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Joel Olsteen and the "Feel-Good" Church

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This topic contains 18 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Laura King 1 year, 7 months ago.

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Laura King

Laura King

I haven’t been here in a looongg while so pardon me if this has already been a topic of discussion on here. My frustration at the moment: Churches who become so consumed with numbers and money and making people feel good about themselves that they forget what the point of being a Christian is. If you like Joel Olsteen and you go to his church or listen to his sermons, go right ahead. It’s your life. I just get frustrated because they portray a completely false idea of what it means to be a Christian. After you become a Christian, your life doesn’t suddenly become perfect and grand and happy all the time like they say it does. It’s devastating to see people become so excited about experiencing all these grand things after they become a Christian only to realize they were faking it the whole time. I’m not saying some of it isn’t real, but can we please just get back to a simpler Christianity? One that says you’re not perfect and you’re gonna mess up, even after you become a Christian. And if anything, life will even get a little harder than it was before. The only difference between now and then, though, is that you have someone who is gonna love you no matter how much you hurt Him, and you have someone who will walk through the hard times with you. It’s not about going to church just so you can calm your conscience. That’s the opposite of what God wants for you! Heck, you don’t even have to go to church if you don’t want to! It just ticks me off sometimes to people like Joel Olsteen make soooo much money and then pretend to be such a “spiritual leader.” It’s so obvious to me that he’s insincere. Once again, I’m sorry if you like Joel Olsteen, I’m not tryna make you feel like poop for liking him, I just think he’s dumb. xD

April 20, 2015 at 09:03


I agree, i don’t like him

April 20, 2015 at 09:15


I disagree.

I think it depends on who you think Joel Osteen is speaking to. People tend to think he’s talking to *everyone*, but he’s talking to people who are Christians. I think I understand your point, but can you give me a specific example of something he said that you disagree with?

I went through a period of severe depression, and watching his messages was so refreshing. No, I didn’t agree with everything he says–I can’t think of anyone I entirely agree with really–but he was such a reminder of God’s love, grace and goodness.
Looking back, I think I can pinpoint at least one cause of the depression–condemnation. I was so self-absorbed, and felt so guilty, condemned, etc. and Joel Osteen’s messages reminded me that God actually loves us. Really, really, loves us.

It helped get the attention off of myself and onto God’s love and graciousness. I’m not crediting Joel Osteen’s messages for healing me from depression, but they were helpful.

As far as whether or not Christianity will give you a perfect life, a life full of great sacrifices made for God, or a normal one–that’s not the point at all.

Do you enter into a relationship with someone because you want them to make your life perfect? Of course not. You do it because you love them. And in the case of being a relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s so much more! We can be free from sin, condemnation, poor choices, temptation etc. only through Jesus Christ.

Oftentimes, Christianity does improve the quality of your life immensely. Why? Because we can ask God for wisdom on anything and he promises to give it to us. We can be free from making foolish decisions regarding relationships, finances etc.
With wisdom we can know how to follow and accomplish dreams, desires and goals God gives us. We can be free from fear and worry of how other’s perceive us, giving us the confidence and opportunity to be who we really and truly are.

April 20, 2015 at 14:10
Laura King

Laura King

Oh I completely agree that God can free us from all those things if we ask Him, but not everyone will experience God in a great revelation. You also are going to have to work to be free from sin, it doesn’t always just come in a huge wave. I believe that sometimes God reveals Himself in that way but what I don’t agree with is the expectations that Joel creates for Christians. Yes, there are great things that come from Christianity but we also have to be real about it. Not everyone will speak in tongues, not everyone is going to get a brand new car just by asking God for it. I appreciate that the Olsteens are trying to reach people, I just think that they’re creating a false idea of “health and wealth.” Not to mention the large sums of money they both make from spreading their riches and glory story. That’s awesome that they helped you out of your depression. Really. But like I said, while Christianity is a beautiful and wonderful relationship with Jesus, you can’t enter into it with false expectations otherwise you’ll only be let down. I can love God while still understanding that I can’t get everything I want. πŸ™‚

April 20, 2015 at 15:12
Broken Vessel

Broken Vessel

I also disagree. I think the Joel has a pure heart (I’ve met him)- I don’t think he’s consumed with the amount of people in his church or money at all. I’ve been to church a few times, and *gasp* none of the messages were prosperity gospel or health and wealth. He doesn’t tell people they can have whatever they want.

I’ve noticed a lot of people that talk crap about him have never met him, or listened to any of his messages. Just because he’s not condemning peopl, doesn’t mean he’s a false prophet πŸ™‚

April 20, 2015 at 15:43
Broken Vessel

Broken Vessel

He’s also a family friend of my pastor, so please refrain from calling him dumb. #Don’tMessWithTexans

April 20, 2015 at 15:45


BrokenVessel~That’s so cool! I would love to attend Lakewood sometime.

I really don’t recall a time Joel Osteen ever said God would give us a new car if we ask for it.

Also, the Osteen’s wealth came from real estate, and probably his books as well; there’s nothing wrong with that. Yes, Lakewood takes in large sums of money each week–people’s tithes and giving–but I don’t think it all goes into the Osteens’ pockets. I rarely hear him preach about tithing.

April 20, 2015 at 16:09
Broken Vessel

Broken Vessel

@AdventureGirl Yes! They’re not the money-hungry people everyone paints them to be. They never pressured us at all to give.

