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March 14th, 2014
11:42 AM ET

$600,000 stolen from Joel Osteen's megachurch

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Talk about thieves in the temple.

Some $600,000 in cash and check donations were stolen this week from Lakewood Church in Houston, according to the city's police department.

Incredibly, all of the money was from one weekend's donations, the church says. For many American churches, $600,000 in tithes would be a good month or even year.

The church, which is pastored by bestselling author and preacher Joel Osteen, told congregants the stolen money came from contributions on March 8 and 9.

The theft occurred between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. About $200,000 in cash and $400,000 in checks were stolen from a church safe, said Houston Police Department spokeswoman Jodi Silva.

The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made, Silva said.

Lakewood Church also warned congregants to keep an eye on their credit and bank accounts, since some of the stolen goods include envelopes with credit card information on them. The church said there was no electronic data breach, though, and the stolen money is insured.

Officials at the evangelical church declined further comment.

According to Christian researchers, Lakewood is the largest church in the country, with some 43,500 members attending Sunday services. It meets in a former sports and entertainment arena just outside downtown Houston.

The church's popularity has been built on Osteen's relentlessly optimistic, and some say unbiblical, teachings, which often focus as much on self-help as eternal salvation.

"Part of my ... success is that I've stayed in my lane," Osteen told CNN in 2012, "and my lane is lifting people's spirits."

MORE ON CNN: No, Joel Osteen has not renounced his faith

Pastor Joel Osteen on the power of prayer

Osteen: I stick to issues I understand

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • evangelicals

soundoff (556 Responses)
  1. somethingstellar

    I'll bet $50 he did it.

    March 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
  2. jaxx7883

    Why is you people want to crucify a man that's dedicate his life to studying the word of God and spreading his beliefs but Kim Kardashian makes $10 million for sucking dick and spreading her legs in front of a camera and you follow her every move and pay $100 for a bottle of water with her name on it? I'm sure it has nothing to do with Obamas war on Christ you weird little sheep do as your told.

    March 14, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
    • tallulah131

      Why do you defend a man who has made millions by using the words of a man who preached poverty?

      March 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
      • new-man

        tallulah131,
        Jesus preached the kingdom of God; He didn't preach poverty.

        March 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Ah but he did preach against greed. Seems to me that $600 000 for one days fleecing of the flock would be greed. I bet your trailer is near as nice as his home.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • kudlak

          Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Matt. 19:21

          Is this what Osteen is asking his congregants to do, or even following himself as just another follower of Jesus? I'm pretty sure that they all still have plenty of "possessions" laying around, even if they see their contributions as being generous.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
        • ausphor

          How are you newman?
          You cannot serve God and Money. Mat 6:24
          Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Luke 12:23
          Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where mot and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and STEAL. Mat 6:19
          He did not preach excessive wealth either, picking and choosing beliefs for your own benefit, you and the likes of Osteen are quite adept at it.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
        • ausphor

          moths and rust, faulty fingers.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:44 pm |
        • ausphor

          kudlak
          Where have you been. Congratulations you are showing a great deal of common sense. The difficulty with that are getting the religious crowd to respond in kind. It will all be about the supernatural and the final answer "God did it" and only their particular god, get used to it.

          March 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm |
      • jaxx7883

        You're gonna have to fill me in on who this man that preached poverty because the bible never once said that you need to be poor to believe in God. And I already know where you ate going with this so I'll let you just go ahead and stick your foot in your mouth before I address that.

        March 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • whyiscommonsensesolacking

          please actually read the bible for a change. READ Mark 10:25 – "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

          March 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm |
        • jaxx7883

          Oh another one who can read one verse and has the whole damn book figured out and translated. Phuque off clown

          March 15, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • kudlak

          Jesus didn't preach that poverty was good, but he did preach that his true followers would sell all they possess, give that money to the poor, and follow him. That only sounds ridiculous now because we know that the world didn't end like he said it soon would back then, but a lot of Christians still insist that the end times are just around the corner. If you have faith that Jesus was aiming that message at people living at this time, then why clutch onto your possessions? If you reject that teaching then aren't you acknowledging that Jesus was wrong about all that?

          March 14, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
        • ausphor

          kudlak
          Exactly.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
        • tallulah131

          It's okay, Jaxx. A lot of christians don't actually follow the words of Jesus. You have a lot of company.

          March 15, 2014 at 12:03 am |
        • Doris

          Poor butt-hurt jaxx – just a huge bag of hot air..

          March 15, 2014 at 4:44 pm |
        • jaxx7883

          Butt hurt hey, just like a liberal trying to shove your gay crap down my throat.

