Thursday, April 3, 2008

Eckhart Tolle's New Earth

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 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?


reality check said...

How am I supposed to take you seriously when you say things like this: "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"?

Subjective feelings are a gift from God. It is part of what makes us individual. My subjective experience is, thankfully, objective to you. Similarly, we objectively read the biblical authors subjective experience.

Since you want to follow something objective, try following Gamaliel's advice to the councel in Acts 5:34-39 "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God." NASB

Anonymous said...

Reality check,
Wouldn't you agree that men are VERY falible? Why then should we trust in them, especially when they tend to superimpose their views above that of scripture as Tolle has done here? Listening to God speak to you is one thing but we must be carefull who we are REALLY listening to....God or ourselves.
Blessings to you.


Unknown said...

Well said, Jay. Hank never says that feelings are always wrong, but we need to TEST ALL THINGS in light of Scripture.

Kari Rae Rodems said...

Exodus 20:3 "I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. "You shall have no other gods before me." (NIV)
Exodus 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (NIV)

Hi there,
A friend emailed me this link and I just wanted to pass it on for information purposes on something that is impacting millions of lives. I've had many friends ask me my thoughts on Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth". I've seen people reading it in airports & airplanes, diners, the park etc.... It is prominently displayed at Barnes and Noble etc...

To be honest I have not read it, only out takes from it and some info sent to me regarding it, so, some may question me even commenting on it. But I don't think you have to read a false doctrine in its entirety to know something is way off base. Jesus [the Good Shepherd] said, "My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).

I hope you take a moment to click on the link. It is a youtube clip regarding Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth". It is not my intention to condemn you if you have read or are reading the book, but rather to add another consideration to ponder regarding the cultural phenomena.
Grace, peace and hope - ever more, Kari

Some verses to consider:
1Timothy 6:20-21, 2Timothy 2: 23-26,

2Timothy 4:3 -4 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
xo Press on :)

Unknown said...

Kari, the link didn't come through. Which video is it you're talking about?

allen peters said...

Hank, I have a question, the word christian? in the new testament it is mentioned three times, but no where gives a meaning. now using the original Greek, I can not even find the word Christian! No where in the Bible did the the apostles call themselves Christians.
The question is, Did Jesus come to start Christianity, or did Jesus come to set us free from sin, sickness, and death? Jesus didn't die to bring about Christianity, rather, he died to free us from the darkness of our own ways of living and worshiping God.

Jesus, is the word of God-matt 4:4 A christians word of God- which version-Jesus baptism with the Holy Ghost and Fire Matt3:11-Christianity's baptisms-various methods using water. This one just might ruffle your feathers but its a true statement!

God, has been very merciful and patient with us, but how much longer will he endure the dishonor brought upon the name of JESUS by christianity?

Hank, would like for you to consider what I have written here and look forward to your responce!


Jay said...

You will be waiting for a long time. Hank doesn't respond to posts on his blog, as far as I have seen anyway.

I'm having trouble following your complaint though. Could you better explain it. What is the problem you have with the term or label "Christian or Christianity"? It is just a term given to the followers of Yeshua or Jesus if you will.

And, No. Jesus didn't come to start Christianity. He came to teach us how to properly live out the laws and commands of the Most High and to be the complete and final sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.

Kari Rae Rodems said...

Elrond, Here is the link. You may have to cut and paste it instead of click on it. I'm not sure what happened to the other link. Thanks for letting me know - Kari

allen peters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

The link worked fine. Thanks a lot Kari! After watching the video, I'm speechless. It's sad.

Mark said...

I am enjoying the blog Hank. Please keep writing!

Dwight Baker said...

My only complaint is this blog isn't updated enough!!! Hank, you should write EVERY DAY....or as much as you can.

Anonymous said...

Name: Jennifer

I am so greatful to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah for turning me onto Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor and her beautiful book ""My Stroke of Insight"". Her story is amazing and her gift to all of us is a book purchase away I'm happy to say.

Dr Taylor was a Harvard brain scientist when she had a stroke at age 37. What was amazing was that her left brain was shut down by the stroke - where language and thinking occur - but her right brain was fully functioning. She experienced bliss and nirvana and the way she writes about it (or talks about it in her now famous TED talk) is incredible.

What I took away from Dr. Taylor's book above all, and why I recommend it so highly, is that you don't have to have a stroke or take drugs to find the deep inner peace that she talks about. Her book explains how. ""I want what she's having"", and thanks to this wonderful book, I can! Thank you Dr. Taylor, and thank you Eckhart and Oprah.

M. R. Burgos said...

To Reality Check,

Are we not called to test the spirits by John? It is the duty of a believer to call a spade a spade and not a shovel. Read the verse below:
James 5:20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him form death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Do you think that exposing a pitfall to a potential or current believer is akin to turning a sinner from His way? I do and I would say that there is no higher calling. Doctrinal and social debate for the purpose of evangalism is absolutely critical to the Christian Church and the great commision.

M. R. Burgos said...

To Mister Nathan:

"By their fruits you shall know them" Sound familar? I have personally seen the fruit of Hank's work. What I haven't seen is any proof or validity to your claims. I alledge that you hold some sort of grudge, and I hope that you will release it for your sake.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Hank’s conclusion, but I think he’s missing the core problem. Hank faults Eckhart as believing that “all truths lead home” when it comes to religions. But from what I understand about Eckhart’s beliefs, “truths” are merely “thoughts” in our head, and the goal of those who want enlightenment is to transcend thought and move to a state of “present”. Conflict with each other is to be avoided at all costs so we can “connect” on deeper levels. Claiming to know truth means you are identifying with “thoughts” and stuck in a lower state of existence known as “unconsciousness”. And you break the cardinal sin of “connectedness” when you cause conflict by needing to be “right” with “supposed” truth.

I’ve seen this illustrated first hand. I had a conflict with a neighbor on one side of the yard. The neighbor on the other side told me I needed to go and apologize saying “I was wrong…it’s all my fault…forgive me”. He said I could even cross my fingers behind my back to get through it. What he was communicating to me was that conflict needed to be erased, even at the cost of truth. I think Eckhart would agree. We live in an age where “experiences” are more important than truth. In fact, most don’t believe in “absolute truth”. This, I believe, is the core of Eckhart’s error.