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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church/
The Prosperity and Word of Faith Doctrines

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Chapter VI - Joel Osteen - The Blind Leading The Blind

The Mind Blowing Parallels Between Osteen, Napolean Hill, and Norman Vincent Peale’s Doctrines

Carol Brooks

    All Nine Chapters - Index and Summary

    Chapter 1 -  Introduction To The Prosperity and The Word-Faith Gospels. HERE
    Chapter 2 - Alleged Biblical Support For The Prosperity Doctrine. HERE
    Chapter 3 - The Never Mentioned Verses. HERE
    Chapter 4 - Uninformed People in The Scriptures?
    Chapter 5 - The Word of Faith Doctrine and New Thought. HERE
    Chapter 6 - Joel Osteen - The Blind Leading The Blind.
    Chapter 7 - How Words Precede Form. HERE
    Chapter 8 - God and Money. HERE
    Chapter 9 - The Crown Without The Cross? HERE

     

    We were given only one sure guide by which to judge what is of God and what is not. By which to recognize whether the hands that beckon us are God-sent to save us, or are reaching out from the depths of hell to devour us. Yet we resolutely continue to ignore God's chosen guide book preferring instead to flock to one of the innumerable dog and pony shows, like the ones Joel Osteen and numerous others put on. See The Rise of The Mile Wide And Inch Deep Flashy Megachurch. HERE

    Hundreds of thousands continue to devour the bilge he puts out in his books ... all written in the name of God. After reading so many of his statements that do not find their origin in Scripture, I used to wonder what Bible this man reads, or whether he even reads one.

    Lets start with the fact that not only are their doctrines indistinguishable from each other but, as shown in the previous chapter, Osteen uses a particular phrase that was one of Napoleon Hill's hallmark expressions. In fact, Norman Vincent Peale also used exactly the same expression...


    Conceive And Believe

      Napoleon Hill
      What the mind of man can conceive and believe, It can achieve. [01]. Note: He used this phrase many times. In fact, it was his hallmark expression. (Read Napolean Hill’s Incredible Story In Footnote)

      Norman Vincent Peale.
      "Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, and your heart desire, you can achieve" [02]

      Joel Osteen
      "... the first step to living at your full potential is to enlarge your vision... you must start looking at life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rising to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it is possible if you ever hope to experience it. [03]

    So how did this happen? Was it an unfortunate 'coincidence' - one of those things that happen by random chance?

    Unfortunately not!

    The seeds of Osteen's theology were probably sown when he attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma


    Joel Osteen and Norman Vincent Peale.
    An October 21, 2005 article By Tatiana Morales on CBS News.com refers to an appearance Osteen made on The Early Show on which co-anchor Harry Smith compared Osteen's preaching to Norman Vincent Peale's, and Osteen agreed.

      "It's amazing," Osteen said. "I was preaching two or three years when someone gave me one of his books. I was going to say, 'He thinks like me.' I think like him. It seems like it's the same base there. God is on our side and if you think right, I believe, like Norman Vincent Peale did, that your life follows your thoughts. You get up negative, oppressive, your day will go that way." [04]

    Osteen response "It's amazing" and "it seems like it's the same base there" express a measure of surprise that was nothing but pure hypocrisy  considering he had very recently finished reading one of Peale’s books and in fact had written Your Best Life Now very soon after. Take a look at the time line.

    Joel Osteen succeeded his father as pastor of Lakewood Church on October 3, 1999 prior to which he had apparently only preached once in his life... the week before his father's death. [05]. If as he said, he had only been preaching for two or three years when someone gave him a copy of one of Peale's books, it was put in his hands in 2001 or 2002. His first book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, was released in October 2004, just two or three short years after he read Peale's book. The fact that, as shown above, it included Peale and Hill's conceive and believe expression shows how influenced Osteen is by these occultists. 

    The one thing Joel that you got right - You do think like Peale and you and he are on the same page. Both of you have identical teachings from exactly the same source. As the author of the book of Ecclesiastes said.. "there is nothing new under the sun". Satan pulls down an old dusty heresy from off the shelf, gives it a spit shine, ties a red bow on top and hands it back to man with a flourish. And man? ... man just swallows it hook, line and sinker.


