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

  1. Hebrews 13:15-16 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. IT MAKES ME HAPPY TO MAKE GOD HAPPY

    • Hi Eric,
      We should be pleased to do the things that are pleasing to the Lord. However, what Mrs. Osteen said was very different in its focus. Rather than doing good for God’s glory, she encouraged people to do good for themselves. It’s really about the motives.

  2. James 4:11- Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

    I personally do not agree with Olsteen said either, but I can’t help but find the irony in what you based your article on, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. Was she correct in what she said? Absolutely not. Are you any better to be so shrewd and legalistic to tear another human being down? I think not!!!!! Where is the love. You can use all your smarts, wit, and degree or title to convenience other’s that they are wolves in sheep’s clothing, but I choose LOVE. After all, love your neighbor as yourself! Victoria has it wrong, but so do you.
    It sounds like you are speaking passionately from your heart about this Tim so I pray that you use not only your heart & brain edict truth, but not tear others down in the process. Blessings and wisdom to you and all of the subscribers to this blog.

    • Sorry for the mispellings & grammatical errors in my message above. I sent it from my phone, and it was nearly impossible to proofread my post to you blog. God bless!

    • No worries about the misspellings and grammar. It is very easy to make those on a phone. I’m glad you recognize that they are there.
      I also choose love. It is indeed loving to point out false teaching if it is done properly. You claimed that I was shrewd, legalistic, and tearing down a another human being. You’ve just leveled more charges at me than I did at Victoria Osteen. I did not attack her personally. I critiqued her words. Perhaps you could show me where I attacked her personally.
      You asked where the love is. The love is found in the warning to so many people out there that what Victoria Osteen said is false. She taught a message that is at odds with Scripture and it can deceive her listeners. Offering a truthful and respectful rebuttal of the false teaching is the loving thing to do.

  3. It’s a pity how majority seems not to understand simple English,phrase/clause(s)I am not a fan with the Osteens but there is nothing actually wrong with what this woman has said and it will hurt me if she comes out tomorrow to retract this godly sayings of hers.I ask you Tim the author of this article: ‘if you worship God,are you doing God any favor? God delights in our worship,praises but it’s just a way to do more for us.There are zillions of angels and the elders up there praising day and night and you think HE cares when we don’t give our filthy rag praises ? The only way HE will be disturbed is that we tend not to keep the door open for HIM to bless us more and that may worry HIM ! When Christ said in Mathew 22:39 ” A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” what do u think God is saying ? He want’s us to love ourselves but not to the extent of trying to protect our lives at HIS own detriment i.e rejecting Christ becos we want to stay alive. No wonder HE said in Luke 17 :33 “Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” HE came up only with the maximum of the commandment of love when relating with others how we are expected to love in John 13:34 ” So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” The bible can never contradict itself but some of us like the author of this article who thinks he knows it all or probably have some sort of disgust for the Osteens,on his own tend to contradict scriptures. 1. God said we should love HIM first :-Mark 12:30-31”And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” God HIMSELF is love and we as HIS like/image are expected to have love in us both for ourselves and for others.You can’t give what you don’t have hence the instruction to treat people as you treat urself- lovely ! God commanded us to love HIM above ourselves hence the admonitions in Luke 9:62’But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” and also in Luke 17:33 ‘If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.” Please note: there is nothing absolutely wrong with Victoria Osteens teaching contextually speaking except you want to troll the negative angle. Thanks

  4. Henry Blackaby’s study had similar teachings. Also most people are singing “like a Rose trampled on the ground He took the fall and thought of me above all.” Michael W Smith Above All. I think singing this song Sunday after Sunday is worse than what she said. He thought of His own glory above all. Not us. As much as I think they teach false theology, Scripture does say blessed are you if you… If you do this or that it will go well for you…worship together encourages, equips us, nourishes, feeds our soul, convicts, and it is not to be forsaken. Because it is our sustenance. I think she erred but what about all the it’s all about me praise songs sung at churches.

    • Hi Susan,
      Thanks for reading and for your comments. I agree that there are plenty of things that could be critiqued in the modern church (and the early church, and the medieval church, and the Reformation era church, etc.). I also agree that there are problems with the song you mentioned and many others.
      I do have a question for you or anyone else that would like to chime in. Where does the Bible say that Jesus thought of His own glory above all? I’ve heard this type of terminology a lot lately. I’m not questioning that Jesus will be (and has been) glorified through His work on the Cross, but I’m asking where the Bible says that He thought of His own glory. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that He endured the Cross and despised its shame “for the joy that was set before Him.” So we could say that He thought of the joy that was ahead of Him. Of course, John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world….” So we can also say that God sent His Son because of His love for the world. And I think it’s safe to say that it follows that the Son out of obedience to the Father and out of love for His creation (see John 15:13) was willing to be sacrificed for us. So I don’t think it is wrong to say that He thought of us at the Cross, but I agree that He did not think of us “above all” at the Cross. Form a purely logical perspective, it wouldn’t make any sense to say that He thought of “me” above all if there is more than one person singing the song.
      I think you are right that this song and many others tend to focus the attention on the person singing rather than on our God.

  5. Mark, I think this is what you’re looking for: 2Ptr2:1-3 False Teachers.* 1There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. 3In their greed they will exploit you with fabrications, but from of old their condemnation has not been idle and their destruction does not sleep.

    * [2:1–3] The pattern of false prophets among the Old Testament people of God will recur through false teachers in the church. Such destructive opinions of heretical sects bring loss of faith in Christ, contempt for the way of salvation (cf. 2 Pt 2:21), and immorality.

  6. The other thing that stands out glaringly is that every post of her statement is a brief clip not showing the full context of her statement. This deception is not becoming of people who claim to be truthful Christians.

    • Sean,
      I admitted this at the start of the post, and in other comments I’ve invited anyone to share a link to a video that shows the whole context. I’d be happy to offer any correction to what I wrote if the context shows that I misjudged her comments.

  7. It never ceases to amaze me how people constantly take things out of context for their own self-glorification. Case in point, the title of a book, Your Best Life Now. To try to imply that that book is about how you can have a better life now than you will in heaven is asinine. It is obviously intended to be about how to have the best possible life you can have while here on earth, rather than to accept the negative life that results from accepting whatever life dishes out. That it is within your power to improve the quality of your life through prayer and a consistent persistent effort. The twist placed on this title cautions me to not trust anything you have to say, because your motives are obviously not good intentioned.

