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Rise of Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen [Hardcover]

R. Young
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 267 pages
  • Publisher: Whitaker House,U.S. (15 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883689758
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883689752
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,620,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Wether you agree or disagree with the ministry of Joel osteen and the Lakewood church you will never see either of them again after you read this book.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A poisoned chalice? 1 April 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author claims to have been a great friend of John Osteen, founder of Lakewood, and this book is ostensibly a tribute to him and his family. But, although he's fulsome in his praise for the Osteen family, there's a certain amount of underlying sniping going on. For example, he makes much of the idea that Joel Osteen propelled himself into the Pastor role with a broad hint that he did so simply because he knew what the public wanted to see on TV. And whilst seeming to praise the individuals he's obviously troubled by the fact that the church seems to be owned and run solely by the Osteen family - mother, wife, brothers, sisters, etc. are all on the board. He indirectly raises troubling questions by describing how Victoria appeals for (seed) money, how the church spends millions on buildings etc. yet choir members had to pay their own way to travel when Joel went on one night stands across America. He's also dismissive of Joel's not taking a salary comparing the Rick Warren model of giving 90% of his salary to the church. The Osteen's mansion also gets a mention in passing.

What this book really fails to do is to get under the skin of either Lakewood or Joel Osteen. Perhaps a third party with no previous connection could have done a better job. It's an OK book - but a bit wasted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars rise of lakewood church and joel osteen 30 Jan 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A good read but I thought it might have given more history of the founding of Lakewood Church, maybe that is in another book.It gives valuable insight to two peoples lives that can be so easily mis-represented by popular and sometimes church press.
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Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Amazing Power of Belief! 24 Jan 2007
By Viviane Crystal - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"God can do miracles in the unlikeliest of situations." This statement aptly summarizes this biographical overview of the ministry of Joel Osteen and his late father, John Osteen. Having seen this man preach on TV, this reviewer was fascinated by a preacher who speaks to thousands of people in his church and probably thousands more on television each Saturday evening and Sunday morning and evening. What's so fascinating? Joel Osteen preaches the positive nature of Christian living and refuses to focus on hell and damnation. Sin is described as patterns and addictions that God delights in clearing. What's behind this ministry?

Richard Young's account of Joel's father is riveting in this book - a man who intensely searches for the truth of God, never quits until he has not only found it but experienced it full scale, and then begins to share in word and deed the power, beauty, and majesty of what he has found. You can feel the struggle as well as the victory in this single-minded quest for truth. Very powerful!

Interestingly, when Young covers the ministry of Joel Osteen, the tone changes to one of acclaim for Joel's marketing prowess and his keen ability to draw together the magnificent team that makes Lakewood Church prosper and continue to grow. The charismatic quality of his father's ministry is more evident in the congregant's comments who continue to bring others to experience the grace of Joel and Victoria's ministry. Again, having heard Osteen speak, this reviewer thinks the author could have been stronger here.

One quality that the author emphasizes throughout this entire book is the Osteens' message that belief in the midst of life's challenges is so real it is palpable. "That" is why people continue to drive hundreds of miles to Lakewood Church, and that, despite some controversies about Osteen, is what Richard Young conveys so well which is sure to move readers of like mind!

Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on January 24, 2007
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rise of Lakewood 7 May 2007
By Boomer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Excellent history of Lakewood Church. Made me realize why the church is what it is. I had the opportunity of visiting Lakewood and realize now why they are so large. If I lived in Houston I would be a regular member. This book gave me more information about the history than I knew. Really interesting!
41 of 56 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More Hagiography than Biography 26 Feb 2007
By Tim Challies - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Biography: An account of a person's life written, composed, or produced by another. Hagiography: A worshipful or idealizing biography. I suppose it is not always easy to determine where biography ends and hagiography begins. But in the case of The Rise of Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen, I am quite certain Richard Young has crossed the line.

Lakewood Church was founded by John and Dodie Osteen on Mother's Day 1959. A former Southern Baptist pastor, Osteen left the Convention after adopting charismatic beliefs. A leader in the charismatic movement and author of many books, he continued to pastor this church until his death in 1999. Without a successor in place, John's son Joel decided to try his hand at preaching. And the rest, as they say, is history. Lakewood has risen to become the largest church in America with tens of thousands of people attending services every weekend. The services are broadcast around the world on television and through the Internet to millions more. Osteen's first book, Your Best Life Now became a New York Times bestseller selling millions of copies. Joel Osteen, the smiling pastor, has become one of the most recognized and recognizable faces of Christianity.

