The False Gospel of Oprah and Her Friends/Program 5

By: Dr. Erwin Lutzer; ©2009
DDr. Ankerberg and Dr. Lutzer show how this belief completely contradicts the orthodox teaching of the Bible, as well as the practical implications of such a belief system. We’ll discover that to hold to such a relativistic form of morality is not only harmful, but impossible to live out in daily reality.



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. My guest today is Dr. Erwin Lutzer, renowned theologian, award-winning author. He’s written a new book, Oprah, Miracles and the New Earth. And he is warning Christians, and other folks as well, about the spiritual heresies that are being promoted by Oprah Winfrey and some of her guests that she has on her program. She calls herself a free-thinking Christian, but what she really means by that is Jesus isn’t the only way. He’s just one path, there’s all kinds of paths. And there is no punishment up ahead, there’s no judgment, there’s no heaven, like we’re thinking about it. The God that you’ve been thinking about, we got to redefine Him. And one of the other things that is redefined by Oprah and her friends is morality. And, Erwin, let’s start with a quote from one of the books that is heavily promoted by Oprah and some of her guests, A Course in Miracles, by Helen Schucman. And she says: “Let me remember, there is no sin.” Where does this stem from?
Lutzer: Well, it stems from the notion, of course, that we are God. And because we are God, obviously there’s no sin and there’s no evil. Charles Manson will not go down in history as a great theologian, but he did ask a very interesting question. He said if God is all and all is God, what then is evil? So, you see, once you take the pantheistic train, you have to take it all the way to the station, so to speak. Once you affirm our deity, as these authors do, we are the center of the universe, we are the masters of the universe, we worship ourselves. Once you affirm that, then you have this nasty question of death and morality and evil. And the best thing to do is to simply deny it, and to affirm that it is indeed an illusion.
Ankerberg: Yeah, let me rehearse what we’ve talked about in past programs. First of all, these folks say: We’re all God, okay. Second, we are already entirely holy, alright? Third, whatever happens to us takes place because we willed it; we attracted those things by our thoughts. In such a world, death and sickness cannot exist; they are illusions, alright? They’re a dream and we’ve got to awaken from that dream. We’ve got to get that new consciousness and then you’ll understand. And then finally, there’s no distinction between good and evil. In a world where all is God and God is all, evil must have the same source and nature as good. And since we are not physical, but spiritual beings, they say, in this realm, good and evil as we know it cannot exist. And this brings up the question, if it doesn’t exist, what about crime? Eckhart Tolle says there is no crime. How come?
Lutzer: Well, again, because it has to be an illusion. He says that the interconnectedness of all things make us realize that the mental labels of good and bad are illusionary. But, John, I just need to say this right here before we go on on all of these highfalutin ideas. These people don’t live believing this. You know, I’m sure that if someone were to steal something that belonged to Eckhart Tolle; if – I’m not sure that he’s married, but if he is – if someone raped his wife, you’d suddenly find that he’s calling the police. He’d probably react like many of us would. He would be desperate to seek justice. So that even though these ideas exist in this realm theoretically, according to their presuppositions, there can’t be any crime, there can’t be any evil, good and bad are the same, the fact is, nobody lives that way.
And even the idea that death isn’t real, and we discussed that in the last program, you know, once Helen Schucman died – and she is deceased – she went through a terrible time, two years of torment. And you remember her psychiatrist said that for a person who believed that evil didn’t exist and that death didn’t exist, she certainly suffered a lot.
You know, it reminds us of the old story that you and I, I think, probably heard in seminary, that if you have someone who believes that pain is illusionary, what you should do is to stick them with a very, very sharp pin. And as they jump up from their chair, they say, “Now, I know that pain doesn’t exist, this was an illusion. But it felt like I think it would have if it actually did exist.” So what we’re up against here is this kind of nonsense. But it has practical implications. And Zen Buddhism teaches the very same thing. What Zen Buddhism teaches is that good and evil appear to be opposed to one another on the stage, but back behind the curtain they are friends, and they are one and the same. I have to ask our listeners whether or not they are happy with that kind of a view? The illusion of crime, the illusion of evil is not very satisfying, but it is the end result of some very, very wrong presuppositions.
Ankerberg: Yeah, Marianne Williamson goes so far as to say only love is real, nothing else actually exists. If a person behaves unlovingly, then that means that regardless of their negativity, anger or whatever, their behavior was derived from fear and doesn’t actually exist. They’re hallucinating.
Lutzer: And not only that, she goes on to say therefore, you never have to ask forgiveness nor receive forgiveness.
Ankerberg: Yeah. Let me give you the quote, because that’s unbelievable. “You forgive them, then, because there is nothing to forgive. Forgiveness is determined between what is real and what is not real.”
