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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Oprah and the spirit of antichrist

The Apostle John was referring to false teachers like Oprah Winfrey, when he said:

And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:3).

Here the Apostle says the spirit of antichrist speaks when someone denies that Jesus is the Christ who has come in the flesh. John had warned about this once already, in the previous verse 2. Most preserved manuscripts of 1 John (of which there are over 600) have it in the Text a second time - whereas the modern critical Text now omits it for being unnecessary. But, it is necessary! What other way but repetition did the ancients have to emphasise a point and underline it, put it in bold, or in Capitals? [The whole manuscript was written in capitals!] Repetition, then, was a necessary way of emphasising a critical truth. Just as a false prophet in Moses’ times rejected the unity of God (Deut. 13:5), so the false teacher of Christian times rejected the Incarnation (1 John 2:22). The Gnostics thought of the divine Christ as a spirit which descended on Jesus at His baptism, and left him before the crucifixion. Such a spirit, Oprah calls her “Christ-consciousness,” in true New Age fashion.

Bill Muehlenberg says:
“Unquestionably, Oprah Winfrey is the most influential woman in the world today. The television show host, author, publisher, actress, philanthropist, and media personality is a multi-millionaire, and when she speaks, people – especially her legions of dedicated female followers – consider her utterances to be almost divine revelation.”

You may leave out the “almost,” in the last phrase. Oprah Winfrey was named Orpah on her birth certificate, but two letters got interchanged along the way. Oprah is like Orpah in the book of Ruth, after whom she was named. Ruth clung to the God of Israel and refused to return to paganism. But her sister Orpah went back to her old pagan ways, which is what Oprah Winfrey has done. She once believed Jesus was the Son of God who had died for her sins on the Cross of Calvary. Hear her testimony, if you doubt my words.

New Age thinking has long since taken over this mega-communicator. For Oprah, the Christ spirit is radically divided from the Jesus of history. We can embrace the Christ-consciousness (our ‘higher self’) which was thought to inhabit Jesus temporarily, but the object of our faith is not the belief that ‘Jesus is the Christ who has come in the flesh.’ It’s all about feeling, not belief. If I feel it, it must be right. So, I am God; Oprah is God; the corporate identity of the American middle-income woman, aged 35 – 50, is God. And so, Jesus is not exclusively God! Neither did “God so love the world that He sent His only-begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Were the Apostle John here today, he would say of Oprah’s global promotion of New Age ideas, in her TV shows: “.

. . and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

“Oprah & Friends” led a year-long course on the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles. The course teaches that we are all potentially Christs, that Jesus is not touched by evil, that he never died, that sin and guilt are unreal and that there is no death. The course claims the spirit of Jesus as its divine source (via the channeler Helen Schucman, who mediated the spirit). The Jesus of the course says: “I was not ‘punished’ because you were bad . . . . I have been correctly referred to as ‘the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,’ but . . . correctly understood, it is a very symbol that speaks of my innocence. And innocence is wisdom, because it is unaware of evil, and evil does not exist.” As one of the Course promoters said, “. . . if the Bible were the literal truth, the Course would have to be viewed as inspired by demons.” (1)

“To her audience of more than 22 million mostly female viewers, she has become a post modern priestess—an icon of church-free spirituality.” Sydney will see the celebs looking for a guest appearance . . . Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban and so on. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has even been touted to make an appearance, as has yachtswoman Jessica Watson, astronaut Andy Thomas and writers Thomas Keneally, Peter Carey and Tim Winton.

But, let’s remember - according to the Bible - goodness consists not in the act itself, but in the motive and reason for doing it: “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” KJV 1 Cor 13:3. That is, love (“charity”) from Jesus Christ who is God’s Son - who has come in the flesh - is what matters. Repent Oprah, and show your fans the right way to lasting happiness.

(1) Douglas Groothius. Revealing the New Age Jesus, IVP, 1990, pp. 198 - 201