Joel Osteen

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Osteen preaching the financial benefits of "good hair" at his church in 2016.
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Joel Osteen (1963–) is a false "prophet" and popular evangelical preacher based in Houston, Texas. His Lakewood Church seats over 30,000 congregants and is located in the site of the former Compaq Center, the home of the NBA's Houston Rockets from 1975 to 2003. Millions of people watch Osteen on television on Sunday mornings, and his books are constantly topping the New York Times Bestsellers List.


His "theology" has been described as "cotton candy".[2] In essence, this means that he doesn't delve deep into the bowels of the Scripture; he just skims the surface. Tastes great, but is less filling. Also, he never mentions the negative aspects of Christianity: Hell, eternal damnation, sin, wrath, and the like. He mostly accentuates the positives, i.e. grace, living well, and obedience to God. And, of course, he tells you that God will reward you for your obedience. His approach to religion has, in theological terms, been described as the prosperity gospel.[3]

In his book I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life, Osteen specifically endorsed breaking the Fourth of the Ten Commandments ("Thou shalt not bear false witness") by advocating the "fake it until you make it" aphorism:[4]:117-118

And sometimes you have to do this by faith. You may not feel victorious. It may not look like you’re blessed. But I like that saying, "Youave got to fake it until you make it." By faith you need to walk like a king, talk like a king, think like a king, dress like a king, smile like a king. Don’t go by what you see. Go by what you know.

Osteen says that homosexuality is a sin, but he claims he's "not one of those that are out there to bash homosexuals and tell them that they're terrible people and all of that. I mean, there are other sins in the Bible too".[5]


Joel is, essentially, like other evangelical preachers; seeking money and power. His shows consist of part teaching how to have a good life, and part how to make his life better by convincing people to purchase his books or seeing him in his tours. He had no preaching or theology background before taking the pulpit, but he does have a degree in television production. This has led to his wildly successful yet spiritually hollow and unfulfilling show.

Osteen is married to Victoria Osteen, a co-pastor at his church. They live in a $10.5 million mansion in Houston's affluent River Oaks neighborhood.[6]

Osteen became notorious in the aftermath of 2017's Hurricane Harvey for not assisting flood victims with shelter until the criticism of him became a torrent.[7][8]

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