Driscoll on Joel Osteen: "There Are Worse Things Than Being Happy and Encouraging"

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Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll says it doesn't bother him that fellow megachurch pastor Joel Osteen is "happy all the time."

During an recent interview promoting his new book, Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll talked about fellow megachurch pastor Joel Osteen and how some of his Reformed brethren “like to treat him like a pinata,” but that “there are worse things than being happy and encouraging at a time when the most common prescription medications are antidepressants.” Driscoll also called Osteen “the most well-known pastor in America” and said that “it doesn’t bother me that he’s happy all the time, because maybe his spiritual gift is encouragement.”

“A few guys in our tribe could learn to talk about something other than painful, arduous suffering once and a while — if nothing else than for the sake of variety,” Driscoll also said during the interview. As reported by The Christian Post, Driscoll acknowledged the “theological differences” between his church and Osteen’s, and he even agreed that “God wants you to prosper in your health, in your family, in your relationships, in your business, and in your career…” But he also said he was concerned about “this whole wave of Christian thinking that says joy is to be found in the same place that culture and spirituality tells us. Get rich. Get healthy. Be happy … Health and wealth. Prosperity.”

Driscoll’s new book, Who Do You Think You Are?, released in January by Thomas Nelson, says that Christians should be “appreciated people” who “exchange grumbling for praying … performing for serving, and boasting for encouraging.” But he maintained that Christians shouldn’t pay too much attention to either joy or suffering. “Our identity is in Christ, whether we have joy or are suffering.”

“In any case … God loves us, he is aware of our life, and he appreciates our grace-centered efforts to serve and obey…” he explained.

Osteen’s church, Lakewood Church in Houston, welcomes more than 43,000 people to his church each week. Driscoll’s Mars Hill Church is located in Seattle and has 14 locations throughout the U.S.

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  • Guest

    I’m with Mark on this one. Joel’s preaching is a bit off. He certainly distorts the scripture often, but there is some gospel laced in it. I wish he would preach the whole gospel rather than pop psychology laced with the gospel. As Paul would say, at least the gospel is being preached. I don’t recommend Osteen to people in my church, but I’m not willing to say he’s not a brother. He probably is, just misguided. God is sovereign. The Spirit can correct those things and I pray that in time He will. At the very least, He will fix the discrepancies on the last day.

    • Also a guest

      “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9 ESV)” False teaching is a very serious offense and one not to be dismissed with a smile and a shrug. If it is overlooked, well, you get the state of the western church.

      • http://www.facebook.com/don.brawley.9 Don Brawley

        The Gospel is the good news of Christ crucified for our salvation. Joel preaches JESUS as the way to eternal life. He doesn’t preach any other way. We will have theological differences but OUR commonality is still Jesus Christ and Him crucified!

    • http://www.facebook.com/dan.anderson.1690 Dan Anderson

      “but there is some gospel laced in it” If it is not the WHOLE Gospel, it isn’t THE Gospel.

      part truth and part lie makes a lie.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.davis.Jesusfreak Anthony Davis

      For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Travis-Busbar/1500753741 Travis Busbar

      “a bit off” ? Joel is not even a nano bit on. Joel doesn’t preach the gospel, so you are either misinformed, or a satanic apologist. And posting as “guest”… that attests to your credibility perfectly.

  • mkdb

    “They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
    “Peace, peace,” they say,
    when there is no peace.”

    This is not merely a matter of smiling a lot and being encouraging [what, specifically, is he encouraging us with?].

    “I did not send these prophets,
    yet they have run with their message;
    I did not speak to them,
    yet they have prophesied.
    But if they had stood in my council,
    they would have proclaimed my words to my people
    and **would have turned them from their evil ways
    and from their evil deeds**.”

    Does JO do the above?

  • mkdb

    This is all further proof that discernment is dead…

    How safe, or dangerous, is it to teach us to find ‘Your Best Life NOW”? Is that the example in the “faith hall of fame” (Heb 11)?

    “O Lord, by your hand save me from such men,
    from men of this world WHOSE REWARD IS IN THIS LIFE.”

