Christianity and New Age beliefs both claim the name of Jesus and utilize the Bible. A Christian’s entire belief system is founded on Jesus and his message in the scriptures. New Age believers also claim to recognize select verses in the Bible. However, their interpretation of scripture, specifically in the New Testament which reveals Jesus, dramatically contradicts Christianity.
The vast majority of people agree that the best way to discover truth is to personally examine the facts and to follow the evidence. Since New Age believers mention Jesus, many seem to think that the differences between New Age and Christian beliefs are minute, when in fact they are enormous. The following lists the beliefs of each group surrounding a handful of points, numerous Bible verses regarding each point and additional supporting facts. This was written to help those who have sincere questions about the differences in the interpretations and to answer the following: 1) How did each group come up with their interpretation? 2) Based on the evidence, whose interpretation of the Bible is more reasonable to trust? It is my hope that this will help anyone who is interested in making an informed decision.
Eckhart Tolle and his books, including A New Earth, were made very popular by Oprah Winfrey. Due to his popularity and the fact that Tolle’s teaching encapsulates that which is fairly standard for New Age believers, I will use Tolle’s easy to access teaching and interpretation of the Bible in comparison to Christianity.
The topics I will be reviewing are not unimportant peripheral matters that have led to different Christian denominations, they are foundational truths and non-negotiable in all of Christianity.
How Each Group Arrived at Their Interpetation
A Christian’s basis for the interpretation they hold on the specific points we are reviewing are as old as Christianity itself, not changing through the centuries. The source and foundation of this interpretation are the writings and teachings of the original Apostles and the Early Church Fathers. These men lived with Jesus or they were the immediate followers of those who did.
Tolle’s basis for his contradictory interpretation of crucial Scriptures and his assertion that only parts of the Bible are true rests solely in his claim to have attained a special enlightenment that reveals truths to him that even Jesus and the Apostles missed.
A Glimpse at the Contradictions/Differences
Based on his claimed enlightenment, Tolle teaches many things that contradict the interpretation of scripture protected and handed down through the generations by the earliest followers of Jesus. He teaches that Jesus is just a man who revealed only part of the truth. Jesus is not divine, not the only begotten Son of God; we are all “Christ’s” but do not realize it as Tolle does. He states that sin is not breaking God’s law and that Jesus did not come to die for mankind’s sins. We do not need to be concerned about God’s judgment for sins no matter how heinous and our feelings of guilt when we violate our conscience are just an illusion. In addition, we do not need God’s forgiveness and Jesus is not a savior because we do not need salvation, we just need an awakening.
Those who trust and follow Tolle will obviously reject a need for God’s forgiveness and Jesus as their Savior. Therefore, if Christianity’s interpretation of scripture is correct, they will be lost eternally. This fact makes this a very important decision for every person reading this article. Jesus himself said, “…Do you think that they were more sinful than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you. But unless you repent (change your mind and believe), you too will all perish.” Luke 13:4-5
Truth Never Contradicts Itself
Before we look, I want to establish the fact that there is no evidence that truth can contradict itself. What we observe daily is that truth corresponds to reality and never contradicts itself. So as we read the following comparison, we know one thing for sure, both views cannot be true. This is not a “they are wrong and I am right” argument for the sake of being right. It is simply how the law of non-contradiction and truth work. The obvious fact that truth cannot contradict itself can easily be seen in comparing a believer in God to an atheist. If the atheist is correct and there is no God, those who claim God exists are wrong. If Christianity’s teaching about the Bible is true, New Age believers like Tolle’s contradictory teaching must, by default, be false. The reverse applies if Tolle’s teaching is true. Truth by definition is always, without exception, narrow and exclusive. The truth is we should love each other and everyone has the right to believe whatever they want, but all beliefs cannot be true. This is simply how truth works.
This is not a comparison of all of the contradictions between Tolle’s teaching and Christianity. There are many more than I have presented here. I have covered just a handful of the most important points in the Bible, including a person’s salvation. I use a few verses to support the interpretation by Christians for each point, but by no means, include all the Scripture which supports each point. It is also suggested that after reading both interpretations on a point, the reader should examine the scriptures listed and decide for themselves which of the two interpetations best fit the verses based on a plain reading of the text. Page references are for Tolle’s book A New Earth. Additional references are at bottom of article.
