Joel Osteen Discusses CT School Shooting on "Today" Show

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Osteen says he won't take a stand for gun control because "political issues divide us."

Pastor Joel Osteen, leader of Lakewood Church in Houston, the largest megachurch in the U.S., spoke to Matt Lauer during an interview on the Today Show on the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 27 people died when a gunman invaded the campus on December 14.

Osteen said he doesn’t feel it is his duty to take a stand regarding gun control in this country because he’s trying to “reach as many people as possible” and “political issues divide us.”

“There are good people on both sides of the aisle, and I don’t know what the best answer there is either, but I just try to guide them and give them hope in this time of need,” he told Lauer.

He also explained that “God gave us all our own free will” and “freedom of choice” and “unfortunately, some people choose to do evil … I still believe that God is good and God is for us, but He doesn’t make us do what’s right.”

The Christian Post reports that the Sandy Hook shooting has invoked widespread debates regarding gun control in the U.S., while others say the issue is a deeper one regarding our youth and the importance and accessibility of mental health services.

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  • Steve

    Mr. Osteen, has put this in the right perspective , the way I believe JESUS would have answered!

    • Anthony Davis

      He still a coward and false teacher

  • Matt

    Jesus always took a stand on religious, political and everyday life issues. Osteen cannot afford to lose book sales or risk his donation base. He may be wrong or right on his true feelings, but as believers, we have to make them known, not walk the tightrope. John O would be GREAT walking across Niagara on a rope he practices so much!!!

  • Hank

    Good Ol Joel. Ambiguous enough to be everyone’s friend. I agree that Christian leaders have to be very careful with political issues. So this time it worked out well and ended up being a decent statement.

  • Matt

    Jesus always took a stand on religious, political and everyday life
    issues. When Jesus called the religious leaders of his day “gravesites” (my paraphrase) “clean on the outside, dead on the inside.” He was letting his “opinion” be known. Osteen cannot afford to lose book sales or risk his donation
    base. He may be wrong or right on his true feelings, but as believers,
    we have to make them known, not walk the tightrope. John O would be
    GREAT walking across Niagara on a rope, he practices so much!!!

  • John

    As soon as I saw this article, I knew what was coming. Osteen is always true to form. He will not commit to anything — not even sin and evil. I agrre with Matt, he must take care of the money first. One thing he said that is true — all he wants to do is make people feel good! This isn’t the gospel people need today.

  • Kiley Sekulich

    I’m gonna agree with y’all. Growing up my parents reminded me regularly that if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything. God has blessed him with a huge platform to use in his ministry and all he wants to do with it is give people hope. You can give lost people all the hope in the world, but if you don’t point them toward salvation, they are still lost.

    • Anthony Davis

      Just because a ministry is big dosent mean its blessed by God……..He tells people what they want to hear every weekend He is more intrested in pleasing people that God which by the way the God he presents in his messages isnt the true biblical God its an false god to be hones i cant stand the guy and i think he is a coward and he is leading people astray and loving them straight to hell….that is why the scripture says the devil mascerades around as a angel of light.

      • Pst Andy

        Agree with you all the way thank you for your comment

    • Kathy Robinson

      Kiley, I agree, he has been blessed with a huge platform. Hope is his M-O-N-E-Y.
      He refuses to engage pollitics because he would lose his mega followers. The name of the game is so obvious. He is so opposite of his father, John.

      • Fernando Villegas

        Kiley, Anthony, and Kathy…how much time do any of you spend *praying* for him. This is not a “gotcha” question; I seriously hope you do. Just curious, though.

  • Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

    Joel Osteen is the best politician in the preaching business that I know. If you never take a clear stand on an issue, you can never be held accountable for what you do or don’t believe. I am just glad that Jesus Christ set a better example on what and how to take a stand on important issues.

    In this case like many hot button issues, indeed you will find yourself on the wrong side of someone on this and many other hot button issues, so why not just take a stand. Just stand for what’s right and let the chips fall where they may.