Lutzer: So, actually you never have to ask forgiveness. I can do whatever I want to you, John. I never have to ask forgiveness because my behavior is illusionary. We’re talking here about some very serious matters.
And you know what, Ekhart Tolle is selling his book, The New Earth, it has 22 references to Scripture. I counted them. Christians are buying it, and I’ve understood that even in churches today it is being studied. And people have no idea of the implications and the foolishness that it teaches. And back behind all of this is man’s desire to be his own God. You know, I’m reminded of Psalm 2, “Let us break their bands asunder and cast away their cords from us.” In other words, what we want is a God whom we can manage. We want God to be like a book on a shelf. When I want the book, I read it; when I’m finished with it, I want to put it on the shelf, out of sight, out of mind. I want a God who’s going to do my bidding – God turns out to be me in these teachings – and that’s why this delusion is so well received.
Ankerberg: Yeah, let me ask our listeners: Do you think terrible things are happening to you or have happened to you? Well, one of Oprah’s favorite friends, Eckhart Tolle, says this, “Why do terrible things happen to me? Since we are God, it [the terrible things] cannot happen to us unless we will it. And this is where they hook on, and Marianne Williamson hooks on to this Law of Attraction. If terrible things do come to you, you actually attracted it by your thoughts. And you didn’t even have to actually think the idea. What she is really saying is there is a frequency in the universe and if you’re on the wrong frequency, you were brought together with those events. Talk about also the fact of what they say about kids that are dying in the Sahara Desert…
Lutzer: Well, I have a quote…
Ankerberg: …because of the lack of water.
Lutzer: Yeah, I have a quote in a book that said, well, we can’t help it if a child wants to starve. You know, could we pause again and simply say that this is terrible teaching. Here’s a child that’s abused. The reason the child is abused is because he willed it, so it’s his fault. Why should we even feel sorry for such a child? This kind of teaching, John, is not only profoundly wrong, not only is it heretical, it is very abusive when it comes to human nature. And we can talk about it in abstract terms, but once it comes down to the people who are affected by it, we should have a whole generation of people who stand up against this kind of teaching and say we will not put up with this kind of nonsense.
And by the way, just in case we didn’t mention it, John, we’re talking about morality and the obliteration, actually, of morality. Let’s always remember where it began. In the Garden of Eden Satan said to Adam and Eve, “You shall know good from evil.” And what he was saying is, you’ll know good from evil without reference to God. You can make up, in effect, your own distinctions of good and evil. To a certain extent he was right, because they now experience good and evil. See, God knows evil like a surgeon knows a disease. In other words, He knows about it, He knows the details, but God has not experienced evil. But mankind has. And look at the mess that we have made of our world. And the best possible thing that we can do is to look into the Bible and find out how God wants us to live and not think that we can be our own God. God is not just a bigger one of us, He is entirely different. We have some similarities, because He created us in His image so that we can connect with Him. But we are not God. And what we need to say to a very confused generation is you’re not God, either; and you’d better come to know the true God.
Ankerberg: Yeah. We’re going to take a break. And when we come we’re going to talk about, why should we trust Oprah in talking about death, or what God’s going to do, or sin, or hell, or Jesus? Why should we listen to Eckhart Tolle? What credentials do they have in the spiritual realm? And where we want to go with this is God, the God of the Bible, actually talks about people who are false teachers. In fact, He has some really amazing things to say about them. And we’re going to let you hear that when we come right back.

Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back. We’re talking with Dr. Erwin Lutzer about his new book, Oprah Winfrey, Miracles and the New Earth, a critique of what’s being said. Now, here’s a hairy thought, folks. Let’s say that Oprah and her friends are wrong, that there really is a transcendent, all-powerful God out there that’s listening to what they’re saying. What does He think about their teachings? Well, in fact, the Bible tells us. The Bible has a lot to say about false teachers, false prophets. Erwin, you have got some verses that are just amazing. We both have read these and we said where have they been before? I mean, these verses just popped off the page in relationship to these teachings. Give us a couple of them.
Lutzer: Well, John, recently you know, I read the entire book of Jeremiah. And I was so impressed with the fact that chapter after chapter, God is speaking about false prophets and heaping judgment on them. And most of them are saying wonderful, smooth things, things that people want to hear: there’s no judgment coming, all will be well.
But these verses are taken from the prophet Isaiah. This is what he says. God is speaking about His people, He says, “For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord. They say to the seers, do not see, and to the prophets, do not prophesy to us what is right. Speak to us smooth things. Prophesy illusions. Leave the way, turn aside from the path. Let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.” In other words, give us something we want to believe, rather than something we need.
And then this. God says this about these false prophets. “You felt secure in your wickedness. You said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and your knowledge has led you astray and you said in your heart, ‘I am and there is no one beside me.’” Doesn’t that sound like the false prophets we’re talking about when Rhonda Byrne says, “I am the master of the universe”? “But evil,” God says, “shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away. Disaster will fall upon you, for which you shall not be able to atone. And ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing.” That’s Isaiah 47.
