Monday, March 31, 2008

The Divinity of Man

Part 3:
The Great Heretical Idea:
Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift

By Warren Smith

“Now the heretics are gaining ground, doctrine is losing its authority,
and knowing is superceding belief.”
--Marilyn Ferguson
The Aquarian Conspiracy

“In you, as in each human being, there is a dimension of consciousness far deeper than thought. It is the very essence of who you are. We may call it presence, awareness, the unconditioned consciousness. In the ancient teachings, it is the Christ within, or your Buddha nature.”24 [bold added]
– Eckhart Tolle
Stillness Speaks

“As we flew home on Cathay Pacific Airlines I began to think to myself, “We are all like the clay Buddha covered with a shell of hardness created out of fear, and yet underneath each of us is a ‘golden Buddha,’ a ‘golden Christ’ or a ‘golden essence,’ which is our real self.”25 [bold added]
– Jack Canfield’s story “The Golden Buddha”
Chicken Soup for the Soul

"Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.”26 [bold added]
– Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now

Oprah, Butterworth, Tolle and the Divinity of Man

How long has Oprah believed in this historically heretical idea that we are all one because we are all “God” and “Christ”? For sure, at least as far back as her 1987 television program on the “New Age Movement,” when she defined the New Age movement by endorsing Eric Butterworth’s book Discovering the Power Within You and reiterating his view that “Jesus did not come to teach how divine he was, but came to teach us that there is divinity within us.”27

It is no wonder that Oprah came away with that point of view after reading Butterworth’s book. In Discovering the Power Within You, Butterworth uses the terminology about the divinity of man over 100 times. In this book, which Oprah described as “one of the most important books”28 that she had ever read, Butterworth writes:

“We must begin to see Jesus as the great discoverer of the innate Divinity of Man, the supreme revealer of the truth about man, the pioneer and way-shower in the quest for self-realization and self-unfoldment.”29

“Jesus had a unique concept of God. To Him, God was not an object of worship but a Presence dwelling in us, a force surrounding us, and a Principle by which we live. It is not too much to say that anyone who catches the idea of Jesus’ concept will find himself caught up in a new consciousness that will change his whole life. He will never be the same again."30

“The ‘only begotten’ in spiritual man, the Christ principle, the principle of the Divinity of Man.”31

“Tradition holds that the disciples once asked Jesus, ‘When shall the Kingdom come?’ and He answered, ‘When the without shall become as the within.’ In other words – when you become in expression what you were created to be. Or, from the world view, when the race of man is elevated to the level of universal perfection.”32

Oprah, Tolle and New Age teachers are warning that our planet and our species may become extinct if we don’t have a “Great Awakening” to the reality that we are all “God” and we are all “Christ.” The real Jesus Christ warns us not to believe them. He warns that false Christs will be part of the Great Deception at the end of time. This warning definitely includes those who believe in a universal inner Christ – the “Divinity of Man.”

Unfortunately, Oprah has placed her faith in New Age teachers like Eric Butterworth, Marianne Williamson and Eckhart Tolle rather than the teachings of the Bible. Whatever the case, Oprah should be honest with her viewers and let them know that what she is teaching is pure New Age spirituality. Should she continue to deny that fact, Eric Butterworth’s official website as of March 31, 2008 ( describes Butterworth as a “New Age pioneer.”

“Eric Butterworth was Senior Minister of The Unity Center of New York City from 1961 to 2003. He made a peaceful transition into the Flow of Eternal Life on Thursday, April 17, 2003. Eric was considered a legend and spiritual icon in the Unity Movement…. The author of 16 best-selling books on metaphysical spirituality, a gifted theologian, philosopher, and lecturer, Eric was a highly respected New Age pioneer and innovator of New Thought, whose life was dedicated to helping people to help themselves.”33 [bold added]

Butterworth’s official website also describes Oprah Winfrey as a Butterworth “devotee” and includes her endorsement of Discover the Power Within You:

“His devotees include people from all walks and stations of life, all of whom state that his teaching helped to change their lives. Oprah Winfrey says of his classic book, Discover the Power Within You, ‘This book changed my perspective on life and religion.’”34

Oprah and The Great Heretical Idea

On that 1987 Oprah Winfrey Show on the New Age Movement, Oprah’s first featured guest was Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy – a book Oprah referred to as “the bible of the New Age movement.”35 In The Aquarian Conspiracy, Ferguson described the “great heretical idea”36 that will enable humanity to spiritually evolve and achieve world peace. That great heretical idea is the belief that God is “in” everyone and everything. Ferguson described imminence – “God within” – as the world’s “oldest heresy.”37 This heresy is the one that she and her New Age “conspirators” were in the process of mainstreaming – believing that it would eventually become our “common heritage” and what “everybody knows.”38 Ferguson wrote:

