From the horse’s mouth, “Joel Osteen is a spiritual midget”

Posted: October 14, 2008 in Above the Fold, Denominational Fun, Good for a Giggle, Keep it real, Networking, Snap, Crackle and POP Culture
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For what seems like a millennium, apologists and biblical purists alike have been clamoring that Joel and Victoria Osteen are a bit of a microcosm of what’s wrong with the Church today – all glitz and glamour, no substance and vigor.

This movement of “God-lite” seems to have a birthplace in Houston, Texas, and the lien holders of that monstrous real estate have been shouting, “Oh no! We really know tons about the Bible but we use a milquetoast approach to point others to Your Best Life Now and to Become a Better You.”

Anywhoo, those pundits and preachers have an unlikely source to back their play, VICTORIA OSTEEN! Huh?!

In her new book, “Love Your Life,” Victoria Osteen tells the following story. When she and her husband, Joel, were courting, he came over to her house for dinner. She knew he was the son of a prominent Houston pastor and she, a nice Christian girl, was hoping they could talk about Scripture while she prepared the meal.

“Joel began flipping through the pages, but before long, he put the Bible down,” she wrote. Victoria was disappointed and complained, “I thought you’d be a spiritual giant.”

“Joel said nothing and just grinned at me as we carried on with the evening.” Later, he joked with friends that she’d called him a “spiritual midget.”

No metaphor, Vicky. He really is a midget.

Cheer up, Vicky. There is no metaphor. He really is a midget.

Seriously?! With wives like this, who need a dominatrix? You realize what happened as we prier into this courting moment of the Osteen clan… and if I was writing a chapter in that rag, it would go like this [cue harp music]:

So, you got this kid all Brylcreamed up. His dad just happens to be an icon in Christianity, missions and dogmatic principle, so you know Joel is bound to get a little of that splattered upon his freshly-coifed self. Enter Victoria Osteen (nee Iloff) who wants to impress so she sets up a quaint dinner discussing the pragmatism of the scriptures.

Now, that’s dating material, boy! Sign me up. All brushed up on her Sunday school lessons about how many days it took to make the world, the parting of the Red Sea and the whole immaculate conception thingy, Victoria was ready to rock Joel’s pre-pubescent world. Then, without intent, she puts the young lothario on the spot.

“Joel, honey. Explain to me your deep thoughts on the Kenotic Theory.”

Young Joel began tripping! “Where did she get that from?… Where’s my Dad?… Um, is that Obi-Wan Kenosis?… Ah, I just need to talk TV lingo, she will never know the difference.” With Dippity-do flinging everywhere, Joel decides to take a different approach on theology. He puts down his Bible, saunters over, flashs his pearly whites and whispers in that cutsy Texas twang of his, “Let’s talk about discovering the champion in you.” [End harp music. Begin smooching sound effects.]

Since then, their personal take on the Gospel message has “emerged” and they have become “sensitive about seekers.” All the while, Joel’s bethrothed has been holding on to that one secret – she believes he has a Napoleon complex as this Lilliputian tells his jokes, serves up biblical Happy Meals and creates absolutely no conviction in the hearts and minds of the 1000s that fill “Six Flags Under Jesus” in Houston.

While you are at your booksignings, hold a warm spot for Tammy Wynette as Vicky throws up those one-finger salutes and shouts, “Hey girl. Have your man stand by this!”

  1. […] it what you want, emergent pastor… er, psychopablum pulpiteers… uh, you know who you are (and we do too). Exit this post and turn […]

  2. […] Any time a preacher extols a “We are the World” message, it’s bound to attract folk. Just ask Joel Osteen how that’s working out. […]

  3. Rachel says:

    I really enjoyed this post AND it’s comments!! Great ideas from both sides!

  4. Bill Cash says:

    Hiscriver, and Cought Thinking:

    Thank you both for your responses. I’ll be around. I just saw no value in having a debate about the number of angels in the pin head of a pin.

    Peace to you both as well,


  5. hiscrivener says:


    Allow me to second that. At any time were you offensive or trite. I’ll tell you, it’s shameful that we live in a world where questioning and opining anything about the Body of Christ has to automatically be deemed offensive and controversial.

    You bring up some sage thoughts; however, just because I didn’t agree with them and could back up what I was saying doesn’t mean I was sitting in a corner snickering at you while IM’ing Kwesi (Caught Thinking) behind your back.

    Quite the contrary. I thanked God you had the moral turpitude to say what you thought, and more impressively, considering the alternative. It’s too bad more Christians don’t do the same. You can stop by the Wall anytime.

    Peace, brother.


  6. Bill Cash says:

    other then this, You have the last word


  7. Caught Thinking says:


    First things first, I am not offended nor is any apology on your part needed. We can vigorously debate these matter with no love lost.

    Now, I understand that you and I may not have understood the full gospel when we first received Christ. I think that is problematic but not as much as never being fed (to use you analogy) a nutritious meal. If a Father takes his children out for ice cream, cheesecake, and fried food maybe at a “festival” we would all agree that he did a good thing. If however we find out that the former is the diet that is normative for the children, some of us would scream negligence.

    Paul urged Timothy to “watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Tim. 4:16). He did this because “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (2 Tim. 4:3).

    The issue of the doctrine of Osteen is that it is not sound. Joel preaches a Self-Esteem Gospel mixed with a word of faith gospel which, one, gives more power to us than God and two gives our words power over God,s words.

    Listen, I am not one that is out to sling mud. However, consider the other side. I have witnessed first hand people walk away from any relationship with God because the totally believed bad doctrine. So when thinking positive failed on when what God “told them” didn’t come to pass in spite of their “faith”. They we disappointed, depressed and as a result they begun to assume and assert that there really is no God.

