Last June, six men from a small church interrupted a service at Lakewood Church when senior pastor Joel Osteen was preaching. Four of the six men were arrested for heckling, but they were found not guilty. The judge dismissed the trespassing charges during trial. And the jury found them not guilty of disrupting a meeting or procession
The group is from the Church of Wells in east Texas; they were charged with trespassing after they disrupted Osteen's sermon. One of the group, Kevin Fessler says, "We had a message...we had a burden from God...to declare all of us and by God's Grace we spoke, and thus the verdict is that we are innocent."
"The scripture says that without holiness, that no man shall see God. And so we believe the true gospel turns people from their sins," said Fessler. "The true gospel causes a man to have godly sorrow over their sins, and to live a holy life. That's not what he's preaching."
"In this hour of general apostasy ... it is meet for those whom God has risen up as salt and light, so to salt the corruptions of their generation, and to turn the lights on in that great bedroom of adulteries (i.e. the professing church), if perhaps God would be pleased indeed to stem the tide, seal the breach, and resurrect His standard of righteousness which has long lain without a Church to bear it,"
Osteen was called to testify during the trial, and according to ABC 13, said while he could not see the men, he could hear them shouting and "could sense hostility in their tone."
The men's outbursts last year reportedly scared many of those in attendance for the service, with all six of them eventually being removed by church security. "A significant number of Lakewood's ushers and security team members are police and sheriff's officers who attend Lakewood regularly," said Donald Iloff Jr., a senior executive with Joel Osteen Ministries, in a statement to The Christian Post last year.
"These officers were efficient and quick in responding to the situation and, along with Lakewood's leadership will continue to be vigilant in the security and protection of Lakewood Church and its members."
In addition to the charges, the six men were also ordered to stay at least 200 feet away from Lakewood Church property and to avoid contact with Osteen or his wife, Victoria.