Interview between Larry King and Pastor Joel Osteen
“Larry: Do you believe in good deeds?
Joel: I don’t know, what do you mean by that?
Larry: Because we’ve had ministers on that have said your record don’t count. Either you do or you do not believe in Christ. If you do believe in Christ either you are or you are not going to heaven. And if you don’t, it don’t matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t.
Joel: Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably a balance between, I believe you have to know Christ, but I think that if you know Christ, if you’re a believer in God you’re gonna have some good works. I think it’s a cop out to say well, I’m a Christian, but I don’t ever do anything to help any body.
Larry: “What if you are Jewish or Muslim and don’t accept Christ at all…?
Joel: You know, I am just very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know. I think only God knows.
Larry: Do you believe that you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?
Joel: 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 can judge a person’s heart. I’ve spent a lot of time in India with my father and you know, I don’t know all about their religion, but I know they love god and I don’t know I’d have to…I’ve seen their sincerity so I don’t know. I just…I know for me, and what the Bible tells me, I want to have a relationship with Jesus, but
Larry: The Senator apologized last week for slavery…”
Why are you picking on Joel Osteen? When you put yourself as a pastor in front of 100 million viewers, everything you say is fair game. Some of you may watch it and think if Pastor Osteen struggles with this, I can understand how I would struggle with it too. Why do I care so much about what he says? My job is not to fix the world, but my job is to pastor you. I serve God by equipping you. I want to equip you today if you will allow it.
Let me tell you something, and listen very closely. When that person comes to you and asks you “what about the god in India” or “what about the god in Africa, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Muslim, the Mormon, or the Jehovah Witness?” Let me tell you they are not looking for you to say “oh, um…” That is not what they are looking for. That is not the kind of answer that will bring hope to their lives. That kind of back peddling and wishy washyness is not going to confirm in their heart that you believe what you believe. That is not going to do it. I’m not really sure. I don’t know, but let me tell you about my faith. That is not going to work. The world we are living in is looking for decisive answers. They are looking for real people who know what they believe and can take the Word of God and show them what they believe to be true. They are not looking for ways out, cop outs, or one more person who believes in relative truth, and that is exactly what Joel Osteen is proposing in that interview—relative truth. I know about the Christian faith, but I don’t know about that faith. Do you know what I know? I know that Jesus Christ said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) I know that to be truth, and the world is looking for people who know what they believe. The world is not looking for anyone else that is wishy washy. Luke warm Christians aren’t doing anything for the world. They are not turning the world upside down. You can be sure that the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul would not have given a Joel Osteen answer. Those Apostles were fully convinced that if you deny Jesus, there is nothing left. How important is this? This is eternally important. I am fired up because there is fire, eternal fire, behind this. I’m fired up because people are dying and going to hell every single day, every single hour, every single moment. The reason they are dying and going to hell without any hope is that we have too many Joel Osteens in the pulpit.
What I’m concerned about is that you might watch him and think that if Joel Osteen is not so sure about this, I shouldn’t be either. My commandment and commitment is to get you firm. I am going to take the Word of God and hopefully I am going cement your feet into this foundation. That’s my goal.
Please look at1st John 2:23 and Matthew 10:33
1st John 2:23 “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
Matthew 10:33 “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” (You really do not have to wonder there. There is not too much grey area there).
The context of verse 23 demands that the denial of Jesus as the Son specifically relates to Jesus as “the Christ”; that is the spirit and message of the antichrist. We are not saying that this is the denial of historical Jesus. We are saying it is the denial as Jesus as the Christ.
My Thesis Statement
From the context of chapter 2: “Any person that denies that the God-man Jesus of Nazareth was and is the only begotten Son of God—the Christ—God incarnate, the second person of the trinity, does not have a relationship with the one and only true God of the Universe.” This is the foundational statement that I want everyone to grasp. My goal is that you fully embrace that as your truth. My goal is that when you watch Larry King or any preacher botch it up, you will be able to recognize that he missed it. He wasn’t definitive enough, and you will immediately recognize it as heresy. You will recognize it because you know what you believe and what the Bible teaches.
We have all had questions regarding this group and that group, and that is exactly why the Apostle John addresses this subject. He gives us a chapter and verse—a proof text. What should have happened in that interview is that Joel should have gotten out the New Testament and let Larry read it for himself. What we need to understand is that the world we are living in is continually assaulting the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. These weak “Sally’s” who call themselves preachers are not doing anything to help Christians equip themselves. They are not equipping the saints. They are too concerned with being politically correct, not hurting anyone’s feelings, or building a big, huge church, and we recognize that will not go over so well.
Here is the reality: some of you are going to speak to people that I will never contact. You work in places that I will never see. You work with unbelievers. You work with people who are struggling with this exact issue. My job, motivation, and focus is to properly equip you. My goal is to train you so that you are able to give an answer for the hope that lies within you. The objective is to properly address this issue, so that when you hear someone saying “Well, they are sincere.” and “Don’t they love god?”, that you will say “time out.” You have a big responsibility in the great commission to give an answer for the hope that lies within you. All of us are called to be ready to share the faith. All of us are called to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered according to Jude 3. So my job as your Pastor is as coach, trainer, and mentor. I should be getting you equipped to go out into a world of unbelievers and ready to interact with them.
