Biblical discernment is the skill that is lacking most among Christians in America today. This is the only explanation for the huge following that people like Joel Osteen enjoy. It takes only a little Biblical knowledge to refute claims like the following:
Osteen sez (at 1:53),
The scripture says in Ephesians 1 verse 4, ‘Long before God laid down earth’s foundation, he had us on his mind. Because of the sacrifice Christ made, we are a free people; and not just barely free, but abundantly free.
Hmm… Kinda sets off my Bible Radar. In my Bible, Ephesians 1:4 NASB reads,
…just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love…
Funny how from that verse, Osteen can say that it was God’s intention that I would have lots of money and be healthy my whole life, free from poverty and sickness.
In an email devotional entitled, “Today’s Word” on July 25, 2006, Osteen wrote,
God desires above all, that we prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers. (John 3:2)
Today’s Word from Joel and Victoria
God wants you to live a life of victory. He wants you to prosper physically, spiritually, emotionally– in every area of life. God also wants you to prosper financially to fulfill the destiny He’s laid out before you.
The poor guy can’t even misquote scripture correctly. That verse isn’t John 3:2, it is 3 John 1:2. Big difference. Here’s what my Bible reads for 3 John 1:2 NASB:
Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
The ‘I’ in that verse is John, the writer of the letter; not God as Osteen says. And he is simply giving his friend Gaius a greeting in the traditional Greek manner; a prayer for prosperity and health and John adds that it is Gaius’ soul that he cares about prospering.
Sorry Joel, but it is clear that your desire, above all, is to lead people away from the Word of God by their wallets.
Luke called the Bereans “…more noble than those in Thessolonica” because they checked everything by searching the scriptures daily. Biblical discernment starts with reading your Bible and not believing everything you hear. Just because someone is on television, sells millions of books and has hundreds of thousands of followers, doesn’t mean that they are preaching the Word of God. Usually, it means that they are loved by the world. And as it is written in James 4:4 NASB, “…do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
Do not be an enemy of God. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. Check everything you hear and read (Including this article!) with the scriptures as the Bereans did so long ago. Read your bible. Learn the Word and beware the false teachers like Joel Osteen.