Victoria Osteen Says to Do Things for Self—Not for God

A video of the wife of popular television pastor and best-selling author, Joel Osteen, has been making its way through social media. To give Victoria Osteen a huge benefit of the doubt would mean she either misspoke or we’re lacking some sort of context showing her point to be the opposite of what she said. At face value, her words are absolutely heretical and directly contrary to the words of Jesus Christ and the New Testament. Take a look at the video for yourself. [Note added on 8/30: A clip from The Cosby Show was added by someone else to the end of this video that may come across as demeaning to Mrs. Osteen.]

Here is a transcript of what she said:

“I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—I mean, that’s one way to look at it—we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy. So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

No. Not Amen. Not at all! This is heresy. I would sort of agree with the words inserted from Bill Cosby: “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life.” [Edited 8/30] They aren’t really the dumbest words I’ve heard, but they are absurd when compared to what the Bible teaches.

Mrs. Osteen’s words may sound wonderful to a culture raised in the belief that life is all about self, but they are directly opposed to the Bible. Before looking at some specific passages, let’s see if there are some hints of truth in what she said, after all, effective lies often have some degree of truth.

Does God want us to be happy? In a sense He does, but that happiness will often look very different than what Mrs. Osteen and her husband have taught for years. Life is not about having Your Best Life Now (the title of one of Joel Osteen’s books) since our best life will be when we are with the Lord in glory. True happiness is found when we serve the Lord wholeheartedly, which is essentially the opposite of living for ourselves. Mrs. Osteen wants you to Love Your Life (her book title), but God wants us to love Him.

Does God take pleasure when we’re happy? I guess it depends on what you mean by happy. If you mean the fleeting emotion we often experience only to be unhappy hours later, then I would disagree. If you mean that we are filled with joy because out of a grateful heart we are obediently doing what God has created us to do, then I would agree that God would take pleasure in that, but I don’t think I would go as far as saying that is what gives Him the greatest joy.

Am I against happiness? No. Am I saying we can’t have fun as Christians. Absolutely not! Am I saying we should despise our lives? No, I’m not. I am saying that we need to stop focusing so much attention on ourselves.

Love Self or Deny Self?

Mrs. Osteen’s words fly in the face of one of the major components of living a godly life. Let’s start with what the Son of God said.

Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? (Luke 9:23–25)

If Victoria Osteen's book is anything like the video, it will be full of heresy.

Is Victoria Osteen’s book full of the same self-love heresy seen in the video?

Jesus Christ said that true followers need to deny self. He taught that the greatest commandment was to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that the second greatest commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37–39). This doesn’t mean that we need to learn to love ourselves first (as is often taught today), but that we already do love ourselves and we need to take that focus off of ourselves and put it on God and others. Victoria Osteen encouraged her listeners to live for self. These two ideas cannot be more diametrically opposed.

Jesus lived a selfless life and set the example for us to follow. He willingly went to the Cross to die an unimaginably torturous death so that we could be saved from our sins—not so we could go around chasing after all the things we think will make us happy. Does the New Testament have anything else to say about this subject? Yes, far too much for one blog post. Let’s look at a couple of examples.

In Colossians 3:17, the Apostle Paul wrote, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” What motive should we have for the things we do? Did Paul say to do it for yourself? Certainly not! He said to do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” He said something similar in 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

To learn more about the sacrificial death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, check out my book, In Defense of Easter: Answering Critical Challenges to the Resurrection of Jesus. Available at www.midwestapologetics.org/shop.

To learn more about the sacrificial death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, see my new book, In Defense of Easter.

But what would Paul know about happiness? After all, this was the guy who was scourged five times, beaten with rods three times, stoned, shipwrecked three times, in prison multiple times, and constantly under the threat of people who wanted to kill him (2 Corinthians 11:23–27). Yes, and he was one of the most faithful Christians who has ever lived. He understood that Jesus didn’t die on the Cross and rise from the dead so that we can live for self. He did it to save us from sin and to enable us to live for God.

