As many Americans leave churches and give up on organized religion, they’re turning to Oprah as their spiritual leader, says renowned Christian apologist Josh McDowell, one of the best-selling authors of all-time and co-author of a new novel released today, “‘O’ God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality.”
McDowell and his co-author, Dave Sterrett, contend that the “splintered belief” of Oprah and the advice of the colorful teachers she promotes are among today’s most relevant issues.
“The danger is that while appearing to use Christian and inclusive language that at first seems similar to that of Christianity, Oprah teaches a message that is radically different and absolutely contrary to the true teaching of Scripture and historic Christianity,” McDowell and Sterrett warn.
The media’s portrayal of Oprah as a modern-day Billy Graham and her selection as master of ceremonies for the national memorial service at Yankee Stadium after the 9/11 attacks demonstrate her powerful influence, the authors note.
McDowell points out USA Today reporter Cathy Lynn Grossman discussed in a recent article the theological shift taking place.
“Religion today in the USA is a salad bar where people heap on upbeat beliefs they like and often leave the veggies – like strict doctrine – behind,” she wrote.
McDowell and Sterrett explain in the book’s introduction why they teamed up to author “‘O’ God.”
“As Christian apologists who believe that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone, we wanted to create a fictional, almost Socratic dialogue that would cover many of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual teaching in recent years,” they write.
McDowell has authored or co-authored 118 books, including “More Than a Carpenter,” which has sold 15 million copies in 85 languages. His book “New Evidence That Demands a Verdict” was named one of the 20th century’s top 40 books and one of the 13 most influential books of the last 50 years on Christian thought by World magazine.
He has spoken to more than 10 million young people in 84 countries and on more than 700 university and college campuses.
Among his many honors, he has been nominated 36 times for the Gold Medallion Award and has received the award on four occasions. Sterrett is an educator, speaker and writer for Probe Ministries International in Plano, Texas.
“‘O’ God,” which has a special website, follows conversations of two Oprah fans who place their faith in the spirituality of Oprah’s popular TV talk show, magazine and webinars then confront a life-altering crisis.
The authors say their aim was to employ fictional narrative, like classic Christian author C.S. Lewis, to disarm and entertain readers, while communicating biblical truths and exposing Oprah’s teachings.
Jonathan Merritt, a popular faith and culture writer, calls the book “profoundly moving and surprisingly lighthearted.”
“Through fresh fiction, they manage to deal carefully with ‘the big issues’ that often intimidate other spiritual writers,” he said of McDowell and Sterrett. “If you are in love with the daytime diva or are simply a spiritual seeker, this book will prove utterly unforgettable.”
Karol Ladd, author of “The Power of a Positive Woman,” says the book “creatively addresses the ‘matters of the soul’ which most people long to explore.”
“Spiritual seekers who are looking for answers will find God’s truth as they ponder the words of this book,” she says. “I recommend it as a guide and resource to help you sift through the variety of spiritual concepts presented through the media today.”