“Are you a fundamentalist preacher?”
“No. A fundamentalist is somebody who stops listening. There are fundamentalist Christians, fundamentalist Jews, fundamentalist Muslism, fundamentalist atheist, fundamentalist Secularist…. Its an attitude that doesn’t listen to anyone else.” “God get’s enjoyment out of watching you be you. [-speaking to Colbert turns God’s Word into jokes] … When my children were little, I used to watch them sleep at night…. I got so much pleasure out that, cause I made them. I’m their Daddy…. When you be you, God looks down and He goes, ‘That’s my boy!'” … [ed: Even if you’re not “born again” into His family?]
“If you ask Jesus to come into your life, will he?”
“Absolutely.” [ed: Even if you’ve never been convicted of sins, learned about the Biblical Jesus, repented, or heard the true whole Gospel?]
This preview was prompted by the following note from Lighthouse Trails Research Project:
January 10, 2006: According to a news story in the January 8th edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Rick Warren says Christian fundamentalism will be an enemy of the 21st century.
Excerpt from article: “Warren predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be ‘one of the big enemies of the 21st century.’ … ‘Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism – they’re all motivated by fear. Fear of each other.’ “
What does Rick Warren define Christian Fundamentalism to be?
In a May 2005 interview between Rick Warren and the Pew Forum on Religion, Warren stated:
“Today there really aren’t that many Fundamentalists left; I don’t know if you know that or not, but they are such a minority; there aren’t that many Fundamentalists left in America … Now the word ‘fundamentalist’ actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity.” Quote by Rick Warren, May 2005
What are those Five Fundamentals of the faith?
1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).
2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).
3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).
4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).
5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).
“When a human body is out of balance we call that disease…. Likewise, when the body of Christ becomes unbalanced, disease occurs…. Health will occur only when everything is brought back into balance. The task of church leadership is to discover and remove growth-restricting diseases and barriers so that natural, normal growth can occur.” Rick Warren,The Purpose Driven Church, page 16.
Scott Peck, famed author of The Road Less Traveled, used the same analogy. “There’s a term therapists use; it’s ‘resistance,” he wrote in Reflections on Leadership, “which refers to people who don’t like to or want to be healed or converted, so they resist.”[5, page 92]
Yes, those who trust the fundamental truths in God’s Word for guidance will look like enemies to church leaders who demand conformity to man’s social guidelines. Those who refuse to compromise their faith cannot share the global vision for pluralistic solidarity. Unwilling to set aside God’s “divisive” old truths, they cannot march to the drum beat of facilitators trained to manipulate minds and mold collective thinkers.
Here are a few links and summaries that expose the conflict and confusion that surround the word “fundamentalism.” The first link offers a Biblical definition and explanation. The others expose the world’s hatred for Biblical truth:
Are We Fundamentalists? There are now two kinds of evangelical…. The old is the authentic, biblical position. The new is far off the track, not in its basic view of salvation, but in its readiness to compromise with doctrinal error and worldly ways. The new is selling the faith for earthly respect and recognition… and churches are being ruined.
“Today, old-style evangelicals are in the minority…. This booklet attempts to give a clear picture of the present alarming scene, in order to encourage believers to take a clear stand.
“Old -style evangelicals are often called fundamentalists, particularly in the USA. New -style evangelicals adopted the term, ‘new evangelical’ to describe themselves in the 1950s. …We are told that the fundamentalist label was first coined in America in 1920 to describe militant evangelicals. … It would be fairer to say that fundamentalist is someone who cares about the defense and preservation of the Gospel…” More
Postmodernism and You: “To the majority of Americans below fifty today, questioning the truthfulness of another’s religious views is intolerant and morally offensive. This prohibition against differing with other’s viewpoints is postmodern. Strangely, it turns out that one exception is allowed…. it’s okay to question and even denounce religious views when dealing with what is pejoratively labeled ‘fundamentalism.’ Today, when people refer to ‘fundamentalists’ they no longer mean just religious extremists like the Shiites waging holy war against the West. Today, fundamentalism may refer to anyone who claims to know truth or who charges another religion with falsehood.” See
Ministries will Restructure, as will Churches, Businesses, Individuals, and Families: “While preparing to minister in Dallas on January 5, I heard the Holy Spirit very clearly say, ‘Tell them…’ I quickly grabbed a pen and wrote the following as it was given to me:
“‘Opposition to the apostolic and prophetic will also be the greatest this year.’ He is going to expose wineskins (new or old) and religious spirits, taking off the masks of those who oppose His move. Those who refuse to move in current truth will begin to openly criticize leaders in the Body of Christ that are moving in the flow of the apostolic and the prophetic. Some have been doing so in a very subtle way, but this year, it will become obvious. When they do, God is going to begin to judge them….
