If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.
This article is kept continuously updated as needed.
This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.
Disclaimer: I did not write the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.
Here are the biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:
Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:
a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).
b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.
c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.
I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.
I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.
Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).
If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.
Joel & Victoria Osteen
Primary issues with the Osteens (and their “church,” Lakewood) : Word of Faith (prosperity gospel) heresy, self-help/seeker driven theology, Scripture – when used – is twisted and mishandled, Victoria is co-“pastor” of Lakewood and women guest preachers are normative, the Osteens yoke with numerous false teachers
What’s the Problem with Joel Osteen? at CBC Media
A Biblical Critique of Joel Osteen’s Teachings by Melissa Dougherty
Who is Joel Osteen, and are his teachings biblical? at Got Questions
The Danger Of Prosperity Preaching: A Review Of Joel Osteen at Reasons for Jesus
Justin Peters exposes Joel Osteen the Phony by Justin Peters
John MacArthur Rebukes Joel Osteen by John MacArthur
Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now” [and “Become a Better You”]: An Honest Review at Reasons for Jesus
Positive Thinking is False Thinking…and a Few Thoughts on Joel Osteen’s Latest Book (Think Better, Live Better) at Truth + Fire
Specific Incidents with Joel & Victoria Osteen
Joel Osteen’s “I Don’t Know”-athon on Larry King by Steve Lawson
Joel Osteen: Mormons Are ‘Brothers In Christ’ on Wolf Blitzer
Just How Rich Is Joel Osteen? at TheStreet
Collections of Articles/Episodes
Joel Osteen at Apprising
Osteen at Berean Research
Osteen at Fighting for the Faith
Osteen at The End Time