T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen - On Heaven
**UPDATED January 25, 2008 - See Below!**
More on T.D. Jakes and his modalistic, non-Trinitarian beliefs and statements from Equip.org.
Updated article from Dr. Michael Horton, Westminster Seminary California, Joel Osteen and the Glory Story: A Case Study.
Fellow blogger Robert Hunter recently reported on his site, Heresy Hunter, the sad "performance" of Dallas Pastor T.D. Jakes who had the following to say in a May 2 National Public Radio show, answering a Muslim woman's question about heaven:
CALLER: I'm a Muslim here in Portland. I'm part of a Shiite community. And we had a wonderful interface dialogue last weekend with a local Unitarian church. And I'd like to ask you please to speak about concrete experiences you've had as far as interfaith dialogue goes. And also would like to ask you, do you feel that only Christians could hope to enter Heaven?
JAKES: Very great question. When it comes to interfaith experiences, I'm currently serving by the appointment of former President Bush and President Clinton, as co-chair of an interfaith advisory committee to help people get back up on their feet.
And we do have on the board Muslims, Catholics, a Jewish Rabbi, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals across the board. And we're working together very effectively because we all care about common goals. We have our distinct theologies and our own ideologies but there are common grounds that we can work together very effectively in many, many cases.
When it comes to Heaven, I try to leave that up to God. I certainly believe that Christianity is right, but when it comes down to the final test--who goes and who doesn't go--Jesus said, Other sheep have I who are not of this fold. Them also must I bring. I'll let Him identify who those sheep are and I stay out of the conversation.
This sounds awfully (pun intended) close to Houston Pastor Joel Osteen's abysmal showing on Larry King Live back in October 2005:
KING: Because we've had ministers on who said, your record don't count. You either believe in Christ or you don't. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don't no matter what you've done in your life, you ain't.
OSTEEN: Yeah, I don't know. There's probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you're a believer in God, you're going to have some good works. I think it's a cop-out to say I'm a Christian but I don't ever do anything ...
KING: What if you're Jewish or Muslim, you don't accept Christ at all?
OSTEEN: You know, I'm very careful about saying who would and wouldn't go to heaven. I don't know ...
KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They're wrong, aren't they?
OSTEEN: 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. But I just think that only God will judge a person's heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don't know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don't know. I've seen their sincerity. So I don't know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.
. . .
CALLER: Hello, Larry. You're the best, and thank you, Joe -- Joel -- for your positive messages and your book. I'm wondering, though, why you side-stepped Larry's earlier question about how we get to heaven? The bible clearly tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth and the light and the only way to the father is through him. That's not really a message of condemnation but of truth.
OSTEEN: Yes, I would agree with her. I believe that...
KING: So then a Jew is not going to heaven?
OSTEEN: No. Here's my thing, Larry, is I can't judge somebody's heart. You know? Only god can look at somebody's heart, and so -- I don't know. To me, it's not my business to say, you know, this one is or this one isn't. I just say, here's what the bible teaches and I'm going to put my faith in Christ. And I just I think it's wrong when you go around saying, you're saying you're not going, you're not going, you're not going, because it's not exactly my way. I'm just...
KING: But you believe your way.
OSTEEN: I believe my way. I believe my way with all my heart.
KING: But for someone who doesn't share it is wrong, isn't he?
OSTEEN: Well, yes. Well, I don't know if I look at it like that. I would present my way, but I'm just going to let god be the judge of that. I don't know. I don't know.
Pastor Osteen, in an apology letter that is no longer on his website (was posted at http://www.joelosteen.com/site/PageServer?pagename=LarryKingLetter) said this of his interview: "God has given me a platform to present the Gospel to a very diverse audience. In my desire not to alienate the people that Jesus came to save, I did not clearly communicate the convictions that I hold so precious."
Well I DO know, Joel, and the Bible tells me so! And Joel, and T.D., YES, doctrine - Biblical Doctrine - matters!
**UPDATE: January 25, 2008!
Michael Horton's reflections on Joel Osteen's latest book, Become a Better You.
Excerpt of Joel Osteen's December 23, 2007, appearance on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace speaking of Mormanism. Here's the entire transcript. You may also watch it here on YouTube.
Brent, on his blog Colossians ThreeSixteen, talks about why Joel Osteen should stop calling himself a pastor and put a “Self-Help” sign outside his building.
**UPDATE: October 16, 2007
**RE: Joel Osteen's interview on CBS' 60 Minutes (Oct. 14, 2007) -
My friend Tony Reinke (a fellow Husker! nonetheless) over at The Shepherd’s Scrapbook has these comments about Osteen's kinder, gentler path to legalism.
**RE: Joel's newly released book, Become A Better You -
Tim Challies' book review, here.
And why Joel Osteen’s book should not be sold in Christian bookstores.
**RE: Book reviews of Osteen's earlier book, Your Best Life Now -
9Marks Ministry's review, here.
Daryl Wingerd's review, here.
**RE: Another look at Osteen's "theology" from Dr. Ben Witherington, here.
My Evening with Joel, by Melton Duncan, Director of Church Relations for Ligonier Ministries (and brother of Ligon Duncan).
As reported recently out of Boston:
Boston Herald (Sept. 2, 2006)
"He’s the most popular preacher in the country right now - a best-selling author and the “most watched minister” in America. But when asked yesterday about gay marriage during a trip to the bluest state in the land of the free - and the only one where same-sex nuptuals are legal - the Rev. Joel Osteen suddenly got sheepish. “I don’t think it’s God’s best,” the handsome Holy Roller said of homosexuality. “I never feel like homosexuality is God’s best.” When pressed on the issue, Osteen said, “I don’t feel like that’s my thrust . . . you know, some of the issues that divide us, and I’m here to let people know that God is for them and he’s on their side.”
And from the InternetMonk, Sept. 7, 2006
"... In his speaking and writing, Osteen continues to be a positive thinking guru and motivational speaker who uses the trappings of a Christian pastor and preacher to tap into a gullible, compromised audience whose great commonality seems to be their agreement that Joel is personally charming and “Your Best Life Now” sounds a lot more interesting than “take up your cross and follow me.”
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels."