As Oprah Winfrey’s television show comes to a conclusion this week, USA Today is challenging the queen of daytime TV’s spirituality, quoting authors who say Oprah’s beliefs are “absolutely contrary to the true teaching of Scripture and historic Christianity.”
The report by Cathy Lynn Grossman opens by asking to whom will Oprah turn now that she’s leaving the TV talk circuit.
“God?” the report asks. “Not likely. Many Americans no longer believe in a mighty judge who sets the rules for life now and forever. Instead, many of us sing Oprah’s song of self-redemption.”
Oprah told Piers Morgan on the CNN host’s opening show: “I am the messenger to deliver the message of hope and redemption.”
USA Today says to a vast extent, American culture has bought the message: We’re all good, we should not judge each other and morality is relative.
It quotes Rice University sociologist Michael Lindsay who said Oprah draws on multiple religious traditions to “create a hodgepodge personalized faith.”
USA Today explains: “This is, of course, a message that horrifies traditional believers who decry it, like Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett in their book, “‘O’ God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality.”
In the book, the authors state: “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.”
On “Good Morning America” on the day of her final show, Oprah noted, “I often say, ‘Nobody but Jesus could have made this happen for me. I had no stylist, I had no publicist, I [was not] marketing-savvy, I was the most naive in terms of how the business operated.”
Though brought up as a Baptist, Oprah has since embraced and promoted a New Age-style philosophy promoted by Eckhart Tolle of “The Power of Now” and “A New Earth.”
She explained how she reconciled her Christian roots with Tolle’s let-go-and-breathe counseling on peace through silence and stillness: “What I believe is that Jesus came to show us Christ consciousness. That Jesus came to show us the way of the heart and that what Jesus was saying that to show us the higher consciousness that we’re all talking about here … .”
Winfrey’s television and print empire was stained in October 2009 by the tragic deaths of three people who were following the spiritual teaching of one of Winfrey’s celebrated and promoted self-help gurus, James Arthur Ray.
Winfrey’s philosophy of spirituality is embraced by many in her audience, especially those, like the TV host, who have grown disillusioned with organized religion and traditional Christianity.
But after 19 people were hospitalized and three killed during one of Ray’s “Spiritual Warrior” seminars at a sweat lodge near Sedona, Ariz., some are questioning whether Winfrey’s brand of spiritual wisdom is leading people closer to or further from the truth.
Best-selling author and Christian apologist Josh McDowell and fellow apologist Dave Sterrett of Probe Ministries released a new book – “‘O’ God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality” – asking that very question just two days before the sweat-lodge tragedy.
“[Oprah’s] popularity is so huge,” says Sterrett in a videotaped discussion about his new book, “that when people are getting turned off by organized religion and they think the church is full of hypocrites, they’re turning to Oprah; and we need to respond in love and truth.”
“The danger is that while appearing to use Christian and inclusive language that at first seems similar to that of Christianity,” the authors explain, “Oprah teaches a message that is radically different and absolutely contrary to the true teaching of Scripture and historic Christianity.”
Video of the authors discussing their book can be seen below:
A statement from the authors describes the unusual, dialogue style of “‘O’ God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality” this way:
“O” God follows conversations of two girlfriends representing the multitudes of Oprah fans, who unwittingly place their faith in the hodgepodge of spirituality embedded in her popular TV talk show, magazine and webinars. In the end, a life-altering crisis helps crystallize the truth from counterfeit teachings. Like classic Christian author C.S. Lewis, McDowell and Sterrett decided to employ fictional narrative to disarm and entertain readers, while refusing to shy away from biblical truths, and expose Oprah’s errant teachings.
“What we want to do is to get people thinking about what they’re saying and what they’re believing, and I mean Christians,” McDowell explains in the video discussion. “I would say the average Christian would not be able to answer the basic issues that Oprah brings up. What they could is be dogmatic and quote Scripture, and that’s it.”
He continues, “I pray with this book there’s going to be more, informed Christians who are able to think through what they believe and how to make it relevant in their culture and society.”
As WND reported, in addition to being an occasional guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Ray appeared in a DVD version of “The Secret,” a New Age book authored by Rhonda Byrne that was heavily promoted by Winfrey.
Ray’s website advertises that now is the perfect time to “once and for all enjoy total abundance and true wealth: financial, relationally, mentally, physically and spiritually.”
The site proclaims, “You really do have the power within you (regardless of what everyone else does) to create the life you desire and deserve.”
Following the sweat-lodge deaths, Ray has faced potential criminal investigation and vowed to hire his own investigative team to look into the tragedy.
“This is the most difficult time I’ve ever faced,” he told about 200 people at a subsequent seminar. “I don’t know how to deal with it really.”
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