The False Gospel of Oprah and Her Friends/Program 2

By: Dr. Erwin Lutzer; ©2009
A discussion on how Oprah and her spiritual guests are redefining God. Influencing 20 to 50 million viewers each weekday, Oprah’s friends are leading numerous people astray from the biblical concept of God.



Oprah Winfrey is one of the most popular television personalities in America. She has founded a media empire, publishes two monthly magazines, gives money for many philanthropic causes, and is considered by many as the most influential woman in the world. USA Today says, “Over the past year Oprah has emerged as a spiritual leader for the new millennium.” Thanks to her influence, Oprah’s friends promoting the new spirituality such as Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret, and Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love, have all become best-selling authors. Because of these and other New Age teachers Oprah promotes to her 40 million viewers each week, some claim she has done more to spread New Age spirituality than any other person on planet Earth. Oprah describes herself as a freethinking Christian who turned against the traditional teachings of Christianity. And now she appears to believe the new spiritual principles that she promotes. On our program today, you will hear from one of the most well known and highly respected Christian theologians in America, Dr. Erwin Lutzer. He says it’s time to help faithful Christians separate the truth from the lies found in the new spirituality being presented, so that regardless of who emerges as the next Oprah-approved spiritual teacher people won’t be misled.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer: Maybe there are those who say, “I’m not into watching Oprah Winfrey, so all of this is irrelevant.” No, my friend, it isn’t irrelevant. And the reason is because your children, perhaps your grandchildren, your relatives, they are reading this kind of literature; they are watching Oprah. And therefore, what we need to do is to understand we’re speaking about a cosmic battle that is engulfing America, and really the whole world. And we’d better understand what’s at stake.

In his new book, Oprah, Miracles and the New Earth, Dr. Lutzer explains how Oprah and her friends have redefined God, morality, death, heaven, and conversion; while misrepresenting Jesus and totally changing who He claimed to be. Join us on this special edition of the John Ankerberg show as we investigate The False Gospel of Oprah and Her Friends.

Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We’re talking about Oprah Winfrey and her friends and the new spirituality that she is presenting. And what we want to start with today is, why should we be concerned about Oprah’s influence and why should we be concerned about her talking about God? Well, she’s talking to 20–50 million viewers, who tune in to her programs around the world almost every day. And the fact is that she is talking about spiritual things. She is promoting people like Eckhart Tolle and A New Earth, Rhonda Byrne’s book The Secret, and Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love, as well as Helen Schucman’s A Course in Miracles. And these are just a few of the many guests that she has that are promoting a new spirituality. What’s happening is that her friends are redefining God, they’re redefining conversion, death, morality, heaven, hell, and Jesus and a host of other things. And Christians need to be aware of that.
Now today, Erwin, what we want to start with is, the fact is, they are redefining God. People need to understand what the difference is: the God that they think that they are talking about, they are not talking about the personal God. These go back, these things that they’re saying and putting in their books, go back, you say, to the things that the devil, the serpent, told Adam and Eve, the lies that he gave to them in the Garden of Eden. And one of them was about God. Tell us about that.
Lutzer: Exactly. You remember, the serpent said, “You shall be like God.” Now, let’s think for a moment. In what sense could Adam and Eve be like God? Could they be like God in being the creator of the sun, the moon and the stars? No. They couldn’t be God in that way. But if they said everything was God and God was everything, which is pantheism, then they could say, “Yes, I’m God too. I’m a part of God. My consciousness is a part of God.” And that’s why it’s important for our listeners to understand that pantheism, which is found primarily in Eastern religions, really underlies what we’re talking about here in terms of the new spirituality. God is no longer omnipotent; God is no longer existing outside of me; but God is actually found by going within myself. My consciousness is God.
And because of that view of God, what we find today is that it enters, what shall I say, it’s a doorway, an entry point to all kinds of spirituality, to that parallel universe that we spoke about last time. And you and I know that the universe is populated by spirits, many of them evil spirits. People are plugging into that parallel universe and they think that they are discovering God. But there are critical reasons why we can show that they aren’t.
