The New Age Church

The World’s Largest Church

By Dr. David R. Reagan

The New Age Church

[read in Lamplighter (pdf)]

The world’s largest church is one that teaches a New Age theology that denies all the fundamental truths of the Bible. The church has over 20 million enthusiastic members in the United States who adore their pastor — Oprah Winfrey.

An Incredible Life

Oprah’s life story is a rags-to-riches sensation that could happen only in America.4 She was born in 1954 to an unwed teenager in Mississippi. She was given the name of Orpah at birth, after the biblical character in the book of Ruth, but her family and friends always mispronounced it, calling her “Oprah” instead.

For the first six years of her life she lived in rural poverty, being raised by her grandmother who taught her how to read. In the years that followed, she bounced around from relative to relative, finally ending up in Nashville, Tennessee where she became an honors student. She won an oratory contest which provided her a full scholarship to Tennessee State University, a black institution where she majored in communications.

At age 17, Oprah won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant. That brought her to the attention of a black radio station that hired her to do the news part-time. She ultimately became the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. In 1976, at age 22, she became the coanchor of the six o’clock news at a Baltimore TV station. Two years later she became the co-host of that station’s local talk show called People Are Talking.

In 1983, at age 29, Oprah relocated to Chicago to host a lowrated local morning talk show. Within a few months, the show rapidly rose from last place in the ratings to first place, overtaking the popular Donahue Show.

On September 8, 1986, the Oprah Winfrey Show began broadcasting nationally, and in short order it replaced Donahue as the number one day-time talk show in America. Since that time, the Oprah Show has set all sorts of records. It is the highest-rated and longest-running television talk show in American history. The show has 22 million viewers in the States and 49 million worldwide in the more than 120 countries in which it is broadcast. Her O Magazine readership is over 3 million. Her website is visited 1.3 million times each day.5

All of this has propelled Oprah to immense wealth and popularity. Her net worth is estimated to be more than one billion dollars. A Gallup poll ranked her as the 4th most important woman in the entire history of the world! CNN and Time magazine have both referred to her as “arguably the world’s most powerful woman.” She has received similar laudatory rankings from Life, USA Today, and Ladies Home Journal. Forbes named her the world’s most powerful celebrity in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2010. And in 2010, Life magazine named her one of the 100 most important people who have changed the world — right up there with Jesus Christ and Elvis Presley!6

An Incredible Danger

There is no doubt that Oprah Winfrey is the world’s most popular and powerful woman. And there is also no doubt that she is the most dangerous.

I make that assertion without hesitation because she has emerged as a New Age High Priestess who is deceiving millions into rejecting God’s Word and embracing, instead, a convoluted theology that is straight from the pit of Hell.

Her Role As A Spiritual Leader

She is widely recognized as a spiritual leader. In 2002 Christianity Today declared she “has become one of the most influential spiritual leaders in America.”7 In 2006 USA Today pointed out that she has been referred to as “a really hip and materialistic Mother Teresa,” “a symbolic figurehead of spirituality,” “America’s pastor,” and “today’s Billy Graham.”8

Live Your Best Life

The spiritual pornography that Oprah is peddling is called The New Age Movement. The irony is that Oprah claims to be a Christian and denies being a New Ager! On one of her programs when a Christian in the audience challenged Oprah about being a “New Ager,” Oprah responded:9

I am not New Age anything, and I resent being called that. I am trying to open a door so that people can see themselves more clearly and perhaps be the light to get to God, whatever they may call that. I don’t see spirits in the trees, and I don’t sit in a room with crystals.

Unfortunately for Oprah, this very denial revealed her New Age mentality. Notice that she refers to God as “whatever” a person “may call that.” And she asserts that human beings can be “the light” to get to God. This denial is either a lie about her New Age beliefs, or else she is totally deceived by them.

The essence of the New Age Movement is pantheism — the pagan belief that God is in everything and therefore everything is God.10 This belief stands in direct opposition to the biblical teaching that God exists separate and apart from His creation. A corollary of pantheism is the belief that Man is god and therefore the key to spiritual enlightenment and salvation is to recognize one’s divinity and release it to achieve Christ-consciousness.

Oprah can deny all day long that she is a New Ager, but the truth is to be found in her writings and public statements and in the guests that she features on her programs.

