The False Gospel of Oprah and Her Friends/Program 6
|By: Dr. Erwin Lutzer; ©2009|
|The new spiritual teachers don’t say much about the future. Rather, they serve as examples and signs of the false teachings for the end times, an area addressed frequently in Scripture. As we’ll see, many of the same false teachings that are predicted for the end times are already apparent in today’s spiritual teachers, creating an environment that seems to be setting the stage for a future spiritual false teacher the Bible calls Antichrist, a person who will deceive the world in the days before Christ’s final return.|
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 with renowned theologian and award-winning author, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, who’s come out with a new book about Oprah Winfrey, Miracles and the New Earth. He’s actually critiquing Oprah and her friends when they talk about spiritual things. There is such a deal as new spirituality that’s going on across the world. Some estimates say over 100 million people are involved in the new spirituality. What is the new spirituality? What do these folks teach? Well, we’ve seen so far in this program that they’ve redefined God, they’ve redefined conversion, they’ve redefined death and they’ve redefined morality.
- And this week we’re going to pick up with a very interesting area of the big lie and end time events. We’ve talked about these lies that have been perpetrated by Satan going right back to the Garden of Eden, the lies that he told Adam and Eve that are being again propagated across our world right now. Let me give you a quote from one of the people that is highly touted by Oprah and her friends, Helen Schucman’s book A Course in Miracles. Marianne Williamson teaches the course on radio and on the internet. And this is one of the quotes: “Miracles enable you [we’re talking about you, the guy that you look at in the mirror when you get up in the morning], enable you to heal the sick and raise the dead because you made sickness and death yourself, and therefore you can abolish both.” What do you say to people that believe this kind of stuff?
- Lutzer: Well, first of all, I would like to say to them that they’re very wrong. Notice in the quote it says you can abolish them because you made them yourself. Again, if people are new to this program and they haven’t been tuning in to our previous broadcasts, they need to understand that underlying this heresy is the foolish notion that we are God. And because we are God, then of course, we can abolish death and we can do miracles.
- But the reason this becomes interesting, John, is because the Bible predicts that at the end of time, there are going to be an increase in false prophets, false miracles. You know, when the Bible speaks about Antichrist in the book of 2 Thessalonians, it says that he will do signs and wonders and miracles. And those very same descriptions are used in the Bible, in the New Testament, to refer to the miracles of Jesus. So, we’re talking about a duplication of satanic miracles, who wants to,… of course, he wants to imitate the miracles of Jesus. And what I find interesting, John, is that I think, I’m not sure that we’re living in the last time. You know, I have a book in my library that says the last times are here again. In other words, we’ve often said that this was the last time. But I do need to say that the teachings that we’ve been talking about in the previous programs certainly are laying groundwork and a mental framework that would make it very easy for false prophets to arise. People would believe, miracles are being performed, and indeed we could experience something like that, and then you could have the rise of Antichrist.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. What its going is, not only do we have a lot of false Christ’s, Jesus said there’ll be many who’ll claim to be Christ, okay, don’t follow after them, okay. Well, we have a lot of people that like Oprah and her friends, are saying that Christ is within you, okay, the essence of Christ is within you.
- Lutzer: And we are all Christs.
- Ankerberg: And we’re all Christ. Okay, so you’ve got that kind of thing. Well, you’ve got these little false prophets that are going around, but the Bible talks about there’s going to come on the scene one guy that’s going to be head and shoulders above them all, and he will be a false teacher as well, giving many of these same doctrines, alright. And we’re going to talk about what the Bible says explicitly. But the question I want to give to you is, is the world ready for such a leader like Antichrist, as described in the Bible? You’ve got a great illustration about Germany. You’ve done a lot of study on that. You’ve actually visited a place that was of historical interest to you that comments on this, where we’re going in the future.
- Lutzer: Exactly. I’d like to say this in answer to your first question, “Is the world ready?” Believe me, the world is ready. There is nothing that makes the world more ready than an economic collapse. And where you have financial confusion, the world wants a leader who’s going to step in, and who’s going to take over, and who’s going to bring prosperity.
- And I think that the great prototype of this is Hitler. You know, if Hitler had died before he began the Holocaust, he would actually have gone down in history as Hitler the Great. Because, you know, he did stimulate Germany’s economy, he did make the autobahn, he had factories going, people were committed to him. And it transformed Germany. And, of course, that became the platform then upon which he went on and did those terrible things. I need to say that Hitler was a thoroughly demonized being; that’s why I believe he is a prototype of the Antichrist.
