The Criticism of Joel Osteen

The criticism of Joel Osteen

In 2022, YouTube Christian commentator Mike Winger posted a video about Joel Osteen exposing his misuse of Bible verses 14 out of 15 times in one sermon. However, Osteen had it flagged and removed from YouTube by claiming copyright for Winger’s clips.

Osteen’s strongest critic is apologist John MacArthur, considered by many as the “Charles Spurgeon of the century” for his succinct Biblical exegesis. MacArthur often points out the growing breed of fake Christianity and cheap grace, spreading like gangrene.

He is a pagan religionist a legalist and a quasi pantheist. On the other side of that, MacArthur said that Jesus Christ is a footnote to satisfy his critics thrown in at the end to get people off his back who are irritated by the absence of Christ in his ministry.

The evidence is clear: Osteen never teaches about sin or biblical repentance. Yet, at the end of all his sermons, he invites people to repent of their sins, which he never really discusses. Osteen’s sermons center on Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.

Mark 6:12
So they went out and preached that people should repent.

1. Your Best Life Now

Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now” (2004) is based on the book of Ecclesiastes that uses practical suggestions to help you make better choices and take control of your life. It has sold 8 million copies and inspired people to look to God as a source of blessing.

However, it is misleading. The book promotes the new age philosophy of manifesting and positive thinking, causing its readers to attribute their good fortunes to themselves and their thinking rather than God.

MacArthur describes the book this way: “We save ourselves from all the things we don’t want, all the things that are wrong in our lives, by our own internal divine faith power.”

Osteen explains in the book how we can create, by faith and work, the dreams we dream and our desires. MacArthur points out that wealth, success, and a comfortable life are all temporal things that Jesus never preached.

Matthew 6:32
The idolaters, the gentiles, and pagans, eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them.


2. The Power of I Am

The book “The Power of I Am” (2016) aims to empower readers to accelerate their personal and spiritual growth through a daily commitment to God’s Word. With its promise of a “heart-changing experience” if you read one chapter a day. It follows in the footsteps of Osteen’s prior best sellers, Your Best Life Now and Become a Better You.

The book is dangerous because it teaches positive thinking, self-will, and a “works religion,” which contradicts the teachings of Jesus. Joel Osteen preaches grace plus faith plus action theology, contrary to what the apostles preached.

Walking through the pages of Osteen’s book feels like you’re in an infomercial. Not just because of the repetitious nature of his writing (the word ‘great’ appears 23 times) but because it makes spirituality feel more like consumerism.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For you are saved by grace through faith; this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift — not from works so that no one can boast.


3. Word of Faith theology

It is a theological ideology among the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements, part of the complex art of promoting the prosperity gospels. It has no Biblical basis and does not align with the gospel of Christ. It is based on these three false premises:

  • Everyone has a right to be healed.
  • God wants to give you new things.
  • Bad things happen because of something you did wrong.

Psalm 27:4
One thing I asked of the Lord: that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.


The power, wealth, and glory of Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen is the most visible leader in American Protestantism, with a popular weekly television show that reaches an estimated 7 million people. He has sold over 20 million books and last year had total publishing revenues of more than $42 million.

In 2022, Joel Osteen was the fifth richest pastor in the country after the miracle preachers Chris Oyakkilome, T.D. Jakes, David Oyedepo, and Kenneth Copeland, according to LinkedIn.

The bottom line is that Jesus and the apostles gave up earthly privileges and possessions for what is eternal and cannot be seen. Joel Osteen, along with “superstar pastors,” preaches the opposite.



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