1) Christianity – All Bible true – The Bible itself teaches it is the inspired word of God written through man. As we use a pen to write on paper, God used men to pen His word. Every word is God breathed.
New Age – Tolle – The Bible is a collection of writings by men, one of many books like the Koran or the writing of Buddha; and once enlightened, the reader will know which verses are truth. Each person must live as he/ she feels is correct, and interpret the Bible as he /she believes.
Page 16 –Jesus didn’t give us the only truth, He gave us a perspective on truth among others that are just as valid and helpful.
Tolle claims the Bible is a partial or half-truth; Christians claim it has not been changed and is all true, even though there may be some areas we do not fully understand. The Bible teaches that the words are inspired by God who cannot lie.
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.” Proverbs 30:5
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16
“For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:21
“In the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago.” Titus 1:2
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.” Revelation 22:18
If it were not for the Bible, no one person, including Tolle, would know about Jesus. Yet New Age believers like Tolle claim that not the entire Bible is true, including some of Jesus’ very clear statements. He further claims that the only way to know what is true or false is to be enlightened like he has been. This of course is all subjective; there is no objective evidence for his claim. We are supposed to trust Tolle’s feelings; the enlightenment he claims to possess and his complete rejection of how even the earliest Christians interpreted the Bible. He is asking us to place our faith in Eckhart Tolle.
The good news of the gospel is plain and simple, clear and very easy to understand. The entire Bible points to Jesus and one central message seen in the following words of Jesus:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” John 3:16-18
The Objective Evidence
The New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek, which was the language of the common people of that time. It was very easy for them to understand and not veiled in any way that would require special enlightenment for anyone honestly seeking the truth. This can be easily observed in the fact that most of those who followed Jesus in his day were some of the most obvious sinners of the day, common people with only average intelligence. What drove them to Jesus was the clear knowledge of their sinful lives, their willingness to admit it and seek God for mercy and forgiveness.
Has the Bible Been Changed? Not According to the Factual Evidence.
Christians have plenty of objective evidenceto support their claim that the entire Bible we have today is as written originally. For example, over 30,000 ancient sections of handwritten manuscripts of the New Testament (NT) have been discovered. Of those, roughly 6,000 are in Greek; they are the oldest manuscripts, and the language the New Testament was written in. These handwritten Greek manuscripts are what the New Testament is produced from. The large number of ancient manuscripts discovered is what has preserved the original message until today. Scholars know by comparison of these ancient manuscripts to each other that what we have today has not been changed from what was originally written If lies had been added to the original text in later years, the errors in those manuscripts would stand out clearly when compared to the older manuscripts. The Bible is by far the most critically researched, studied, verified, and attacked book of all ancient history, yet it is still standing strong. http://csntm.org/
The New Testament is accurate, according to most biblical scholars. In the Baker Encyclopedia of Apologetics, 2002, Baker Books: Grand Rapids (MI), pp. 532-533, Bruce Metzger, a highly recognized scholar, is quoted as estimating the New Testament we have today as 99.5 percent accurate.
In the ancient manuscripts we have the original message the Apostles wrote and handed directly to their immediate followers (the Early Church Fathers). We also know who they subsequently handed the scriptures to and so on. In police terms, this would be called the chain of custody for evidence. We know who handled and protected the manuscript evidence through the centuries.
What we see in our Bibles today can further be verified as accurate by studying what the Early Church Fathers wrote and taught in the first and second century and beyond. When we examine the many writings of these men, their teachings regarding all of the points we are discussing here align with what we find in the 30,000 plus ancient manuscripts. In other words, they did not ignore or try and revise the teachings that were handed down to them. They accepted the firsthand testimony of the original Apostles who were eyewitness of Jesus life, death and resurrection.
If a crime had been committed against one of your family member years ago, who do you think would provide the most reliable testimony and interpretation of the facts? Would it be those who were there and their close associates or someone who was not there and contradicts the claims of the eyewitness’? If anyone should know the correct interpretation, it would be those closest to the events. These Early Church fathers’, along with the original Apostles’ writings are invaluable in interpreting the Scriptures correctly. The Apostles (who walked with Jesus) and the Early Church Fathers were willing to die for their claims and the gospel message, and many did. Any detective will tell you that the best testimony is obtained from those who were involved in the actual events or nearest in time to it.
The ancient manuscripts and the Early Church Fathers’ writings are fundamental for Christians in verifying or rejecting claims by pastors, preachers, and false teachers.
Early Church Father Quotes
They protected and conveyed the original scriptures and interpretation handed down to them from the Apostles.
“We have known the method of our salvation by no other means than those by whom the gospel came to us; which gospel they truly preached; but afterward, by the will of God, they delivered to us in the Scriptures, to be for the future the foundation and pillar of our faith,” (Irenaeus, Adv. H. 3:1).
“They that are ready to spend their time in the best things will not give over seeking for truth until they have found the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves,” (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 7:16:3).
“Not even the least of the divine and holy mysteries of the faith ought to be handed down without the divine Scriptures. Do not simply give faith to me speaking these things to you except you have the proof of what I say from the divine Scriptures. For the security and preservation of our faith are not supported by ingenuity of speech, but by the proofs of the divine Scriptures,” (Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. 4).
Read more from the Early Church Fathers here: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/churchfathers.html, http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html
Neither the Apostles’ nor the Earliest Church Fathers’ writings support Tolle’s New Age interpretation of Scripture
The truth is that the Apostles and Early Church Fathers fought against very similar revisionism by the Gnostics, who like Tolle claimed special enlightenment. In essence, shortly after the resurrection and during the time some of the books of the Bible were being written, the Gnostics claimed to know the truth through a special enlightenment or secret revelation of knowledge. Gnosis defined means – knowledge of spiritual mysteries, mystical knowledge. The Gnostics, like Tolle, claim that even the original Apostles who walked with Jesus had it wrong. The evidence shows that in later years, some Gnostics wrote their own gospels and to gain attention, falsely attached a name of an Apostle as the author. These writings contradicted much of what the original apostles wrote, like the gospel of Thomas which starts out with – “These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke.” Evidence shows that the Gospel of Thomas was written a couple of centuries after the events, after Thomas, the supposed author, was dead (more on Thomas- http://www.gotquestions.org/gospel-of-Thomas.html ). All were rejected from the beginning by the Early Church as false teachings.
Even as the books of the Bible were being written, false teachers were trying to alter things. Matthew 4:1-17 presents satan attempting to twist scripture for his benefit as he talked to Jesus. 1 John 1 and the book of Galatians present Apostles addressing false teachings that were trying to creep into the church at that time. History is replete with attempts to alter the message in the Bible. More on Gnostics here: http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-gnosticism.html
New Age teachers like Tolle do not have any objective evidence to support their claim that the Bible has been altered to be only partially true or was written as such. All they can do is make unsupported assertions that parts are false, the translations failed, the truth was buried, the disciples did not understand Jesus and so on. The objective evidence Christians rely upon directly contradicts any claim that the Bible has been changed. New Age believer’s assertions are solely based on feelings and what they claim is a special enlightenment which leads them in a direction that is a complete contradiction to the eyewitness teachings in the Bible.
New Age believers like Tolle completely reject any Scripture which tells us that we need a Savior, forgiveness, and how to be saved from our sins.
Ironically, the enlightenment New Age believer’s claim was apparently not available to Jesus, the original Apostles, or the Early Church Fathers since Tolle’s interpretation contradicts them in many areas as we will see below. Tolle just claims with no evidence that they got it wrong. Jesus, eleven of his closet followers (the disciples) and hundreds of thousands of Christians have been put to death for Jesus and the Apostles interpretation of the message the Church still preaches today. Proving that from the very start there has been fierce opposition to the true gospel message, as Jesus warned there would be.
2) Christianity – Jesus is God who came in the flesh as a man. The Son of God, the son of man are two of his titles.
Tolle – Jesus is not divine or unique, not God who came in the flesh. We are all like Christ but do not realize it until we are awakened. Jesus is what we should all aspire to become.
Page 6 – Jesus is a messenger, along with Buddha and others, who are pioneers of what transformed humanity can become.
Page 57 – Tolle claims the name, “I Am,” as the identity for himself and all people. In the Bible “I Am” is the name God gave Moses for himself when Moses asked God “Who should I say sent me?” It is also a name that Jesus used. Tolle is placing man on the same level as God; God is nothing special; we are all the same, part of the god force.
“The ultimate truth of who you are is not I am this or I am that, but I Am.” Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth
This is the most important point in this study. If Jesus is not God and did not rise from the dead, even the Apostle Paul tells us that our faith and sharing the message is in vain.