    Oh I forgot…. I don’t have the budget that Joel Osteen has to meet every month to get people to like me so I,sell books or fill the house every Sunday to collect the offerings from those,who only want to hear an encouraging word. So here you go, Jesus died for Adam Lanza too!

    Very few times have these horrific crimes been committed by criminals with shady backgrounds that existing or new guns laws would have prevented these crimes from taking place. Criminals obtain guns illegally and people who pass background checks obtain guns legally.

    Yes more often than not, it’s the guy next door, up the street, around the way, down the way, the everyday type of folk who had a bad day and elected by choice to take their anger out on innocence people. So what new gun laws will prevent this?

    More often than not, it’s not the criminal type that people so love to think in their minds as being the “bad guy” because these folks don’t fit the image profile in their own minds, rather the “everyday” folks who commit these senseless crimes like the neighborhood watch guy in Florida who when losing a fight becomes a sore loser takes out a gun to end young life of another…I think some called this “self-defense” but he was only one was
    carrying. It’s like taking a Ping-Pong paddle to a gun fight.

    Let’s say for example on that faithful day, just one of the Newtown teacher’s had a CLC and was packing that day and they took down this man before he had the time to take so many lives….where would gun control voices be now? Would they be hollowing gun control or heralding the person that stop the shooter?

    Increased gun control and talk of this nature only tends to increase gun sales from the fear of keen-jerk reactions and fears of political types taking away the American right to
    possess arms that can take down people who break in your house at night while
    you are sleeping, take your kid out of her bedroom window in the early morning
    hours, stop a home invasion, rape of family member, death of loved one or
    prevent some nut who had a bad day like Adam Lanza from killing innocence

    This is my stand and proud it like on so many other hot button issues that others are too afraid take a stand on because they fear losing members and may not be able to meet their budgets or lifestyle out concerns because members may disagreed. So what are you going to be a preacher or a puppet?

    So for those who disagree with me, find another preacher or just stick with Joel Osteen, you would be hard press to find out where he stands on many hot button issues of today.

    Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

    • Fernando Villegas

      With all due respect, taking a stand on an issue that is not addressed in Scripture is not preaching. It’s giving an opinion, and personally, I think the less of our own opinions that we give when preaching, the better!

      Let me clarify that: I’m not saying that we shouldn’t express our opinions at all when preaching. I’m not saying we should not share how Scripture informs our opinions. These things have their place, although I personally believe that place should be quite small. But we should have the integrity to admit that, in the end, it is just that–an opinion. And others in the congregation should be free to hold a different opinion if their conviction leads them to disagree. No one should have to “find another preacher” simply because they disagree with your stand on gun control!

      • Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

        Mr. Villegas

        All due respect taken and given. So please do not become upset at what I am about to share with you.

        Regarding your comments “taking a stand on an issue that is not addressed
        in Scripture. It’s giving an opinion…” is in part correct on the

        In the instance case you are writing about (unlike other hot button issues that
        are specifically spoken about by name in Scripture like same sex marriage), the issue of gun control is not.

        However, the shedding of innocence blood is and like other hot button issues in no uncertain terms. Here you are correct other then the sword there is no specific mention of implements (such as guns or gun control are not).

        I would suspect however that if guns existed during the time in which the
        applicable Scriptural text was written, it would be safe to say that guns as
        implements of war used in the taking of innocence life would have been mentioned by name. But were not because they did not exist at the time.

        While you are very generous in sharing your “opinions” in response,
        please allow me this opportunity to shed some light. As preacher, I am tasked
        only to speak the Word of God, not give my opinion or take yours, only speak the Word of God in love and particularly when bringing correction.

        Don’t fall off your stool, but your opinion does not matter, neither does mine
        nor that of others in conflict with God’s Word. This being said, as person I
        have many different opinions on many topics just like you, Joel Osteen and
        others have shared.

        They are just that personal opinions. Not God’s decreed or declared Word for which I am obligated to preach by my calling regardless if your thoughs, opinion’s or that of members like it or not. I have duty to please God not man.

