Everything Old Is New Again: Oprah Winfrey, Her Guests, And Their Spiritual Worldview: Developing Spiritual Discernment In An Undiscerning Age -- By: Patty Tunnicliffe

Journal: Christian Apologetics Journal
Volume: CAJ 08:2 (Fall 2009)
Article: Everything Old Is New Again: Oprah Winfrey, Her Guests, And Their Spiritual Worldview: Developing Spiritual Discernment In An Undiscerning Age
Author: Patty Tunnicliffe


Everything Old Is New Again: Oprah Winfrey, Her Guests, And Their Spiritual Worldview:
Developing Spiritual Discernment In An Undiscerning Age

Patty Tunnicliffe

Of all the media personalities that impact Americans today, perhaps no one is as influential as Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is the Queen of American television. Her talk show is seen by millions of viewers each week. Oprah claims she is a Christian, and many in her audience, Christians included, accept this as true. Her message sounds Christian. She talks about God, Jesus and about reading the Bible. She is “spiritual.” However, Oprah’s current spiritual beliefs, as she states them on her weekly show, radio program, and Internet classes, are not Christian.

Yet many Christians persist in thinking that Oprah is a Christian because they are not equipped with the skills they need in order to think discerningly and clearly about spiritual messages. The remedy for this confusion is to become spiritually discerning men and women.

Discerning people have insight and understanding. They can see the distinctions between right and wrong. They can tell the difference between something that is genuine and something that is fraudulent. A spiritually discerning person can distinguish between a message that is biblically correct and one that is not.

Scripture tells us that we are to be discerning about all spiritual messages. Paul urged Christians to grow in knowledge and insight so that they could “discern what is best” (Phil.1:9-10).1 But, we cannot be discerning if we do not know Scripture. If we do not know what the Bible teaches about a given topic, the result will not just be a lack of discernment, but it will also open the door to the possibility of spiritual deception.

Deception happens when someone is misled by means of a false appearance. For example, people can be deceived by counterfeit money if they are misled into accepting a counterfeit dollar bill for a genuine dollar bill. When this happens, all you are out is some money. But, if men and women are misled into thinking some persuasive Christian–sounding speaker or author is promoting a Christian message, when in fact it is not, you have a deceptive, spiritually deadly situation. We must examine all beliefs to see if, in fact, they match with Scripture.

Certain skills can help us become more discerning about Oprah’s beliefs, and other spiritual messages that abound today. Three skills in particular can help us to more accurately analyze a message, gain insight into the thinking behind it, and beco...

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