The old error of 'A New Earth'
The Oprah-Tolle juggernaut is deeply unbiblical.
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True consciousness, and thus salvation, involves what Tolle calls "presence." We attain knowledge of "presence" by becoming aware of the "inner body," actively eliminating distinctionmaking thought, conscience, and all forms of physical reality. By doing this, we can't overcome disease or suffering, which he advises us to accept, but we can see that we are an integral part of the world of "true being," not a separate "ego."Skip to next paragraph
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For Tolle, "knowing self and knowing God become one and the same." The millions who've turned to Tolle might naturally conclude: I am the "I Am." Sound familiar? It should. According to the Bible, such "knowledge" springs from the oldest error of all: man's desire to be "as gods."
The Bible teaches that humanly conceived "enlightenment" is actually idolatry, the worship of the human self, a creature, as the equivalent of – or in place of – God, the only Creator. Such idolatry is moral rebellion against "our Father."
The Bible declares that the basic problem is not ignorance, but sin. Thus the solution is not self-realization through esoteric knowledge, but the grace that flows from the depths of God's love. As we receive God's gift of salvation by believing in Jesus Christ, we become, not gods, but "new creatures," working for and awaiting the Creator's new heaven and earth.
There is a further source of confusion. Though sounding very open, humble, and inclusive, Tolle's teachings implicitly reject this biblical truth. He declares that "all religions are equally true and equally false." But notice: While he and Oprah dismiss religious teaching that claims to be the only way and the only truth, the unstated, but logically inescapable corollary is that theirs is the only way!
On the webcast, a woman asked Oprah how she reconciles Christianity and "A New Earth." The Baptist-raised Oprah said she could because she had opened her mind to Tolle's way of thinking and, earlier in life, freed herself from church rules and doctrine. In so doing, though, Oprah – and her millions of followers – are accepting the rules and doctrines of another system, Tolle's Gnostic view of truth that Jesus' earliest followers warned against. No wonder so many Christians are confused.
A choice of ultimate importance
But this Web class unintentionally creates an occasion of genuine clarity. We face a choice of ultimate importance. We can stand with "the truth" of Tolle-Oprah and a long tradition of mystics who suggest that man is God and that "God" is merely a human creation. Or we can stand with Jesus Christ, who proved that he was "the way, the truth, and the life," and affirm that God is God, and man is God's creation.
As contemporary humanity seeks to create a global community, some sort of "new earth," the age-old challenge that Joshua issued to Israel is placed before us with added urgency: "Choose this day whom ye will serve": the gods or God, because, in the global community, as Bob Dylan rightly observed, "you're gonna have to serve somebody."