The pranksters set up a bogus church website with the news and even fake news sites to spread their made-up story.
Every Sunday, Joel Osteen proclaims his faith in front of 45,000 members of his Texas megachurch Lakewood Church with an audience of millions watching at home and online. So you can imagine the reactions when people saw an official-looking website with the "special announcement" allegedly from the pastor reading, "I am leaving the Christian faith."
The site is elaborate, complete with a YouTube video featuring rather ominous music and pictures of news stories on CNN and Drudge. There was even an accompanying Twitter account and a message supposedly from Pastor Joel declaring, "There is zero evidence the Bible is the holy word of God. In fact, there is zero evidence 'God' even exists."
The only problem was the real Joel Osteen says none of this is true.
"All is well. I still have my faith. Nothing has changed," he said.
The pastor even said he actually found it mildly amusing.