Texas minister Joel Osteen, well known for his uplifting messages and trademark smile, was hit with some tough theological questions in a recent interview with a New York City reporter right on the stoop outside of her Brooklyn apartment.
"You are arguably the most famous preacher on the planet," "Talk Stoop" host Cat Greenleaf said to Osteen, who shrugged at the assertion. Greenleaf went on to add that, despite his fame and leadership of Lakewood Church in Houston, the Best Life now author has never undertaken seminary studies.
"Now, most people, if they have a congregation of 45,000 or more, a seating area of 16,000, they might want to go to seminary to brush up on some stuff. But not you," Greenleaf said bluntly.
"I didn't," Osteen responded. "I didn't know that I was gonna do this. I worked 17 years with my parents at the church but never preached before. When my dad died in 1999, all of a sudden, I felt like I was supposed to step up and pastor the church. You know, it didn't make sense, but I did it, and here we are today."
Although the overall mood of the interview was light, Greenleaf followed up with several hard-hitting issues, such as the need for an intermediary between people and God.
"I don't think you need anybody to pray to God or pray to the Lord. You can go directly to Him for yourself and I tell people that," Osteen said. "But I do think there are people who can explain the Scripture and help you with everyday life."
"Does God talk to you in full sentences or do you just feel these things?" Greenleaf later questioned, before wondering out loud how one differentiates between the "still small" voice and the various voices in one's head.
"God's voice is encouraging. God's voice can be correcting. But it's not demeaning, it's not nagging, it's not condemning," Osteen said. "It may be convicting, but some of it is, you just have to get to know the right voice."
In the five-minute interview, Greenleaf asks the popular feel-good gospel preacher about keeping his ego in check, the difficulties of having to minister to numerous many people, what kind of things make him afraid, and more.
"Talk Stoop" features Greenleaf interviewing a variety of subjects, such as actors, musicians, athletes, and politicians on her own stoop in Brooklyn. Preachers very rarely, if ever, appear as interview subjects.
It was unclear when the interview was filmed, but Osteen visited New York on Sept. 14 to promote his latest book, Every Day A Friday: How To Be Happier 7 Days A Week. The "Talk Stoop" interview was published on NBC New York's website on Sept. 27.