I picked up the newspaper recently, USA Today, and saw a full-page ad inviting consumers to join Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey on the worldwide web Monday nights in order to be awakened to a new earth in which New Age metaphysics reigns supreme. I turned the page and there was A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle as number one on the USA bestseller list. It's not just number one now. It's been number one for a long time.
I think it's really important that you who are believers recognize that this is a classic case of learning to scale the language barrier. It's a classic case of you and I as believers having discernment skills. Tolle employs biblical terminology like Jesus, sin and salvation, and then pours the message of Eastern spirituality into those words. In the end, his work is an indoctrination course into pantheistic monism, into pluralism, into relativism and the like. Monism, of course, is the philosophical idea that all is one. Pantheism means all is God and God is all. So in his view God and the universe are ultimately indistinguishable from one another.
The pantheism/monism of Tolle is contrary - in fact, it is directly opposed - to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God. The God of Christianity is both eminent and transcendent. In other words, biblically there's a clear distinction between the Creator and His creation. Not only that, but if Tolle is right virtues like love and tolerance are meaningless in that such virtues militate against the philosophy of pantheistic monism. In essence, this book, A New Earth, is not only self-contradictory, it is maddenly esoteric. There is no such thing as truth - there is such a thing as truth; all religions are equally false - all religions are equally true. On and on it goes. You get more of it if you go to the worldwide web and go to this great spiritual awakening. It is the skin of the truth stuffed with a great big lie.
Ironically, Tolle's final arbiter of truth is subjective experience. For example, he purports that by an inner knowing you can sense what is true and what was added or distorted in the Bible. I've said this many times on the broadcast, but subjective feelings are notoriously unreliable. In fact, that's why you need to test your feelings in light of a final arbiter like the Bible, some objective frame of reference.
A method Tolle uses to harmonize Christian theology with other religions is esoteric redefinition of words. Whatever biblical passages his inner knowing reveals is spiritual truth he gives a metaphysical twist. For example, his new earth - as in the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven prepared as a bride beautifully adorned for her husband - is the outer forms created by "awakened doing," and the term "sin" is redefined as meaning to miss the point of human existence.
How does this guy determine the meaning of the biblical text? Well, here's a quote. This is really esoteric:
"Religion can be an open doorway into spirituality and religion can be a closed door. It prevents you from going deeper. So that I love reading the New Testament and I also read the Old Testament. Sometimes there's some incredible jewels in there. And when I went through this inner transformation and for the first time accidentally picked up a copy of the New Testament in my Mother's place. And I started reading and I immediately recognized the deep truths that is in this book and I realized the truth that is deeper, that is expressed in what Jesus said is much deeper than what you, how the church interprets it. There’s a depth to it. And it reflects your own depth when you read it. So there’s no conflict between this teaching, which is purely spiritual, and any religion. Because if you go deep enough in your religion, then you all get to the same place. It's a question of going deeper so there's no conflict here."
In other words, if you go deep enough in your religion you will discover, in his worldview at least, that all truths lead home, that Buddhism, Hinduism, the Mind Sciences, the New Age Movement and Christianity, at the core, are all essentially saying the same thing. Now, if you want to see a refutation of that, go to The Bible Answer Book, Volume 2. I tackle that head-on. But one thing is certain: Tolle's esoteric method of biblical interpretation and the method I outline in The Legacy Study Bible can never be harmonized. There's no way that these things can be made to mean the same thing or to be the same truth. They stand diametrically opposed to one another. Not only that, but Tolle would have no problem whatsoever with Clintonian grammar. It all depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is because you can make anything mean anything you want it to be at any time in your existence, and remember his overarching philosophy, all is one and all is God.
If you want to have more information on this, you can to go to http://www.equip.org/ and see all kinds of articles that address head-on what people are being fed by the megadose in this Oprah Winfrey/Eckhart Tolle extravaganza, including Christianity And Eastern Relgions, Don't All Religions Lead to God?, Are All Religions the Same at Their Core? We answer those questions and more including What Sets Christianity Apart From an Eastern Worldview?