The Day I Quit Listening to Joel Osteen (Part 2)


This post is part of a series about prayer, happiness, and God’s plans for our lives.

Be sure to catch these other posts:

The Day I Quit Listening to Joel Osteen

The Day I Quit Listening to Joel Osteen – Part 2

Does God Want us to be Happy Above All Else?

 


It’s the craziest thing…

When I wrote the first post in this series—The Day I Quit Listening to Joel Osteen–I just shared my story about an unanswered prayer.

The post went crazy!

People responded to the post and shared it with their friends.

I’ve gotten so much feedback (both positive and negative) that I was compelled to write a follow-up piece.

Is the ministry and message of Joel Osteen false or true? Yes, he's a positive inspiration, but is he biblical? Should you believe in and support what he is teaching? Find out why I have stopped listening to him and why you may want to do the same.

You might call this the “theology & reasoning” behind the first post.

Let me clearly state as I begin that I am not against Joel, his church, his family, or his ministry.

I’m so thankful that people find hope, encouragement, and saving faith in Jesus Christ through anyone’s ministry!

I know that many of you love Joel and his ministry. Many of you are blessed and encouraged by this man’s teaching and books.

For almost a year, I listened to Joel each week and loved his ministry. I also read one of his books.

But, as I studied, prayed, and talked to some of my very wise friends, I became concerned about some of the things I was hearing and reading.

I also became concerned about what I was NOT hearing from his messages.

Eventually, I had to stop listening to Joel altogether.

In my first post on this subject, I shared my heart reasons for discontinuing my support of his ministry.

You can read that post HERE.

Today, I’d like to offer some theological reasons why I disagree with the teachings of Joel Osteen and others like him.

And, I’d like to suggest a better way to respond.

Some have called this type of teaching, “The Prosperity Gospel.”

Primarily, I question these teachings for these 3 reasons.  I share them in the form of questions:

1) Do Joel, and others like him, tell the WHOLE truth and nothing but the truth??

From the pulpit and television ministry of the Osteens, you hear so much good stuff. In fact, you ONLY hear the good stuff.

And, people like all positive messages like this!

I know I do.

However, none of us need to hear ONLY the positive, happy, and affirming words of the Bible. Click To Tweet

We need the whole truth.

We need to hear both sides of the story.

In Acts 20:27, Paul reminds the elders at the church in Ephesus,

“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

Is the ministry and message of Joel Osteen false or true? Yes, he's a positive inspiration, but is he biblical? Should you believe in and support what he is teaching? Find out why I have stopped listening to him and why you may want to do the same.

Paul taught the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

He challenged these leaders to do the same when he said, “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” (Acts 20:28)

I like to think of the ministry of Joel Osteen as a cafeteria line.

When you listen to him preach, he pulls out the wonderful “bread” and delectable “desserts” of the Bible.

Yet, if you listen closely, you will rarely hear him discuss things that sound like “leafy greens,” “vegetables,” and the “meat” of the Word.

Just as you can’t eat only bread and dessert and stay healthy – you cannot survive spiritually without healthy truth and honest principles of scripture.

~ Does Joel Osteen declare the whole counsel of God – the good, the hard, the challenging, and the sweet?

2) Do Joel, and others like him, ADD extra things to the Bible??

When you listen to Joel and others like him, they share things that just aren’t in the Bible. They sound good, but they aren’t biblical.

For example, I’ve heard Mr. Osteen say this on numerous occasions:

“God loves you, and more than anything He wants you to be happy.”

Yes, God does love you! Absolutely, He loves you.

You can find scriptural evidence to back this up throughout the Bible. Consider verses like John 3:16, Psalm 103, and 1 John 4:7-8.

However, I’ve looked, and I cannot find a single Bible verse that tells us that more than anything, God wants us to be happy.

Yes, happiness, joy, rejoicing and similar words are mentioned in scripture. But, the concept of happiness above all else… it’s just not the central message of the Bible.

The Bible teaches that God wants us to:

  • Be Holy‘For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”’ (I Peter 1:16)
  • Get Wisdom –  “Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.” (Proverbs 4:7)
  • Be Kind“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Eph. 4:32)
  • Be Joyful“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

The Bible is filled with references and teaching about joy. But, the Bible never states that God “wants us to be happy above all else.”

Happiness is an emotion and depends on our circumstances, but joy is a fruit of the spirit.

Joy is a deep and abiding sense of peace which we can regardless of our circumstances.

And, in Revelation, we are told not to add anything else to the Bible:

“And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book.” Revelation 22:18

“God wants you to be so happy!”

We want this teaching to be true.

Oh, we want it to be true.

But, it’s man-made wisdom; it’s not God’s wisdom.

~ Does Joel’s teaching try to ADD human wisdom to the wisdom of God?

3) Do Joel, and others like him, IGNORE the laws of biblical interpretation??

In seminary, you are required to take a course called, “Hermeneutics: An Introduction to Biblical Interpretation.”

Basically, this course helps teachers and preachers to accurately divide the Word of God.

There are some basic laws of interpretation that should govern all Bible teaching.

One of these laws is pretty simple – Let Scripture interpret Scripture.

Put another way, any interpretation of the Bible should be able to be backed up by the rest of the Bible.

When you pull out a verse from the Bible, you should be able to back up your teaching and interpretation in other parts of the Bible.

In other words, Scripture should be interpreted in light of other Scriptures. Click To Tweet

In 2 Timothy 2:15, we are told to, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”

~ Does Joel teach in such a way that the principles of scripture he pulls out, are backed up by other scriptures?

~ Does Joel rightly divide the word of truth?

~ Does he correctly handle the principles of scripture?

Is the ministry and message of Joel Osteen false or true? Yes, he's a positive inspiration, but is he biblical? Should you believe in and support what he is teaching? Find out why I have stopped listening to him and why you may want to do the same.

My Encouragement going forward:

FirstBE WISE! We are living in a challenging day!

