Tuesday, April 22, 2008

4 Minute Devotions: A New Oprah - why Christians should be wary.

In the next couple of weeks, our church will be studying a book that has been highly recommended by Oprah Winfrey. It’s called “A New Earth” and is written by Eckhart Tolle. He writes about a new evolutionary spiritual transformation that he believes will take place this century amongst enlightened people. He draws from the teachings of Christ and Buddha, as well as the theories of Carl Jung. It’s a typical new age type of book, but his hope is that it becomes sacred scripture in the years to come.

Podcast version here

I’ve read the first chapter and already I’ve come across several areas where Tolle’s teaching misinterprets Christ. He relies upon his own feelings about Jesus as a great teacher and messenger to make his points. He does not proclaim Christ as the Son of God or Lord of all creation. Tolle also avoids calling our mistakes sinful; instead he declares them to be a form of madness which, in effect, does two things: it takes away personal accountability and it discards the need for Jesus to die for our sins.

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

The book troubles me and I am sincerely sorry that Oprah has become involved and infatuated with this false teaching. It is countering Christ’s message and duping many women into believing the old heresy that salvation comes from within us.

I will be leading a ten week discussion about the book to show people where it dangerously digresses from Christian teaching, in order to help them avoid the pitfall of accepting popular superficial spirituality, as opposed to the deep meaning of Christ’s Gospel.

The discussions will take place at the church on Monday nights beginning May 5 and on Sunday mornings on May 11. I’ll also be starting a new online study class during the week of May 5 -11, so if you would like to be included, please send me an email at pastor@erinpresbyterian.org. Put “A New Earth” in the subject line of your email.

Some people may wonder why I am tackling this. It’s because in every generation, we have to defend our faith from misconceptions, mistaken beliefs, and misleading spiritual teachers. It’s properly called Apologetics, and has been in existence ever since the New Testament was written down.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are our Holy Teacher and Sacred Guide. You are the Prophet and Messenger of the Gospel. But You are also much more than these – You are the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, and the Only One with the words of eternal life. Keep us focused on Your ways and keep us away from false teachers and superficial celebrities, whose teachings are not Your own. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.


Dannah said...

"Tolle also avoids calling our mistakes sinful; instead he declares them to be a form of madness which, in effect, does two things: it takes away personal accountability and it discards the need for Jesus to die for our sins."

I haven't read the book but I flipped through it at my mom's house, she's reading it. It kind of sounded like stuff I read in AA, for example Alcoholism being a kind of insanity, out of your control, so turning it over to God is the only "cure". It's difficult, because on one hand, "surrender" is definitely a concept found in Christianity. yet it does kind of take away the personal accountability. Or rather, if you don't follow a certain program you are blocked from God. So YOU have to remove the blocks so he can get to you. It's circular.
I haven't been able to make sense of it yet.

I don't think it'll hurt anything. If it brings someone who's completely agnostic to God then it may evolve. I started out with the new age stuff, before that I was an unchurched "Christian" who knew nothing abut what I really felt. Like I said, I haven't read it, but people will always find things to think about. It's not any different from anything else out there. And those of us who like to learn from other religions too, while believing in Christ, can benefit. There's been so many of those types of books on Oprah over the years. They come and go.

Howard said...

OPRAH ... from spending several years in Jeremiah Wright's anti-American racist church, listening to sermons like "God Damn America", and giving life time achievement awards to the likes of Louis Farrakhan ... to her newest opportunistic religious beliefs ... who could possibly take Oprah seriously? This woman's ego is soooo big, being a billionaire celebrity isn't enough, she has to start her own religion ... not to mention all the additional money she is going to make selling all those book, tapes, CD's, etc. to her poor followers. Oprah's new power hungry ambitions include efforts to replace traditional America with Obama ... and access to a President she puts into office ... to her efforts at replacing Christianity with a new religion she controls. I think it's time for America to deny Oprah access to our television sets.