What is the ‘church of Oprah’? Is Eckhart Tolle’s ‘New Earth’ compatible with Christianity?
Oprah Winfrey is arguably one of the most influential women in the world. With a daily viewership that has peaked around 10 million, The Oprah Winfrey Show definitely has the potential to impact the lives of many people. The Oprah Winfrey Show definitely promotes much that is good. However, there is another side of Oprah that has only recently become an integral part of her show-and that is her rejection of biblical Christianity. Oprah has made statements on her show in the past that have given a small glimpse into her personal spiritual beliefs, speaking mostly about her belief that there are many ways, millions even, for a person to “get to what some call God.”
This more recent exposure of her beliefs revolves around the book A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, which she helped to make a best-seller by promoting it on Oprah’s Book Club and on her website. Beyond simply promoting the book, Oprah has partnered with Tolle in presenting weekly online webcast classes in order to explore the ideas and principles expressed in A New Earth.
Some have gone as far as labeling Oprah a cult leader-and with good reason. She is a figurehead for the promotion and propagation of anti-biblical beliefs which deny every foundational truth of historical Christianity. Her webcasts have attracted hundreds of thousands of participants with the promise of gaining new perspectives on how to live a life of enrichment, peace, newfound self-worth, and spiritual freedom.
Eckhart Tolle, a well-known New Age author and speaker, promotes nothing short of personal divinity in his teachings. In an attempt to deceive people into thinking that his religion is compatible with Christianity, Tolle occasionally quotes from the Bible and refers to biblical principles. The problem is that Eckhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth, is in complete opposition to biblical Christianity from cover to cover. Nearly every reference to, or quote of, Scripture is twisted by Tolle’s consistent misinterpretation and misunderstanding.
Consider what can be found in just the pages of the first chapter: evolution of life over millions of years is accepted, assumed, and understood to be fact; Jesus is misquoted; flowers, crystals, precious stones, and birds are believed to be temporary manifestations of the Universal Consciousness and are themselves considered enlightened life forms; the definition of sin is misinterpreted; Jesus Christ is thought of as just one of those rare people who, like the Buddha, achieved divine consciousness; other religions, such as Buddhism, are considered just as valid and true as Christianity; an early Christian cult, Gnosticism, is portrayed as one of the few groups who actually understood the teachings of Jesus; original sin was simply a forgetting of the connectedness and oneness with the Source, along with everything else connected with the Source-a delusion of separateness; heaven is portrayed as merely an “inner realm of consciousness.”
These teachings are found in just the first chapter. Obviously, Eckhart Tolle is promoting a new religion, one which combines the most mystical aspects of every major religion. The first chapter, of course, sets the tone and direction for the rest of the book. This direction happens to be as far from biblical truth as is possible. If you are concerned at all with whether or not this book is compatible with the Christian faith, you need not read any further than the first chapter to understand what Tolle believes and what Oprah is encouraging others to believe.
Tolle ends the book writing about the new heaven and new earth spoken of in Revelation 21. He states near the end of chapter 10:
The only existence the future actually has is as a thought form in your mind, so when you look to the future for salvation, you are unconsciously looking to your own mind for salvation. You are trapped in form, and that is ego. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” writes the biblical prophet. [T]he foundation for a new earth is a new heaven – the awakened consciousness. The earth – external reality – is only its outer reflection. The arising of a new heaven and by implication a new earth are not future events that are going to make us free. Nothing is going to make us free because only the present moment can make us free. That realization is the awakening. Awakening as a future event has no meaning because awakening is the realization of Presence. So the new heaven, the awakened consciousness, is not a future state to be achieved. A new heaven and a new earth are arising within you at this moment, and if they are not arising at this moment, they are no more than a thought in your head and therefore not arising at all. What did Jesus tell his disciples? “Heaven is right here in the midst of you.”
In line with chapter 1, chapter 10 places the final stamp of approval on a belief system completely void of biblical truth. Salvation is presented as a state of being, achieved through one’s own power; heaven is referred to as simply a state of consciousness; and Jesus Christ is relegated to a spiritual master who taught that one only needs look within oneself to find spiritual release. Scripture is used only out of context and presented as obscurely as possible.
There is no room for Jesus Christ, the God-Man, or His teachings in Oprah and Tolle’s belief system. In fact, Oprah and Tolle propose that all people free their minds from a belief in Christ. Truly, deception is the only thing that Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey offer. They, and those that follow their teachings, have fallen for Satan’s original lie, “you will be like God” (Genesis 3:5).