Joel Osteen, with wife and co-pastor Victoria, leads Houston’s Lakewood Church, now the largest congregation in the United States. More than 40,000 members show up every week to hear Osteen’s message of hope, usually delivered with his trademark smile. Osteen who doesn’t preach about hell or repentance was asked if he feels he’s cheating his congregation, and is answer was no.
“You’ve been criticized for ‘Church lite,’ for ‘a cotton candy message.’” “Do you feel like you’re cheating people by not telling them about the Hell part? Or repentance part, Osteen was asked on CBS Sunday Morning.
“No, I really don’t, because it’s a different approach,” Osteen replied. “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 — you know, 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 also revealed that he doesn’t buy into the notion that you’re suppose to be poor or defeated to be humble.
“But I do think there is a certain thought, especially in the church world, that you’re supposed to be poor and broke and defeated to show that you’re humble. And see, I don’t buy into that,” he said.