Joel Osteen is one of many Christian preachers who is teaching that serving God will bring wealth. Ironically, their defenders are missing the biggest elephant in the room. Joel and the other prosperity proponents are the only ones who are enjoying the spoils. Those who support these ministers continue to live based on the job they are working.

The basics of the Christian life

Until a few decades ago, the Christian life was one of believing Christ died for our sins and living to please Him. In 1997, Dr. Leroy Thompson wrote a book entitled "Money Cometh to the Body of Christ" that changed things drastically.

This book, in my opinion, takes many scriptures out of context and uses them to validate that Christians should be wealthy while they live on earth. The Prosperity Gospel only works for Joel Osteen and the preachers who teach it because they find creative methods to obtain money and then say that God blessed them.

Christians used to accept that Christ said we would have troubles in this life and look to a better one in heaven. Osteen and his cronies insist there are principles that must be adhered to that will ensure great wealth in this life, but they make all their money from other brothers and sisters in Christ. When you point this out, those who believe the prosperity doctrine say you are putting your tongue on a man of God.

If this false gospel were accurate, then why is no one else enjoying the great wealth except those who preach it? And if it is a lie, what is wrong with exposing it?

The scam that calls itself the gospel

Joel Osteen's books and tapes are popular with the secular world as well as with Christians because he shares insight that appeals to the masses.

Jesus, however, said His gospel would be offensive and rejected by the mainstream. Other prosperity teachers do not have the charisma and selling points of Osteen, so they prey on the vulnerable folks in churches. I was a member of two different congregations where in addition to giving the pastor a salary, he collects the money the parishioners randomly lay at the altar during Sunday and mid-week services.

There are also appeals for additional money on the pastor's birthday, the first lady's birthday, Christmas, Easter, Church anniversary, clergy appreciation day in October, and even father's day because a pastor is supposed to be your spiritual father. Emphasis is placed on the needs of the spiritual leader rather than on Christ. This scam gives preachers access to funds that they can use to invest well and obtain additional wealth for themselves, and then say they worked principles and God is blessing them. They say their due season has arrived and they earned the prosperity by serving the Lord.

These are facts of what is going on in many "Christian" churches. Unfortunately, when you point out these truths, some believers in Christ consider it a personal attack.

Many people right now are saying to leave Joel Osteen alone because he is God's anointed. Stating that the doctrine he teaches is not in line with the Bible is not an attack on Lakewood's pastor, but what he is teaching. And if more people read the Bible for themselves, rather than live with another man's interpretation, they would realize this is not the gospel of Jesus.