A New Earth…An Old Deception Part 1 w/Richard Abanes
It started in March, Oprah Winfrey hosting a unique online class in cyberspace reaching hundreds of thousands in 139 countries. The interactive webcast featured New Age spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. Oprah – who says she’s a Christian – was promoting a theology by somebody who would deny he’s a Christian. I’m Charles Morris and welcome to Haven Today, telling the great story that’s all about Jesus on a program called, “A New Earth…An Old Deception”. We’ll be joined in studio in a few moments by Richard Abanes who’s just released the first book to counter this New Age teaching advocated by Oprah. Later I’ll tell you how to get a copy of this brand new book that we have for you. Also, we’ve left the China programs up on our website, haventoday.org and there you can find out more about giving all or part of a tent or several tents to help meet the needs of millions in the largest nation in the world after that major earthquake. May I invite you to join me in looking to the Lord and his Word for sure and unchanging truth? You can look elsewhere but I don’t think you’ll find answers. From her “Conversations” album, Sara Groves opens Haven Today.
Performed by: Sara Groves
Welcome again to Haven Today, I’m Charles Morris and we are going to be talking about Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle and we’re going to be talking about the new spirituality that’s coming out of a television program in Chicago. But with me in our studio in Southern California today is Richard Abanes who is not a newcomer when it comes to writing about the New Age but he has a new book out that talks about what Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey are teaching so, Richard welcome to Haven Today.
RA: Thank you Charles, it’s a pleasure to be here.
CM: It’s good to have you on the air. You’ve written a lot of books and I’m thinking of your book in particular about the Da Vinci Code just a few years ago. It was a best seller. And you’ve worked hard at getting your new book out the door quickly. It’s called “A New Earth…An Old Deception”. We’ll tell our listeners how to get a copy of it and it’s really, the ink is still wet on our copies that we have in our warehouse, but what prompted you to jump into this fray and turn a book out right away?
RA: well, you know I think that somebody like Oprah Winfrey, so powerful, so influential, when they get behind another author like Eckhart Tolle and his book and she has this web/internet online class and she has him on her show, she is really affecting and he is affecting millions upon millions of people. And one of the things that’s very interesting about Tolle is that, you know he is, according to his teaching, basically a New Ager, and he is giving forth a lot of New Age doctrine but he actually quotes the Bible a lot to support his teachings. And what’s happening is, I’m seeing many Christians, young Christians, Christians who are not rooted and grounded in scripture listening to what he’s saying and they are actually starting to believe his views because he does quote scripture so much. And so I thought it was very, very important to get a good book out there, a balanced approach that says, “Look, this is what Tolle teaches and this is why he’s mistaken.”
Cm: It’s very interesting, his new book is called, “A New Earth” and he gets the title from “the heavens and the new earth” which is of course biblical. And in fact it surprised me when I read his book a few months ago that he quotes the Bible more than any other source document but he quotes it wrong, doesn’t he?
RA: That’s right. You know, he quotes it over and over again, especially the words of Jesus. And he may quote the actual words but then what he does is he reinterprets the text according to his “inner knowledge”. It’s called “esotericism” an esoteric way or a hidden way of interpreting the Bible. And interpreting in this manner he can make the Bible say whatever he wants it to say so that’s what the problem is and he does it with “a new heaven and a new earth” out of Revelation and he also does it with many other scriptures.
CM: It’s interesting Richard, you have written a book that’s just instantly come out and I guess we first talked about it on Haven Today a couple of months ago when the internet course with millions of people from 139 countries tuned in and started participating. And you saw this on Oprah’s website and when we talked about this the first time we were getting emails from Haven Today listeners, people who are professing Christians. Well, let me just quote one, “I’ve been a Christian for many years and after much searching, prayer and meditation I’ve found that the teachings and writings of Eckhart Tolle are in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ.” Again I’m going to say, not true. What do you say about that?