  • Ask God to give you incredible wisdom. James 1:5 tells us, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”
  • Get into the Bible. Study it for yourself.
  • Keep your eyes and ears wide open. There is a lot of junk out there.

SecondBE WARY! Not all preachers are worthy of your time, your attention, or your respect.

  • Don’t take any writer, preacher, teacher, or blogger at face value (including me).
  • Read and listen closely to every influential person in your life.
  • Consider the words of 1 John 4:1, “Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.”

ThirdBE WILLING to change! 

  • When you are listening to a sermon or reading an inspirational book, have the Bible open as well. Make sure that the two are cohesive!
  • If you are struggling with a particular speaker or writer, ask your pastor or a wise friend to walk through these issues with you.
  • Pray over these things. Ask the Lord to speak to you!

And, if God gives you the grace to continue to listen to and support ministries like the Osteens have, great!

Go for it.

We will just agree to disagree.

May we “be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

And, may we always “speak the truth in love.” (Ephesians 4:15)

Additional Resources:

Alwaysbeready.com  (Guidelines to Interpret the Bible)

TheGospelCoalition.com  (What Does it Mean to Preach the Whole Counsel?)

TheBiblicalWorldview.org  (Is Joel Osteen a False Prophet?)

John Piper on YouTube  (Why I Abominate the Prosperity Gospel)


So, what do you think?

I always like to hear from you – even if we do not always agree. 


Were you encouraged by what you read today?

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About helloredds@gmail.com

Blessed wife of Randy for over 25 years, mom to two great college students, blogger, women's ministry coach, speaker and author who is amazed by God's grace-

90 thoughts on “The Day I Quit Listening to Joel Osteen (Part 2)

  1. This week I was thinking about John the Baptist and how his life ended. It certainly wasn’t living healthy, happy , and wealthy. His final days were lived out in a dungeon, with him soul questioning if Christ was really the Messiah. What internal turmoil and anguish of soul he experience … and his life ended with his head on a platter.

    Jesus never promised us a trouble free life and every thing our hearts desire. He did promise that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution and that those who want to follow Him must deny themselves and take up their cross daily.

    Each of us has a responsibility to study the word of God. We can’t take someone else’s word for it, we must hear God ourselves through the pages of His word, (by the way, we shouldn’t dip and skip but read the entire book!) How sad that so many people will spend hours listening to someone else telling them about God but won’t spend 10 minutes a day reading God’s word and hearing from God themselves. No wonder we have gotten so far off in our understanding of God and the Bible.

    Thanks for this post, I appreciate you sharing your journey and encouraging us to ask some honest questions.

    1. Hey AJ,
      What fun to have you stop by for a visit today!
      You bless me with your thoughtful comments. And, you are so right… we were never promised that everything would go just as we wish it would go. I do hope this article will encourage readers to spend more time digging into God’s Word for themselves! That would be amazing.
      And, thank you for your kind words of affirmation.
      You bless me~
      Melanie

  2. Thank you for this clear, bible based assessment of Osteens ministry. You made my doubts about his ministry very very clear. It’s a feel good, health and wealth ministry that so many people are reaching for today. They reject the truth of a God who is just; and God will judge between right and wrong. Thank you for posting the truth, regardless of the consequence.

    1. Thank you, Sallyann.
      I appreciate you stopping by to leave a thoughtful comment today.
      I do pray that many will read and be encouraged to ask the hard questions.
      You’ve blessed me with your words of affirmation~

      1. I am a bit disappointed. While I do not watch the Osteens anymore..there are some people who are getting much blessing from their ministry. To name a preacher, point fingers and run with it in the name of my Lord is wrong. Why not pray for them and move on. Did you ever talk to them in private? And? I have been a God fearing, bible taught born again since my teens and this here is not right. We are to hold our fellow christians accountable yes but to make public display of this in a blog..is not right. Why not spend time to teach and stay away from things you do not consider of God or as a positive influence on your life. I am saddened by the amount of energy you spend on this! And look for affirmations of those who agree with you?

        Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
        But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…

        1. I need to add a thought. Your article stated that you could not find one verse about God wants us to be happy? Really? I totally disagree! I believe God does too. He is our Father and what father or dad would not want his child happy? I was left speechless by your statement. The reason you can not find one verse on this is because you are looking in the wrong places. Being happy is a choice! If I know and serve my Lord..this makes me happy thus my Dad in heaven is happy too! Being saved makes ME happy! Breathing makes me happy. Living makes me happy. I make ME happy. And..http://m.likesuccess.com/quotes/29/1447309.png

          Like one would say…if you are looking for something to disqualify something..you will find it. So sad…open the right door. Happy=God…I found Him!
          hap·py
          ˈhapē/Submit
          adjective
          1.
          feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
          “Melissa came in looking happy and excited”
          synonyms: cheerful, cheery, merry, joyful, jovial, jolly, jocular, gleeful, carefree, untroubled, delighted, smiling, beaming, grinning, in good spirits, in a good mood, lighthearted, pleased, contented, content, satisfied, gratified, buoyant, radiant, sunny, blithe, joyous…

          1. Hey Karoline,

            It seems you are taking issue with several of my points. I appreciate your point of view.

            And, I’m not against being happy. My point is simple that happiness and joy are NOT the same thing. Happiness depends on our happenstances, our circumstances. Joy depends completely on Jesus. Happiness is like a thermometer. Joy is like a thermostat.

            While I think being happy is a great thing, it is too dependent on external circumstances. Joy, however, is something we can experience no matter what is going on around us.

            For more on this topic, you might want to read this post: http://melanieredd.com/does-god-really-want-us-to-be-happy-above-all-else/

            Hope you have a blessed day~
            Melanie

        2. Hey Karoline,

          Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts today. I appreciate what you have shared.

          And, I have prayed for the Osteens and their ministry. My prayer is that they will use their incredible influence to teach with wisdom the whole counsel of scripture.