          March 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm |
        • jaxx7883

          Butt hurt hey I'm really not concerned with what you do in your spare time you useless twit

          March 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
    • Doris

      Wow – what TV show or tabloid are you glued to that you know so many Kimmy K details?

      March 14, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
      • jaxx7883

        Wow good one you sure made me feel phuquing stupid there you must have a whole team of 7 year old writing this crap for you.

        March 14, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
        • sam stone

          suck a 12 gauge, jaxx

          March 15, 2014 at 7:25 am |
        • jaxx7883

          Eat an @ss hole Sam.

          March 15, 2014 at 7:16 pm |
        • sam stone

          C'mon, gash,,,,you want to come on and talk sh1t......jeebus is waiting, suck a 12 gauge and you will be all set to do the same for the savior

          March 16, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
        • jaxx7883

          I'd watch it Sam, with the right lawyer I'd probably be able to prove I felt threatened by that statement. Hey, this is America and if they can attempt to bring up BS charges against George Zimmerman and ruin his life for protecting himself from a violent thug, I'm sure I can get your @ss up on some charges. If only I was black I could probably get Al Sharpton to organize some violent protests until laws are passed that prohibits law abiding white folk from using the word shotgun in a comment on CNN. You punk bi otch

          March 16, 2014 at 7:04 pm |
    • ausphor

      Ah, Joel flunked out of bible school, for Christ sake.

      March 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Ah such a good little christard!! Judging others while breaking biblical laws!! Nothing like picking and choosing from your giant book of multiple choice!

      March 14, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
      • jaxx7883

        Really where did I claim to be a Christian? See this is why I get so frustrated with you libtards there is always a language barrier that I can never seem to get around. While you all are speaking parrot rhtoric I'm speaking common sense, a language that you clearly do not understand.

        March 14, 2014 at 5:19 pm |
        • Dyslexic doG

          the language barrier is that you are not writing coherent English ...

          March 14, 2014 at 5:34 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Wow jaxx, why so angry? You certainly sound christian, otherwise there is little other reason to support such a con man like Osteen...that support is not common sense, just ignorance.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
        • kudlak

          Isn't it fair to assume that only Christians call the Gospel the "Word of God"?

          March 14, 2014 at 5:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      obama's war on christ?

      you poor, poor, persecuted christian

      March 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm |
  3. guidedans

    As Christians, we are called to ti.the. We are called to do this because it puts things into perspective. We understand that everything we have comes from God. We are just returning 10% or what He has given us back to Him through our church. Our church then provides services to the community in which we live and beyond, using the money from ti.thes and offerings. It is one of the forms of service that Christians are called to do.

    These folks that donated money to Joel Osteen's church had good in their hearts and no one here should feel happy that this theft has occurred.

    I don't agree with Joel Osteen on a lot of points, but I do know that his church does a lot of good in the world through charities, service, and donations. If you are going to spend time feeling happy for the misfortunes of the successful, choose a more stingy successful person. Joel Osteen is one of the more modest-living televangelists out there.

    March 14, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
    • ausphor

      guidedans
      If JO's 10.5 million mansion and his $40 million is the bottom of the bucket for TV scammers, how do I get in the biz, help me please with your expert advice. Thanks.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:57 pm |
      • guidedans

        Hi Ausphor,

        I actually hadn't heard about his 10.5 million dollar move from his former residence, which he lived in for like 13 years with his family. Apologies for oversight. I do know that he does not accept a salary from the church and instead relies on his books and other products for income. Should he give more away and spend less? Maybe, but that is his money and he can do with it what he pleases.

        Should Joel live a little bit more modestly? I believe so. However, Joel Osteen's message is about how God wants his children to be prosperous. Joel is a child of God and he is prosperous. I feel he is just showing the world what God has done for him. Maybe he is wrong in doing that. I will let God decide.

        Anyhow, what I do know is that the issue here is that someone stole a bunch of money from someone else. It is not right to feel happy about that, regardless of who the person is.

        March 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm |
        • ausphor

          Totally agree that theft should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, no matter who is the victim. However defending JO as what the teachings of Christ had in mind is a bit of a stretch, take out the jesus hype and present himself as a self help adviser would be far more honest. JO would probably make it as an inspirational speaker without the need for a church that his father had created. As I mentioned before JO did flunk out of bible school.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:54 pm |
    • kudlak

      But, do you have to give your 10% to a preacher to distribute? Honestly, why can't you cut out the middle man and just give directly to poor people? Buy food baskets and leave them on people's doorsteps anonymously. Jesus did say "sell your possessions and give to the poor" not "sell your possessions and give to me", right?

