"Combining historical research, documentary investigation, and the observations of participants, Sinitiere situates the stirring success of Lakewood Church (the U.S.'s largest megachurch) and Joel Osteen Ministries within the broader American evangelical and neo-Pentecostal context."
—STARRED Publishers Weekly
"Sinitiere has written a remarkable and trenchant study of Joel Osteen, senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston...Osteen’s sunny message has attracted much controversy, not least from other conservative Christians, but his megasuccess, Sinitiere brilliantly shows, says a great deal about the state of religion in America. A fascinating, illuminating, and at times disturbing account from a shrewd observer."
—STARRED Library Journal
“Well written and very readable, this thoughtful book places Osteen in his intellectual, political, and theological contexts, shedding light on the forces that make him one of the most prominent pastors in US Christianity. Students of Christianity in the US will find it an indispensable read.”
"Sinitiere takes Osteen seriously, painstakingly explaining how he became 'America's most notable evangelical preacher.'"
“[Sinitiere] provides an enjoyable read and invaluable work for anyone interested in the intersection of prosperity theology, televangelism, the megachurch movement, and American Christianity.”
“Sinitiere presents us with an intriguing mediation on what religious authority is in the twenty-first century, especially in evangelicalism.”
—Journal of the American Academy of Religion
"Salvation with a Smile is necessary reading for all who want to understand contemporary American evangelicalism, and the two Joel Osteen sermon transcripts included in the appendices are useful resources for the classroom."
— Sociology of Religion
"Charismatic Christianity is increasingly the face of American evangelicalism, and a smiling one at that. Joel Osteen is a major reason why. In this deeply researched and richly contextualized study, Phillip Luke Sinitiere nominates Osteen as America’s new pastor. No fair-minded reader will come away doubting Osteen’s significance and genius. Anyone interested in the nation’s protean religious landscape will benefit from this scholarly labor of love."
—Steven P. Miller, author of The Age of Evangelicalism: America’s Born-Again Years
"Sinitiere's outstanding book on Joel Osteen and his Lakewood Church combines the best of historical narrative, ethnographic observation and analysis, and an empathetic but critically acute scholarly understanding. The result is a work that explains and interprets one of America's foremost religious celebrities, the `charismatic core’ of his church, and the combination of positive thinking and positive confession which form his message."
—Paul Harvey, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
"The best possible book on Joel Osteen and his place in American religious history. Well researched and well written, it uses Osteen’s own words to portray the man who can now rightfully be called 'America’s Pastor' as Billy Graham passes from the scene. . . . What emerges is a positive yet objective picture of the popular preacher with the big smile who has built the largest congregation in the history of the American church."
—Vinson Synan, Dean Emeritus, Regent University School of Divinity
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