    • I think you are reading too much into a pun I had made in the article and you seem more than willing to judge my motives. However, there are numerous problems with Mr. Osteen’s book, so my comment was not off the mark. After all, according to Joel Osteen in that very book, and in interviews given for that book, he said that someone doesn’t need to be a Christian to follow all of the principles he set forth. Why? Because to him, having your best life now isn’t about obeying the gospel of Jesus Christ; it’s more a of a quasi-prosperity, power of positive thinking, self-help book. Instead of preaching that sinners need to repent of their sins and trust in the good news of the sacrificial death, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Osteens focus on telling others how they can be happy and how God wants to bless them. It’s a tragedy that they have the opportunity to share the gospel with 30,000–40,000 people each week, plus many thousands more watching on television, the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe, but instead they often deliver a message that is devoid of eternal hope.

  8. This is the saddest day in Christianity when many churches and their pastors in Canada and America endorsing people like Joel and Victoria Olsteen and their kinds as the leaders of Christianity and the models of success in the Kingdom of God.
    People like Joel and Victoria are the ones who water down the Gospel of Jesus Christ for their own benefits. They want people to feel good and not be convicted of the Truth. No wonder there is no power of God present at our churches today. Many Pastors, they dress down, give motivational speeches, create a false atmosphere in the sanctuaries by lights and hase all under the pretense of relevancy. Gospel of Jesus Christ is not about relevancy but righteousness and holiness.
    Many Pastors, they dress up their wives as Barbies and where did the modesty and examplary lives go?

  9. Dear Tim – to me it is very clear what Victoria is saying – because we can do nothing for God – He, Creator, has put everything in place, every law, be it of the Spirit or nature or whatever – our obedience, our highest form of worship, is not for God – it is for OUR benefit. There is nothing that we will ever experience, from our obedience to God, that will not be for the primary benefit of self – in this law of love, the first of the royal commandments, we are also meeting the 2nd and the 3rd which is like it. She doesn’t mean make self the object of benefit through doing what God commands in His inspired written Word – it is a very tricky revelation to try convey with human code as the enemy will always try to pervert and twist the most important revelations to come to this generation. In worshiping God in Spirit / spirit and in Truth as true worshipers – we are the automatic beneficiaries and we need not be anxious for anything – as all our needs are met – taken care of – true worship does not only happen at a congregational service through the tithe and songs and fellowship with other Christians, it extends into the world in which we live but from which we have experienced (in my opinion only), an initial form or rapture through the rebirth experience. I have it from the Holy Spirit in a personal revelation of an aspect of love, in my own prayer to understand love, that the greatest act of self love one can ever perform is to receive the Jesus Christ – some people such as I, prior to being saved, from ourselves mostly as the devil can do nothing unless WE give him authority – had NO self esteem, no self love prior to Christ. I was suicidal from age 13 to 33 when I became born again. Well-meaning Christians on my path in the early days kept on repeating – just keep your eyes on Christ – it was the easiest thing for me to do – as I never had any belief in self nor identity – then, in a prayerwalk the Lord showed me that its ok to start believing in myself too – from HIS perspective, not a carnal perspective – because unless I did, my faith in His work in me, was a farce – once again – so many deeply personal my Teacher teaches me – God is my teacher – to get it right with the correct words to others – oh how tricky it is…. may God help me to glorify Him as He gives me wisdom for this purpose – but as He is with you, He is with me, and with those who He is answering in the correct context as it pertains to them through His servants – I will not mess with the anointing – God is judge – I know we need to be vigilant – and I pay this contribution from me will in fact bless, add to and not take away from the glory of the One who saved me – JESUS CHRIST – Lord of glory!

    • I agree with your comment whole heartedly. We as humans can do nothing to please God and many people feel that when they are worshipping, praying and serving others they are doing it for God; however, you are doing it for yourself because ultimately you will be the one who reaps the benefits. Many people who are out of God’s will are depressed and frustrated with life. They are not living out their full potential but merely existing, repeating the same routine day by day like robots. Once you find out why you were created and serve in that area you will find happiness. That happiness is for your own wellbeing. So ultimately, although you are living for God, you are living for yourself. It’s sad to see how people will twist and misconstrue messages.

    • It’s all to the glory of God – our prosperity – our faith in Him who delights in our prosperity – as we live holy lives – because He is holy – always to be remembered…

  10. Hi Tim,
    An excellent and Biblically sound article!

    It the Osteen’s infamous Larry King interview, they were asked WHEN had they become Christians. Both answered that they had grown up in a Christian family and were ALWAYS Christians. The Lord said in John 3:1-21 that we must be born AGAIN, meaning there must be a turning point when we trust in Him. So by their own admission, they have never been born again.

    Lack of spiritual discernment is reaching pandemic proportions. Immature Christians and false converts are being, “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14)

    So Tim, keep on, keeping on!
    Keep being diligent to contend earnestly for the faith! (Jude 1:3)

      • That is true. No one is 100% correct all the time. But we should be like the Berean Jews who were of more noble character because they examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

      • I guess it depends on how define heretic. I’m sure none of us have every single fine point of doctrine exactly right, so if that’s what you mean, then I’d agree. But if you mean that we have all believed some horrendous distortion of the gospel at some point, then I’d disagree. I’m sure there are plenty of people who have grown up with solid biblical teaching in the home who have not believed heresy.
        But even if you are correct, does that make it okay for Mrs. Osteen to say what she did? Of course not. We need to point out false teachings so that others are not deceived by them.

  11. Greetings, this is my first time to read this blog. I appreciate the discernment and the tone.
    I must add that from a Biblical perspective, Mrs. Osteen’s statements on what makes Him happy/ what gives Him His “greatest happiness” are also heretical.

  12. While I do not know of the Osteen’s teaching or church, I can understand what she is saying. I got saved for a happier life, I serve God and renew my mind for a happier life. I live by faith for a happier life, and I know heaven will be a happy place.

    After 30 years of attending several Baptist churches and watching good Christians arrive, sit quietly through SS and church with no enthusiasm, and then leave with little more than a hello, I started listening to some faith preachers on TV. I found out I am a kings kid living under the Abrahamic covenant (I am blessed), am in right standing with God, and growing my faith trough the Word instead of being told we grow through suffering.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Baptist church is a great church for getting one to salvation. The happiness issue then comes into play as they sit around and sing “some glad morning when this life is over” while they wait to die. They deny the power of the Holy Spirit and the power, joy and happiness of life here on earth.

    I now have closeness to God that very few Baptist Church members experience.—it includes happiness, joy, Gods protection, Gods healing, and an intimate desire to serve and obey God. I go to church to fellowship with God and other believers who are happy and excited to be living a life in fellowship with God.