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 1 Cor 15:14
One of the main things that make the Bible and Christianity stand out is Jesus’ claim to be God in the flesh and proving it by his resurrection. No other founder of any belief system has claimed to actually be God and risen from the dead. (Review the objective evidence for the resurrection in a free book – http://www.god-evidence-truth.com/). Others have only claimed to be messengers of God. Many, like Tolle, want to include Jesus in their teachings, but all of them claim that Jesus was not God, not divine. The Bible clearly teaches just the opposite of Tolle in a multitude of verses.
But of the Son he (God the Father) says, “Your throne, O God (Jesus), is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.” And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” (Hebrews 1:8-12).
“For in him (Jesus) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Colossians 2:9
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14). (Immanuel means God with us)
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6, emphasis added).
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.” (which means, God with us) Matthew 1:23
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” John 1:1
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” John 1:14
“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Titus 2:13
“Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” Philippians 2:6
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Jesus in Revelation 22:13)
The Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end are titles in the Old Testament for God, claimed in Revelation 22:13 by Jesus. There is a great deal of supporting evidence that Jesus is God who came in the flesh. This is a very critical point because it really all comes down to who you believe Jesus is. Tolle believes Jesus is not divine, not the creator of all things, not God in the sense that the Bible depicts God and not the Savior of the world. The Bible teaches he is the creator of all and the Savior of the world.
The Early Church Fathers writings reveal that they accepted, believed and taught that which was handed down to them by the Apostles. They taught like the Apostles that Jesus is God.
Skeptics like Tolle assert that Jesus never claimed to be God, creator of all. Many claim that he was made God by Constantine in the third century at the Council of Nicaea. This claim is rejected soundly by the objective evidence in the ancient manuscripts that compromise the New Testament and the writings of the Early Church Fathers. Both of these sources predate the third century and indicate the earliest followers’ believed that Jesus was God the Son come in the flesh. This is a great place to see for yourself exactly how the testimony of the Early Church Fathers can be used to verify a teaching. There are countless additional facts that can be verified in this manner.
Justin:(100-165): “Permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.” (Ibid., 36. ANF, I:212.)
Tatian (110–172): “We do not act as fools, O Greeks, nor utter idle tales when we announce that God was born in the form of man.” (Tatian, Address to the Greeks, 21. ANF, II:74)
Irenaeus (120-202): “Christ Jesus [is] our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father.” (Ibid., 1.10.1. ANF, I:330)
Crucial to understand – read more quotes from the Early Church Fathers and very in-depth study of the objective evidence – Is Jesus God? http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=176768
We even have writings from 17 skeptics in the time of the Apostles who were not Christians. They state many things in their writings which support the fact that the disciples believed and worshiped Jesus as God who had come in the flesh and risen from the dead. Much of this supporting information is in this free book: http://www.god-evidence-truth.com/ .Here is one skeptic’s quote from that time period.
“At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. Pilate condemned Him to be condemned and to die. And those who had become His disciples did not abandon His discipleship. They reported that He had appeared to them three days after His crucifixion and that He was alive; accordingly, He was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” Josephus (A.D.37 – 100) the greatest Jewish historian of the 1st century. Antiquities of the Jews, xviii.ch. 3, subtopic 3, Arabic text.
Think about this for a moment: The Bible teaches in John 3:16 that Jesus is the only begotten son of God. Since you have a human father you are just as much a human as your father. So why would anyone think God’s only begotten son would be any less God than his father?
3) Christianity – There is one God – Christ means Messiah, anointed one, or chosen one.
Tolle – We are all Christ’s but do not realize it. We are all part of the force that is God, thus all gods.
Interestingly, Jesus had this to say specifically about other people who claimed to be Christ, as Tolle is doing: “And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.” Mark 13:21-23
Tolle’s claim directly contradicts the Bible and the words of Jesus himself which clearly teach there is only one God and one way to be saved. This is not unclear in Scripture, and no denomination of Christianity is in doubt about what the Bible states in these areas. Christians have what is written in the Bible to stand upon.
Any Christian who knows the Bible would tell you that Tolle’s teaching is very similar to the deception that led to the fall of mankind in the first place. Satan basically told Eve that doing the one thing God warned them not to do would bring an awakening, they would be like God. Tolle says we do not need redemption from our sins as the Bible, stating we just need an awakening to the fact that we are god, christ. Satan tempted Eve with the following:
“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:5
The actual sin was unbelief, not trusting God’s warning, that led mankind in the wrong direction, the fall of the human race.
