Could You Be Fooled By Oprah’s Jesus?

Humans innately grapple with questions related to the meaning of life, our ultimate purpose, and how we navigate the relationships, pain, and injustice we encounter. Despite the increasing secularism of the culture around us, we are regularly bombarded by a mish mash of spiritual beliefs. The post-modern relativism in which we have been steeped would tell us there is no such thing as absolute truth. Yet, our experiences leave us hungering for absolute answers to issues such as evil, justice, love, and forgiveness. How does one ferret out truth amidst the many beliefs offered up in the world’s buffet of spirituality?

Equip Yourself to Carefully Examine Beliefs

A book I read this past week, Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality by Ravi Zacharias. This book equips us to do just that.  I found this book so interesting I couldn’t put it down.

Examining the Jesus of Oprah and Chopra

Ravi addresses the false Jesus pedaled by the New Age Spirituality gurus such as Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. Yep, he takes on Oprah!

He brings his scholarship and disciplined mind to bear on the claims of the popular spiritualized worldview of New Age Spirituality. Ravi points out the flaws in this worldview and the dangerous distortions of Jesus put forth in their teaching. He also shows how authentic, biblical Christian faith holds up under equally rigorous testing.

I’ve compiled ten quotes/highlights from the book to give you a taste of how Ravi approaches subjects such as truth, relativism, spirituality, worship, and most importantly, Jesus.

If you’re not already acquainted with Ravi Zacharias, I highly recommend you become so. He is a well respected apologist (defender of the faith) who speaks on college campuses and other places where the Christian faith is routinely challenged. He is an accomplished scholar and rigorous thinker who respectfully and with great empathy engages those who criticize and question the Christian faith.

I regularly listen to his international radio program via his free podcast, Just Thinking. If you, like me, need a strong scaffolding of intellectual logic undergirding your faith, you’ll appreciate Ravi’s approach to sharing the gospel.

My Ten Favorite Quotes

Below are some of my favorite quotes from Ravi’s book. These passages are about faith and examining one’s faith. They don’t go into his specific criticisms of New Age Spirituality, but will give you a sense of Ravi’s thinking and style of writing.

Each one of the quotes below could launch an entire post. Maybe at some future time, I’ll tackle that. But for now, I want to encourage you to examine what you believe and why you believe it. Doubts are not a lack of faith but rather an opportunity to examine and strengthen one’s faith. Ravi’s book outlines and models a solid, well thought out process for examining one’s own beliefs as well as those posed by alternate belief systems.

  1. “Life is a search for the spiritual. Whether in the throes of pain or in the disappointments of pleasure, we strive for an essence that is beyond the physical.”
  2. “We all have the right to proclaim what we believe about ultimate things. But that does not mean that everything we believe is right.”
  3. “All spirituality has to transcend reason, but it dare not systemically violate it.”
  4. “…relativism must eventually pay its dues in the currency of reality.”
  5. “We see through a glass darkly because all we want is to be comfortable. We cannot understand the great plan of an all-knowing God who brings us to himself through the value of pain or of disappointment with pleasure.”
  6. “True spirituality is not a game we play. It is not merely a preference for some position over another. Nor is it at its core a search  for some healing balm. It is an ultimate choice of ultimate definitions that require one’s utmost commitment. One had dare not make a commitment to a belief for secondary or tertiary reasons or to ‘feel good’ … [those reasons] are secondary to why we are living and for whom we are living.”
  7. “Only in Christian theism is love preexistent within the Trinity, which means that love precedes human life and becomes the absolute value for us. This absolute is ultimately found only in God, and in knowing and loving him we work our way through the struggles of pain, knowing of its ultimate connection to evil and its ultimate destruction by the One who is all-good and all-loving; who in fact has given us the very basis for the words good and love both in concept and in language.”
  8. “Worship that is properly understood and properly given is co-extensive with life…It informs all of life, everything we do and everything we say and think. At its core it is the sense and service of God. Worship brings into confluence all the questions and answers that we have and do not have. For the answers we do not have, a relationship with the One who does have them carries us through.”
  9. “Truth by definition excludes. We have to understand that by definition, truth excludes the denial of what it asserts.”
  10. “Why Jesus? He is the Lord who makes reality beautiful and helps us to find him, even in the darkest corners of the world; not because of what we know or who we are or what we have accomplished, but because of who he is.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”1 John 4:1, ESV

Pick up a copy of this book and test the claims of New Age Spirituality against reality and logic.

Ravi’s book prepares you to navigate the buffet of spiritual beliefs served up to you on a daily basis via television, movies, media and social media. Equipped with this resource you will be able to avoid cotton candy relativism and instead feast on solid, satisfying truth.

Question: How do you protect yourself from false teaching? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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