Joel Osteen Compares His Success Gospel to Jesus' Teachings

Joel Osteen teaching
(Joel Osteen Ministries)

Joel Osteen, the popular televangelist and pastor of Lakewood Church in Texas, is taking heat for preaching prosperity.

Critics are hounding Osteen for limiting his teaching on sin and for preaching a success gospel. Osteen's newest book Every Day a Friday: How to be Happier 7 Days a Week is just one item critics are using to establish that the Lakewood pastor focuses too strongly on personal fulfillment.

But Osteen is responding, saying he is teaching in the same way Jesus did. The positive pastor says application of the Word is just as important as the Word itself.

“Jesus talked about everyday life,” Osteen told ABC News. “... not just doctrine but how do we live? How do we forgive? How do we keep a good attitude when the economy is down?"

Although he is the pastor of America's largest church, one that takes in about $80 million a year, Osteen does not wish for his listeners to extol money, but he shares the same vision as God—for his people to excel. “I believe God, Jesus, died that we not just go to heaven but that we excel in this life. … Just keep [God] in first place and God will open up doors you never dreamed of."

Osteen added that he is trying to reach people by teaching of God's grace, rather that His judgment: "People come alive when they realize 'God is for me. He's got a plan for my life, and I can do something great. I can be who he wants me to be.'"

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