    The living by faith movement is much more involved than what you gleam from watching a few minutes of a TV preacher and then drawing a conclusion.

  13. They also strengthen the hands of evildoers,
    So that no one turns back from his wickedness.
    All of them are like Sodom to Me,
    And her inhabitants like Gomorrah. Jer 23:14

    “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you.
    They make you worthless;
    They speak a vision of their own heart,
    Not from the mouth of the Lord. Jer:16

  14. She’s talking about “Obeying God” and “doing good.” That would have to include being selfless. In essence she is saying being selfless and fulfilling the scripture is ultimately beneficial to you. She is therefore theologically sound. It only works if you are a big picture thinker. You have to think of your benefit as being “not of this world” or “eternal.” Sounds kind of Christian doesn’t it? You may lose it all in this life but ultimately you gain everything. I don’t know for sure if this woman really was coming from that point of view.

    • She said we don’t obey or worship for God, we do it for ourselves. Had she said that obeying God was just as much for ourselves as it was for God, that would have been different although still heretical in my view. Also it is entirely inconsistent to promote a selfless life philosophy by baiting it with an “it’s all for you” mentality. Appreciate your thoughts

  15. 2John7-11 7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist. 8Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. 9 Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; 11for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.

    The Osteen’s don’t follow nor espouse the teachings of Christ. They’re taking their 43,000 member flock down the “road to perdition”.

    Rev.22-12 12“Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”*

    Recompense in this Scripture is either reward for good deeds or repayment for bad. The Osteen’s aren’t doing good deeds in the eyes of the Lord.

    • Osteen believes that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. So according to that verse he is not a deceiver. So what makes you think he is a deceiver? Also how you are so sure that you are not one?

      I know your problem is Calvinism gave you few verses and told you to fit them as you like. All you are required is to fit them doesn’t matter if they fit somewhere or not.

    • Joel Osteen is on the record saying “I think there’s a group that says, ‘Well, to be a Christian, to be a real believer, you’ve got to be poor, you’ve got to be humble.’ I don’t see that. I think we should be leaders in our community; we should be able to bless others,” Joel disputing God’s desire for humility is deceptive. Joel and Victoria equating wealth to blessings is heresy. Joel and Victoria representing themselves as pastors is apostasy. The “reward” that God refers to throughout the Bible is eternal life. Hebrews 13:5-8 is very clear and I didn’t “cherry pick it”.

      5Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.”

      6Thus we may say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper, [and] I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

      7Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

      8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

  16. Thank you for saying what needed to be said, Tim. I know you are taking a lot of heat on this, but I’m sure you know it is better to please God than man. It is very obvious what she said is totally contrary to the word of God. Now the question is – Are people going to bow their knee to the word of God? Or to man? Or in this case, woman?

    • Hi Jim,
      Thanks for the encouragement. I really appreciate it. Your reminder is spot on—it is better to please God than man, which seems to be the exact opposite of what Mrs. Osteen said in the video.

      • Be encouraged Tim. What you said is 100% accurate. Don’t lose heart, we are to take up our cross and follow Christ daily. Our lives are no longer ours but it belongs to him. We exist to worship him and give him glory. May he continue to work and use you for HIS GLORY and not ours.

  17. The Osteen’s have long peddled this heresy of self-love to an American church that is so Laodicean they cannot discern the truth from lies.

    I heartily recommend the book “Hard to Follow ” by John MacArthur at Amazon.com for an exposition of what it means to be a true disciple of the Lord-and it is not-not-about self.

    “If any man will come after me-LET HIM DENY HIMSELF DAILY-PICK UP HIS CROSS AND FOLLOW ME.”
    The Gospel of Luke

    • It is a must that you know God as rewarder. If you are one of those who think denying yourself means to deprive you of reward God gives then you are mistaken. If you think denying yourself means to torture yourself by depriving yourself of material, physical or spiritual blessings God gives you then you are mistaken again.

      Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

  18. My remarks were in response to: “The Osteen’s practice what’s known as Prosperity Theology. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/joel.osteen.denies.being.a.prosperity.preacher/37832.htm Joel Osteen is on the record saying “I think there’s a group that says, ‘Well, to be a Christian, to be a real believer, you’ve got to be poor, you’ve got to be humble.’ I don’t see that. I think we should be leaders in our community; we should be able to bless others,”

    I don’t think I missed anything.

  19. James 4:11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

    1 Timothy 2 King James Version (KJV)2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
    pray, pray, pray instead of post, post, post…bring your request know to God and the peace of God that passeth all undertanding will guard your hearts and mind. I will continut lifting those in authority.

    • He saw something contrary to the Word and contested it, lest someone be led astray. He didn’t speak evil of her, only rebutted what she taught. If you truly believe he should pray and not post whenever there is misleading teaching, why did you yourself post? We can’t be “salt and light” hidden away in a closet somewhere. We pray always AND speak the truth when called to.

      • It was in reply to Gary Miller’s remarks about Victoria making those comments in order to justify their lifestyle. I thought I had replied directly to his thread.

        I had no intentions of participating further in this blog, but I received an email with his post and was taken aback that now someone can read her mind. If her motivation was self – serving, only she and God know for certain. This goes back to my earlier post about making assumptions. Gary’s post was a perfect example.

        Having said that, I’m truly sorry I ever joined this conversation to begin with. I don’t expect anyone to share my perspective, but I quite honestly can’t fathom some of what I’ve read. My best to all. I’m out.

        • There’s no need to know how to “read someone’s mind” when there are many examples of where she and Joel stand on the scripture…and very few of their views have anything to do with biblical teachings. You don’t have to speak out on blasphemy if you choose not to but it’s not up to you if others feel convicted to correct false teachings. Christians and non Christians are led astray every single day because of incorrect, distortions made in the name of Christ. I think you probably know what God said about these people and their false teachings. Allowing others to speak the truth according to the bible is not only wise but it’s likely going to teach many who are told by deceitful false teachers that they should listen to the world instead of Christ. You would do well to stop condemning people who were in no way insulting Mrs. Osteen but instead pointing out her false teachings.

  20. You quoted “deny yourself” and “love your God with all your heart” verses. From your article it looks you mean by deny yourself is to get rid of material things or do not get anything for yourself.

    Let me ask you a simple question. Do you buy cloths for yourself? Do you provide a car for yourself? Do you provide a house for yourself? Do you come to Jesus for salvation for yourself? Do you ever pray to Jesus to heal you or to grant you something for yourself? If answer for any of it is “Yes” then you need to follow your article first yourself then teach anybody else.