Perhaps Mrs. Osteen should read the book of Job. This godly man lost every earthly possession and his entire family except his wife. He lost his health, and yet he trusted God. He was called blameless, upright, and righteous (Job 1:8; Ezekiel 14:14). Job was not happy during his trials, but he was extremely faithful.

Maybe Victoria Osteen should read Hebrews 11. This chapter is often called the Faith Hall of Fame because it highlights many of the Old Testament heroes who exhibited tremendous faith in God. But if you read this chapter, please read it all the way through, because then you’ll find out about some unnamed people with great faith. Here is what the writer of Hebrews had to say about them.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented—of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. (Hebrews 11:35b—38)

Christian, these are your role models! These are the people we should seek to imitate. They were willing to give up everything for the sake of following Christ. To live for self means that we are putting our own desires above what God has told us to do. It is arrogant and prideful, and it is the exact opposite of what the Bible instructs. We are to be humble, deny self, and live for God’s glory.

Conclusion

If you call yourself a Christian, please do not be deceived by the “gospel” of self that is so prevalent in our culture. If you seek true and lasting happiness, it will only be found when you are serving your Creator. It will never be found serving yourself. Mrs. Osteen’s words remind me of what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Timothy 3:1–5)

Turn away! Take your eyes off yourself and focus on Jesus Christ. Pray for Mrs. Osteen, her husband, and those influenced by their false teachings. Pray that they will take their eyes off of self and turn to the Savior. And please pray for me as well. I’m certainly not immune to pride. Pray that I will keep my eyes focused on Christ rather than self.

[Update: For my response to the claims of some of Mrs. Osteen’s defenders, please see Responding to Victoria Osteen’s Defenders—Part One and Part Two]

About Tim Chaffey

I am the founder of Midwest Apologetics and work as the Content Manager with the Attractions Division of Answers in Genesis. I have written (or co-authored) several books, including In Defense of Easter, God and Cancer, The Sons of God and the Nephilim, and The Truth Chronicles Series (see the publications page for more details). Please note: the opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of Answers in Genesis.

Comments

Victoria Osteen Says to Do Things for Self—Not for God — 143 Comments

    • I agree with your first statement and generally agree with the second. Mrs. Osteen has promoted some very dangerous ideas based on little knowledge. Her testimony has not always been squeaky clean either, although none of us can claim perfection in that area.

      • Mr. Chaffey I can tell that you know the bible very well. I read back the older comments and I agree on all your responses to each comment. Even in trying to defend MACarthur. ( though you need not to 🙂 ) Please continue to write and defend the gospel. I am praying for you. Thank God for the wisdom he gave and is giving you. God bless your family.

  1. Well you are also focusing on “Self-Denial” because you do not know the basic teaching of Bible that “Self-Denial” is not the true Gospel. You need to understand that this Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’”

    He did not say this to an ordinary public but He said to those who were already Saved, those who were already His disciples. But you and MacArthur is trying to make is “Self-Denial” a true gospel which is non-biblical

    Gospel is not “Self-Denial” Gospel is that Jesus died on our behalf so we do not need to make a sacrifice for our salvation. But MacArthur and you have taken the one verse from the Bible and trying to teach people that by “Self-Denial” only you can achieve salvation.

    Here is a clear quote from MacArthur book “THE TRUE GOSPEL IS A CALL TO SELF-DENIAL. IT IS NOT A CALL TO SELF-FULFILLMENT.”

    Go and ask anybody, SELF-DENIAL is not the true Gospel. You and MacArthur are heretic not the Victoria Osteen.

    If you are focusing on your self effort to go to heaven then you are preaching another gospel not the gospel Jesus preached. Here is what Jesus did in Matthew 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.