- You know, in Vienna there is a spear believed by many to be the one that was used to pierce Christ’s side. It’s in the Hofburg. Hitler spent a lot of time before he went to Germany in the Hofburg library doing study. And one day he saw the spear and he overheard the tour guide say that this spear has special power. And when 43 different emperors had it, whenever they had it, they conquered, whenever they lost it, they lost the battle. Hitler became mesmerized by that spear. He would look at it for hours and he would invite its spirit to possess him. And Dr. Stein, who saw him, said that Hitler was engulfed in ectoplasmic light. I’m not sure what that is, but that’s his phrase. And that spirit possessed Hitler. Hitler was a thoroughly demonized being.
- Now, as a parenthesis, I might say that my wife and I were in the Hofburg and we actually saw that spear. And it was interesting to hear what the tour guide said about it today. One of the tour guides took some English-speaking people through, and so we were listening. And she said, “Now this spear has special power.” She says, “It is a magical spear, and it has been held by many different emperors. But,” she says, “Today we don’t believe in magic, so we just have it out here.” That was a very interesting comment. Now, I don’t believe at all that it is the spear that was used to pierce Christ’s side, but it does go back to about the year 300-400.
- Now, my point is simply this, I believe that Hitler is a prototype of the Antichrist because of two things. First of all, thoroughly demonized. One of his friends says that his body was but the shell for the spirit that inhabited him. And secondly, hatred for the Jews. And I guess we could say, thirdly, profoundly successful in leading a desperate nation – and in this case it’ll be many nations – out of despair financially and putting them on a solid economic foundation.
- Ankerberg: What kind of doctrines will be taught in the last days when the Antichrist arises? We’re actually given some words by Jesus that apply to some of these things that Oprah and her friends are saying. Jesus said, again, “See that no one leads you astray, for many will come in my name saying, I am the Christ, and they will lead many astray.” Give me a couple quotes from the writings of Oprah and her friends, in terms of saying things about Christ.
- Lutzer: Well, for example, we could begin with A Course in Miracles and Lesson 191, which says, “I am the Holy Son of God, Himself.” And we’re supposed to chant that. I mean that’s affirming my own deity and the fact that I am the Holy Son of God. When Marianne Williamson, in A Return to Love, talks about Jesus, she is very adamant that anything that can be said about Jesus can be said about us. She said there’s not just one person here, she says, it’s all of us. And when she was asked the question, “Is Jesus the only Son of God?”, she began by saying “Hogwash.” In other words, that this is not just for Jesus, but it’s also for us. So, there you have Marianne Williamson.
- You have Eckhart Tolle talking about Jesus Christ as being the archetype of every man: we are all Jesuses. Earlier, in a previous program, we emphasized that whatever one says about Jesus, Tolle says about us. So you have these kinds of teachings that actually set the spiritual tone, if I can put it that way, for people to be gullible in their belief in miracles, to believe in their own divinity, and to believe in what Antichrist is going to do.
- Again, I go back to 2 Thessalonians: “he shall do miracles and signs and wonders,” three different words, he shall do all those things. And those three words are used elsewhere in the New Testament, such as the book of Acts, the very same words, regarding the miracles of Jesus. So, is it a surprise that we live in an age when people are into miracles? When you have programs on television such as Touched By An Angel, which actually gives cultural theology to the idea that angels are out there willing to do good deeds to anyone, no matter what they believe? And you know, in the New Testament, whenever you have a reference to angels and the unsaved, such as in the book of Revelation, you have them in judgment. So, we’ve bought into a culture here that has been very inclusive, very anti-biblical, but very much into spirituality. And I can imagine how that will mushroom in the future.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. We’re going to take a break. When we come back, we’re going to talk about, I’m going to give an illustration: that Oprah’s on television and she’s, some people say its 25-40 million people every single day, worldwide, through her television program and through the internet and so on, radio. What would happen when some of these stronger false leaders would get a TV program? Alright, they want to have this experience; they want to have this conversion into this new way of thinking. I’ll give you an illustration about that when we come right back. Don’t go away.
- Ankerberg: We’re back. We’re talking about Oprah and her friends, and we’re critiquing that with my friend, Dr. Erwin Lutzer, who has written a book on this whole subject. And we’re talking about the lies that are being perpetrated by those in the new spirituality. And one of them is that you have to have a conversion experience. You’ve got to get into yourself and you’ve got to go from this world, say it’s on Channel 5 here that you’re seeing one TV program over, you’ve got to switch channels. And you’ve got to have this conversion to switch channels into this other program, this other reality.