Now, it’s very important for those who are listening to know that this redefinition of God is so critical. When you look at what these teachers are trying to tell us, they take our terms and they invest them with brand-new meanings. And that’s the essence of the deception. Let’s suppose I were to have here a glass of water, or a bottle of water, and on that bottle it would say Fresh Water. Then suppose that I were to take it and pour it into a sink and I were to fill it with clear, liquid poison. The label would still be there, Clear Water, but now its content is poisonous.
In the very same way, when you read about Eckhart Tolle and you find he’s talking about God, he says God is the essence of who you are; He is the essence of consciousness. He said when Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life,” He wasn’t just speaking about Himself, He was speaking about us. You are the way, the truth and the life. So, there you would have this redefinition of God. God turns out to be ourselves. It is a religion of self-worship.
Ankerberg: Yeah, he went on further to say that if we interpret these words, where Jesus said that “I am the way, the truth and the life, no man will come to the Father but by Me,” if you were to say those words and interpret them in a way that affirms the uniqueness of Jesus, you have a great obstacle.
Lutzer: You sure do. And that’s why he omits the phrase, “No man comes to the Father but by Me.” And by the way, after his conversion, which we’ll talk about in another show I’m sure, after his conversion, he said that he knew intuitively that there were parts of the New Testament that were added later. Excuse me? Without any historical study you know that intuitively? That’s exactly what the enemy of our souls would want us to believe, that there were parts of the New Testament that were added later. So what we have here is a whole realm of deception. And that deception is being promoted as if it is the truth and, even more deceptively, as if it’s compatible with Christianity. Now, there are reasons that we will show where that is totally, completely impossible.
Ankerberg: Alright, let’s go back to the three definitions that people are familiar with and jump off with that, okay? What are the three definitions of God?
Lutzer: Well, first of all, we can believe in the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible exists independently of the universe. He is the Creator. We think of all of the omnis – omniscience, omnipotence. And that God, as presented in the Bible, He is not who we are. If there is anything clear in the Bible, we are not God, we are creatures. So that’s one view of God. The other view of God, of course, is atheism. Atheism says that there is no God. But the view that we’re talking about here, pantheism, pantheism says, as I mentioned earlier, that God is all and all is God. And the implications are enormous, because that means that we are God. That even means that evil does not exist, as we’re going to see in another program, because after all, how can God be evil? So evil turns out to be illusionary. Because we are God, we don’t really die; Gods don’t die. So all of these heresies flow from a central idea of God.
Ankerberg: That’s a good word, heresies; that’s what they are.
Lutzer: That’s what they are. And I need to say this to our listening audience. Even though you perhaps have not read Eckhart Tolle, or you haven’t watched Oprah recently, your children have, and you know people who have, because these ideas are permeating the culture. And think about the attack that they are making against Christianity; because they are saying that Jesus is not unique, He is one among many, one path among others. And we are going to show why that is completely impossible.
Ankerberg: Alright, you’ve got Marianne Williamson on Oprah’s program. And she’s got this best-selling book. And she’s also taking Helen Schucman’s book, A Course in Miracles, and teaching it on XM radio. And these are some of the things that she is saying, that Oprah backs up, and we’re going to see that Tolle backs it up, and all of these other guests back up this same kind of lingo. And I want our listeners to understand it. This comes from Lesson 191: “I am the holy Son of God Himself.”
Lutzer: Can I interrupt you right there?
Ankerberg: Yeah.
Lutzer: So that our audience understands that in the book, A Course in Miracles, the reason it’s Lesson 191 is there’s a lesson for every day of the year. There are 365 lessons. And Marianne Williamson was on television, or I should say, more accurately, yeah, she was on television with Oprah, but on her internet site she was going through these lessons day by day and telling people to recite them.
Now, if you’re listening today, my dear friend, whoever you are, please listen carefully. You’re going to hear something that will explode your mind and help you to understand what it is that we’re up against. That Lesson 191 is entirely blasphemous. Imagine saying, “I am the holy Son of God Himself.” Can you even think of anything more blasphemous?
Ankerberg: Nope.
Lutzer: But it goes on to say that if you repeat this, darkness will leave your soul, light will shine in. And really that’s the way you become converted to this new way of thinking, this transformation of consciousness. Clearly, what we’re talking about here is a Satanic conversion experience, where you say something blasphemous, and if you say it often enough, you’ll actually find that light is going to break into your soul. But that light is the greatest darkness you could possibly imagine.
Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break. When we come back we’re going to talk more about some of these quotes that you find in A Course in Miracles, and some of these other books. We’re also going to talk about where some of Oprah’s friends say you don’t have to worry about judgment, there is no judgment; you do not have to fear because there is no personal God out there. We’re going to talk about why they say these things when we come right back, so stick with us.

Ankerberg: Welcome, we’re back. We’re talking about Oprah Winfrey and her friends that she has on her TV program and the books that she is promoting, the new spirituality that’s out there. Do you remember the t-shirt that read, “If you worship me, we’ll just get along fine”? Well, that kind of sums up what Oprah and her friends are promoting to you. They’re redefining God. And let me give you a couple of the quotes and I want you to comment on these. Besides saying, “I am the holy Son of God Himself,” which is blasphemous, Lesson #70 says, “My salvation comes from me.” Lesson 186, “Salvation of the world depends on me.” And Lesson #61, “I am the light of the world.” Erwin, talk about this.
Lutzer: Well, as you can see, of course, what we have is narcissism full blown. And the deception. Now, isn’t it interesting, John, that in the Bible it says in 2 Thessalonians that in the end time men shall believe the lie. Now what is the lie? There have been lies in society throughout all of history. The lie, it seems to me, is the divinity of man. So we can see here in the quotes that you have given, standing right in the middle is the satanic deception, “You shall be like God.” And millions of people are believing him. It is truly amazing. But the question is, why is it that this is so profoundly wrong, in addition, of course, to being completely unbiblical? The problem is that these views have no answer to the difficulty that we call sin. As a matter of fact, don’t you have a quote there where it says that I am entirely sinless?
Ankerberg: In Lesson #337 in A Course in Miracles, it says “My sinlessness protects me from all harm. My sinlessness insures me perfect peace, eternal safety, everlasting love, freedom forever from all thought of loss, complete deliverance from suffering. And only happiness can be my state, for only happiness is given me.”
Lutzer: Could I just say something that’s very sad? Helen Schucman is deceased, let’s keep that in mind. She’s the one who wrote the book A Course in Miracles. It is Marianne Williamson who promotes her views on the Oprah show. Helen Schucman died a very terrible, tormented person.
Ankerberg: The last two years of her life.
Lutzer: The last two years of her life. In fact, I have a quote in my book about it, how that the man that cared for her and the psychiatrist said he has never seen anyone who didn’t believe in evil go through so much torment; who believed in only peace and only light, and yet she died so horrendously. The simple fact is that what she taught was thoroughly demonic and had no basis in reality.
Ankerberg: Yeah, I mean, she was the one who wrote, “I was mistaken when I thought I sinned, but I accept atonement from myself.”
Lutzer: Yes, and “salvation depends upon me.”
Ankerberg: Right.
Lutzer: So what we need to do is, our hearts need to break for a culture that is actually believing such lies.
Ankerberg: That’s right.
Lutzer: We need to be able to understand that, as Christians, we have to have a loving witness to these people. And you know, one of the ways that you can do it is by beginning to ask questions. Ask questions of those who believe these things. And one of the questions – and maybe in a later program I’ll give you more questions, because I’m very interested in training Christians to know how to witness to such people – but one of the questions is simply this: “What is your answer to the problem of sin?” Now, if somebody denies that they are sinners, all that you need to do is to pick up a local newspaper. I think it was Chesterton who said he couldn’t believe that some people denied original sin; it was the only doctrine that could proven by reading the newspaper. The question is, we are all sinful beings; what we are talking about here, there is absolutely no answer for the sin problem. And that’s why sin does not exist; they believe in a God who does not have any judgment. As a matter of fact, Marianne Williamson says that, doesn’t she, John? I think you have a quote there.
Ankerberg: Yeah, right here, “For many people, God is a frightening concept. Asking God for help doesn’t seem very comforting if we think of Him as something outside ourselves, or capricious, or judgmental. But God is love. We are created in His image, or mine, which means we are extensions of His love. This is why we are called the sons of God.” Here, again, you’ve got pantheism: God is all and all is God. And so, obviously I exist, so I’m part of the all that’s here, so I must be a part of God. I’m somewhere on the food chain here in terms of the divinity of God. And so they’re just saying what that philosophy is trying to express, namely that you’ve got to look inside yourself and realize it. You’ve got to have this conversion experience where you will actually feel it. You will know it in your soul, okay. That’s what they are saying. The fact is, it’s a satanic conversion. It’s a lie.