    Here is what Paul did, 1 Cor 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,

    Paul preached the Christ crucified, Peter preached Christ crucified, but you are preached, “Self-Crucified”. That’s a tragedy. The reason is that you and MacArthur don’t know the meaning of Gospel.
    Thanks

    • Sherly,
      It seems that you have a difficult time understanding certain nuances in the English language. The quote that you cite from MacArthur’s book does not say that a person must deny himself in order to get saved. He is not saying that you must do these things to get saved. He is saying that a person who truly does believe in Christ (that is, a person who is already saved) must be willing to follow Jesus at all costs. This is the same things Jesus taught about self-denial. If English is not your first language, I can understand how his sentence that you quoted could be confusing. He does not say that the gospel is self-denial, but a call to self-denial. Later in the same book (Hard to Believe), he writes this:

      The choice we all make is this: either we’re good enough on our own, through our belief system and morality, to make it to heaven; or we’re not, and we have to cast ourselves on the mercy of God through Christ to get there. Those are the only two systems of religion in the world. One is a religion of human merit; the other recognizes that we find true merit in Christ alone, and it comes to the sinner only by grace. There may be a thousand different religious names and terms, but only two religions really exist. There is the truth of divine accomplishment, which says God has done it all in Christ, and there is the lie of human achievement, which says we have some sort of hand in saving ourselves. One is the religion of grace, the other the religion of works. One offers salvation by faith alone; the other offers salvation by the flesh.
      John F. MacArthur Jr., Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2003), 78–79.

      He does not believe that we must work for salvation, and neither do I. I’ve explained to you several times in my responses what the gospel message is, and I shared with you that I am a Christian because of what Christ has done for me—not because of anything that I’ve done. None of us can earn salvation; it is a free gift of God that we must receive by faith alone. Yet this has not stopped you from ignoring what I’ve clearly stated and attacking me personally. I’d like to believe it is due to your misunderstanding of certain nuances of the English language as I mentioned above. If it isn’t, then I can only conclude that you are content to lie about me.
      My blog post had nothing to do with John MacArthur, but you’ve tried to turn it into that. My post was designed to point people to what Scripture says about how Christians (people who are already saved) should live. That is, they must be willing to deny self, just like Jesus said to His disciples. And this is what you just admitted about Luke 9:23—that Jesus told people who already believed in Him that they should deny self. This is directly opposed to what Victoria Osteen and you have been saying all along. So you’ve contradicted yourself. I’ve stated it before and you ignored it, but I never said that a person must work for their salvation. We crucify self because we already believe in Jesus and desire to follow Him wholeheartedly rather than chase after what we may selfishly want.
      The gospel message is very clearly described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4, which I’ve already quoted for you in previous responses. It is the message “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures.” This truth can only be received by faith. That is the gospel Paul preached, and that is the message I’ve shared all along, yet you have twisted my words and called me a heretic.
      Please read more carefully before responding, and if you reply with the same sort of misrepresentations and false claims, I will not approve any more of your comments, because you have already taken up too much time debating about something that you don’t seem to understand. I’ve tried to calmly explain the truth to you while you attack me, but in keeping with Titus 3:10, I will no longer put up with it.

  2. I think that the whole article is wrong. When a person gets forgiveness of sins or Salvation of his/her soul through the blood of Jesus, it is good for the own soul of that person and not benefiting God in any way.

    If a person repents from his/her sins they are not doing it for God but for their own soul.

    When Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

    He did not say for Himself but He said for you and me so that we could get peace in our hearts.

    When Jesus said in John 15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” He did not say that it may benefit God in any way.

    Here are more verses which suggest that God wants us happy John 16:24 “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

    You cannot understand it if you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. When your sins are forgiven the joy and peace automatically comes in.

    Jesus gave His life for the forgiveness of sins, for the peace of people and for the goodwill of people as angels proclaimed in Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

    So you can see that your whole article is wrong.
    Thanks

    • “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
      “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)
      Nowhere did I claim that the things we do for the Lord do not benefit us. The whole point of these posts is to help people understand what our motivation should be for being obedient to the Lord. It should never be for selfish reasons thinking what we will get for our actions. Our motivation must be to glorify the Savior who gave His life for us so that we could be saved. I’ll stick with the clear words of Scripture quoted above.

      • In fact Victoria never said anything which may not glorify God. She said, “when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—I mean, that’s one way to look at it—we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy.”

        When we obey God and what He wants us to do, it glorifies God, makes God happy and in return it does good for us.

        When Israelite did not obey God, God was not happy and the result was that they could not enter in promised land. It means that God was not affected with their disobedience but the people who disobeyed God.