    You have a blog, you have a computer, you have a internet connection that suggests to me that you are not denying yourself as you have said in your article. Denying yourself in material sense is not Biblical, it is coming from Hinduism where people get rid of all material things, go to caves and torture their bodies to obtain moksh(salvation). Biblical denying oneself is to get rid of spiritual evil, and has nothing to do with material.

    • Vinod,
      Never once did I imply that “deny yourself” means to get rid of all material things or that it means that you can’t get things for yourself. The point of my blog post was that we need to focus our attention on Jesus Christ rather than on ourselves. Jesus made it very clear in several places that we are to love God first and foremost. Part of denying myself is to lay aside things that get in the way of living fully for Him.

      • When you said “not so we could go around chasing after all the things we think will make us happy” and you don’t deny that you chase after cloths for yourself, car for yourself, house for yourself. Looks like you want others to do things that you are not doing yourself. Out of 24hours in a day, how much time do you chase after theses things and how much time do you do something to get away from your sins? I am sure you don’t spend 24hrs thinking about getting away from your sins, do you?

        From what Victorica Osteen is saying, there is nothing in there that would suggest don’t love God or love yourself more than God. I get from what she said is that God delights in our joy and that God doesn’t want that we be beaten down, depressed etc. So she is basically saying don’t beat yourself down.

        • Vinod,
          Where in the video did Mrs. Osteen say anything about our necessities: clothes, house, car, etc.? You are making huge leaps in logic here. She specifically said that the motive we should have for doing good, for obeying God, and for going to church is to do these things for ourselves, and not for God. That is what is problematic. My post never said that a person shouldn’t have the basic necessities nor did I say that it was wrong to have nice things. You are reading your own thoughts way too much into something in an effort to criticize me. Am I perfect in relation to material belongings? No. Did I criticize her in that area? No.
          I’m curious if you would have the same message for Job or for any of the martyrs mentioned at the end of Hebrews 11. Would you tell them that God doesn’t want them beaten down and depressed and that God delights in their joy? Technically, Mrs. Osteen didn’t say anything about our joy (she used joy in reference to God). She spoke about human happiness, which is different than joy.

          • The Osteen’s practice what’s known as Prosperity Theology. http://www.christiantoday.com/article/joel.osteen.denies.being.a.prosperity.preacher/37832.htm Joel Osteen is on the record saying “I think there’s a group that says, ‘Well, to be a Christian, to be a real believer, you’ve got to be poor, you’ve got to be humble.’ I don’t see that. I think we should be leaders in our community; we should be able to bless others,”

            Joel equates “blessings” to wealth kinda like a “pyramid scheme” and as such he streams about 40,000 through Lakewood each Sunday who think they’re going to hit the powerball lotto after the service.

            Joel or Victoria very seldom quote Scripture. Joel says its “not his gift”… Nor is reading the Bible. Evidently they have never read:

            Mt.6:24 God and Money. “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

            Mt.19:20-21 The Rich Young Man. The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

            Lk.14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

            These are 2 very misguided and misleading people. The Osteen’s are not pastors rather motivational speakers who are bilking the IRS out of millions with their 501C3 exemption.

            Victoria’s remark was very self serving in that by trying to convince her audience that “God only cares about our happiness” is to justify their way of life.

            Heb.13:5-8 5Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.” 6Thus we may say with confidence: “The Lord is my helper, [and] I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” 7Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

          • Gary, you missed

            Mat 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

            Rich young ruler was not saved and was not after God. Also do you think he would have been saved by selling his stuff and giving to poor? I don’t think so. Jesus said to him to follow Jesus that is what he refused and lost his chance to get saved.

            in Luke 14:11 you have it there he who humbles himself is exalted. Doesn’t say he will be made poor.

            Heb 13:5-8 is about love of money and yes love of money is root cause of evil. Money is not evil, love of money is evil.

            Tim was talking about Job. If you look closely in Job’s life God gave him lots of money. Devil didn’t like it so he asked for permission to destroy his wealth. After devil destroyed wealth and still could not shake his faith, Job got double money and guess what who gave the money? God gave it. Devil destroyed his wealth and God gave it back. So let’s not exalt what devil does.

            • Vinod,
              Do you truly believe that all faithful Christians will be blessed financially? If you really think Christianity is about God blessing you with health and wealth in the here and now, I feel very sorry for you. Have you read the end of Hebrews 11?

              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)

              These were people in the Faith Hall of Fame. Being sawn in two is the opposite of health, and being destitute is the opposite of wealth. Does God bless some believers with wealth? Yes He does. Does God have to do that? Absolutely not. Does He promise to do that? Never. If you truly believe that, then what happens to your faith in Him when the money runs out or your health takes a turn for the worse? Is your faith shaken, or worse, do you doubt God for not providing what you thought He promised?
              Christianity is not about health or prosperity in this life. It’s true that we have the best retirement plan, but the Bible never promises us health and wealth. That is worldly thinking and is contrary to Scripture.

          • BTW, you are not being stoned or sawn in two, are you? Look at the list of people who went through stoning, sawn in two and so on. Who did that to them? God didn’t do it. Read Mat 5:11-12 again Jesus is very clear it is “they” who revile and persecute. Who are “they” they say all kinds of evil and that means they are evil. Not only they are evil they spread falsely about believers. So definitely persecution is not coming from God because God is not evil and God doesn’t spread falsehood.

            Mat 5:11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
            Mat 5:12 “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

            So again when you highlight those persecution as coming from God, you are glorifying devil.

            Did God promise wealth and health? Yes He did. Mat 6:33 is one of them.
            Mat 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

            Deu 29:9 says exactly the same thing.
            Deu 29:9 “Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.

            • Vinod,
              In your rush to turn Scripture to say what you want, you have completely overlooked the main issue here. The point isn’t who is doing the persecution in these cases. What matters is that genuine believers are often persecuted. This goes directly against your unbiblical theology.
              You keep twisting my words, which is dishonest. I did not say that the persecution comes from God. I said that the Bible tells us that faithful people will be persecuted. I would urge you to actually read the Bible in its context. Look at the following passages for yourself and read the context around them.
              Paul told Timothy, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). After Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, the Lord told Ananias to go to Paul because “he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15–16).
              Paul wrote 13 books of the New Testament and was incredibly faithful in his walk with the Lord, yet he was constantly being persecuted, beaten, imprisoned, and eventually he was martyred. God did not promise him earthly health and wealth.
              Paul told the Colossians, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1).
              Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19–21).
              Paul wasn’t the only one to be persecuted. The rest of the disciples were as well. Many, if not all, of the prophets in the Old Testament were also persecuted. Reducing Christianity to some idea that God will make you healthy and wealthy is blasphemy. It turns the Creator of the universe into a genie in the lamp who must do whatever you want Him to do. That is heresy.