        Yes, “others in the congregation should be free to hold a different
        opinion if their conviction leads them to disagree” they can disagree with
        me all day and night and many do. This however will not change the facts and their convictions should allow them to find a church that believes like them and I wish them well in their new home.

        Finally, where you go to church makes every bit of a difference in the world
        because it’s the leader of this church that teaches the true Word of God (or
        should) and since the door swings both ways. We also welcome those who like come be to apart of our ministry.

        The botton line, the hope is what the true Word proclaimed in “integrity” I
        believed you call it will be drawn all men to me (Jesus) and I just let God do
        the rest.

        So while no one should have to “find another preacher” simply because
        they disagree a stand on gun control”, they are feel to join your church, Joel’s church or attend the First Stay at Home Baptist Church like so many do every Sunday.

        The problem in not in the world, but in our churches with so many that are
        unwilling to stand-up for God’s Word because they lack conviction that has
        been traded in for comprised.

        No wonder the world in confused about church today because it’s no clear distinction between world and church. Now this was opinion just in case you did not notice.

        Be well my friend.

        Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

        • Fernando Villegas

          Wow, I don’t even know how to begin responding…I feel like you read a whole bunch more into what I wrote than I intended to communicate; and as a result, I think you’re responding to things, that I’m not actually talking about…well, let’s see…

          Let’s start with what we do agree: personal opinions are just that, and our primary focus as preachers is God’s word, not our own opinions. That’s basically what I was wanting to say, and obviously you agree; so I don’t know where all that other stuff came from!

          We also agree that the issue of gun control is not specifically addressed in Scripture, since guns did not exist in Biblical times. However, as you pointed out, there are related issues that *are* addressed in Scripture, and from which we can infer general principles that can inform our understanding of this issue.

          Finally, you and I both agree we must have the conviction to take a stand for God’s word.

          And that’s about it. Those are my main points. Maybe there’s something I’m not quite understanding clearly, but your response to my comment comes across as if there is some major, fundamental difference between us. But there’s just no such difference. And I’m not quite sure why you anticipated that anything you wrote would upset me. Why would I be upset that you and I agree?

          As to a couple of minor points where I *do* feel we’re not quite on the same page: This article doesn’t have anything to do with taking a stand on God’s word. Osteen is choosing not to take a stand on an issue which–as you yourself recognize–is not specifically addressed in God’s word. So my question that I posed originally is, why is he getting criticized for that? What’s wrong with simply saying, “The Bible doesn’t talk about this directly, and I don’t know what the right answer is. And since there are people in my congregation that have convictions on both sides of the issue, I see no reason for making this issue a point of division in my congregation”? There may well be other reasons for criticizing him, by why bring that up here, other than because of some weird desire to bash him anytime his name comes up? But, I mean, that’s just me.

          Also, as to your point that people are free to find a church that believes like them: I guess I would say that depends on what you mean by that, and I confess that I’m still not quite sure I’m understanding you clearly on that. If you mean, if the church one attends does not proclaim God’s word faithfully, then certainly looking for a new church would be advisable.

          But if you mean, looking for a church where they agree with me on issues that are ancillary to the Bible (such as gun control), much less irrelevant…I don’t know…I mean, I suppose that, yes, we’re free to do so. But there’s just something about that that seems a little too consumerist for me. There’s many people in my congregation who disagree with me on issues such gun control, politics, etc. That’s perfectly fine. I have wonderful relationships with these people, and they don’t feel any need nor desire to go looking for a new church. Because on the core basics of Scripture and salvation, we are in agreement.

          But again, these latter points are minor. I assure you, on the major points, you and I are both in agreement.

          • Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

            Fernando Villegas

            Don’t worry about how to respond, it appears you found a way. Nevertheless, we are done here so have a very Merry Christmas.

            Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

          • Fernando Villegas

            Well, it seems to me like everything I said just went in through one ear and out the other. I can’t do anything about that, though, so I guess we’ll just have to leave it at that.

            It’s a shame, though. Something as simple as either: “Sorry, you misunderstood me; here’s what I’m saying in a nutshell…” or: “I misunderstood you; my apologies,” would’ve been enough.

