Osteen on Larry King Live

As recorded in Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity:

“In his interview with Larry King (CNN, June 20, 2005), Osteen said he is not sure what happens to people who reject Christ. King followed up with the question about Jews, Moslems, and other non-Christians. ‘They’re wrong, aren’t they?’ Osteen replied, ‘Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion but I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.’

“King (and a caller) gave him a few more chances to answer the question, but it kept coming back to the heart: ‘God’s got to look at your heart.’ Evidently the last judgment will be based not on God’s standard of holiness and justice but on the purity of our hearts.

“Certainly there is truth in this position. God will expose all the secrets of our hearts on the last day. But where Osteen seems to think that God’s judgment of our heart (like his record keeping) is good news, Scripture treats it as the worst possible report since ‘the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?’ (Jer. 17:9 NKJV). Jesus adds, ‘For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies’ (Matt. 15:19 NKJV). My heart has conceived and committed sins that my hands have never carried out. Far from being a relatively unspoiled beach of sanctity, the heart is the citadel from which our mutiny against God and neighbor is launched. Even when I have done the right thing as far as other people are concerned, if my sincerity were weighed, it would actually count against my righteousness. So it is a dangerous mistake to think that our trial before God’s all-knowing justice can somehow turn in our favor by examination of our heart or the record of our life.”



  1. alan pidcock says:

    You are so right!! I attended Lakewood when Ilived in Houston. His father, John, was pastor then. I never heard him speak as such. I moved long before his son took over. I know his dad was a soul winner. There were an average of 20 souls per service that came forward to recieve Christ. I never heard him say that it was how God would look at your heart. Joel’s preaching tends to tickle the ear.

  2. I’m not saying that I necessarily agree with Joel Osteen, but what do you make of the following passages?

    Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

    Romans 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.
    2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
    2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
    2:14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
    2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
    2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

    Of course, we have Jesus’ own words:

    John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.


    John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

  3. Alan: I don’t know much about his dad…

    Tim: What’s your point? The post simply repeated what Osteen spoke re the heart and God’s judgment…and then what God Himself says about the heart. Surely you don’t believe that we’re supposed to believe everything we hear without being a Berean and checking it against Scripture!! And if it’s not true…well, it’s not true. If that’s judgmental, so be it.

  4. Osteen said that he would not judge a man. And he said that God looks at the heart. In this passage from Romans, Paul is saying that we should not judge people. And Paul is saying that God looks at the heart of man: “2:15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts,”.

    Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the [new] covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

    God says that He will write the law upon His people’s HEARTS.

    It looks to me that one could make the case that scripture backs up Joel Osteen’s position.

    I was trying to provoke other people to consider that perhaps Osteen was correct. But perhaps I’m just repeating the obvious??

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