  • mkdb

    Does JO fit more in the first 2 verses of 2 Timothy 4, or more into the third and fourth verses?

  • leonard

    JO’s preaching is Bible psychology and heavy on Grace with Christ as the only door to haven.

  • Joe Rhoads

    What’s worse than being happy and encouraging? Twisting Scripture. Sorry Mark, but Joel Osteen preaches a form of word of faith that is contrary to scripture. In fact, the basis for being happy and being encouragement, in Osteen’s theology is his scripture twisting. Read his books (which, incidently are just repackaged; he’s says nothing new). In Best Life Now, Osteen actually says we can claim the best parking spot in a parking lot and that we speak it by faith because faith-filled words have power (we speak it and it comes true) and that we deserve the best parking spot because we are a child of the king.
    This is a long way from the apostle Paul who begged Jesus three times to remove the thorn in his flesh, only to be told no because He grace is perfected in weakness.

    • jayko

      If you want a prosperous life listen to prosperity message. If you want to be healed go listen to healing message. Just because Paul has thorn in his flesh doesn’t mean that all should have one. Don’t judge other people experiencing God’s best for them just because you are not. Let’s not be hypocrite everyone wants a better life, house, car, good job, successful business. Jesus came not just to save us but to give us a satisfying and overflowing life. A person who has an experience with God is not at the mercy of the one who has a theory of the scripture.

      • Dalia

        The simple minded are so simple to dissuade. These prosperity wolves have you in their back pocket, where their billfold is. What would they do without the simple minded?

      • Pastor Sam

        Wow!,dude they got you.Repent!!!!!! Seek God not riches Repent

      • Hersh, or is it Harsh

        Hate to speak against you and disagree, BUT…. our joy, our success, our happiness, our worth/value/self-esteem, our whatever is, in HIM Jesus…. this spinning mudball has NOTHING of value other than an opportunity to serve the Lord. That opportunity is to do His work and nothing else.

        Does that mean this life has to suck? Nope…. it fact, since I realized I’m here for His glory and not my own, I’m here to do His work and not to worry… I have never been more happier/joyful/fulfilled. That doesn’t mean every day is great…BUT as long as I see that this is NOT my home and I know with out question where my real home is and Who owns it… I can’t wait to get there!!!!!

        It’s like being a young child on Christ-mas eve waiting for Santa but 1,0-infinity-of 0’s BETTER. And because I feel this way and have since 1999, God blessed me and gave me a gift. Someone who feels the same way, my wonderful wife!

        100% saved 90% committed (Why 90% Harsh?) because honesty I am not perfect, but each day I GET TO try again rather than GOT TO…. Wow!!!! a god who “loves even me” enough to allow me to be more like Christ. A god who keeps cheering me on…. gives me strength to do His will and has already has my name written down…. That’s I call a “God” where true joy and love and fulfillment can be had daily by anyone who embrace His Son.

        Other than being in heaven… how much better can it get?

    • Tim Dolan

      Sounds like the man in the Crystal Cathedral. Schuler and the power of positive thinking…

  • ken

    Encouragement thru Christ is never a bad thing.

    • UMadBro

      Encouragement through Christ always includes repentance.

  • mkdb

    Satan would always prefer us to be happy and encouraged … and apart from the truth rather than unhappy and discouraged apart from the truth.

    In the first way we see or feel any need to search for the truth.

    At least there is a chance we will seek the truth in the second scenario.

  • Guest as well

    Even Satan laces Scripture with what he says. God’s Word is not a smorgasbord where you pick and choose some. If Mark Driscoll does not have red flags, then I have red flagged Mark Driscoll. Sad sign of the times as taught by His Word. Also in interviews, Joel misses what His Word teaches – scary. As Shepherds we and he is more accountable

    • Guest as well


  • SFC (R) Infantry

    Mark, Usually dig your thoughts and inputs, but this guy lets see; false teacher, twisting scripture, leading those astray. Just not feeling what your trying to put across here, should we use him as a punching bag? Well even here not sure as should we not expose truth to those. Ah heck we could go on and on, but I believe that these kinds of leaders of the church are a major problem with the church today, and men in general. Enlightening for me though to see you take this stance.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.davis.Jesusfreak Anthony Davis

      Amen SGT!!!!