If we are gods, how can god not realize he is god?
“And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord.’” Mark 12:29
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3
“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the LORD your God.” Leviticus 26:1
Early Church Fathers – One God
“I proved also that there is one God, the Creator, and that He is not the fruit of any defect, nor is there anything either above Him, or after Him.” Irenaeus of Lyon, http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book2.html
4) Christianity – God is the creator and separate from the creation. The Bible states God has always existed and is the creator of all. He created the heavens and earth. Science verifies that the universe has not always existed, and the universe and the life we observe came into being. Impersonal forces do not create with purpose as we see in our universe, especially life.
Tolle – God is the impersonal force or life essence behind all life forms. The God of the Bible is the God that man made in his own image… “A mental idol.”
The many gods is a teaching from Hinduism or Gnosticism and contradictory to the Bible’s clear instruction that there is one true God and many made-up idols. The Bible states that man was made in God’s image, and Tolle states just the opposite, that man created God in his image. Tolle claims the God of the Bible is an idol, and the Bible warns there is only one true God and to not make man-made idols and worship them as other gods. The Bible is clear that God is the creator and we are the creation, separate from each other, not a just a life force. Tolle’s stance is one of worshiping the creation and foolishly denying a creator.
“They (unbelievers) exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator–who is forever praised. Amen.” Romans 1:25 NIV
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, Acts 17:24
And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; Heb 1:10
By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. Hebrews 11:13
There are numerous additional verses to support the Bible’s position that God is the creator and separate from his creation.
Early Church Fathers – One Creator God
“It is proper, then, that I should begin with the first and most important head, that is, God the Creator, who made the heaven and the earth, and all things that are therein (whom these men blasphemously style the fruit of a defect), and to demonstrate that there is nothing either above Him or after Him; nor that, influenced by any one, but of His own free will, He created all things, since He is the only God, the only Lord, the only Creator, the only Father, alone containing all things, and Himself commanding all things into existence.” Irenaeus of Lyons http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/irenaeus-book2.html
5) Christianity – Sin is the transgression/violation of God’s law. Breaking God’s law is sin.
Tolle – page 9 – “Sin means to miss the point of human existence.” (Not breaking God’s law.)
My Reply: The Bible is extremely clear in defining sin – breaking God’s law from the Old Testament (where a blemish free lamb was offered for sin) all the way through the New Testament where Jesus is called the perfect lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world through his death.
The next day he (John) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29
Think of the Ten Commandments. These were commands by God, written out of love, designed to protect fallen mankind from each other and to reveal our need for a savior. There had to be consequences for violating this law or it would be ignored. Can you imagine how much worse the world would be if we did not have a conscience, and where there was no law or a law with no consequences? All of us have broken God’s law (lied, stolen, cheated, hurt others, etc.) a multitude of times and our conscience testifies we are guilty before God. We cannot escape our conscience that deals strictly with issues of morality.
SIN’S PRIMARY DEFINITION IN BIBLE: “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4
“For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression (sin).” Romans 4:15
“For God made Christ who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“You know that he (Jesus) appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.” 1 John 3:5
“All unrighteousness is sin.” 1 John 5:17
“A neglect to do good is sin.” James 4:17
“Unbelief is sin.” Romans 14:23
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” James 1 13-15
These next verses further identify sin according to the Bible and point out that Christians need not fear because they have been justified by their faith in Jesus.
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
6) Christianity – We are all sinners (law breakers) and need God’s forgiveness.
Tolle – Sin is just missing the point of human existence; no forgiveness is needed. Guilt is an illusion.
My Reply: Obviously, if sin is defined as Tolle tells us, no forgiveness is needed. Yet from the beginning to the end sin is clearly defined in the Bible as breaking God’s law. If you know anything about the Bible it talks about a spiritual battle from beginning to end. It talks about false prophets who try to deceive people. It speaks of Satan, who can only lie, who is a thief and murderer, who tries to keep those he can from turning back and trusting God for salvation. It seems to me that Satan would be the prime candidate who would want us to believe we do not need God’s forgiveness. I know I have lied, stolen, cheated, hurt others, not waked in love, withheld forgiveness, and so much more in my life. For me it is easy to see I need God’s forgiveness; my conscience clearly tells me so.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.” Proverbs 28:13
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7
“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Hebrews 9:22
“All the Old Testament prophets testify about Him that everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins through His name.” Acts 10:43
I mentioned the Gnostics before and how the church battled against their attempts to rewrite the Gospel message. The Apostle John, in 1 John 1, addresses the Gnostics of that time who also claimed there was no sin as the Bible teaches, just like Tolle. In these next verses you can see John appealing to the Gnostics of the day to just admit their sin and seek God’s forgiveness, which he will surely provide.
