Rick Warren and Joel Osteen Join Hands With Oprah

By Marcia Montenegro

On October 5th, along with others on Facebook, I watched 3 hours of live taping of Oprah’s Lifeclass online. This included an hour of Word Faith preacher Joel Osteen with Oprah and 2 hours of megachurch Pastor Rick Warren with Oprah. These programs will air later on the OWN network (Rick Warren’s two shows will air in early 2013).

God’s Word First 

Before discussing this, let’s look at God’s word. First of all, we are told to handle God’s word correctly:

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” –2 Timothy 2:15.

It is important not to take scripture out of context, or to misapply it. Reading a passage in context and in comparison to other scripture on a similar topic or theme solves most mistakes or deliberate misuses of scripture applications.

Both Word of Faith teachings (Joel Osteen) and New Thought (Oprah) use scripture and claim Christianity, but take the Bible out of context to prop up false teachings. One of the most widely misused passages is Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinketh, so is he.” This is quoted by almost every New Thought teacher who has ever lived to support the view that your thoughts determine the reality of your life. The deeper belief here is that your thoughts can alter reality, and that positive thoughts attract positive events while negative ones draw negative events. This is actually a principle of sorcery.

How do we know what Proverbs 23:7 really means? It’s easy to discover if one examines the entire passage. Then it becomes obvious that the text is denouncing acting outwardly one way while inwardly thinking another way. Starting at verse 6, we read:

“Do not eat the bread of a selfish man, or desire his delicacies; for as he thinks within himself, so he is. He says to you, ‘Eat and drink!’ But his heart is not with you.” –Proverbs 23:6-7

Rather than buttressing New Thought principles, this passage is condemning selfish, hypocritical behavior!

The subtle deception of New Thought is that renewing one’s thinking can be done through techniques and self-effort. This is Satan’s counterfeit of the putting on of the “new self” and renewal of the mind by the power of the Holy Spirit, which only happens when one has believed in Christ and been regenerated by the Spirit (see Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10; Titus 3:5).

Joel Osteen 

[GF Note: Notice the title of Osteen’s session: “I Am: Life Is How You See It”. The title “I am” in the bible always refers to God our Creator, and is reserved only for Him (see Exodus 3:14, John 14:6, John 18:6, Mark 14:62). The New Age movement has hijacked this title because they believe that they are gods. Also notice the phrase “Life Is How You See It,” harkening back to Oprah’s promotion of Rhonda Byrne’s New Age book “The Secret” which teaches the “law of attraction” and “positive thinking” for health, wealth and happiness.]

Osteen gave his usual Word of Faith teachings that words have power over our lives and this is the way to change our lives. He gave the same kind of affirmations that are taught in New Thought and the New Age, so Oprah was totally on board with this. Affirmations are statements that one repeats, verbally and/or in writing, so that they will become true.

Oprah was spiritually influenced by Unity minister Eric Butterworth’s teaching that Jesus came to show how to achieve “Christ Consciousness” (the realization that we all have an inherently divine nature). I was not surprised at anything Osteen said, nor that Oprah found him in line with her views.

Rick Warren 

However, although Rick Warren has had New Age Dr. Oz at his church (along with a supposedly Christian doctor who also endorses some New Age practices), I was hoping he (RW) would somehow give the gospel in the midst of his motivational advice, but he never did. He used the imagery of a poker game to explain we are dealt certain cards, and then gave a teaching on this that sounded like moralistic self-help programs I’ve heard so many times, throwing in a few Bible quotes taken out of context or misquoted. It was something almost any New Ager could accept. God becomes a tool for self-improvement and success.

Warren referred to Jesus, but took scripture out of context and applied things said to believers to everyone. He also misused the Proverbs passage that says “as a man thinketh, so is he.” This passage is a famous passage misused by New Thought proponents and is used in “The Secret.”

What was really hard to watch is when a woman in Norway Skyped to say she realized she needed God but wanted to know who God is and she asked, “What should I do?” It was clear that she was ripe to hear the gospel and needed Jesus! It was a great opportunity to share the gospel with her, and at the same time, for Oprah to hear it. Instead of giving the gospel, Rick Warren seemed uncomfortable and finally just said something like, “Go to God and find your purpose.” It was a terrible moment! The woman looked surprised and sad, like she was expecting something else. I prayed for her later and am hoping that the many Christians who witnessed this will pray for her. (See related post, “Muslim Woman Concludes ‘Islam Is All About Living A Purpose-Driven Life’ After Hearing Rick Warren on ‘Lifeclass’”)

Not only that, but when Oprah referred to God, as she often did, Rick Warren agreed with her as though she was referring to the biblical God, which she was not. He even said a few times, “Oprah has a good point.” No, she never did! She was speaking totally out of her New Thought/New Age beliefs. I am grateful that RW recommended that people read the gospel of John. That was the best thing he said.