RA: Absolutely not true. At every turn wherever Eckhart Tolle quotes the Bible, quotes Jesus, he reinterprets what the text says and makes it support whatever it is he wants it to support and often times, you know, he not only says things that are in direct contradiction to what the Bible says but many times the words will actually be rendered completely meaningless. He does not read it in context. He doesn’t read it according to culture. You can see it very easily for example, that Jesus in one passage may be referring to himself and then Eckhart Tolle will say, however that that’s actually a passage that is actually referring to us and ourselves. And so, you know, you can’t say that he’s consistent with Jesus Christ at all.
CM: Well, and consistency is not necessarily something that goes along with a New Age writer or a New Age thinker that someone from a traditional Christian apologetic would expect to find or would even demand, I guess. Well, here’s somebody else who wrote in and said, “I haven’t found anything in Tolle’s book that goes against my Christian faith. If anything it is helping me to understand it better.” Again, wrong!
RA: You know I read something like that and I am torn in my heart between disbelief and righteous anger over someone like Tolle confusing people this way. All you have to do is listen to him say one of his foundational teachings which is, “I am god” and right there that contradicts everything in the Bible.
CM: He’s not quoting Jesus there, is he?
RA: He’s not quoting Jesus
CM: He’s talking about himself there.
RA: That’s right, that’s right. And you know, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM” and of course in that very famous passage we have Jesus equating himself with God and demonstrating his equality with the Father. The Jews knew this because they picked up stones and tried to stone him. Well what Eckhart Tolle says is that is something we all can say and he actually applies to himself the divine name, “I AM”.
CM: I’m getting the creeps just now as you say that to me but it’s true.
RA: It is true.
CM: The desire by humanity to be God – we are created in the image of God but we are not God according to the scriptures. That’s what the Bible teaches.
RA: Oh absolutely. And I think though, what many people like about Tolle, and even though he says things like, “I am god and we are all one in essence. And we have all of these inherent characteristics that are divine.” You know, along with those false things that he says, I think it’s important to understand that many times he makes some observations in his book “A New Earth” about, human nature –
CM: That’s true!
RA: Absolutely. Practical living skills,
RA: And this is what’s bringing people in. One of his main things is how do we escape suffering, how do we stop suffering in life? And I’ve, through many of the people I’ve read who are his fans, I’ve spoken online and in blogs with people who are followers, you know many of these people are hurting and a lot of the things he has to say might help an individual get out of situations, how they’re viewing other people, viewing circumstances to make them feel better but with that see, he blends all of these other false doctrines that affect the spirit and that’s where continuous suffering and harm is occurring.
CM: You know it’s interesting how people from different backgrounds handle the scripture in different ways. He’s chosen to quote the scripture and, I guess I need to just throw this out for everyone listening right now, you and I are not attacking Eckhart Tolle. We are not attacking Oprah Winfrey. I don’t know Mr. Tolle. I know people who know Oprah Winfrey and they say she’s the most delightful person you’ll ever meet and she cares about people. She loves people. That comes across on her television program which many Christian’s watch every day across the United States and Canada. But the fact is, for Oprah to say she was kind of down on the church in her 20’s when she went and heard the preacher talk about God being a jealous God and she knew that couldn’t be true because God is a God of love but the fact is he’s both.
RA: Right, you know, it is sad. And that’s where, you know I would say as I watch Oprah I can feel those same things. She has helped many people. And even as I’ve watched Tolle, you know, I’ve gone beyond just the online classes. I’ve actually watched him at seminars. I’ve listened to him speak and to be honest, I really kind of like the guy. As a person –
Cm: So he’s a nice guy too?