      March 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        why not? the pastor would also be doing good by helping out pass the money...if we did it as individuals..wouldn't the charities have a hard time with dealing with many people turning in the money..instead of the money being turned in all at once? WHY leave the pastor out of it? WHY let him on it too?

        March 16, 2014 at 1:50 am |
  4. legba289

    Once when King David and his men were away from their camp, it got plundered by raiders.
    Upon David's return, he and his men cried and cried until no more.
    David then encouraged himself in the Lord- then he took action, and recaptured what was taken, PLUS all the other extra loot that got stolen.

    I pray and encourage that Lakewood Church and Pastor Osteen would be likewise restored unto them by the Lord.

    Amen.

    March 14, 2014 at 4:43 pm |
    • ausphor

      OK, I get it they should attack the Benny Hinn ministry because they know they are scam artists and if they get more than the 600 large, that plus the insurance settlement would provide enough to add another wing on the Osteen mansion. Interpreting the scriptures for fun and profit, Christianity.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
  5. Joel Oilsheen

    Rainer Helmut Braendlein, I piss in your helmut so you can lap it up and feel even more jealous of me.

    You're just jealous because your puny little attempt at a blog generates less ad revenue in 10 years than the donation plate dooollars I get in one prayer session. Now put your pissy helmut back on in case you slip on my hair grease trail and crack your fat stupid head.

    March 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
  6. Joel Oilsheen

    $600K is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the oil required to keep my hair greased to normal level. Gimme all your money now so I can grease my palms and put more grease on my head. Load me up.

    March 14, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    $600,000 from one weekend's donations. There's a lot of money in snake-oil these days it seems.

    And the government, for some reason, doesn't tax this income.

    ahhh, what a country.

    March 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm |
    • bostontola

      True. Of course churches aren't the only way people bilk money and avoid taxes, but it is a time tested way.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
    • Akira

      Works out to $31 million, 2 hundred thousand a year.

      Indeed.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
      • pugh7755

        Now subtract expenses, such as electricity, insurance, computer networks, broadcasting fees, water, sewage, maintenance, payroll, travel expenses, lodging during travel, food during travel, payouts for charity services including feeding and clothing homeless children and families, vaccination services, centers for troubled teens, and centers for abandoned babies. $30,000,000 doesn't go as far as you think. Is Joel a millionaire? Yeah, he probably is. Joel Osteen also publishes books, and DVDs...which sells millions of copies a year, yet so does Stephen King, Dean Koontz and thousands of other writers, yet I guarantee you their lifetime support for real charities that help people combined do not match one year of contributions from Joel Osteen.

        March 14, 2014 at 4:46 pm |
        • Bob

          Pugh I'd like my money back then on your pathetic "guarantee". Google it: Stephen King gives more to charity than Osteen does, and without the sleazy Jeebus sales con to boot.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm |
  8. archtopopotamus

    Good, The money was stolen from the foolish in the first place.

    March 14, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
    • ihavetopushthepramalot

      No it wasn't. Foolish people are happy to part with their money. No theft is necessary.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
  9. snowr14

    well, they better take a good hard look at the good christians staff raking in all the money

    Can't help but feel that a pastor is a talk show host equivalent of the church. Nothing but fluff all around

    March 14, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
    • ihavetopushthepramalot

      Damn it though, it sure is some excellent fluff. That hairdo is worth 600,000 grand on its own.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
      • ausphor

        Yep, and he only wears cheap suits when performing and takes off the Rolex, so it won't be seen on TV.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:50 pm |
  10. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    As far as I know Mr. Osteen is an adherent of the prosperity gospel: Sow here, harvest here. Yet, Jesus said: "Sow here, harvest there!" Here on earth the true Christian will be rejected, and has to suffer a lot despite his charity. Of course, charity should be natural for a true Christian. Charity is an expression of true faith but the world will not reward our faith, on the contrary. Exactly this is what makes life as a Christian so hard. Christian practice charity, they love their fellow human beings with sacral love, but the world hates them nevertheless. That is just demonic.

    But when we give we should be aware that we as single persons, even as single Christians, are nearly powerless. We should not presume that we as single people could be as powerful as the Lord himself who was the Son of God, and had got the Spirit in abundance. Jesus Christ was a divine person; we can never achieve such a very high rank.

    How can somebody (for example a disbeliever) encounter a "single" person having the same spiritual power like Jesus? This marvelous person is the Christian Church, the body of Christ. The Church as a whole has a power similar to the power of the Son of God. If we as single persons want to apply that power to people we encounter we must be representatives of the Church as a whole, we must be ordained clergy of the Church. But even an ordained minister will never have the full power of Jesus himself but only a gift: being an apostle, being a prophet, being a teacher, etc.

