Philip Wagner, the pastor of the Oasis Church in Los Angeles, has defended Joel Osteen refuting recent criticism of Osteen.
In a recent interview on Fox News, they asked Joel questions about his thoughts on Mitt Romney and then Mormonism- saying it’s a big issue in the election. (It’s not.) Joel said “Mitt Romney says that Jesus Christ is his Savior and that’s what I believe, I’m not the one to judge the other details.” Joel was saying if a person (even a Mormon) believes that Jesus Christ is their savior – it does not seem right to doubt them. He also said, “I can’t say that I believe everything I’ve heard about (Mormonism)” this last line is not quoted by his critics. Have you ever been on National TV being put in an awkward position to answer questions off the point of what your message is? Have you ever been on TV?
Is this difficult to understand? If you are an “Osteen-hater” then everything is wrong. Many Mormons have come to Jesus Christ through his ministry. People don’t receive Jesus if your sermon title is “Mormons and gays or (insert your issue here…) are going to hell and here’s why!!”
Our church has a ‘shallow end of the pool’ – it’s an entry point- we don’t teach everything we believe every time we speak. There is a ‘deep end of the pool’ as well – it’s discipleship. Much more is taught to people in those areas of our church ministry. Joel does not teach classes on theology, the differences of Mormonism and Christianity or a thorough presentation of the foundational beliefs of Christianity. He’s a pastor with an evangelism gift.
Pastors at Joel Osteen’s church, Lakewood Church, disciple people, teach doctrinal truths of the Bible and train people for ministry. They teach people truth from error. It reminds me of how much criticism Billy Graham took from evangelical leaders who criticized him and questioned his faith and integrity because of how he conducted his evangelistic efforts. Now most people hold him in high regard and an example to be followed.