Joel Osteen is a well known televangelist and author of self-help books. Note “self-help.” He’s pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, a church founded by his dad, and it’s the largest Protestant church in the US.
In a recent interview Osteen talked about Muslims who attend Lakewood.
His books sell very well in Muslim countries where Christianity is banned and Christians are routinely butchered.
Why do his books sell so well in Muslim countries? Could it be because Osteen avoids talking about Christ?
Full disclosure, we’ve listened to Osteen a number of times and we don’t find much to differentiate him from any other self-help guru. He’s pretty much Tony Robbins without the fire walk and he goes out of his way to avoid directly challenging his audience to believe in much of anything but their ability to be what they want to be. And that’s the real focus of his books.
Does Osteen preach a watered down, health-wealth-happiness message or does he preach the gospel of Jesus Christ? We’ll let you be the judge, but we’ll leave you with this from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians.
For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
That doesn’t sound like “self-help” to me.