In the new book “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality. (CA: WND, 2009; 128pg) renowned Christian apologist Josh McDowell and up-and-comer Dave Sterrett offer a brief popular level critique of Oprah Winfrey’s growing and influential religion.To keep the reading light the authors present their apologetic in a story-form dialogue between a young divorced grad-student Lindsey and her PhD friend, a newly converted Christian and former yoga teacher, Avatari. As these two 30 year olds discuss their lives and issues they bat around tenets of Oprah-ology. Naturally, Oprah’s spiritual mentors like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra surface too. Both friends watch the Oprah show and read “O” Magazine, but Lindsey and Avatari disagree over the “truth” therein. The end result is that Avatari uses apologetics to share her faith with Lindsey, who in turn shares her new found faith with her mother. In the course of this drama the authors progressively unravel the paper-thin veneer of Christian lingo on Oprah’s spirituality then dissect the remaining new-age mysticism underneath.
This book is clearly apologetic, intending to educate and dissuade the reading from Oprah’s spirituality. Key points include arguments for Christian exclusivism (ch1,4), absolute truth (ch5), theism (ch7), the historic Jesus (ch9), the reliability of the New Testament (pg95), and resurrection (ch10), a rebuttal of pantheism (ch7, pg73), notes on the problem of blind faith (pg98), a defense of the moral argument for God (pg86), and a critique of the New Thought, “think-yourself-well” movement (ch6). This book is a great introduction into cultural apologetics. It is accessible, simple, readable and still surprisingly meaty. O God is utterly relevant in culture because it sets its sights on the queen of American culture Oprah Winfrey together with her heir apparent, New Age spirituality. As it turns out, New Age is hardly an heir, but rather a Hindu-esque fog of pantheism. McDowell and Starrett keep the page count down, the plot-line simple, the topics clear, and the overall readability up. A discussion guide is also included should the reader want to incorporate this material into a church study group, home group, or religion class.
As an apologist myself, this book is a helpful addition to my library on Cults, World Religions and Alternative Spirituality. Oprah-ology is nothing new, to those who have studied about pantheism and eastern religions. But this book may surprise people who thought of Oprah as a good Christian girl. Before this book I did not know how non-Christian Oprah’s religion was, nor how openly she admits to anti-Christian beliefs. Oprah is a new-thought, religious pluralist who denies absolute truth, Christian theism, sin, hell, and the Trinity. This book however is not a critique of Oprah—God bless whatever good she offers to the world—but rather a focused response to her skewed beliefs, which take her out of classical Christianity. But neither does O God stop at critiqueing Oprah-ology. O God is evangelistic, tying together rebuttal with affirmation, countering pantheism with Christian theism, finally offering an apologetically polished uniquely beautiful Christian gospel. This book deserves commendation for “calling it like it is.” In a hazy world of gray shades and fuzzy borders, when people turn up sick from moral ambiguity and spiritual banality, O God shines a refreshing bright light while sharpening the surgeon’s scalpel. Soul surgery can now take place.
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