I don't usually pay much attention to e-mails that are forwarded to me at home.
Many times, I don't even open them. But, after hearing my pastor mention something at church a few weeks ago, and seeing an e-mail that appeared to cover the same topic he did, I became intrigued.
My preacher said something, in passing, regarding "the church of Oprah." At first, I thought he was perhaps talking about how Oprah Winfrey's opinions are taken as gospel by many who watch her show, or read her magazine. At that time, I had not yet heard the talk-show host's latest assertions concerning God, spirituality and the way to Heaven. I recently discovered I was mistaken.
My relative ignorance on the subject ended a few days ago, courtesy of an e-mail a friend of mine forwarded to me. Normally, I don't take the words of any forwarded message, no matter how reputable or trustworthy the person who sent it to me might be, as infallibly true, but I was at least curious.
So, I clicked on the link. It was something my friend saw on YouTube, wherein Oprah enlightens her audience as to the "millions" of ways by which one can get to Heaven, and various other gems of wisdom she apparently picked up while reading a new-age book by author Marianne Williamson.
Before I go any further, let me say that I am perfectly willing to concede that Oprah doesn't necessarily believe every single thing Williamson does. Just because the author has been given a forum to promote her views, doesn't automatically translate into overt support by Winfrey. I get that.
With that said, many of the things I heard Winfrey herself say through the link my friend sent me are quite disturbing.
For one thing, telling millions of viewers that "there can't possibly be" one way to Christ, as Winfrey did, reveals a dangerous mindset that has the potential to infect many others.
But, there's another aspect to this whole discussion that cannot be overlooked. During one of Oprah's diatribes on her show, she says she has a difficult time grasping the concept of God as "jealous," because she has always thought of God mainly as "love."
However, when God speaks about His jealousy, it is because He, as the ultimate source of absolute Truth, is the only One who deserves our devotion and our worship. For Oprah to openly declare otherwise, only serves to bring her own ignorance to light.
No matter how many different ways Oprah feels we can use to get to Heaven, there is such a thing as absolute Truth, and it is not found by searching within oneself, or by being a good person. It is found by surrendering our own will to God's, and confessing our own inability to get to Heaven apart from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.