    • brother Reed

      Whew!….well the right Reverend told us huh?! DUDE, brother Joel is saying, as Christians, we don’t have hot buttons to push, we all…brother Joel too, all of us feel for the children lost (but home now) impaired young man and his weary mother. brother Olsteen is in the relationship biz, EVERYBODY come in. He doesn’t shun or degrade anyone.

      • Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

        Brother Reed

        DUDE???? I am DUDE in with capital letters and Joel Osteen is brother Joel? Please tell me how you really feel think I may have missed it? You are at least in correct one thing, people need to take their Monday morning quarterbacking mitts of Adam’s mom. Clearly she loved her son like we all love our children…and all parents make mistakes.

        What she did or did not do in trying to help her own son Adam navigate society including the introduction to guns was intentional love, not intended for harm to others for which she herself played a very heavy price a victim this day.

        The national press and do right all the time public critics just need to back off Mon at bit lest the world beings to look at plank in your own family’s eye in very critical point of view and get the dirt from the carpet of your own front door.

        The women is dead and can not defend herself to tell the world just how many nights she cried herself to sleep seeking the solutions to help her son…where were the critics then?

        Now to your hot button issue comment…what real world do you live in? Gun control, same-sex marriage, etc. Just a few of the hot button issues all around us that for far too long Christians have ran from turning the other cheek only to get slapped on the other side as the opposition advanced their position Christian’s back tracked.

        I like Joel and believe or not financially support Joel’s ministry because of his appeal to the luke warm like you and others that need milk and not ready for meat. So there you go, image that me financially supporting Joel…why because the Lord’s work take place in many ways and in many venues.

        By the way brother Reed, it’s Rev. DUDE to you!

        Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

        • Innocent bystander…..

          Nice display of humility Dr.

          • Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

            Innocent Bystander

            Well I guess the “Innocent bystander” is not so innocent at all!

            So since by your own professed “innocence” in pointing out my implied lack of humility… “innocently” of course, I accept your comments “JC” or is that really Jesus Christ in short using modern media to speak to me?

            You are most welcomed to share your opinions of what you may think is true or not, like others you have this right…wrong or right you have already made your choice.

            However, as me and my house, we will speak the true Word of God, Bible based solid teachings, even if it offends the “innocent” bystander(s)!

            “Dr.” A/K/A

            Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

  • Anthony Davis

    I agree with Joel he played it safe but he is still a coward and false prophet and anyone who knows the true God the biblical God not this soft prosperity god…will know that Joel is false and he is a deceiver i done know if he does it deliberately or not but the scripture that says that many will come to me on that day and say Lord Lord didn’t we do this and that and Jesus will say get away from me i never knew you now catch this the key word is MANY! I believe many are being deceived by him and other prosperity preachers who preach a gospel that does not save and there fore you have all of these false converts thinking they know the true God doing Alll of these good works and such…..on that day what a sad day it will be……to have the King of Kings disown you…..if you want uour best life now Just know you will have a enternity of hell later

  • Chuck Crisco

    Seriously folks? I didn’t know that slander, accusation and judgment were characteristics of love. Will we be accusers of the brethren in this time? The sign if the last days includes offended hearts too.

    • Billy

      I only disagree and disregard everything Joel says because of his comments on what I believe was piers Morgan’s talk show (may have been a different show). He was asked a question about if “his” way (Jesus) was the only way to Heaven. Joel’s response was scary, he said something along the lines of: “I don’t know if my way is the only way, I can’t say that for sure.” Because of that statement I have completely written Joel Osteen off as a false teacher.

  • JAlanis

    Live, Love and Pray – Daily: Here’s a poem a buddy of mine sent me – I wish to share with you all.

    Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38,
    When 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
    Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
    They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

    They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
    They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
    “Where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
    “This is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”

    When what to their wondering eyes did appear,
    But Jesus, their Savior, the children gathered near.
    He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
    Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

    And in that moment was joy, that only Heaven can bring.
    Those children all flew into the arms of their King.
    And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
    One small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
    And as if He could read all the questions she had,
    He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
    Then He looked down on earth, the world far below,
    He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe.
    Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
    “Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”

    “May this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
    “I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
    Then He and the children stood up without a sound.
    “Come now my children, let me show you around.”
    Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
    All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
    And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
    “In the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

    Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

  • Angel Menchaca

    Joel Osteen is doing a great job of sharing the message of hope found through Jesus Christ. He is my brother in Christ and I will continue to uphold him in prayer.

  • Fernando Villegas

    To practically everyone here (I think): Really? He chooses not to take a stand on an issue (gun control) that is not mentioned in the Bible, and for that he’s being criticized?

    Gun control is not a clear-cut issue. There are valid arguments both for and against. Is gun control really a hill you all would be willing to die on?

    Sometime I’d like to see Osteen declare in an interview: “The sky is blue,” just to see how many people would criticize him for *that*. Sheesh…

    • Fernando Villegas

      Just to amend the intro to my comments, I did go back and find a couple or so that were willing to cut Osteen some slack. That’s good to know!

    • Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Hodges

      See Rev. Ronald E. Hodges comments in response to this.

  • Tommy

    I don’t usually agree with Brother Olsteen, but this time I kinda do. He did say there are good people on both sides of the aisle(True). He also admitted not knowing the best answer. That is when he had the opportunity to tell the whole world the best answer is Jesus. I understand the we do have free will, but as Pastors, it is our responsibility to share Jesus every opportunity we have, and what an opportunity he missed. Joel Olsteen is a gifted speaker, but there is a difference in a gifted speaker and an anointed man of God.

  • Steven Leapley

    False prophet? coward?…..last time I checked (and I am not a Joel Osteen fan…fyi) the Bible speaks of false prophets and preachers as those who do not preach that Jesus is the way. (1 John 2:21-23) THAT is the indication of a false prophet! Joel, I believe still preaches that Jesus is the way. Yes, he may ‘water it down’ a bit (ok maybe a lot for you ultra conservative and/or legalistic types), but he still claims Jesus as the Christ. Jesus said to take the log out of your eye before removing your brother speck…….In other words, check yourself before you sound like an idiot. None of us are perfect…..
    As a side note….how many of you preachers out there take a stand against same sex marriage laws…yet fail to take a SERIOUS stand against saving Christian marriages????
    We must stop picking and choosing the who and whats in this life and start living the way Jesus instructed His followers to!

    • Billy

      Joel may preach it but when asked on live TV if his way was the only way he replied by saying: “I don’t know if my way is the only way, I don’t know that for sure.”

  • Rodney

    No doubt, Lauer wanted to get Joel on the side of the forces who want to make it a crime to own a gun. Fortunately, he did not take the bait. I do not know Joel’s heart, but I would have told them to train and arm the staff at every school. That would stop these tragedies. Christ never intended to leave His followers defenseless in such circumstances.

  • Billy

    When I see anything about Joel osteen I automatically tune it out! I have been this way about him since he got on national television and said: “I don’t know if my way is the only way to Heaven.” He only said this to keep people of other “religions” at peace with them so they could buy his book (which he was promoting). It’s sad that a leader with such a huge following has lost sight of what makes us successful, which is Gods will, and has focused on the success of the world. Reminds me of the church in Ephesus who left their first love! We need to pray for Joel that he will commit himself back to doing Gods will!

  • Pastor jasper okello abura

    Give to ceaser what belongs to ceaser , we should not condemn our fellow believers in the public, the house divided can not stand, I believe Joel in his life time have prevented the lanza scenario several times, and if he is to criticise them they will not be able to be worn, the only thing that will win America is love, let us hug the criminal and in so doing we will win them, be blessed and increase, put a plan before you, lay hands on it, and the sinner will be worn for God.

    • Pastor jasper okello abura

      In the old roman times back In the days even as far back as Abraham’s time, everyone owned a weapon for protection even Peter used one in the gardens of gestamene, so therefore this gun control debate is sensitive issue, let us just pray, America is in much deeper spiritual troubles, so let us pray for the lord of harvest to send harvestors from across the world.


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