“Usually at the point of crisis, someone has a great heretical idea. A powerful new insight explains the apparent contradictions. It introduces a new principle… a new perspective.”39 [bold added]

“Given the superior power and scope of the new idea, we might expect it to prevail rather quickly, but that almost never happens. The problem is that you can’t embrace the new paradigm unless you let go of the old.”40

“If these discoveries of transformation are to become our common heritage for the first time in history, they must be widely communicated. They must become our new consensus, what ‘everybody knows.’”41

How ironic that as Ferguson and other New Age spokespersons sat with Oprah on that 1987 television program discussing the New Age Movement, it was Oprah’s stated personal belief that defined the New Age to her viewers and outed the “great heretical idea.” She did this by referring to Eric Butterworth and reiterating his belief that all humanity is divine. That was when Dr. Curtis turned to Oprah and said, “That’s a summary statement of exactly where we are in what we call the New Age or the new thought.”42 Should we be surprised that over the next two decades Oprah popularized countless New Age books that all teach this “great heretical idea” that we are divine because God is “in” everyone?

In The Aquarian Conspiracy, Ferguson wrote that it takes time to get from “the great heretical idea” to the acceptance of the idea as new truth. In order to arrive at this “new consensus,” she stated that the heretical idea “must be widely communicated.” And this is precisely what Oprah Winfrey has done over the past twenty years – and that is what she is doing today with her New Age classes with Eckhart Tolle and A New Earth and with Marianne Williamson and A Course in Miracles.

Had Oprah read and believed Matthew 24:4-5 instead of Eric Butterworth, she would have seen Butterworth’s New Age teaching that we are all "Christ" to be part of the very deception the real Jesus warned would precede His coming and the coming of His Kingdom.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5)

But if we are all “Christ” as Eric Butterworth, Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle and the New Age teach, then what is Jesus warning about in the Bible when he says:

“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and they shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth; behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” (Matthew 24:23-26)

If we are all “Christ” then how can there even be false Christs? It makes no sense for Jesus to warn of false Christs if everyone is “Christ.” It is very clear that Jesus is not telling everyone to “awake” and “shift” to the “Christ within,” but to beware of those who tell you to do that – to beware of Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Williamson and anyone else who teaches that we are all “Christ.”

To be continued. . . .

23. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980, p. 371.
24. Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks (Vancouver: Canada: Namaste, 2003), p. 13.
25. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc. 1993), p. 71.
26. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Novato, CA: Namaste, 1999), p. 104.
27. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Show #W265, Air Date September 18, 1987, official transcript, p. 7.
28. Ibid.
29. Eric Butterworth, Discover the Power Within You: A Guide to the Unexplored Depths Within, Based on the Actual Teachings of Jesus (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), p. 25.
30. Ibid, p. 27.
31. Ibid, p. 11.
32. Ibid, p. 224.
34. Ibid.
35. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ibid., p. 2.
36. The Aquarian Conspiracy, p. 27.
37. Ibid, p. 382.
38. Ibid, p. 34.
39. Ibid., p. 27.
40. Ibid.
41. Ibid. p. 34.
42. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ibid, p. 7.

Warren Smith is the author of Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, The Light that was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel.

Read Part 1: Click HERE
Read Part 2: Click HERE

Friday, March 28, 2008

The "Shifty" New Age

Part 2:
The Great Heretical Idea:
Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift

By Warren Smith

“This basic principle – the Divinity of Man – is the dynamism of Christianity that can save the world and lead mankind to a new level of ‘peace on earth, good will toward men.’”[14]
-Eric Butterworth
Discover the Power Within You

“The great sin of mankind is not to know the divinity that lies unexpressed within every individual.”[15]
-Eric Butterworth
Discover the Power Within You

“‘Namaskar!’ Behold yourself in a mirror and say, ‘Namaskar!’ (I salute the divinity in you.) And then go out and act the part.”[16]
-Eric Butterworth
Discover the Power Within You

Several million people have already downloaded Oprah and Eckhart Tolle’s webcast classes on Tolle’s new book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. Obviously this book is connecting deeply within people. Why? Because Tolle is giving very practical applications on how to be a better person and how to love your neighbor, becoming more sensitive to others and to your own life. These very practical things that he is talking about are part of the reason I was drawn into the New Age for 5 years before realizing I was being deceived. From my background, I can totally understand how people are attracted to the teachings of Eckhart Tolle. It seems so right, feels so good, and appears so wonderful. However, for all the worthy applications that Oprah and Tolle are teaching, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Gal 5:9).

