashed. Either way I hope that each of them are thrown to the merciful feet of the Savior.
- It kills missions and feeds American consumerism instead of crucifying it. Jesus talked about the dangers of barn building. Looking at all of the “I declares” it seems to me that these people will have really nice barns but very little eternal treasure. The big “dreams” in the Scriptures dealt with extending the glory of God to the ends of the earth and often through suffering saints. It had little to do with spreading American prosperity and extending our feeble man-centered individualistic dreams.
- It’s idolatry. The idolatry is so vast in this that it’s hard to really pinpoint the idol. Honestly, I think the “idol” might be a jacked up view of faith and the bowing down is to a Santa Claus Jesus. Just think about what the “glory” goes to in the midst of success. Joel’s principles? My faith? These declarations? It’s disgusting and robs the Lord of His glory.
- It mocks the suffering. Awhile back Joel Osteen tweeted, “Your life will always follow your thoughts. If you always think positive, you'll be positive”. Jared Wilson aptly responded “So suck it up, AIDS orphans”. Jared’s tongue in cheek exposes the problem with Osteen’s serpent philosophy. This junk doesn’t work in a land ravaged by AIDS and filled with orphans. In fact it mocks them. If only they would put these declarations in place then they could have American prosperity.
I know that Joel Osteen can make you feel really good about yourself. He seems like such a nice and innocent guy. But he’s not. He’s an idolater and a false teacher. I’ll close with a response that I offered to someone accusing me of throwing stones at prosperity teachers.
…my intention is not to throw stones for the sake of throwing stones. But to throw stones at a wolf that is trying to convince the sheep to drink poison.