          • That is exactly the problem, you keep changing your position. First you wrote in the blog, “not so we could go around chasing after all the things we think will make us happy”. A clear reference to by deny yourself you meant of denying material things. When I pointed out you changed your position and said, “Never once did I imply that “deny yourself” means to get rid of all material things.”

            Now I pointed out your attempt to say persecution is from God and you deny it again.

            I giving below what you wrote. Clearly indicates that you mean God doesn’t promise wealth and health, instead opposite of it. If you don’t mean that then write clearly “devil takes away your wealth and health, what will you do”.

            ——-
            These were people in the Faith Hall of Fame. Being sawn in two is the opposite of health, and being destitute is the opposite of wealth. Does God bless some believers with wealth? Yes He does. Does God have to do that? Absolutely not. Does He promise to do that? Never. If you truly believe that, then what happens to your faith in Him when the money runs out or your health takes a turn for the worse? Is your faith shaken, or worse, do you doubt God for not providing what you thought He promised?
            ——-

            On the other hand, I know persecution comes, because devil doesn’t like people doing ministry. The more they are successful, devil is that much mad. That is the reason you felt an urge to write against Victoria Osteen, instead of spreading the gospel. I will concentrate on goodness of God instead of concentrating on persecution. If persecution comes, God will give strength to face it, I don’t have to worry about it. Been through persecution few times and I know what it is. I also know God I serve is greater than any persecution.

            • Vinod,
              While I disagree with your overall position, I believe there is another problem here that needs to be addressed. You continually misunderstand some very basic statements and read into them things that just aren’t there. So I think we have a basic communication problem that is causing some of the issues. Please forgive me if I’m wrong, but it seems as if English is not your first language and you struggle to understand the nuances of the language. As such, there’s probably no need to continue debating these points. Each of your comments directed at me have been full of these misunderstandings. I haven’t changed my position at all on any of these statements, and I think most people reading these posts will see that.
              For example, in the quote you gave from my earlier post, it clearly doesn’t say what you think it does. It’s very clear. Sometimes God blesses people with wealth. Sometimes He doesn’t. He is not obligated to do either one, and He never promises health and wealth for Christians. One of my concerns for people who hold your view is that I wonder what happens to your faith when difficult times come, because they will come. I agree with you that God can give you the strength to face persecution, and He is greater than any persecution. That’s the correct answer. My point to you has been that God allows us to go through those trials. It doesn’t mean that He is the one doing it to us. It also doesn’t mean that the devil is the one doing it to us. Sometimes, our troubles are due to our own poor decisions (like if I am badly injured in a car accident that I caused by driving too fast). Sometimes, they are due to the other people doing the persecuting and the devil may not have anything to do with it (at least not directly). The devil is not omnipresent (everywhere at once), so he is not the cause of all the evils in this world. People do enough sinning on their own without being tempted by Satan to do them (James 1:14–15).
              Finally, you accused me of writing against Mrs. Osteen because the devil is mad at her for her ministry, and you implied that I am being used by the devil to attack her instead of using my time to share the gospel. Actually, the post is there for anyone to read, and it quite clearly conveys the gospel message: Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins and rose from the dead so that we could be saved from our sins. My post was not about attacking Mrs. Osteen but focused on her words.

  21. Tim,

    I agree with pretty much everything you wrote…however I do have a question

    Why did you find it necessary to add the Cosby clip in at the end? Or if you didn’t add it, why did you feel the need to share a clip that had that added in, when there are clips without it?

    Second question, which is also in regard to that Cosby clip…why did you find it necessary to say you agree with what the Cosby clip said?

    The reason why I am curious, is cause it came off as mean and un-Christian like…and definitely left a sour taste in my mouth.

    See from my understanding is we are to spread the gospel with Love…and while I agreed with everything you wrote, I felt the dig was unnecessary and didn’t add anything to your point…in my view it took away from the purpose of the article.

    We may have different definitions of Love, but even with that being potentially the case, I don’t see how you could justify the digs being representative of the Love we are to show.

    I truly hope these words I wrote are received with the intentions that I have intended them to be…non-judgmental and purely just a curiosity from a young Christian.

    God Bless,

    Charles

    • Hi Charles,
      The clip with the Bill Cosby comment was my introduction to what Mrs. Osteen had said. Someone had posted it on Facebook and I watched it, which led to this blog post. At the time I wrote this post, I wasn’t aware of another clip out there without the Cosby comment (although I’ve recently seen another one with a different ending).
      I understand that the Cosby clip could come across as demeaning or in the wrong spirit. I thought about clarifying my comment further. What she said wasn’t really the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life, but in my view, it was a very absurd thing to say. I thought that Cosby’s comment captured that. Since this post has already been shared and viewed many thousands of times, I don’t want to change it (since it may come across as deceptive), but I’ll think about possibly adding a note to that section to address this. Thanks for your thoughts.
      [Update: I have added a couple of comments, one before and one after the video, to address these concerns. Thanks Charles.]

  22. I’m curious to see the entire speech instead of 40 seconds. Anyone who has watched the Osteens 60 minute television show knows Victoria Osteen gets 3-5 minutes each televised service. People are doing a great disservice not to air the entire clip or make available the entire transcript.

    The response to Victoria’s Osteen’s comments exposes the hypocrisy in christianity. Nearly everything people do in christianity is done with an ulterior motive. Jesus save me so I don’t go to Hell. Elders, anoint me with oil so I can be healed. I give to expect a blessing. Worship doesn’t change God because He never changes. Worship changes us for the better.

    Victoria Osteen may not have articulated the point as well as a theologian, but she was correct. God is okay with us being happy. We shouldn’t have to feel guilty about feeling happy when we worship God.

    • TV, I would like to see the entire segment as well, and I opened my post with the possibility of us not understanding the context. I find it interesting that you are willing to demean nearly every single Christian by saying we do “nearly everything” with an ulterior motive. I won’t claim that I always have perfect motives, but I wouldn’t make such a vast accusation against fellow believers.
      And yet while you are willing to call others hypocrites and criticize them for their motives (which you can’t possibly know in many cases), you are more than willing to defend Mrs. Osteen, whose words were simply unbiblical. Why is that? Her point was not that God was okay with us being happy, as you stated. She said that you should do these things (obedience, doing good, going to church) for ourselves, and not for God. That is absolutely contrary to Scripture.