Oprah and Tolle completely invalidate the interpersonal lessons they are teaching when they suddenly “shift” to the teaching of the “Divinity of Man,” which is the core New Age belief that man is “God” and that man is “Christ.” For whatever good Tolle and Oprah might be sharing with their audience, it is utterly undone when they build it on the foundation of the “Divinity of Man” teaching. The Lord Jesus Christ said if you build your house – no matter how nice – it’s going to fall if you build it on a foundation of sand (Matthew 7:26-27). No matter how beautiful your house, how good it feels, how nice it looks, if it is built on the wrong foundation it will fall. Of particular concern is the fact that Oprah and Tolle selectively pick Scriptures from the Bible for their own convenience and then omit the First Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Deuteronomy 5:7).

This is the “shift.” It is a bait and switch. It is reaching people through their “felt needs,” which are genuine and real, but then tells them that they are “God” and they are “Christ.”

In their first Internet class, Oprah and Tolle were very careful to not describe “the shift” or their spiritual beliefs as “New Age.” They tried to distance themselves from the term "New Age" by saying "New Age" was more “I want:” what they were doing was on a much higher plane. So rather than calling their New Age teachings for what they are – New Age – they were now describing them as the New Spirituality.

Because many Christians are rightfully concerned about heretical New Age teachings, Oprah and Tolle and most New Age leaders are now trying to redefine the term “New Age" to mean something selfish and frivolous. New Age teacher Marianne Williamson is particularly clever at this. However, the New Age by any other name is still New Age. To confuse matters even more, Oprah described herself on the webcast as a “Christian” and not as the New Age believer that she is. This had to be very confusing to her audience; and when the first caller asked how Oprah reconciled this “new form of spirituality” with her “Christian” beliefs, Oprah responded by talking about “Christ consciousness” –

First Caller (“Kelly from Alton, Illinois”): …Well, my question is regarding religion and spirituality.... In reading books such as Tolle’s… it’s really opened my eyes up to a new way of thinking, a new form of spirituality that doesn’t always align with the teachings of Christianity. So my question is to you, Oprah, how have you reconciled these spiritual teachings with your Christian beliefs?

Oprah: … I’ve reconciled it because I was able to open my mind about the absolute, indescribable hugeness of that which we call God. I took God out of the box because I grew up in the Baptist church and there were, you know, rules and, you know, belief systems and doctrine….

…And, you know, it’s been a journey to get to the place where I understand… that what I believe is that Jesus came to show us Christ consciousness…. Jesus came to show us the way of the heart… to show us the higher consciousness that we’re all talking about here….

And as I said earlier in the preshow here, there was a wonderful book called Discover the Power Within You by Eric Butterworth, which helped me reconcile the two. So that might be really good for those of you who are Christian and trying to balance the two.[17]

Butterworth: Christian or New Age?

Twenty-one years earlier, on her September 18, 1987 Oprah Winfrey television program on the topic of “The New Age Movement,” Oprah actually defined the term ‘New Age’ by talking about this same Eric Butterworth and the same book Discover the Power Within You. This program was significant because in it Oprah introduced the New Age movement to her American audience. The ideas of “awakening” and “shifting” one’s awareness to the “divine self” – everything that she and Eckhart Tolle are now calling the “New Spirituality” – was clearly described by Oprah and her guests on that 1987 program as the “New Age movement.” Oprah began that program by stating:

“They call themselves members of the New Age movement, and they say that our hope for survival as a planet comes from learning about our own individual power and our own divinity….” [18]

Guests on that show included:

  • Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy, which Oprah referred to in her introduction as “the bible of the New Age movement”
  • Glenn Lehrer, “a minerologist and gemologist who has been working with …doctors who use crystals for healing”
  • Keven Ryerson, “the trancechanneler made famous by Shirley MacLaine in her books and also on her miniseries, ‘Out on a Limb’”
  • Marcello Truzzi, a skeptic who “says that much of the New Age philosophy is just yuppie spiritualism”
  • Dr. Donald Curtis, a Unity minister, who “says that Christ did not come to preach his own divinity, but to tell us of our own divinity”

Later in the show, Oprah is told by Dr. Curtis that her remarks concerning author Eric Butterworth perfectly defined the term ‘New Age’:

WINFREY: One of the most important books, I think I’ve read, in my life was a book by Eric Butterworth…. Called Discover the Power Within You. And what Eric Butterworth said in that book is that Jesus did not come to teach how divine he was, but came to teach us that there is divinity within us. So that is essentially what we are talking about.

Dr. CURTIS: That’s a summary statement of exactly where we are in what we call the New Age or New thought.

Oprah and Dr. Curtis had several other noteworthy exchanges:

WINFREY: …There seems to be a spiritual movement afoot, and I wonder if it’s because I sense my own spiritual evolvement, or is this something that’s really happening, Dr. Curtis?

