Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 2Timothy 4: 2 (NIV) As 2013 fades into the background an article from earlier in the year came to my attention regarding Joel Osteen, who pastors the largest church in America. I reference and write about Mr. Osteen often because his "preaching" remains so offensive to the actual Gospel of Jesus Christ. It does not take much more than a sliver of discernment to realize that the self-help, sugar coated gospel he preaches is simply incapable of saving anyone. That does not mean that someone cannot be saved at Lakewood Church. God is everywhere and not to difficult to find if you are genuinely seeking Him but those that are blessed enough at Lakewood are saved in spite of the preaching, not because of it. The article was entitled, "The Joel Osteen Most People Do Not Know", and can be found here: http://www.charismanews.com/us/40377-the-joel-osteen-most-people-don-t-know The author is Pastor Phil Munsey and to claim objectivity would be deceptive. Munsey has been a staunch Osteen backer and member of his "Champions Network" of churches across this nation. In fact, it was sometime after publishing this fluff piece on Osteen that Munsey was rewarded by being named the Director of the Champions Network, which required him leaving his church. Regardless of the conflicts of interest however, all one needs to do is read the article to see that the arguments in favor of Osteen are carnal in nature and largely not supported by Scripture. I have heard the arguments that pointing out such error is "negative" and that the growing preference in the church today is for "Kumbya Christianity" where we all sing happy songs until Christ comes and we find that He never knew us. The key verse today dispels such preferences however. As preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ we are to be prepared in all circumstances to correct, rebuke and encourage, using great patience ands careful instruction. We must remember what is at stake here when we discuss such matters - the salvation of those who seek God. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. - 1Timothy 4: 16 (NIV) While it is true we can never expect to find a pure church we most certainly should be seeking pure doctrine. This instruction from Paul to Timothy makes it clear beloved. The very salvation of those who would hear the message is what is at stake. So with no apologies to Mr. Osteen, I am far more concerned about the tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people who follow him and belive they are saved when in all likelihood they are not. Let us take a look at some of the arguments made by Pastor Munsey. Sure, Joel touches 40 million people monthly through television and other media. His books have impacted over 30 million people and counting, including 5 New York Times best-sellers. Yes, with titles such as "Your Best Life Now" and "Every Day a Friday" we see that his books are best sellers that have very little to do with God. So yes, Joel touches millions but not with God nor for His glory. Joel is not a televangelist. His dedication as a pastor is reflected in this interesting fact. In the past 14 years, Joel has missed an average of just two weekend services a year. Even though Joel speaks at 38 of those weekends services annually, you'll still find him sitting on the front row (including Wednesday nights) when not speaking, faithfully serving his flock and being a humble example (including shaking hands with the guests and new converts for one hour between services). No one has ever argued about the personality, dedication, or humility of Joel Osteen. It is part of his public persona that has netted him a nifty net worth in excess of 40 million dollars. I hope he is even like that behind closed doors. None of it however has anything to do with God or the Gospel. Joel has his critics. They post his "gotcha" clips from his hundreds of secular media interviews. This is where the author simply leaves reality. First of all, it is no one's fault other than Joel Osteen that he decides to go onto so many secular media outlets for publicity. He does so to promote every new book he writes. It is equally no one's fault when he proceeds to deny Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, as he did on Larry King. Or when he couldn't answer the question about sinners and heaven. Or when he mangled the question about unbelievers and heaven. Or when he went on Oprah and slandered sound doctrine. Munsey tries to shift the blame to those who would dare question Osteen by referring to the media clips as "gotchya" instead of placing the blame where it belongs. Let's be frank. We do not need the media clips to denounce Osteen. We just need his preaching which is filled with self help, word faith, and hyper prosperity heresies every single week. Osteen is on record for saying that he will not apologize for using Scripture sparingly, sometimes not even bringing it in until the very end of his "sermon." Munsey tried to sugar coat that as well: Joel's messages are skillfully and prayerfully laced with an average of a dozen or so Scripture references. (Joel has observed that multiple references to verses and books in the Bible to the high percentage of unbelievers in the television audience can be intimidating). I have never heard twelve references in a Joel Osteen message. I have gone through entire Osteen sermons without hearing him say the name of Jesus Christ. When he does mention Scripture it is in passing, as Munsey skillfully words here as "references." That means the actual Scripture, which has the power to break yokes in the lives of people, is not recited but merely referenced. To Joel the mere presence of Scripture, which is the power of God mind you, is intimidating to the audience? Wow. But what some call weakness is really Joel's strength. Joel refuses with uncompromising conviction to use secular guest appearances to judge people. His kindness has kept the hearts and minds of millions receptive. Joel is a friend to sinners. This was Munsey's main theme throughout the article. That Joel Osteen is a friend to sinners. I could go through the rest of the piece but most of it are simply carnal arguments made by someone who is close to the Osteens and has been promoted by them and gained personally from them. Instead I will close focusing on the main thread Munsey presents because when you unravel that, the rest of the arguments are laid bare as simply carnal in nature and easily dismissed. Because the world already knows Joel Osteen. He goes on secular media nearly every month to make sure we know him. He preaches into the living rooms of America every week to make sure we know him. I have never impugned the motives of Joel Osteen. He strikes me as a really nice guy. I do not view him as a snake oil salesman like Benny Hinn or Mike Murdock. Regardless of how nice Joel is, how sincere Joel is, or how generous Joel is with his millions, his teaching remains anathema. He has always been unapologetic about his word faith teachings and routinely makes people "declare" things for their life that will simply never come to pass. He remains unapologetically focused on material wealth in this world as being prosperity. I heard him declare last year on New Years Day to 45,000 people that this was their year for supernatural blessing! All of them! Such heresy is a dangerous leaven poisoning the Body of Christ. No matter how much Munsey tries to dress Joel up in salvation, the Christ he presents to people is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible and thus has zero power to save anyone. His is a bloodless gospel. It is virtually a Christless gospel. It is a gospel devoid of any serious discussion about sin and repentance, without which there is no salvation. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. - 2Timothy 4: 3 Munsey tried valiantly to prop his friend up but what he failed to realize is we do not need to see the Joel Osteen we do not know because we already see the Joel Osteen that we do know. Munsey claims that God told him Osteen was a friend to sinners, as Jesus was. He must of misheard Him. Joel Osteen is not a friend to sinners. He is a friend of sinners. Rev. Anthony.