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What scandals has Joel Osteen been involved in?

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Quick Answer

Joel Osteen has not been involved in a legitimate scandal as of 2015, but his teachings are often criticized by other Christian leaders. His wife and co-pastor, Victoria Osteen, has been accused of assaulting a flight attendant on Continental Airlines.

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Full Answer

Joel Osteen has been accused by attorney Richard Garbarini of leveraging Lakewood Church as a money-making vehicle to promote Osteen's books. The church is listed as a non-profit, so this act would be illegal if true. However, nothing has come of this accusation, as of 2015.

Joel Osteen's teachings and sermons are often criticized for promoting prosperity theology, which claims that good faith brings financial gain. Reformed theologian Michael Horton has referred to Osteen's method of teaching as heresy on a 2007 episode of "60 Minutes." Osteen has claimed that when he refers to prosperity, he means it in terms of health and happiness.

Victoria Osteen was forced to pay a $3,000 fine to the FAA after assaulting a flight attendant in 2005. Osteen paid the fine uncontested, but the flight attendant also filed a civil lawsuit, requesting $405,000 in damages and an apology. A jury in Houston eventually sided with Osteen and cleared her of civil liability in 2008.

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