- Now, I’ve thought about this. Oprah’s on television and she reaches 20-40 million people every day. What if somebody came on television that is like what the Bible says, is they’re able to do false signs, wonders, miracles, alright? And they came on the program and they were very nice looking and they were very charismatic in the sense of personality that was great. And they said, “Friends, I tell you what, you want an experience I’m going to help you have…. I’m going to help you cross over from one channel to the other, from this reality into that consciousness. You’re going to experience heaven now. You’re going to experience all this peace and joy. And here’s what I want you to do.” And they count you down or they do whatever they want, they go, you know, they go 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and they snap their fingers. And everybody that’s watching TV that day, all of a sudden, they see beautiful colors, and they hear music, and they have great peace, and they have an experience. And then after about 20 minutes of that, he just snaps his fingers and they all come on back. And he says, “Listen, I’ll tell you what; if you enjoyed that, tell your friends and join me tomorrow.” Okay, and the next day he comes on and the next day he comes on. And every day, people that watch, he snaps his fingers and they have the experience. How long would it be before multitudes would follow these people? And with our mass communication, how long would it take for it to go across the world? And if it really happened to people, if they experienced something, wouldn’t they go along with it?
- The Bible says stuff like that’s going to happen. The fact is, people are going to have these false miracles that are going to deceive them. And that brings me to this verse in Scripture that is just so incredible, Erwin, that it’s a description. When we say, hey, we must be close, these verses, they just jump out and talk about the headlines we’re talking about. Paul says this, and I want you to comment. The Bible says, “For the time is coming, or in the last days, people will not endure sound teaching.” One of the things Eckhart Tolle says, you’ve got to get away from the dogma; you got to get away from the doctrine. Talk about that first of all.
- Lutzer: Very important and very insightful on Paul’s part, obviously inspired by the Spirit. People will not even hear it; they do not even want to hear the truth. The Bible has so much to say about our hearing. And the fact is, people don’t even want to be in the same room as someone who believes the truth. So, they will not endure sound doctrine, because remember, sound doctrine reminds us that we are sinners. Sound doctrine reminds us of the fact that we are accountable to God. People don’t want to hear this. They want to hear what they want to hear. And a good example is when Stephen was being stoned, what did the people do? They stopped their ears and they said, “We don’t even want to hear what you have to say.” That’s the way people are today with regard to doctrine.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, and then Paul says these people, “they will not endure sound teaching, but they will instead have itching ears and they will accumulate,” the King James says “heap to themselves,” they’ll pile up, “teachers for themselves to suit their own passions.” Talk about this thing that they’ll have itching ears. What does that mean?
- Lutzer: Itching ears simply means that they’re going to want to hear what they want to hear, and they’re going to seek out what they want to hear. And of course, we see that today, even as we’re talking about Oprah’s friends. But isn’t that interesting? I’ve thought about this a lot. They are going to seek out teachers in accordance with their own desires. I heard someone on the Oprah program talk about how she wanted to divorce her husband and how, you know, she was able to do this because now that she realized her own divinity, she could kind of do whatever she wanted to. So people aren’t accountable to a God who might disagree with them. The God that is promoted by these false teachers is a God who agrees with you completely about everything. Wouldn’t you want a God like that? A God who is your own thoughts? So, that’s exactly what people are believing.
- Ankerberg: And then Paul wraps it up and he says, not only will they accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, “They will turn away from listening to the truth and they will wander off into myths.”
- Lutzer: And haven’t we ever exposed those myths on this program and the previous ones: there is no death; evil does not exist; we are not accountable; good and bad are illusionary. And you go all the way back to the fact that these teachers say, “I am God. I am the master of the universe.” Talk about myths and illusionary dreams.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, and then the Bible says the doctrines that they believe are going to be contrary to their own consciousnesses.
- Lutzer: Wow! Exactly!
- Ankerberg: Alright. And what are some of the things we’ve talked about? Lesson 35 in A Course in Miracles, my mind is part of God’s. I am very holy. Lesson 37, my holiness blesses the world. Lesson 38, there is nothing my holiness cannot do. Lesson 70, my salvation comes from me. Lesson 186, salvation of the world depends on me. The fact is, their consciences have been seared; they put a lid on it and it’s been seared, in terms so they can believe these things.
- Lutzer: And, John, if there are people listening today who say, “Well, this doesn’t apply to me, I don’t believe those teachers, I don’t watch what Oprah is promoting.” They need to know that their friends do. And probably if they have children in college, they are learning these ideas. That is why it is so important for us to teach sound doctrine and to rebuke false teachers who say these myths, these illusions.