Oprah’s Words

For example, during a program when she was interviewing New Age guru Shirley MacLaine, Oprah said that being born again is the same as “being connected to the higher Self,” and she added that when the Bible says, “ask and it shall be given,” we are being prompted to seek answers from our “intuitive Self.”11

On a program featuring a panel of New Age authors, Oprah said she does not think God is “hung up” on what we believe about Him. “Whatever that force is, it doesn’t care what you call it. He doesn’t have an ego problem.” She went on to say, “I believe in the FORCE. I call it God.”12 On the contrary, the Bible reveals God as our Heavenly Father, as a person, and not as some impersonal force or “it.”

On another program featuring a panel of New Age gurus, Oprah said, “…one of the biggest mistakes humans make is to believe that there is only one way. Actually there are many diverse paths leading to what you call God.” When one of her audience members disagreed, testifying that she believed Jesus is the only way to God, Oprah lost her temper and shouted, “There couldn’t possibly be only one way!” She added that she felt like God cares more about our hearts than He does about what we believe about Jesus.13

In her 2005 book, Live Your Best Life, Oprah described her theology as a belief that everything is one and Man is divine and Man can thus create his own reality. She encouraged people to meditate and pray (to any god!) and say, “My heart is open to find the flow, the flow, the flow, the flow that is my life…I am willing to surrender to the flow that is my life.”14 Does that sound like a Christian prayer to you? The Bible teaches that we are to surrender our lives to Jesus.

Oprah claims that one of the most important books she has ever read is one by Eric Butterworth called Discover the Power Within You. In that book the author wrote, “Jesus did not come to teach us how divine he was but to teach that divinity was within us.”15 Commenting on this totally unbiblical and blasphemous statement, Oprah said that for Jesus to claim exclusive divinity “would make Jesus the biggest egotist that ever lived.”16

One of Oprah’s severest critics, David Cloud, says that “in a nutshell, Oprah’s gospel is ME.”17 As he further points out, she has said repeatedly, “God wants you to love yourself. It starts with you.” Newsweek magazine quoted her in 1997 as saying that spiritual gurus are here “not to teach us about their divinity, but to teach us about our own.”18

Oprah’s Guests

That brings us to the guests that Oprah features on her show. I’m going to list some of them below.19 Keep in mind that Oprah enthusiastically endorsed each of these persons and their books. And her endorsement of their books caused an explosion in their sales.

Eric Butterworth — The New Age author whose book, Discover the Power Within You, was the turning point for Oprah’s introduction to New Age theology. In that book he wrote, “God isn’t ‘up there’…He exists inside each one of us, and it’s up to us to seek the divine within.” Butterworth was the senior minister of The Unity Center of New York City from 1961 until his death in 2003.

Shirley MacLaine — The movie star producer of the TV miniseries, Out on a Limb, which promoted spirit channeling, mental telepathy, astral projection, and reincarnation. It also contained the infamous scene where MacLaine stands on the ocean shore shouting, “I am God! I am God! I am God!”

Betty Eadie — A New Age Mormon and author of Embraced by the Light. She claims that she went to Heaven and talked personally with Jesus, and He assured her that there are many paths to God.

Raymond Moody — An occultist who advocates that communication with the dead is possible.

Caroline Myss — A New Age author who teaches the divinity of Man and the power of positive confession.

Debbie Ford — A New Age guru who advocates the divinity of Man. She also teaches that the answers we need to life can be found within us.

M. Scott Peck — The New Age author of The Road Less Traveled. He says, “God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward God. God is the ultimate goal of evolution.”

Gary Zukov — A regular guest whose book, The Seat of the Soul, shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list after Oprah recommended it. He teaches reincarnation and channeling through spirit guides.

Iyanla Vangant — A New Age “life coach” who teaches a gospel of self-esteem. She is an ordained minister in the Yoruba priesthood. This is a polytheistic, ancestor-worshiping religion of western Africa.

Esther Hicks — Author of The Law of Attraction and a New Age channeler. She actually conducted a channeling session with Oprah on one of her programs in 2007.

John Edward — A psychic medium who says, “I act as a conduit between the physical world and what I call ‘the other world.'”

