The Great Heretical Idea: Part 3

Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift

The Divinity of Man

By Warren Smith

April 6, 2008

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“Now the heretics are gaining ground, doctrine is losing its authority, and knowing is superceding belief.” 23
          – Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy

“In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. We may call it presence, awareness, the unconditioned consciousness. In the ancient teachings, it is the Christ within, or your Buddha nature.”
24 [bold added]
          – Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks

“As we flew home on Cathay Pacific Airlines I began to think to myself, “We are all like the clay Buddha covered with a shell of hardness created out of fear, and yet underneath each of us is a ‘golden Buddha,’ a ‘golden Christ’ or a ‘golden essence,’ which is our real self.
25 [bold added]
          – Jack Canfield’s story “The Golden Buddha,” Chicken Soup for the Soul

"Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.”
26 [bold added]
         – Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Oprah, Butterworth, Tolle and the Divinity of Man

How long has Oprah believed in this historically heretical idea that we are all one because we are all “God” and “Christ”? For sure, at least as far back as her 1987 television program on the “New Age Movement,” when she defined the New Age movement by endorsing Eric Butterworth’s book Discovering the Power Within You and reiterating his view that “Jesus did not come to teach how divine he was, but came to teach us that there is divinity within us.”27

It is no wonder that Oprah came away with that point of view after reading Butterworth’s book. In Discovering the Power Within You, Butterworth uses the terminology about the divinity of man over 100 times. In this book, which Oprah described as “one of the most important books”
28 that she had ever read, Butterworth writes:

“We must begin to see Jesus as the great discoverer of the innate Divinity of Man, the supreme revealer of the truth about man, the pioneer and way-shower in the quest for self-realization and self-unfoldment.”29

“Jesus had a unique concept of God. To Him, God was not an object of worship but a Presence dwelling in us, a force surrounding us, and a Principle by which we live. It is not too much to say that anyone who catches the idea of Jesus’ concept will find himself caught up in a new consciousness that will change his whole life. He will never be the same again."

“The ‘only begotten’ in spiritual man, the Christ principle, the principle of the Divinity of Man.”

“Tradition holds that the disciples once asked Jesus, ‘When shall the Kingdom come?’ and He answered, ‘When the without shall become as the within.’ In other words – when you become in expression what you were created to be. Or, from the world view, when the race of man is elevated to the level of universal perfection.”

Oprah, Tolle and New Age teachers are warning that our planet and our species may become extinct if we don’t have a “Great Awakening” to the reality that we are all “God” and we are all “Christ.” The real Jesus Christ warns us not to believe them. He warns that false Christs will be part of the Great Deception at the end of time. This warning definitely includes those who believe in a universal inner Christ – the “Divinity of Man.”

Unfortunately, Oprah has placed her faith in New Age teachers like Eric Butterworth, Marianne Williamson and Eckhart Tolle rather than the teachings of the Bible. Whatever the case, Oprah should be honest with her viewers and let them know that what she is teaching is pure New Age spirituality. Should she continue to deny that fact, Eric Butterworth’s official website as of March 31, 2008 ( describes Butterworth as a “New Age pioneer.”

“Eric Butterworth was Senior Minister of The Unity Center of New York City from 1961 to 2003. He made a peaceful transition into the Flow of Eternal Life on Thursday, April 17, 2003. Eric was considered a legend and spiritual icon in the Unity Movement…. The author of 16 best-selling books on metaphysical spirituality, a gifted theologian, philosopher, and lecturer, Eric was a highly respected New Age pioneer and innovator of New Thought, whose life was dedicated to helping people to help themselves.”33 [bold added]

Butterworth’s official website also describes Oprah Winfrey as a Butterworth “devotee” and includes her endorsement of Discover the Power Within You:

“His devotees include people from all walks and stations of life, all of whom state that his teaching helped to change their lives. Oprah Winfrey says of his classic book, Discover the Power Within You, ‘This book changed my perspective on life and religion.’”34