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:8-10
“Repent (change mind) therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.” Acts 3:19
Righteousness (being right with God) in Bible is always, without exception, based on a belief and trust in God and the faith that reveals that belief to others through corresponding action, in this case trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is not the faith that saves the person, it is the truth, the object they place their faith in that saves. Christianity is not about being perfect or sinless. It is for rule breakers who honestly admit they have failed, not for people who think they can keep the rules on their own. Read more: http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=181685
7) Christianity – Salvation is received by believing God and placing our faith in Jesus Christ (life, death, and resurrection) and not by our works.
Tolle – Christ did not come to die for our sins, but rather to show us how to live, or “Christ Consciousness.” Salvation is realizing one’s Christ Consciousness, or the God that is in us all. We already have the “source of all power,” regardless of acceptance of Christ. In other words, you do not need a Savior. There are many roads to God.
Pages 7-8 – We need an “awakening,” not redemption from our sins.
My Reply: Jesus made a very exclusive statement in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 is verified as accurate from the earliest manuscripts. The Apostles and Early Church Fathers interpreted this verse as Jesus affirming he is the only way to God the Father.
Does Scripture support that Jesus was just showing us the way to Christ’s consciousness as Tolle teaches about John 14:6 and other verses, or does the entire Bible clearly point out that we actually need a savior from our inherited sin nature and our ensuing sins?
“The Son of Man (Jesus is Son of man & Son of God) must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Jesus speaking in Luke 9:22
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name (Jesus) under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus in Matthew 26:28
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18
“He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” Titus 2:14
“She will give birth to a son, and you shall give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
To save sinners – 1 Timothy 1:15
To call sinners to repentance (change mind and believe) – Mark 2:17
To seek and save the lost – Luke 19:10
To give himself as a ransom for sinners – Matthew 20:28
To bear witness to the truth – John 18:37
To be a light in the world – John 12:46
To proclaim and preach the Gospel – Mark 1:38
To die on the cross – John 12:27
To fulfill God’s law for humanity, (Ten Commandments for example, because man could not) Matthew 10:34-35
To pay for our sins – 1 John 4:10
To be the Savior of the world – John-3:16-18
To redeem us from the law’s curse – Galatians 4:4-5
To demonstrate God’s love – 1 John 4:10
In John 10:9, Jesus proclaims: “I am the gate. If anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved.”
“Since therefore, the children share in flesh and blood, he (Jesus) himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he (Jesus) had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation (payment) for the sins of the people. For because he (Jesus) himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)
Christians would agree that everyone should live as Jesus lived. But we don’t. Therefore, it would be foolish to ignore Scripture which clearly points out that we are sinners in need of a Savior and the free gift of salvation.
“No, I tell you; but unless you repent (change mind and believe), you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:5
Early Church Fathers Quote, Salvation by Faith in Jesus
“And we who through his will have been called in Christ Jesus are justified, not by ourselves, or through our wisdom or understanding or godliness, or the works that we have done in holiness of heart, but by faith, by which all men from the beginning have been justified by Almighty God, to whom be glory world without end. Amen.” (Clement of Rome, First Clement, 32-33).
In researching Tolle it was clear that he ignores the facts that surround the historical Jesus. The actual God person, Jesus, whose existence, crucifixion and resurrection was attested to by eyewitness, those who followed Jesus and their immediate disciples, the Early Church Fathers. Tolle takes none of the Bible verses that we are discussing literally, interpeting it all in an esoteric fashion, denying mankind’s need for a savior. This can be easily seen in his interpretation of the verses we have just reviewed and in his interpretation of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Christianity – Crucifixion & Resurrection – Actual physical death of Jesus, literal bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead as testified by the eyewitness’s. The Bible says this is the specific purpose of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection:
Jesus was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification/righteousness. Romans 4:25
He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” Matthew 28:6-7
“Then he (Jesus) said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” Jesus in John 20:27-29 after the resurrection.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Tolle – “The sight of Jesus on the Cross is a powerful symbol of the pain-body itself. The crucifixion on the cross is an external representation of an inner reality – the pain-body.” “The nails are your own ego. They are not deadly and they can be removed. They can be removed and you can be liberated from your pain and suffering.” http://www.tolleteachings.com/death-on-the-cross.html
“And this is the meaning of the Resurrection. We are capable of freeing ourselves from the cross of pain and suffering. We can be released from that which binds us and walk and breathe and live.” http://www.tolleteachings.com/death-on-the-cross.html
A critical factor in reading the Bible is context. Are the verses you are reading written to a Jew, a Gentile, a believer or an unbeliever? What do the surrounding verses say so we understand the verse in context? Tolle has a habit of taking verses out of context or even making a big deal out of partial verses. In John 14:6, Tolle consistently leaves off the second half of the verse to arrive at his interpretation.
