Osteenification of American Religion

Hank Hanegraaff must have read all of Joel Osteen’s books, because he quotes them all in this article on Osteen’s heresies.

Osteen is the hip new personification of God-talk in America… Behind Osteenian self-affirmations—“I am anointed,” “I am prosperous,” “My God is a ‘supersizing God’”—there lies a darker hue. Behind the smile is a robust emphasis on all that is negative. If you are healthy and wealthy, words created that reality. However, if you find yourself in dire financial straits, contract cancer, or, God forbid, die an early death, your words are the prime suspect. Says Osteen, “We’re going to get exactly what we’re saying. And this can be good or it can be bad” (Discover the Champion in You, May 3, 2004). In evidence, he cites one illustration after the other. One in particular caught my attention: the story of a “kind and friendly” worker at the church. He died at an early age, contends Osteen, “being snared by the words of his mouth” (I Declare [FaithWords, 2012], viii–ix).

That snare is meant to be an application of Proverbs 6:1-2, but read those verses to see if you get the same application as Osteen does.

Hanegraaff says Osteen’s gospel is a version of New Thought Metaphysics, the idea that our words are a force of magic in the real world. In Osteen’s book, Your Best Life Now, he writes, “You have to begin speaking words of faith over your life. Your words have enormous creative power. The moment you speak something out you give birth to it. This is a spiritual principle, and it works whether what you are saying is good or bad, positive or negative.”

Hanegraaff has written on this at length in his new book, The OSTEENification of American Christianity, which is available for a gift of any amount to the Christian Research Institute.

4 thoughts on “Osteenification of American Religion”

  1. That’s not what Osteen meant, but yeah, the verses are about cosigning a loan. Osteen yanks out a few words from verse two to say that our own negative words will ensnare us. Perhaps if we don’t believe we will live, then we won’t.

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