    Osteen's Version of Luke 1:20.
    Osteen claims that our words are so powerful that they can even put a road block in God's plans. He claims that when the angel announced the the birth of John the Baptist to his father, he (the angel) had to stop Zacharias' mouth to keep him from thwarting God's plan by negative statements. (Emphasis Added)

      [Zacharias] was so surprised because he and his wife Elizabeth were well up there in years. He said to the angel, "Are you really sure this is going to happen? Do you see how old we are? I just don't think this could be possible." … The angel went on to say "But, Zacharias, because you didn't believe, because you questioned God, you shall remain silent and not be able to speak until the baby is born." … Well, why did God shut his mouth?… He knew Zacharias would go out and start talking to his friends. "Well, they said we're gonna have a baby, but they must have gotten the wrong person. Man, we're way too old!" See, God knows the power of our words. He knows we prophesy our future, and He knew Zacharias' own negative words would stop His plan. [06]

    Osteen is so busy imposing his own ideas onto the text that he has completely disregarded the fact that, without any ambiguity whatsoever, the only reason given for Zacharias' temporary loss of speech was because he did not believe what the angel told him. The text says absolutely NOTHING about Zacharias' negative words stopping God's plan. 

      "And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time." (Luke 1:20 NASB)


    The "Creative Power of Words"
    In his book Become a Better You Osteen says

      "One of the best ways that we can improve our self-image is with our words. Words are like seeds. They have creative power. It says in Isaiah that 'We will eat the fruit of our words.' That's amazing when you stop to consider that truth: Our words tend to produce what we're saying. Every day we should make positive declarations over our lives. We should say things such as, 'I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am healthy. I am talented. I am creative. I am wise.' When we do that, we are building up our self-image.

      As those words permeate your heart and mind, and especially your subconscious mind, eventually they will begin to change the way you see yourself. The Scripture says 'With our tongue, we can either bless our life or we can curse our life.' (Osteen is referring to James 3:10) Some individuals curse their own future by saying things such as 'I don't have what it takes. I'm so clumsy I can't get anything right. I'm so undisciplined. I'll probably never lose this weight.' We must be extremely careful what we allow out of our mouth. Our words set the direction for our lives." [07]

    I would very much like to know where exactly Isaiah is supposed to have made any mention of us eating the fruit of our words. The closest a search came was to the self explanatory words in Isaiah 3:10-11 

      Say to the righteous that it will go well with them, For they will eat the fruit of their actions. (Isaiah 3:10 NASB)


    Osteen and Proverbs 18:21
    In another book, Osteen attributes the eating the fruit of our words to the book of Proverbs. (emphasis added)

      "If you're in a storm today, now more than ever you need to guard what you say and not allow any negative, destructive words to come out of your mouth. Scripture says, 'Death and life are in the power of the tongue; and you will eat the fruit thereof.' (Proverbs 18:21) In other words, you create an environment for either good or evil with your words, and you are going to have to live in that world you've created. If you're always murmuring, complaining, and talking about how bad life is treating you, you're going to live in a pretty miserable, depressing world. You may be tempted to merely use your words to describe negative situations, but God wants us to use our words to change our negative situations. Don't talk about the problem, talk about the solution." [08]

    Osteen interprets the underlined words to mean we "create an environment for either good or evil" with our words.

    Perhaps he should have checked the exact meaning of the words used before making his views known to all who would listen. The word Death cannot be interpreted, as Osteen implies, to mean "a pretty miserable, depressing world" that you create and are going to have to live in. "Death" is translated from the Hebrew word mâveth that literally means stone cold, bury as soon as possible, dead. It has been used that way over 150 times in the Old Testament. For example

      It came about after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac lived by Beer-lahai-roi. (Genesis 25:11 NASB)

      The Lord struck the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death. And he lived in a separate house, while Jotham the king's son was over the household, judging the people of the land. (2 Kings 15:5 NASB)

      Then he blinded the eyes of Zedekiah; and the king of Babylon bound him with bronze fetters and brought him to Babylon and put him in prison until the day of his death. (Jeremiah 52:11 NASB)

    Much to the contrary Proverbs 18:21 says nothing different from what James said (below), nor from what Jesus said in Matthew 12:35-37, i.e. judgment on the last day will be according to a man's words that indicate the state of his heart.