    False doctrine is no ball park game, it steals, it kills and it destroys. It doesn’t matter how popular the person. If the message is not the Full Gospel we need to be screaming from the roof top. We do this not to pull down but to build up the body of Christ.

    Finally, I agree and have posted on my blog “scream” guidance on how to criticize Christians and a call for bloggers to focus on theology and not personal attacks.

    Thanks for your honesty, I look forward to your reply

  8. Bill Cash says:


    “I agree with you that the “light “ version does little to prepare the young and weak for what lies ahead. I also know that the message “that I heard” which brought me to Christ was a far cry from the full gospel. ”

    the message “that I heard” was a very long time ago. long before Osteen, Copeland and the Bakers. The suggestion being that I only “heard” the part of the message that was necessary to open my heart. The unconverted are unable to digest the meat, milk is necessary to begin the feeding process.

  9. Bill Cash says:

    I gave this a good deal of thought last night after I saw HiScrivener’s reply. I read it again early this AM and almost sent a response. I didn’t and don’t want to begin a debate about the merits or lack of merit of the “Osteen” message. There is just no profit is this and the time is better spend elsewhere. I was of a mind to just let my and HiScrivener’s comments stand on their own.

    However, Caught Thinking’s comment prompts me to add a couple more thoughts.

    First; Joel Osteen is not my pastor. I neither indorse nor dispute the message he preaches. Personally I find it uplifting but not a well balanced diet. I must confess though that I do enjoy a nice slice of cheese cake from time to time, also not a well balanced diet.
    2 Timothy 3: 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    I know you could tell me that this could also be use, in context, to denounce the message we are talking about. Here, the door swings both ways.

    My point is there is nothing wrong with “some” light, uplifting preaching.

    I agree with you that the “light “ version does little to prepare the young and weak for what lies ahead. I also know that the message “that I heard” which brought me to Christ was a far cry from the full gospel.

    Consider the mustard seed Mark 4: 30Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.”

    I was born again of a small seed planted which took root and grew. How can we know that the small, seemingly weak, seeds planted by these ministries will not be used by the Holy Spirit to begin the growth of strong, healthy Christians.

    Brothers, if I seemed to be critical of you and have offended then please accept my apologies. It was not my intent. Your post was just the catalyst to voice my concern that many spend more time attacking this or that ministry then they do lifting each other up. I feel too much energy is wasted denouncing or defending some ministries. Energy that I think would be better spent building up the Body of Christ or reaching out to the lost. My intent was to suggest that we all (myself included) should be cautious of the divisions we display before the lost. Our enemy will use those divisions to water down the Truth of the Gospel.

    Honestly, I applaud your willingness to post my comment. In retrospect I my publicly stated comment may have actually fed the fires I wish I could extinguish. In the future, if I feel the need, I’ll attempt to do so privately.

    May the Lord use you and your talents to bring Souls to His Kingdom and edify His Family.


  10. Caught Thinking says:

    A better question Bill and the question that seems to trouble you is this. What message is Joel sending to the lost, the young and the weak? You might be living your best life but what profit is it gain “your best life” and lose your soul.

    If you seriously want to discuss the theology of your pastor and or church, lets discuss that. Please Bill don’t kick sand (scriptures) in the face of other believers for sharing their opinion while trying to defend your pastors right to share his “opinion”.

  11. hiscrivener says:

    Man, me thinks I need to have a “Satire 101” class and carry directional signs pointing to the tongue in my cheek.

    As someone who obviously has either given to Joel Osteen’s ministry, or attends his church, allow me to give you a prophecy… lighten up.

    Their message is worthy. Just look at all the tens of thousands of new believers that walk inside Lakewood or watch it on TV. That style of pablum is great for people who have done nothing but receive a condemnatory finger wagging in their grill. What the Osteen clan does is open the doors of communication and allow THOSE FOLK (just them) to feel peace with God. From there, souls get saved and healing can take place. Praise the Lord for that!

    The angst – if you care to be objectionable – is what happens when they leave the “Oh, that’s what Jesus is about” utopia and joins the real world of “things aren’t fair for Christians but trust in Jesus and it will all work out”?! What they serve up doesn’t seem to help in times of adversity, only a need of achievement.

    That’s “God being God” brother. If you want to help all children in the family, then keep it real because when they catch a beatdown from the enemy, “Becoming a Better You” just won’t cut it.

    All that said, COME ON! Calling HIM THAT… is certainly funny.

    I’m glad you spoke your peace, and hope you do again, but please don’t hate just because you get a response.


  12. Bill Cash says:

    I don’t mean to kick sand in your face BUT.
    How about we let God sort it out. If they are doing God’s work then he will reward them IF they are misleading then, Matthew 18:6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
    You may not find their message worthy of your time but God may be using it. Who are you to judge?

    Take a quick look at 1 Corinthians 1:10 I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 11My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. 12What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas[a]”; still another, “I follow Christ.”
    13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into[b] the name of Paul? 14I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. 16(Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power

    When we belivers spend our time and energy criticizing what our brothers and sisters do in the name of the Lord are we not doing harm to the Body of Christ? Or are you suggesting they are not of the Body? What message are we sending to the lost or the young and weak?

    Take a lesson from Gideon’s father Judges 6: 31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” 32 So that day they called Gideon “Jerub-Baal, [g] ” saying, “Let Baal contend with him,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.

    Its time we let God be God. Jesus instructed us to love our enemies, should we do the same for all members of His family?

  13. Caught Thinking says:

    Sounds like a good read for my bathroom stash! lol

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