John MacArthur on Joel Osteen

John MacArthur lays the smack-down on Joel Osteen’s prosperity gospel

Do you think John MacArthur is correct? Do you believe Joel Osteen preaches a false gospel?

Jared Bartholomew is the author of www.tithing.com. There are over 300 articles written on research and reviews about tithing information.

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28 comments on “John MacArthur on Joel Osteen
  1. freewillgiver says:

    Jon Mac I am sad that he is correct.
    I wish I could trust big name ministries on tv when I did I was happy for a while untill I saw how that blessing seeking pain avioding stuff hurt my family… I still seek earthly blessings but I call it the flesh.
    The first shall be last….However according to preachers like Joel O earthly blessings are a strong sighn of Gods favor. Jesus became poor to make us rich in heavenly blessings. Though he were a son yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.

    Jesus promised persicution and told us the world would hate us but to love our enemies. Loving enimies tells us we will have enimies, Turn the other cheek sounds nothing like earthly blessings…

    These big name preachers who expect money tithes are at the top of a pawnsy scheme even if they are well meaning which I am sure many are. They still offer hope to get out of sufferings, earthly happyness and Gods blessings if a Christian follows some xyz 123 step formula. Martin Luther in his 95 thesis dealt with the same kind of false doctrines saying God will do this if you pay for indulgences to the wealthy powerful Roman Catholic Church.
    Joel O fans need to understand God wants heavenly blessings in Jesus. Joel O and many others speak of Blessing pricipals which tend to protect us on earth. Earthly comfort pricipals are pure hogwash..
    The pricipals did not work for the Jews who were constantly in jeapardy, Jesus, the diciples, the early Church in rome, the persicuted who spoke against the Roman Catholic church and the Christian African slaves. What about all the dead and jailed missionaries? Here is a pricipal Jesus uses the cross to bring us close to him. Jesus wants to destroy the flesh or strong desires for worldly stuff.

    God makes no deals exept to give us more of himself. Jesus is not under contract to give us happy marriages, health or wealth. The best Christians lose so much but they gain love for Jesus. Jerimiah preached an awful message and was persicuted his only gain was God. Hosea had to love his prostitute wife he only gained more love for God. Jesus went to a cross and God wills many Christians to look like utter failures on earth for heavenly rewards. Who do we seek to please ourselves, man or Jesus. God is not a man pleaser but he saves us from our own man pleasing ways in his grace.
    ,The first shall be last
    The last shall be first

    • MARIA says:

      WELL ALL I KNOW IS THE BIBLE SAYS THAT WE BITE AND DEVOUR ONE ANOTHER BEWARE WHO YOU ARE FOLLOW IN STEAD OF THE LIVING GOD STUDY THE WORK AND DON’T BE SO QUICK TO MAKE STATMENTS ABOUT THE BRETHERN BEFORE YOU KNOW THAT THE SPIRIT OF GOD HAS REVEALED THINGS TO YOU OUT OF HIS WORD AND HIS WORD WILL NOT COME BACK VOID LOVE ONE ANOTHER

  2. We would probably be disinclined to drink the kool-aid of either promoter and are naturally suspicious of those who insinuate their kool-aid is better by disparaging their competitor. Not very classy or convincing in our opinion.

    • This isn’t about “Koolaid” or “Competition, or someone’s “brand” of Christianity,Steven and Debra, it’s about the correct context of the Scripture. Scripture is a verifiable and understandable document if you do your homework. I don’t agree with everything John Macarthur says but he does an excellent job of keeping God’s word in its original context.

      As for God saying civil government is haughty so why do Christians support it anyway-you are taking original meaning out of context. God is most likely rreferring to Roan or other foreign governments. The support you speak of is Chrostians supporting the foundation of the government-namely God’s Word as is written in the Bible. Study the Bibnle in its context, don’t take a piece of a puzzle and call the whole thing a picture

  3. steven and debra,
    i’m not sure if i’m following you but are you saying your kool-aid is better than theirs?

    - jared

  4. Don in Texas says:

    What makes this really funny is that I met over a dozen members of Grace Community (John MacArthur’s church) at Osteen’s Dodger Stadium event. They car pooled to the event. He can preach against Osteen all he wants but they are going to keep watching Osteen on TV and buying his books. Sorry John.