RA: He seems to be a super nice guy, sensitive, kind, gentle, with a real burden and breaking for the suffering and anguish and hatred and violence he sees in the world but you know, the teachings that he’s giving that talk about things like God, who Jesus Christ was, who we really are, the way of salvation, what is eternal life, and these are issues that are dealt with in the Bible and we have to ask ourselves is it good enough for an individual just to be nice or sincere? And the answer is no, the issue is truth, what is truth. And in scripture, Jesus told us truth and that he was truth and if we were to know him, that is how we can be ultimately free. You know and one of the problems is that Jesus also said he was the Way, he was the Truth, he was the Life and no one could get to the Father but through him. And Oprah says, “I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many paths to God other than Christianity.” So right there you have a real
Cm: It’s a conflict, yes
RA: a conflict
CM: And in fact, let me just say, if somebody’s just joined us, you’re listening to Haven Today and I’m Charles Morris and Richard Abanes, author if a brand new book, it is actually the first book that has been written about the new teaching of Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey. And Richard’s book is called, “The New Earth…An Old Deception” and we’ll tell you how to get a copy of it a little later, I think you’ll want a copy as well. Let’s dig into that passage that you just quoted to us, that’s John 14 and it’s set in Jesus saying if you want to find your way to the Father it’s got to be through the Son because no one has seen the Father except the Son. And it’s interesting it’s Thomas, who’s been called Doubting Thomas, that leads us into this passage. Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you’re going,” because he had said just before he has to go away, “We don’t know where you’re going so how can we know the way?” And then that’s when Jesus answers with this classic text, “I am, ego eimi, I am the Way, I am the Truth and I am the Life, no one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you’ll know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Now, Tolle quotes this verse.
RA: He does, he does
CM: In his book
RA: And it’s a beautiful verse, it’s very plain. I mean it’s very -
CM: And it can be a very powerful verse if applied properly
RA: Exactly, if allowed to speak for itself at face value anyone reading that scripture would understand very clearly what Jesus is saying, however when it comes to Eckhart Tolle, because he uses this esoteric system of interpretation of scripture, and let me explain that very quickly. Esoteric simply means hidden or secret and many of these New Agers believe that they have within themselves this inner knowledge and so when –
CM: it’s a divinity that springs from oneself
RA: That’s right that we are god, and therefore there is this inner knowledge, this higher self inside, that they can read things like Holy texts like the Bible, and they can simply through intuition, feel what it actually means. It doesn’t really matter what the words say –
CM: You’re giving me, you’re giving me the creeps here, Richard.
RA: Well, I’m sorry. You know I didn’t invent this here.
CM: I know.
RA: And so, you know, what Tolle does is he quotes this and he says what Jesus really meant was that it was the inner consciousness that is the way, the truth and the life and that inner consciousness is in all of us and therefore Jesus was really speaking about “I” as a corporate “I” meaning all of us and the real, internal essence that we are. He got all of that from these words. And what I’d like to say is, look, if you want to disagree with the Bible that is your right, disagree with it.
CM: But don’t say that’s what the Bible teaches.
RA: Exactly, exactly
CM: And at the same time it’s better probably to use Jesus to interpret Jesus as opposed to yourself interpreting Jesus. You know, it’s funny when some of us were reading through this book a couple of months ago that are on our team here at Haven Today, we were just noting some things. Like for example, Eckhart Tolle said that he, in order to write his first bestseller, “The Power of Now”, he had to empty himself and this spiritual force was speaking to him and telling him he had to go west, the West Coast of North America was where the spiritual force was great enough to help him kind of write that book on autopilot. So he wrote it in the San Francisco area, the bay. This new book, again the force told him he had to put a little of his own mind into himself to write it but the force was greatest in Vancouver, so that’s where he wrote it. He may be quoting scripture, he may be trying to identify with Jesus but he is delving into a spiritual world, wouldn’t you say, that we are actually told in scripture to avoid?
RA: Oh, absolutely. There is a definite spirituality behind the self-help of Eckhart Tolle and that’s something we really need to be aware of. You know it’s interesting about what you were talking about here, this aspect of Tolle’s writing is that he says this whole God and self consciousness and inner self and the one that is all the essence permeating everything it’s impersonal. There is no, you know when we pray –
CM: Isn’t that amazing.
RA: It is, it is, you know it’s impersonal. You know we pray, as Christians, to a personal God who hears us and loves us and answers us
RA: Intimately. But Tolle’s god is just the inner self, an impersonal force throughout the universe. So we have to ask ourselves, wait a minute, an impersonal force cannot answer you. It’s impersonal. There’s no, there’s no personality there, there’s no will, there’s no ego if you will. Yet he so desperately wants to have – and many New Agers do this – they so desperately want to have a relationship with a creator that they will personalize that force, that impersonal force, and have it answering them in prayer or speaking to them or leading them and guiding them when in reality, there is nobody there to lead them and guide them because there god isn’t a true God, it’s a false god. So we have to ask ourselves, who’s leading, who’s guiding, who’s telling them?