    When the Church celebrates the holy sacrament of baptism, the effectivity of the sacrament does not depend on the minister and his gift. The invisible baptist is always God himself who baptizes us into Jesus. The Church only celebrates baptism but the power comes from God: We die, and resurrect together with Jesus. That power enables us to overcome our sinful flesh, and to love God and our neighbour. Anyway, the real faith causes unbiased, unselfish love. We love because Jesus loved us at first (he died for us on the cross when we still were sinners), and we love because Love (Jesus) is in us. We may expect an eternal reward after our earthly life. We will never practice love for the sake of an earthly reward – love must be natural for a true Christian.

    Of course, these people practicing charity as representatives or memebers of the whole Church, are allowed to make use of the benefits system of the Church. The first Christians were converted Jews. The Jews which did not convert to Jesus anathematized them (the converted Jews), and certainly many of them became unemployed though they were eager to work hard, and earn their own money, and to live on money which they had earned by hard (mostly manual) work. But as their fellow Jews denied them jobs they had to live on the aid of their Church, and St. Paul collected money for them worldwide amongst the gentiles who had converted to Jesus.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    March 14, 2014 at 3:05 pm |
    • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

      Mr. Osteen and the pope have something in common: They are wolves in sheep's clothing.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • kudlak

        Which pastor or priest isn't?

        March 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Why the need to post this three times?

      March 14, 2014 at 3:08 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        Some spelling errors.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
        • sam stone

          spelling is the least of your issues, fuhrer

          March 16, 2014 at 2:30 pm |
    • ausphor

      Rainer
      Tut, tut and here you are stealing free advertising for your confessing church just when I thought they banned your sorry ass. Pot calling the kettle, my boy.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        I would be happy, if the CC would really exist. It is just the name of my website, nothing more. My website is non-commercial.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
        • ausphor

          So you would be more than willing to stop posting your web site address from now on? I certainly hope so, carry on in your undiminished hatred for the catholic hierarchy on CNN's dime.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:36 pm |
        • Akira

          And admit he is breaking the 8th Commandment? Mais non.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
        • ausphor

          Rainer
          Google Confessing Church, for something that doesn't exist it sure has a history. If you are saying the church died off with its leaders such as Karl Barth and Bonhoeffer, I do not know. Here is your chance to educate me, is your church/cult one of the first to disappear, swell, more to come.

          March 14, 2014 at 4:22 pm |
    • Alias

      RHB posted, 'Christian practice charity, they love their fellow human beings with sacral love, but the world hates them nevertheless. '
      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!
      ROFLMAO!

      March 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
      • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

        The ancient Jews hated their fellow Jew Jesus though Jesus was the most likeable man of all times. Their hate was demonic, without real cause. With the same hatred today Christians are hated by the world, a baseless hatred.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Do you ever watch Family Guy?

          Shut up Meg....

          March 14, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • bostontola

          You were hated when a minority, now hated as the most populous religion on earth. And it's everyone else's fault, right? Poor Christians, so down trodden.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • Akira

          What comes around goes around, dear. The love you take is equal to the love you make. And about another 1000 tired cliches I could make.

          Get off your high horse, Rain. You show levels of baseless hate every time you post; why do you think you're exempt from being shown the same courtesy?

          March 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm |
        • kudlak

          That would be the same way Christians have hated Jews, natives, Muslims, people they suspected of witchcraft, fellow Christians that they saw as heretics, and a bunch of other groups, right?

          March 14, 2014 at 4:16 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        I didn't think anybody gave more than a cursory glance at his long winded faith-bot tirades. I usually just skip over them.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • Akira

      Translation: "only what I believe is valid! All other churches are wrong!

      A thief calling out someone else a thief is what? Oh, yes. A hypocrite.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
      • bostontola

        All non-Christians are wrong. All Christians who don't follow my interpretations are wrong. If it weren't sad, it would be funny.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
        • Akira

          I know, right? Every post goes to a deeper level of outlandishness.
          Takes that "no true Scotsman" to a whole new level.

          March 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm |
        • bostontola

          I wish he was right, then there would only be a few thousand Christians in the world.

          March 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • Akira

          Lol. Well, he'd be culled from the herd, that's for sure.

          March 14, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      take your advertising somewhere else!

      March 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • Joel Oilsheen

      Rainer Helmut Braendlein, I piss in your helmut so you can drink it up and feel even more jealous of me.

      You're just jealous because your puny little attempt at a blog generates less ad revenue in 10 years than the donation plate dooollars I get in one prayer session. Now put your pissy helmut back on in case you slip on my hair grease trail and crack your fat stupid head.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:27 pm |
  11. eugenedanker

    And what is the charlatan doing with 30+ million dollars a year?