  5. Jared,

    The point we were attempting to make was that If McArthur has any kool-aid worth selling he would probably be a more convincing salesman by focusing on the merits of his own product rather than the lack of merit in his competitor’s products. McArthur’s disingenuous attack on his competitor didn’t pass the smell test.

    • Randy says:

      Competitor?  Are you kidding?  Johnny Mac isn’t competing with Joel Osteen.  He’s correcting him for the sake of the truth and the body of Christ.  Heck, I’ll say the same and won’t take a dime.  The competition is truth against lie for the sake of Christ.
      Steven and Debra, is the Gospel competing for money or the truth.  Your viewpoint apparently says that true Christianity is about selling something eg: books, videos, tuition.  It is not.  It is about salvation and defending the Good News by which we are saved through faith in, and by grace of Jesus Christ our Lord.
      It is not disingenuous to run a wolf off from the sheep.  That’s the job of a good shepherd.  You clearly either don’t understand or are a member of the pack yourself.
       

      • Randy,
        Please view the clip of Johnny Mac again.  There was nothing but sarcasm and envy spewing forth from his lips that suggests, at least to us, that he fears Osteen’s message and influence could be damaging to his own self interest.  Additionally, the mocking nature of Johnny Mac’s delivery was absent love.  His presentation, in our view, damaged his own credibility far more than he damaged Osteen’s credibility.   
        There are a lot of voices out there all claiming to be good shepherds and exclusive holders and defenders of the truth, but with very different and unique messages.  If one’s message of truth isn’t capable of standing on its own merits but needs to be bolstered by disingenuous attacks on others, might it not be an appropriate time to reassess one’s own juxtaposition to the truth?

        • S & D,

          If you wish to persuade others of your view, then please provide support. Claiming that John Mac is int it for his own self interest, and has no love, and was envious, is slander unless presented with proof.

          • Jared,
            You’re misrepresenting our comments.  There is a big difference between stating, as we did, that John Mac behaved in an envious, sarcastic, mocking, and unloving fashion than making the claim that John Mac is envious, sarcastic, mocking, and absent love.  We made our observations and offered our opinions about John Mac’s behavior…not his character.

  6. The whole salesman, kool-aid, competitor lingo is throwing me off.

  7. Kathy says:

    Did I read that correctly?  John MacArthur is “envious” of Joel Osteen?  That’s patently ridiculous.  John MacArthur is a man of Godly purposes, Joel Osteen can’t even rightly call himself a Christian in my mind.  He misuses scripture, and mischaracterizes God repeatedly.  It’s very sad that so-many Christians can’t even discern the Gospel message from the Prosperity Lie.  Does Osteen really believe that if we deny we are sinful, that somehow his utterance of that false doctrine will make it so? 

    I think John Piper really said it best.  He said “I abominate the prosperity Gospel”.  Good call John and John.

    Christians, open your Bibles.  Follow Paul’s admonition to be a Berean and test everything.  You’ll quickly find that your salvation has not a thing to do with the grandiosity of Joel Osteen, but the truth of scripture in totality.   This is the most serious issue you will EVER deal with.  You dare not get it wrong.  The seven words you never want to hear are “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

    If you want to know what MacArthur believes, check out his website.  There are literally thousands of his sermons, etc.  They are completely free of charge.

  8. Steve says:

    What a pathetic waste of time..will somebody please just preach the gospel?

    • Kathy says:

      Steve, it seems that preaching the gospel is no longer enough for people who really go to church to be entertained.  Just over the last 9 months we have watched a man tell repeated lies and yet, some fairly well known Christians run to protect the liar.  We have Pastors that abuse their flock week over week, trying with all their might to manipulate people to give more money… even stating that if they don’t, God will get it one way or another.  I’ve heard these Pastors call their congregants thieves, driving cars that stolen goods.  Yet, Christians keep going back for more.   It’s easier to let someone else tell them what the Bible says other than actually opening the Bible and reading for themselves.

      I guess the part about “study to show yourself approved” isn’t in vogue any longer.  It’s a very pathetic state of reality. 

