Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oprah Winfrey and Marianne Williamson: Reflections on their New Age Christ

". . . [W]e urge people to consciously create. . . a world without deception, without hidden agendas, without back door dealings, or under the table manipulations, or behind the scenes maneuverings, or out of sight agreements, or between the lines understandings, or anything that is not totally transparent. A world in which telling and living the truth carries the highest reward and is given the highest honor by society."
- Neale Donald Walsch and Brad Blanton, Honest to God: A Change Of Heart That Can Change the World (Sparrowhawk, 2002), p. 60

On 11/8/07 New Age leader and Oprah & Friends XM Satellite reporter Marianne Williamson put up a "Big News!" announcement on her website. Her announcement seemed quite confident and authoritative. She even had a link to Oprah & Friends XM Satellite Radio. She wrote:

Big News!
Beginning January 1, 2008, I will be teaching A Course in Miracles daily on Oprah & Friends XM 156. For one year, we will go through the entire Course. If this is of interest to you, get your XM ready, take your Course off the shelf or order a copy. We're going to do the Course, and stay the course!

On 11/09/07 Herescope posted an article by former New Age follower Warren Smith entitled Oprah and Friends to Teach Course on New Age Christ. In that article Smith presented significant concerns about Oprah & Friends teaching this New Age Course in Miracles. Many years ago he was a devoted student of A Course in Miracles and he discovered that the teachings of the Course - supposedly "new revelation" channeled from "Jesus" - were diametrically opposed to the teachings of the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. He came to understand that the "Jesus" of A Course in Miracles was one of the false christs that the real Jesus warned His followers to watch out for:

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:3-5)

Shortly after the posting of Smith's article and the two subsequent articles on Herescope, there was considerable concern - at least in Christian circles - that Oprah was using her radio program to teach this New Age Course. Many Internet sources cited what was happening. Amidst the uproar, Marianne Williamson's "Big News!" announcement suddenly disappeared from her website. All attempts to get information on why Williamson withdrew her announcement were to no avail.

However, Marianne Williamson has just posted a new announcement on her website that seems to take the place of the "Big News!" announcement of several days ago:

Starting January 1 on Oprah and Friends XM156, I will be discussing my daily reflections on A Course in Miracles. Watch this space for details.

Send me any questions you have about A Course in Miracles and its application to your daily life. Some of these questions will be used on my radio show. (Be sure to include your phone number.)

According to this new announcement, Williamson is pulling back from "teaching" A Course in Miracles and is now offering her "daily reflections" on the Course. This subtle semantic change may indicate a change in strategy. However, this type of maneuvering around potentially controversial New Age agendas by Oprah and her staff has been noted previously. For example, bestselling author Neale Donald Walsch told colleagues at a New Age Humanity's Team conference in Portland, Oregon, in 2003, that Oprah had flown him to Chicago for a two-hour interview with him that never aired. Walsch explained what happened:

…Oprah brought me to Chicago. She loves Conversations. In fact she says it is her favorite book. She says that on the air—“This is my favorite book”—and she holds up Conversations with God. So she brought me to Chicago and she said, “Let’s do two hours.” I’m gonna do a two hour special. And she interviewed me on videotape for two hours and we had a fascinating conversation, the way only Oprah can, ‘cause she gets right into the interior of it. And I went back home, flying back home, and I thought, “My God, they’re going to do a two-hour special. This is incredible… talk about zooming sales.” And I went home and… it stayed in the can for a year and a half. I did not call her, ‘cause I didn’t want to bother Oprah with, you know, “Where is my program? When are you going to put it on?” …But finally the producer called us and said, “You know, Neale, we just can’t use it. You are so incredibly provocative in what you’re saying about your relationship with God, humanity’s relationship with God, where religion currently stands in the world etc., etc.,… that we’ve looked at this thing, we’ve watched this program eight times and all of us agree it’s just too soon. You’re way ahead of the curve, we can’t put this on now.”*

In an April 5, 2007 Oprah & Friends radio interview with Esther Hicks - a woman who channels out-of-body entities that singularly refer to themselves as "Abraham" - Oprah confessed that her television viewers weren't ready for her to be talking to channeled out-of-body entities. She said:

I am talking to Esther Hicks here, who is, I am saying today, the secret behind The Secret because she . . . is a big, big, big part, she and her husband Jerry, of the creation of the DVD that Rhonda Byrne did. . . . But she is here in our studio and I am going to ask you to channel Abraham, and let me just say, the reason why I wanted you to do this on the radio is because the television audience isn't ready for it. . . .

This radio interview, posted on the Spiritual website, is really difficult to listen to because it involves occult channeling, so the listener should beware. Sadly, one quickly realizes the depth of Oprah's New Age beliefs when listening to this interview. And the reader of Herescope is reminded to pray for these two women who are so deeply drawn into spiritual deception.

The other issue here is not Oprah's right to present her New Age views - but to be honest with her viewers and listeners about these beliefs. For over twenty years Oprah has been taking her viewers and listeners step-by-step deeper into the New Age teachings. It is time for her to stop pretending that her New Age "Jesus" is the same as the Jesus of her Baptist youth. The "Jesus" of A Course in Miracles and the "Jesus" of the New Age bear absolutely no resemblance to the Jesus found in the Holy Bible.

It seems apparent that in early November someone calculated that the time was right for Marianne Williamson to teach the year-long, 365 lessons of A Course in Miracles on Oprah & Friends XM Satellite Radio. But one has to wonder if this situation, like the one described by Neale Donald Walsch above, was "just too soon" and too "way ahead of the curve" in teaching the year-long Course at this time.

What difference does it make whether Marianne Williamson is "teaching" A Course in Miracles directly, or "teaching" it indirectly by providing "reflections" on it? Whatever the case, whether through "reflection" or "teaching," this year-long study of the Course, designed for listener participation, will lead many deeper into spiritual darkness.

The Truth:

"And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest,

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
(Acts 26:24-28)

* Humanity’s Team Leadership Gathering, Portland, Oregon, June 27- July 1, 2003: “The Care and Feeding of the Press.” Transcribed from audiotape by Warren Smith and cited in the second edition of Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel, Chapter 3 Update, subsection heading "Walsch, Winfrey and the Press."