Here we go again, another Christian attacking Oprah. Is that what your thinking? I hope not. This is not a post about how I think Oprah is the anti-Christ or something ridiculous like that.
This is however a post about the necessity of discernment in the church. Oprah is just one of many voices in our culture preaching a message to the masses. And the masses are lapping it up heartily. The reason being that they get everything they want and desire out of this message.
Do me a favor and watch this short video, and then read on.
Oprah seems like a delightful person. I imagine she would be someone who would be able to offer a wealth of wisdom from all her experience. And as she says, she spent her growing years listening very carefully at church and heard Bible stories, and loved them. Her video was even a mini sermon about faith from the words of Jesus.
Oddly enough I stumbled upon this video by accident on the heals of my own pastor preaching on this very same text in scripture. I suppose it wasn’t an accident at all, because Oprah’s message about a mustard seed size faith was much different from my seminary trained pastor.
And I think I can guess why.
As we all know Oprah drank the culture’s Coolaid a long time ago. It was a while ago that she began picking out the parts of scripture she liked and discarding the rest. Then she filled in the spaces with other religious and secular doctrines, such as karma, positive thinking getting you what you want and all roads lead to heaven. Now she might as well be the leader of the Unitarian Universalist church (if that existed). Her wisdom has become a convoluted mess.
But there is nothing shocking about this, as her philosophy is a common one.
So here is my problem. I just shutter when I hear the Word of God being used to teach a doctrine about life and faith that is absolutely counter to the message of Scripture and Jesus Himself.
I have heard Oprah speak of Jesus in very loving terms. And yet when you read His words you see that He says some pretty strong things that fly completely in the face of her beliefs. He claimed to be God and more than that, He also claimed to be the Only way for any human to get to Heaven. How someone can see past this for their own warm and fuzzy feelings, is beyond me.
in Matthew 17:20 Jesus said, Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.
Ripped from its context this scripture can be very self-serving. As Oprah said, if we just have enough faith in ourselves, we can do whatever we want! But this is why context is not just a throw away term Christians use to win arguments. You have to understand the entire conversation if you are going to build a philosophy around one sentence of it, right?
Prior to that verse, Jesus drove a demon out of a child, and the disciples asked him why they couldn’t perform such a miracle. And it was the subject of the disciples faith that was their problem. All they needed was a mustard seed size faith in Jesus Himself to do a good work like that. More faith in themselves would give them nothing. This was not a self-serving message. This was a message of good works being done by the power of Christ to the glory of God.
If your faith is put in your own ability for selfish desires you are missing the point.
I hope one day Oprah and so many others are truly confronted by the complete Word of God, and I believe it can happen.
But this is a lesson for Christians to use our discernment, and seek to know the Word in its context. It is so worth it to dig into the full counsel of God and lap up all of His wisdom.