Vienna, VA. – She is persuasive, influential and does a lot of good, but Christians should be careful when Oprah speaks about spirituality, warned two apologists who recently co-authored a book on the subject.
To a crowd of more than 1,500 people at McLean Bible Church outside of Washington, D.C,. on Friday evening, renowned apologist Josh McDowell and up-and-coming apologist Dave Sterrett explained the danger of adopting Oprah's spiritual teachings from a Christian perspective.
They pointed out that the talk show queen and the spiritual teachers she promotes teach pantheism – God is all and all is God – and that there are multiple paths to reach God. She also emphasizes that people should carry out their inner longings instead of restraining themselves if the act is said to be a sin by the Bible.
"Here is where you got to be careful," emphasized McDowell. "Not only Oprah but others use Christian or religious terminologies that Christians would accept as Christian."
"The Christian God is a personal creator God which all truth resides, who is totally outside of ourselves and outside of our universe," explained the best-selling author of More Than a Carpenter. "When Oprah and others refer to God, it is an impersonal force. And I think one way that comes out is that they will say, 'Look within you and find yourself from within. Find that God-consciousness. That is God.'"
In their book, "O" God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah's Spirituality, the apologists warn that Oprah "uses the language of the Bible and Christian traditions" but mixes that with other traditions to "create a hodgepodge of personalized faith."
They point out in their book that Oprah, during her first A New Earth Web seminar on March 3, 2008, told participants that Christ came to show people that they can discover their own "Christ-consciousness."
One of the main characters in the book, Lindsey, who is struggling to make sense of Christianity and Oprah's spirituality, says at one point:
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"Maybe Jesus was no more God than you and I are. Maybe we're all just part of the UltimateBeing that we call God or Universal Energy or that Eckhart (Tolle) calls Consciousness. Eckhart (author of Oprah Book Club's pick A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose) doesn't feel that it is arrogant for me to say, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.' If Jesus said it, why can't I?"
But McDowell warned Friday that reliance on this inner consciousness is dangerous because it can justify sin since people should follow what they feel rather than an absolute Truth.
McDowell recalled an episode on an Oprah Winfrey Show last year where former evangelical leader Ted Haggard, who was involved in a gay sex and drug scandal, and his wife Gayle were guests. Gayle said that her husband has struggled with homosexuality since he was 12 years old and that he is trying hard to bring the desires under control and defeat it.