If you thought the Gospel was a message of salvation through faith alone in Christ alone, listen to what Oprah’s new age philosophy teaches. She believes that the path to being accepted by God and to eternal life and salvation comes from good works; being a good person, being virtuous and being generous. These are how you find favor with God. Notice that Jesus is completely left out of the formula. I like Oprah and I love that she does a lot of good things for a lot of people, but her personal view of religion is not biblical; it is works oriented and regardless of what she says or how she tries to intellectualize it, this is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There is only one path and Oprah is wrong telling millions of viewers that there are “many paths to God”.
Christianity Today writer LaTonya Taylor declared Oprah as “The Church of O” in which the magazine has concluded that Oprah is now one of the greatest influential spiritual leaders since Billy Graham. In an interview with The Examiner, Mrs. Taylor stated that “Since 1994, when she abandoned traditional talk-show fare for more edifying content, and 1998, when she began ‘Change Your Life TV’, Oprah’s most significant role has become that of spiritual leader. To her audience of more than 22 million mostly female viewers, she has become a postmodern priestess—an icon of church-free spirituality.”1 The sentiment was seconded by Marcia Z. Nelson, author of The Gospel According to Oprah.2
Oprah Winfrey and Eckert Tolle just love to tell people that there are dozens of ways to access God. But what about Jesus? Oprah says that He “can’t be the only way” to God.3 They both disagree that there is just one way. In fact, they would tell you that there are thousands of different ways that people can access God.
Some believe there are other paths to God, like Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. These religions all seem closely related and in some ways parallel each other, while in other ways they are divergent in theory and practice. For example, in ancient India, there are two philosophical streams of thought, the Shramana religions and the Vedic religion. These two parallel traditions have existed side by side for thousands of years.4 Both Buddhism and Jainism are continuations of Shramana traditions, while modern Hinduism is a continuation of the Vedic tradition. These co-existing traditions have been mutually influential. Then there is Islam. On the Day of Judgment, if a Muslim’s good works outweigh his bad ones, and if Allah so wills it, he may be forgiven of all his sins and then enter into Paradise. Therefore, Islam is a religion of salvation by works because it combines man’s works with Allah’s grace.
These and other world religions, save for Christianity, are “works” related. That is, salvation comes through personal effort and works, something that the Bible does not teach. For example, Buddhism insists that one has to work for salvation oneself and by oneself alone, therefore no one can blame others for their failure to achieve salvation. The Buddhists’ salvation depends on the good deeds of a person. Then there is Hinduism, where once again, one attains salvation as per one’s own fate and deeds. There are four paths or four yogas to attain salvation: Karma Yoga, which is called the Way of Good Works, the Bhakti Yoga, which is the Way of Love and Faith, The Jnana Yoga, which is the Way of Knowledge, and the Raja Yoga, the Way of Salvation. If any of these chains are broken or works are not perfectly done, then salvation is impossible. All of these stress “works” and so no one can rest assured if they have made it to heaven, or Nirvana, or whatever. Faith doesn’t help them at all and their good works may be insufficient. Conversely, the Bible declares “therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Rom. 5:1).
Now, which would you put your eternal faith and hopes in after you die? Some religion that makes you work for it and would have you hope you did enough to get saved? Or, by “…not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil. 3:9)?
I put all my chips on the table and gamble it all, my eternal destiny and life after death, after One Who conquered death and promises us the same victory over death. Plus the added value of peace; of not having to endlessly worry about whether we have done enough or not to be saved. It is absolutely sure and Jesus says that nothing (man, death, etc.) can snatch us out of His hand, nor out of the hand of the Father (John 10:28-29). John 6:37 adds, “All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
I am willing to bet my whole life, my eternal life on it, because the stakes are so high that, what if these other paths are the wrong path. They are sincere, but sincerely wrong. I am at peace and can rest assured in Him, because I don’t have to worry like a Buddhist or Islamic person to hope I did enough in this life to make it. This Faith in Christ is not a like Hinduism, Islam, & the others, work related religions of the world. It is not a hope-so, but a know-so. Which are you willing to risk your life on; something you hope will work out or something that you know will work out? I choose to push all my chips in on this Hand and “I’m all in”, betting on Christ‘s Way. It is not the Gospel according to Oprah.
Jesus said I Am the way, the truth and the life, and there is no other way! He did not say I am one of the ways. Oprah Winfrey and Eckart Tolle are absolutely wrong saying and teaching that there are thousands of ways to God. There are not many paths to God or to heaven, but One Way and One Way alone. John 14:6 is clear, saying “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ” (my emphasis added) Oprah Winfrey interviews and showcases several New Age luminaries.1 She boldly proclaims that there in fact may be millions people finding different ways to God. But when a Christian woman in the audience asks Oprah, “What about Jesus? “, Oprah insists that Jesus “can’t possibly be the only way to God”; and the sparks fly! 1 I recommend watching this video clip of Oprah talking about this “many paths” philosophy.1
Although she was raised Baptist, Oprah Winfrey’s faith has undergone a significant transformation towards New Age spirituality. Oprah denies the Biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ. People today are asking the way they asked in the early church’s day about how can they be saved: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31). There is no other way, no other path, no inward “Christ-centeredness” as Oprah says. In fact, Acts 4:12 is clear about this, saying that “…there is no other name under heaven given of men by which we must be saved.” I know about what I believe in and am persuaded to risk my eternity on something I am sure of. These other ways or other paths are not worth risking my eternal destiny on. There is only one path and it goes through Jesus Christ alone.
1. Rabey, Steve. Christian Examiner. 2008 Oprah’s ‘gospel’. Web. May, 2008. http://www.christianexaminer.com/Articles/Articles May08/Art_May08_02.html
2. Nelson, Marcia Z. The Gospel According to Oprah. Westminster John Knox Press. Louisville, Kentucky. 2005.
3. Jesus-is-Savior.com Oprah on Jesus. Web. n.d http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/oprah-fool.htm
4. Helmuth von Glasenapp, from the 1950 Proceedings of the “Akademie der Wissenschaften und Literatur.”
Previously published on AssociatedContent/jackwellman
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