Dr. CURTIS. Unity Minister: Well, I’m sure it’s happening, because as you said in the introduction, that the New Age or the new thought religions are very much in line with traditional religion. I think it’s a dimension that comes when we’re aware of the awakening in consciousness, the shift, the new paradigms of thought and all of the awakening of that divine self in individuals, that of course, where is one to go to find security, or to find a sense of their own reality, except within?... [bold added]

…Dr. CURTIS: Can you imagine any greater revolutionary or New Age thinker than Jesus Christ when he came on the scene?

WINFREY: Yeah, absolutely.

Back to the Future

On her March 3, 2008 webcast with Eckhart Tolle, Oprah was actually reiterating what she had already said about the New Age movement over twenty years ago on that 1987 Oprah Winfrey Show. Her statements about Eric Butterworth and his book then were almost identical to what she is saying now – that man is divine. And Dr. Curtis’s description of the New Age “awakening” and the New Age “shift” to the “divine self” on that 1987 program are essentially what Oprah and Tolle are teaching now – but instead of calling it “New Age” they are trying to distance themselves from the term by calling it the “New Spirituality.”

But there is nothing new about the New Age/New Spirituality, or what Oprah and Tolle have been teaching in their worldwide webcast. The New Age/New Spirituality Movement has been around for decades, working its way into the world’s mindset in some extremely creative ways. Take for example the extremely popular Chicken Soup for the Soul books. These books are commonly found in Christian bookstores. The co-author of these books, Jack Canfield, has been a New Age leader and educator for over thirty years. He wrote an article entitled “Education in the New Age” for New Age Magazine in 1978. He has also written school curriculums that instruct teachers how to use guided visualization to help children get in touch with their spirit guides.[20]

It was not by chance that the first story in Canfield’s very first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was written by Oprah’s New Age mentor, Eric Butterworth. The quote preceding the Butterworth story was by Teilhard de Chardin – the father of the modern New Age movement. Also, in that first Chicken Soup for the Soul book Canfield included one of his own stories entitled “The Golden Buddha.” The “feel good” moral of this little story about Buddha is that there is a “golden Christ” inside each one of us who is our “real self.”[21]

New Age leader Jack Canfield and his Chicken Soup for the Soul books speak loudly to how the New Age has integrated itself into the world and into the lives of Christians. Canfield’s introductory quote by Teilhard de Chardin, the story by Butterworth, and his own story about the “Golden Christ” within each person, perfectly dovetails with Oprah and Tolle’s New Earth webcasts. This is the way the deceptive New Age “shift” works. The “shift” seems so innocent and beguiling, but in reality it is a “shift” to the heretical teaching of the “Christ within.”

As a footnote, Canfield’s book Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul sits in many Christian bookstores – as does his first Chicken Soup book that has the Butterworth story and the story about the Christ within.

The Ultimate Ego Trip vs. Being Born Again

During that 1987 Oprah Winfrey Show on the New Age movement, a woman in the audience courageously presented the Gospel message that “you have to accept Jesus as your personal savior.” Oprah responded by telling her, “That’s your personal feeling.” Dr. Curtis then jumped in and explained away the woman’s comments as representative of an “orthodox interpretation.” Then Oprah responded with a shocking statement about Jesus:

“…I mean, I was raised a Baptist – if in fact what we are taught when you go to church and you adore Jesus and you praise Jesus and praise this, it means Jesus would have been the biggest egotist that ever lived, if that was his purpose in coming to the world, to have people adore him and worship him and carry on about him, as people do.”

There was a brief further discussion and then a commercial break, after which Oprah immediately began to do damage control over what she had just said:

“I just want to clarify, I did not say Jesus was an egotist, so don’t write me saying I said he was an egotist. I didn’t say that. Okay?” [22]

Twenty-one years ago her comment was a very controversial statement. Today, with the widespread influence of the New Age movement, many people believe this way, including a number of emerging church leaders.

But, contrary to what Oprah and Tolle state, New Age beliefs can not be reconciled to biblical Christianity. The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus Christ came to the world as Messiah – the one and only Christ. He did not come to teach humanity to “shift” from the “ego” to their “inner Christ.”

What Oprah, Tolle and all other New Age/New Spirituality leaders seem to overlook in their discussion of the ego is that the absolute, ultimate ego trip for man to believe that he is God. When you “shift,” you are not leaving the ego at all! Setting up God in your own heart, you make a mockery of the one true God. Claiming the title of "God" and "Christ" for himself, man succumbs to the original beguiling by the Devil in the Garden of Eden that “ye shall be as gods.”