A Different God and The True God 

New Thought followers and New Agers will refer to God and Jesus, but it is a god who is a tool for self-betterment and success, and a Jesus who inspires as a human example – not the righteous God who has wrath on sin nor the God-man Jesus who through His death and resurrection is found forgiveness of sins and eternal life to those who believe.

“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” –John 3:18

“Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” –Acts 10:43


Marcia Montenegro is a Christian researcher, apologist and former professional astrologer who writes at Christian Answers for the New Age (CANA).

Article re-posted with permission.


  1. Dr Alan G Phillips Jr

    An increased focus on occult practices and false religions is foretold in prophetic passages of the Bible (See 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Thess.2:9-12; Rev. 9:20-21). Today, not only are we seeing many of these developments in non-Christian sectors of society, but disturbingly, even professing Christian congregations are accommodating their beliefs and practices to occult-based worldviews. Some churches even blindly endorse a wide range of occultic practices and rituals.

    A brief look at what is happening in many contemporary churches across America will provide some evidence for this unsettling trend. Several key points are worth noting:

    1. Many congregations appear to have uncritically absorbed, promoted and sometimes endorsed occult themes and practices from popular books and movies:





    2. Also, in their aggressive efforts to promote an unbiblical ecumenism or universalist message, many professing Christian chuches have downplayed the serious differences between core Christian doctrines and occultic teachings.

    For example, the contemporaey emphasis on “spiritual” practices as opposed to “doctrine” (sound teaching) has marked a recent “it’s-all-good” ecumenical trend. See the following examples:






    3. Churches that profess to be Christian, yet accepting of Wiccan rituals or meditative techniques from Eastern religious traditions, ignore the clear testimony from the Bible about the dangerous potential of unstable alliances and the need for standing apart from idolatrous worship. Both the Old and New Testaments unambiguously condemn occult associations and practices (See Dt. 18:9-14; 2 Ki. 21:3&6; 23:24; 2 Chr. 33:5-6; Dan. 2:27-28; Acts 19:18-20; Gal. 5:19-21; 2 Thess. 2:9-11; 1 Tim. 4:1-2; Rev. 22:15). Learning about Wiccan worldviews,the use of mantras in Hindu devotion, Spiritualist seances or mandalas in Tantric Buddhism may be useful for evangelistic, missionary or apologetic purposes,but to embrace these things as valid Christian doctrines/ practices is erroneous, blasphemous and disobedient to God’s word.

    4. Finally, even though many Christian denominations do not necessarily subscribe to the early Reformation cry of sola scriptura (by scripture alone), nevertheless, their own historic writings and recent doctrinal commitments acknowledge the incompatibility between Christian practice and occult experimentation. For example, here are some clear written excerpts about the dangers of occult involvement from recent handbooks of Christian denominations:

    1. Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)– “Sinful practices which are made prominent and condemned in these scriptures include homosexuality, adultery, worldly attitudes (such as hatred, envy, jealousy), corrupt communication (such as gossip, angry outbursts, filthy words), stealing, murder, drunkenness and witchcraft. Witchcraft has to do with the practices of the occult, which are forbidden by God and lead to the worship of Satan” (2013).

    2. Free Methodist Church — “Occult practices, such as spiritism, witchcraft and astrology must be avoided” (2007, 58).

    3. Church of the Nazarene — Christians should avoid “…such social evils as violence, sensuality, pornography, profanity, and the occult, as portrayed by and through the commercial entertainment industry in its many forms…” (2013, 48).

    4. Wesleyan Church — Basic Principles: “To seek only the leading of the Holy Spirit and to abstain from all forms of spiritism, such as the occult, witchcraft, astrology and other similar practices.

    Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:20-14; Acts 19:18-19; Gal. 5:19-20. ” (2012, 24).

    5. Missionary Church — “The Scriptures are also clear in their warnings and admonitions to God’s people concerning relations with Satan, demons, and occult practices…” (2013, 60).

