Be Careful Who You Follow

Christian Cross 32
Christian Cross 32 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

1 Cor 11:1.  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

Iyanla Vanzant has a television show in which she helps people to “find themselves.”  She throws out a few Scriptures to make you think that she’s teaching and equipping from a biblical standpoint; however, she doesn’t stand firm on Scripture.  As of this writing, I understand that she has a significant Christian following; however, Iyanla is an ordained Yoruba priestess and an ordained New Thought minister.[i]  The Yoruba religion “holds that all human beings possess what is known as “Àyànmô” (destiny, fate) and are expected to eventually become one in spirit with Olódùmarè (Olòrún, the divine creator and source of all energy). Furthermore, the thoughts and actions of each person in Ayé (the physical realm) interact with all other living things, including the Earth itself.”[ii]  As a Minister in “New Thought, sometimes known as Higher Thought, promotes the ideas that Infinite Intelligence, or God, is everywhere, spirit is the totality of real things, true human selfhood is divine, divine thought is a force for good, sickness originates in the mind, and “right thinking” has a healing effect.[iii]  Think on that for a moment! She is providing advice, some of it is good, that is based on spiritual concepts that differ fundamentally from ours.  As I looked at her and her views from a biblical worldview, I became concerned for the people following her . 

In one episode, Iyanla seemingly encouraged a pastor’s wife to leave her husband.[iv] This man had at least 20 affairs during their marriage.  In another episode, Iyanla embraced a transgendered female as “he” instead of as “she” (this person’s sex at birth).  This caused a lot of problems within the family.  Iyanla invoked the word “god” several times. She clearly wasn’t referring to our God but some “god.”  The transgendered female’s father is a pastor, and he didn’t pick up on Iyanla’s twisted version of the Fruits of the Spirit.

In short, our stance can’t be situational.  Iyanla used her stage to provide further confusion instead of clarity on how a Christian should react.  Many of us might be doing the same thing.  I’m disappointed that these two Christian pastors  followed the advice of this non-Christian minister.

It appears Iyanla has a huge female following … Is your head on a swivel for the ideas that are allowed into your home?  Iyanla is just one example; there are plenty of male examples we could address also. Are you protecting your spouse and children from false doctrine?  Everything that shines isn’t gold.  It also isn’t godly.

We must not follow someone just because they quote a few Scriptures.  We shouldn’t follow them just because they are doing “some good things.”  Rather, we must evaluate everything based on a solid knowledge of the Bible—and this requires spending time in it. Let’s follow those who follow Christ.

Bless you!

Note:  This is an excerpt from Yves’ soon-to-be published book, Outside The Wire: Preparing For Spiritual Warfare.  Order your presale copy and get it at a discount.

[i] “Iyanla Helps A Pastor Heal Old wounds.” Oprah Winfrey Network.  Accessed on April 27, 2013 from

[ii] “Yoruba Religion.” Accessed on May 22, 2013,

[iii] “New Thought.” Accessed on May 22, 2013,

[iv] “Iyanla Fix My Transgender Life.” Oprah Winfrey Network.  Accessed on April 27, 2013 from

10 thoughts on “Be Careful Who You Follow

  1. “In one episode, Iyanla seemingly encouraged a pastor’s wife to leave her husband.[iv] This man had at least 20 affairs during their marriage. In another episode, Iyanla embraced a transgendered female as “he” instead of as “she” (this person’s sex at birth).”

    Just curious…why shouldn’t the pastor’s wife be encouraged to leave her husband if he had at least twenty affairs during the marriage? And what is wrong with referring to a transgendered individual according to the sex the individual believes he/she is. There are birth defects, (mistakes, if you will). No one can deny that. Transgender issues are obviously similar to a birth defect, like Down’s syndrome.

    I see nothing in the bible regarding these two situations that would tell us differently than Iyanla’s take on these two particular circumstances.

    1. Great questions. I tried answering a few minutes ago and lost all my content so here’s another try.

      Iyanla provides advice from a mixture of Christianity and New Thought. and this is called syncretism This is dangerous since New Thought is more of a “Me” thing rather than “What Does God Want thing. That’s the overarching thing I was trying to imply. Obviously, I didn’t. 🙂

      The bible addresses the issue of infidelity. It doesn’t address Transgender. I don’t recall the Bible addressing birth defects or someone deciding to change their sex. As a body (Christians), we will and should address this topic so we will be better educated on the subject. As far as the episode, Iylana advised the pastor from a syncretic stance. He stayed firm for most of the show. He later changed in order to maintain a relationship with his child. To his credit, he tried to stay true to his belief as well as re-establish his relationship with his child.

  2. I definitely agree with you that we have to be very careful. We have to be cautious these days because New Age-ism is infecting the Christian church, as is mysticism, etc. Some teachings/preachings though, are more Westboro Baptist Church-like than true Christianity that Christ preached. I don’t want to be fooled and follow Westboro kind of Christianity either. 🙂

    If the fruit of spirit is present in what they preach, it’s a good indication that the individual is on the right path. If it’s a message of hate coming from a wolf in Christian clothing, I tune it out. Thank you, Pastor Johnson!

    1. Thank you and you’re spot-on. It bothers me as well as frightens me that organizations like Westboro calls themselves Christians. I read one article where they simply applied for 501(C)(3) and was approved as a church. The typical person might not be able to distinguished a Christian organization and a “Christian” organization. They give the name Christianity a black eye.

  3. In the first place, anyone appearing on Oprah would probably not be a true follower of Christ. True believers seldom appear on network programs. An hour spent watching Oprah could be better spent reading the Word.

    1. I think Oprah does some good things for society. I did some research on her for my first book and my upcoming book. She lets you know she isn’t a believer. I don’t think an unbeliever would try and promote Christianity. So, I can see your point. I don’t want to take any thing from her philanthropic efforts. I do, however, want believers to be cognizant of where their information is coming from.

      I think it’s great to look at other writings and TV shows. I think it helps you grow. Yet, we must be cautious in whatever we do. Our standard and our guide is the Bible. If anything contradicts it…then we know we shouldn’t follow it.

  4. Wow, I didn’t know that a lot of Christians are actually following Iyanla. I would hope that they are watching the show just for entertainment purposes only. If they are following Iyanla for spiritual advice then maybe they should really rethink or research what it means to be a Christian. Furthermore, I like the show but I am secure in my relationship in Christ that I will not swayed by another persons thought, advice, or opinion.

    1. That’s my understanding of her and her following. I’m glad you made that point. If I find the link, I’ll add it to the blog. In fact, I think I’ll add more links to my blogs.

      I’m glad you’re secure in your relationship with our Father. When I was choosing which Seminary to go to, some seasoned pastors warned me to not let “higher thinking replace the Word.” I found that to be a bit true. I think it’s great to listen to a variety of counsel. However, we must remember that if any of that counseling contrary to our beliefs…we need to watch out. By the way, Iyanla has some good advice. I just worry about people who mix different religions together.

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