  • Guest

    Joel Osteen is God’s gift to the world. He is biggest evangelist of our day. More people listen to him then anyone else…Humble guy, with simple message of faith, and results speak for themselves…!!! I am glad that Mark has decided to put down his guns against people who have favor bigger then God gave him. Maturity is finding difference between DISAGREEMENT and DISRESPECT. Love listening to both of these guys teach God’s word.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.davis.Jesusfreak Anthony Davis

      For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3……..

    • Tim Dolan

      Yes, you can disagree and not disrespect; but the reason why the most people are listening to Joel is not necessarily because he is correct or that God has enabled him

    • Kirstin

      God’s gift to the world? Huh. Thought that was Jesus.
      Anyway, what does it matter how many people listen to Him? The Bible says that in the end times, people would flock to those who would sooth their itching ears. If Joel Osteen preached the Truth, it would be great. But he’s managed to become a Dr. Phil-preacher hybrid that sucks all of the “bad” and unpleasantness out of the Gospel and replaced it with all love and happiness and joy and prosperity and money. Where’s the “all men will revile you and speak all manner of evil against you for My Name’s sake”? The twelve apostles that Jesus called had spiritual gifts of all kinds, but all but one died terrible, tortured deaths for the Gospel’s sake. Jesus knew that would happen when He called them. People still die terrible deaths for the Gospel. Are they just not trying hard enough? Not thinking enough good thoughts? Not that every believer is meant to die in a terrible way, but to say that you’ll live a charmed life if you say you believe in Jesus is ridiculous, and quite frankly completely contrary to the Word.
      By the way, “God’s gift to the world… the biggest evangelist of our day” went on national TV and said that it wasn’t his place to say whether or not Jesus was the only way to Heaven. I wonder what Paul would have thought of that? Or, you know, Jesus?
      I wouldn’t call that an evangelist, I would call that a sham.
      God’s gift to the world… I sincerely hope you’re joking.

  • Gil De La Rosa

    “I’m split; Mark you make a great point about the possibility that Olsteen may have the gift of encouragment. Hey that would explain the the constant smile. Then I’ve heard how his daddy was kicked out of the Southern Baptist Convention for his heretical teaching and then Joel with a marketing degree took it over. I understand Joel pretty much follows his daddy’s teaching. The question is; does Joel compromise the essentials of Christianity that would make him a false prophet? Gee, I’m leaving that in God’s hands! Thanks for your article; it got me thinking.

  • Pastor Joe

    Joel has the gift of encouragement – he uses the gift of encouragement to the glory of God. First, go be as effective with your gifts as he is, afterwards I’ll entertain you entering your “perfection” and casting stones. Many who are casting stones at Joel are whitewashed sepulchres themselves, unable to see past the 2×4 that’s in their eye to be able to see the splinter in his. Is his theology dead on – nope. Is yours? Nope. If you, even for a second, think you have the infinite God figured in your finite mind, then your ignorance precedes you by a mile. If you have an issue with your brother, go to him. If you can’t go to him, pray for him. If you can’t pray for him, pray for yourself…… But never slander a man that God is using unless you have a DIRECT word from God and even then it should never come out as anything but God’s Word. Opinions are like arm pits, we’ve all got them and most of them stink…this world is not in need of any more opinions. Help, build and benefit – Eph. 4:29.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.davis.Jesusfreak Anthony Davis

      For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 2 Timothy 4:3…

      • Guest

        Agreed Anthony, but is that not a rebuke to the listener?

      • Pastor Joe

        Gal. 5:15 “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

    • Dalia

      Pastor, (and I use the term lightly because self appointed has no real merit), it depends what wolves are encouraging. Is the encouraging one of the hope that lies within us, or is the hope we get a parking space in a crowded lot? Yes, pastors make mistakes, but there is a difference between an honest mistake and one that is intentionally deceitful. Agree?