        So your article is completely wrong.

        • Sherly,
          I think you are still missing my point. It is not about whether an action I do makes God happy or has some benefit to me—those things may indeed occur when I obey. The point I have been making over and over again is about our motive for doing what we do. Our motive should be to glorify God, and whether it makes us happy or not should not factor into it. After all, there are plenty of Christian martyrs whose lives have been sacrificed while serving the Lord. They were willing to lose their lives, sometimes in horrific ways, to glorify the Lord. I’m not sure that being crucified or flayed would qualify as something that makes one happy. What Mrs. Osteen was saying is that our motive should be to do the things that make us happy, and that is simply not biblical.

          • I don’t see about motive in your article but in your whole article you have said that “do not be deceived by “gospel” of self” It seems you even do not know the meaning of Gospel? Gospel means Good news. And the true Good News is that Jesus came in this world, shed His precious blood on the cruel cross so that YOU or ME get forgiveness of our sins. Of course Jesus did it for HUMAN beings. He did it for the betterment of our lives. Jesus did not die for God but for sinners so that they could be redeemed and live a better life.

            And you are not god to know what is the motive of Victoria or Joel Osteen. Don’t you?

            It seems you are influenced by John MacArthur who does not preach true Gospel from the Bible, I have written a long serial of his mistakes in my magazine. you can read it yourself starting from here [Link removed]
            Thanks
            Sherly Isaac

          • Sherly,
            My response had nothing to do with John MacArthur. Yes, I do know the meaning of gospel, and I know the gospel that Paul received, and preached, and by which people were saved: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). I noticed you left out the part about Him rising from the dead, but I trust that was unintentional. I’ve noticed that many Christians forget to mention it.
            Also, you said that you “don’t see about motive” in my article. Well, you could run a search for the word motive and you’ll find it. Here’s the paragraph I wrote in the article:

            In Colossians 3:17, the Apostle Paul wrote, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” What motive should we have for the things we do? Did Paul say to do it for yourself? Certainly not! He said to do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” He said something similar in 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

            This paragraph is all about motive, and the word is definitely in there. That was the whole point of the article.
            You’re right that I’m not God, and so I don’t really know her heart. This is why I refrained from attacking her personally or making any sort of judgment about her. My comments were limited to her words. You can see the same thing is true in the two follow-up articles that addressed the arguments people made who were defending Mrs. Osteen. Part 1: http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1331 and Part 2:http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1340
            Finally, Jesus certainly came to save sinners, but He also came to glorify the Father. See John 13:31–32; 17:1; 17:5.

        • That whole part about When we obey God and what He wants us to do, it glorifies God, makes God happy and in return it does good for us. How happy are all the martyrs that have been tortured for their being Christians and refusing to denounce their belief even though their whole families were being tortured and killed. So what it sounds like what your saying and Victoria is saying is I guess these people who have given everything for their belief in Jesus obviously did not worship him enough because their lives don’t seem too great to me. What she said was selfish do things to get what you want from God never mind about what the bible says

          • Tracey, What Victoria said was in no way selfish. But think about it:
            1. Jesus came to save us from our sins – When we receive forgiveness of our sins, guilt and burden rolls away from us, great peace and joy fills our soul. Jesus came to do exactly that – He wants us happy and delivered. Jesus did not give His life for God but for you and for me so that we could come out of our sins and live a better life and have eternal life. Of course He was risen from the dead to give us eternal life.
            2. John 1:12, those who accepted Him to them He gave the power to become His children. Do you think it is a small thing to become the children of King of kings, Lord of Lords and the Most High God? Of course not! But it is a tragedy that today’s theologian has made it a very small thing.

  3. “Love one another, even as I have loved you.”
    Jesus has commanded us. How is this posting love? Where is the spirit of gentleness that helps God’s daughter repent and be restored?
    (Galatians 6)

    What this woman says is not evil, it is just incomplete and poorly planned public speaking.