Oprah and The Great Heretical Idea

On that 1987 Oprah Winfrey Show on the New Age Movement, Oprah’s first featured guest was Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy – a book Oprah referred to as “the bible of the New Age movement.”35 In The Aquarian Conspiracy, Ferguson described the “great heretical idea”36 that will enable humanity to spiritually evolve and achieve world peace. That great heretical idea is the belief that God is “in” everyone and everything. Ferguson described imminence – “God within” – as the world’s “oldest heresy.”37 This heresy is the one that she and her New Age “conspirators” were in the process of mainstreaming – believing that it would eventually become our “common heritage” and what “everybody knows.”38 Ferguson wrote:

“Usually at the point of crisis, someone has a great heretical idea. A powerful new insight explains the apparent contradictions. It introduces a new principle… a new perspective.”39 [bold added]

“Given the superior power and scope of the new idea, we might expect it to prevail rather quickly, but that almost never happens. The problem is that you can’t embrace the new paradigm unless you let go of the old.”

“If these discoveries of transformation are to become our common heritage for the first time in history, they must be widely communicated. They must become our new consensus, what ‘everybody knows.’”

How ironic that as Ferguson and other New Age spokespersons sat with Oprah on that 1987 television program discussing the New Age Movement, it was Oprah’s stated personal belief that defined the New Age to her viewers and outed the “great heretical idea.” She did this by referring to Eric Butterworth and reiterating his belief that all humanity is divine. That was when Dr. Curtis turned to Oprah and said, “That’s a summary statement of exactly where we are in what we call the New Age or the new thought.”42 Should we be surprised that over the next two decades Oprah popularized countless New Age books that all teach this “great heretical idea” that we are divine because God is “in” everyone?

In The Aquarian Conspiracy, Ferguson wrote that it takes time to get from “the great heretical idea” to the acceptance of the idea as new truth. In order to arrive at this “new consensus,” she stated that the heretical idea “must be widely communicated.” And this is precisely what Oprah Winfrey has done over the past twenty years – and that is what she is doing today with her New Age classes with Eckhart Tolle and A New Earth and with Marianne Williamson and A Course in Miracles.

Had Oprah read and believed Matthew 24:4-5 instead of Eric Butterworth, she would have seen Butterworth’s New Age teaching that we are all "Christ" to be part of the very deception the real Jesus warned would precede His coming and the coming of His Kingdom.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5)

But if we are all “Christ” as Eric Butterworth, Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle and the New Age teach, then what is Jesus warning about in the Bible when he says:

“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and they shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:23-26)

If we are all “Christ” then how can there even be false Christs? It makes no sense for Jesus to warn of false Christs if everyone is “Christ.” It is very clear that Jesus is not telling everyone to “awake” and “shift” to the “Christ within,” but to beware of those who tell you to do that – to beware of Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson and anyone else who teaches that we are all “Christ.”

To be continued. . . .

See also Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4

 From God's Truth to the "New Spirituality"

"Oprah and Friends" to teach course on New Age Christ   by Warren Smith  

Tolle's New Earth fuels New Age revival

and The twisted "truths" of The Shack & A Course in Miracles


23. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980, p. 371.
24. Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks (Vancouver: Canada: Namaste, 2003), p. 13.
25. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc. 1993), p. 71.
26. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Novato, CA: Namaste, 1999), p. 104.
27. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Show #W265, Air Date September 18, 1987, official transcript, p. 7.
28. Ibid.
29. Eric Butterworth, Discover the Power Within You: A Guide to the Unexplored Depths Within, Based on the Actual Teachings of Jesus (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), p. 25.
30. Ibid, p. 27.
31. Ibid, p. 11.
32. Ibid, p. 224.
34. Ibid.
35. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ibid., p. 2.
36. The Aquarian Conspiracy, p. 27.
37. Ibid, p. 382.
38. Ibid, p. 34.
39. Ibid., p. 27.
40. Ibid.
41. Ibid. p. 34.
42. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ibid, p. 7.

Warren Smith is the author of Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, The Light that was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel.

© 2008 by Discernment Group

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