The Rise of Lakewood Church and Joel Osteen, as we can deduce from the title, traces both the rise of the church and the subsequent rise of Joel Osteen. Each of these emphases receives roughly half of the book's 240 pages. And where Young seems to be enthusiastic about John Osteen, he is enraptured with Joel. The author's bias is never in doubt. He is captivated with Osteen and seems to feel no need to display any objectivity. The book is filled with hyperbole (though, sadly, this may well be unintentional hyperbolism). "Joel Osteen is one of the great marketing geniuses in the history of the Christian world;" Lakewood Church's opening weekend in the Compaq Center was "one of the greatest weekends in American church history;" "Together, the team at Lakewood is probably the greatest ministerial team in America." These superlatives grow tiresome and are especially ridiculous when understood in the context of Joel's ministry. He succeeded his father in 1999, meaning that his ministry has not yet even spanned a decade. His ministry has seemingly only just begun.

Young dedicates a small portion of the book to discussing Osteen's critics, but he does so in a condescending way and never once interacts with the most important criticisms--those drawn from the Bible. In the introduction to this book he describes a typical Sunday at Lakewood and, when writing about the worship service, says "I couldn't help but notice a well-dressed, gray-haired gentleman. His arms were folded, his mouth tightly closed, and he seemed to be looking around, passing judgment on all around him." Later he summarizes Osteen's critics like this: "Those who criticize Joel are just people who take a different approach to this teaching [that Christianity has a temporal benefit, not merely an eternal one] and don't approve of those not like them." Never once does he interact with serious theological concerns except to affirm that Joel believes in a set of basic Christian doctrine but that he chooses to dwell on what is positive rather than what is negative. Much like in Osteen's ministry, the word "sin" is only mentioned in this book in a negative sense when describing cliched caricatures of evangelicals. Even in discussing Victoria Osteen's well-publicized tantrum on an airplane he will admit no wrong-doing, only misunderstandings and media that is set against Osteen. In discussing Osteen's infamous "media miscue" on the Larry King Show, he admits "Joel made a major mistake" but assures us this was not a mistake based on conviction, but on a desire to ensure that neither unbelievers nor critical Christians would be offended.

Also strangely absent from this book is any real assessment of what Osteen offers the wider church, unless it is merely a message that is positive. But many other pastors have shared a sin-free, positive message before Joel. The word "gospel" appears a handful of times but is never explained, never declared. Young does not discuss how Osteen has impacted the church at large and how other pastors and leaders are emulating him. And yet Young considers him the next great Christian leader. He writes "the Lord has raised a man up in each generation to be a leader and impact that generation. There is a straight line from Charles Finney to D.L. Moody to Billy Sunday to Billy Graham. Who will be that man for this generation?" According to Young it will be Osteen.

Young aptly summarizes Osteen in quoting a woman who watches his program on television. "Most preachers you hear make you feel bad about yourself and they talk about the worst part of yourself. Joel Osteen talks about the best part of yourself." Young writes, "Statements like this show that Joel is becoming a huge force in Christianity who is reaching out to people far beyond the standard Christian market." He is, indeed, reaching beyond the typical Christian audience, but this book makes it clear that he is reaching with a message that shares only part of the gospel. Osteen shares a message of God's love, but, because he will not speak of sin, does not share our desperate need for God's love and forgiveness. His message, like this book, is incomplete, sharing only half of the story.

With Osteen's meteoric rise to prominence we can be sure that he will be the subject of many biographies. This is the first, but will certainly not be the last. Surely it will not and cannot be the best. While it provides a good deal of interesting information and succeeds in providing an outline of the rise of Lakewood Church and the subsequent rise of Joel Osteen, it does so in a way that is so clearly biased, so one-sided, that it is difficult to take it seriously. It is not a book that is without value, but it is one that should be read with discernment and with a clear understanding that this is as much hagiography as it is biography.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lakewood church book 13 Feb 2011
By Ronniemoe - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From Ron's wife : I am a huge fan, follower and believer in Joel Osteen's ministry but I did not discover him until 2007 when I was going through some tough personal times with my family and the passing of my Mom, all of which he helped me through with his inspiring messages. Having not discovered him until 2007 I never knew the complete story of how Lakewood got started and this book answered all the questions I had. Was very well written and I was very satisfied with my purchase and my experience with the seller.
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational 12 July 2013
By Kellai - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am enjoying this item and I will pass it on to family members. Also the item arrived in a timely manner and in perfect condition.
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