My four-year old Alejandro fights karate alongside Jesus. Yes, Jesus lives in his heart, but sometimes He comes out from his insides to fight the bad guys. After they beat them up together, Jesus says, “I really love you Alejandro” to which Alejandro replies, “I really love you Jesus” and then Jesus says to him, “Come on, lets play with your monster trucks!”
Cutest. Thing. Ever.
And I know this to be true because they told me about it.
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Jesus in Luke 18:16
According to a new video released by Oprah Winfrey, she also talked to Jesus when she was four. “For the earliest part of my life, I didn’t know my father,” Winfrey said. “Not growing up with a father, I heard in church that God was my Father and that God was the Father of us all and that Jesus was God’s son. So in my imagination, my way of thinking about God was ‘God is my Father and Jesus is His Son, so I am His child, which makes me His daughter, which makes Jesus my brother.'”
Of course (and unfortunately) this has become the new avenue for people to challenge Oprah’s understanding of Christianity.
As if criticism got anyone saved.
Oprah has talked about faith and religion since the beginnings of her show. And remember that we are talking about the highest-rated talk show in television history, seen by 15-20 million viewers each day in the U.S. in 205 television markets, and in 132 countries.
In 1996, Oprah began Oprah’s Book Club designed to get America reading again. Each of the books selected has become an instant bestseller averaging sales of over 1 million copies each. (Hook me up Oprah! Designed for Inheritance: A Discovery of Sonship.)
She’s a woman of influence.
And in an unscientific poll conducted on Beliefnet.com, 33 percent of the 6,600 respondents said that Oprah has had “a more profound impact” on their spiritual lives than their pastors or priests.
Back in 2012 Oprah said, “I am a Christian. That is my faith. I’m not asking you to be a Christian. If you want to be one I can show you how. But it is not required. I have respect for all faiths. All faiths. But what I’m talking about is not faith or religion. I’m talking about spirituality.”
“My favorite Bible verse—because I am Christian—is Acts 17:28. It says, ‘In God I live and move and have my being’,” Winfrey said. “And you want to know why I’m so successful? Because I knew that at 4 years-old … I wouldn’t be who I am today without a spiritual consciousness, without spiritual values and ultimately without spiritual love.”
In his book, O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality, Josh McDowell wrote, “The danger is that while appearing to use Christian and inclusive language that at first seems similar to that of Christianity, Oprah teaches a message that is radically different and absolutely contrary to the true teaching of Scripture and historic Christianity.”
I understand their concern. I am 100% convinced that Jesus is the only way. And Oprah has spoken publicly about different ways to God. She has been called New Age by legitimate Christian leaders. But there are also other legitimate Christian leaders who have worked with her and join her in her platform to share the Gospel.
We all have serious holes in out theology. And while it is OK to disagree and discuss those disagreements, it is not our place to judge while assuming to know someones eternal destination.
According to her official biography from Thomson Gale, “Winfrey was born January 29, 1954, on a farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi, the product of a fleeting tryst between 20-year-old Vernon Winfrey and 18-year-old Vernita Lee. Since her father was in the service when she was born and her mother was eager to leave Mississippi, Winfrey lived on the farm with her maternal grandparents until the age of six.
Originally named “Orpah,” from the book of Ruth in the Bible, Winfrey came to be known as “Oprah” shortly after her birth because of the difficulty most people had spelling and pronouncing “Orpah” properly.”
By the age of three, Winfrey was reciting in church on holidays, and the locals quickly perceived her as “gifted.” Winfrey formed her spiritual values and learned both discipline and drama in the southern Baptist church. She was sexually abused by family members at the age of nine and spent many years dealing with anger and shame.
After overcoming many hurdles to get to where she is today, we now care about her spirituality because of her massive influence in our culture.
And while others focus on how wrong she is in her theology, I can see a journey that is drawing her near to the Jesus of the Gospels.
And that Jesus had a “Oprah” in his ministry. A rich and influential lady who was married to Chuza, Herod’s business manager. According to Luke 8 she was one of the women who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.
Notice that nothing is said about her specific beliefs on the Trinity, heaven or hell, or her thoughts on law or grace.
Because when people hang around Jesus, the most important thing is not what they think about God, but what He thinks about them.
As I have said before, “He meets us where we are, not where we should be.”
Yes, I disagree with a hundred things Oprah has said on faith and Jesus and the religions of the world. But there’s no doubt that Oprah is hungry and thirsty for the truth.
And I have a feeling Jesus is going to meet her there.
Probably already is.
“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” -Oprah
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