Evangelist Oprah? I Hope Not

Neil has a post today about Oprah Winfrey’s conversion to Christianity. You can go there to watch the video. I really didn’t want to waste the time, but I did respond in his comments’ section with the following along with some additional thoughts:

I’m skeptical whenever I hear someone famous making a profession of faith. I know that the Holy Spirit can and move among the famous and the rich, but I’m skeptical because so many who profess Christ, only do so for a time before the fall back into their worldly ways. See Jane Fonda’s conversion to Christ. They may be Christians, but often times, they will not submit themselves to good teachers in order to become grounded in the word of God. Just as one commentator at Neil’s blog pointed out, much of what Oprah confessed in her testimony was the same New Age teachings that she has been teaching for the past 15 or 20 years. Before she becomes a teacher or preacher (both of which the Scripture prohibits), she needs to become grounded in the truth and that means she needs to submit to the elders of a local church (1 Peter 5:5). More than likely this will not happen since THE Oprah isn’t use to submitting to anyone at all (nor is the rest of America). This is why I say that the word “submit” is one of the three dirty words that should never be mentioned in polite, Christian society (the other two words are sin and suffering).

This is also why I don’t think we should put famous people on parade the moment they trust in Christ in some half-baked scheme to get others to “trust” Christ. This philosophy comes from the error that if we can get someone famous to give their testimony, others will come to know Christ as well. We see this all the time when some moderate Christian hits the big time in the world. Suddenly, because they hit it big, they are now qualified to preach and teach on what it means to be a Christian. Please note the subtle health-and-wealth prosperity message in all of this. “I’m a Christian, I hit it big. I’m now an expert on what it means to be a Christian… hitting it big!”

The irony of this is that this isn’t the message of the gospel. I know we want to hit it big and become rich, at least some of it. But these things never lead to a more fulfilling life. Only Christ can do that and He rarely uses wealth, popularity and prosperity to do so, despite what the televangelist might say.

I had a woman tell me yesterday how she and her husband started making a lot of money years ago and how they thought they were walking so close to the LORD because they gave a lot of money to charity. It wasn’t until all that was removed that they really began walking with the LORD. It wasn’t until they were depending upon Him to get by that they truly began to grow in the LORD. It wasn’t until the suffering in their lives was put into context of suffering with Christ that spiritual maturity came about.

This message doesn’t preach well among the rich and famous. This is why God doesn’t use these people to advance His Kingdom. We never see such in the Bible. We have King Nebuchadnezzer coming to faith in Daniel 4, yet, Babylon didn’t suddenly become a believing nation. We have Paul coming close to convincing King Agrippa in Acts 26, but does not. That is because God doesn’t use the wise of this world to advance His kingdom.

1 Corinthians 1:27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.

He uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise for His glory (this gives me hope that he will use THIS foolish one for HIS glory as well). We don’t need people like Oprah advancing the kingdom. We need the faithful nobody’s that God has called to preach His word faithfully, to do just that. Preach the word faithfully in season and out of season. He moves when and where and how He pleases… Let us preach not ourselves, nor Oprah converted, nor Jane Fonda converted, nor anyone else converted, but preach Christ crucified!

1 Corinthians 1:25-27 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;

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5 thoughts on “Evangelist Oprah? I Hope Not

  1. No doubt, Tim. The idea that famous people will cause others to follow Christ is almost always a sign of a weak view of God’s sovereign grace.

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