    March 14, 2014 at 3:01 pm |
    • kudlak

      He would just point out that all the Bible really says is that it's very, very difficult for a rich man to enter Heaven, not impossible. Osteen seem to be preaching that he, and those who follow his teaching, are among those lucky few.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
    • Theo Phileo

      Apparently whitenning his teeth.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
    • pugh7755

      Actually Joel Osteen's ministry is involved in vaccination programs, abandoned baby centers, centers for young troubled teens, and providing food and clothing for homeless children and families here in the United States as well as other countries. It does cost to run a church and pay your employees who run your charity organizations. Yes, a church is labeled non-profit, but it doesn't mean that people do not receive a paycheck. Everybody has to earn a living. All non-profit organizations pay employees and those who run the organization full time receive paychecks. Then you have electricity, insurance, maintenance, supplies, broadcasting fees, computer networks, and the list goes on, so $30,000,000 a year doesn't actually go very far.

      Is Joel Osteen a millionaire? He probably is, but he also writes books, and sells dvds, and before you say it's all fake anyway and he makes money off the gullibility of Christians...have you ever heard of Stephen King, or perhaps Dean Koontz? Both are millionaires from their fictional books and movies, yet that is ok, and they don't even do a fraction of the work for the hungry, homeless, troubled teens, and abandoned babies that Joel's organization does. So, before you put someone down...even if you don't agree with their basis of their organization...check to see what good you have done this week, this month, this year...or even all of last year. I can guarantee that neither you nor the other non-believers have done anything of any magnitude. Placing your pennies in the penny tray when you buy gas doesn't count.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm |
      • Joel Oilsheen

        Thanks, pugh. When are you coming over next to give me another, you know, job??

        March 14, 2014 at 4:34 pm |
        • pugh7755

          Keep posting and showing your immaturity and lack of education. You only only make the real Joel Osteen look like a better person...and of course your ignorance also amuses me. However, at the same time it saddens me. I feel sorry for you and others like you.

          March 14, 2014 at 4:51 pm |
      • kudlak

        But, they are also in the business of winning over converts who, in turn, become new contributing alms-givers, basically paying for the message that he's giving. So, that divides his church's activities into charitable and service wings. Why not tax that which does not deserve tax-exempt status?

        March 14, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
      • TruthPrevails1

        So as long as he done some charitable work, his scheme to rip off the gullible that follow him is fine? I thought greed was a sin or is that only for regular cult members?

        March 14, 2014 at 5:08 pm |
  12. guidedans

    It is not right to feel happy that someone else has been wronged. Joel Osteen, while I don't believe fully in all of his teachings, is trying to bring people to God. The people who are donating their money to him are doing so willingly because they believe in that cause. No one should feel happy about this theft occurring.

    You may not agree with Christianity, and you may not agree with Joel Osteen, but he and his organization have the same rights as anyone else. One of those rights is the right to property. No one should feel satisfied that their rights were infringed upon.

    You wouldn't like it if someone stole money from you because they didn't agree with how you were spending you money, would you?

    March 14, 2014 at 2:58 pm |
    • MidwestKen

      Don't conflate feelings of poetic justice with a denial of someone's rights. No one has suggested that he doesn't have the legal right to do what he does, but don't expect everyone to think that he should do what he does.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
      • pugh7755

        Besides running a charity organization that helps feed and clothe homeless children and families, runs a vaccination service, runs centers for troubled teens, and centers for abandoned children in the United States and abroad what is it exactly that he shouldn't be doing?

        March 14, 2014 at 4:56 pm |
        • TruthPrevails1

          Okay and? Many places do good charitable work without offering you a lie in exchange.

          March 14, 2014 at 5:01 pm |
        • kudlak

          McDonalds also has a charitable wing, but they still pay taxes on their non-charitable work. If he requires a more-or-less set periodic contribution for membership in his church, where he provides services such as motivational speeches, how is that "charity"?

          March 14, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
        • MidwestKen

          and why doesn't Joel Osteen Ministries publish its finances?

          March 14, 2014 at 7:14 pm |
  13. MadeFromDirt

    I would laugh at this theft, which is clearly an inside job, but it wasn't Osteen's money. I am sure some Osteen supporters will howl at me for "judging" him, but Osteen is one of Satan's favorite preachers. He has used the blood of Jesus Christ to enrich himself at the expense of people simply looking for answers to life's big questions, and thereby diverts them from the true Gospel. At its core, Osteen teaches that reconciliation with God is something to be earned by our words and deeds, not a gift of God's grace. Listen to Osteen's messages closely, and hear that he places himself (or his church) between his flock and God, with money as the favored way of seeking and receiving God's blessings. Osteen's message makes demands of God, instead of glorifying God and teaching how to serve God. Then when people who trust Osteen find themselves later no closer to earthly prosperity or comforts, they blame God for not fulfilling what Osteen promised them. God never promised His people that life on earth will be easy if we would only trust Him, and Scripture is full of warnings about false teachers like Osteen.