Tolle quotes this first part of the verse: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” and consistently leaves off the second part of the verse, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Christianity – Jesus is making it crystal clear here that he is the only way, he the truth and the life, and no one comes to God the Father except through Jesus.
Tolle – “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.” A New Earth
“You yourself personally are the way, the truth and the life and you get to God through your inner self. You are the I Am Jesus is talking about.” http://www.bibleone.net/new_earth_review.htm
Tolle tells us to trust ourselves and not Jesus as our savior. Each person reading this will need to make up their own mind. Do you really think you are the way, the truth and the life?
More on the Messiah, Christ, Anointed One
As I mentioned, there are many things we can learn from the Old Testament. It prophesied the coming of a Messiah. Knowing what “Messiah” meant to the Jews who were waiting for him is a huge help to us.
Messiah comes from the Hebrew word mashiach and means “anointed one” or “chosen one.” The Greek equivalent is the word Christos or, in English, Christ. The name “Jesus Christ” is the same as “Jesus the Messiah.” http://www.gotquestions.org/what-does-Messiah-mean.html
We see in the Old Testament that the Jews were waiting for a chosen one; they knew they were not the Christ, not God or part of the God force as Tolle would have us believe. Peter was Jewish and knew that the Messiah was to be The Deliverer sent by God for mankind.
In the end, it has nothing to do with who Tolle, the New Age movement, or who I believe Jesus is. It is all about who you believe Jesus is. Do you believe, as Tolle teaches, that Jesus was just an ordinary man who presented a partial or half- truth, that your sins simply mean you missed the point of human existence? When you tell a lie, cheat, steal or harm others in some way, do you believe the guilt you experience is an illusion and you do not need God’s forgiveness and a Savior?
Or do you believe as Peter did that Jesus is God who came in the flesh, the Messiah, the chosen one, the anointed one, the Savior of the world, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, and now offers us eternal life if we will simply trust in him?
“And he (Jesus) asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Christ.’” Mark 8:29
A Christian’s faith does not make the Bible true. Faith like love must have an object. The object of faith is always more important than the faith itself. Faith placed in a lie is in vain. Faith itself does not save anyone. Jesus claimed to be God and proved his claims by the many miracles he did and ultimately by the resurrection. Christians believe the historical evidence for Jesus and the resurrection and thus place their faith in the person of Jesus Christ as Savior. It is the shed blood of Jesus that saves according to the Bible. You can clearly see that historical events are the basis for the Christian’s faith in the following verse. If the resurrection is not the truth, our faith is in vain.
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 1 Cor 15:14
Did Jesus really rise from the dead – free book – http://www.god-evidence-truth.com/
In essence, it appears that New Age believers come to the Bible with their view of how things should be. They then attempt to compliment their current belief by cheery picking and reinterpreting scripture, while ignoring the eyewitness testimony and original interpretation of the Apostles and ensuing testimony of the early church. What they do not like, they reject as false. They then take bits and pieces from the Bible and other beliefs and build their own version of Jesus.
If the Bible text we have today could not be verified, Christians would have no foundation to stand upon. Think about your current health insurance policy; do you know what is in it, specifically how all things are covered? Do you have a written copy or do you just trust your insurance company to treat you right? If they knew you did not have a copy in writing, do you think some insurance companies might be tempted to change it to benefit them when you actually needed the coverage? Isn’t your possession of a written copy the one thing that protects you?
