It was recently reported that Joel Osteen, the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, and a televangelist whose ministry reaches millions of viewers, has resigned from Christianity, citing a lack of faith in the validity of the Bible as the word of God.
Images of articles on CNN, Drudge Report and Yahoo News show headlines announcing Osteen's resignation, but actual links to those articles were unable to be found. Instead, the announcement seemed to originate from a WordPress blog named Joel Osteen Ministries in which the only post is an alleged article from CNN claiming that the megachurch pastor released a statement on his website, Joel Osten Ministries.
Osteen's "statement" reads in part, "I believe now that the Bible is a fallible, flawed, highly inconsistent history book that has been altered hundreds of times. There is zero evidence the Bible is the holy word of God." He goes on to say that he has informed his closest colleagues that he is leaving the church, which will continue in a "bare-bones fashion as we liquidate our assets and fulfill various financial obligations."
The second clue that something is off about Osteen's reported resignation is the final paragraph, which states that Osteen is having trouble transferring ownership of some of his ministry's websites. So in case you were wondering why the website has only one "e," it's because it was the only website Osteen is able to control.
"I'm dealing with some church leaders who refuse to accept my resignation," he says. "They are refusing to change or alter any of our many web sites, and this is the only one I have control over."
A look at Joel Osteen's official website reveals no indication that the 50-year-old, who has led Lakeview Church since 1999, has any intention of resigning.
The most recent article about Joel Osteen on CNN discusses the televangelist's dismissal of the controversy over History Channel's The Bible miniseries. Osteen, who is a consultant on the show, said he is not surprised by the show's success.
"There are a lot of people of faith still in our country and when somebody takes a step of faith like Mark [Burnett] and [co-executive producer Roma Downey] did, people want to get behind it and see good quality, you know, production of something that's ... dear to all of our hearts, and that is the scripture and the Bible," Osteen said. He also dismissed the idea that the actor who plays Satan bears a resemblance to President Obama.
"I felt like it was nonsense," says Osteen. "People can draw funny conclusions."
The CNN article was posted on March 29, the same day Osteen's "resignation" was posted on his website.