• to declare untrue
– Anyone who says it is untrue that Jesus is the Son of God
• to refuse to admit or acknowledge
– Anyone who refuses to admit that Jesus is the Christ
• to give a negative answer to
– Anyone who answers negatively to the Prophet, Priest, & King
Question: Why is it that a person cannot deny Jesus as the Son of God and still have a salvific (saving) relationship with God the Father?
Answer: Ontologically (being, essence) it is impossible to separate God the Father from God the Son; but we say “didn’t they separate or aren’t they separate?” No; the omnipresence of God communicates that God the Spirit was with Christ every moment He was on this planet. If God the Father were separate from God the Son, He is no longer God. “I and my Father are one.” (same, complete, unified) John 10:30
Isn’t it interesting that a former Jew is pinning a so-called former Baptist to the wall? That is ridiculous. We are supposed to be the ones who are equipped as Christians.
• Ontologically the Father and Son are the same being with the same existence.
• The Father does not have any properties in essence that the Son does not have.
• The Son does not have any properties in essence that the Father does not have.
• They are one in everything that makes God, God.
The fact that God chose to put on flesh and come on this earth for some period of time should not cause confusion in your mind. Jesus has always existed and will always exist. He’s the Alpha and the Omega. He’s the Beginning and the End. Jesus was there for the hanging of planets, the creation of the planet, and the removing of the rib. His life did not start at the Virgin Birth.
• The Trinity may very well be the most difficult thing for any human mind to comprehend; yet, it is one of the absolute fundamentals of orthodoxy.
• 1 John 5:7: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
You cannot have a relationship with the Father and deny the Son. You cannot maintain a relationship with the Son while denying the Father. It is impossible.
• John 17:11: “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” [one].
Do not think it is possible for a human being to deny and ignore Jesus Christ and have a saving relationship with the God of the Universe. Why is this so important? If you deny Jesus Christ, it means you do not have a relationship with God. If you do not have a relationship with God, you are dying and going to hell. No one is exempt.
This is what you must grasp. Here is the reality: You are the only one who can reach some people. The Bible does not indicate a time where unbelievers can confront believers, but just imagine for just a moment if that were the case. Can you imagine? You may have spent your entire life with a neighbor, co-worker, or friend, and you never told them the truth. You never told them that in denying Jesus Christ that they do not have a relationship with God. You never shared that with them, and you had been properly trained. You were at Berean Baptist Church and you heard this truth. You visited this church for the very first time. You never came back to this church, but you heard it and you knew that you had a responsibility to share it and you didn’t. You let it go. You said that is too confrontational, and now all of a sudden, it is eternity. They finally find out that all this time they thought they had a relationship with God as they ignored Jesus. Can you imagine if that unbeliever came up to you and said “I can’t believe you knew! I can’t believe you knew the truth and you never ever told me. And now I’m going to spend all of eternity separated from God and you knew!” You cowered in the philosophy class at Methodist University or Fayetteville Tech, and you were not definitive. Someone at work had watched the Larry King interview the night before and the conversation came up. People were talking about it. You had been properly trained and equipped, and when you had that moment in which you could jump in and intervene in the conversation, you didn’t do it. You let it go by instead. You let the opportunity pass you by. Joel Osteen was talking to half the world on Larry King Live and he had one opportunity, a gospel opportunity, to set the record straight. You might not be Joel Osteen, but it might be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your co-worker, or another student at Methodist College who needs to hear the truth. And you have one opportunity to stand up in a classroom and say “Thus, saith the Lord.” Who do you think you are? What is your authority? The authority is the Word of God.
The relativism of truth has so impacted Christianity that preachers are about “things from my perspective in the Christian faith.” What does that mean? According to Jude 3, there is one faith, once delivered. Everyone cannot have their own faith. You cannot deny that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God. A Mormon will tell you that God had many sons and daughters, and that Jesus is one of many. This is heresy!
Yes! It is hard to understand!
It is exceptionally difficult to understand how God and the Son can be one, yet they communicate one with another and love each other. The Son willingly and joyfully subordinates Himself to the Father. This is exactly why it takes faith. It does not take much faith to trust in a chair that is properly engineered with four legs and metal to secure my weight. This does not take much faith at all because I understand how it all works. But the Trinity is hard to understand. There is not one example that properly explains this concept. The egg fails miserably. The three parts of the egg are not the same in essence. A shell, a white, and yellow: I can taste them, and they are not the same. And every single illustration that you come up with for the Trinity falls short because the Trinity is a God thing. They must believe by faith.
• John 1:14
– “And the Word was made flesh [incarnate], and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
– God Incarnate!
