Pastor Joel Osteen confirmed that an online resignation from the faith was all an elaborate hoax.
Online pranksters allegedly designed a bogus church website to spread the lie, complete with fake news sites, a YouTube video, and even a Twitter account that read, "There is zero evidence the Bible is the Holy Word of God."
The copycat website was accessible with a URL that spelled 'Osteen' with one 'e.' Ironically, users flooded the site and temporarily crashed it Monday afternoon. The site featured a letter in which a fake Osteen thanked Oprah, Larry King, his wife, and congregation in a farewell "I am leaving the Christian faith" speech.
The pranksters also questioned God's existence and announced a closing of Osteen's Texas church.
Responses to the fake announcement ranged from expressions of sadness to congratulations.
The mega church pastor was quick to deny the claims. On Osteen's Twitter feed, Tuesday, the pastor's staff responded, "It is a false rumor: Pastor Joel is not leaving the church."
"All is well. I still have my faith. Nothing has changed. I'm really not angry, I don't feel like a victim," Osteen said.
"People can't stop you from your destiny, a bad break, someone doing you wrong. If you move forward in faith, God will turn it around and use it to your advantage," he said.