A brief video clip, actually one of several, makes the rounds on Facebook. This one proclaims that "Joel Osteen Says Jesus Christ Is Not the Only Way." The clip is a piece of a Larry King interview.
I've listened to this brief video clip. Near the beginning, as Joel is trying to answer a woman's question, Larry interrupts two or three times, and even after I've gone back several times, I can't make out what he's saying that Joel's responding to. But based on what follows in most of the clip, I will make these statements:
(1) I believe the "headline" statement, claiming Joel says Jesus Christ is not the only way to heaven, is grossly misleading. Unless that came out as he tried to respond to Larry's interruptions, he did not say that. What I heard him say, time and again, is that:
(2) he can't judge somebody's heart, and that he would rather leave to God all decisions of who gets to heaven and who doesn't.
I'm just going to throw this out and let the fur fly. Joel Osteen is accused of many heresies, and I'm not in a position either to dispute or support those claims, in general. But in the two interview clips I have listened to, I have heard him cite scripture, and then make the same statement I've cited in (2), above. I am reminded of the mission statement of one or my former churches that includes that passion for "Loving people to Jesus...."
Isn't it possible that those who accuse him of saying that everyone's going to get there, or that sin doesn't matter, or any other of the heresies of which he's accused, are talking about sins of various (usually specific) kinds, while Joel is talking about people? I heard him say, in this Larry King clip, that he believes it's all about a relationship with Jesus Christ. And, he can't see or judge someone else's heart; that only God can judge anyone's heart. I agree with those statements.
Has Osteen really said that the way of the Apostles--and, therefore, the way of Jesus Christ--is "too narrow"? I don't know. Jesus did talk about the "broad way" and the "narrow way," and He said that few people take the narrow way. Are Osteen's accusers correct in this accusation? Again, I don't know. Show me the video clips.
I know that Jesus said, "I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). Has Osteen really said this isn't true? If so, show me the video clips. Don't paraphrase or interpret his statements for me; let me hear them for myself.
Many articles appear on Facebook denouncing Joel Osteen, in which he is "quoted" indirectly with lead-ins like "Joel Osteen says that . . ." and "According to Joel Osteen, . . ." always followed by a statement designed to make the evangelical heart stutter. Show me the video clips.
I am not a fan of Joel Osteen, and he might really have uttered clearly anti-Biblical statements (such as the ones made recently by his wife, Victoria Osteen). I have seen only two brief video clips, and neither supported the claims that I read; I have never listened to a full sermon from him, and I may have missed the heresies. But until I hear real heresies from his own mouth, in his own words, I am bound to consider him a brother in Christ; if he is actually preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I denounce him, where does that leave me?
Paraphrase, hearsay, innuendo, rumor, and the like do not, for me, offer the substantiation needed to support the claims. What they do is fan the fires of accusation and suspicion among Christians and make every one of us look hateful and hypocritical to the world around us. As one such article says, we must pray for Joel Osteen. But let's pray for ourselves and for each other, as well, that we would seek to know the mind of Christ and to have the heart of Christ.
John 13:34-35: "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."