- Ankerberg: The thing that I want people to see, because we’ve only got a little bit of time, is I want to close in terms of saying, the Bible says this stuff is coming. We see it all around us now, whether we’re right there at the time when the Lord is going to have the rapture and Christians are taken out of the world, and we go into this terrible time of tribulation, where the Antichrist arises, or whether it’s still in the future. Right now we see these lies being perpetrated that the Bible says these are the kinds of lies that the Antichrist and his cohorts are going to teach in the latter days.
- But for the people that say, “I can see that, I don’t really believe that I’m all holiness, I don’t believe I’ve got all power, I don’t believe that I’m perfect, and I don’t believe that I’ve got all these kinds of powers. But I am kind of scared of dying. And I am kind of scared of meeting the God, who is personal and has the power to either give me the gift of heaven, or send me to eternal punishment. How can I know Him personally? How can I have my sins forgiven?” How can I know for sure, Erwin?
- Lutzer: I’d like to speak to those of you who are watching today very personally from my heart. Would you open your heart toward me and listen carefully to what I have to say. But, first of all, I’d like to tell you a story. A number of years ago I was in Washington, DC. And I was speaking at a church where there was a Secret Service Agent. And he came to me later and said, “Would you like to go into the Oval Office?” Now, this was when the first George Bush was president and so security wasn’t nearly as tight as it is today. So, I and my daughters – my wife wasn’t with me on that trip – we went to the little house there, where the Secret Service Agents were on Monday morning. And they looked us and then they looked at the CIA agent – actually he was a Secret Service Agent, I should say. And they said, “Go on in.”
- When we got to the door of the White House, there were more agents. They looked at us and then they looked at the agent that we were with and they saw that he was a member of the detail for the President and they said, “Go on in.” Inside the White House there were more agents. They looked at us, they looked at the man that we were with, and they said, “Go on in.” Now, we’re standing at the door of the Oval Office. There was one soldier, or one guard, I should say, standing guard there. And he looked at us and he saw who we were with. And he, in effect said. “Go on in.” Even though we couldn’t go to the President’s desk, but we did put our toe into the Oval Office.
- Now, I want you to imagine for a moment that all of us die simultaneously, and since 9/11 that’s pretty easy to visualize. Here we are now; we are on the other side of the curtain. And I want to visualize that Jesus meets us there to take us all the way to heaven, to the Father’s house. And I can imagine, we can use our imaginations, that there are angels, sentries, standing guard all the way to the heavenly city. And I can imagine that the angels look at us and then they look at Jesus and they say, “Oh, you’re with Him. Go on in.” And then we go a little farther, and suddenly we see the heavenly city, and we get a glimpse of God, and God is so much more holy than we ever visualized Him to be. The Bible says He dwells in light.
- And suddenly we have flashbacks, because among us there are those who have done some terrible things. There are those who’ve committed crimes; there are men who were very immoral before their conversion. I mean we’re talking about everything imaginable, and those of us who are kept from certain crimes, we’ve made up for all of those sins in our own mind. And suddenly we say to ourselves, “We can’t go in, we can’t go in, we just can’t go in!” But the angel says to us, “You’re with Him? You’re with Jesus? Go on in.”
- And now, I can imagine us in the presence of God. And the Father is speaking to the Son and he’s saying, “Thank you so much for bringing my children home because I love them and I want to be with them. And I want you to know that I have carefully inspected them and I find no fault in them.”
- See, that’s why we, as Christians, sing the song “Clothed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.” Only Jesus has the qualifications of saviorhood; only Jesus can take us from this life to the next and present us to the Father. He, alone, is the way to the Father, nobody else qualifies, they don’t even come close.
- Now if you want to be in that number, so that you’re welcomed into the Father’s house, what you must do is to receive Christ as Savior, accept the fact that He died in your place and bore your burdens and your sins. “And as many as received Him, to those He gives the authority to become the children of God, even to those who believe on His name.” Right now, I urge you to believe in Jesus and someday we’ll be together in the Father’s house.
- Ankerberg: Thank you very much, Erwin. And folks, we’ve just scratched the surface when we talk about the lies and the end times, I had about 20 more pages of notes here. We’ve got Erwin’s book Oprah Winfrey, the Miracles and the New Earth, it’s a critique of not only what Oprah says, but some of her guests that she’s promoting. And it will help you discern in the future other people that are like these folks, that are spreading similar lies. You will see what the true God has to say about these things and how you can know God personally for yourself. I highly recommend it. Thanks, Erwin, for being with us. Thank you, folks, for joining us. We’ll see you next week.