O God-A book review about Oprah Winfrey’s spirituality


Oprah – Preacher, pastor or something else?

Posted: October 06, 2009
6:13 pm Eastern

© 2009 


You know what a preacher is, don’t you? Southerners know; a preacher is distinct from a pastor because a preacher can reach the masses. 

A preacher rears back and thunders an oracle from God. A pastor, however, holds the hand of the dying and dispenses kind words. 

That’s why America’s most popular pastor today is Oprah Gail Winfrey. The problem is, her brand of spirituality, and her (vast) stage make her the most dangerous woman in America, as she shares oracles from … gods. 

How often have you heard a solid evangelical voice comment favorably on something that was heard on Oprah’s show? The truth is, her truth is taken from hordes of spiritual sources. 

Long-time apologetics teacher Josh McDowell and co-writer Dave Sterrett do the country’s churches a great service by boldly speaking to Ms. Winfrey’s spirituality. In the just-released “O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality,” McDowell and Sterrett present a primer for understanding the source and outcome of Winfrey’s long association with religious gurus Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson and Kathy Freston. 

Born into poverty in Mississippi, Winfrey (named after the biblical character in the book of Ruth, “Orpah”) attended a rural church and was nicknamed “The Preacher” because of her ability to memorize Scripture. It is fascinating to note this early influence on her life, because it has enabled the media multi-millionaire to mix traditional Christian concepts and language to the “new spirituality.” 

(An ironic aside: the biblical Orpah, after the death of her husband, returned to the Land of Moab, to a people who worshiped many gods.) 

“O God” begins with a quick story that illustrates just how seductive Oprah’s brand of faith is, recalling an exchange between two friends: one an open-minded seeker enamored of Winfrey’s goodwill efforts around the world and her friend, a former Hindu with discernment into the ways of global spirituality. In fact, the entire book is an exchange between these two women and it makes for a fascinating snapshot of the culture at large, so divided over what is truth. A key to understanding Oprah’s view of religion is her idea that our feelings can lead us to truth. An early encounter in a Baptist church, in which the preacher thundered that God is a jealous God (as he outlines in the First Commandment) didn’t sit well with the ambitious television personality. She decided that, because she believed God to be a God of love, he could not also be jealous. These were the beginnings of her subjective views of religion, God and the Bible.

The authors do a masterful job weaving truth and worldview into this friendship between Lindsey (who has lost her father to cancer, and is searching for comfort) and Avatari, the former Hindu, now Christian. The book uses an effective writing style that makes it perfect for a seeker. Even a disciple of Oprah would be drawn in. 

A theme that is explored in “O God” is the idea that the God of the Old Testament is an angry one who must be rejected on this basis. This idea is the father of many spiritual children, ranging from Oprah to liberal clergy like Marcus Borg, who jettison the reality of the God of the Bible, to invent one who is allegedly kinder and gentler. It is an alluring trap. 

“O God” is also valuable for pointing out the danger of that journal of narcissism, O, the Oprah Magazine. (Seriously, how can a person who puts herself on the cover of every issue be worshiped as a selfless giver? I don’t know, either.) 

The magazine’s editors – and namesake – cleverly drop articles about wearing pants that flatter your figure in with articles on spirituality. This is one of the chief ways that Oprah is able to dispense her poisonous worldview, which is presented as a double scoop in a waffle cone. Who could resist such sweet offerings? 

Other Oprah favorites include the idea that all paths lead to God, and there is no divine, eternal punishment for the wicked. Oprah uses the many tools available to her, mostly her television empire, to dispense what is in reality a repudiation of truth. 

It is no secret that “de-programming” an Oprah groupie is not a common occurrence, since, as we mentioned at the beginning, the global do-gooder is so popular everywhere, including in churches. 

“O God” is a major triumph in apologetics work, one of the best exposés I’ve seen, since it utilizes a “quick-read” style with plenty of information in a non-threatening format. Shoot, the slick cover even looks like a pro-Oprah book one might find at a big-box retailer. 

In the end, one hopes that the person who is intensely searching for meaning and truth be led to that truth by this terrific book. 


Discover how real and relevant Bible prophecy is to you with Jim Fletcher’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine): How to stop worrying and learn to love these end times” 

Jim Fletcher has worked in the book publishing industry for 15 years, and is now director of the apologetics group Prophecy Matters. His new book, “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” has just been released by Strang’s Christian Life imprint.


3 thoughts on “O God-A book review about Oprah Winfrey’s spirituality

  1. The bible says you shall know them by their fruits. Let’s see. Oprah has started an orphanage, given millions of dollars to the less fortunate, refuses to turn her show over to the negative and evil junk of most daytime tv, preaches a loving God, etc, etc, etc. Wow, she is some evil person, lol.

    Yes, I prefer to follow the organized religion crowd of Catholic child molesters hidden by the church, Ted Hagard (king of the Protestants) who likes sex with young boys and doing meth, Larry Craig- homo, I could go on for the next week but I won’t.

    I prefer to do what Jesus and the bible said to do. Judge people by their ACTIONS. Oprah wins hands down. Oh, you don’t like her take on the bible. Well as a catholic, do you know that Josh Mcdowell, the author of this book believes that catholics are going to hell and are not “real” Christians. How do I know? I used to belong to campus crusade for Christ of which Josh is the main dude. So I find it funny that you want to recommend a book by an author that believes you don’ really know God at all. Interesting.

  2. Nice of you to not do what you admire Oprah Winfrey for doing so well-paying attention to some negative things to the exclusion of the vast wealth of positives. It is a proven fact that the abuse scandal in the church is and was a miniscule percentage of the total contingent of priests and religious. This doesn’t subtract from the absolute horrendousness of the scandal, but truth be told, men are human, whether they wear a collar or not.

    Thanks, Oprah, for building an orphanage. Thanks for giving millions of dollars to the less fortuante (which is practically anyone else in the world). Your work in this regard is apprciated.

    Don, for your information, the Catholic Church has built thousands of orphanages, given billions to the less fortunate. This is the job of the Catholic Church.

    And since when did it become impossible for people who disagree fundamentally to agree on common ground? I don’t care how McDowell feels about Catholics not being real Christians, it doesn’t change a thing. He’s in no position to judge me or my faith, because he doesn’t know, or doesn’t have a deep enough understanding, of what we believe.

    The fact remains that Oprah teaches dangerous spirituality, and that’s the point of his article.

  3. Pingback: “the church of Oprah…” « Requiemforarepublic’s Blog

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