          My desire in sharing these two articles is to speak the truth in love.
          Blessings to you,
          Melanie

        3. Karoline’s comments are EXACTLY what I think also. Remember the verse about those without sin casting the first stone. Well you certain are being very righteous in your blog and totally against the behavior that Jesus demands of us. Yes, our opinions are very different. But you won’t see my blog about “Why I continue to watch Joel Olsteen”. Just as Karoline, I pray for those who need to follow Jesus just as he asked in the Bible. I refrain from writing anything negative about you because the Bible does say we are not to do or say anything that makes another look bad. I will pray for you to return to Jesus as he asked of us and stop this blog. Scripture for you – Ephesians 4:29, Ecclesiastes 7:21-22, James 1:26

  3. Great post! I agree with you whole-heartedly. It’s so important that we read God’s Word for ourselves and that we filter any message we hear through His Word. Many good Bible leaders will tell you to do this! When I read God’s Word, I don’t believe we were promised an easy road, health, happiness, and prosperity, if we follow Christ. So, when I hear someone who only preaches the good stuff, and tells people that we can have all of these wonderful things, then I get very skeptical, because I don’t believe that lines up with Scripture.

    Lately I’ve been seeing a particular person on TV that I used to like, but now he’s selling all of these books and DVDs claiming that Jesus wants you to be healed. And if you just buy all of his products, you too can be healed. They even interviewed people praising the products and telling how they were healed. But, my Scripture tells me that Christ suffered, and that in this world we will have tribulation. Paul even had some sort of thorn that may have been a physical ailment, and the Lord did not remove it. So, I don’t believe that God’s Word tells me that I get to live a perfectly healthy life here on earth. I mean, I’ll always pray that for myself and my family, but I don’t believe it’s guaranteed.

    1. Hey Michelle,

      Thank you for your visit and your wise remarks today!

      I wish (sometimes) that we were promised that easy road, but I cannot find that road in the Bible. Some skepticism is necessary, isn’t it!
      And, you are so right. Paul and almost every other great hero of the faith went through tough and challenging seasons in life.

      In fact, Paul wrote about this to Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:10-12, “But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance. 11 You know how much persecution and suffering I have endured. You know all about how I was persecuted in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra—but the Lord rescued me from all of it. 12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

      You sound like a very wise woman! I pray that God will bless, encourage, and strengthen you and your family~
      Melanie

  4. Melanie, thanks for being brave & writing with conviction about this! So many need to read your words, because we need to pointed to the true source of all life and hope – Jesus.

    I think about the God-fearing people in Scripture & most of them did not live “happy” lives according the world’s standards. They suffered much, but their hope did not waver. They found the sweetest happiness in serving the Lord with glad & bold hearts.

    I pray that as men & women come to your blog to read this post, their eyes will be opened to the only Source of hope. I also pray that they will be encouraged to open the Word for themselves – “demolishing strongholds and everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God & taking every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5)

    Thanks again, sweet friend! I am with you on this! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Alison.
      I appreciate your affirmation and support. I do also pray that this article might open some heart, eyes, and minds. God’s Word is so able to do that! Praying that it will.
      I’m so grateful you are my friend!
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  5. I completely echo what Alison said and I’m also agreeing in prayer with her! And what a great post with amazing insight and honest conviction, Melanie. These are the exact reasons why I never listen to Joel for actual spiritual food. “Everything isn’t always rosy and happy Joel!!” is what I tend to yell at the TV screen when I’m scrolling through the channels! LOL.

  6. Thank you! This is an excellent post (I agree with you)! I just found your blog because of Dawn Klinge- Above the Waves on Facebook. Thanks again, Dawn

    1. Hey Dawn,
      Any friend of Dawn Klinge’s is a friend of mine! She is awesome.
      It’s good to meet you, and I’m so glad you stopped by.
      Thank you for your kind words!
      Please come by and visit again soon!
      Blessings to you,
      Melanie

  7. Saw this post recommended by someone on FB and I’ve yet to read part 1.

    I’m probably in the minority of your readers (first time here), but I do believe God wants us to be happy. It may be JOY as you put it but just because the word “happy” is not used in the translation you use doesn’t mean it isn’t so. I mean, why wouldn’t God want you happy? Sure it is an emotion, but it is an emotion that he gave you, don’t you agree?

    No, life won’t always be happy (and I understand where you are coming from with regards to prosperity gospel teachings), but can you tell me why God wouldn’t want you to be happy?

    Yes, teachers who present themselves as representatives of God do have to be cautious of how they lead (as all leaders should), but the responsibility of checking up on what is being taught to you is YOUR responsibility.

    The Holy Spirit will guide you in all things. John 16:13 Take you for example, you sought after God and your friends because something wasn’t sitting right with you. You made your decision based on the knowledge you received.

    Do you recall that Paul became all things to all people? 1 Corinthians 9:19-23.

    I am wary of all teachings and do not put myself under any one person, to do so would be unwise. I don’t even listen to Joel but I know many people who do. He is popular for a reason. People are hurting and they are looking for happiness or a solution to their problem, Joel seems to be meeting that need. Now, it is up to the people to go deeper, don’t you think?

    1. Hey Sara,

      I’m so glad you stopped by to leave a thoughtful comment today. I really appreciate you and your visit.

      And, I think I hear what you are saying about “happy” and “joyful” being synonymous. As much as I’d like to agree with you, I’ll have to respectfully disagree.

      When the Bible talks about “Joy,” it’s referring a state of the mind, will, and emotions. Joy is like a thermostat in our homes. It can set the tone and the temperature for everything else. Happiness, on the other hand, is an emotion that depends upon circumstances and happenstances. It’s more like a thermometer – taking the temperature of a body.

      Also, I think we have to be careful not to take on the world’s philosophies when it comes to happiness. The world values being happy above everything else. I don’t think God wants us to be miserable. However, I believe the Bible clearly teaches that God is much more interested in our holiness than in our happiness. In 1 Peter 1:15, we are told, “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.”