      "The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:35-37 NASB)

      As a tree is known by it's fruit, the heart is known by the words that proceed out of the mouth. True, proper, chaste, instructive words indicate the heart is right, while false, envious, malignant, and impious words indicate the heart is wrong. which is why the Bible teaches that eternity can depends on a person's words and life and death are in the power of the tongue.


    Osteen and James 3:10

    The next Bible verse that Osteen refers to is James 3:10 of which he says "With our tongue, we can either bless our life or we can curse our life". [09]

    But this is nowhere near the words nor intent of the verse which says -  in context,

      (7) For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. (8) But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. (9) With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; (10) from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (11) Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? (12) Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

    It is well to remember that the third chapter of James begins with a warning to aspiring teachers (verses that Joel Osteen, among many others, have not taken seriously enough). James is making the point that the mouth that praises and glorifies God cannot also be used to curse. We shouldn't speak one way in church and quite the opposite way outside of it. Our speech is an indicator of the condition of our heart and when there is inconsistent speech, when blessings and curses come out of the same mouth .. something is wrong.

    The book of James is straight talk on the practical side of being a Christian. He was encouraging the early Christians to live what they said they believed, since anyone can claim to be a Christian. Or as many today would express it ... walk the walk rather than just talk the talk. (James 2:14)

    This verse has absolutely NOTHING to do with being able to bless or curse our lives as Osteen claims. Read the entire chapter for yourself.


    Osteen and Romans 12:1-2
    Like all other false teachers Osteen is not above using half a verse to make his point, ignoring the other half that contradicts how he interprets the verse. In Your Best Life Now, he writes

      "What are you doing? You are reprogramming your mind... Learn to dwell upon the good, reprogram your thinking. The Bible tells us that we need to be 'transformed by the renewing of our mind.' If you will transform your mind, God will transform your life... Our thoughts contain tremendous power." [10 ]

    Osteen is referring to Romans 12:1-2 which says (The section of the verses that I have underlined is the part Osteen left out)

    Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2 NASB)

    In the first eleven chapters (the doctrinal part of Romans), Paul built a detailed defense of God's plan of salvation and how exactly it included both Jew and Gentile. Chapter 12 marks a distinct transition from the doctrinal to the practical. It opens with the word "therefore" which indicates that what Paul is about to say is based on the foundation already laid in chapters 1-11.

    His exhortation in ch. 12 verses 1 and 2 is a call or plea to these new Christians to live their lives based on what God has done for them. He urges believers to actively choose to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice... a metaphor taken from the Old Testament sacrifices offered on the altar that from then on belonged to God.

    What Osteen seems to have 'missed' is that Paul tells these new Christians not to conform to the pattern of the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. (The Greek word for "be transformed" is metamorphoõ the source of the English metamorphosis, usually associated with the change a caterpillar makes into a butterfly).

    In other words, they have to learn to think differently from the world.

      Note: The words reasonable service have been rendered spiritual service or spiritual worship in most translations. But the word used is logikos which means rational or logical.


    Osteen's 10.5 million Dollar Home
    A July 2010 article in Houston's Daily Digital Magazine, CultureMap, says that although Osteen hasn't drawn a salary from the church since 2005. His "income comes from best-selling books and related products, such as calendars, daybooks and inspirational pamphlets". [11] They add that Joel and Victoria Osteen (Emphasis Added)

      "...and their children moved to a 17,000-square-foot stone mansion in the Tall Timbers subdivision in River Oaks. The Osteens' new home is situated on 1.86 acres and surrounded by an ornamental fence. The 411: It has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, three elevators and five wood-burning fireplaces, with a one-bedroom guest house and pool house. The Harris County Appraisal District valued it at $10.5 million.