Jesus Christ taught “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). He said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). Being born again means accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, not accepting yourself as “God” and shifting to a nonexistent “Christ within.” Accepting yourself as “Christ” is not being born again. It is to fall into the very deception the real Jesus Christ warned us to beware of in Matthew 24:4-5:

“Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.”

To be continued . . . .

14. Eric Butterworth, Discover the Power Within You: A Guide to the Unexplored Depths Within, Based on the Actual Teachings of Jesus (New York: Harper & Row, 1968), p. 8
15. Ibid, p. 233.
16. Ibid. Also seeé for definition of “namaskar.”
17. ITunes podcast: “Oprah and Eckhart Tolle Discuss Chapter 1 of A New Earth” 3/3/08.
18. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Show #W265, Air Date September 18, 1987, official transcript.
19. Ibid.
20. Johanna Michaelsen, Like Lambs to the Slaughter: Your Child and the Occult (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1989), p. 88.
21. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Soul: 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit (Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc. 1993), pp. 1-4; pp. 69-71.
22. The Oprah Winfrey Show, Ibid.

Warren Smith is the author of Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, The Light that was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel.

Read Part 1: click HERE

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Great Heretical Idea:

Oprah and Eckhart Do the New Age Shift

Part 1
By Warren Smith

“Get ready to be awakened.”[1]
– Oprah

“The twenty-first century will be the time of awakening, of meeting The Creator Within. Many beings will experience Oneness with God and with all of life. This will be the beginning of the golden age of the New Human, of which it has been written; the time of the universal human, which has been eloquently described by those with deep insight among you.

“There are many such people in the world now – teachers and messengers, Masters and visionaries – who are placing this vision before humankind and offering tools with which to create it. These messengers and visionaries are the heralds of a New Age.”
[2] [bold added]
– “God”
Neale Donald Walsch
Friendship With God

“…[T]his book itself is a transformational device that has come out of the arising new consciousness. The ideas and concepts presented here may be important, but they are secondary. They are no more than signposts pointing toward awakening. As you read, a shift takes place within you.”

“This book’s main purpose is not to add new information or beliefs to your mind or to try to convince you of anything, but to bring about a shift in consciousness, that is to say, to awaken…. It will change your state of consciousness or it will be meaningless. It can only awaken those who are ready. Not everyone is ready yet, but many are, and with each person who awakens, the momentum in the collective consciousness grows, and it becomes easier for others.”
[3] [bold added]
– Eckhart Tolle
A New Earth

“Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute ‘Christ’ for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.”[4] [bold added]
– Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now

I stared at the huge stack of books in the Barnes & Noble bookstore. The title of the book was A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life Purpose. The title sounded like a new book by Purpose-Driven pastor Rick Warren, but it was actually the latest selection in Oprah’s Book Club. A colorful orange and blue paper band around the book invited the reader to “Join Oprah and Eckhart for a worldwide web event… Every Monday night beginning March 3, 2008 for 10 weeks… Register at” A personal message from Oprah stated: “Get ready to be awakened.”

It was clear to me that Oprah was no longer content to just popularize New Age beliefs, she would now teach them. This was a bold move by a woman who was obviously willing to do everything in her power – which is considerable – to convert the world to her New Age worldview.

The Shift

With friend and New Age author Marianne Williamson simultaneously teaching A Course in Miracles daily on Oprah & Friends XM Satellite Radio, Oprah now offers two very public New Age classes. These classes are teaching millions of people that the way to save themselves and the planet is not by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, but rather by accepting “the Christ within.” For someone who probably has an aversion to traditional proselytizing, Oprah is giving new meaning to the word “proselytize” as she continues to push her New Age beliefs upon the world. But, in defense of her role as a New Age proselytizer, Oprah would probably be the first to tell you – it’s all for the good of the world. She would also probably argue that what she is teaching is not New Age, but a “New Spirituality.” Curiously, that just happens to be the same term that some emerging church leaders like Brian McLaren are using as they introduce New Age ideas and language into the church.[5]

Oprah can call her New Age teachings whatever she wants, but she and her ever-growing band of New Age colleagues are still teaching that “we are all one” because we are all “God” and “Christ.” As Marianne Williamson writes, “We are all one, we are love itself. ‘Accepting the Christ’ is merely a shift in self-perception.”[6]

The “shift” Williamson, Oprah and Tolle describe is “awakening” to the “Christ within” and the “God within.” “Shift” is the key word. It means to move from one position to another – as in shifting one’s awareness away from the mind and “ego” to the collective “Christ consciousness” or “Christ within.” And, as in shifting your belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to a New Age belief in the “Christ within.” With her New Age classrooms on satellite radio, and now on the Internet, Oprah apparently feels an urgency to teach everyone how to “awaken” and make this “shift” to the “Christ” within. With her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) kicking in next year we can expect to see her New Age views showcased on an even grander scale.

