Summary: 1)The Depth of His Mind (v. 33-34) 2) The Degree of His Mercy Romans 11:35 and 3) The Deference of His Magnificence. Romans 11:36

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“SEEING GOD FOR WHO HE IS”: Romans 11:33–36

Everton Community Church. Sunday June 1, 2008.

Oprah Winfrey is arguably the best-known woman in the world, with an influence that extends into television, magazines, movies, book publishing, and the internet. By her 20th anniversary as host of The Oprah Winfrey Show, she had become a billionaire and assembled a U.S. television audience of more than 49 million viewers each week – which does not include her broadcasts in 122 other countries. This past year, Forbes magazine named her the most influential celebrity for 2007.

In the latest wave of Oprah influence, she is now a spiritual guide. In her book, The Gospel According to Oprah, Marcia Nelson outlines some of the commendable aspects of Oprah’s spirituality, including the themes of forgiveness and generosity, self-examination, gratitude and community. "But there’s more to her spirituality than a few broad, generic Christian themes. It increasingly reflects currents of thought embodied by such authors as Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, and most recently, Eckhart Tolle (pronounced ’toe-lee’), whose latest book, A New Earth, has seen nearly 5 million shipped with the Oprah seal on the front thanks to a series of 10 ’live’ Monday night Web seminars, which began on March 3 featuring Tolle and Winfrey on Oprah’s website. So popular were the webcasts the first night brought down the server when more than 500,000 people tried to log on. Now, nearly 2 million have downloaded or streamed the first class. So what are people learning?

"As Tolle writes in the foreword to his book, Stillness Speaks, his thinking ’can be seen as a revival for the present age of the oldest form of recorded spiritual teaching: the sutras of ancient India.’ "Translation? Hinduism. Or as he packages it, an eclectic gathering of gleanings from Hinduism, Buddhism and watered-down Christianity. Result? A fresh presentation of what is commonly called the New Age Movement, which tends to have four basic ideas:

"The first is that ’all is one, and one is all,’ which means, of course, ’God is all, and all is God,’ which also means, ’ “I am God.’ In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says he doesn’t like to use the word ’God,’ or to talk about finding God, because it implies an entity other than you, or me.

"The second major belief is that because most people don’t realize they are god, they need to be enlightened. This enlightenment can flow from many sources, including ’spirit-channeling.’ Marianne Williamson, a frequent guest of Oprah’s, had garnered her first bestseller – A Return to Love – by popularizing A Course in Miracles, which the author claimed was dictated by a spirit voice, which she says was Jesus, but not Jesus of Nazareth.

"The third major belief is everything is relative. What Tolle advocates, and what you will find advocated by many of Oprah’s recent guests, is the truth is simply within you. Tolle says, ’The Truth is inseparable from who you are the truth.’ In fact, he distorts Jesus’ famous statement, ’I am the way, the truth and the life,’ by claiming what Jesus meant was that He was His own truth, just like we can be our own truth.

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