    The Tanglewood house is owned by Joel and Victoria Osteen according to Harris County Appraisal District records. The River Oaks home is technically owned by the Covenant Trust, which means the Osteens do not qualify for a homestead exemption on it. They will pay around $260,000 in property taxes on the new home this year. [12]

    In other words, like many others, Joel Osteen got very rich peddling concepts from the occult world. See section on him in lifestyles of celebrity pastors. HERE


    Footnote I - Napoleon Hill and The Council of Thirty-Three
    In about 1937 Napoleon Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich, which is still in print in several versions, and has sold more than 30 million copies. The book has been credited with changing the lives and influencing the careers of a large percentage of America's top business executives. Its 1941 edition contains endorsements from United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Harding, Wilson, and Taft; and from some of the world's greatest scientists and founders of America's leading corporations: Thomas A. Edison, Luther Burbank, John D. Rockefeller, F. W. Woolworth, William Wrigley, Jr., George Eastman (of Eastman Kodak), Robert Dollar (of Dollar Steamship Lines), and others.

    Every night, over several years, he claimed to have held an imaginary Council meeting with a group whom he called his "Invisible Counselors." He claimed that knowledge came from them that he was not able to get from just thinking and said "In these imaginary council meeting I call on my cabinet members for the knowledge I wished to contribute, addressing myself to each member in audible words....".

    Here is his story - largely excerpted from Nuggets From Occult Invasion The Classic Case of Napoleon Hill (https://www.thebereancall.org/content/nuggets-occult-invasion-classic-case-napoleon-hill)

      Hill was not seeking contact with spirit beings when he was suddenly confronted in his study by an unexpected and uninvited intruder. Hill claims that an emissary came across the astral plane. In a voice that "sounded like chimes of great music," this visitor from another dimension declared: "I come from the Great School of Masters. I am one of the Council of Thirty-Three who serve the Great School and its initiates on the physical plane."

      Hill was informed that he had been "under the guidance of the Great School" for years and had been chosen by them to give the formula of success, the "Supreme Secret," to the world: that "anything the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve. [ Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude (Pocket Books, 1977), p. 44.]

      Although he spoke and wrote a great deal about "mind power" and "positive mental attitude" (a phrase he was inspired by these entities to coin), Hill was convinced that behind these forces were "unseen watchers" guiding the destiny of those who were willing to submit to their leadership. There was no limit to the success and wealth which these allegedly higher beings would give in exchange for following their principles. Hill claims to have gotten these secrets from contact with "The Great School of Masters," of which he wrote:

        Sometimes known as the Venerable Brotherhood of Ancient India, it is the great central reservoir of religious, philosophical, moral, physical, spiritual and psychical knowledge. Patiently this school strives to lift mankind from spiritual infancy to maturity of soul and final illumination. [Ibid., p. 159 ]

      The Venerable Brotherhood of Ancient India taught Hill the power of visualization. Following their advice, Hill visualized nine famous men from the past sitting around a table as his "advisers." And their advice proved to be remarkably sound and profitable for Hill to follow. As a result, Hill became very successful, and millions of other people (including many of America's leading business, professional, and political leaders) adopted and proved the astonishing power of this ancient shamanic technique in every area of their lives. Though he clung to the idea that it was all imagination, from what Hill wrote it is clear that visualization had opened the door to the world of the occult:

        These nine men were Emerson, Paine, Edison, Darwin, Lincoln, Burbank, Napoleon, Ford and Carnegie. Every night... I held an imaginary council meeting with this group whom I called my "Invisible Counselors."

        In these imaginary council meetings I called on my cabinet members for the knowledge I wished each to contribute, addressing myself to each member...

        After some months of this nightly procedure, I was astounded by the discovery that these imaginary figures became apparently real. Each of these nine men developed individual characteristics, which surprised me...

        These meetings became so realistic that I became fearful of their consequences, and discontinued them for several months. The experiences were so uncanny, I was afraid if I continued them I would lose sight of the fact that the meetings were purely experiences of my imagination.

        This is the first time I have had the courage to mention this...