      • Pastor Joe

        Dalia, I’m not sure that you or I have any idea what’s intentional. I hate the prosperity doctrine, but I still know that Deut. 28 holds true in every sense. There is a delicate balance between being blessed because of obedience and the blessing of grace. I know that I have not deserved every blessing that God has granted me………even a parking space. Everything that we have is a blessing from God. Your climate controlled house and car are better than than what kings enjoyed only 200 years ago……how many times have you thanked God for that today. We are the most blessed generation to have ever lived and possibly the most ungrateful. And a man comes along and says that God is good to him and that He will be good to those who believe in Jesus (I always throw Deut. 28 in, but that’s more my gifting….NOT his) and he says that we should be grateful and have a better outlook on life…but we want to tear the man to shreds because he doesn’t exercise the gift of a prophet and rail against sin….he’s not a prophet, he’s an encourager. Just let him exercise what God gifted him to do in peace – as much peace as a pastor can have who is under a spotlight of that magnitude. Gal. 5:15 “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

  • Dalia

    Ahhhh, yes! A little bit of leaven…won’t hurt anybody, right? No wonder discoll’s eyes always look a llittle “leaventy.”.

  • Ray Robinson

    I guess Driscoll has become the authority in & out the Body as to who has genuine relationship with God! Step back a minute pastor, & pray. Dont grumble about the president & don’t allow yourself to be used as a tool for separation in the body.

  • Pastor Sam

    Thats why he gets 43,000 people because thats the messege people want to hear,iam ok the way I live all I need is joy love love love how about Repent!!! If Jesus had a Church today he wouldent have 43,000 people try 43 Why beacause He would tell the people to Repent!!!! And all people want is love gospel.Repent God is Coming!!!!

  • mkdb

    This is all further proof that discernment is dead…

    How safe, or dangerous, is it to teach us to find ‘Your Best Life
    NOW”? Is that the example in the “faith hall of fame” (Heb 11)?

    “O Lord, by your hand save me from such men,
    from men of this world WHOSE REWARD IS IN THIS LIFE.”

  • Really?

    Wow, I think the point is no one is saying Joel has all his ducks in a row. Nor does any Pastor or person here. If it is false doctrine, we are not to follow. How do we know, through prayer and deep personal relationship with Christ and studying His word.. In my business we have to attend doesn’t of GURU’s that encouragement, and really I would take Joel any day over these who try to encourage you in how to make the next big $ without implementing a direction towards God. At least he keeps directing everything we do in Christ. He’s on a journey as we all our, I hardly think he believes he does everything right, but I am sure he prays God will fill his mouth and he would represent Christ in the right way.

  • Lenchito

    I’m not a big fan of Osteen or Driscoll but I think that one needs to be careful about talking about another Pastor & his ministry. The truth is whether you agree or not, Pastor Osteen is part of the body of Christ & God loves him & his church is growing so he must be doing something right. I think Pastor Driscoll needs to be really careful because standing on the outside looking in, one could precieve that Driscoll might be a little Jealous (only God knows?). Many times we can criticize & make harsh controversial statments out of arrogance rooted in Jealousy. Some times a Pastor neesds to rise up & take a stand & say something & sometimes he needs to shut up & pray. I’ve learned that pastors can make statements for shock value so that they might stay popular, but it all can be rooted in arrogance. Driscoll you got to do what you do & Osteen’s got to do what he does & leave it at that! Let’s be careful with talking about other pastors & instead pray for them, prayer works. God bless.

  • Sounding Thealarm

    I would highly recommend both Joel and Mark ready The 23rd Chapter of Jeremiah and use it as a plum line and then re think going forward

  • Jim

    If we look at Pastor Olsteen more as God’s cheerleader and encourager, rather than as hoping for a theological evangelistic lion, its easier to see him in a better light. The problem is that we want to believe Joel should use his platform with 50K worshippers and millions or watchers to be more strict in his teaching. But if he did that, the platform we desire to use disappears. He is on that platform because he is a one trick pony. It is a needed part of the message and while I agree, it is a skewed message, none the less, people are moving toward the Christian camp when they listen.


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