Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Oprah, Rob Bell, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen et al: Lethal Combination

Who doesn't like Oprah Winfrey? She is a poster girl for hard work, compassion and spirituality. When she speaks, the world listens. Critics may try but fail to succeed in putting her down. After all, she radiates positivity that this world desperately needs. Her words offer up wisdom - deep sense of spirituality and inclusiveness - regardless of anyone's race, creed and religion. If you listen to her, chances are you'll be seeing yourself in a company of legions who admire and adore her. That is what encompasses the name Oprah. Now, that is very easy to see why megachurch pastors come in a beeline to share a platform with her. 

A year ago, Oprah had successfully enlisted some notable pastors to her program MegaFest, aimed at reaching out to hurting communities that needed emotional, psychological and spiritual healing. She could not go wrong aligning herself with popular celebrity pastors such as T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and Rick Warren who lead congregations in their tens of thousands among them. Given the blockbuster lineup she had gathered, the program needless to say was a massive success. As if that was not enough, Oprah recently hired another (former) megapastor Rob Bell into her fold to launch him into yet another stardom. Rob Bell, the former founder of another megachurch in Michigan who is famous for not believing in a literal hell will debut in his launching program 'The Rob Bell Show' on December 21 this year. This heretic will have another powerful platform to spread lies in exchange for financial gain and media is abuzz heaping praise on this 'new milestone'.

Prosperity gospel
With social media emerging as a very powerful tool to connect the world today, the likes of T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar and Rick Warren are but some famous names in the Christian community to have emerged as having the greatest fan base. Their respective congregations number to tens of thousands. These pastors are also multi-millionaires and labelled megapastors for obvious reasons. So what's their secret for being so 'successful'?

It's no secret that people naturally tend to gravitate towards a feel-good message especially when one's life is saddled with so many troubles. When pastors preach about "God being obsessed with us people and that He desires to give the best life that we could ever have", who would dare resist hearing such comforting and satisfying words? That is in effect very true - that God desperately wants to put us under His wings to enjoy His presence and the security and peace that only He could give in this troubled world. But the issue is that the gospel presented here is being sugar-coated so that people think they have no accountability for their sins because God is too loving to punish us for our sins. People in these congregations are being spoon-fed to believe that God has been itching to pour out so much blessings to them and that it does not bother Him a bit that these people live in sin. After all, "He is only about love, forgiveness and generosity". 

Mega pastors and what they're known for:
T.D. Jakes in one of his interviews pertaining to gay marriage while hosting  Oprah's Life Class, famously said that the Bible affirms "that marriage should be between man and a woman. I'm not particularly political. I'm not particularly denominational. I'm not worried about any of that. I'm not anti-gay, I'm not anti-anything. I don't want to even be known by what I'm against." So, it's quite clear T.D. Jakes doesn't want anyone to know that God abhors same-sex relationship. He does know that it is an abomination to God but he would rather keep it to himself and would not tell the tens of thousands in his congregation.

Well, we know the man Joel Osteen in his famous  interview with Larry King was a confused Christian. All he said was "I don't know Larry I don't know", when asked if atheists won't go to heaven without Jesus. He insists he is not called to preach condemnation but to announce only the message of hope. So, that explains why we see multitudes upon multitudes stampede into his church on Sundays eager to hear his message of hope, prosperity and promotion without even mentioning that 'sometimes' God can get disappointed with their 'little sins'.

And in case you don't know Creflo Dollar, this megachurch pastor is known for his teaching that God wants His faithful (tithers) to be rich. He is also known for defending his friend Bishop Eddie Long who is a child molester. And what's new with Rick Warren the man known as 'America's pastor'? His brave and well-applauded  endeavor to bring together various faiths in unity certainly did not escape Oprah. So he comes as a natural choice to join Oprah in promoting her New Age agenda feigned as a noble endeavor.

As for Oprah's newest recruit Rob Bell, he is a resigned pastor from the one he founded in Michigan and now busying himself up rubbing elbows with Hollywood celebrities. As we mentioned above, the man does not believe in a literal hell and is a staunch supporter of same-sex marriage. So there you are. No explanation needed.

Lethal combination
It's not a real surprise when Oprah has aligned herself with these megachurch pastors and vice-versa. Their common denominator is obvious and that is to send a message of love, acceptance, tolerance and inclusiveness. In Oprah's Life Class with T.D. Jakes, topics that are commonly talked about is how to gain your self-esteem back, acceptance of one's self, and being at peace with everyone in your environment - and guide a person to his or her spirituality. The show has been proven to be a hit and has gained massive following through the years. Oprah articulates that this program does not tackle religion or any particular faith but about spirituality. That to me sounds very New Age philosophy.

