Oprah Winfrey is an entertainment mogul, pop culture idol, and high priestess of social righteousness. Her television show is hugely popular, but not being a fan of hers, I have just learned that she also a daily radio program aired on XM satellite radio. Who knew?
A part of the Oprah’s radio program is dedicated to author Marianne Williamson. Williamson is reviewing something called A Course in Miracles which was “scribed” by Helen Schucman and transcribed by William Thetford, both of whom were Ph.D’s at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. Schucman claims to have been given instruction by the unmistakeable voice of Jesus, wherein He said “This is a course in miracles, please take notes.” She claims that “the Voice” made no sound, but gave a rapid, inner dictation, which she took down in a shorthand notebook. The process of “scribing” and transcribing took 7 years, to the month, starting in October, 1965 and was completed in October, 1972. Both Schucman and Thetford are deceased.
I would never argue with the reality of divine inspiration. After all, that is the authority we credit with the underlying authorship of the 66 books of scripture. And I believe today the Holy Spirit continues to communicate with believers in the “still small voice” or “gentle whisper” that Elijah heard in 1 Kings 19. However, I am troubled with the notion that any such contemporary inspiration would be so contrary to biblical doctrine as is evidenced in A Course in Miracles.
“Course” is now controlled by a non-profit organization called Foundation for Inner Peace. Marianne Williamson describes A Course in Miracles as “a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy.” Psychobabble would be a better description. The bottom line is this, both A Course in Miracles and Marianne Williamson are New Age through and through. What may be confusing to many though, is that Williamson and the “Course” use heavy doses of Christian language. They use terms such as God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, guilt, atonement, spiritual death, rebirth, prayer, etc. To the casual observer, it may sound as if it is grounded in Christian theology, but it is NOT. “Course” and its continued proclamation is rooted in the corruption of orthodox Christianity with New Age thought, that can be laid, in part, at the feet of Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame.
Here are some excerpts from the segment that aired on Wednesday on Oprah & Friends.
“These review exercises assert the reality of a different identity than the one given to you by the world. It is your holiness, not your worldly self, that is the truth of who you are and the source of all your good.
These ideas are for review today:
My holiness envelops everything I see.
From my holiness does the perception of the real world come. Having forgiven, I no longer see myself as guilty. I can accept the innocence that is the truth about me. Seen through understanding eyes, the holiness of the world is all I see, for I can picture only the thoughts I hold about myself.
My holiness blesses the world.
The perception of my holiness does not bless me alone. Everyone and everything I see in its light shares in the joy it brings to me. There is nothing that is apart from this joy, because there is nothing that does not share my holiness. As I recognize my holiness, so does the holiness of the world shine forth for everyone to see.”
What?? I can’t figure out what this means, and the text that followed it on the radio show is not helpful either. While I am at a loss to understand what is trying to be taught, I am clear about one thing. It strikes me that the teaching is utterly self-glorifying. More can be read at the Oprah & Friends site.
For the secular minded, this stuff may encouraging and a real source of peace. For those whose pursuit is the One True God, this is not helpful, and is further evidence of the danger of reliance on those, such as Winfrey and her proxies, who offer spirituality apart from true and authentic worship of Jesus Christ.