Oprah Winfrey is Offering the Controversial New Age "A Course In Miracles"-Truth!

Summary of the eRumor:
The forwarded email warns that popular American television personality Oprah Winfrey is going to be offering a controversial New Age study course on XM Radio.  It's called "A Course in Miracles" and the eRumor says that the radio series will be hosted by New Age leader Marianne Williamson.
 
The Truth:  
According to both Oprah Winfrey's and Marianne Williamson's websites this daily one hour radio program through Oprah and Friends Radio on XM satellite radio went on the air January 1, 2008.

  It is a one-year show based on A Course in Miracles.  Winfrey's web site describes the program as "a self-study program of spiritual psychotherapy contained in three books. It is not a religion, but rather a psychological mind-training base on universal spiritual themes."

Marianne Williamson is a popular lecturer who has authored several books and promotes z"A Course in Miracles."

A Course In Miracles first came out in 1976.  Psychologist Helen Schucman describes herself as the "scribe" of the book rather than the author.  She said that she and fellow psychologist William Thetford "scribed" the book from an "inner source."  Schucman has said that it was channeled to her by Jesus Christ.

The course of teachings makes frequent reference to Jesus and uses Christian terminology, but many Evangelical Christian teachers and apologists regard it has heretical. 

The text of this  eRumor is from an article written by Warren Smith, a former new ager who was a devotee of A Course in Miracles and who is now an Evangelical Christian.

In March, 2008, a video began circulating widely on the Internet that used some similar material as in the forwarded email version.

Among the statements in the video include:
 
"Who you are requires no belief."
This is a quote from Eckhart Tolle a featured guest of Oprah's.  He is the author of the book The Power of Now.
 
"Heaven is not a location but an inner realm of consciousness."
This, too, is an Eckhart Tolle quote from his book A New Earth.
 
"The man on the cross is an archatypel [sic] image, he is every man and woman."
This is described second-hand as a Tolle quote, but we have not confirmed that.
 
"My mind is part of God's, I am very holy, my holiness is my salvation and my salvation comes from me."
One of the lessons in A Course of Miracles is titled "My Holiness is My Salvation."  The statement
"My salvation comes from me. It cannot come from anywhere else" is a quote from the Course of Miracles (workbook, lesson 70).
 
"There is no sin."
This is a quote from A Course in Miracles.  "
The exercises teach sin is not real, and all that you believe must come from sin will never happen, for it has no cause. Accept Atonement with an open mind, which cherishes no lingering belief that you have made a devil of God's Son. There is no sin. We practice with this thought as often as we can today, because it is the basis for today's idea."  Workbook, lesson 101.
 
"Do not make the pathetic error of clinging to the Old Rugged Cross.  The only message of the crucifixion is that you can overcome the cross."
From A Course in Miracles.  "Do not make the pathetic human error of “clinging to the old rugged cross.” The only message of the crucifixion was that we can overcome the cross.  Unless you do so, you are free to crucify yourself as often as you choose. But this is not the gospel I intended to offer you."  Chapter 4, The Root of All Evil.
 

Updated 4/3/08

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Subject: Oprah to expose millions to New Age Christ Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2007
21:49:34 -0600

"Oprah and Friends" to expose millions to New Age Christ on XM Satellite
Radio starting January 1st

Oprah Winfrey will be letting out all the stops on her XM Satellite Radio
program this coming year. Beginning January 1, 2008, "Oprah & Friends" will
offer a year-long course on the New Age teachings of A Course in Miracles.

A lesson a day throughout the year will completely cover the 365 lessons
from the Course in Miracles "Workbook." For example, Lesson #29 asks you to
go through your day affirming that "God is in everything I see." Lesson #61
tells each person to repeat the affirmation "I am the light of the world."
Lesson #70 teaches the student to say and believe "My salvation comes from
me." By the end of the year, "Oprah & Friends" listeners will have
completed all of the lessons laid out in the Course in Miracles Workbook.

