Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest Protestant church in the United States, has refuted accusations of being a so-called “prosperity preacher.”
Osteen’s church sees an average weekly attendance of over 43,000 people; he is the author of numerous bestselling books and his sermons are featured weekly on several television networks. Christianity Today reports that Osteen is worth about $40 million.
In the past, Osteen has been criticized for believing in the prosperity gospel, a doctrine that says God financially blesses those who tithe large amounts.
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Osteen said, “I don’t like that term [prosperity preacher]. “I specifically stay away [from the topic of money] because people are already skeptical.”
“But prosperity to me means good relationships, it’s having health, it’s accomplishing your dreams, it’s having money to pay your bills, it’s being blessed so you can be a blessing.”
Osteen emphasized that Christians who are blessed with wealth have an obligation to use money to God’s glory.
“Victoria [Osteen’s wife] and I never dreamed that we would be able to support orphanages and kids and things the way that God has blessed us, but it’s to turn it around and be a blessing to others.”
When questioned about God’s view of money, Osteen said that he believes there is nothing wrong with being rich.
“You look at the Old Testament; Christianity was started with Abraham and it says he was the wealthiest man there. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that -- I think God wants you to succeed and excel, but I don’t think you can say ‘Money is my goal, if I’m a Christian well God’s going to make me rich,’ I think that’s the wrong thing. You’re wealthy when you have your health; you’re wealthy when you have people to love. That’s real wealth.”
Publication date: June 3, 2014