Looks like ABC News found the culprit who created the elaborate internet hoax targeting Joel Osteen, and this hoaxer is actually a huge Osteen fan. It’s just that Osteen is one of the untouchable pastors who isn’t available by email or phone, and this guy simply wanted to tell his pastor to go a little deeper with his feel-good messages. Deeper in theology? No, according to NPR, he wanted Joel to focus more on social issues.  Like exposing Monsanto and fighting fluoride in water. (source: Christian Research Network)

The Minneapolis man acted alone, and has admitted to creating several false websites and social media accounts to proclaim that Osteen had renounced his faith and was giving up his pastoral position.  Justin Tribble says the messages are “too shallow,” and told ABC News,

“There is no doubt about it, his sermons are a lot of self-help platitudes,” Tribble said. “I want a message to get through to this guy, turn down the clichés and get real.”

Well, good luck with that, sir. Many people have tried to convince Osteen to do that very thing, but it has fallen on deaf ears. And to your point about not being able to reach Osteen any other way, it’s true. Even his Lakewood Church website doesn’t do the trick. I tried to send him my open letter we read on our program yesterday (Dear Joel Osteen, About That Hoax…) in which I urged him to stop making up a false Jesus, but the “contact us’ form went directly to a “share your story” link. So I shared it. And I posted it on his Facebook fan page which is managed by others. But it was taken down.

Tribble provided ABC News with the Go Daddy receipt he used to register the phony domain name. He said the hoax was actually a media campaign meant to open a serious dialog.

“I didn’t want to hurt the guy, didn’t want to defame him,” Tribble said. “I’m actually a big fan of Joel Osteen. I like him. I listen to him. I enjoy his sermons.”
Here’s the interview:

Here is the link to ABC’s coverage.

  • Dear Joel Osteen: About that “hoax…” (standupforthetruth.com)
  • Joel Osteen resigns, apparently a hoax? (standupforthetruth.com)
  • Joel Osteen and a Tale of Two Hoaxes (christianresearchnetwork.org)