Joel Osteen speaks with refugees at Lakewood Church.
Joel Osteen speaks with refugees at Lakewood Church. (Joel Osteen Ministries/Facebook)

What does the world see when professing Christians fight, accuse and demean one another over the right to criticize a minister like Joel Osteen? What is it in you that wants to pull this man down? Is it because he's rich and has a lot of money? Is it because you think he's a false teacher? Is it because he owns a mansion and you don't?

Oh, I got it! He's deceiving people with false doctrine and raking in the money while he does it. From all the social media posts I've recently read, that seems to be the hot button.

C'mon, people! Do you really believe that Joel Osteen purposely and intentionally deceives people with his teachings so he can rake in millions of dollars from them? I'm not saying I agree with his doctrine, but why must we so vehemently criticize him and kick him to the curb while the world watches us? And all this in the middle of such a horrible disaster that has left thousands of people homeless with increasing fatalities. How do you think the world perceives that? Can't you see that this is what the devil wants? He deceives and divides in order to destroy us rendering us ineffective. How will the world know we are Jesus' disciples while we behave in such a hateful manner?

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:35).

How can anyone who calls himself a Christian hate anybody, much less a minister like Joel Osteen? I've heard so-called Christians spew hate and harsh criticism toward this man, especially on the heels of the Houston flooding, accusing him and his church of not doing anything or not enough to help. Do you know this man? Have you ever sat and had a conversation with him? Do you know his heart? Has he committed some awful crime or evil? Why then do so many Christians treat him like a monster?

You know what I think? "Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him" (1 John 3:15). And if you say you love, God you're a liar: "If anyone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" (1 John 4:20).

Evil Desires Cause Quarrels

"Where do wars and fights among you come from? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your body?" (James 4:1).

Evil desires. Too many professing Christians are yielding to evil desires! Let that sink in. This ought not be. Sometimes I wonder if some of these professing Christians are even saved. To prove that Joel Osteen's church building was not flooded, and in fact could've been serving as a shelter for so many who've been left homeless, this one fellow went out in the rain and filmed the church's property and posted it on social media. He went to extreme measures to show evidence that Lakewood Church was not flooded, and that he and the members of the church are all a bunch of hypocrites and charlatans who don't really care about the people of Houston.

This man exposed his heart pretty quickly, though, as the very first words out of his mouth while he was narrating what he was filming was [an obscenity]. What blatant hypocrisy! And that's what we are seeing—the same so-called Christians criticizing and finding fault with Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church are usually the lazy ones who always feel a sense of entitlement. They are so quick to point out problems while never contributing to the solution.

Don't listen to the kickers and the gripers, the critics and the skeptics and for goodness sake, don't listen to the media who feeds into that frenzy. There is plenty of love, goodness and compassion being demonstrated to the people of Houston through so many churches, organizations and individuals at this time.

My concern and purpose in writing this article is to identity this rotten, critical and contentious spirit of strife that is dividing the body of Christ, and encourage everyone to walk in the love of God. What is your motive in criticizing a man like that? What is it in you that wants to kick down a man like that? This is the attitude God sees, and frankly, it stinks. Do you believe that blowing his candle out will cause yours to shine brighter? Are you the spiritual police? You can disagree with his doctrine and expose error without personally attacking him and criticizing him.

Don't you think that Jesus knew all along that one of His own disciples, Judas, was stealing from the treasury? Yet He didn't expose his sin or tell anyone. Love covers a multitude of sins (see Prov. 10:12). If that spirit of real agape love ever gets into the church, look out! It will unify us like never before and put the devil on the run. The love of God is the bond of unity.

So what is Joel Osteen's sin? He's a false teacher? He's become rich by questionable means? Is that offensive to you? If these things are true, they should break your heart and cause you sadness, not agitate you and make you harsh, critical and judgmental.

If Joel has erred in his doctrine, and through greed and covetousness has amassed riches for himself, he's in bad shape and will have to give account to God for that. Only his judgment shall be stricter because he is teaching millions of people.

"My brothers, not many of you should become teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater judgment" (James 3:1).

If Joel Osteen has lost his way and is in trouble with the Lord, that should be what concerns every professing Christian and lead you to pray for the man. If he were your own son, brother or father, would you be criticizing him and speaking evil of him before the church and the world? I think not. When we can love others like they are our own children or closest of kin, we are really making progress and maturing in the true love of God.

It's time all of us paid more attention to our own heart, lifestyle and walk with God instead of public figures like Joel Osteen. After all, you don't have to listen to his teachings, follow him or give to his church or ministry.

Make sure to check out Bert Farias' tetralogy of books: The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus and The Real Spirit of Revival. Contained within these books are penetrating truths that will help root out the falsehood in today's modern churches.

Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, has authored several books with an emphasis on helping to restore the true spirit of Christianity in the Church today, including the newly released, Passing on The Move of God to The Next Generation and the highly sacred book, The Journal Of A Journey To His Holiness. An anointing of fire marks his ministry with frequent demonstrations of the Spirit and power of God. He ministers interdenominationally and cross-culturally in nations, churches, conferences, on the streets and in homes. He and his wife Carolyn also host The Holy Ghost Forum – a school of the Spirit. Follow him at Bert Farias and Holy Fire Ministries on Facebook and @Bertfarias1 on Twitter.

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