In her first class with Eckhart Tolle, Oprah asked if people had experienced the “shift” while reading Tolle’s book, A New Earth. The question reminded me of Werner Erhard’s New Age EST program in the 1970s that taught this same idea of shifting one’s perception, and then similarly asking – “Did you get IT?” Obviously, there is pressure to “get IT” – to feel the shift: Oprah felt the shift – did you? Are you understanding this new [age] way of looking at yourself and the world? Or, are you being blocked by your mind and your ego from seeing this New Spirituality that can save our planet? Keep logging onto our classes. Keep reading Tolle’s book – you’ll ‘get it.’

Years earlier, when launching the New Age movement publicly with her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson introduced this concept of the “shift,” connecting it to the mystical ideas of Teilhard de Chardin – the father of the New Age movement – “whose new perspective would trigger a critical contagion of change” which would result in the “rapid transformation of the human species, beginning with a vanguard” of emerging leaders. She explained how scientist-philosopher Thomas Kuhn coined the term “paradigm shift” to describe “a distinctly new way of thinking” which entailed accepting new truths. When “the new paradigm gains ascendance” and “a critical number of thinkers has accepted the new idea, a collective paradigm shift has occurred.” Ferguson said the “shift” would result in a “new knowing” of the occult world called an “awakening” of “deep inner shifts.”[7]

Evolve or Die

Tolle’s book A New Earth – like A Course in Miracles and other New Age teachings – exploits the idea that the world is at a crisis point and insists that we must “spiritually evolve” as a species to avoid personal and planetary disaster. According to New Age leaders like Tolle, spiritually evolving means “shifting” or converting to the heretical belief that we are all “God” and that we are all “Christ.”

In both his book and his class with Oprah, Tolle reiterated the words that New Age leader Barbara Marx Hubbard was given by her New Age “Christ” – “evolve or die.”[8] In other words, don’t feel any pressure, but if you don’t “shift” your point of view, and “get it” that “we are all one” and that “we are all God,” our planet will probably be destroyed and our human species will become extinct.

Tolle and Oprah stayed away from the harsher aspects of this “evolve or die” dictate in that first Internet class. Hubbard, however, has made it clear that in the future, those who refuse to make the “shift” by seeing themselves as “God” will be eliminated by something called “the selection process.”[9] Hubbard, who is highly respected by her New Age colleagues, claims that her “Christ” has laid out an Armageddon alternative peace plan to save the planet. This peace plan is predicated on accepting the “shift” in consciousness that Oprah and Tolle (and other New Age leaders) are teaching – the “shift” to the Christ within.

Hubbard’s New Age view of the future inspired her to be one of the co-founders of the World Future Society and she is currently listed as a member of its Global Advisory Council.[10] Emergent leader at the “vanguard” of church “transformation,” Brian McLaren, has also written about an Armageddon alternative [11] and just happens to be one of the featured speakers at the upcoming World Future Society’s annual gathering.

Surprised by the Truth

In describing their New Age/New Spirituality “shift” and the necessity for everyone to spiritually evolve, Eckhart Tolle erroneously states that once you “awaken” to your Christ-consciousness and your own godhood, the shift is “irreversible.”[12] What he neglects to take into account is that there are large numbers of us who formerly made the “shift” to these New Age beliefs only to discover – by the grace of God – that we had been greatly deceived by these New Age teachings. The Bible proved itself to be true as it exposed the New Age/New Spirituality for what it was – a lie. It was very humbling for us to realize that the Bible was true after all, and our New Age beliefs were wrong. God was God and we were not. Jesus was the one and only Christ. There was no universal “Christ-consciousness” or “Christ within.” We were amazed to discover that there really was a deceptive spirit world and an actual devil; that we really were sinners that needed to be saved by Jesus Christ. What we came to understand was that the whole New Age plan to save the world was part of the very deception that Jesus warned would come at the time of the end (Matthew 24). We were stunned by the truth of the Bible and shocked at our own gullibility to have believed that we were “God” and “Christ.” We had been very sincere about our New Age beliefs, but we were sincerely wrong – as are Oprah and Tolle.

The New Age paradigm “shift” is a deceptive device that is being cleverly used by a very real spiritual Adversary who is out to deceive the world. One of the definitions of “shift” in Webster’s Dictionary is “a deceitful scheme or method; a trick.”[13] The New Age/New Spirituality “shift” advocated by Oprah and Tolle is such a “shift.” It is, in every sense of the word, diabolically “shifty.”

To be continued. . . .

1. Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (New York: Plume, 2005), paper band encircling book.
2. Neale Donald Walsch, Friendship with God: an uncommon dialogue (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1999), p. 295-6.
3. Tolle, A New Earth, p. 6-7.
4. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment (Novato, CA: Namaste, 1999), p. 104.
5. Brian McLaren, quote cited in Faith Undone by Roger Oakland (Silverton, OR: Lighthouse Trails, 2007), p. 11.
6. Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (New York: Harper Perennial, 1996), p. 32.
7. Marilyn Ferguson, The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1980), pp. 25-32.
8. Tolle, A New Earth, p. 21. Barbara Marx Hubbard lecture at Texas A & M University, September 11, 2002, information taken from The Aggie Daily, September 12, 2002. Warren Smith, Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel (Ravenna, OH: Conscience Press, 2002), pp. 16, 19.
9. Smith, Ibid.
10. “WorldFuture 2008: Seeing the Future Through New Eyes,” World Future Society conference brochure,
11. Brian McLaren, The Secret Message of Jesus: Uncovering the Truth that Could Change Everything (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 2006), p. 175.
12. Tolle, The New Earth, p. 7.
13. Websters New World Dictionary (New York: Websters New World Dictionaries, 1988).

Warren Smith is the author of Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church, The Light that was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Reinventing Jesus Christ: The New Gospel.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Brian McLaren to speak at World Future Society

"After emergence comes emersion."
--Teilhard de Chardin, The Phenomenon of Man (Harper, 1965), p. 309.

The World Future Society Annual Conference scheduled for July 26-28, 2008 in Washington, D.C. is featuring well-known Emergent leader Brian McLaren in a workshop called "The Future of the Religious Right." The conference promo bills this workshop as follows:

Political and media stereotypes in the United States often equate “religious” with “conservative,” but a new progressive reality is challenging the monologue of the Religious Right, coming from such groups as Sojourners, Emergent Village and renewed mainline congregations. We’ll explore the weak signals of change that are sounding across the religious landscape and how younger evangelicals are increasingly rejecting doomsday theology, preemptive war doctrine, the prosperity gospel, or a singular emphasis on individual salvation to focus on global climate change, genocide in Darfur, extinction of species, fair trade and ethical buying, exploitive employment practices, and community foresight. Three voices from the “emergent church” will explore this capacity of postmodern Christianity to embrace and redefine tradition, and further the cause of justice in the world.

Who should attend: Any futurist who feels that everything must change about religion and is curious about how progressive Christianity is a leading indicator of change.

What you’ll learn: Attendees will learn how to ground their leadership and foresight in the concerns of tomorrow’s spiritualities and relate religious concepts to futures thinking through a theology of hope.

How can this new knowledge be applied: Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of how postmodern spiritualities are reshaping conservative theologies and communities.

Diana Butler Bass, author, senior fellow, Cathedral College of the Washington National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.

Brian McLaren, pastor and thought leader for the emergent church; author, Laurel, Maryland

Mike Morrell, graduate fellow, Strategic Foresight, School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship, Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia

key words: religion, politics, globalization

issue areas: Values and Spirituality, Social and Cultural Trends [links added]

The World Future Society is a leading organization devoted to creating alternative future scenarios for planet Earth. According to Wikipedia, it has about 25,000 members in more than 80 countries.

Also listed on this year's conference program is evangelical leader Jay Gary, who has longtime associations with the World Future Society (see article written by Warren Smith entitled "Evangelicals and New Agers Together"). Gary was instrumental in writing the Perspectives course, which has trained an entire generation of missionaries in new theologies and practices.

Jay Gary and Brian McLaren have both been actively eschewing "doomsday" eschatologies, a fact which we have written about previously on Herescope (a very important read!). McLaren writes disparagingly of biblical prophecy, using extremely incendiary language and distortions:

"The Jesus of one reading of the Apocalypse brings us to a grim resignation: the world will get worse and worse, and finally this jihadist Jesus will return to use force, domination, violence, and even torture - the ultimate imperial tools - to vanquish evil and bring peace." (Everything Must Change, p. 146)

McLaren says that there needs to be a "rethinking" about eschatology, eradicating the belief about a Second Coming of Christ that is "characterized by violence, killing, domination, and eternal torture" (p. 144). He proposes an alternative Jesus of a "'flower child' theology" (although he doesn't like the term) protecting the "sacred ecosystem of God, which is the kingdom of God." (p. 142)

Surprisingly enough, creating alternative futures eschatology scenarios is not a new concept to the evangelical world. Evangelical leaders met together in the late 1970s for a series of two consultations on the future, and remarkably seemed to agree with featured speaker, Willis Harman, who was a leading Luciferian Theosophist and futurist closely associated with the World Future Society. Refer back to a series of posts ( also here, here, here and here) on Herescope in September 2005 for this unusual history.