“‘I must bring further changing of paradigms, not just to those who have not been moving in the flow of My Spirit, but even to those who are in the flow of My Spirit.’ I heard Him say, “Restructure, Restructure, Restructure.”
“Ministries will restructure, churches will restructure, businesses will restructure, individuals will restructure (the way they do things, their time, the way they think, and the way they operate), and families will restructure.
“Teaching on the kingdom of God will bring about great changes of paradigms, taking us back to the original mandate of Genesis…. Kingdom theology is going to be at the forefront.”
Fundamentalism Education Project (link apparently obsolete): “The growing influence of fundamentalist religious movements poses a challenge to our mainstream religious communities, civic freedoms, and our safety and well-being. This phenomenon is of concern to mainstream religious leaders and their congregations because fundamentalists create sharp divisions among communities of faith…. Religious clergy and lay people have immense interest in understanding and exposing how fundamentalists distort the inclusive messages within Christianity, Judaism, and Islam…
“Understanding and countering this phenomenon is important for all of us…. The Texas Faith Network is organizing the Fundamentalism Education Project to provide resources for clergy, lay people, activists and others about religious fundamentalism, and to energize and organize religious leaders to rightfully reclaim the compassionate and tolerant foundations within their respective religious traditions.” This fits right into UNESCO’s Declaration on the role of religion.
Bush, Gorbachev, Shultz and Soviet Education: “‘There really is only one sin–separateness,’ Corinne McLaughlin states in her book. ‘…war is more likely to spring from rampant nationalism, ethnocentrism, and intolerant religious fundamentalism — all extreme and separative attitudes…. [A} primary cause of the earth’s suffering is that humanity is caught in the illusion of separation…. What is needed as a cure for separateness is a deep sense of community — that we’re all in this together.’ Mikhail Gorbachev shares her contempt for nationalism and religious fundamentalism, i.e. Biblical Christianity.”
Why 9-11? “…after the Oklahoma City bombing and after the downing of TWA Flight 800, the Clinton administration’s FBI put out a report on terrorism. It was called Project Megiddo. And it explained… that right-wing Christian terrorists posed the gravest danger to the republic and were most likely to incite violence in the months and years ahead…. Right-wing Christians were the perceived threat. They were the enemy. Islamists got short shrift in the FBI report.” John 16:2 and Preparing for Persecution
The UN Plan for Your Mental Health: “Children who refuse to conform may be considered handicapped. According to a Teacher Training Manual from the National Training Institute for Applied Behavioral Science, ‘Although they appear to behave appropriately and seem normal by most cultural standards, they may actually be in need of mental health care in order to help them change, adapt, and conform to the planned society in which there will be no conflict of attitudes or beliefs.'”
Anarchist website targets Christians: “The American Family Association is likened to Afghanistan’s fundamentalist Taliban movement at the website infoshop.org, which describes itself as ‘your online anarchist community.’… It invites visitors to ‘join us as we kick some dirt into their graves, burying their hideous fascism once and for all.'” Matt 24:9
Redefining ‘terrorism’ threatens our liberty: “In the Dec. 17 Newsweek, Anna Quindlen draws first blood in her column ‘The Terrorists Here at Home.’ What ‘terrorists’ does she refer to? Abortion opponents, whom she characterizes as ultraviolent. Quindlen writes: ‘There’s no real ideological difference between these people and the people who flew planes into the World Trade Center….’ By blurry implication, she tars the entire pro-life movement as violent.” Luke 6:22-23
Christianity Under Siege: The Stones Cry Out: “Around the world, Christians not only are being subjected to name calling, they also are being denied basic rights. They are being killed or forcibly converted to Islam. In the United States they are one way or another being forced to convert to a brand of secular humanism gleaned from Hegel, Marx, Freud,Marcuse, Gramsci, Dewey, Maslow, Rogers and Darwin and the entire pantheon of secular gods. If they are not converted, they are silenced in a thousand subtle and not so subtle ways. …” See Preparing for Persecution, Luke 6:22-23 and The Mainstream Media
Christians a ‘hate group’ (link apparently obsolete): “Much of the manual prepared by President Bill Clinton’s attorney general, already used to indoctrinate an untold number of law enforcement agencies in this state, has stirred disquiet in the ranks of the West Virginia Family Foundation…. Under ‘hate group ideology’ identification, for instance, it is written, ‘Homophobia recently has been added to their agenda.’ …The same section identifies some hate-mongers as those who ‘blame the federal government, an international Jewish conspiracy or communism for most of this country’s problems.’
