“When I hear Mitt Romney say that he believes that Jesus is the Son of God–that he’s the Christ, raised from the dead, that he’s his Savior–that’s good enough for me. [...] Mormonism is a little different, but I still see them as brothers in Christ.”
-Pastor Joel Osteen talks to CNN about the ongoing debate among over whether or not Mormons are ’Christians.’
Some pastors preach that homosexuality is the worst sin, and seemingly that gays will cause the end of civilization as we know it. Joel Osteen doesn’t. Osteen told Oprah:
I believe they [homosexuals] will [be accepted into Heaven]. Because I believe that you have to have forgiveness for your sins. But sometimes we look at gay being a bigger sin than being proud or not telling the truth. I don’t think God categorizes sins. To think we’re all going to be without one sin … I don’t think any of us would make it to Heaven.
I believe that homosexuality is shown as a sin in the scripture.
Philip Wagner, the pastor of the Oasis Church in Los Angeles, has defended Joel Osteen refuting recent criticism of Osteen.
Philip Wagner speaking, with Joel 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.
“I believe that [Mormons] are Christians,” Mr. Osteen said. “I don’t know if it’s the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with. But you know what, I know Mormons. I hear Mitt Romney — and I’ve never met him — but I hear him say, ‘I believe Jesus is the son of God,’ ‘I believe he’s my savior,’ and that’s one of the core issues. I’m sure there are other issues that we don’t agree on. But you know, I can say that the Baptists and the Methodists and the Catholics don’t all agree on everything. So that would be my take on it.”
She did a 700 Club interview about her book with Pat Robertson’s son Gordon. As the interview unfolded, Robertson said, “In reading your book, I notice that you don’t particularly like TV preachers and I was trying hard not to take it personal, but you’re really starting to skewer some of my friends in here.” To which Zacharias retorted, “Some of your friends in there deserve to be skewered.” A friendly debate about Joel Osteen ensued and Zacharias concluded, “When you go before the masses and tell them that their ‘best life now’ is tied up into the things that they own, the size of their garage or anything materially oriented, I think you’re missing it.” In the book, she says, “If there’s a secret to living your best life now, it’s this: Stop imagining all the ways in which the universe can serve you and start figuring out how you can serve others.”
Mark Stevens is going to have a field day with this one, I suspect.
I do find it interesting that Jakes is a oneness preacher and that Osteen has no doctrine really whatsoever…
They’d known each other for years, but not well.
“I have always loved him from afar and prayed for him, as he rose to the office of assuming his father’s mantle,” said Jakes. “I watched from a distance and prayed for him and imagined that it was my son. I was praying for him like he was a little kid, you know.”
“But you know, you all aren’t that different in age. He’s a few years older than you, but yet you seem to feel as though he’s almost like a father figure instead of an older brother,” I said.
“You know, it’s funny because I always thought that and maybe just because of the presence he carries and you know again, I think he was preaching when he was 10 years old out in the woods,” said Osteen. “So you just see him like that and I realize he’s not that much older than me. When I got with him one on one, it was more like brothers.”
And like brothers, they have a lot in common. (here)