Sunday, May 19, 2019

Fake Joel Osteen is Now a Thing

Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston has been sending out warnings about a fake Facebook account billing itself as "Joel Osteen Ministries." The account has been soliciting people to open "prayer request accounts" that are alleged to cost up to $50 per month. It's a clever scam, precisely because this is essentially what "Prosperity Gospel" preachers like Osteen imply that their parishioners should do. They just aren't quite as blatant about it.

Lakewood Church has been warning people about a Facebook account posing as "Joel Osteen Ministries," which has been asking people for donations up to $50 to activate prayer request accounts. The message has been circulating on both Facebook and Twitter, church officials told

"Unfortunately, your Joel Osteen prayer request account has not been activated," the message said. "In order to activate your account, you will need to add a monthly donation of $24.99, which will give you access to 3 prayer requests per month..." The message goes on to offer "platinum prayer request" account to anyone who pays $49.99 per month.

A church spokesperson said she didn't know where the post originated. She said the Lakewood social media team saw hundreds of people receiving the fake messages. The church quickly notified people that that they do not, in fact, charge for prayer requests.

So no, Lakewood Church does not charge for prayer requests and you shouldn't be sending these scammers money. But if you are donating to Osteen's church on the promise that God will give you back many times the amount of money you donate, you shouldn't be doing that either. Jesus never said anything about God wanting his followers to accumulate wealth or liking rich people. In fact, he taught the exact opposite.

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