    Perhaps Osteen will see this theft as a discipline from God, but I doubt it. And ironically, perhaps the people who find themselves swayed by Osteen's superficial outlook will see this theft as a sign that God does not favor Osteen's church or their donations to it.

    March 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
    • kudlak

      He provides a service that his congregates appreciate and pay for.

      How is that any different from what happens in any church, with any preacher, or on any stage, with any performer, for that matter? They're all in the business of making people happy, right?

      March 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      • joey3467

        It doesn't all priests are essentially scam artists.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:41 pm |
        • kudlak

          Problem is, you can't prove that what they're offering isn't real. Every good con is successful because it offers something that common sense ought to warn you to stay clear of, but greed compels you to take the risk anyway. People's greed for salvation, Heaven, and a powerful buddy in the sky overpowers their common sense, it seems.

          March 14, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
  14. facehugger6

    I thought those were called Taxes..

    March 14, 2014 at 2:51 pm |
  15. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    As far as I know Mr. Osteen is an adherent of the prosperity gospel: Sow here, harvest here. Yet, Jesus said: "Sow here, harvest there!" Here on earth the true Christian will be rejected, and has to suffer a lot despite his charity. Of course, charity should be natural for a true Christian. Charity is an expression of true faith but the world will not reward our faith, on the contrary. Exactly this is what makes life as a Christian so hard. Christian practice charity, they love their fellow human beings with sacral love, but the world hates them nevertheless. That is just demonic.

    But when we give we should be aware that we as single persons, even as single Christians, are nearly powerless. We should not presume that we as single people could be as powerful as the Lord himself who was the Son of God, and had got the Spirit in abundance. Jesus Christ was a divine person; we can never achieve such a very high rank.

    How can somebody (for example a disbeliever) encounter a "single" person having the same spiritual power like Jesus? This marvelous person is the Christian Church, the body of Christ. The Church as a whole has a power similar to the power of the Son of God. If we as single persons want to apply that power to people we encounter we must be representatives of the Church as a whole, we must be ordained clergy of the Church. But even an ordained minister will never have the full power of Jesus himself but only a gift: being an apostle, being a prophet, being a teacher, etc.

    When the Church celebrates the holy sacrament of baptism, the effectivity of the sacrament does not depend on the minister and his gift. The invisible baptist is always God himself who baptizes us into Jesus. The Church only celebrates baptism but the power comes from God: We die, and resurrect together with Jesus. That power enables us to overcome our sinful flesh, and to love God and our neighbour. Anyway, the real faith causes unbiased, unselfish love. We love because Jesus loved us at first (he died for us on the cross when we still were sinners), and we love because Love (Jesus) is in us. We may expect an eternal reward after our earthly life. We will never practice love for the sake of an earthly reward – love must be natural for a true Christian.

    Of course, these people practicing charity as representatives or memebers of the whole Church, are allowed to make use of the benefits system of the Church. The first Christians were converted Jews. The Jews which did not convert to Jesus anathematized them (the converted Jews), and certainly many of them became unemployed though they were eager to work hard, and earn their own money, and to live on money which they had earned by hard (mostly manual) work. But as there fellow Jews denied them jobs they had to live on the aid of their Church, and St. Paul collected money for them worldwide amongst the gentiles who had converted to Jesus.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    March 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

      Conclusion: Joel Osteen is a false prophet: I condemn him in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

      March 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        You should have stopped with "Joel Osteen is a false prophet," because the rest is just dumb.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:32 pm |
      • Akira

        I condemn you for the same reason, Ranier.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
      • sam stone

        I am sure your condemnation is going to shake him to the core, fuhrer.

        Who the fvck do you think gives you the authority to speak for god?

        March 16, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
    • Joel Oilsheen

      Rainer Helmut Braendlein, I piss in your helmut so you can deeply drink it up and feel even more jealous of me.

      You're just jealous because your puny little attempt at a blog generates less ad revenue in 10 years than the donation plate dooollars I get in one prayer session. Now put your pissy helmut back on in case you slip on my hair grease trail and crack your fat stupid head.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:29 pm |
  16. juststephen250

    His lane is lifting people's spirits and not telling the truth of the Bible. Yes, there is hell for those who don't believe.