      • Jake says:

        Kathy,
        Yes, MacArthur is right in his critique of Osteen.  But, all of this is  just another example of why Protestantism is false and foolish.  After 30 years as a deeply committed neo-evangelica, two masters and doctorate from leading independent seminaries–I joined the Catholic Church.  Protestantism starts from the wrong starting point–scripture.  Further, they then elevate the study of scripture into a form of idolatry.  Scripture is part of Christianity, and it is inerrant and infallible.  But it is not all there is, and, it is not really what Christianity is all about.  Protestantism is so western, so individualistic, so about “your interpretation of the scriptures.”  It’s just radical individualism, and the best studier gets the prize.  That’s just non-sense.  The Catholic Church places the scripture in its proper context, rendering accurate hermeneutics.  John MacArthur’s hermeneutic is just post-modern literalism taken too far.  Eschatological conclusions coming out of the early 20th century bible conference movement/Darbyism is just utter non-sense.  I agree we needed to get back to studying the scriptures, and this produces greater piety, morality, ethical behavior, etc…  But what’s been done in our culture with the bible by well-meaning Protestants is just silly.  Catholic theologians all over the world look at John MacArthur and Joel Osteen and just shrug–they’ve  seen all of this stuff in other forms.  It’s hard for a Protestant to realize the Christianity is not bibliocentric, nor is it even Christocentric.  Christianity–even a personal relationship with Jesus, if you want to cast it into that context–is ecclesiocentric and theocentric, i.e., it’s not centered on the bible and Jesus, but instead on the Church and God.  It’s a bigger contextual reality than myopic, textualistic Protestants can fathom.  John MacArthur is a fine Christian man, and I believe Joel Osteen is also a great Christian, but both of them are just doing it all from the wrong starting point, which leads to the wrong emphases, strange conclusions, arguments, and just confusion for everyone.  Protestantism is just one big, ignorant conflict by well-meaning people who don’t realize they’re too individualistic and essentially disconnected from the wholism that can only be found in the Church.  Good luck.  There won’t be any legitimate conclusions to your views at this time, but just more conflict generating more confusion.

        • Kathy says:

          Jake,

          So sorry it took so long to reply.  Been busy with ‘life’.  Probably better not to go down the RCC path with me.  You’ll never convince me that the RCC is not full of contradictions from almost day 1.  I count 8 popes who deny the sinlessness of Mary, 3 who led lives of complete hypocrisy, even total depravity, and that’s being exceptionally generous.  What would St. Cyprian say to the Pope wanting to extend salvation to Muslims?  Or, what about Benedict even considering that Martin Luther shouldn’t have been excommunicated? 

          No, let’s not go down that path.  Better for each of us to worship the Savior in our own way.

          I pray God’s blessings upon you.

  9. KT says:

    He did sound a bit envious and did nothing to further the gospel himself. I am in no means defending Joel but what purpose did John serve other than to show that he too has to much free time on his hand. To them all, Just preach the gospel!

  10. Alex says:

    I think an overview of scripture is called for at this point. How many times in His earthly ministry do we read that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for “their” wrong interpretation of scripture or even there very fine sounding additions to the scriptures such as there practice of Corban (Mark 7:9-13) where the Pharisees made a tradition by saying that you could ignore your parents if you dedicate your life to God? This practice sounds honouring to God but it goes against the commandment to honour your father and your mother and Jesus said you “nullify the word of God”. Jesus told them flat-out that this was wrong. Also notice v13 where Jesus says “and you do many things like that”.

    Would Jesus receive critisism today for His statements? Would people jump on the band wagon and say that he was unloving? Most likely He would be no more popular today than He was in His day. The people who uncover harm deceit etc. are never popular with those who have been dishonest. However, part of a good pastors job is to shepherd the flock and in the Greek “poimen” is translated as either shepherd or pastor and shepherding is not always filled with immediate gratification.

