Houston, TX — Controversial American evangelical pastor, televangelist, and author Joel Osteen had to apologize on Sunday for accidentally referring to one of his church members as being “balls deep” in debt. The comments were made during his weekly SiriusXM radio program “Wealth Through Jesus.”
“I certainly want to make it clear to everyone that what I said was off-color,” said Mr. Osteen earlier today on his website. “But taken in context, it made complete sense. Remember, God wants us to prosper financially, to have plenty of money, to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us. And sometimes, when getting that point across, I got ahead of myself. I’m sorry for anyone who misunderstood what I was trying to say.”
This isn’t the first time Osteen has felt the heavy hammer of public criticism. During the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, he received significant criticism in response to not making Lakewood Church available as an emergency shelter for those displaced by the storm. The church has over a 606,000-square-feet of space, with an additional 16,000-seat in the basketball arena.
Several insiders claim that the infamous preacher “didn’t want to get the facilities dirty.”
What Went Down?
The vulgar comments this past week came during a heated exchange with a California man who had called into his SiriusXM radio show. Daniel Myles of Oakland, CA, attempted to chastise Osteen for his opulent lifestyle and his ‘prosperity theology’ that says people are rewarded with wealth for their allegiance to God.
Daniel Myles: “How can you sit there in your comfortable studio, with your fancy car out front and tell people the reason they’re not wealthy like you, is because they don’t believe enough in Jesus and God?”
Joel Osteen: “Hey, thank you for your call. Look, I never talk about money, I just talk about people’s finances, OK? I’ve known many people who were balls-deep in debt, and it was the discipline brought through their faith in Jesus Christ that allowed them to pull out of it and come clean.”
During his apology, Mr. Osteen claimed that he didn’t understand that the phrase was used in adult films and also said that he didn’t intend to compare one’s debt and finances to such acts.
When reached for comment, Mr. Osteen’s organization did not respond.