        I still regard my cabinet meetings as being purely imaginary, but … they have led me into glorious paths of adventure... [and] I have been miraculously guided past [scores] of difficulties...

        I now go to my imaginary counselors with every difficult problem which confronts me and my clients. The results are often astonishing... [Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich (Fawcett, 1979), pp. 215-19. ]

      However, after some months of this nightly procedure, Hill says he "was astounded by the discovery that these imaginary figures became, apparently real"

        Each of these nine men developed individual characteristics, which surprised me. For example, Lincoln developed the habit of always being late, then walking around in solemn parade. When he came, he walked very slowly, with his hands clasped behind him, and once in a while, he would stop as he passed, and rest his hand, momentarily, upon my shoulder... Burbank and Paine often indulged in witty repartee which seemed, at times, to shock the other members of the cabinet. One night Paine suggested that I prepare a lecture on "The Age of Reason," and deliver it from the pulpit of a church which I formerly attended. Many around the table laughed heartily at the suggestion. Not Napoleon! He drew his mouth down at the corners and groaned so loudly that all turned and looked at him with amazement. [Napoleon Hill. Think and Grow Rich. Chapter 14. The Sixth Sense. Pages 314-316. http://www.sacred-texts.com/nth/tgr/tgr19.htm]

    Although much of what Napolean Hill claimed to have achieved in his lifetime has been disputed (that he was an attorney for instance) nothing can change the fact that Think & Grow Rich inspired (and continues to inspire) huge numbers of people.  Although I have little doubt that even if his story of ‘imaginary counselors’ did not occur exactly as he related it, it had some basis in fact. 

       

    Continue On To Chapter 7 - How Words Precede Form The problem is that ever since Hill first put pen to paper, his principles and techniques are taught, in one form or the other, by every motivational speaker/ life coach on the planet... with often successful results.  In other words, Napoleon Hill's principles or "magic formula" actually seems to work. This was testified to by men such as United States Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Harding, Wilson, and Taft, plus some of the world's greatest scientists and founders of America's leading corporations. In fact, the non-believing world can, by learning and applying certain principles, match or even exceed, the gain that "Christian" ministers promise.

    This unsettling parallel should raise a very particular question in the mind of any discerning believer - There are only two choices. Either matter can be manipulated by the words a person speaks or an intelligent force hears these words then does what it takes to make them a reality..  HERE


    End Notes - Chapter 6
    [01] Napoleon Hill and Clement W Stone. (1937). Think and Grow Rich. Chicago, Illinois: Combined Registry Company. Pg 14

    [02] Norman Vincent Peale. Positive Imaging: The Powerful Way to Change Your Life. Publisher: Ballantine Books;
    Reissue edition (August 27, 1996).

    [03] Joel Osteen. Your Best Life Now 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Publisher: Warner Faith (October 12, 2004) Pg. 4.
    Also see Page 6

    [04] Joel Osteen: God Is On Your Side... http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/21/earlyshow/leisure/books/main961627.shtml

    [05] Jennifer Mathieu. Power House. Apr 4 2002. Houston Press http://www.houstonpress.com/2002-04-04/news/power-house/4/

    [06] Joel Osteen, Discover the Champion in You, TBN, May 3rd. 2004. As quoted in Christianity Still In Crisis: A Word Of Faith Update by Bob Hunter. www.equip.org/PDF/JAW455.pdf

    [07] Joel Osteen. 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day. Free Press; (2009) paperback. Pgs 109-110

    [08] Joel Osteen. Your Best Life Now. 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Pg. 124. FaithWords (August 20, 2007)

    [09] Joel Osteen Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day. Page 110. Simon and Schuster, 2007

    [10] Joel Osteen. Your Best Life Now. 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Pgs. 108, 109. FaithWords (August 20, 2007)

    [11] Clifford Pugh. July 2010. After move to $10.5 million River Oaks mansion, Joel Osteen offers Tanglewood land for $1.1 million. http://houston.culturemap.com/news/real-estate/07-04-10-after-move-to-river-oaks-joel-osteen-wants-to-sell-tanglewood-land-for-11-million/#slide=0

    [12] ibid..

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