      In Luke 9:23, Jesus is teaching… “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” To serve God is to deny self and seek to follow unselfishly after our Savior.”

      This is hard stuff! And, it’s certainly not the way that the world is pushing us!

      You sound like a very wise woman. I hope you will stop in again for a visit.
      Blessings to you,
      Melanie

  8. Thank you for this post on Joel Osteen and his prosperity gospel. Can you imagine what people in Haiti and areas of Africa would think if they heard that “gospel?” If it won’t preach everywhere to every person, it’s not the gospel. Thank you for sharing your scripturally based yet humbly presented thoughts on the subject.

    1. Thank you, Lynn!
      It’s great to hear from you! I’m so glad you stopped by today!
      And, I cannot imagine what some people in other parts of the world would think of our churches and our “gospel” messages! They might think we were crazy!
      You have encouraged me with your kind words! I hope you will visit again!
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  9. Melanie this is such a great post! I’m so glad you shared it because it speaks truth! AND I LOVE your new blog design and logo. Go Design Duo! Love them and love you!

  10. Melanie, ALL I can say is thank you so much for speaking, not your truth, but Father God’s Truth. I have tried LITERALLY to listen at Osteen, and I can’t do it. Sometimes I have felt as if I was the only one that felt this way, then I met a few others who feel the same way. I was under heavy conviction from Father God when ever I listen at him. I strive every single day to live a life pleasing to Jesus. Thank you so much. I pray that God’s Holy Light will forever shine in you and on you in Jesus name.

    1. Hey Cheryl,
      I’m so glad you stopped by today to leave a comment. I appreciate your thoughtful feedback!
      It sounds like you’ve had an interesting experience with Joel’s ministry. That’s wild that you couldn’t listen to him.
      I think I just liked his stories and wanted to hear the positive words. I do understand why people are drawn to ministries like his, and I pray that many will have their hearts, eyes, and ears opened to the truth.
      Please come by for a visit again.
      It’s great to connect with you~
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  11. Hi, thank you for your posts – I read Part 1 a few weeks ago, and just saw your part 2 post. I certainly know how you feel – I felt the same way! Actually, in the beginning I wouldn’t even listen to him… he rarely quoted scripture, and seemed to be all about positive thinking. However, what I found was, as I listened on occasion, I became challenged by what I heard, and God prompted me to rethink my position on Joel’s teaching. When I truly listened, I heard over and over the truth – that we WILL have troubles in this life, and that being a Christian does not remove that, but gives us the power to be “happy” through it all. Which is actually JOY – but I have come to realize that Joel’s sermon ministry is created for ALL – to bring ALL to Christ, so using a word like JOY doesn’t ring with most people… the masses equate happy with joy.

    From your posts it sounds like your only source of “feeding” from God’s word was Joel Osteen – but based on your other posts I don’t think that would be true – you seem to have great understanding of God’s word. And I agree – if someone is only hearing Joel’s sermons and not searching for themselves, or seeking deeper understanding through Bible Study, sunday school, small groups, etc, that person will stay on milk forever – and I believe that is truth no matter what preacher you listen to. If we wait to be spoon fed truth on Sunday mornings only, we will remain babies in Christ.

    I encourage you to relisten to a sermon or two, and ask God to open your ears to His truth – I believe you will hear Joel sharing the hard reality of life, but the truth that we are victors in Christ Jesus, and are called to LIVE as such. And much of that comes through our attitude and spoken word – as God has clearly shared with us in his word. GREAT book you might find enlightening is Hung By the Tounge, by Francis P. Martin https://www.amazon.com/Hung-Tongue-Francis-P-Martin-ebook/dp/B002PAQB2E?ie=UTF8&btkr=1&redirect=true&ref_=dp-kindle-redirect

    God bless you, and thank you for sharing your heart and logic with us!
    Debbi

    1. Hey Debbi,

      Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such thoughtful comments today. I really appreciate your appeal for me to listen to Joel again. I think I hear what you are saying. Thank you for your comments and for the book suggestion.

      And, please do stop by again for a visit. It’s always sweet to connect with other believers – even if we don’t agree on all things.
      Blessings to you,
      Melanie

      1. Hi Melanie, thanks for the post, just wanted to add my input,
        Everyone that receives Jesus Christ as their lord, do not start out knowing all, they start out with milk before they can eat meat (the whole scripture). I believe that when we earnestly search for the lord, he start revealing more and more of himself to us, we all start out on different levels and keep growing. I do not personally watch the Osteen because I have grown much more in my personal walk with God, but then the Osteen ministry can inspire people, keep them growing and eventually the would seek deeper. It is better than them watching other secular things like mtv, etc that do not bring glory to God . And yes overall I believe God utimately wants us to be happy, joyful however you put it, people interpret it anyway they want to, this is just an English term. you cannot start trying to explain to others that English is not their first language that joy and happiness are different. Also I believe God wants to be healed, His words says by his strips we are healed, I take that very literally because I have been healed. It is how you apply your faith. coming from a different country, I have seen many believed in Jesus and we’re healed of their disease, sickness, even the dead raised to life. I believe when you are in a country that has many opportunities, you might not be willing to work out your faith as strongly as others that do not have an option and it is a matter of life and dead. Remember Paraphrased God said in your weakness I am made strong, when you surrender all to God, he can work his mighty works. Overall, we all come to God on different levels, with the utimate of growing deeper and knowing who God is and being a vessel of honor. Thanks again for the post.