“Another catch phrase which has crept into the vocabulary of hate crime law advocates is ‘domestic terrorism.’ An 8-hour course, billboarded on the West Virginia State Police Academy, is titled simply ‘Domestic Terrorism,’ and topics advertised are ‘philosophies of hate and anti-government groups,’ and threats such people pose.” See Clinton’s War on Hate Bans Christian Values
The Enemy of The People? (After Oklahoma Bombing)
“Day after day, the media’s accusing pens pointed to suspected foes of American togetherness — those whose ‘enraged rhetoric’ had created a national ‘climate of hate and paranoia.’ … ‘Their coalition,” said Time, ‘included well known-elements of far-right thought: tax protesters, Christian homeschoolers, conspiracy theorists…’ All were implicated, for all had questioned the government’s growing control over local schools, private property, and personal lives.’… ”
We shouldn’t be surprised. The Bible tells us that ‘the whole world is under the control of the evil one,’ and he has always despised God and His people. Today, as our culture shifts to the global paradigm, political and educational ‘change agents’ are turning biblical values upside down.
“Emotional appeals work. It’s easier to shout, ‘Stop spreading hate!’ than to encourage rational debate. It’s more effective to discredit discerning citizens by linking them to violent anarchists than to give factual answers to legitimate questions. It’s quicker to invalidate unwanted information by tying it to wild speculations than to provide honest responses — especially when facts and truth would undermine the planned transformation.
“History has shown that nothing crushes well-informed resistance faster than well-planned disinformation and false accusations. Nothing unifies a nation faster than a common enemy. Hitler knew those lessons well. He had watched the Bolshevik Revolution. His book, Mein Kampf, explains the winning strategies to any future revolutionary. Notice his insight into group psychology:
‘The art of truly great popular leaders in all ages has consisted chiefly in not distracting the attention of the people, but concentrating always on a single adversary…. It is part of a great leader’s genius to make even widely separated adversaries appear as if they belonged to one category, because… the recognition of various enemies all too easily marks the beginning of doubt of one’s own rightness.’
“Hitler focused his fury on an influential, well educated ethnic group whose religious beliefs opposed his own.”It was a stroke of genius on the part of Hitler to find this common denominator in the Jew,’ explains the Encyclopaedia Britannica. ‘This enabled him to discover the Jew behind all his changing adversaries… in short, behind everybody and everything that at a given moment opposed his wishes or aroused his wrath.'” See Preparing for Persecution
From Mary Thompson: “…’absolutism] in the pursuit against ‘absolutism/fundamentalism’ is a contradiction in terms which seems to escape them. By lumping every profession of faith, without discernment, they create another form of absolutism of their own making. Their ‘fundamentalism’ is the denial of the existence of absolute Truth itself. They will use any militant ‘ism’ in the quest to denigrate fundamental Christianity, the real target.”
Megashift (by Jim Rutz): “Pew warmers are passé. They’re stuck at half past yesterday and simply are not ready for the high demands of the current explosion.” Page 87
“Why should we keep changing? Because the world is changing daily…. Old wineskins simply will not hold new wine.” 142
Finally, a memorable warning by Rev. Dr. Martin Niemoeller, written July 1, 1937. Niemoeller, a committed Christian pastor who refused to conform to Hitler’s rules for churches, was arrested by the Third Reich and probably tortured and killed within its cruel system for punishing dissenters.
“In Germany, they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Trade Unionist, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time, no one was left to speak up.”
|Dr. Terry Watkins||Dial-the-Truth Ministries|
. . . Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
The latest “star” among the Christian world is Joel Osteen, pastor of nondenominational Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. Osteen claims the nation’s largest congregation with over 30,000 members. Lakewood recently purchased the colossal Compaq Center, formerly home of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. After a whopping $95 million in renovations, the Compaq Center now houses Osteen’s empire called Lakewood Church.
Osteen continually sells out huge arenas (at $10 a ticket) across the country (on eBay,Osteen’s tickets list for over $100! Can you say ‘ch-ching?’)
New York Times (July 18, 2005) reports Lakewood’s 2004 revenues of $55 million. Osteen’s book of human-potential, self-esteem, “feel good,” self-help-guide titled, Your Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, ranks number one on the prestigious “New York Times” best-seller list. Wxyz.com writes of Osteen’s enormous popularity, “In the world of religion, he’s achieved the status of a rock star. . .”