Lutzer: John, this is so critical. Why is it that these ideas are so widespread? Why do these books sell millions of copies? You know, I am amazed at how accurate the Bible is. The older I get, the more I realize that the Bible is indeed inspired. The apostle Paul says that at the end time people shall believe doctrines based on their desires. This is being desire driven. I don’t want to deal with the issue of sin; I don’t want a God who’s going to judge me; I don’t want a God to whom I’m accountable; so I will make up a God in my mind. I will say that I am God, no sin, no redemption, no need to humble myself to receive forgiveness. All of that is on the shelf, because I am already perfect. This is exactly the kind of deception the human heart longs to believe. But of course, the biblical answer is very different. And it’s also very rewarding, because according to the scriptures, we come to God as sinners. We don’t come as saying that my holiness protects me from all harm, but rather my sinfulness gets me into all kinds of trouble. So we come, and then we come to a forgiving God, who in Jesus Christ provided a way of redemption.
Ankerberg: This is important, so let’s spell this out right here.
Lutzer: Jesus Christ comes to this earth, not just to teach us, but to die on a cross, and to make a sacrifice for us as sinners that an absolutely holy God will accept. And here on the cross of Jesus Christ, what you have is God’s searing holiness coming together with God’s love: God’s holiness saying that we are sinners and we must be rejected, but God’s love wanting to redeem us. It was there resolved on the cross. Love now can redeem, because God’s holiness has been satisfied. And we come and we receive the forgiveness that only God can grant through Jesus Christ. And in a later show we’re going to emphasize why Jesus of necessity is the only way; because no other religion has a Savior like ours.
Ankerberg: There’s probably people that are listening to us and saying, “But, Erwin, I’m such a big sinner, the God of the Bible could never forgive me. You’re talking about people that are pretty good; I am a deep, dark sinner.”
Lutzer: I love to tell the story about a man who wrote to us from prison. He said, “I raped four women, destroyed them. Can I be forgiven?” And I wrote back and I said, “I want you to visualize two trails. One trail is very well traveled; it is very beautiful, with little flowers along the way. The other trail is ugly and messy, with deep ruts going into the ditch. Now,” I said, “after you have an 18 inch snowfall, you can’t tell the difference, because one trail is covered just as well as the other.”
And I need to say to those of you who are listening today who think that you have sinned too greatly, the beauty is that the righteousness of Jesus Christ that covers my sin and makes me perfect in God’s sight, Christ’s righteousness can be applied to you if you believe on Jesus Christ. And you will receive the very same righteousness. I told that rapist, “Yes, you can be cleansed. You can be forgiven. No matter how messy your life, the righteousness of Jesus Christ can cover you too. But what you need to do is to humble yourself, to acknowledge your sinfulness, and to believe only on Him and cast yourself upon His mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Ankerberg: Yeah. He’s willing to forgive and He’s willing to accept people and they don’t have to work for it. It’s a gift that He’s willing to give them. What else would you say as we close this program?
Lutzer: Well, I’m sure that we’re speaking to somebody who’s overwhelmed by their sin. The more honest we are, the more we are aware of it. And at this moment, what they need to do is to believe on Jesus. Maybe they want to kneel where they are, if they are in their living room. Or if they are driving along the way somewhere, I pray that they will stop and that God will show them that at this moment they can trust Jesus Christ also. And I guess I can simply end by a wonderful promise. The Bible says that “as many as believed on Him, to those He gives the authority to be called the children of God, even to those who believe on His name.” And so I would say to our listening audience today, believe on that name and you will be saved.
Ankerberg: Alright, next week we’re going to continue critiquing Oprah Winfrey and her friends and what they’re saying about the new spirituality. And we’re going to turn next week to this important area: that they not only redefine God, they redefine conversion. They do have a conversion experience that they are urging everybody to have. We believe it’s a satanic conversion, and you’ll experience real things, but it will be a complete lie. And we’ve got a lot of stories to tell the folks on this one, so please join us next week


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