Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Joel Osteen Apologizes for Larry King Appearance

In an open letter on his Web site, best-selling author and Texas preacher Joel Osteen has apologized for the way he conducted himself in an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Monday, June 20. Osteen writes: . . .

It was never my desire or intention to leave any doubt as to what I believe and Whom I serve. I believe with all my heart that it is only through Christ that we have hope in eternal life. I regret and sincerely apologize that I was unclear on the very thing in which I have dedicated my life.

Jesus declared in John 14;
I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn't until I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven. It's about the individual's choice to follow Him.

I did not see the interview, but those who did told me that Osteen, whose book Your Best Life Now keeps flying off the shelf, offered some shaky theology peppered with a lot of "I don't knows" when questioned by King.

According to the transcript, when asked by King whether he was a "fire and brimstone" kind of guy, Osteen, who has no formal seminary training, said, "No. That's not me. It's never been me. I've always been an encourager at heart. . . . I don't have it in my heart to condemn people. I'm there to encourage them. I see myself more as a coach, as a motivator to help them experience the life God has for us. . . . I'm for everybody. You may not agree with me, but to me it's not my job to try to straighten everybody out. The Gospel [is] called the Good News. My message is a message of hope, that God's for you. You can live a good life no matter what's happened to you. And so I don't know. I know there is condemnation but I don't feel that's my place."

When King asked him whether people of other faiths who don't believe in Christ would go to heaven, Osteen replied, "You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know. . . . Well, I don't know if I believe they're wrong. I believe here's what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe." Later when asked about atheists going to heaven, he added, "I'm going to let God be the judge of who goes to heaven and hell. I just—again, I present the truth, and I say it every week. You know, I believe it's a relationship with Jesus. But you know what? I'm not going to go around telling everybody else if they don't want to believe that that's going to be their choice. God's got to look at your own heart. God's got to look at your heart, and only God knows that."

King later asked Osteen about abortion and same-sex marriages, to which Osteen replied, "You know what, Larry? I don't go there."

On the use of the word "sinners," he said, "I don't use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don't. But most people already know what they're doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in your life. So I don't go down the road of condemning."

Hopefully, if his letter of apology is any indication, Joel Osteen has thought hard about the confusing message he's sending to the thousands of people in his congregation and the many thousands more who watch him on TV and read his books.

Albert Mohler summed the situation up well in a post on his blog a few days ago:
Mr. Osteen's statement is encouraging on several fronts. First, it is encouraging to know that the constituency of Joel Osteen Ministries was so upset about the interview. Second, Mr. Osteen's statement includes a clear and unambiguous affirmation of the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Third, the timeliness of the statement underlines the importance of the issues at stake. Fourth, Mr. Osteen's apology is free from the evasions typical of the pseudo-apologies so often issued to the public. He did not say that "statements were made," but instead acknowledged that he had failed to communicate Gospel truth. The humility and honesty of the statement serve to fortify its authenticity.

This is a reminder to all of us who appear in the media. Statements made to an audience of millions are difficult to retract and are often impossible to correct. When Mr. Osteen writes, "I hope that you accept my deepest apology and see it in your heart to extend to me grace and forgiveness," the only proper response is to extend the very forgiveness for which he asks -- and with equal humility. Other concerns can wait for another day.

Hat tip to News! For Christians.

13 Comments:

At Tuesday, June 28, 2005 7:16:00 PM, Anonymous A. Samuels said...

I agree that we should extend the grace and forgiveness for which Mr. Osteen asks. Many of us must confess that the “Seeker Sensitive” philosophy has now so permeated many of our churches that we have become too intimidated to state the Bible’s position on many issues clearly because we don’t want to offend anyone. We all want to be encouragers, but we are also called to confront sin where it is found.

Pastors – God does not call us to be concerned with the numbers on Sunday morning. He calls us to preach His Word and the Holy Spirit will change lives in order to build the Church.

 
At Wednesday, June 29, 2005 6:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to the question of salvation, I'm not so sure that Osteen needed to clarify his remarks. He basically said he did not know but stated what he believes.

Yes, Jesus is the way to the Father and all will go through Him. But does that mean that Jesus will not allow those that do not believe in Him?

Indulge for a minute here. I can't tell you where it is but my understanding is that children are not responsible for their beliefs and are not sent to eternal damnation for not understanding. Well, what about the Ten Commandments' "honor thy mother and father?"

What better way to honor your parents than by taking up their faith? Would a Jewish teenager, for example, go to hell for honoring their parents by beholding only the faith in the Father? What about another person living in Chad who has never heard of Jesus?

John 3:17 says that those who do not believe are already condemned, but does that include the infant that died before their baptism? And what about, "forgive them Father for they know not what they do."?

I think Osteen had it right the first time- he doesn't know. But I also believe that for Osteen, and those like you and me, there is only one way. We've been exposed and therefore are responsible.

But what about the others? I don't proclaim to know His divine plan. But I don't proclaim that Jews won't be sitting next to me at The Table, either. Just bringing this up for discussion.

the Heckler

 
At Monday, September 10, 2007 3:09:00 AM, Blogger Joshua Smith said...