CM: It’s like the blind leading the blind, I fear.
RA: it is. Is it their own mind talking to themselves? Is it a spiritual force of darkness? YOU know that’s something we don’t know but it’s certainly inconsistent to say –
CM: I’ve got an idea though.
CM: I’m sorry
CM: And again we don’t want to be super critical here do we Richard? But we do want to examine and weigh truth, what is truth.
CM: And in reality, what will lead us to eternity? What ultimately will give us eternal life? And I think it’s a traditional, orthodox view of that verse, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” that Jesus gave to us. Wow. I want to have you back tomorrow, if you don’t mind. There is so much more to talk about. I am just amazed in the last few months. A year ago we were talking about “The Secret” and our phones rang off the wall. Two months ago we started talking about this new spirituality course. I still see people on airplanes all the time. Yes Richard, my wife even saw a copy for sale at Von’s, which is a Southern California grocery store chain. It’s growing, it’s not going away, this is a new form of spirituality. It’s a new church here in the West that’s coming out of this and so we need to come back and talk about it some more in light of the bigger picture too. But would you mind maybe leading us in prayer right now because I know we’ve got some people struggling and some people thinking that Eckhart Tolle is preaching just as good as stuff as what I heard a pastor preach last weekend. Would you lead us in prayer Richard?
RA: Oh, absolutely. I would love to.
Dearest Heavenly Father, we come to you today and we ask that you would reach out by your Holy Spirit and touch all of the people out there who so desperately need you, who so desperately need you to touch their lives and comfort them and heal them not just physically but emotionally, spiritually, psychologically. And there are so many people out there looking to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey and all manner of spirituality. We ask that you would use this program and use the listeners, Christians grounded in your Word to witness to those who are without you, to those who perhaps have you but are lost in confusion. Touch them Lord, bring them closer to you and may your truth go out and you be glorified as we lift you up. Lord we thank you in Jesus’ name, amen.
Song: How Firm a Foundation
Performed by: Fernando Ortega
Fernando Ortega doing something he does so well, leading us to worship with the hymn, “How Firm a Foundation” here on a Haven Today called, “A New Earth…An Old Deception” with Richard Abanes. I want to thank Richard for joining us. You know, he has several bestselling books under his belt including one about the Da Vinci Code that came out a couple of years ago and it did quite well. And now he’s just released this book called, “A New Earth…An Old Deception: Awakening to the dangers of Eckhart Tolle and his #1 bestseller.” Now a lot of people are reading that book, but I hope a lot of people will read this book, just released. In fact it’s being shipped to us right now from the printer, that’s how new it is. And we’ll have it in our warehouse in about another day I hope. And I hope that you’ll get your order in today because we’ll be shipping them out first come, first served. We ask for your gift to Haven Today to help support us as we tell the great story that’s all about Jesus and then we’ll get you a copy of the book out right away, “A New Earth…An Old Deception”. And I want to just say thank you to everyone who gives above and beyond the suggested gift amount. We need it as we go into summer. Well, here’s our internet address, haventoday.org. You can also call us if you like and please let us know the station you’re listening to. Our phone number is 1-800-654-2836, that’s 1-800-654-2836. Now I also mentioned when we started, the China tent initiative. We’ve left the programs ups at haventoday.org with Doug Whitseig who lives in China. He’s a Kingdom Company owner as well as an employee and what his company in China is doing is helping get tents out and they’ll be distributed by a Christian relief organization. All the details there on our homepage or give us a call. I’m Charles Morris and I want to thank you for being with us. Tomorrow Richard Abanes joins us again. We’ll be talking about this new teaching that Oprah is supporting and Eckhart Tolle is advocating and we will do that in light of the great story that’s all about Jesus here on Haven Today.
A New Earth, An Old Deception
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The recent phenomenon of Oprah and Eckhart Tolle’s spiritual teachings is spreading like wildfire and many see their ideas as compatible with biblical Christianity. In an easy-to-use format, A New Earth, An Old Deception responds to Oprah and Tolle’s “Truth” claims and will give you biblical responses to questions like:...
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