        1. Hey Efe,
          Thank you for stopping by to leave a thoughtful comment today.
          I really appreciate your insights, ideas, and your visit.
          And, you are so right… we all do come to God on different levels and at such different places. Surrender is so key.
          I pray that God will encourage you today.
          Blessings,
          Melanie

  12. Why wouldn’t a loving father want us to be happy? I’m being sincere, can you tell me? I understand when we’re doing wrong that God wants us to know that we’re wrong and we need to repent and sin no more, but why oh why does God not want us to be happy? It makes NO sense to me, I doubt it ever will. I used to work with retired nuns and a sister who I dearly loved said the exact words to me that you are saying caused you to stop listening to J.O. “I think God wants us to be happy” A woman who dedicated her life to God, gave up all earthly possessions … you get the picture, said those very words to me. Was she incorrect? As a parent one of the most important things for me to see in my children is happiness. It’s not the single most important thing, but it’s right up there at the top with breathing! And to be joyful is a whole lot like being happy. If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands!! <–I think I learned that song in Sunday school? I'm not even a huge Joel Osteen fan… I am however a fan of being happy! If God doesn't want us to be happy, does he want us to be unhappy? Again I am very sincere.

    1. Hey Tammy,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughtful and sincere comments today. I am so glad that you did.

      You raise a great point and ask a question that many people have asked me since I wrote these posts on Joel Osteen. There is a Part One that you can read by linking here – http://www.melanieredd.com/day-quit-listening-joel-osteen/

      My simple answer to your question, “Does God want us to be unhappy?” is “no.” I don’t believe God wants us to live unhappy, miserable lives.
      However, I do think our society has become obsessed with happiness. We seek pleasure, fun, laughter, and ease above all else.

      I think your questions are valid and your perspective is much like so many others I’ve talked to. In fact, your points are so prevalent that I am praying over writing a blog post to answer your question – “Doesn’t God want us to happy?” (I’ll tag you or email you when I do.)

      Thank you for sharing your heart today. You’ve caused me to really want to dive into this topic more!
      Blessings to you,
      Melanie

  13. God created us with a full spectrum of emotions, happy, sad, mad, glad, etc.. It’s the devil’s job to try and make us unhappy. Recently my husband has become unhappy with his job. Yes, I pray for God’s will to be done, but I also pray for my husband to be happy in his job or to be able to find a job where he will be happy. I can’t believe that’s the wrong way to pray. I have the happiest, most precious granddaughter. This little girl exudes happiness! 🙂 I pray that she will always be this happy! There’s no way that’s wrong. Above all else I pray that all my loved ones will receive salvation and that they will be what God created them to be. I will continue to pray for everyone to be happy, including you Sister. BTW, I read part 1 before I left my first comment. I thought to myself, if a person who wasn’t saved read these posts (part 1 especially), it may push them the other way.

  14. I do not think it’s appropriate to write this blog. Who are you to judge someone else’s servent? Joel’s teachings got me through some of the darkest days of my life. His joy bringing and encouragement anointing are apparent. Why spend your time on this. Find someone who’s not leading people to Jesus to question. Have a good day.

    1. Hey Kristina,
      Thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave a thoughtful word today.
      And, I’m so glad that God has used Joel and his teachings to encourage you during a difficult season. He is a great encourager, and I know that his ministry has blessed many people.
      My concern is with his theology. You can read more about the specifics in this post: http://www.melanieredd.com/day-quit-listening-joel-osteen-part-2/
      I hope you have a good day as well.
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  15. Before I studied the Bible, I would take the word of preachers and of those in authority at face value. There is not one preacher, no matter how trained or godly that gets it all right. And we all have the same amount of the Holy Spirit in us to guide us in our study. Yes, listen and learn. But be wise and study the Word for yourself. You make excellent points here.

  16. Again, so well-spoken! Thank you for being so gracious to this man despite the fact that you disagree with him. The points you make are so valid. It’s also worth noting that the Prosperity Gospel can give a false sense of security – if God is blessing us with material wealth, we could easily assume that we’re doing well in our faith. And yet, I’m sure we all know very wealthy people who are spiritually destitute (and materially destitute people who are very mature in their faith, such as John the Baptist whom AJ pointed out in an earlier comment). Thank you for your grace and sincerity and willingness to speak the truth even when it isn’t what everyone wants to hear!

    1. Thank you, sweet friend!
      And, what a great point – false security in answered prayer. You are so right. If we start thinking that material wealth = God is happy with us, we could get into real trouble. What wisdom!
      You’ve blessed me with your thoughtful and wise words today~

  17. I have only listened to him a few times and I have said the very same things you have said in part one and rwo. There is more to the gospel than what he preaches. It is like only reading the cliff notes of a book and not the entire book!!

  18. Dear Melanie,
    I have never heard of Olsteen, perhaps because I’m a kiwi living in the Netherlands, but I do feel compelled to respond to your comment about happiness. Until recently I felt the same as you. I reasoned that joy and happiness are not one and the same and like you believed it was unbiblical to preach that God wants us to be happy. But God has been opening my eyes in amazing ways to the happiness He is holding out to me on a daily basis that my theology/Pharisee thinking has prohibited me from receiving.

    I nursed my Mum through the ravages of brain cancer until she took her last breath, and thereafter traveled through the valley of caregiver PTSD. Through this experience of excruciating pain, sorrow and fear, God opened my heart to receive Him into the depths of my heart, to let Him tether me to the promises of His Word. If it was not for His Word, I doubt I’d be alive today. One thing this taught me though is to question all I have ever believed and to above all seek God’s Truth in His Word.

    The thing I remember most about this time is that IN the suffering happiness poured into me. I chose to call it joy, separating it from “happy” circumstances. And so when I was healed of PTSD, I found myself waiting for the next hard thing, so I could feel that joy, rather than opening my eyes to the gifts in everyday “happy” circumstances. But as God is opening my eyes to thankfulness, He is also opening it to happiness. My happiness is not circumstance-dependent: because God’s good gifts are right there in both the hard and the easy. I realized how I’ve been clenching my fingers tight BECAUSE I was holding onto theology, rather than letting my Heavenly Father embrace me with His daily gifts.

    CS Lewis knew terrible suffering, yet He too believed that the power of the Gospel is the Good and happy News it pours out into our hearts.

    BTW here’s a definition of the Greek word for “Blessed” from Matthew 5

    Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
    blessed, happy.
    A prolonged form of the poetical makar (meaning the same); supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off — blessed, happy(X -ier).