    I grew up on a farm where we had several hundred sheep so I’m at least qualified to discuss what a literal shepherd does. if I said to the sheep “be safe and have a nice day and I hope you are well fed and prosperous” they would not be any safer from the dogs, wolves and coyotes that regularly preyed upon our sheep; than if I had said nothing. No, the action that was required from me, the shepherd, was vigilence; to ensure that the sheep were safe, because they were unable to protect themselves. If that meant going to the work of putting them in the barn at night when the wolves were more likely to attack, that’s what we did. If it meant going on the attack to rid our area of these pests, that’s what we did. But I guarantee you this; if we took no action the wolves would win the battle. That’s why I think it’s great that people like MacArthur react when the marauders try to attack Christian’s. Certainly Joel O. has a sqeeky clean persona but we also know that Satan is masquerading as an angel of light!

    People who have not looked after sheep that have been killed, maimed, slaughtered by wolves cannot possibly understand the damage that these mauraders can inflict. Drawing on that analogy I can only say that John M. did not appear to malicioucly attack Joel O., he is simply acting as a good shepherd and when the danger is present he takes action to protect the sheep in order to prevent further loss and damage.
     
    In this day and age we are so afraid of speaking the truth in case we offend someone. Where does that come from? Jesus certainly didn’t pull any punches when he was debating with the hypocrites of His day and I thank God that He has been faithful to leave us with men like John MacArthur who are not afraid of speaking the truth; regardless of who it offends.
    Summary:
    1) Jesus took action when confronting error and evil.
    2) Jesus is our Great Shepherd and the analogy of shepherd and pastor come from scripture.
    3) John MacArthur has taken action that is consistent with God’s word.
    4) John MacArthur is a shepherd in his church but also in this day of mass communication he often speaks as a shepherd to many people.

    Final comment: This is not about John MacArthur and Joel Osteen this is about truth or deception, smooth talk or the word of God. Kathy above, calls it right. Open your Bibles and see for yourself if there is truth in what is being preached; anywhere, and remember that Satan used scripture to tempt Jesus in the wilderness with “for it is written…” Matt: 4:6.

    May God bless us all as we seek to understand his truth and will for our lives!

  11. dane says:

    John Mac is correct. It is not a matter of selling kool-aid as the previous blogger suggests. It is a matter of biblical truth versus ERROR. Scripture is very clear as it relates to Jesus and salvation. The people who are following Osteen and really believe what he is teaching have got to be unsaved. I cannot see how you can be saved and indwelt by the holy spirit, and in God’s Word and not see that Osteen’s teaching does not line up with the Bible. It is a perfect example of what the Bible warns us about with regard to false teachers. Do not be bewitched by this “name it and claim it” and “health and weath” nonsense! It is human centered and not God centered. It is based on the vain philosophy of man. Sadly to say I think this is just leading up to the end times.
    Alslo remember “My sheep know my voice and they will not follow another”.

  12. Glen says:

    Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  I know people who have given their heart to Christ because of Joel Olsteen’s preaching.  I am not a follower of John MacArthur (very pious) or Joel Olsteen (bubble gum), but of Jesus Christ (truth) period.  His Word even states that His Word will not come back unfruitful, and the God uses even the bad as a means to His overall good.

    Is it wrong to claim positive scripture in God’s Word, if we are “Delighting” ourselves in the Lord…seeking His will?  Does not God put certain desires in our heart?  Do we have to assume the desire in our heart is from Satan if it’s positive?

    I believe we need to focus on what Jesus stated as the greatest commandment of all, which is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.  And to love your neighbor as yourself.  By tearing people down, especially over a pulpit with an audience that can go worldwide, is not my understanding of “loving your neighbor as yourself”.  Look at the story of the good Samaritan if you don’t think Joel Olsteen or for that matter John MacArthur isn’t your neighbor.

    May the good Lord have mercy on us all for our “PRIDE”.

    • joel says:

      Hi Glen ,
      I wonder if Apostle Paul shares the same view with you according to what he wrote to Timothy in 2 TImothy 6:5-6 AMP,NLT,NKJ versions. Let me be blunt Paul said from those christians or pastors who consider the gospel as a way of getting “RICH” or “PROFIT” even MAKING A LIVING  from preaching the gospel , WITHDRAW FROM THEM !
      I think that is a clear enough warnning for me and if I do not warn my neighbours about these false teachers I am guilty of not loving my neighbour .