Deepak Chopra — A New Age author who says, “In reality, we are divinity in disguise, and the gods and goddesses in embryo that are contained within us seek to be fully materialized.”

Cheryl Richardson — A promoter of centering meditation which utilizes guided visualization to connect with one’s higher self or one’s spirit guide.

Rhonda Byrne — Author of The Secret, which teaches the “law of attraction.” She states in her book, “You are God in a physical body.”

Jack Canfield — The co-editor of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of self-help books. He advocates meditation as the way to experience “the voice of God speaking to you through words, images, and sensations.”

Brian Weiss — A psychiatrist and author who believes in reincarnation. He says Heaven is all around us and Hell is “something that you don’t experience after you die unless you expect it.”

Shakti Gawain — A “personal development” expert who advocates “creative visualization” in order to become open to “accept the goodness of the universe.” She encourages people to trust their inner selves.

Don Curtis — A Unity minister and channeler who claims that the early Church believed in reincarnation, but that it was “thrown out” by the Council of Nicea in the 4th Century. (The Council did not even address the issue.)

Pema Chodron — An American woman who was divorced twice before becoming a Buddhist nun. Her goal is to “bring the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism to Western audiences.”

John Gray — An advocate of using transcendental meditation for developing higher states of consciousness.

Wayne Dyer — An advocate of Taoism who teaches, “If God is everywhere, then there is no place that God is not, and that includes you… When you are eating, you are ingesting God and replenishing God. When you sleep, you breathe God and allow God to rest.”

This is only a partial list of the New Age advocates Oprah has featured and endorsed on her program. And I haven’t even mentioned the two most important — Eckhart Tolle and Marianne Williamson.

Eckhart Tolle

One of Oprah’s favorite guests is Eckhart Tolle, a German-born Canadian resident who is a recognized leader in the New Age Movement.

Eckhart Tolle

His book, The Power of Now, became an instant bestseller when Oprah enthusiastically endorsed it. In it, he denies the existence of a personal God, denies personal responsibility for sin, denies the existence of an eternal soul, and denies the need for the redeeming death and resurrection of Jesus.20

He has basically given Hinduism a Western packaging through his view of God as an impersonal life force living in all things. He argues that there can, therefore, be no separation from God because our real self is a part of God. Salvation consists of becoming aware of our real self that has been masked by our ego. He caps off his theology in the traditional Eastern way by arguing that the ultimate destiny of each human is to return our life energy back into the impersonal life force.21

How anyone could endorse such a book and still call themself a Christian is beyond my comprehension. Yet that is what Oprah is doing.

She became so enthralled with Tolle that in 2008 she announced that the two of them were going to launch a ten week Internet study of his newest book, A New Earth. According to Oprah, half a million people from all over the world signed up to participate in the first segment of the online course. They listened to her and Tolle talk for an hour and a half about the first chapter of his book.22

Marianne Williamson

Oprah’s favorite New Age teacher is Marianne Williamson. Her first book was titled A Return to Love.23 It was an endorsement and explanation of a book called A Course in Miracles that has become the Bible of the New Age Movement.24

Williamson and Schucman

A Course in Miracles was written by a Columbia University professor of medical psychology named Helen Schucman (1909-1981). She claimed it was dictated to her over a seven year period by an “inner voice” that identified itself as Jesus. This was, of course, a false Jesus because the true Jesus does not channel revelation. Also, this so-called Jesus proceeded to deny all the fundamentals of the Gospel. Here are some quotes from the book:25

“There is no separation of God and His creation.” (Text, page 147)

“God is All in all in a very literal sense. All being is in Him Who is all Being. You are therefore in Him since your being is His.” (Text, page 119)

“The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself.” (Text, page 147)

“Is he [Jesus] the Christ. O yes, along with you.” (Manual, page 87)

“A slain Christ has no meaning.” (Text, page 425)

“Do not make the pathetic error of ‘clinging to the old rugged cross.'” (Text, page 52)

“There is no sin; it has no consequence.” (Workbook, page 183)

“The Atonement is the final lesson he [Man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation.” (Text, page 237)

A Course in Miracles was published in 1975. During the 1980s it gradually gained a grassroots following within the New Age Movement and became a cult classic. It did not become known to the general public until 1992 when Marianne Williamson published her book, A Return to Love. The subtitle of the book was: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles.” Basically, her book told how A Course in Miracles transformed her life.

