Glory Story: The Joel Osteen Phenomena

Osteen v. Horton

I’ve never quite understood the attraction.  His words melt like cotton candy.  Yet he has amassed the largest church and largest television audience in the United States.  Sure, he may be a nice guy, but what is the allure of Joel Osteen?

Like him or loathe him, Osteen’s influence is pervasive. I am frequently asked my opinion of him by members of my own church – usually old ladies, who I assume think he would be a fine son or grandson.

Mike Horton has written a piece I find informative: Joel Osteen and the Story of Glory.

Check it out.

4 thoughts on “Glory Story: The Joel Osteen Phenomena

  1. You’ve only mentioned Joel Osteen’s popularity in the United States. According to Simon & Schuster, Osteen has sold millions of books throughout Africa and Asia and over a million each in South Korea and — amazingly enough — in Indonesia (the largest Muslim country in the world). And, his broadcast is very popular throughout the Middle East. The Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau says that his church may be the most popular visitors destination in Houston — drawing visitors from around the world. My friend, he is not just a phenomenon in the U.S., he is a phenomenon around the world.

  2. Justin Peters speaks wisely on the topic of Joel Osteen among others. He comes highly recommended by my pastor, Dr. John MacArthur. He has a “demo” on his web site that is well worth the listen! ( – In fact, he spoke at Master’s Seminary and also at our church under the “Logos” ministry (Grace Community Church).
    What great links you have!

  3. Joel Osteen represents the epitome of modernized America: the do-it-yourself, convenient, quick, calculable, no-strings-attached method. As Don remarks in the previous comment, Osteen’s message is indeed widespread– and I am sure that it has comforted and helped a lot of people. As the article pointed out, there are obviously some truths scattered in his message or it wouldn’t be so attractive to so many people.

    However, the problem is that his message seems to miss the point– it’s simply not enough. Self help is no good in the long run, because ultimately, we are unable to help ourselves. No matter what we do or think, we are still enslaved to the pains of a finite and fallible existence. It seems that our only hope is not what we do but what has been done — that Life has overcome death in an act of self-emptying love.

    And while, as I mentioned earlier, I do not doubt that Osteen’s message has helped many people, I can’t help but think that it has hurt many people as well. In the end, a help yourself method can’t rescue us, because we remain stuck. And people who put their hope in a such a finite way are bound to be frustrated and let down.

    Seeing the widespread appeal of the Prosperity Gospel further reinforces to me that people value the security of “certitude” over the risk of seeking after an ineffable God; comfort over Truth.

  4. Amen, Kayte! MacArthur says Osteen is right on one thing however… This IS Your Best Life Now… Bc if you haven’t accepted Christ and His substitutionary atonement for our sins… this is s good as its going to get.

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