Joyce Meyer’s Concept of Sinfulness

This article was posted on the Pondering Christ blog two years ago by Mr. Matthew Fenn. I would like to thank him for his vigilance and for the insightful article. I have edited the article a bit for this blog.

Joyce Meyer was briefly a member of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in St. Louis, (Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod). It makes sense that she was familiar with the Lutheran “Liturgy” or as it is commonly know, the “Common Service” (TLH pg. 15, LSB pg. 184). At the very beginning of that service setting, the congregation confesses the following:
“O almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto You all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended You and justly deserve Your temporal and eternal punishments. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray You of Your boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor, sinful, being.”

Joyce Meyer takes exception to this. Here’s a transcript, below it is the link to the audio/video on Youtube.

“I am NOT poor! I am NOT miserable, and I am NOT a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of Hell. That is what I were and if I still was then Jesus died in vain! I’m going to tell you something folks, I didn’t stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn’t a sinner anymore. And the religious world thinks that’s heresy and they want to hang me for it. But the Bible says that I’m righteous and I can’t be righteous and a sinner at the same time.” – Joyce Meyer


The Holy Scriptures consistently say exactly the opposite of this:

  • “as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one;’” (Rom 3:10 ESV)
  • “And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: ‘Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin’” (Rom 4:5-8 ESV).
  • “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1Jo 1:8-10 ESV).

In these words, Joyce Meyer is teaching “contrary to the doctrine,” contrary to the Word of God. Below is a quote from Dr. Luther. Read him and judge for yourself which of the two is being faithful to Scripture.

“Reason argues in this way: If you have been justified, you cannot be a sinner. But the argument is not valid. For reason does not know or understand the magnitude of divine mercy or how important it is and how effective faith is. For that reason men do not cease to bury the Word of God with human inventions. For they are so bound together by that mistletoe of reason that they do not know how to discern true from false. They do not value it very highly that God can do this, that though sin remains, he considers us to be righteous and pure, and that a man is so absolved, as if he had no sin, for Christs sake. We truly thank God, because his imputation is greater than our impurity. And sin, which in substance is not being removed, shall be imputed as having been removed and shall be absorbed by the goodness of God who conceals it on account of Christ who overshadows it, although it remains in nature and substance.

The adversaries do not want to admit this. Therefore they laugh when we say that faith justifies and yet sin remains. … Sin remains, then, perpetually in this life, until the hour of the last judgment comes and then at last we shall be made perfectly righteous. For this is not a game or delusion, that we say, “Sins are forgiven by faith and only cling to us, because that newness of life has miraculously begun.” In short, the term “to be justified” means that a man is considered righteous.”

Martin Luther, “Disputation Concerning Justification, 1536,” in Luther’s Works, AE 34:167-168

I have as yet been unable to find a published retraction of these statements. If anyone is aware of such a retraction, please help us to find a link to it. I do sincerely hope that she will hear the Word given through the Apostles, repent and recant, both for her sake and the sake of her hearers. As for you, faithful reader, listen to St. Paul’s appeal to the Roman congregation: “I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them” (Rom 16:17).

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