    God NEEDS nothing from us. The word confirms, there is truth about God in her statement:

    …24″The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
    –Acts 17:25

    The other verse that comes to mind is from Dueteronomy 10:12 (just fresh on my mind, as I am seeking to know what we are responsible for in our relationship with Jesus):

    12″Now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13and to keep the LORD’S commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today FOR YOUR GOOD?…

    Dueteronomy 10:12

    My brothers (and sisters)in Christ, I ask you humbly, and before Jesus Christ our LORD, to please stop judging this woman as a heretic, idolature or heathen, (along with her husband) and acknowledge the spirit of God who resides in her heart.

    God loves this woman, and will we.

    Jesus forgave men who cursed and spit on him while he died on the cross. May we always remeber that in our trials and tribulations. Amen

    Thank you for hearing me.

    • Dangit, left out the most important part;

      Mr. Chaffey,

      Thank you for ending your post in the more excellent way. I will certainly have you in my prayer’s, so that all of your work done in Christ will surely be guided and blessed by God’s heart.
      “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
      (eph 4:3)

    • “God NEEDS nothing from us.”

      Wrong.

      This is what Jehovah needs from us. Most people forget that the most important part of a faithful servants life is to Glorify god’s holy name(Psalms 83:18, 86:12, 96:1-9; John 12:28; 1 Chron 16:23-29 and many more) and to answer the challenges posed by Satan in Genesis and Job, namely that God is a liar, God does not have the right to rule, God withholds good things from his people, Man only serves god for what they can get out of it, and that Man would do anything, even break God’s laws in order to save his own skin(Proverbs 27:11). (Genesis chapters 3, Job chapters 1 & 2)

      • I’ll stand by my original statement. God does not need these things from us, but He does desire for us to live faithfully and to glorify His holy name. If God needed these things, then we would have to conclude that He had to make us so that He could acquire this. However, God did not make us because He had to do it.

        • Tim:”If God needed these things, then we would have to conclude that He had to make us so that He could acquire this.”

          That makes no sense. His name was not slandered until AFTER humans were already created.

          • Actually, it makes perfect sense, and it doesn’t matter if it was before or after humans were created.
            To say that God needs us is to make the claim that God is insufficient in and of Himself. And as such, He needed to create us so that He could acquire that which was lacking. This is false. God is an independent Being, meaning that He is not dependent upon anyone or anything for His existence.
            He does not need us to glorify His holy name, although He wants us to do it and many people do. He does not need us to refute answer the challenges posed by the wicked, but He wants us to do it, and many do. There is a big difference between saying that God commands or desires us to do something and saying that He needs us to do something.

    • I am just appalled by these people. They teach a washed down version of the Bible and how to prosper through God. What about the rest of it you know the parts of the Bible no one likes such as say the parable of the goats and sheep:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. They don’t preach service to God its all about what you can get from God. Above is one example of what they don’t preach. Why do they have such a large church? Its because he tells people what they want to hear and nothing else. I have been on mission trips to some of the poorest areas in the world you mean to tell me if they start following God in the “Joel Olsteen” way they will suddenly become prosperous? What a load of bull. God will take care of them and see to their needs. How nice it is to have a co-pastor that had no pastoral degree. Yes thats the kind of person I want teaching me about the Bible. To continue now the tour they are going on. Really paying $25 to hear the word of God. I guess thats to help keep victoria in first class.

    • Thank you for your response. I hope that banning me from commenting is not intentional?

      You sure are taking the material from John MacArthur who is spreading False teachings which is not biblical. If you know the meaning of Gospel you will also know that Gospel (Good news) is for people (sinners) and not for God. Because God is not a sinner and God never needed to come down and give His life for us or go through such horrific death but He did it for you and me. For the betterment of us not for God. But unfortunately you have called it the “Gospel of self”. It is a tragic reality of modern day theologians who never want to read their Bible but they speak their mind thinking they are teaching right things but not true.

      I did not say about Jesus’ rising from the dead is because it was not necessary at this time.

      Ok you said, “Paul said to do everything “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” He said something similar in 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.””

      So where do you see that Victoria was not glorifying God or was not doing in the name of the Lord Jesus? Could you please show me? In fact she was worshiping Jesus.

