The answer to the above question is no…and yes.
At the following website it is being reported that at a recent Joel Osteen venue, (Yankee Stadium, June 7) scalpers were charging $850 per ticket to hear the (false) preacher speak-
According to Essence Music Festival – a 3 day pass to see Prince, Lionel Richie, Mary J Blige, Erykah Badu and more on (July 4-6, 2014) in New Orleans is only $249, with 111 tickets remaining. Considering that lineup of Superstar Talent, how much would you pay to hear “Christian Superstar” Joel Osteen preach the Gospel of Jesus? According to StubHub.com, ticket scalpers are selling tickets for The Joel Osteen Tour for as much as $850. SEE COST PER SEAT!
On the StubHub.com site, tickets for this event are being resold by Ticket Scalpers therefore the price is currently ranging from $18 in the Nose Bleed Seats, all the way up to $850 if you desire to look directly up Joel Osteen’s Nose.
Stubhub.com is also reporting that the normal cost of tickets in Delta Suit B without the Scalper mark up is $592.
Since when did scalpers start scalping church tickets you ask? Since 2005, when Joel Osteen proved he could sellout a stadium. Traditionally ticket scalpers are only interested in sold out events. Apparently the scalpers feel this event will sell out, and fans of Joel Osteen are willing to pay their asking premium. Regardless of the Performer on the stage – even if that performer just so happens to be a Preacher, the scalpers somehow seem to know how to make a profit, and they’re planning to profit as Joel profits.
For some crazy reason Christians are willing to pay the high cost of these tickets just to get a front row view of Joel Osteen, prices that even tower above “A List” performers like Beyoncé.
As reported here, Osteen feels that preaching the whole counsel of God is not his niche. Osteen believes that to preach sin or wrath or judgment is not “his calling”. Instead, he preaches feel-good messages, because everybody’s on a journey.
HuffPost Live’s Marc Lamont Hill asked whether gay marriage is against the fundamental “rules” of Christianity. “It would be, but I don’t really focus on a lot of those things,” Osteen said. “I try to stay in my lane of what I feel called to do. [Gay marriage] does come up in interviews and things, but that’s not my core message.” What his message does include, Osteen said, is advising his congregation on how to let go of the past, raise good children and achieve their dreams.
Of course it seems good to the people attending to hear such smooth speech as that. Smooth as butter.
S. Lewis Johnson preached on Hosea 10 in 1984. Though he was not speaking of Osteen in particular, in the quote below he was speaking of all who have a divided heart, a theme recurring in both Hosea 10:2 and the Psalm 55 verse.
“You ever met any individuals like that? They have a wonderful way of speaking smoothly, and if you’re not on your guard, you’ll be taken in by their deceptiveness, their falsity, their trickiness. And so what he is saying is, their heart is smooth, their heart is false, their heart is tricky; it is divided. In other words, outwardly they are followers of Yahweh, the true God, but really they’re followers of Baal and of their own selves.”
Gill’s Exposition explains the Psalm 55 verse, the heart is divided, and one only outwardly follows God, like Judas: “such the words of Judas, when he said to Christ, “hail, master”, and kissed him, Matthew 26:49; … but war was in his heart; even a civil war, rebellion against his prince;”
Make no mistake. Joel Osteen is at war with Christ. ‘His calling’ is to lead many sons into rebellion with him. Beware this false wolf.
In fairness, though, I can’t blame Osteen personally for the ticket prices. In order to minimize scalping, the Joel Osteen Organization does not sell tickets in large blocks. However, what does an $850 ticket say about us as people? As the article above stated, “For some crazy reason Christians are willing to pay…” Scalpers can only command the price if people are willing to pay it.
I think of Charles Spurgeon, dubbed “The Prince of Preachers” in the 1800s. He preached widely and constantly in the UK and in Europe. In 1876 however, he hadn’t had time to preach in America, despite the Redpath Lyceum Bureau having invited Spurgeon many times. When the Bureau noticed an advertisement in another newspaper trumpeting Spurgeon’s imminent arrival in the US, the Bureau write to Spurgeon asking Spurgeon to engage with them instead. The Bureau offered “one thousand dollars in gold for every lecture you deliver in America, and pay all your expenses to and from your home, and put you in the most popular auspices in the country.”
Spurgeon replied that the competing article was a “deliberate invention from a hard-up editor”, for he had no plans whatsoever to arrive in the US for a tour. He clarified that he was not a lecturer, and most importantly, “nor would I receive money for preaching.”