Reports circulated on the web about a newly revealed hoax that said senior pastor Joel Osteen, of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, has resigned.
Rumors indicated that not only had Osteen left his church, but from Christianity as a whole, citing a lack of faith in Bible as the word of God.
Articles on CNN, Druge Report and Yahoo with headlines announcing Osteen's resignation circulated on the Web over the weekend, though links to the articles have since be removed. The reports are rumored to have stemmed from a WordPress blog called Joel Osteen Ministries that was said to belong to Osteen. Its only post is an alleged article from CNN and a "special message" from the pastor.
In the blog post, supposedly written by him on March 29, Osteen's alleged "statement" reads, "I believe now that the Bible is a fallible, flawed, highly inconsistent history book that has been altered hundreds of times.
"There is zero evidence the Bible is the holy word of God," Osteen supposedly said. "Today, I informed my closest colleagues of my decision to leave the church. Our ministry will continue in a bare-bones fashion as we liquidate our assets and fulfill various financial obligations."
A fake Twitter account was already created under Osteen's name.
The blog post raised suspicions about it being true most notably because its web address spells Osteen's last name incorrectly. Secondly, based on Osteen's official website, there is no indication that the 50-year-old has any intention of resigning from the church he has led since 1999. His last blog post on the webpage was posted on April 5 and in it he began by talking about the Israelites and the slavery they were under for years.
The hoax report added that a crowd gathered in the church parking lot Sunday to hold a prayer vigil for Osteen, and one church member said "He's come under the influence of the Devil."
Osteen did not address the rumors on his official Twitter account.