    Yes, we will always be sinners. Yes, there is salvation for those who believe in Christ. But that doesn't mean we don't have to do anything.

    God will give us what he will according to his perfect will. We can't ask for a million dollars and expect to get it.

    I agree with those that say Joel is a false prophet. He doesn't speak the truth of the Bible, just his 'version' of it that makes people happy, but leads them astray of the real truth of the Bible.

    March 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm |
    • otoh2

      "the real truth of the Bible."

      Huh?

      March 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      "He doesn't speak the truth of the Bible, just his 'version' of it"

      Not unlike every other sect of christianity.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
      • Lucifer's Evil Twin

        "He doesn't speak the truth of the Bible, just his 'version' of it"

        A LOT of irony in today's article and comments...

        March 14, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • kudlak

      Does God really "give" you anything when you have to start off by offering him your belief and worship? Seems to me that he owes you at that point.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
  17. nickegreenberg

    BREAKING: Joel Osteen Responds To Theft Of $600,000 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R797dnu9Y6E&feature=youtu.be

    March 14, 2014 at 2:46 pm |
  18. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    As far as I know Mr. Osteen is an adherent of the prosperity gospel: Sow here, harvest here. Yet, Jesus said: "Sow here, harvest there!" Here on earth the true Christian will be rejected, and has to suffer a lot despite his charity. Of course, charity should be natural for a true Christian. Charity is an expression of true faith but the world will not reward our faith, on the contrary. Exactly this is what makes life as a Christian so hard. Christians practice charity, they love their fellow human beings with sacral love, but the world hates them nevertheless. That is just demonic.

    But when we give we should be aware that we as single persons, even as single Christians, are nearly powerless. We should not presume that we as single people could be as powerful as the Lord himself who was the Son of God, and had got the Spirit in abundance. Jesus Christ was a divine person; we can never achieve such a very high rank.

    How can somebody (for example a disbeliever) encounter a "single" person having the same spiritual power like Jesus? This marvelous person is the Christian Church, the body of Christ. The Church as a whole has a power similar to the power of the Son of God. If we as single persons want to apply that power to people we encounter we must be representatives of the Church as a whole, we must be ordained clergy of the Church. But even an ordained minister will never have the full power of Jesus himself but only a gift: being an apostle, being a prophet, being a teacher, etc.

    When the Church celebrates the holy sacrament of baptism, the effectivity of the sacrament does not depend on the minister and his gift. The invisible baptist is always God himself who baptizes us into Jesus. The Church only celebrates baptism but the power comes from God: We die, and resurrect together with Jesus. That power enables us to overcome our sinful flesh, and to love God and our neighbour. Anyway, the real faith causes unbiased, unselfish love. We love because Jesus loved us at first (he died for us on the cross when we still were sinners), and we love because Love (Jesus) is in us. We may expect an eternal reward after our earthly life. We will never practice love for the sake of an earthly reward – love must be natural for a true Christian.

    Of course, these people practicing charity as representatives or memebers of the whole Church, are allowed to make use of the benefits system of the Church. The first Christians we converted Jews. The Jews which did not convert to Jesus anathematized them (the converted Jews), and certainly many of them became unemployed though they were eager to work hard, and earn their own money, and to live on money which they had earned by hard (mostly manual) work. But as there fellow Jews denied them jobs they had to live on the aid of their Church, and St. Paul collected money for them worldwide amongst the gentiles who had converted to Jesus.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    March 14, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
    • Rainer Helmut Braendlein

      Conclusion: Joel Osteen is a false prophet. I condemn him in the name of the triune God.

      March 14, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      take your advertising somewhere else!

      March 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • Joel Oilsheen

      Rainer Helmut Braendlein, I piss in your helmut so you can slurp it up and feel even more jealous of me.

      You're just jealous because your puny little attempt at a blog generates less ad revenue in 10 years than the donation plate dooollars I get in one prayer session. Now put your pissy helmut back on in case you slip on my hair grease trail and crack your fat stupid head.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:30 pm |
  19. Rainer Helmut Braendlein

    As far as I know Mr. Osteen is an adherent of the prosperity gospel: Sow here, harvest here. Yet, Jesus said: "Sow here, harvest there!" Here on earth the true Christian will be rejected, and has to suffer a lot despite his charity. Of course, charity should be natural for a true Christian. Charity is an expression of true faith but the world will ot reward our faith, on the contrary. Exactly this is what makes life as a Christian so hard. Christian practice charity, they love their fellow human beings with sacral love, but the world hates them nevertheless. That is just demonic.

    But when we give we should be aware that we as single persons, even as single Christians, are nearly powerless. We should not presume that we as single people could be as powerful as the Lord himself who was the Son of God, and had got the Spirit in abundance. Jesus Christ was a divine person; we can never achieve such a very high rank.