Just like the Bible, anybody could change whatever they wanted, and no one would know when something had been changed if we did not have the objective evidence we do have. The entire message would be lost by now. Many have tried, through the years, to alter the text. Even as the original books of the Bible were being written, the Bible warns (in the book of Galatians for example) of people trying to change the message of salvation. As a Christian, the Bible’s text is what all messages we hear about God should be filtered through. If a preacher tells me Jesus was just a man or salvation is not by grace alone and requires works, I know right away they are teaching something contrary to what the Bible teaches. Since truth never contradicts itself, both cannot be true. I will trust the written text that has been preserved for centuries for us and the teaching of those closest to the events over any modern-day preacher who claims contrary enlightenment.
Actually knowing what is in the Bible by personally reading and studying it is the only way Christians have to protect themselves from contrary teachings. One should never just blindly trust any person, place their faith in any preacher or teacher, including Tolle, without knowing for themselves what the Bible actually states. A Christian is called to have faith that Jesus is the truth and that the Bible is true, not that man is truthful no matter who they claim to be.
Do not be deceived. If you have not personally read the Bible, specifically the New Testament, and are following someone like Tolle, your faith is in that person’s teaching and their claim of special enlightenment, not in Jesus or what is plainly written in the Bible itself. You need to read the New Testament for yourself.
This is precisely how people are led astray by false teachers according to the Bible. The Bible tells us we need no one to interpret it for us. If you are truly seeking God, you will find him. Don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s blindly. That is the definition of blind faith. The Bible itself says to filter teachings and spirits through what you read in scripture.
“PROVE ALL THINGS; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY THE SPIRITS WHETHER THEY ARE OF GOD: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1
Tolle is asking people to believe and entrust themselves to him and his special enlightenment. He is doing this while contradicting even Jesus and the Apostles’ teaching. Jesus himself did not entrust himself to any man. Jesus knew what was in man, a fallen nature according to the Bible and not hidden special enlightenment.
“Now when he (Jesus) was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. “John 2:23-25
I am not asking you to trust me, I am asking you to read the New Testament for yourself and ask God if it is true.
Jesus Warned about False Teachers/Prophets?
The best way to pass a counterfeit $20 bill off is to make it look as close to the original as possible. When they teach people how to spot counterfeit money, they do not have them study the counterfeit. They have them study the real thing so they will know a counterfeit right away when they see it. There are many false teachings that claim the name of Jesus Christ in some form.
Jesus warned numerous times of false prophets and teachers.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” Jesus in Matthew 7:15
“…and many false prophets will arise and mislead many.” Jesus in Matthew 24:11
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4
Based on Tolle’s contradictions to the interpretation of the earliest believers in the areas discussed, he would qualify as a false prophet/teacher.
Tolle’s New Age beliefs are very closeto the Gnostic beliefs that the Early Church Fathers declared false, fought, and warned strongly against. You can read very clear warnings in the writings from the Early Church Father Irenaeus about this matter: Against Heresies
Years ago, I was interested in and became involved in New Age beliefs until I investigated it more closely. I can tell you that there is not one single benefit that the New Age movement offers over a personal relationship with Jesus Christ in this life, and it is missing the eternally vital component of God’s forgiveness and salvation. Everything a New Age person needs is found in a personal saving relationship with Jesus of the Bible, God incarnate. He is offering love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, righteousness, joy, peace and the freedom New Age believer’s desire, but not before their sin problem is dealt with. The Bible says that the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in that order, in the Holy Spirit. God is offering to everyone “in Christ” freedom from the punishment a just God must bring for any and all sins committed. Don’t be deceived; listen to your own conscience, all of us have sinned and need a Savior. Salvation is being freely offered to you today, to all who will believe. The Bible speaks of a great inheritance for all who will believe, a new world where there will be no more pain, suffering, or tears, and much more than anyone can imagine or hope for.
“Therefore he (Jesus) is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death (Jesus) has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions (sins) committed under the first covenant.” Hebrews 9:15
How to read the Bible for beginners: http://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=181675
Review more of the objective evidence in a free book here: http://www.god-evidence-truth.com/
Scripture verses utilized are primarily from the ESV.
Tolle’s position on the Bible is easily obtained online through a Google search.
Various sources of Tolle information utilized:
Tolle’s book “A New Earth”
Page reference notes from Tolle’s book “A New Earth” taken from this article on str.org: http://www.str.org/articles/oprah-s-religion-a-brief-evaluation-of-eckhart-tolle-s-a-new-earth#.V7C1RvkrLZ5