      You said, “You’re right that I’m not God, and so I don’t really know her heart. This is why I refrained from attacking her personally or making any sort of judgment about her. My comments were limited to her words.”

      Sorry that is not true!

      You have clearly judged her as false teacher and as if they were focusing on something else rather than Savior as you have said —- Turn away! Take your eyes off yourself and focus on Jesus Christ. Pray for Mrs. Osteen, her husband, and those influenced by their false teachings. Pray that they will take their eyes off of self and turn to the Savior. —-

      Final question to you. Are you saved? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? If not, you are not even Christian. Do you know what I mean?
      Thanks

      • Sherly,
        I’m pretty sure you meant for this comment to be in response to my latest one in our thread (http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1308&cpage=2#comment-342112).
        I did not ban you from commenting as everyone on here can clearly see. I did edit out the link that you shared since I like to monitor those before I allow them to be shared on my blog. That being said, I did check out the link you sent, and I have to say that you are badly misrepresenting Dr. MacArthur. He does not believe that a person can be saved by good works, and when he talks about the Lord’s command to “deny self,” MacArthur does not believe this means we should live an ascetic lifestyle. Here are his comments from the MacArthur Study Bible on Colossians 2:21–23:

        These verses point out the futility of asceticism, which is the attempt to achieve holiness by rigorous self-neglect (v. 23), self-denial (v. 21), and even self-infliction. Since it focuses on temporal “things which perish with the using,” asceticism is powerless to restrain sin or bring one to God. While reasonable care and discipline of one’s body is of temporal value (1 Tim. 4:8), it has no eternal value, and the extremes of asceticism serve only to gratify the flesh. All too often, ascetics seek only to put on a public show of their supposed holiness (Matt. 6:16–18). John MacArthur Jr., ed., The MacArthur Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville, TN: Word Pub., 1997), p. 1836.

        Now compare this to what he wrote about Luke 9:23, the verse that speaks about denying self:

        See note on Matt. 10:38. Self-denial was a common thread in Christ’s teaching to his disciples (cf. 14:26, 27; Matt. 10:38; 16:24; Mark 8:34; John 12:24–26). The kind of self-denial He sought was not a reclusive asceticism (see note on 7:34), but a willingness to obey His commandments, serve one another, and suffer—perhaps even die—for His sake. John MacArthur Jr., ed., The MacArthur Study Bible, electronic ed. (Nashville, TN: Word Pub., 1997), p. 1531.

        He specifically says in both places that asceticism is wrong. Yet you have falsely accused him of teaching that asceticism is the gospel. After quoting him where he said that “the true gospel is a call to self-denial,” you wrote:

        If the true Gospel is just a call to self-denial then it is not at all Gospel in the first place. Gospel means Good News. Jesus brought Good News of salvation from the hard work, toil and bondages of sin. Being from India, I am very well aware of what is meant by “self denial”. I have seen women waking up early in the morning when it is still dark, taking bath in chilled water in almost freezing temperature, walking to the temple without wearing any shoes on their feet and living a much disciplined life just to get into heaven. I have seen their hard work, I have seen them going on pilgrimage as pilgrims, taking baths as a ritual to just get rid of their sins.

        You have completely misunderstood what MacArthur means by self-denial, which he explained in his note on Luke 9:23. As a result, you have come to my blog and accused me of the same thing and questioned whether I am even a believer. You said that mentioning the Resurrection wasn’t necessary at this time, yet it is always necessary if you are going to explain what the good news is, because the Resurrection is part of the gospel message. It is good news that Jesus died for our sins so that we can be forgiven, but it doesn’t really become the good news until He rises from the dead.
        You have accused me of judging Mrs. Osteen, but I have not done that. The example you cited is exactly what I said it was—a critique of what she said. I have stated that what she taught on this point was false, and I asked for people to pray for her. Do you not want people to pray for her or for you? I love it when people pray for me. That was a request for Christians to do something productive about this issue rather than ridicule her and tear her down as a person, which is what I saw some other Christians doing. You have also implied that people like MacArthur, or even me, do not like to read their Bible but just speak their mind instead. Yet, at every point in my post, I backed up what I said with Scripture. I quoted Hebrews 11 where it talks about the people who had great faith and yet suffered greatly, because they understood that to follow the Lord might cost them everything. You are making numerous false accusations and assumptions about me, and you don’t even know me. I have been blessed with the opportunity to read and study the Bible every day for over 15 years. I love reading it, studying it, and writing about it to help others understand it.
        To answer your final question. Yes, I am saved. I believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the second person of the Trinity, died on the Cross and bore my sins (and the sins of the world) upon Himself, then He was buried, and then He rose again the third day, just like the Bible says. I am saved because God has forgiven me of my many sins (not because of anything I’ve done to earn His favor but through what Christ has done for me), and I know I will spend eternity with Him. He gave His life for me, and out of gratitude for what He has done in saving me, I am willing to give Him my life in return and do whatever He asks of me, even if it costs me my life.
        This will be my last comment to you for now since I have many other things I need to work on, and I will not use up more of my time with someone who refuses to listen and makes false accusations about me and other believers in Christ.