      • The motive in Christianity is to serve God and to do your best to have Faith, perform good deeds and repentance for your sins.

        Jesus said in John 12, 44 Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, 45 and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. 46 I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. 48 Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, 49 because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

        God says; Rev.22:12 “Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

        The motivation is salvation.

      • You have split done what many others have just to start drama and taken what she had to say and tried to make her look like a selfish. Money hungry pig! She was saying worship God because it makes you feel good and if you think for a second you would worship god and the result was you feeling like crap you wouldn’t worship him! If you left church every Sunday and you felt like crap you wouldn’t go back. Anyone can turn scripture into what they want it to say! Your wrong to think her comment is unbiblical! God said to worship him and in return you’ll receive happiness and joy! People like you un nerve me.

  23. Tim –

    There was no an option to reply to your last post to me – but I want to respond, and then I’m going to move on. [NOTE FROM TIM: HERE’S THE LINK TO THE PREVIOUS COMMENT—http://midwestapologetics.org/blog/?p=1308&cpage=1#comment-94642]. We could go back and forth about this all day, and it was certainly not my intent to start an argument. However, I do feel that you are splitting hairs about the remarks I made.

    You stated that Victoria’s comments were “false teachings”, which implies “false prophet” which in turn implies “evil”. That was my interpretation of your words, but forgive me if I misunderstood. I have seen her called a false prophet in other articles outside of this blog, so that probably was a factor in my commentary as well.

    I think the word “interpretation” is extremely relevant to this entire discussion, though, because religion is very much interpretation in every sense of the word. I don’t claim to be as expert on scripture as you are – but I do know that 5 different people could read a line of scripture and interpret it 5 different ways. Since none of us knows what her intent was, we are left to assume and interpret her words as well…and what has disturbed me is that so many people have been quick to assume/interpret the worst.

    I also wasn’t critiquing you or anyone else, nor do I think you need prayers to change your thinking. My whole point was that people should not so hastily assume that the Osteens need prayers, either. I am definitely not being judgmental of anyone, nor am I being hypocritical. God blessed us all with a brain, and I merely meant that we have a right to think for and decide for ourselves what we do or don’t believe. If others don’t share our beliefs, that’s fine – but if someone offends our beliefs, it doesn’t automatically make them the bad guy. That’s why I made the “holier than thou” remark, because the Osteens are indeed criticized for using what some so-called Christians consider to be unconventional methods of reaching people. It frustrates me that such a huge mountain has been made out of a molehill, which is why I chose to respond when I read your blog.

    Just wanted to clarify, and this will be the last of my commentary on this subject.

    Best regards,
    Kristi

  24. A lot of these comments are pretty frustrating. The bible is perfectly clear; and because of that the things Victoria said are totally contradictory to it’s message. It is not “judging” to call her out on it, AT ALL! Isn’t that a fellow believer’s job? To hold others accountable for their words and actions? To take them aside and say,”Hey sister, you’ve got this one wrong. Let’s take a look at the scriptures and do a study on it.”

    • When we turn away from our sins, we do it in obedience to God but it turns to be for our good at the end. If God wants us to be pure, saved, healed, delivered,transformed…it is not for his own good but for our own good!I am reminded that he SO LOVED THE WORLD that he gave his son, and he didn’t do it for himself HE DID IT TO SAVE ANYONE WHO WOULD BELIEVE IN HIM! don’t be hipocrits trying to persuade yourself and people that you obey God just to obey him! as if you don’t need anything from him or He ‘s a selfish God! you obey him cause you know at the end it will work for your own good! that’s why you forsook your old life and even forsook friends and relatives who where of bad influence!You did it because you didn’t want to loose your soul! Or do you think God would loose his glory if you didn’t obey him?? I wonder how you guys praise him, do say “thank you Lord for what you’ve done for your yoursel, and who you are to yourself?”

      • Togbe,
        I believe you’re missing the point in what she said and/or the point of what the New Testament tells us several times. According to the clip with Mrs. Osteen, she said that we are supposed to do these things for ourselves (going to church, obeying God, and doing good). That should be our motive according to Mrs. Osteen—do the things that make us happy. According to the Bible, our motive should be to glorify God in everything we do. Sometimes this will result in happiness, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it leads to martyrdom. I wonder how Mrs. Osteen would feel about a case where someone does God’s will and ends up as a martyr who is tortured for months before being executed, leaving behind a wife and children. Would that be done for their own happiness? Of course not. But it would be done to glorify God, and that’s what Scripture commands.

  25. The most clever trick of the enemy is to ACCUSE others of judging situations or people unfairly. Discernment is an act of judging and of weighing truth against error. Without it we are merely sheep lining up for the slaughter. The scripture that says “judge not lest ye be judged” has to do with being critical and self righteous. Is it self righteous to care that others are being led astray? I’d rather die and have to account for judging false teaching than to account for standing idly by as thousands were misled. Just saying.

    • The Osteen’s rejected Christ a long time ago with their behavior.

      Jesus said in John 12:44-50: 44 Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, 45 and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. 46 I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. 47 And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. 48 Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, 49 because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

  26. Totally agree. There’s a fine line between exposing heresy and defaming someone’s name or tearing them down publicly. I feel strongly that the teaching of the Osteen’s has, for many years, led people astray and to faulty, anti biblical thinking. This post is excellent and exposes without a mean spirited attempt to rip them apart. Thank you for that.

  27. Judge not lest ye be judged. It is not anyone’s place to judge the Osteens. I’m not a big fan of Victoria’s, but it sickens me to hear so many “holier than thou” people casting verbal stones at her and most likely completely overreacting to her comments. Good grief! This is why my relationship with God is personal and why I (like so many people I know) no longer enjoy going to church. If you don’t agree with her, don’t listen to her…but unless you know for certain what exactly she meant, these critical comments I’ve read are just as wrong as what she’s being accused of.

    • Kristi,
      While I agree that Christians are often over-zealous in their rush to judgment of certain people, I haven’t really seen that in the comments on this blog post so far. I haven’t seen personal attacks on the Osteens. Instead, I’ve seen people comment on their teachings and the need for those to be critiqued.
      I wonder if you realize that in the very same chapter where you find “Judge not lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1) you’ll find Jesus warning people to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15). How can you spot a false teacher (wolf in sheep’s clothing) unless you make judgments about whether their teachings are right? Also, throughout Scripture you’ll find teachings that inform us to be on guard against false teaching and to warn others about it.
      I would agree with you that the critical comments can be just as wrong as her words if they are spoken out of bitterness, selfishness, etc. rather than out of a sincere desire for upholding the truth of God’s Word.