    • joel says:

      Sorry Glen , 2 Timothy 6:5-6 AMP, NLT,NKJ versions

    • joel says:

      My Bad , 1 Timothy 6:5-6 AMP,NLT, NKJ

  13. Halsey says:

    Glen -

    In itself, it is not “wrong to claim positive scripture in God’s Word;”  what is wrong is using it to mislead people down this road which leads to… well, the destination at the end of the path of good intentions.

    You said it yourself – the greatest danger is indeed that this false message is coming from “a pulpit with an audience that can go worldwide.”  Let’s not confuse Truth with Popularity.  Popularity and public acclamation does not equal Truth.

    In fact, in the context of the great unseen spiritual battle being waged here on earth, it’s not necessarily essential that the enemy keep people from becoming Christians.  If you can create false, baseless Christians (who themselves don’t even know that they are not really Christians), then even so much the better.  It achieves the same end result.

    Rather a clever “stealth” strategy – these false Christians don’t even know that they are non-believers and so their red flags never go up to alert them.  And so they go, happily, blissfully all the way down the road lined with good intentions.

  14. JoBlow says:

    Johm M doesn`t attack Osteen personnaly he try to opend eyes to Christians to check in the Bible what God teaches us.  I think John M is right he always relate he`s saying to the Bible and can call a sin a sin contrary to Osteen who say it`s not my business to judge bla bla bla… by reminding the people and telling them they are on the wrong path it`s not judging it`s helping and John M is not judging, the Bible do.  What you do with your sin it`s your business but up in heavean God will say you have been warned to deal with with your sin.  Then what God said will happen and John M speak with the word of God from scripture there is 2 choices you will be in heaven or hell.

    Osteen is misleading a lot of people he too will be judge for that read your bible that`s the most important to have a discerning mind. 

  15. Glenn says:

    If this is a rebuke for Joel Osteen, why does he have to do it publicly? It would be respectful between brothers to talk and do the rebuke there. Our passion supercedes our respectful attitude. The trouble with us Christians is we bicker and bite one another for any wrong doctrine coming out publicly. To the world, we humiliate each other and no different from scandals that the non-believers do.

    It is not fair to judge Joel Osteen on the basis of the stereo type Health/Wealth gospel. What I know is that his JOs message has encouraged my life’s perspective. I did not clamour for earthly wealth after hearing his messages for the 100th time but it made it clear who I am in Christ. Yes I felf good about myself and know that I am a victor over everything and at the same time hunger for more of God’s righteousness. Joel openly confesses his weaknesses during his preaching, this assures me that he is not all power and no-problems human/CHristian. What is happening his encouragement made me not give up on my friends / relatives who are not saved. A lot more things I can share but not much time. Hope you guys understand what I am trying to say

  16. David says:

    I fear for my brethren. I’m not a follower of either for obvious reasons.I don’t align myself with prosperity gospel. Happiness is in the Lord not here in the world, they both need to examine themselves. I do believe MacArthur needed to do it personally, publicly, yet he is correct in showing this thing also included in Scripture, called accountability. I don’t like when someone pics and chooses scripture to prove points, so I always point to a particular chapter so it doesn’t get misinterpreted. In this case I will point to the whole New Testament. There is a included case of suffering in every book of the New Testament except 1 Timothy, but he made up for it with 3 cases in 2 Timothy. That is not prosperity.Not even gonna start on prosperity in Old Testament, unless wandering around the desert for 40 years to only see Joshua take your people that have grumbled for those 40 years “called” prosperity. I’ll go as far as next time you decorate a nursery with a Noah’s Ark theme, include all the drowning people and animals along the baseboard. I’ll step on the toes of Joyce Meyer fans when she made the comment in an interview, “I’ve been doing this for 30 years, it’s time to get mine”…Really Joyce. Is that what the Scripture teaches? The scripture is not what we are to relish in, we should do it all in LOVE for our God. No works can save us. No acts can atone us. Only the repenting (turning from our old life), belief that God came to earth in the form of a man, died on a cross, and ascended to Heaven will get us salvation. I’ve spent too much time replying, so to discipling I should go. Godspeed and love to all

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