    1. Philippians 4: 4
      4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

      HELPS Word-studies
      5463 xaírō (from the root xar-, “favorably disposed, leaning towards” and cognate with 5485 /xáris, “grace”) – properly, to delight in God’s grace (“rejoice”) – literally, to experience God’s grace (favor), be conscious (glad) for His grace.

      5463 /xaírō (“glad for grace”) has a direct “etymological connection with xaris (grace)” (DNTT, 2, 356). S. Zodhiates (Dict, 1467) likewise comments that 5479 /xará (“joy”) and 5485 /xáris (“grace”) are cognate with 5463 /xaírō (“to rejoice”), i.e. all share the same root and therefore the same core (fundamental) meaning.

      [The etymological link between 5463 /xaírō (“rejoice”), 5479 /xará (“joy”) and 5485 /xáris (“grace”) – i.e. that they are all cognates – is brought out by LS (p 1,976), Zod (Dict), CBL, Wigram’s Englishman’s Greek Concordance (Ed. Ralph Winters), Word Study Greek-English NT (Tyndale, Ed. Paul McReynolds); see also DNTT (2,356) and TDNT (9; 359,60).

      TDNT likewise groups them as cognates, referring to 5479 (xará) as the noun-form (nomen actionis) and discussing them separately in terms of their distinctive connotations.]

      1. And one last thing: exactly when God started convicting my heart my unbelieving husband responded to my question as to what he would change in me if he could and guess what he said: “I’d like to know that you’re happy. I never know whether you are.” Ouch: and he was right- I was not exuding the happy Good News. Then he watched a Dutch sprinter just miss out on a Bronze medal: a Christian..rejoicing despite defeat and my husband said: if this is what God gives him then I want some of that. My husband follows this sprinter and told me: “He’s always happy! When things are good and bad.” Can I say that of myself? My theology of joy was robbing me of this…terrible, but true.

    2. Hey Anna,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and your story today. I appreciate you and hearing a bit about your life.

      Your points are well-made, and I believe I hear what you are saying about the words and their meanings. And, what a great testimony of how the Lord has worked in your husband’s life. That is awesome! Wonderful news!

      My reason for writing this particular post is not to condemn happiness. I love happy! I am a very happy person, and I enjoy a very happy life. However, happiness is not my ultimate goal in life. Jesus is my ultimate goal.

      Your words have made me think that there may be a need for another post on this topic. I’m pondering that one.

      Thanks again for stopping by and sharing your heart. I hope you will visit again.
      Blessings,
      Melanie

      1. Dear Melanie,
        Thanks for your kind response. I have been so blessed by many of your posts (I’m subscribed), especially your ones on prayer. I definitely don’t intend it as a judgment of you. I can see God working powerfully in and through you.

        Maybe this would help you understand my concern. Joni says it better than I ever could:

        Well, you’ve probably heard this: Happiness is an emotion that depends upon what “happens,” right? And joy, on the other hand, they say stems from deep within our souls – joy is not affected by circumstances around us. Have you heard that? Well hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I suppose it’s an appropriate distinction. But joy and happiness being “different?” I don’t think God had any such hair-splitting distinctions in mind.

        Because scripture (and you can check it out for yourself), God’s Word uses the terms interchangeably, right along with words like delight, gladness, blessed and blissful. When you read the Bible, there doesn’t seem to be a scale of relative spiritual values applied to happiness and joy. The Bible doesn’t seem to make those distinctions. Happiness is not relegated to flesh-minded sinners nor is joy only the emotion of heaven-bound saints. Just listen to how Psalm 68:3 puts it. It says, “May the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” Wow! Right there in the span of one verse, you’ve got four different words: gladness, rejoicing, happiness, and joyful. And God is the giver of each and every one of those emotions – He does not want us to try to label it; He just wants us to know it’s from Him. Wow!

        Gladness, happiness, and the fruit of the Spirit called joy… these words are synonymous in their effect and too difficult to distinguish when we experience either one, right? I mean, would you, for example, respond to the wedding of your daughter with joy or happiness? Are you happy that your friend came to know Christ or are you joyful? Is the moment of euphoric delight in worship of Him on Sunday morning just a happenstance or is it heaven-sent? Friend, I wouldn’t make a big deal about splitting the differences – whenever you have a reason to smile, you can bet God is behind it, and He’s the giver of every good gift and every good emotion, from gladness to glee, from joyful to jubilant, from happiness to hallelujahs!

        You know, to try and rob joy of its twin, that is happiness, is to deprive our soul of God’s feast. So I think it’s wise to seek both as part and parcel in all circumstances. When your soul is stirred by a deep contentment, be happy. But when a delightful moment strikes that is quite outside yourself, then be joyful.

        And remember, when you can be joyful and glad in the midst of hardship, well, I tell you what, that makes those emotions even more heavenly and God-glorifying. I’m thinking of my friend, Renee Bondi, who, like me, is a quadriplegic. She is one of the most, hands down happiest people I know and she’s always so quick with a ready smile. I mean when you spend time with that lady and witness her joy in her wheelchair, you can tell God is behind it. And I want you to see this for yourself. Today, you just have to go to joniandfriendsradio.org and click on a video we did on her life – just spending a few minutes with Renee in her wheelchair; it will convince you that whether happy or joyful, this girl’s got it. And God is getting the glory. Click on joniandfriendsradio.org and you just might find yourself smiling and singing right along with her. And if you feel so led, drop a line to her on our “Contact Us” tab and we’ll pass it along to Renee – she’ll be delighted to know that your heart was made glad by her story. Again, that’s joniandfriendsradio.org.

