Today marks the release of Joel Osteen’s latest book, I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life. The description on Osteen’s website reads:
The words we speak set the course for our life. If you want to know what you’re going to be like in five years, listen to the words you are saying about yourself today.
Now you can take charge of your future with the help of Joel Osteen’s latest book-I Declare. Filled with 31 written declarations-one for each day-you can declare, in faith, God’s powerful Word over your life and watch your surroundings change in incredible ways. You will move forward to a promising future from the fruit of your words!
While it has been said that one cannot judge a book by its cover, it seems a safe speculation to expect that this latest literary endeavor once again finds Osteen in the realm of the heretical Word Faith gospel. As was noted in a CBS interview conducted with Osteen earlier today, the book’s introduction states that, “The key is you’ve got to send your words out in the direction that you want your life to go.” This idea that one’s words have creative power if only they are supported by enough faith is crucial in the Word Faith movement. Pastor Gary Gilley sums up this teaching thusly:
As is implied by the title “Word of Faith,” the supporters of this movement believe that faith works like a mighty power or force. Through faith we can obtain anything we want — health, wealth, success, whatever. However, this force is only released through the spoken word. As we speak the words of faith, power is discharged to accomplish our desires. Source
Just as the Word Faith movement teaches that positive words create positive results, it is also taught that negative words will likewise yield unpleasant outcomes.
[Kenneth] Hagin informs us that if you confess sickness you get sickness, if you confess health you get health, whatever you say you get. “This spoken word. . . releases power — power for good or power for evil,” is the commonly held view of the movement. It is easy to see why the title “Positive Confession” is often applied to this group. Source
In the video referenced above, Osteen appears to agree with this doctrine as he reveals his reason for writing this newest book:
A lot of people have had negative things spoken over them—they weren’t raised in a good environment like I was—and they get up every morning and they’re speaking defeat: ‘I’m not attractive, nothing good ever happens to me.’ I just believe the words that we speak set the course for our lives. Source
Generally it is unfair to proffer an opinion on a book without reading it. Yet, in this particular instance Joel Osteen’s own words ironically seem to have allowed for an exception. If this is not sufficient, a glance at the preview of the book offered on Amazon may aid one in arriving at the same conclusion. Thus, it seems prudent (if not obvious) to warn against spending any money or time on this publication.