6 Things Joel Osteen Won’t Tell You about Being a True Christian


Everything you know about being a true Christian is wrong. Especially if you are a member of Joel Osteen’s church.

This post is in honor of my buddies Michael Horton and  Joel Osteen…

See, I’m reading Horton’s book Christless Christianity this week.

And, in a nutshell, Horton majestically fleeces Osteen for preaching a defective gospel.

So, as I draw to a close on reading the book, I wanted to draw out six wrong conclusions Osteen shares about being a Christian.

Read on for the drama.

Where Did Osteen Go Wrong?

Joel Osteen went wrong when he decided to become a life-enhancement preacher.

On any given sunday at Lakewood. . . Joel Osteen’s church. . .you’ll hear a pulpit full of the abundant life gospel: try a little harder and luxuries galore will fall into your lap.

Unfortunately, Osteen’s dead wrong.

When we become Christians–born again believers–God doesn’t promise a life of ease. Just the opposite.

True Christians Are Dominated by Jesus

People become like those who dominate them. A true Christian acts like Christ.

It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20

A true Christian is a new creature. Of course, a true Christian will lapse occasionally. But there will be evidence of Christlikeness in the everyday life of the true Christian.

True Christians Are Rejected

Other people will respond to a true Christian as they did Christ. If you are a genuine Christian, you can expect the world that rejects Christ to reject you.

True Christians Are Fearless

True Christians are not afraid of the world. They fear God more than man.

When the world turns hostile and persecutes the true christian. . .when his friends cast him out. . .when his family alienates him. . .a true Christian is not afraid. As Mark Driscoll said, he’s utterly given himself over to Christ.

True Christians Are Hardcore Loyal

When the heat is on, when the pressure and the persecution are bearing down and the world is hostile, the true Christian will confess Christ. He’ll go to jail or take a bullet in the mouth rather than deny Jesus.

True Christians Forsake Family

In Matthew 10:34, 35 Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword….For I have come to set man against this father.”

Becoming a true Christian could fracture your family every way possible. It’s hard. It’s sacrificial. And it supersedes everything.

True Christians Deny Self–Even to Death

Ambition. Dreams. Jobs. Friends. Life. A true Christian will give up all of these to follow Jesus.

And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:38

Because of the failed insurrection of Judas of Galilee, the disciples understood “take up your cross” to mean death.

Your cross isn’t a dying grandmother or miserable job. It’s confessing Christ in the face of death. It’s utter self denial.

The Joy of Being a True Christian

Here’s the point: What these six things do is prove the reality of your conversion. The abundant life gospel doesn’t do that.

Now, does being a true Christian mean you’re life is always going to be filled with hostile people, unbearable circumstances and constant death threats?

No. When we preach, live and witness, some people will actually respond in repentance. That’s pretty humbling: God used a defective, bumbling bonehead to save someone else.

It’ll make you weep.

But somehow–as Horton points out–this part of the gospel is missing from Osteen’s sermons.

Why is that? I have a theory: Maybe he’s afraid of being rejected. What do you think? Leave your thoughts–brutal and all–in the comments.

Disclaimer: I use the word “buddy” loosely. Very loosely.

**Part of the Curmudgeon’s Guide to Sharing Your Faith series.**