      • This comment to Tim…Thank you for that well stated reply to Kristi. There was no mudslinging toward the Osteens, only genuine concern and request for Christians to pray for them that they may focus their sights on bringing souls to Jesus, not to making everyone “feel good about themselves”. God bless you for your testimony.

        • I respectfully disagree. To accuse someone of heresy is most certainly judging. It would also fall into the classification of mudslinging when that person is a preacher being called a false prophet. She’s a human being who isn’t perfect, as none of us are – but just because the Osteens don’t preach the way others think they should doesn’t make them evil. It’s not our job to critique them. We have the option to not listen to them, which perhaps should be exercised by some who have posted on this blog. It’s also presumptuous to say they need your prayers to change their methods to what you deem acceptable in the eyes of God. Perhaps you need their prayers to be more open minded. Just saying. 😉

          • Kristi,
            Thanks for keeping it civil in your disagreement. Too many Christians neglect to do that, and I appreciate that you maintain civility even though we have different views on this issue.
            With that being said, I would invite you to read my response to Ralph in the comments where he asked me to discuss whether one can teach heresy without being a heretic. The words “false prophet” have not appeared in my post or in any of the comments to this point, so you are putting words in my mouth (keyboard?) or in that of someone else. I did not call her evil, either, so once again, you are putting words in my mouth. In fact, “evil” has not appeared in this blog or in the comments to this point (except in the word “devil’s” when someone stated they were going to play “devil’s advocate”).
            My critique has been of her message in the video. I have not called her names, but I have called her teachings false and erroneous. But here are two sincere questions for you. You have twice now critiqued me and/or others on this blog while saying it’s not our job to critique people who don’t preach the same way we think they should. So why are you critiquing me and/or others? You also stated that it’s presumptuous for me to say the Osteens need our prayers to change methods I deem unacceptable and then suggest that I need their prayers to change my view. Why the double standard? Why is it okay for you to critique me when we shouldn’t be critiquing (in your view), and why is it okay to say that I need their prayers to change my thinking when you say it’s presumptuous to think we should pray for someone to change their view?
            I don’t doubt your sincerity here at all, but you’ve contradicted yourself multiple times by making hypocritical statements. I know “hypocritical” can sound like a harsh and derogatory term here, but I’m using it in the plain sense of someone who does the very thing they tell others not to do. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that you don’t intend to do that, but you also did it in your first post by stating “Judge not lest ye be judged” while at the same time you were judging others of having a “holier than thou” attitude.

          • her·e·sy- belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine.
            synonyms: dissension, dissent, nonconformity, heterodoxy, unorthodoxy, apostasy, blasphemy, freethinking;

            Apostasy – a total desertion of or departure from one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc.

            Tim used heresy. I used apostasy. They’re both good descriptors.

            1Tim3:1-5 The Dangers of the Last Days. 1 But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. 2 People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, 3 callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them.

            St. John’s description of the City of Babylon in Revelation Ch.17 is a good fit to Houston, TX. Things are starting to fit together.

            The Osteen’s claim to be have to largest congregation in the U.S. at 43,000.

    • I know 2 very credible families who each have been around Joel and Victoria, boarding planes, one time the Olsteens were asked to leave the plane, which they did, because Victoria was being rude and argumentative with the flight attendent, Joel was visably humble and embarrassed, on both occasions. On the other occasion, Victoria screamed at the flight attendant “do you know who I am?”…at which the flight attendant said, “no, and I don’t care, you have to sit down and stop being disruptive”

  28. in short, its clearly not biblical, but i think it doesn’t qualify as heresy. heresy is an idea that is against one of the most fundamental aspects of among many aspects of Scripture. saying Jesus was not God is heresy. saying if you are happy then God is happy is false teaching, but not heresy.

  29. Thank you so much for this article! I believe those who claim the name of Christ ought to be held accountable when the things we say contradict his word! I saw this video this morning, and I have been thinking about it on and off all day because it bothered me so much! So important that we constantly check the things that preachers and teachers say against the standard of scripture. Thank you for shedding light on this false teaching!

  30. First how fair is it to assume and comment on something that you haven’t even taken the time to read? Second we are to love one another and leave the judging to our one and only Lord and savior. Third how fair is it to only pick out one portion of what she is saying, are there not enough terrible things going on in the world that you need to discredit people that have saved millions of lives with their missions work. They preach that that Jesus died for our sins and the only way to the Lord is through Him and confession of our sins. Is this wrong also?

    • The New Testament is full of instances where false teaching is warned about. Paul did it often. We are to expose it and correct it. That’s not judging in the context you are referring to. We are called to discern. Read the book of Jude.

    • Hi Michelle,
      First, I didn’t comment on her book. Instead, I critiqued her comments from the video. Second, I didn’t judge Mrs. Osteen. I pointed out the error in her comments and asked people to pray for her, her husband, those that listen to them, and for me, because I am also a sinner. I wonder though, why do you feel it is okay to judge me if we’re supposed to leave that to our Lord and Savior? Third, if you have the full context of this video and can show me where she really didn’t mean what she said, then please show me and I’ll be happy to write a correction.
      Heresy is no small matter, no matter who promotes it. Telling people to live for self rather than God is false teaching and directly opposed to Scripture. I’m glad they preach that Jesus died for our sins. The Apostle Peter taught that too, but Paul still publicly confronted him when he was in error.

  31. We have to stop giving this kind of thing the benefit of the doubt. They have been in celebrity status and writing books long enough for us to know where they stand. What they say is what they mean and they mean what they say. Christians need to regain their backbones and not be afraid to call a spade a spade when Scripture is our proof. What are we afraid of? Have ungodly people really caused us to shy away from our convictions, from Truth, from being Christ’s ambassadors? There are way too many open doors and open microphones and open pulpits for false teaching in our world. Thank you for using your open door to speak truth into this situation.

  32. Those who live in glass houses should be more careful about casting stones! We should not be a stumbling block to our Lord Jesus. You don’t know,Gods Spirit may have given Victoria this approch to reach those who are struggling with their walk. We need to be very careful how we criticize others and flaunt our “holier than thou” comments. Its no wonder when non-believers see this kind of behavior from ‘Christians’, they turn away! We will be held accountable!!

    • Thanks for taking the time to read the post and comment. I’m glad I don’t live in a glass house. 🙂
      I agree that we shouldn’t be a stumbling block in the way of people coming to the Savior. That’s why it’s so important to point out false teaching like this. It’s a way of removing a stumbling block that Mrs. Osteen has placed out there. There was no “holier than thou” in my remarks, and I agree that we need to be careful in how we criticize others. If you paid close attention, you’ll see that I criticized her words, not Mrs. Osteen.
      I wonder though, were you careful in how you criticized me (or the others who commented on this post, if that’s where your comments were directed)? Were you casting stones?

      • Tim. Have you ever said something up front and it just came out wrong …..u were tired, it wasnt framed the best? I believe what was said by Victoria was to indicate that GOD is a big boy and it isn’t soley for him that we practice obedience …..but rather we are the direct recipient of faithfulness….. in this life and beyond. There is much truth that God is overjoyed when we honor Him and that we come to church to Honor Him but also to benefit directly from all of the Worship experience. She just didn’t find good wording. And when someone challenges you tearing her down on a small clip out of context I believe you could have shown better respect for those who question your judgement. Osteens have been a powerful ministry that I hold in high regard in saving my marriage and my life from suicide not too many years ago.

        • Rob, I’m glad to hear a positive testimony about their ministry and what it’s meant in your life. I have said something up front that just came out wrong, but I don’t think this can simply be excused as her trying to say something right and it just came out wrong. She spent about 35 seconds trying to make the point and even repeated it. You state that I am taking her clip out of context, so you must know the context of her remarks. Can you please share that with me so that we can get the full picture, and so if I’m in the wrong here I can correct it?
          Perhaps it’s due to the limitations of reading text rather than hearing someone speak, but I’m very sure you have misjudged my tone and motives. How was my response to “Dr J” or to anyone else less than respectful? It seems to me that some people have the idea that it’s okay for them to criticize anyone else, but as soon as someone turns it around on them, then how dare you be critical of someone/something they like.
          Also, you accused me of tearing down Mrs. Osteen, but I don’t think I’ve done that. I tried to focus my comments on critiquing her words. If you can show me where I tore down Mrs. Osteen, then I can correct that as well.

      • It is good to find others that can discern pop psychology when they see it. Your response to Mrs Osteen’s misleading words is right on target. People who do not have The Lord cannot understand what we are talking about and that is based on Scripture as you know. Serving The Lord is not a feel good slap a smile on the face in the midst of trials “thing”. It is extremely serious and real. Thank you for shedding light on yet another diversion!

  33. Love your work, Tim. God’s desire is that we be holy, and Osteen’s perversion of that will lead to a lot of wasted lives. Truly too sad for words.

    A great resource to correct some of their errors might be Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness by the late Jerry Cook. He clarifies the truth at the fundamental level.

    Very best,

    Steve

  34. Mrs. Osteen need to go back and read the Bible; it is not what we can do for our self but what we as Christians can do for God. She is wrong!!! Being a Christians is NOT being self centered.

  35. Ok first off let me say I have never been a fan of the Osteens but I like u have tried to give them the benefit of the doubt. So to play devils advocate here perhaps when she said when u worship God you’re not doing it for him maybe she means God doesn’t NEED us to worship Him. He’s God so He doesn’t need anything from us. He’s perfect just as He is all the time. Maybe she meant that worshipping God is good for us bc it is. It is a way to obey God’s command for us to worship Him and for our own edification. Thoughts?

  36. I’m curious whether you could talk about whether you see a difference between false teachers and a false teaching. I’m not defending what she said. I definitely think that it flies in the face of scripture. However, I’ve heard lots of ministers say things that fly in the face of scripture. I would imagine that most of them got caught up in the moment and never meant to contradict scripture. Now I understand that there are some self serving teachings that come out of that church but I’ve also heard them preach Christ crucified on many occasions. Just curious as to your opinion.

    • Hi Ralph,
      I agree with the gist of what you are saying. There are semantics involved when you start talking about heresy and heretics or false teachings and false teachers. Technically speaking, anyone who teaches heresy is a heretic. But there are several definitions of heresy, so it depends on how the word is being used. Also, does teaching the wrong point about one issue make one a heretic? For example, there are three main views on the Millenium (premillenial, amillennial, and postmillennial). I am an ardent supporter of premillennialism and believe the other two views to be false. Does that mean that I think any of my brothers and sisters in Christ are heretics for teaching what I believe to be false? Or would those who hold to the other views say that about me? I wouldn’t say that about those who disagree on this issue, even though I do believe it is pretty important.
      I would probably disagree in some area(s) with just about every pastor I’ve ever listened to, but I don’t go around labeling them as heretics. I think it is important to be mature enough to recognize that godly men and women can hold different views on certain matters.
      I think in the case of what Mrs. Osteen said on the video she blatantly contradicted some very clear biblical teaching. It’s not as if there’s a long history of Bible-believing Christians that have believed you are supposed go to church for yourself and not for God. Her error is part of a huge problem in the church—the love of self rather than the denial of self.

  37. I think she misspoke. I think I understand what she was trying to say. A lot of people feel self righteous about going to church like they are doing God a favor. In reality they are helping themselves. I can’t believe 25,000 Christians (who share that post) would make fun of a woman of God. I wonder what God thinks of that.

    • I hope she misspoke and will offer an extremely clear correction where she repudiates her teaching of self-love and promotes what Jesus commanded—the denial of self. If she does that, then maybe I’d believe that she misspoke. I don’t think it’s a laughing matter when someone spouts heresy like this, so I hope I don’t make fun of her. But I would ask you what you think God thinks of those like the Osteens who have the opportunity to share the gospel with hundreds of thousands of people on a regular basis but rarely (if ever) warn of the dangers of eternal punishment, the awfulness of sin, and the need to repent.

  38. Tim, I am reminded of Luke 6:45 that says our mouths will speak what is stored up in our hearts. It seems that what we constantly hear from the Osteens is a gospel of self that pours from their mouths on a regular basis. From a Biblical stand point, that would indicate this is not a slip of the tongue.

  39. This thought just came to me as I was reading your post — do you think that this is somehow her twist on John Piper’s “Christian hedonism” (which I don’t necessarily agree with)? Like maybe she read some of his stuff and then this is what came out of her mouth?

    • Hi Stacia,
      I have a tough time thinking that she got any of this from Piper’s “Christian hedonism,” although it does sound like the way she might interpret Piper’s ideas. I haven’t read her book, but I have a strong feeling that her words in the video come right from Love Your Life.
      I’ve often been tempted to give the Osteens the benefit of the doubt as to whether they actually do trust in Christ but are just very distracted. But after this (and some other things), it’s very difficult to believe that any genuine believer could ever say that when you worship God you aren’t doing it for Him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.