Where in the Bible was a Baby baptized? No where

Joel Osteen is not Preacher. He's a little Tony Robbins and his so called "church" is nothing more than a social club to make people fill better about themselves.

God is not the author of confusion the Devil is.

For those few people who actually read their Bibles knows it is very clear about how to go to Heaven.
1John 5;13 "These things have I wrtten to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life;
Eph 2:8,9 Romans 3:23,6:23,5:8,10:13
John 3:16,14:6
1John 1:9
Salvation is a free gift,if you recieve Jesus you go to Heaven. If you reject Jesus you go to Hell.
You either let Jesus pay for your sins or you pay for your sins.

Yes, I believe Joel Osteen needs forgiveness, and a backbone.

 
At Monday, September 10, 2007 3:13:00 AM, Blogger Joshua Smith said...

Sorry, I spelled feel wrong,I apologize. Please forgive me

 
At Sunday, December 02, 2007 11:17:00 AM, Blogger liliaikawai loves Jesus! said...

I agree that Joel Osteen deserves forgiveness because although we are called to correct each other and sharpen each other like iron nowhere in the Bible are we called to condemn. If anything we are called to take out the plank in our own eye before taking out the speck in our brother's eye.

The most disturbing part about Joel Osteen is that he has admitted to not using much of the word in his preaching as well as his books which can't be good because Jesus is the word and that is clear in John 1:1. How then can one believe in Jesus yet not teach him?

What concerns me the most though is that he may be leading a lot of people away from what true discipleship and a relationship with Jesus is. What we should be doing instead of complaining is praying for his ministry to become more in depth in the word and for the souls of all those he is influencing.

God bless!

 
At Wednesday, December 05, 2007 8:47:00 AM, Anonymous Ann H said...

What really bothers me is how seldom he uses that name of Jesus. He talks much about God - which God? "God" makes everyone feel comfortable, Christian, Jew and Moslem alike but "Jesus" is altogether a different story.

 
At Monday, April 07, 2008 2:30:00 AM, Blogger Dub said...

ave no croses at the church because the cross is fooloish to those who are perishing.

 
At Monday, April 07, 2008 2:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course they have no crosses at his church because the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing.

 
At Friday, May 09, 2008 5:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to admit, I am more confused by Osteen's apology than by his interview. Meaning, I was ready to accept him as a fraud, but now I am afraid my most severe criticisms have lost their teeth.
I was looking at this interview because I have a former Mormon friend who wanted to become a Christian, but the only teaching he has received is watching Osteen on tv. So his doctrine is limited to happy thoughts and a positive attitude rather than a relationship with Jesus. Please pray for him. He is very convinced of some shady beliefs.

 
At Wednesday, April 08, 2009 3:28:00 PM, Anonymous JANET said...

What is wrong? I have known Jesus as my Savior for most of my life! Joel Osteen presents the glory of God, what He will do for us, if we abide in His ways. Fire and brimstone is not what brought my father to salvation,(Although,that may be how some come to Christ). He was as good as a christian in his eyes, until the Good News was told to him. The happy things God does, the miracles in life, etc. He, my father, saw that there was something to the way my mother raised us. Jesus coming into his heart and Eternal life is what he chose after 58 years of not caring if there was a Heaven. He wanted to have Jesus in his heart. And because of that I,too, believe i will see my father in Heaven. As does my entire family.
Joel is doing what God called him to do. God speaks different ways through different disciples so that everyone will hear the word of God and make a choice to follow him.

 
At Saturday, May 28, 2011 5:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

osteen no different frm other mega rich preachers. can u picture jesus living in a million dollar mansion driving expensive cars? talk about humility..

 
At Friday, June 22, 2012 4:21:00 PM, Blogger Kit Ulrey said...

I had seen an interview that Joel Osteen had done on the View back in 2005-2006. Where he said the same thing that they he didn't believe that Jesus was the only way to Heaven. If you are a Christian, you believe, it is written in your heart, it is as firm as it can be in your fiber, "Jesus is The Way, The Truth and the Life NO man comes to the Father except through Him." If you don't believe that, then you shouldn't profess to be a Christian. Because after that is the Great Commission where you go and spread the Gospel. We would like to believe that God is good and that by being good He wouldn't send anyone to Hell. But God is a just God. God sent His Son to be a sacrifice for us so we could stand before God blameless. Our sins require a payment. And we can say sincerity is all that matters, but you can be sincerely wrong. A man named Uzzah touched the ark to keep it from falling and God struck him dead, because they didn't follow the Law (2 Sam 6). As Warren Wiersbe wrote in a response to what difference does it make what a man believes so long as he is sincere. "Shed a tear for Jimmy Brown; Poor Jimmy is no more. For what he thought was H2O was H2SO4.

 
At Monday, August 26, 2013 3:05:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel osteens job is to not offend anyone so he can make as much money as possible. Duh. Im an atheist and even I can see that. Dont like it? Pick another pastor. End point.

 

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