        1. Hey Anna,
          Thanks for sharing these words from Joni.
          She is a wonderful writer and speaker.
          I do love her testimony!
          I appreciate you passing this along to me.
          Hope you have a wonderful weekend~
          Blessings,
          Melanie

  19. From the perspective of my group of friends who are not believers, Joel Osteen is a lot of what is wrong with Christianity today (or how it’s portrayed). Someone one here mentioned John the Baptist. We are to live in sacrifice when needed, giving one coat to someone in need if we have 2. The “pray for material and God will bless you” is what makes so many of my friends shirk away from today’s Christians.

    I try to think about the teachers I listen to with the perspective- if I was sitting in a room with that pastor, and Jesus walked in and sat down, what would he think? I think Jesus- a man who spent more time with sinners and poor people than in tidy rich neighborhoods, would think Joel Osteen has missed the mark.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to respond today, Erin. I really appreciate you and your visit.
      And, I think you are so right, the “name it, claim it” gospel makes our lost friends so confused. They are watching and listening, aren’t they!
      It’s great to connect with you. I hope you will drop by again~
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  20. I agree with you completely. I briefly listened to Joel Osteen, however I quickly discovered, through the wise guidance of my husband and another trusted sister in Christ, that what he was preaching wasn’t in line with God’s word. I held up his teaching to scripture and stopped listening to him altogether. I once told my aunt that I was following a certain preacher (another who is falsely leading God’s children away from Him). My aunt wisely told my that she follows Jesus. Period. Enough said. That has stuck with me all these years.

    1. Thank you for stopping by to leave a thoughtful comment.
      I really appreciate your visit.
      And, it sounds like your aunt is a very wise woman – follow Jesus period! Love that advice!
      Blessings to you,
      Melanie

  21. Hello, Melony. A sister at Heart”wings” shared your post about Promises when you’re in the Dark Valley. I clicked over and found myself here. I’ve heard others say off-handedly they didn’t listen to Joel and have wondered why. I do have one of his books, too. Thank you for this thought provoking post that answered a question long un-asked 🙂 Blessings!

    1. Hey Caryl,
      I”m so glad you came over for a visit! Thank you! It’s good to connect with you.
      And, I guess people have avoided talking about Joel and pastors like him because it’s kind of awkward.
      I’m not against him, but I do want to encourage all pastors to speak the truth.
      I hope you have a blessed day and stop by again~
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  22. Sometimes I want brain candy and when I do, I will watch Joel Osteen, someone who can sound like all your dreams will come true if you believe it will. I was watching him today and my thought is he sometimes acts like God is Santa Claus, if you pray “bold enough.” You ask him and you get what you ask for. Of course there were times I didn’t get what I wanted from Santa either, LOL. I would like to have a nicer home in a safer neighborhood, but I am thankful for my four walls. I would like to have a husband, but I’ve been single so long, maybe I’m too set in my ways. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog this afternoon and it makes me happy to realize others feel the same way.

    1. Hey Rene,
      Thanks so much for stopping by to leave a good word.
      I really appreciate you and your visit!
      Your words are kind and thoughtful.
      Your comments make me think of the words of missionary Elizabeth Elliot, “God has promised to meet every need. If we don’t have it now, we don’t need it now.”
      Praying that He will provide what we need when we need it!
      Blessings to you, and I hope you’ll stop by again~
      Melanei

  23. I love listening to Osteen. Any person who can inspire millions by sharing his interpretation of the teachings of the bible, in my view is sharing what’s good and right in life. Remember that is all anyone is doing when they read and quote the bible..they are interpreting what they think and feel based on their own perspective….the same way you are sharing your opinion here…it is not fact…just an opinion…and you provided an opportunity here for people to share their opinion and interpretation of this entire topic….again no one person is right…it is just what works for that person…for myself…I enjoy how I feel during and after listening to Osteen but I also listen to other teachers too…I send you many blessings…thank you

  24. I would like to say that “sharing what’s good and right in life” is nice . . . but it isn’t salvation. There are lots of motivational speakers out there that can make you feel good. Joel Osteen is a motivational speaker and he’s a good one. And he sprinkles just enough “God” into the mix that I believe he has deceived millions into thinking that what he preaches is from God. I can tell you it is not. Paul preached Jesus. Peter preached Jesus. Their lives were not easy. They were persecuted. Joel Osteen preaches “Feel Good 101” And it does feel good. But its not the truth. The truth is that Jesus Christ died on a cross for my sins. He said to take up our cross and follow Him. He promised we would have troubles. He said to cast our cares on Him. He never promised He would take the cares away . . . He promised He would carry them for us. If the followers of Joel want to pick and choose a few verses to prove their point, go ahead. But when read as a whole, there is no doubt that following Jesus is hard. And that is not what Joel Osteen preaches. He has an opportunity unmatched by most preachers to share the Gospel with millions and explain to them the path to Jesus. And he squanders it with loud music and a feel good sermon. I’m sure the people walking out of his service feel good. I’ve walked out of a ballgame where my team won, or walked out of a concert where the music was good, and felt inspired. But feeling good and being happy and feeling inspired has NOTHING to do with my salvation. Jesus never told people what they wanted to hear. He spoke the truth in love. And that is what you are doing Melanie. I’m proud of you sister. Don’t ever apologize. Bless you dear lady!!!

    1. Hey Robbin,
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment on this post.
      I really appreciate you and your affirming words!
      I like the way you have phrased this kind of preaching, “Feel Good 101.” So true!
      It’s great to connect with you, and I look forward to reaching some of your posts.
      I’m grateful for your encouragement~
      Melanie

    2. AMEN! My thoughts exactly! If what Mr. Osteen preaches were absolute biblical truth, we would all be living the life–like he is–wouldn’t we?
      2 Timothy 4:1-5 is a great scripture (emp. on vs. 3) In fact the whole book of 2 Timothy addresses this exact issue.
      When scripture becomes a buffet it is then that it becomes dangerous.

  25. As a carpenter missionary living in South Texas, I see Mr. Osteen has a huge influence here. I have learned the same as you, I do not want anyone giving me just the “good” and not the “bad.” Without the bad, there would be no need for my repenting of sins. I am thankful someone thought enough of me to tell me the whole truth.

