Oprah’s Ambiguous Spirituality Before a Washington Audience, January 22

VIENNA, VA, Jan. 7, 2010—One might ask why Josh McDowell, the author of the mega best-selling book More than a Carpenter, who’s also considered one of the most respected Christian apologists of our time, is speaking out about the spiritual influence of media empress Oprah Winfrey.

And why McDowell teamed with apologetics teacher Dave Sterrett on a provocative new book that compares the content of Oprah’s spirituality and the teachers she endorses with what the Bible actually says—which they released just prior to Oprah’s announcement of her new OWN TV network.

On January 22, 2010, McDowell and Sterrett will share research they compiled into their 128-page novel, titled O God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality (WND Books), during a speaking engagement and book signing at McLean Bible Church, Tysons Campus located at 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, Va., from 8-9:45 PM. Earlier the same day at McLean Bible, the authors will also offer a special talk on the reliability of the scriptures from 6:30-7:30 PM.

The public can purchase tickets online at www.mbctysons.org/joshmcdowell for $4 before the event, or attendees can purchase tickets at the door for $5.

The answer to the question “Why Oprah?” is much more obvious for victims and their families, who participated in Oprah’s frequent guest James Arthur Ray’s fatal “Spiritual Warrior” program. Ray’s now infamous sweat-lodge cleansing ritual claimed the lives of at least two participants. On Oprah’s show, Ray promoted his book, “Harmonic Wealth: The Secret of Attracting the Life You Want,” and the positive-thinking book by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret. “O” God devotes chapter six to discussion of The Secret, which Ray described on Oprah in 2007 as “really just putting Christianity, Judaism, all the great teachings into a current vernacular.”

The blurry line between what Oprah and her spiritual advisors teach and what the Bible actually says is McDowell and Sterrett’s focus in “O” God. While some might ask “What’s all the fuss?” McDowell and Sterrett call Oprah’s spiritual ambiguity dangerous as the church and society become more biblically illiterate and more people leave traditional worship services. McDowell and Sterrett plan to continue taking the message into churches to encourage believers to analyze what they really believe. On their website at www.ogodbook.com, the authors also offer free downloadable questions based on the book, so that people can digest the message alone or in small groups.

According to McDowell, “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.” The authors also cite examples of the media’s portrayal of Oprah as a modern-day Billy Graham and her selection as master of ceremonies during the national memorial service held at Yankee Stadium in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks to demonstrate her powerful influence.

The storyline of “O” God follows conversations of two girl friends representing the multitudes of Oprah fans, who unwittingly place their faith in the hodgepodge of spirituality embedded in her popular TV talk show, magazine and webinars. In the end, a life-altering crisis helps crystallize the truth from counterfeit teachings. Like classic Christian author C.S. Lewis, McDowell and Sterrett decided to employ fictional narrative to disarm and entertain readers while refusing to shy away from biblical truths and expose Oprah’s errant teachings.

McDowell and Sterrett share in the introduction of “O” God. “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.”

In varying degrees, “O” God also discusses belief systems in other books featured in Oprah’s Book Club, including The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, A Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Discover the Power Within You by Eric Butterworth, Quantum Wellness by Kathy Freston, and Change Your Thoughts—Change Your Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

Josh McDowell has spoken to more than 10 million young people in 84 countries and on more than 700 university and college campuses. He has authored or co-authored more than 110 books and workbooks with more than 35 million in print worldwide. Josh’s most popular books are More Than A Carpenter, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Why True Love Waits, and Right From Wrong.

Dave Sterrett is an educator, speaker and writer for Probe Ministries International in Plano, Texas. Dave teaches on Christ-centered living, Christian apologetics and true spirituality at conferences, schools and churches. He contributed to the Apologetics Study Bible for Students, and will release the book Why Trust Jesus? with Moody Publishers in March 2010.

McLean Bible Church is a multi-campus, non-denominational, evangelical church located in the Washington, D.C., area. The senior pastor is Lon Solomon. The mission of McLean Bible Church is to make an impact on secular Washington with the message of Jesus Christ. For more information, log on to www.mcleanbible.org.

In October, WND Books launched a special O” God: A Dialogue on Truth of Oprah’s Spirituality website at www.ogodbook.com, where the public can interact with the authors through a blogspot, receive updated information about the book project, view a three-minute video, and purchase books for individual use or for small group study.

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Media interested in interviews with “O God’s” co-authors Josh McDowell and Dave Sterrett and in receiving review copies and press materials should contact Gregg Wooding of I AM PR Services at 972-567-7660 or via email at gregg@iampronline.com.