Those who finish the Course will have a wholly redefined spiritual
mindset-a New Age worldview that includes the belief that there is no sin,
no evil, no devil, and that God is "in" everyone and everything. A Course
in Miracles teaches its students to rethink everything they believe about
God and life. The Course Workbook bluntly states: "This is a course in mind
training" and is dedicated to "thought reversal."

Teaching A Course in Miracles will be Oprah's longtime friend and special XM Satellite Radio
reporter Marianne Williamson-who also happens to be one of today's premier
New Age leaders. She and Conversations with God author Neale Donald Walsch
co-founded the American Renaissance Alliance in 1997, that later became the
Global Renaissance Alliance of New Age leaders, that changed its name again
in 2005 to the Peace Alliance. This Peace Alliance seeks to usher in an era
of global peace founded on the principles of a New Age/New Spirituality
that they are now referring to as a "civil rights movement for the soul."

They all agree that the principles of this New Age/New Spirituality are
clearly articulated in A Course in Miracles-which is fast becoming the New
Age Bible So what is A Course in Miracles and what does it teach? A Course
in Miracles is allegedly "new revelation" from "Jesus" to help humanity
work through these troubled times. This "Jesus"-who bears no doctrinal
resemblance to the Bible's Jesus Christ-began delivering his channeled
teachings in 1965 to a Columbia University Professor of Medical Psychology
by the name of Helen Schucman. One day Schucman heard an "inner voice"
stating, "This is a course in miracles. Please take notes." For seven years
she diligently took spiritual dictation from this inner voice that
described himself as "Jesus."

A Course in Miracles was quietly published in 1975 by the Foundation for Inner Peace. For many years "the Course" was an underground cult classic for New Age seekers who studied "the Course" individually, with friends, or in small study groups.

Here are some quotes from the "Jesus" of A Course in Miracles:

* "There is no sin. . . "
* A "slain Christ has no meaning."
* "The journey to the cross should be the last 'useless journey."
* "Do not make the pathetic error of 'clinging to the old rugged cross.'"
* "The Name of Jesus Christ as such is but a symbol... It is a symbol that
is safely used as a replacement for the many names of all the gods to which
you pray."
* "God is in everything I see."
* "The recognition of God is the recognition of yourself."
* "The oneness of the Creator and the creation is your wholeness, your
sanity and your limitless power."
* "The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches
him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation."

Most Christians recognize that these teachings are the opposite of what the
Bible teaches. At this critical time in the history of the world, the New
Gospel/New Spirituality is coming right at the world and the church with
its New Age teachings and its New Age Peace Plan. But this New Age Peace
Plan has at its deceptive core the bottom-line teaching from A Course in
Miracles that "we are all one" because God is "in" everyone and everything.
But the Bible is clear that we are not God (Ezekiel 28:2; Hosea 11:9). And
per Galatians 3:26-28, our only oneness is in Jesus Christ-not in ourselves
as "God" and "Christ."

What Oprah and Marianne Williamson and the world will learn one day is that humanity's only real and lasting peace is with the true Jesus Christ who is described and quoted in the Holy Bible (Romans 5:1).

Oprah Winfrey's misplaced faith in Marianne Williamson and the New
Age teachings of A Course in Miracles is a sure sign of the times. But an
even surer sign of the times is that most Christians are not taking heed to
what is happening in the world and in the church. We are not contending for
the faith as the Bible admonishes us to do (Jude 3). It is time for all of
our Purpose-Driven and Emerging church pastors to address the real issue of
the day. Our true Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is being reinvented,
redefined, and blasphemed right in front of our eyes and hardly anyone
seems to notice or care. If we want the world to know who Jesus Christ is,
we need to also warn them about who He is not. There is a false New Age
"Christ" making huge inroads into the world and into the church. The
Apostle Paul said that "it is a shame" we have to even talk about these
things, but talk about them we must (Ephesians 5:12-16). If people want to
follow Oprah Winfrey and the New Age "Christ" of A Course in Miracles they
certainly have that right. But let them be warned that the New Age "Christ"
they are following is not the same Jesus Christ who is so clearly and
authoritatively presented in the pages of the Bible.