    How can somebody (for example a disbeliever) encounter a "single" person having the same spiritual power like Jesus? This marvelous person is the Christian Church, the body of Christ. The Church as a whole has a power similar to the power of the Son of God. If we as single persons want to apply that power to people we encounter we must be representatives of the Church as a whole, we must be ordained clergy of the Church. But even an ordained minister will never have the full power of Jesus himself but only a gift: being an apostle, being a prophet, being a teacher, etc.

    When the Church celebrates the holy sacrament of baptism, the effectivity of the sacrament does not depend on the minister and his gift. The invisible baptist is always God himself who baptizes us into Jesus. The Church only celebrates baptism but the power comes from God: We die, and resurrect together with Jesus. That power enables us to overcome our sinful flesh, and to love God and our neighbour. Anyway, the real faith causes unbiased, unselfish love. We love because Jesus loved us at first (he died for us on the cross when we still were sinners), and we love because Love (Jesus) is in us. We may expect an eternal reward after our earthly life. We will never practice love for the sake of an earthly reward – love must be natural for a true Christian.

    Of course, these people practicing charity as representatives or memebers of the whole Church, are allowed to make use of the benefits system of the Church. The first Christians we converted Jews. The Jews which did not convert to Jesus anathematized them (the converted Jews), and certainly many of them became unemployed though they were eager to work hard, and earn their own money, and to live on money which they had earned by hard (mostly manual) work. But as there fellow Jews denied them jobs they had to live on the aid of their Church, and St. Paul collected money for them worldwide amongst the gentiles who had converted to Jesus.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    Conclusion: Joel Osteen is a false prophet. I condemn him in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    March 14, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      take your advertising somewhere else!

      March 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
    • Akira

      You conclude that about everyone except you, Rainier. Wonder why that is?

      March 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
    • Joel Oilsheen

      Rainer Helmut Braendlein, I piss in your helmut so you can drink it and feel even more jealous of me.

      You're just jealous because your puny little attempt at a blog generates less ad revenue in 10 years than the donation plate dooollars I get in one prayer session. Now put your pissy helmut back on in case you slip on my hair grease trail and crack your fat stupid head.

      March 14, 2014 at 4:32 pm |
  20. Owl Creek Observer

    How ironic that 99% of the comments on CNN's so-called "Belief Blog" are made by unbelievers who actually represent a minority of the overall population.

    March 14, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
    • trioofsixes

      they sure exhaust a lot of effort on something they don't believe in...

      March 14, 2014 at 2:45 pm |
      • MidwestKen

        @trioofsixes,
        I'm sure nearly all believe that believers exist.

        March 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm |
        • Alias

          Yep. I dressed as one for Halloween last year.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm |
      • ausphor

        Those that speak out against the organized religions of today will be seen as sages in a few hundred years when they will be overtaken by knowledge and freedom throughout the world.

        March 14, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
        • Lucifer's Evil Twin

          Praise Science!

          March 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      Actually, I think the cut is likely more like 35% Atheist, 20% Moderate Christian, 35% Conservative Christian, 10% Misc. Other (including Pagans, Jews, Muslims, Agnostic and such)

      March 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm |
      • myweightinwords

        Or possibly 35% Atheist, 10% Agnostic, 15% Moderate Christian/Spiritual but not Religious, 35% Conservative Christian, and 5% Misc Other.

        March 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm |
        • ihavetopushthepramalot

          C'mon. 45% atheist/agnostic is a tad high. I'd doubt it's that much even for under 30s.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:44 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          Here on this forum?

          March 14, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • ihavetopushthepramalot

          Sorry, I thought you meant the general population.

          Ya, those numbers seem fairly correct.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
        • myweightinwords

          I wouldn't guestimate on the #s for the overall population because I know that the sample I have to extrapolate from is skewed heavily to one side.

          March 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • TruthPrevails1

      Many have stated this before you. Belief Blog doesn't only pertain to christians and even if the topic comes up, we are well entitled to have a voice. It's the nice thing about living in a free society.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:07 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Isn't freedom of speech and freedom of (and from) religion awesome?

      March 14, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
    • seedenbetter

      This is a rare place where we unbelievers can rail against jack booted talibangelical Christians who persecute us.

      March 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm |
    • kudlak

      Maybe we're not really "unbelievers" per se, but just people who believe in things that have actual, good evidence to support them?

      March 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm |
    • Owl Creek Observer

      I seem to have struck a nerve. Excellent.

      March 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm |
      • kudlak

        So, you admit being just a troll?

        March 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.