Saturday, July 16, 2011

Book Review: “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality by Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett

No one can deny the powerful international influence that Oprah Winfrey has had on millions of people and her influence continues to grow. Whether through her website, magazine or recently ended talk show, Oprah is arguably one of the most influential women in history. To her credit, Oprah in many ways has used her celebrity and financial success to help scores of people around the world.

However, just assuredly as Oprah has used her fame and fortune to help those less fortunate, she has also used her persuasion as a sort of pulpit, preaching “strange doctrines” to millions of sincere viewers around the world. She has gone from being a simple talk show host to a spiritual guru of sorts, raising questions about the character of the biblical God, salvation through Jesus Christ alone and the very reality of sin.

In their book, “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality, authors Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett address many of the questions raised by Oprah and the various teachers she promotes.

As the authors explain:

As Christian apologists who believe that salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone, we wanted to create a fictional, almost Socratic dialogue that would cover many of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s spiritual teaching in recent years.” [p. 9]

The result is an short (117 p.), easy-to-read book that tackles the intellectual issues raised by Oprah’s spiritual teachings with an inside look at how the teachings of Oprah, when practically applied to one’s everyday life, can have very real, and sometimes very sad, consequences.

The book is arranged in 11 short chapters with the content centered on the dialogue of two female graduate students.

What I Appreciated

One of the elements of the book that this reader greatly appreciated was while McDowell and Sterrett clearly take issue with Oprah’s spiritual beliefs and the teachers she promotes, they do not attack Oprah on a personal level. Clearly, the intent of this book is to evaluate the truthfulness or falsehood of Oprah’s spiritual beliefs and the numerous teachers see has supported and this is done so with the utmost respect. Apologists should take note that when addressing one’s view, it is the belief and not the believer that should be dealt with.

I also enjoyed the manner in which McDowell and Sterrett dealt with issues raised by the dialogue in the book with easy-to-understand examples and illustrations that someone unfamiliar with apologetics “lingo” can clearly understand and apply to their own thinking.

Finally, this reviewer liked how the authors cleverly built a case for the truth of Christianity while addressing the issues raised by Oprah and her teachings.

The Content

Those familiar with Oprah’s teachings over the years will not be disappointed by the issues McDowell and Sterrett take aim at. After I finished the book, upon reflection, I could not think of one issue that Oprah has questioned in the media or one teacher she has endorsed that was not addressed directly or indirectly.

Issues addressed by McDowell and Sterrett include:

  • Is the God of the Bible a jealous God?
  • Can’t there possibly be more than one way to heaven?
  • Oprah’s Tolerance

  • Should we lose religion all together?

  • The teachings of Eckhart Tolle and the nature of truth

  • Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret

  • The Nature of God- theism, polytheism, or pantheism?

  • Is Jesus “the Jesus of Christ-consciousness” or the Jesus of the New Testament?”

  • What happens to the soul and body after death?

  • How can people experience the love of God through Jesus?

As well as addressing these critical issues, McDowell and Sterrett also clearly communicate what it means to truly be saved and know Jesus Christ as Lord.

Conclusion

This reviewer enjoyed “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality and I believe the book to be an ideal tool for reaching out to those who have been taken in by Oprah’s preaching and the different teachers and books she has promoted. Furthermore, the discussion questions for each chapter included in the back of the book make the it an ideal resource for a small group or Bible study.

Apologists will find the book helpful as it models an excellent manner to communicate with those who have questions about the variety of issues raised by Oprah and the teachings she endorses.

I encourage readers and seekers of truth to check out “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality and to those who have friends or family who have been swayed by Oprah’s preaching, this is the ideal book to read through with them and discuss.

Courage and Godspeed,
Chad

1 comment:

Steve S. said...

Thanks for the review Chad. I just did a class last week on Oprah and Eckhart Tolle. I used this book as a resource and also recommend it.

Steve