        • Of course you have banned me from commenting because there is no reply button or link in the above comment where I was replying.

          I haven’t badly misrepresented MacArthur but I simply quoted what he wrote in his book titled, “Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus”. Here is the clear quote from his book, “The true gospel is a call to self-denial. It is not a call to self-fulfillment. And that puts it in opposition to the contemporary evangelical gospel, where ministers view Jesus as a utilitarian genie. You rub the lamp, and He jumps out and says you have whatever you want; you give Him your list and He delivers.”

          You can see, he clearly said that true gospel is a call to self-denial while Bible tells us that true Gospel is that Jesus finished the work of our salvation and we need to come to His feet by repenting of our sins and received the forgiveness of our sins.” Salvation includes peace, joy and happiness. Jesus came to give us peace and joy but you and MacArthur have rejected the true Gospel of Jesus Christ which obviously not a call to self-denial.

          I don’t know what is in the MacArthur Bible but I have quoted his quote from his book. If you don’t believe me, just purchase a copy of that book and try to read by yourself.

          Of course from your writings you do not look like a believer because you are saying what MacArthur is saying and you are supporting a person who is preaching which is not biblical. If you have read the Bible you would have known that self-denial cannot save you from your sins.

          You have failed to tell what wrong Victoria said. Again you thought it is wrong because you believe in self-denial and you are against to take the blessings of God. If you are a child of God, you are entitled to receive all the blessings but you and MacArthur call it self-fulfillment?

          I don’t believe that you have read your Bible, if you have read your Bible you would have known that God of Bible is a God of prosperity, God of Bible is a good God, God of Bible takes pleasure in the prosperity of His children. So what you are preaching is not what Bible teaches and you are spreading false teaching.

          If you are really saved, you would have written your testimony in About Me page instead of boasting your many degrees and achievements as a book writer. It seems to me that you are preaching self-denial but practicing self-fulfillment.

          Again I am not accusing anybody falsly but it is you have have accused Victoria Osteen as a false teacher.

          • Luke 9:23 – “Then He [Jesus] said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.'”
            Matthew 16:24 – “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'”
            Apparently, you think Jesus was a false teacher too. And no, I did not ban you from commenting as can be seen by the fact that your comments are still on the page. So much for not falsely accusing anyone.
            For the record, I have MacArthur’s book that you quoted, and you are misrepresenting his position. He speaks against asceticism on page 50 of Hard to Believe. I don’t agree with everything he writes in that book, but it isn’t right for you to lie about him either. Since you misunderstand what he means by self-denial, you misrepresent what he wrote. He was not saying that you get saved by denying yourself. He is saying that true followers of Jesus must be willing to leave everything for Him, which is pretty much what Jesus said in the verses quoted above.
            I have no need to defend myself to you. Anyone who reads this blog post or any of the others on my site can decide for themselves if they think I’ve read the Bible or if they think I’m a Christian. I will pray for you and ask the Lord to help you understand that following Him is not all about prosperity in this life. To truly follow Christ, you must put Him first. Please read 2 Corinthians 11:22–33 to see what one of the most faithful Christians in history endured for the sake of the gospel.

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