Joel Osteen Stumbled Over Nothing

Posted on March 1, 2019

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By David Ettinger

Infamous Interview
On June 20, 2005, world-famous evangelist Joel Osteen was a guest on Larry King’s TV show. At one point, the subject turned to Heaven and, to his credit, Mr. Osteen affirmed the biblical teaching that only those who know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior go to Heaven.   

Mr. King then asked: “We’ve had ministers on who said, ‘Your record don’t count. You either believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are going to Heaven; if you don’t, no matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t …’”

Mr. Osteen responded rather theologically daintily, saying nothing of substance. Mr. King then stated, “What if you’re Jewish or Muslim and don’t accept Christ at all?”

Mr. Osteen spent the rest of that segment stumbling and bumbling over the Bible’s teaching on who goes to Heaven and who doesn’t. Sadly, there was no reason for it, and no reason to sugarcoat this vital truth on which the Bible is absolutely clear. In essence, Mr. Osteen stumbled over nothing.

Hard to Accept
The Bible’s teaching that only believers in the Lord Jesus Christ go to Heaven is odious to unbelievers. It is no wonder Jesus told His disciples and us:

· “Everyone will hate you because of me” (Luke 21:17).

· “The world … hates me because I testify that its works are evil” (John 7:7).

· “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18).

· “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19).

· “Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you” (1 John 3:13).

It’s hard for unregenerate humanity to accept the message that they are sinners and destined for eternal damnation because of it. It is also hard for them to accept the message that there is ONLY one, single way out of this destiny, and that is to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The Crucial Message
However, this IS the crucial message of the Bible. We are all born sinners (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 3:23), and because of this we are destined for eternal punishment (John 3:36; 1 John 5:11-12). The solution to the above is that there is a way out – BUT JUST ONE:

· “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6, emphasis added).

· “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, emphasis added).

· “Whoever believes in him [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).

This is as direct as it gets!

No Need to Stumble
When confronted by Mr. King, there was no reason Mr. Osteen should have stumbled. He should have said something such as: “This is correct, Larry. Only those who know Jesus as their Lord and Savior will go to Heaven. I didn’t make this truth up, and am by no means the first to proclaim it as it has stood for 2,000 years. It is, however, my responsibility to proclaim it boldly, directly, and truthfully, because it is the truth on which my faith rests.”

As believers, we need not stumble over the indisputable claims of the Bible. Will we be hated for stating them? Probably, but it is incumbent upon us to declare the truth of salvation to a perishing world as the Lord gives us opportunity. May God increase our boldness for Him – and compassion for those who don’t know Him – in these difficult and challenging last days!