    Christ’s Great Commission commands all followers of Jesus to spread the good news to all the world (Mt. 28:18-20), and this command entails associating with people who do not understand or embrace the Christian faith, whether Hindu, Wiccan or Atheist. However, the same Christians are alao commanded to stand apart from false teachings and occult endorsement (Lev. 11:44; Rom. 12:1-2; Col. 3:5-11; 1 Pet. 1:14-17; 2 John 10-11; Jude 3-4; Rev. 18:4-5).When professing Christian churches put a stamp of approval on the occult, they violate both commands of practical holiness and personal evangelism.

    References and Helpful Resources

    Abanes, Richard. Harry Potter: The Menace Behind the Magick (Michigan: Horizon Books, 2001).

    Barnhouse, Donald Grey. The Invisible War. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1965.

    Boa, Kenneth. “Warfare Spirituality: Warfare with the Flesh and the World” in Conformed to His Image:Biblical and Practical Approaches to Spiritual Formation” (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2001).

    Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Satan. Chicago: Moody, 1942.

    Church of God, Beliefs: “Moral Purity” (2013) at https://www.churchofgod.org/practical-commitments/moral-purity

    Constitution of the Missionary Church. Fort Wayne, Indiana: Denominational Office, 2013.

    Discipline of the Wesleyan Church 2012. Wesleyan Publishing House: Indianapolis, Indiana, 2012.

    Edwards, Catherine. “Wicca Infiltrates the Churches” https://www.confessingumc.org/news-events/wicca-infiltrates-the-churches/ (Reprinted with permission of Insight. News World Communications, Inc., 19tey, John. Sermon LXXVII, “Of Evil Angels” in Sermons, vol 2: The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, A. M., (New York:The Methodist Book Concern, 1788), pgs. 145-146.

    Free Methodist Church of North America, 2007 Book of Discipline. The Free Methodist Publishing House: Indianapolis, Indiana, 2008.

    Manual/ 2013-2017: Church of the Nazarene. Nazarene Publishing House: Kansas City, Missouri, 2013.

    Unger, Merrill F. Demons in the World Today (Carol Stream, Illinois:Tyndale House, 1972).

  2. It seems the adversary has infiltrated hearts that maybe
    once were right with the Lord.Evil is out in the OPEN.Our
    Pastors, Teachers are being seduced by the satan, while
    others that were always false are being exposed for the con
    artists they are.My prayers are that The True believers stay
    well rooted in the Word.May the Lord protect us from these evil
    men that would use God’s Word for thier personal gain.

  3. It is possible and probable that Biblical passages have more than one meaning. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” also highlights the relationship among one’s thinking, feeling, and behaving. That is, a person’s PERCEPTION of reality is indeed influenced by his/her thinking. Hence, renewing of one’s mind so that he/she can be transformed to the image of Christ from glory to glory and develop the mind of Christ (loving what He loves, hating what He hates). Of course, this renewing is a continual process that follows after being made new in Christ.

    We are in agreement anyway about the deceptive teachings of these and other “spiritual” teachers. Great article. Be blessed.

  4. Stay AWAY and I mean AS FAR AS YOU CAN from these prosperity teachers. This is DILUTED gospel. Its false teaching, its a HUGE LIE and will destroy you. Do not be deceived, what they teach is ***NOT*** Biblical.

  5. Debbie Peach

    Nothing surprizes me in this world. My husband told me long ago something is wrong with a ministry when you don’t have a cross hanging in your church or place of worship. I will no longer read anything except the bible and pray to the Holy Spirit for direction and love for my fallen brothers and sisters.

  6. VisitorInChrist

    Well done! Thanks for the write-up of what these New Age’rs (all 3 of them!) are up to these days, though you were much nicer about it than I would have been. 🙂

    The New World Order’s “One World Universal Religion” is flooding in from all directions, isn’t it! It’s amazing to see it so clearly forming, yet the Joel’s & RW’s & Big O’s are oblivious to their deception… (or maybe not if they are operatives… RW/CFR, etc.)

    (Surprised O didn’t have TDJakes on as well.)

    Excellent point about reading Scripture IN CONTEXT! Such a simple rule that is not widely taught to Christians & Bible students. It makes ALL the difference in the world!

    And what a travesty that lady asking for guidance & getting zero. Ask a wolf for directions & you’ll get a wolf’s response. But the Lord is faithful even if these charlatans are not, & I’m sure He will put a real Christian in her path to help her.