Nevertheless, there is a repetitive theme in his ministry that I find troubling. And it is particularly troubling given the millions of people who listen to his sermons and assume that whatever he says is biblical.
My primary concern (others could be raised) is that Joel seems to think that our words and thoughts make things happen.
Or to put it more precisely, Joel’s prayers and sermons seem to indicate that our declarations and thoughts are religious formulas that manipulate God to respond to our wishes. And the result is that we will be “blessed” and experience “victory.”
According to his book titles, if “I Declare” things, I can have my “Best Life Now.” And if I only “Think Better,” I will then “Live Better.” So simple. So wrong.
Our declarations won’t necessarily get us what we want, no matter how loud or how sincere they are.
In contrast to what Joel teaches, here are a few things we need to realize:
1. It is impossible that everyone who listens to Joel will experience what Joel declares.
Here are just a few examples:
I declare that we are strong in the Lord. We are healthy, we are blessed, prosperous, redeemed, forgiven, talented, creative, disciplined, focused, confident, secured, prepared, qualified, motivated, valuable, free, equipped, empowered, anointed, accepted, and approved, not average, not mediocre, but children of the most high God. Victors, never victims, in Jesus name.” (Joel Osteen)
I wonder how this might apply to someone whose MS is getting worse (“healthy”?), to someone struggling with ADHD (“focused”?), to a high-school dropout (“qualified”?), or to a young lady who was just raped (“never victims”?).
We thank you that our best days are not behind us, but they are still out in front of us….We are moving forward…Better in our relationships, better in our career, better in our finances, wiser, smarter.” (Joel Osteen)
And at the end of his sermon:
I thank you [God] that every person under the sound of my voice will have a blessed week. A faith-filled week.” (Joel Osteen)
Too bad for those who weren’t under the sound of his voice.
(To be clear, I didn’t “hunt” for these quotes. These were all taken from one service that I randomly picked to watch.) 
2. One can have deep faith in God, and still not expect or declare that God is going to do a miracle.
Whoa….What heresy do I speak? No heresy.
Witness Martha, whose brother Lazarus died (John 11:21). She didn’t expect Jesus to raise him from the dead. In fact, she protested when Jesus was going to do just this (verse 39). And yet, she still had faith in Jesus (verses 22 & 27).
To put it plainly, our faith is not the same as our declarations, or lack thereof.
3. No matter how much faith we have, or what we declare, we will still experience suffering, and our lives may end in suffering.
We have to trust him [God]…I believe and declare, you are going to come out of your Gethsemane, into resurrection. You are going to see promotion, healing, restoration, vindication. God’s going to turn the frustration into favor. You’re going to rise higher, accomplish dreams, and become everything he’s created you to be, in Jesus’ name.” (Joel Osteen)
By contrast, the book of Hebrews offers to us as great examples of faith many Old Testament saints who suffered greatly. More importantly, the Bible claims, “All these people were still living by faith when they died,…yet none of them received what had been promised” (Hebrews 11:13, 39).
4. There are no examples in the Bible of the apostles or anyone else declaring things over themselves or other people.
Our words have power in that they can bless or destroy people (James 3:5-6). And the Bible repeatedly implores us to declare God’s praises. But we are not told to declare things over our lives in order to make them happen.
What you do find consistently throughout the Bible is people praying or asking God for things and leaving it with God to decide how to respond.
But if we are always busy declaring or decreeing things over our lives, there is no need for actual prayers to God (in the petitionary sense).
In conclusion, with Joel, I pray that your hope in God will be strong and that you will constantly declare the Lord’s praises.
(Final Thought: Why post publicly about an individual’s theology? I didn’t write this post to correct Joel. Instead, I am writing so that people who listen to him will be more discerning about his teaching.)
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 All quotations are from a service at Lakewood Church, recorded Sunday, September 24, 2017, previously available at https://www.lakewoodchurch.com/Pages/Watch-Online.aspx. You can find similar quotations in just about any service that Joel Osteen preaches in, usually around the 2 minute mark, the 25 minute mark, and in his sermons.