April 20, 2015 at 18:27


I kind of see OP’s point, though it’s a bit harsh, imo.
I have always felt really uncomfortable with big, bombastic faith leaders who focus sermons on feel-good, bright things. Because I’m personally a reflective, solemn, analytical sort, because I’m suspicious of shiny, loud people (whether or not they’re genuine) and, most importantly, because lots of loud, enthusiastic, group atmospheres and overly personal messages to a group overwhelm me, and I get scared. I can barely sit through a school assembly without having to plug in my earbuds. Blame this on me being an introverted Catholic, with a gloomy side and a suspicious nature.
So on a personal level, I totally get what you mean. Extraverted, warmth-spreading Christianity isn’t for everyone.
But for some people? Those who THRIVE on energy and light and combining Christ with dreams and guidance like that? Who maybe need that message at this point of their lives, or who might feel lonely or unwanted or cold-shouldered otherwise? People like that are the ones Churches like Mr. Olsteen’s appeal to, and who will feel very fulfilled there, and they deserve that.
Just because something’s not for everyone, doesn’t make it bad, you know? Wherever God speaks to you, id where you should be.

April 20, 2015 at 18:40


Marysetrueblood~That’s a really good point; different people definitely have different styles of worship.

April 21, 2015 at 07:40


Exactly! Which is why I wouldn’t want to decide if someone’s a good or bad leader based on their personality and focal points. Certainly not for their being TOO nice. I don’t know much else about Mr. Olsteen’s church, but the aspects attacked and dismissed in the original post seemed a bit harsh to blanket statement condemn to me.
After all, people who grew up in the wrong learning environment might think they hate reading, even if they don’t. I can imagine anyone isolated from the right faith environmnent would have the same effect. (lol, I’m a nerd. Every analogy I make has to do with books, yeesh)

April 21, 2015 at 16:09
Laura King

Laura King

I apologize for being too harsh, I swear I wasn’t trying to be. xD I’m a very real person and so I usually say things how I see them without necessarily thinking about how it sounds. Just bear with me. πŸ˜›

A quote from Joel Olsteen: “If you want success, if you want wisdom, if you want to be prosperous and healthy, you’re going to have to do more than meditate and believe; you must boldly declare words of faith and victory over yourself and your family.”

I’m trying to say what I wanna say without writing a 30 paragraph essay lol. Anywho, I’m not trying to condemn the Olsteens and their church. I don’t know his heart, maybe his motives are different from what I perceive them. I just think that this is a very dangerous thing to teach because I don’t think God necessarily wants us to be looking for “health and prosperity.” Not saying you shouldn’t declare your faith and claim victory over yourself, but not for that reason. Do you think when Jesus preached to people He promised them prosperity? No, He promised them grace and eternal life. I don’t think God intends for everyone on earth to have healthy completely healthy bodies. I think He wants us to have healthy souls because our bodies are temporary.

The bottom line is just that I don’t want someone to have a false idea of Christianity. Sure, there are all those good and great things that come with it, but there are also real aspects that should be addressed too. I think Joel Olsteen is a good man, I just highly disagree with some of the things he teaches. That’s all. πŸ˜›

April 22, 2015 at 07:51
Broken Vessel

Broken Vessel

Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus

Deuteronomy 8:18
You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Malachi 3:10
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 1:3
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

2 Corinthians 8:9
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Proverbs 28:25
A greedy man stirs up strife, but the one who trusts in the Lord will be enriched.

April 22, 2015 at 10:47
Broken Vessel

Broken Vessel

“I don’t think God intends for everyone on earth to have healthy completely healthy bodies.”

Actually, he does. And prayer is powerful, so is declaring health over yourself.

Saying God WANTS people to be sick, and in pain makes absolutely no sense. Jesus healed WAY too many people while he was here on Earth for me to believe He looks at someone at says “Sorry about the cancer :/ Not gonna do anything tho. Srry life sucks then you die :/ That’s too bad bruh”

April 22, 2015 at 10:57



I do think God wants us to be healthy and prosperous. By prosperous, I don’t mean we all need to become millionaires, but I don’t see how it honors God if we are failures in what we do, unable to pay bills on time or unable to give generously to others. That being said, we obviously don’t become Christians so we can pay the bills, and generosity is indeed a matter of the heart.

Still, I find it silly when people are against being prosperous and healthy, or are for the idea that God wants us in poverty or sick. Certainly, God can bring good out of those situations, but by telling people God doesn’t care if they’re sick or even that he *wants* them to be sick or poor can keep them from seeking permanent healing or keep them in a mindset of lack and poverty; your mindset and beliefs have *a lot* to do with getting well (Proverbs 17:22; Proverbs 14:30) if people believe it’s God’s will for them to be sick, then by that logic it would be a sin for them to try to get well. Like I said before, God absolutely uses illness, but I think that’s more a matter of Him using a bad situation for good; likewise, when we go through various trials in life there’s a lot we can learn from it. But I really don’t think God wants us permanently ill and poor.

There’s sooooo much more I could say on this subject, but like you I don’t want to turn it into 30 paragraphs, and this is already way too long! πŸ™‚ To me, it’s kind of a complicated subject, and one I need to study more in order to state my opinion more clearly.

April 22, 2015 at 13:28
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