As A Pastor, What Has Joel Osteen Said About Divorce?
Joel Osteen isn’t personally getting divorced, but as a pastor, he has some thoughts on the subject.
On a blog entitled “Let Go of the Ashes” posted in 2014 by Joel Osteen, he states that divorce, though not ideal, should not be a stigma that prevents people from moving on. He also encourages divorcees to find new romances with someone better.
In fact, some fans think that one specific quote from Joel about divorce is what initially sparked rumors that his marriage was in trouble. The thing is, Joel often speaks on many topics, divorce included, and seems to have a bit less traditional view on some things than other church leaders.
Knowing that he’s not talking about his personal relationship or marriage, fans might wonder what Joel’s thoughts are on divorce, from the perspective of a pastor rather than someone sitting in divorce court.
Is Divorce Allowed In Joel Osteen’s Religion?
Most Joel Osteen supporters are aware that his religion is officially non-denominational Christianity, which appears to allow a lot of space for interpretation when it comes to Osteen’s own views. However, most religions have particular divorce regulations.
Is it permissible to divorce in Christianity? Basically, it depends on one’s understanding of the Bible. According to groups like Christianity Today, the majority of sources imply that marriage is a “life-long vow.” However, depending on how one (or their faith) interprets the terminology used in the bible, there are exceptions.
For example, the description of marriage involves both partners being “Spirit-filled disciples of Christ,” so reading between the lines, most people would agree that someone who turns away from their religious beliefs would no longer fit that description. Then, the marriage would be an ‘exception’ because it involves one person who is a ‘sinner.’
Other “explicit divorce allowances,” says Christianity Today, involve infidelity and when “an unbelieving spouse abandons the marriage.” There are a few other instances that various religious leaders believe make divorce “permissible,” such as “unchastity” or abuse.
With that general background, what does Joel Osteen specifically have to say, as a married man and pastor?
What Does Joel Osteen Say About Divorce?
Joel Osteen, in an unexpected decision that has garnered him criticism from more traditional religious leaders, appears to be quite tolerant of divorce in general. Fans might conclude that Joel knows there are exceptions to the whole “life-long commitment” of marriage, based on a social media post he made about divorce, which may have sparked speculations he was divorcing his wife Victoria.
Fans also took Joel’s 2019 Tweet to refer to divorce, as well: “If somebody left you, you have to realize their part in your story is over. If they walked away, then you don’t need them. If God allowed it, then that means they’re not a part of your destiny.”
Various other quotes, social media and otherwise, from Joel over the years could also be applied to the topic of divorce, especially where Osteen talks about repentance and grace.
But Joel has also written blog posts on the topic of divorce, including a 2014 post that prolcaimed, “If you went through a divorce, let it go. God has somebody better in your future.”
So, followers of Osteen can rest assured that he isn’t judging them for their separation or divorce. The thing is, Joel has had some personal experiences with the topic, too, though it wasn’t his own marriage under fire.
Do Joel Osteen’s Followers Agree With Him?
Like any other public figure, Osteen has his critics, and possibly even more than a traditional celebrity because people care deeply about their religion (while they don’t care as deeply about, say, the Kardashians’ love lives).
And it seems that not everyone buys into his feel-good sermons, because, as commenters have noted, “You’re good in motivational talks but I can’t hear anything from [the] bible though.” Many online critics call Joel out for either being overly religious or for not being stringent enough in following what his religion formally prescribes.
Again, it depends on his congregation’s interpretations of the book, but most people seem reassured by Joel’s interpretation of the grace and forgiveness that’s available to them, even if they’ve gone against the traditional biblical value of remaining married forever.
Of course, regardless of how people feel about what Joel says, the fact that he’s still married — after 34 years — it seems like he’s sticking to the biblical definition of marriage himself, even if he’s offering support to those who haven’t.