Victoria Osteen says to do good for yourself, not God.

Victoria Osteen, the copastor1 with Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church, gave a message to the congregation in August 2014. Here's a partial transcript of what she said.

"I just want to encourage everyone of us to realize when we obey God we're not doing it for God. I mean, that's one way to look at it. Were doing it ourselves. Because God takes pleasure when we're happy. That's the thing that gives him the greatest joy this morning. I want you to know this morning just do good for your own self. Do good cuz God wants you to be happy.. When you come to church when you worship him you're not doing it for God really. You're doing it for yourself because that's what makes God happy. Amen?"2

The problems with her statement are obvious. First of all, she's preaching humanism, not Christ-centered truth. Humanism is the philosophy that humanity is the standard of righteousness and human betterment is the goal of our actions and that God is not needed. Humanism is defined as...

  1. "any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate."3
  2. "a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values."4
  3. "Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead meaningful, ethical lives capable of adding to the greater good of humanity."5

In the third definition above, the American Humanist Organization defines humanism as a "lifestance" without God that seeks to add "to the greater good of humanity." In Victoria's statement, she said doing good is not for God but for ourselves. Therefore, she is saying that God is not the standard of what is good. God is not the reason we should do good. Instead, we should do good because it pleases ourselves. This humanistic blasphemy should never be uttered from any pulpit in which the Christian gospel is supposed to be stated. Instead, this narcigesis6 is what is given by her.  In other words, God is here for you, he wants you to be happy, he wants you to be comfortable, he wants you to be healthy, he wants you to be wealthy.  It is about you, not about Jesus.

The second problem is that Victoria Osteen's statements violate Scripture.

  • "Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made," (Isaiah 43:7).
  • "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God," (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  • "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father," (Colossians 3:17).
  • "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men," (Colossians 3:23).
  • "Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen," (1 Peter 4:11).

Clearly, the Scriptures teach us that all we do is for the glory of God (Isaiah 43:7). This means that we are supposed to do good for the sake of God, not ourselves and that through Christ (1 Peter 4:11). This is the direct opposite of what she stated.

A third problem is that Joel Osteen, who is standing beside her and smiling approvingly, failed to do his pastoral duty and stop her from speaking heresy and misleading the congregation. As the senior pastor who was supposed to represent God and the preaching of the word, he utterly failed in his responsibility to "exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict," (Titus 1:9).


Just because a church is large, and a woman preacher is nice looking, and the husband wears a nice suit, and both smile and give comforting messages, it does not mean that what they're teaching is biblical. But, in a cultural environment where the Biblical admonition to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2) is ignored and replaced with feel-good, ear-tickling messages, teachings like the humanist philosophy presented from the pulpit are, sadly, becoming the norm.

In contrast, we are commanded to check everything against Scripture (Acts 17:11). We are called to warn those who teach heresy and have nothing to do with them if they do not repent (Titus 3:10).

Sadly, the Church is in trouble.

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires," (2 Timothy 4:3).


UPDATE, 9/6/2014

The firestorm of criticism levied against Victoria Osteen by many Christians has prompted her to respond. In an exclusive interview with she defended herself and said...

“While I admit that I could have been more articulate in my remarks, I stand by my point that when we worship God and are obedient to Him we will be better for it,” she said. “I did not mean to imply that we don’t worship God; that’s ridiculous, and only the critics and cynics are interpreting my remarks that way...Every Lakewood member knows what I was talking about because they have experienced first hand the joy and victory of a Lakewood Church worship service, and the honor, reverence and gratitude we show God.”7

This is nothing more than trying to cover the heresy. She said, "I stand by my point that when we worship God and are obedient to him we will be better for it." Okay, where is that assertion in her statement that is cited at the beginning of this article? Now granted, I was only able to find that short segment and would have much preferred a recording so you can see the complete context. Nevertheless, no pastor worth his salt should ever say anything like that. What she said was heresy and there is no excuse for it.

What she should do is admit that she was wrong, that she spoke heresy, and that she sinned in so doing when she clearly and unequivocally negated God as the goal and the reason for our doing good. She needs to let people know that she is going to be discipled by a proper theologian who can correct her according to Scripture. But, of course, the woman pastor thing is unbiblical and aside from that unbiblical position she's abiding in, she's piled on to that error the heresy she said with such confidence; then in addition, she adds the misrepresentation of her own statement where she reinterpreted what she said and inserted things into her statement that clearly were not there.

She needs to wake up and repent.

  • 1. See Should women be pastors and elders?
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  • 6. A coined term combining narcissist (self-centered purposes) and exegesis (critical interpretation of a text). Hence, narcigesis is reading the Bible in such a way to satisfy human needs, human wants, and human purposes.
  • 7.    underline added

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.