Oprah Winfrey Logic And Discernment

June 30, 2008

I stumbled on this over at Phoenix Preacher and thought the article was interesting and said a lot about Michael Newnham and his ability to discern.

Here is the link to that article http://phoenixpreacher.com/cms/?p=3075

Here are a couple gems from that article.

Bernard was a Catholic monk…and a mystic.
He also is probably more responsible for the cult of Mary in Catholicism today than any other father. 
However, along with these and other dogmas that both the Reformers rejected, Bernard wrote some of the seminal theology that evolved into the doctrine of justification that we hold to in Protestantism today.
While both men quoted more frequently from Augustine than any other father, Bernard was quoted often and was commended highly by both men. 
He was also held by both not only to be a brother, but a “doctor” in the church”

Luther and Calvin could affirm Bernard as a brother and glean from his work that which was good and biblical without embracing everything he wrote.
A true, mature believer can glean from all of the above as well as Warren, Henri Nouwen, Richard Foster and the rest of the brethren that the asses never stop braying at.
The one incident I’m most ashamed of that happened here was when I jumped on Rolph for recommending Nouwen…then read with wonder Nouwen’s “Prodigal Son”.
I was immature and ignorant and proud of both.
That in my opinion, is the perpetual state of most of the “discernment ministries”. 
Unfortunately, it’s too often my state as well.
If Luther and Calvin can practice a “generous orthodoxy”…we should too. end quote

And of course read the whole article so you can be sure I am not taking Michael out of context with the two quotes I am using.

I also think its a natural transition for many in the Reformed/Calvinist crowd (not all though) to start to join with the Emergent church and those authors that Emergents promote. And I think Michael himself states the reasons why.

To me this is a Oprah Winfrey style of logic that lacks serious discernment and let me explain why. Oprah as well states that she is a Christian. She also has stated that she does not believe that Jesus could not possibly be the only way. Oprah would agree that we could learn lots of things from good people as she exposes many people to her new age ideas.

So since Oprah states she is a Christian it must be ok to go with whoever she endorses. We may not agree with everything that person states but Im sure we may find something good in what they have to offer.

That is Oprah Winfrey logic.

 Now I sincerely do not believe that Oprah is a Christian and I have no reason to believe that Michael Newnman is not a Christian.

But Michael could very easily expose a Christian to very real danger the same way his pal Richard Abanes does.

So Michael thinks that we discernment ministries are immature and ignorant because we caution against new age forms of spirituality and prayer that are outside of scripture?

I guess  then its smart to state for Christians that they can learn a little something from anyone who calls him or herself a Christian.

That may stroke the intellict but will it make them grow as a Christian?

Or will it open them up to dangerous new age ideas?

You decide.

You could use this type of logic to justify gleaning from anyone lets take a look at Henri Nouwen first.

From my friend and brother in the Lord Ray Yungen’s book “A Time Of Departing” 


An individual who has gained popularity and respect in Christian circles, akin to that of Thomas Merton, is the now deceased [Roman] Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen… Many pastors and professors are greatly attracted to his deep thinking. In fact, one of his biographers revealed that in a 1994 survey of 3,400 U.S. Protestant church leaders, Nouwen ranked second only to Billy Graham… (61)

Unfortunately, this widely read and often-quoted author, at the end of his life, stated in clear terms that he approached God from a universalistic view. He proclaimed: “Today I personally believe that Jesus came to open the door to God’s house, all human beings can walk through that door, whether they know about Jesus or not. Today I see it as my call to help every person claim his or her way to God.” (Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey, p.51)

Nouwen’s endorsement of a book by Hindu spiritual teacher Elnath Easwaran, teaching mantra meditation, further illustrates his universalistic sympathies. On the back cover, Nouwen stated, “This book has helped me a great deal.” (62)

Nouwen was clearly a universalist who also struggled in some other areas of life. No matter what the guy wrote why would a Christian wanted to glean off a universalist.

Then there is Richard Foster who endorses the new age form of prayer called contemplative prayer.

Foster states that there are certain styles of prayer that you need to use caution.

Where in the Bible does it state this?

Where in the Bible does it state that certain types of prayer are not for the novice.

Here is some real words of caution from my brother in the Lord Roger Oakland.