Oprah's New Age belief
The world has heard when Oprah in one of her program episodes declared that all faiths lead to God and that there must be over a hundred ways to God other than Jesus. Everyone in the audience seemed to nod in agreement save for one lady who stood up and schooled Oprah on Jesus' claim that He alone is the way to the Father. In that terse and edgy conversation, Oprah seemed to look annoyed at the preaching of that biblical truth and even insisted that a man's compassion and generosity toward a fellow human being should not be ignored. She insisted in her own view that good works should be credited to a person when entering  the so-called higher consciousness.

Oprah has confessed her belief that the biblical Jesus  must not be the only way. That is painful for her to admit that there is only One way and that is Jesus. Her insistence that good works can also be a man's ticket to heaven is proof that Oprah does not believe in the Bible. If we are to look at her background, Oprah was brought up in a Baptist church in her early years. But when she found fame and became very successful, she seemed to have repudiated all the things she learned from her formative years in church. She would go on to question why would God be jealous of her based on what the Bible says that 'God is a jealous god'? Her belief of God and His attributes seems very vague to her if not unrealistic. While she professes to be a Christian, she still insists on not talking about religion or faith - rather she would love to welcome the topic of spirituality which to her is more appropriate for its inclusive tone, devoid of any religious color.

Blinded Christians
Despite Oprah's hair-raising confession of her New Age belief, many Christians are prepared to be up in arms to defend her. To them that does not take anything away from her 'Christian faith'  even if she habitually invites Deepak Chopra and other notable New Agers to her show and ask viewers to listen intently to the 'wisdom and spirituality' from her perennial speakers on her show. Whether they are in town promoting their New Age books and speaking about 'higher consciousness', Oprah has only had wonderful words to say about the wisdom she has learned from them that has "helped her tremendously in her own quest for higher consciousness".

So, what's with the alliance?
When Oprah announced that she will join with megachurch pastors for a MegaFest last year, no one had doubted the intent of the celebration. It's surely meant to help the community, bring healing to wounded families and reaching out to those who are hurting. The names T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen and Rick Warren and Creflo Dollar had emerged to be joining forces with Oprah for the said purpose -all formidable names and all superstars in their own right. Others may have heaped praises for it but I call it very unholy and demonic alliance. In what manner shall one reach out to the hurting if there is no Jesus in the equation? Remember that whatever problem this life brings, only God and God alone is the answer. The root of every trouble in this world is sin. So if you take out sin when witnessing to the wounded how does it bring about healing? 

Witnessing in love to someone in a lifestyle contrary to Scriptures is one thing - aligning forces and mixing together with that someone is quite another. New Age teachers have no place ministering in the church. That spirit comes upon the congregation. Perhaps she is seeking God. Perhaps she has some interest in the things of the Lord. That does not constitute placing even a regenerated disciple in the pulpit. Church leaders have a responsibility to place God fearing men and women who teach the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the hungry, the weary and the hurting. Mixing the truth with half-truth is most dangerous. New age philosophy is being spoon-fed to believers. We must be aware that the enemy of our souls will deceive even the elect if possible. This is proving to be one way to do just that. The church must stand for the truth and be wary of such practices.

Our aim
We write articles like this with the objective of warning Christians of the deception that has infiltrated the Body of Christ. The Bible has no shortage of warnings and reminders of the coming deception that others have fallen prey to such. And we feel it is our Christian duty to let others know of the wiles of the enemy, especially those who do not take time to search the Scriptures but only have Sunday sermons of their pastors for their spiritual food. Nowadays, even pastors are greatly deceived en masse. Most of them refuse to acknowledge that their 'mentors' have gone heretical and that they stick to their teachings no matter what. Let us be reminded that it is Jesus who died for our sins, not our pastors or our mentors. Warn your brother or sister if he or she loves to watch Oprah, T.D. Jakes or Joel Osteen, and Creflo Dollar, Rob Bell or Rick Warren. These false teachers should be called as they are: false teachers - and they are leading millions to hell. And it's a company you certainly would not enjoy to be with. Nevertheless, we cease not to pray for Oprah, these false teachers and all our brethren who are being deceived. While the grace of God still beckons its door, we do hope and pray that these people will still be snatched from the fire, that is if they are willing to repent.

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