• Invested with a body; with flesh
Once the Word became flesh and dwelt among humans as the full and perfect revelation of God, it was no longer possible to deny the Son and maintain a relationship with God the Father. Every Jew that denied Jesus is perishing. The Jews that recognized Jesus as the Messiah had a relationship with God the Father. Those that rejected Jesus as the Christ never had a relationship with the Father. They had a relationship with a god, a god that they created in their own mind.
Jehovah and Allah are NOT the same! Jehovah is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Ergun Caner is the President of Liberty University’s Theological Seminary, and he is a converted Muslim. He said they are not looking for Christians that waiver. They are not looking for Christians who do not know what they believe. They eat those kinds of Christians alive. They think that is a joke. They are not looking for soft Christians. Instead, they are looking for Christians who can say definitively Jesus is the Son of God, and all who deny Him will spend an eternity in hell. Now if you pointedly say something like that to them and you mean it, it will rock them. Because most of the time they meet Joel Osteen Christians—back pedaling, wavering, politically correct, don’t want to offend anyone Christians. The Gospel message is exceptionally offensive. It divides father against mother. It divides brother against sister. It splits family right down the middle. Ergun Caner was converted as a senior in high school. When he came home and told his dad that he was a follower of Jesus Christ, that was it; there was no more relationship. That young man, at 18 or 19 years of age, had to choose between Jesus Christ and his family, and he chose Jesus Christ. We are telling every single Muslim that he has to choose between his family and Jesus Christ. You say that is too harsh, but that is biblical. Jesus Christ said “If any man will come after me. Let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” (John 16:24)
Jesus is God!
• Not part God!
• Not close to God!
• Not some God!
• Thomas said to Jesus:
– My Lord and My God! (John 20:28)
Turn to John 14:7-10
“If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you and yet hast though not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father, and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”
God the Father and God the Son are not in competition. They are not keeping track of who gets prayed to the most. God the Father says every knee shall bow and the Son directs us to pray to the Father. God the Father and God the Son have perfect unity. The Father is thrilled when the Son is exalted, and the Son is thrilled when people acknowledge the Father.
God is the King
• Isaiah 44:6: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
Paul describes Christ as the one who redeemed us from the curse of the law in Galatians 3:13.
“They are not three roles played by one person (that is modalism), nor are they three gods in a cluster (that is tritheism). The one God (“he”) is also and equally “they,” and “they” are always together and always cooperating with the Father initiating, the Son complying, and the Spirit executing the will of both, which is His will also.” J.I. Packer
Consider these two verses: Father-Son
• 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.”
• John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The perfect unity of the Godhead prevents someone from denying Jesus and still having God in their life. They may have ‘a god’ in their life, but it is not the God of the Bible. Jesus is the God of the Bible, and to deny Jesus is a sin unto eternal death.
So, you and I need to be ready to give an answer about this. Let me tell you something. When you are sharing the Gospel from Romans and someone says that they do not understand the Trinity, you do not set that question aside and keep moving on. You stop and deal with that question in the Gospel presentation, because if they do not understand the Trinity, how in the world can you expect them to believe in Jesus Christ in Romans chapter 10? This is not something that you can set aside. This is Orthodoxy. Every single Christian needs to be ready to give an answer about the Trinity. Make sure that you understand that they are three, yet they are one, and there is complete unity and they are never divided.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2
“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Christ’s willingness to subordinate Himself to flesh and a death on a cross should not detract from His preeminence in the Word of God or in YOUR life.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (If God the Father was to permit men and women to have a relationship with Himself outside of Christ then one has to ask what was the purpose of Christ?) Wherefore God [the Father] also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
God the Father is not willing to compromise on His love for the Son and plan of eternal exaltation so that some humans can deny Christ and still have a relationship with God. God’s plan is that men and women love the Son and, in loving the Son, the Father is glorified.
Our goal is to get as many to confess that Jesus Christ is God today. Our goal is not to wait. Our goal is to show them Jesus now.
If God the Father permits humans to have a relationship with Himself—outside of faith in Christ, then one must ask: “What was the purpose of the passion of Christ?” If it is possible outside of the faith, then why did Jesus die on the cross?
If God the Father permits Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, Mormons, etc. to deny His Son in this life without eternal consequences, why would He expect all to bow the knee after life on this earth? When you realize that Jesus Christ was the one that died on that cross, rose from the grave, that He’s at the right hand of the Father currently interceding on your behalf, you get crazy about Jesus. You’re bananas for Jesus. You can’t wait to tell others about Him. You exalt Jesus and lift Him up. There are some serious issues with people who are not crazy about Jesus. Jesus put Himself in flesh and died for the sins of the world. Jesus did not have a place to lay His head. And if you place your faith in Christ, you can live eternally. We are proclaiming Christ in the 21st century, not proclaiming a god. Christ is the Prophet, Priest, and King; that’s who we are proclaiming. Our mission is to go out and proclaim Christ.
1 John 2:23
“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.”
What does it mean to acknowledge the Son? It means to bow down before Him. It is to receive the gift of Christ. It means to realize that you are a sinner, your sins separate you from a Holy and Righteous God, that you need to repent of those sins, and place your faith in Jesus Christ. That is what it means to acknowledge the Son.