“Contemplative Prayer or Terror?”
Proponents of contemplative prayer say the purpose of contemplative prayer is to tune in with God and hear His voice. However, Richard Foster claims that practitioners must use caution. He admits that in contemplative prayer “we are entering deeply into the spiritual realm” and that sometimes it is not the realm of God even though it is “supernatural.” He admits there are spiritual beings and that a prayer of protection should be said beforehand something to the effect of “All dark and evil spirits must now leave.”1 Where in Scripture do we find such a prayer? Where in witchcraft?
I wonder if all these Christians who now practice contemplative prayer are following Foster’s advice. Whether they are or not, they have put themselves in spiritual harm’s way. Nowhere in Scripture are we required to pray a prayer of protection before we pray. The fact that Foster recognizes contemplative prayer is dangerous and opens the door to the fallen spirit world is very revealing. What is this–praying to the God of the Bible but instead reaching demons? Maybe contemplative prayer should be renamed contemplative terror.
While Foster has said repeatedly that contemplative prayer is for everyone, he contradicts himself when he says it is only for a select group and not for the “novice.”2 He says not everyone is ready and equipped to listen to God’s voice through the “all embracing silence.”3
This is amazing. Foster admits that contemplative prayer is dangerous and will possibly take the participant into demonic realms, but he gives a disclaimer saying not everyone is ready for it. My question is, who is ready, and how will they know they are ready? What about all the young people in the emerging church movement? Are they ready? Or are they going into demonic altered states of consciousness completely unaware? Given Foster’s admission of the danger, he does great damage when he says: “We should all, without shame, enroll in the school of contemplative prayer.”4
Foster’s implication that some contemplative prayer is safe is terribly mistaken. No contemplative prayer is biblical or safe–even the most mature of the Christian mystical leaders proved susceptible to its demonic pull. Thomas Merton at the end of his life said he wanted to be the best Buddhist he could be. Henri Nouwen at the end of his life said all paths lead to God. This was the spiritual fruit of their lives after years of practicing mystical prayer.
[In relation to mysticism and contemplative prayer], the real question is whether or not the realm of the silence is God’s realm or Satan’s–light or darkness. The Bible tells us that Satan is very deceptive, and what can often look good is not good at all:And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness. (II Corinthians 11:14-15)


The word occultism means hidden or secret. There are two connotations to this. The first level involves employment of these practices themselves. Throughout human history, mystical techniques were used by only a small number of persons. The terms esoteric and arcane are often used to signify the fact that these practices have been traditionally concealed. Occult methods almost always employ the use of altered states of consciousness induced by prolonged focus and repetition–a practice that has largely been unknown to many … until now!
A second and perhaps more important concept agrees that behind the physical world lies a hidden reality, and we can interact and have a relationship with this hidden spiritual realm. Occult practitioners in every age and every country agree that all of creation is connected together and God is in all of creation–thus, all is God. These two definitions sum up occultism succinctly. The contemplative prayer movement conforms to these aspects of occultism to the letter.
It is for this very reason I have devoted an entire chapter of Faith Undone to contemplative spirituality. Mystical practices have entered the church through these ancient Christian mystics (ancient wisdom), and they have become the driving force of the emerging church. (from chapter 6, Faith Undone by Roger Oakland)
In conclusion  I find it interestin to see ober at the Phoenix Preacher myself and my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord are constantly accused of hate speech by Michael and Abanes.
Funny how that works isnt it.
They can use hate speech when speaking about us. Cor 13 totally ignored.
But yet we point out error or disagree with Rick Warren and instantly we hate Rick Warren or some other misguided soul.
I dont hate anyone.
So to the other camp disagreement=hate speech.
Disagree with Rick Warren=hate speech.
Chris Rosebrough from Extreme Theology refered to “Purpose Driven Preaching as Christless Christianity”.
There is a differance between hate and hard truth.
Well let it be so.
What good for us isnt good for them.
Michael also has commented that I dont let certain comments or posts fly.
He is correct.
My blog I choose what goes up.
Richard Abanes does the same thing but thats ok I guess since its Richard.
You see Michael I guess the rules only apply for those you choose at your discretion.
And the rules often change.
So in conclusion folks you will need to decide who is being immature and ignorant.
Michael has told my friend and brother in the Lord Bud Press to “bleep off” after Bud made a appeal to Richard Abanes to keep his word to Bud after Richard asked Bud for information on Ken Blanchard.
Yup that was real mature.
Does Michael sound like he uses’s biblical logic and discernment?
Or does Michael use Oprah Winfrey Logic and Discernment?
As for my brothers and sisters in the Lord in  discernement ministries I know the truth will always defend itself.
Tim Wirth
Here are some more interesting links on what Michael bought up in his article
Also some other links that give a background to contemplative proponents and its origins.
And this is also where I think this all could be going
All this is not really new to Christianity its just a lie repackaged.
Im done now





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