Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Worldwide Church/Cult of Oprah

You've probably already heard about Oprah Winfrey's big new spiritual endeavor, launching a movement from her bully pulpit of daytime women's television based on the writings of obscure New Age spiritualist Eckhart Tolle. Take a look at this video and then think with me about a few things:

One of the first things that struck me in all of the clips of Oprah speaking is that she speaks as one with authority. She never says "I think" or "I believe" but rather makes statements as if they are true and factual. Especially in the first exchange when she is talking about many ways to "what you call god", and the blunt assertion that "there can't possibly be only one way!" She has assumed the role of a teacher of spiritual truth, not just a counselor. In this she has crossed a line from going astray, to leading many others astray.

Note also how she responds when asked by a caller about how she reconciles this spiritual teaching with her Christian upbringing. She goes into a long discussion of a childhood experience in church, but then says she had a problem when the preacher said God is a jealous God. Of course this is followed by a complete misquoting and corruption of Scripture by Tolle, twisting Jesus' words to glorify us rather than Him. But listen to her overall response to this question. She never "reconciled" this teaching with Christianity. She simply abandoned Christianity. At the point where she met a hard truth in the Word that conflicted with her view of God, she chose to turn aside to myths and fables. And of course eventually she found a willing spiritual mentor in Tolle to help her down the path to heresy. And now she's leading millions of hapless women (and men too) down that broad way with her. Many of whom are likely church-going nominal Christians, who like Oprah will abandon even their superficial Christian religion and follow her.

I could comment more on all that's wrong with Oprah's movement, but that's pretty obvious. I'm sure there's enough hand-wringing and lamenting the gospel according to Oprah in the Christian culture already. That's not my purpose here. In fact, I'd call us all to remember the spiritual reality behind Oprah, and every other false prophet who ever was or will be. Oprah is simply the latest pawn in the evil one's battle against truth. She's blinded by the god of this age and being used for his purposes. Our battle is not against flesh and blood Oprah, but against the spiritual deceiver behind her. She's not the first apostate, and won't be the last.

But let's think for a minute. Is the Gospel of Christ diminished by this teaching, this movement? Is the power of God unto salvation weakened or put to no effect by the Ophrah/Tolle unholy alliance? Hardly. In fact, I think the incredible grace and truth of the Gospel shines that much brighter against the dark and muddled backdrop of this kind of teaching. Many of those following Oprah down this path will eventually come to see the futility that results from it, and will then see the cross shining in all its glory as God quickens them to it.

This leads to another point. Is God not sovereign over even a cultural cultist like Oprah? Is not even this whole movement in some way sovereignly ordained by God to serve His ultimate purposes and glory? Obviously, yes. I see here yet another example of what Jude refers to when he says that "certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ." While Oprah and Tolle haven't crept into the church directly, and certainly they aren't unnoticed, they still seem to fit this description of denying our Lord and Master. And note the purpose - they were long beforehand marked for destruction. Vessels of wrath for God to show His power upon, in His timing. For even abominable spiritualists like Oprah are to God's glory. Not that He uses them for His glory, but that He causes them and does what he will with them for His glory.

And I think this perspective that comes from Biblical reformed doctrine must shape our view of this and any similar movement. We must speak truth against it, that is our calling as ambassadors for Christ. We must pray for release from bondage for those who are caught in the snare of this cult, asking God to free them and call His elect out from among them. But we must also recognize His ultimate control and perfect plan for even this false movement, and worship Him for His perfect and righteous plan.


Anonymous said...

Well put !

Rita Martinez said...

I couldn't agree more, please pray for a friend of mine who has been ensnared by this abominable teaching, he apparently has been gobbling up the A Course in Miracles books and has made it lord over Scripture. Its so frustrating when you take them through the Scriptures and they tell you, yes but what does the Holy Spirit tell you!! its like wah??
pray for me as well please!

Tori said...

This just amazes me although, for the life of me I don't know why. Why do we expect anything good to come from Hollywood?
She, along with the whole handful are very sharp tools in the hand of the Deceiver, to those who don't know Truth.

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