    1. Hey Margaret,

      Thank you for taking the time to respond to my post. I really appreciate you and your comments.

      And, it sounds like you get to really see the impact of this ministry. I do believe many, many people follow Mr. Osteen, and his messages can be very misleading.

      I pray that God will bless you and encourage as you share the love of Christ with others in South Texas. Thank you for serving the Lord as you are!

      Merry Christmas to you and your family~
      Melanie

  26. Thank you thank you for this very thoughtful and wise explanation. I had a bit of a falling out with a family member who follows Joel. I cautioned about his teaching much in the same way you did initially and was met with a great deal of hate and retaliation.

    1. Hey Amy,
      Thank you for stopping by to leave an encouraging word today! Sure do appreciate your visit.

      And, these issues can be tough – especially in family situations. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is speak the truth in love and then pray. We can’t make people change their perspectives on theological issues. Only the Holy Spirit and the Bible can do that!

      I love the verse in Philippians 3 that talks about differences in thinking: “All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.”

      Praying that we will be wise in all of these types of conversations.
      Blessings to you,
      Melanie

  27. Dont let people scare you. I was a new ager, and can say Olsteen is pure new age, by the things he says-money, wealth, all the things the bible warned us about. This post is perfect, well written, spot on! People only want encouragement all the time and the christian life is very serious.

  28. Hello dear,
    I would agree you when I would think like the world but we as gods children’s shouldn’t think like how people who doesn’t know Jesus.
    It would be like ” it’s impossible to rose again from death ”
    Worldly people can think like that because they don’t know him but I m sure we know God not only because we read the Bible but also because we have experienced him.
    It doesn’t matter if happy or another word is exactly written in the Bible or if happy and other words are rewrited in other words and sentences. Do you want to tell me Moses and Noah and David weren’t happy while they walked with god? Do you want to tell me when god gives you this and this and when he’ll help you and give you strength , you would not get happy ?
    It’s not the word what is written in the Bibel but the voice from god which we hear during we read the Bible and seek god. I m pretty sure that paul, the Apostels and other had lot more to tell about god and I m sure there are more letters from that time which isn’t in the Bible. God knows why. for god nothing is impossible , it’s written in the Bible. And every one who believes in him , will use this Vers to their own situation. It’s not our job to judge and criticize others especially when they are telling the people about god because they aren’t putting them selfs as heroes and superstars , they are putting Jesus as a superstar. Lecrae once said
    If I’m wrong about god then I wasted my life. If you’re wrong about God then you wasted your eternity.
    So i believe that when We do something , god leads us or Satan does. And I m hundred person sure Satan would not lead people to the way to preach others with adding something to the Bible. Rather he would lead them to tell bad things about god and like this. God is our teacher. So god teaches preacher what to preach. God gives them strength because with own strength you can’t tell 100000000 people about god.

    ( I m sorry for my english and hope you have understand everything )

  29. 2 Timothy 4:3-5 “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and turn aside to fables.
    But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

    What do we do with these scriptures? They are repeatedly woven throughout the Word.
    I do believe there is a godly way to warn when compelled and led while seasoning with grace (as you have Mel).

    It’s never easy, nor comfortable to speak on such topics. But the love of God and His costly truth will compel Christ-followers to uphold the “Whole counsel”.

    The whole counsel is needed for whole and holy living.

    A different gospel (Galatians 1:6), may sound good, feel good and look good – but feelings don’t define truth.

    I heard once, “A half truth is whole lie.”

    And a different gospel is a “Form of godliness but denying its power.” 2 Timothy 3:5
    (V7) “Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

    I share this comment with love and yet a burden for those under a “different gospel”.

    With Grace

    1. Hey Jessica,

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts today.

      I appreciate you and your visit. And, I also greatly appreciate your wisdom from the Word!

      You bless me and encourage me with your words~
      Melanie

  30. Ah…….Christians. It’s displays like this that show the world all they need to know about ministries led by people. I believe there’s a scripture somewhere that says something along the lines of, “My people will be known by their love for one another.” Guess I have the wrong glasses on because I’m not seeing it here. Interestingly enough, I came across part 1 earlier this week and today I stumbled across part 2 with little or no effort. Sadly, those of you who should be lifting up Jesus choose rather to tear down one of your own. To those of us on the outside of your cathedrals we have to question why we would ever visit an establishment that downs someone on their own team? If you can do that to one of your own we wonder what you’d say about us? I read somewhere that Mr Osteen’s church is the largest in America, it would seem to an outsider that God’s approval must be upon it. If he is able to reach that many people and provide that much hope who are you to tear him down? To the “churched folk”, “churchy” sentiments like “I pray for him” or “I hope that God would awaken him to his potential” are sure signs that you’re okay and in good standing with your actions and words, but for those of us looking in, throwing shade is throwing shade and there’s no right in it. Let God do his job being the judge and you do yours which should be “whatsoever things.” After the first teardown of Mr. Osteen and the adverse effect that it had on many, I’m surprised that you had the brass to come back at him for a second round. Trust me, I don’t mean for my words to be harsh but you too should awaken to your potential and true influence and I pray that God will reveal that to you. You are on the world stage with your words and “the saints” are not your only audience, you are also making an impression on those of us who are so close to stepping foot in the church and then we see print such as this and figure what’s the point. Remember, preaching happy, positive messages is okay, they don’t call it the “good news” for nothing. As for me, I guess I’ll take my joy or happiness or whatever you want to call it and head to the woods to camp and commune with Christ in the safety of his creation.

  31. The bible does reference God wanting us happy;
    Ecclesiastes 3 ;
    12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

    I did enjoy your article. Thankyou

    1. Hey Brian,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving these comments. I appreciate your feedback and your visit.

      And, I do think I may need to go back and tweak my article. Some translations do use the word “happy.” I could be more clear with what I’m trying to share.

      Hope you have a blessed day~
      Melanie

  32. Ecclesiastes 3
    12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.

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