Clearly, Mr. Osteen wears the coveted crown prince of the Christian kingdom. Osteen’s message is described as “. . . simple self-help message that congregants say is both uplifting and accessible. . .” Osteen proudly wears the title of “the smiling preacher.” His theology has been described as “cotton candy” theology, “tastes good” but no substance. Before we examine Osteen’s disturbing theology, let us lay some ground work for our critique.
Today’s Christians have been spiritually malnourished with a steady and unrelenting diet of “judge not, that ye be not judged. . .,” tolerant, inclusive “junk food” doctrine until they are completely void of any spiritual discernment. May I remind you in Matthew 7 where the popular “judge not, that ye be not judged. . .” mantra occurs contains the harshest warning in the Bible exposing false prophets and exercising personal spiritual discernment.
The Lord Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23 provides the most enlightening and frightening warning found in all the scriptures. Many (not a few) people that openly call Jesus “Lord, Lord. . .” and many that “prophesy in thy name. . .” and “. . . cast out devils. . .” and in the name of Jesus Christ perform “many wonderful (not hateful, but nice, sweet) works. Jesus will utter “I NEVER knew you.” They were never saved. If they were ever saved. Jesus could not say, I NEVER knew you. Despite their “many wonderful works” in the name of Jesus, despite calling Him “Lord, Lord,” Jesus Christ will cast them into an eternal lake of fire, calling them “ye that work iniquity.”
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles’
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name’ and in thy name have cast out devils’ and in thy name done many wonderful works’
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 7 (and there are many other scriptures) is an earth-shattering wake-up call for prayerful Bible discernment. If we, as Christians do not shine the exposing light of the Word of God upon preachers, Christians or anyone and everyone, how can we possibly obey the clear admonition of our Lord and Saviour in Matthew 7:15? How can we “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves”? If we do not “judge” who are the “false prophets”? How in the world can we even KNOW who are these “false prophets”? They appear as “sheep” or saved people, but they are “ravening wolves.” There is only one way; the unchangeable, perfect Word of God. There is a very serious and very deadly Christian belief perverting Christians that says, “I can’t judge them, I don’t know their heart.” The Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 15:19, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” What comes out the mouth is in the heart.
And what came out of the heart and mouth of Joel Osteen during the June 20, 2005 interview with Larry King literally sent shivers down my spiritual spine. As a Bible Believing researcher, I have researched many topics, many cultural issues and many false prophets, but what I heard repeatedly from the mouth of Joel Osteen on Larry King clearly ranks as the most disturbing words publicly coming out of a mainstream, accepted preacher. Bar none!
Before we view Osteen’s troubling statements, let me also add: we are not frivolously “sowing discord among brethren. . .” (Proverbs 6:19); we are not blindly, “. . . straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel.” (Matthew 23:14); nor is any personal malice or contempt against Mr. Osteen intended.
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:
|Dear Friend,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 said he “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!
If hell is not real, Jesus Christ was the most deceived man that ever lived!
Osteen may sound pious and sweet to say, “. . . I don’t have it in my heart to condemn people,” but according to the Lord Jesus, they are already condemned. The Lord says in John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
The Christian’s message is not condemnation, but the way out of ALREADY condemnation. If there is no “hell fire and brimstone,” there is no reason for Jesus dying on the cross. It was a waste. Hell is as much a part of the gospel, as the blood of Jesus Christ. No hell. No blood. No heaven. No gospel. . .
Friend, if we believe the Bible it is our duty and decency to warn people about hell! Warning someone of the fires of eternal hell is not condemning them – it is just the opposite – we are trying to keep them from being condemned in hell!
Because of Osteen’s vague and confusing answers, Larry King point-blank asks Osteen if he believed the Bible. (What a strange question to ask the pastor of the largest church in America)
KING: You believe in the Bible literally?
OSTEEN: I do, I do.
There is a problem here – a very, very serious problem. Here is a man that claims to believe the Bible literally. And the Bible over and over and over, warns of a place of called hell, a place of eternal fire and torments where the majority of people will suffer in torments for all eternity.
49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Revelation 14:10-11
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night,
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
How can Mr. Osteen, or anyone, claim to believe the Bible and deliberately refuse to warn people about hell? Is anyone that mean or hateful or so depraved that they willingly refuse to warn others? I’m reminded of a gut-wrenching illustration in Why Revival Tarries, by Leonard Ravenhill:
Charlie Peace was a criminal. Laws of God or man curbed him not. Finally the law caught up with him, and he was condemned to death. On the fatal morning in Armley Jail, Leeds, England, he was taken on the death-walk. Before him went the prison chaplain, routinely and sleepily reading some Bible verses. The criminal touched the preacher and asked what he was reading. “The Consolations of Religion,” was the replay. Charlie Peace was shocked at the way he professionally read about hell.
