Joel Osteen Says He’s Not Cheating People By Not Preaching About Hell

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Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen says he
isn’t cheating anyone by not talking about Hell
and repentance, insisting that people feel guilty
enough already, and he wants to lift up
believers instead of bringing them down.

When asked in an Easter Sunday interview by CBS News’ “Sunday Morning” program “Do you feel like you’re cheating people by not telling
them about the Hell part? Or repentance part?”
Osteen answered: “No, I really don’t, because
it’s a different approach.”

He continued: “You know, it’s not hellfire and
brimstone. But I say most people are beaten
down enough by life. They already feel guilty
enough. They’re not doing what they should,
raising their kids — we can all find reasons. So
I want them to come to Lakewood or our meetings and be lifted up, to say, ‘You know
what? I may not be perfect, but I’m moving
forward. I’m doing better.’ And I think that
motivates you to do better.”

Osteen, who leads one of the largest
megachurches in the U.S., also rejected
suggestions that one has to be “poor and
broke and defeated to show that you’re
humble,” and noted that his father, John
Osteen, came from humble beginnings, before he founded Lakewood.

“You know, my dad was very, very poor,” the
pastor said. “No milk, no food, no heating in
the winter. And you know what? He stepped
up. And he had a big dream for his life. And
look what he’s done for us. And so my whole
thing is, you don’t have to stay there. You gotta believe that you can rise higher.”

Osteen also revealed that his ministry spends as
much money supporting missionaries, TV
evangelizing efforts, and paying staff as it
earns.

“In just big broad terms, $30 million goes to
the TV effort. What’s left, it’s paying staff, it’s
supporting missionaries and missions’ work,
it’s just the organization of making it go. So if
we bring in, you know, $90 million this year,
we will spend $90 million,” he explained

Osteen has on numerous occasions denied that he peaches a “watered-down” version of the
Gospel, stating in a February 2012 message
that for many years religion has pushed down
people, and people have been told that they
can’t measure up to God.

“My goal is to make God good and let them
know, hey, I tell them all the time, God’s smiling
down on you right now. You’re his child. He’s
got a great plan for your life. You can overcome
mistakes, and to me, that draws people
to God,” the Texas megachurch pastor said at the time.

Osteen continues his “Night of Hope” events
across America, and hosted his latest sermon in
Newark, New Jersey, last week.

Some attendees praised Osteen’s messages for
focusing on the basics, which they said is
sometimes what people need.

“And I think that some people have the ability
to deliver the basic principles that’s needed for
Christianity, and Pastor Osteen definitely can
deliver that,” one attendee told CBS.

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