- (Photo: The Christian Post via CNN)
Joel Osteen, the popular megachurch pastor from Houston, appeared Tuesday afternoon on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" and said that he considers both presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, a Mormon, and President Obama to be Christians.
Osteen, when asked about Romney's faith, said the former Massachusetts governor is indeed a Christian – which is a similar statement to the one he made in January.
"When I hear Mitt Romney say that he believes that Jesus is the Son of God – that he's the Christ, raised from the dead, that he's his Savior – that's good enough for me," said Osteen.
The Texas pastor did say that the Mormon faith was "not traditional Christianity," but that Mormonism still falls under the umbrella of Christian tenets. "Mormonism is a little different, but I still see them as brothers in Christ," said Osteen.
Many Christians do not consider Mormons to be Christians because they do not hold orthodox beliefs on core doctrines such as original sin, grace, the inerrancy of the Bible, and the understanding of the Trinity is different.
Osteen was also asked about President Obama's faith. Osteen said he has spent time with Obama and has no doubt that he is a Christian.
"I believe with all my heart that he's a Christian, as he says he is," Osteen stated.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Texas pastor served as guest chaplain for the U.S. House of Representatives at the request of Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas).
Lee, the often fiery congresswoman known for championing liberal causes, called Osteen a "humble spirit," and praised him for leading the "largest and most growing church in American history."
Osteen prayed: "Father we thank you that you show your goodness and your favor to the United States of American and those who govern it. We ask that you bless this House of Representatives, and each member who serves in it."
"Help these lawmakers to search their hearts so that they may serve with dignity and honor and through them our nation will achieve the destiny that you have set before us. Give them wisdom as they make good decisions, courage that they will hold fast to your truth, and compassion that all should prosper from their laws. We receive your presence here today, Father, and we pray that these lawmakers will remain mindful of you, that they will honor you in everything that they do here. In Jesus name, Amen."
After leading the House in prayer, Osteen got a private tour of the capitol from Lee, which included saying a brief prayer in the House Chapel.
When asked by reporters if he was bringing a specific message to Congress, he replied that he wanted to see more compromise on Capitol Hill. "It seems like when I was growing up there was more compromise, wanting to work with each other, and I think all of them – all of the lawmakers – have hearts to do what's right and they all are passionate about it."
While in Washington, D.C. this week, Osteen will also have private meetings with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.).
Correction: Wednesday, April 25, 2012:
An article on Wednesday, April 25, 2012, about Joel Osteen's comments on President Obama and GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney's faith incorrectly reported that Osteen saw a belief prayer in the House Chapel. He said a brief prayer with Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in the chapel.