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Whenever a spiritual teacher claims that you are deluded, that you cannot trust your thoughts, that what you believe is real is not real, that he or she possesses teachings that few people know or understand, and these ideas are necessary for you to be free of pain and know God, then beware. These statements are the marks of esoteric systems that usually maintain that there are hidden meanings in the Bible, that the world is an illusion, that the truth is a secret only known to a few, and that you are not really human but godlike. In contrast, Jesus said he taught nothing in secret (John 18.20). God does not play games with us; Jesus did not hide his words in abstruse codes but made his meaning clear when the context is considered.
A New Earth has the potential to alter a reader's worldview, especially if the reader utilizes the techniques suggested by Tolle, including his audio meditations and "Awakening Exercises." These are not spiritually neutral tools. Applying Tolle's advice will lead the reader not to a shift in awareness, but to a shift in worldview. The result will not be awakening, but rather blindness ? blindness to the truth of who we are and what we need. I say this as one who formerly believed most of what Tolle is teaching, and who was blinded for many years to who I was and to who Jesus truly is.
Tolle claims no specific religion and states that his teaching fits with the essence of all spiritual paths. While he quotes freely from Jesus, Buddha, and others, he focuses on the divinity in all beings. "How 'spiritual' you are has nothing to do with what you believe but everything to do with your state of consciousness," he writes in A New Earth.
Ultimately, Tolle's system undercuts the person and work of Jesus, the most quoted teacher in both of Tolle's books. At the beginning of A New Earth, he denies the deity of Jesus and grossly distorts Jesus' teaching about himself: "The Truth is inseparable from who you are. Yes, you are the Truth. If you look for it elsewhere, you will be deceived every time. The very Being that you are is Truth. Jesus tried to convey that when he said, 'I am the way and the truth and the life.'"
Winfrey calls the book "a wake-up call for the entire planet, one reader at a time. It helps us to distance ourselves from our egos, which, of course, we all have, and to open ourselves to a higher self, which he calls consciousness. It helps us to stop creating our own suffering and obsessing over the past and what the future might be, and to put ourselves in the now."
[Eckhart Tolle] says his philosophy, which includes Buddhist, Christian and Islamic influences, is "not like academic study with new information you have to absorb. Rather, it's about uncovering what's already in you, getting at that deeper level."
He says he's not offering a religion or a set of beliefs, but appeals to people of different faiths or "no faith at all."
Featured heavily on Oprah and touted by critics and readers alike, A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle is finding a huge following in the culture. Promoting ideas and beliefs that seem godly and good, this bestselling book is wrapping the country in a cocoon of sound spirituality.
Or is it? It may sound right--almost Christian, in fact--but something isn't quite right says Richard Abanes, the author of such books as The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code.
Equipping Christians with biblical answers and viewpoints, Abanes helps believers--as well as the curious--understand that Eckhart Tolle's message is dangerous.
Easy to read, A New Earth, An Old Deception is a concise refutation of the Oprah-promoted bestseller, providing a clear biblical response to this new age message. Topics include Tolle's misuse of Scripture, false teachings on God, the Bible's teaching on evil, A New Earth's version of salvation compared to God's plan, and much more.
- Source: Book description as posted at Amazon.com
WORLD: Why did you think it important to write a book refuting Eckhart Tolle?
ABANES: Tolle claims that his teachings are fully compatible with Christianity. To make matters worse, he misuses the Bible to support his beliefs, going so far as to say he knows what Jesus really meant in various New Testament passages. We also have Oprah regularly assuring her audiences that Tolle's views in no way contradict Christianity. This has confused many people, especially young Christians, potential Christian converts, and Christians not rooted in God's Word. Someone had to show not only where Tolle has theologically erred, but where he is utterly misrepresenting and misinterpreting Scripture.
WORLD: In what ways has Tolle merely repackaged New Age teaching?
ABANES: Tolle wraps classic New Age-ism in a very attractive package that promises relief from what everyone wants to escape: suffering. By embracing his outlook on the "self"—i.e., who we really are—a person can allegedly experience lasting peace. Who are we? Tolle says we are "God."
WORLD: Tolle frequently cites Scripture in making his case. Why do you think he does that?
ABANES: God's Word is "living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword . . . it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12). People are drawn to it. I think Tolle can sense the power, majesty, and uniqueness of Scripture, and he's attracted to it for the same reason others are drawn to it—life is there. Sadly, the god of this world and the sinful nature work together to twist the understanding of people like Tolle, which causes them to pervert Scripture to serve their own agenda.
- Source: An old deception "Author and cult expert Richard Abanes explains the attraction and heresy of A New Earth", Susan Olasky, WORLD, June 28, 2008 [Subscription required]
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