Ankerberg: Yeah, I’m reminded too, of Isaiah where he said about those who say there is no right, there is no wrong, there’s no moral absolutes, it’s all an illusion. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness.” This is exactly what Oprah and her friends are doing by what they are teaching.
Now, we’ve got to end this on a positive note, in the sense of the good news of what God is really saying. Because the non-Christian that’s listening, and even the person that is into these spiritual ideas, the fact is when they come face to face with a God who they’re going to have to give an account to, a God who talks about there’s a real judgment, and you don’t want to mess with that, and you’ve got these things up ahead. They want to know, what’s the good news? How do I escape? How do I become friends with the true God? How do I have an intimate relationship with Him? And what do I do with my sins, because I recognize I’m a sinner? A lot of people have written you from prison who said “I’m a big sinner.” So tell me, there’s got to be a strong message here in terms of how I can know God, a perfect and holy God. And you’ve got a great illustration about that.
Lutzer: I do, John, but before I give it, I do want to make a comment about, before the break you mentioned, how could Jesus be right and everybody else wrong? Alright, here I am. I’m sitting with an older woman on a plane. And she attended a church, a very liberal church that didn’t teach the gospel. And she said, “One thing I know absolutely certainly, and that is that there is no hell.” At that point, I took off my glasses and smiled. You always want to be kind to people, I really do believe that. And I said, “You know, you have put me into a very difficult predicament.” I said, “Because on the one hand, you’ve said that there is no hell. And I don’t want to hurt your feelings, and I understand where you’re coming from. But on the other hand, Jesus mentioned hell at least 12 times. You’ve put me into a predicament. Whom shall I believe: you or Jesus?” I said, “Now, lady, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I just want you to know that I’m going with Jesus on this one.” And that is the best news we can have, we always go with Jesus on this one.
Let me tell you a story: There was a man by the name of Roger who came to me. Roger was a homosexual prostitute. He estimates that he had at least 1500 partners, though he had, long ago he had lost track. And he was dying of AIDS. But Roger came to saving faith in Jesus Christ and became a believer. There’s absolutely no question in my mind that he will be in heaven. And in order to help us understand how a man like Roger, or anyone else, can get into heaven, I’d like to just use the illustration of a book. I have a book here, and let us suppose that this book were to say The Life and Times of Jesus Christ. And in it we look at the life of Jesus. We look at His complete obedience. We look at what Jesus Christ did on the cross for sinners. It is a beautiful, beautiful book.
Let us suppose that over here I had another book that said The Life and Times of Roger. A book like that, of course, would be filled with all kinds of moral impurities, all kinds of deceptions and sins. In a sense, it would be an ugly book. As a matter of fact, all of our books would be ugly. But what Jesus basically says is, “If you believe on Me, I’m going to tear out the pages of your book. I’m going to throw those pages away. Then I’m going to take the pages out of My own book and put them in between your covers.” So, I read here The Life and Times of Roger. I look at it and the book is beautiful. It has nothing but obedience; it has nothing but holiness; nothing but purity. It has a death and a resurrection, which triumphs over sin and over death. The book is so beautiful, that even God adores it. That’s what Jesus does.
I’m speaking to you today because you would like nothing more than for Jesus to rip out all the ugly pages of your book and to take your covers and your name and then, in between your covers, insert His righteousness so that God will receive you. My friend today, I want you to know that the issue is not the greatness of your sin. God can save big sinners just as easily as He can save lesser ones. The issue is not the greatness of your sins, the issue is the wonder and the beauty of the righteousness which God gives to you if you accept the Lord Jesus Christ and trust Him as your savior.
It could well be that even as I’m speaking here, there is something within your heart that tells you this is what you should do. Listen carefully to that voice. Do not stifle the work of the Holy Spirit, who alone is capable of bringing you to that point of repentance and faith when you finally get rid of the pages of your book. And you know the Bible says that “If any man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation, old things have passed away.” Good-bye to the old pages. Oh yes, the consequences continue, but the guilt is gone, because the old pages are ripped out, the new pages have been put into your book. And guess what? If you do that, your name is actually recorded in heaven. Isn’t that good news for sinners like you and for me? I think so; I hope you think that also.
Ankerberg: Great word, Erwin. Next week we’re going to talk about something they can’t miss, alright. The apostle Paul warned, “The spirit expressly states that in the last days some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” We’ve talked about the lies, the satanic lies, that go right back to the Garden of Eden, that are being spread around today by Oprah and her friends and others. The new spirituality, where is this going in the future? We’re going to talk about these lies and end-time events. Folks, this is going to be a great program and I hope that you’ll join us then.


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