Could a man be so unmoved under the very shadow of the scaffold as to lead a fellow-human there and yet, dry-eyed, read of a pit that has no bottom into which this fellow must fall? Could this preacher believe the words that there is an eternal fire that never consumes its victims, and yet slide over the phrase with a tremor? Is a man human at all who can say with no tears, “You will be eternally dying and yet never know the relief that death brings?”
All this was too much for Charlie Peace. So he preached. Listen to his on-the-eve-of-hell sermon. “Sir” addressing the preacher, “if I believed what you and the church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over it, if need be, on hands and knees and think it worth while living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!” (Ravenhill, Leonard, Why Revival Tarries, Fires of Revival Publishers, Zachary, LA, 1973, p. 19)
Is it possible that a man could be so cruel and so criminal to actually believe in hell and steadfastly refuse to warn fellow human beings?
Recently, a local TV station interviewed a man that rescued a sleeping family from a burning house. He was riding by the house, saw the raging fire and at the danger of his own life, ran inside the flaming house, screaming and yelling for the family to wake up and get out! The newscaster asked him, “How does it feel to be a hero?” His reply was simply, “I’m no hero; I just did what any decent human being would have done.”
Hear me and hear me well – a man that professes to believe the Bible and refuses to warn people about hell; either does not really believe that Bible, or they are the worse criminal and villain on this earth! And I don’t care how big a church they have, or how nice, sweet, loving, compassionate or pious they may sound – they are a wicked devil in disguise!
Will you go and speak to the sinners blind
And who walk in the midnight gloom’
Will you bear some light to their darkened mind’
Will you tell them their coming doom’
Will you seek them now, Will you seek them now’
Will you show them the way’ Will you show them the way’
Some one may be lost, That you might lead home, To that bright land of perfect day.
– Seeking the Lost, A. J. Bu苞han苔n, 1889
In the interview, Larry King tossed Osteen another “soft-ball,” asking Osteen about the wicked and vile sins of abortion and homosexuality. Even lost people take a stand on these blatant “sins.”
KING: How about issues that the church has feelings about’ Abortion’ Same-sex marriages’
OSTEEN: Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don’t go there. I just …
KING: You have thoughts, though.
OSTEEN: I have thoughts. I just, you know, I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don’t think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I’m not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open for everybody.
Again, Larry appears surprised at Osteen’s waffling. Larry allows Osteen to clarify his confusing position. And again Osteen blatantly contradicts the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
KING: You don’t call them sinners?
OSTEEN: I don’t.
KING: Is that a word you don’t use?
OSTEEN: I don’t use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don’t. But most people already know what they’re doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in your life. So I don’t go down the road of condemning.
The word “sin” occurs in the King James Bible over 830 times!
After the previous surprising answers, Larry then asks Osteen the obvious question: Do you believe the Bible?
KING: You believe in the Bible literally?
OSTEEN: I do, I do.
The following conversation during King’s interview displays how far Osteen and the Bible differ.
KING: Is it hard to lead a Christian life?
OSTEEN: I don’t think it’s that hard. To me it’s fun. We have joy and happiness. Our family — I don’t feel like that at all. I’m not trying to follow a set of rules and stuff. I’m just living my life.
KING: But you have rules, don’t you?
OSTEEN: We do have rules. But the main rule to me is to honor God with your life. To live a life of integrity. Not be selfish. You know, help others. But that’s really the essence of the Christian faith.
The “essence of Osteen’s Christian faith” is to “help others.” (And along the way make a few million dollars.)
In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, the apostle Paul gives us the “essence” of the Christian faith:
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Stay away from Joel Osteen and his no condemnation, self-esteem, false-gospel. Warn others. Stay away! There is too much at stake, your eternal soul.
Have you been saved?
It’s simple to be saved …
- Realize you are a sinner.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” Romans 3:10
“… for there is no difference. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23
- Realize you CAN NOT save yourself.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; …” Isaiah 64:6
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, …” Titus 3:5
- Realize that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your sins.
“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, …” 1 Peter 2:24
“… Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” Revelation 1:5
- Simply by faith receive Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12
” …Sirs, what must I do to be saved’ And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”” Acts 16:30,31
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE SAVED?’
Pray this prayer, and mean it with all your heart.
Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and unless you save me I am lost forever. I thank you for dying for me at Calvary. I come to you now, Lord the best way I know how, and ask you to save me. I now receive you as my Savior. In Jesus Christ Name, Amen.
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;”
[Article Reprinted with Permission]