By Nathan Jones
The New Age Movement, this Westernized form of Eastern Mysticism, is a system of belief that tells you to look inside of yourself and to yourself for enlightenment and wisdom and power. Exactly just who is telling us this false teaching is true? You'd be surprised!
I went to Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries, to find out who is the loudest voice in the New Age Movement today. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.
It has been said that the largest church in the world is preaching New Age philosophy, and the pastor of that church is Oprah Winfrey. What is meant by that?
She is the most influential New Ager out there, and by far the most famous New Ager.
Ten to twelve years ago I began to make off-the-cuff statement in my seminars that Oprah was a New Ager, and I took a lot of heat for it. Phone calls, letters, and then later on when e-mail became popular were telling me, "No, Oprah is a Baptist." People defender her; these are Christians defending her. And I am going, "Nope, what Oprah is teaching is New Age and eventually we will all know." And, now, we do know. She has come "out of the closet" this year about her New Age beliefs.
I want to preface anything we say now that this is not about "good person versus bad person." This is about "truth versus error" and that is what apologetics is. It's the study of what truth is against what error is. And it's not that we hate anybody, we are praying. I pray for Oprah Winfrey nearly every day that she would be saved and think about the impact that she could have for the one true God.
I remember when I first put together a new DVD that's has the information about Oprah on it. It has video clips of her including the one where she talks about why she abandoned orthodox Christianity. I said to my wife, "How can you say anything bad about her, look what she does for people." But, on her show she is arguing with two audience members, saying that there couldn't possibly be just one way, but there are millions of ways [to get to Heaven]. Those were her exact words!
This is a headline from US Today — "Cultural Agenda Is Set By Oprah Not Religious Leaders." And, it is true. For example, look at these statistics from a US Religious Landmark/Landscape Survey poll of 35,000 Americans that was taken by the Pew Forum of Religion and Public Life. 70% of the people on the poll said that many religions can lead to eternal life, and only 24% of the people said their religion was the only way.
Who are some of the New Age gurus Oprah is using?
Eckhart Tolle and his book A New Earth. She made him an instant millionaire. He was a well known New Age author before, but he is not the only one she has had on her show.
She promoted and really brought out to the public the book The Secret three years or so ago. And, all you would have to do is go to the websites of the authors of The Secret to see what this was. It was a mix of the Kabala and Gnosticism and Rosicrucianism and she helped to promote that idea.
She has also had on her XM satellite radio channel a lady named Esther Hicks who is a transchanellor who channels several entities who all call themselves "Abraham." They are different than her. Now, this must be confusing at Thanksgiving dinner!
This lady has also been on Oprah and has probably done more to promote the old New Age philosophy of A Course in Miracles then anybody else. She has brought Mary Ann Williamson to her website and to her TV set, and now Mary Ann Williamson is doing a devotional every day during 2008 on Oprah's XM radio network that came right out of The Course in Miracles.
Mary Ann Ramson has written a book about the New Age. She is Unity minister, by the way, which is not a Christian denomination. It's a cult my mother was involved with for 25 years before she got saved and tragically passed away. So, I know all about Unity and that Oprah is promoting this.
But, doesn't Oprah claim to be a Christian and a Baptist?
She doesn't claim that at all anymore. She is bringing out the heaviest hitters in the New Age Movement.
I remember she made the comment that her crises of faith came when she went to church one Sunday and heard the minister say that, "God, the true God of the Universe, is a jealous God." She responded, "God is jealous of me?" And, I comment to people, "I guarantee that God is not jealous of Oprah." But, she has this opinion that God is jealous of her. She said that she opened her mind.
In a clip from their web teaching (they did 10 Monday nights in a row), Oprah turns to Eckhart Tolle. Now Tolle is a German mystic who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, who changed his name to Eckhart. He was born Ulrich Tolle because he wanted to be connected forever with a 14th Century occult mystic named Meister Eckhart. I mean, that's how deep this guy is. He is into all kinds of mysticism. The first thing when you ask him his influences he replies — A Course in Miracles. That is a common theme throughout all these New Age leaders and authors today. But, here Oprah turns to him and says to him, "So, if your god is a believing experience, it really is not God because God is a feeling experience and not a believing experience."
In the last part of this interview we'll ask Eric how people can avoid being deceived by the New Age Movement.