Even with the publication of Williamson’s book, A Course in Miracles would have remained under the radar if it hadn’t been for Oprah Winfrey. Oprah praised the book on her program and handed out 1,000 copies of it to her audience. The book immediately shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and stayed there for months. In the book Williamson makes the following bizarre observations:26

“We are holy beings, individual cells in the body of Christ.” (page 32)

“Jesus and other enlightened masters are our evolutionary elder brothers.” (page 42)

“‘There is only one begotton Son’ doesn’t mean that someone else was it, and we’re not. It means we’re all it. There’s only one of us here.” (pages 30-31)

“You and I have the Christ-mind in us as much as Jesus does.” (page 42)

Oprah’s promotion of this “theological crack” did not stop with the book endorsement. In 2007 she announced that beginning in January 2008, she was going to start broadcasting Williamson’s 365 lessons on A Course in Miracles over her XM Satellite Radio program called “Oprah and Friends.”27

Conclusion

I think the facts are clear. They speak for themselves. I will therefore end as I began by asserting that Oprah is not only the best known and most popular woman in the world — she is also the most dangerous, for she is endangering the souls of millions by deceiving them with Satanic New Age theology.

New Age Three

You need to warn your friends about the theological poison that she is peddling. And you need to put her on your prayer list, praying that her eyes will be opened to the truth that Jesus, and Jesus alone is the only hope for the world.

“…the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron…” — 1 Timothy 4:1-2

Notes

1) Photo of Oprah from http://biographydvd.com/oprah-winfrey-biography.

2) Photo of A Course in Miracles from http://hemachandra.com/MarianneWilliamson.aspx.

3) Photo of Marianne Williamson from http://www.garyrenard.com.

4) Wikipedia, “Oprah Winfrey,” http.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oprah_Winfrey, pages 1-34.

5) David Cloud, “Oprah Winfrey: The New Age High Priestess,” www.wayoflife.org, page 1.

6) Wikipedia, “Oprah Winfrey,” pages12-13.

7) Steve Rabey, “Oprah’s ‘gospel,'” The Christian Examiner Online, www.christianexaminer.com, page 1.

8) David Cloud, page 1.

9) Watchman Fellowship, “The Gospel According to Oprah,” www.wfial.org, page 2.

10) For an outstanding presentation of the fundamental beliefs of the New Age Movement, see Matt Slick’s article, “What is the New Age Movement?” This is an article published by the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM). It can be found at http://carm.org/new-age-what.

11) David Cloud, page 1.

12) Watchman Fellowship, “The Gospel According to Oprah,” page 2.

13) For a video of this remarkable exchange between Oprah and one of the members of her studio audience, see: http://www.wfial.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=resources.oprah.

14) Oprah Winfrey, Live Your Best Life (Des Moines, IA: Oxmoor House, 2005).

15) Eric Butterworth, Discover The Power Within You (New York, NY: Jonna Cotler Books, 1968).

16) Watchman Fellowship, “The Gospel According to Oprah,” page 3.

17) David Cloud, page 2.

18) Wendy Kaminer, “Why We Love Gurus,” Newsweek, October 20, 1997.

19) Lists of Oprah’s New Age guests are available on many sites on the Internet. David Cloud presents an extensive one in his article.

20) Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, (Novato, CA: New World Library, 1999).

21) John Jalsevac, “The World’s ‘Most Dangerous’ Spiritual Guru: Oprah Begins 10-Week Online New Age Class,” www.lifesitenews.com.

22) Bob DeWaay, “Oprah Winfrey Promotes Pantheist Eckhart Tolle,” http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue114.htm.

23) Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love, (New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1992).

24) Dr. Helen Schucman, A Course in Miracles: Combined Edition (Temecula, CA: The Foundation for Inner Peace, 2007).

25) For an extensive list of quotes from A Course in Miracles, see the book by Warren B. Smith, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2002), pages 21-22.

26) Warren B. Smith, False Christ Coming, pages 23-24.

27) Marsha West, “Oprah Shifts to the Dark Side,” www.newswithviews.com/West/marsha67.htm, page 2.

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