Concerning the quotation at the top of today's post, refer to page 51 of the World Future Society conference brochure, where one can sign up to attend "The Future Evolution of Humanity, Consciousness, and the Human Mind," and learn "new modes of thinking and consciousness, more in tune with an evolving world and the future." Teilhard de Chardin's "Principle of Emergence" had to do with the consciousness of mankind breaking out collectively, creating an evolutionary convergence (a Noosphere built by spiritual formation) that would result in a "super-organism" of "collective mankind " (quotes from The Phenomenon of Man and The Future of Man). The term "emergent" itself is steeped in Teilhardian evolutionary ideology, and the modern New Age movement has popularized it to mean the manifestation of new examples of humanity's evolution towards this supposed collective consciousness.

Teilhard also proposed an alternative eschatology, an '"eschatological' vision" in which "in order that the Kingdom of God may come..., it is necessary, as an essential physical condition, that the human Earth should already have attained the natural completion of its evolutionary growth... that the ultra-human perfection which neo-humanism envisages for Evolution will coincide in concrete terms with the crowning of the Incarnation awaited by all Christians" (The Future of Man, p. 280), which achieves "God all in everyone" (The Phenomenon of Man, p. 310, italics in original).

The Truth:

"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." (John 14:1-4)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter: "The New Earth" or the New Life?


"The inspiration for the title of this book came from a Bible prophecy that seems more applicable now than at any other time in human history. It occurs in both the Old and the New Testament and speaks of the collapse of the existing world order and the arising of 'a new heaven and a new earth.'... We need to understand here that heaven is not a location but refers to the inner realm of consciousness. This is the esoteric meaning of the word, and this is also its meaning in the teachings of Jesus. Earth, on the other hand, is the outer manifestation in form, which is always a reflection of the inner. Collective human consciousness and life on our planet are intrinsically connected. 'A new heaven' is the emergence of a transformed state of human consciousness and 'a new earth' is its reflection in the physical realm. Since human life and human consciousness are intrinsically one with the life of the planet, as the old consciousness dissolves, there are bound to be synchronistic geographic and climatic natural upheavals in many parts of the planet, some of which we are already witnessing now."
--Eckhart Tolle, The New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Plume, 2005), p. 23 [emphasis in original]

The New Spirituality teaches a collective salvation of mankind based upon the restoration of paradise on earth. To recreate paradise mankind must first overcome his "collective insanity" (p. 15). This is precisely the point where a self-help psycho-spiritual message connects with the idea of saving the earth. If only mankind could get it right, then the earth will become right. Tolle explains it this way: "Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind." (p. 76)

Eckhart Tolle's book The New Earth is currently being taught with Oprah Winfrey on the Internet, as explained in the previous post. Tolle details an evolutionary purpose for mankind that will result in the transformation of the planet:

"Fulfilling your primary purpose is laying the foundation for a new reality, a new earth. Once that foundation is there, your external purpose becomes charged with spiritual power because your aims and intentions will be one with the evolutionary impulse of the universe." (p. 265)

"Then comes the reconciliation of outer and inner purpose: to being that essence - consciousness - into the world of form and thereby transform the world.... the reconciliation of the world and God." (p. 280)

This statement clearly indicates the belief that man is in charge of his own "reconciliation," however that comes to be redefined. This teaching is echoed by many Emergent leaders, including Brian McLaren in his new book Everything Must Change (Thomas Nelson, 2007). McLaren also teaches that man's mental dysfunctions have created a planetary "suicide machine." We must therefore collectively change our old destructive "framing story", i.e., what we believe, so that the earth can become a "holy ecosystem" (p. 273):

"So we must realize this: the suicidal framing story that dominates our world today has no power except the power we give it by believing it. Similarly, believing an alternative and transforming framing story may turn out to be the most radical thing any of us can ever do....

"Jesus proclaims that simply believing his good news brings salvation. This is 'salvation by grace through faith' in a planetary sense: if we believe that God graciously offers us a new way, a new truth, and a new life, we can be liberated from the vicious, addictive cycles of our suicidal framing stories.... (p. 270)

"And instead, we will live a life dedicated to replacing the suicide machine with a sacred ecosystem, a beautiful community, an insurgency of healing and peace, a creative global family, an unterror movement of faith, hope, and love." (p. 277)

This teaching is not the Gospel of Salvation message even though it uses similar words. This is the false gospel of a "new earth" which teaches that mankind can redeem the planet.

The Gospel of Salvation of Jesus Christ, is about new life. It is a radically different message from all other world religions. It is a personal message of hope for you. It is the only message that will truly transform.

The Truth:

In 1838 J.C. Philpot preached a message that explains the New Life. This is the Gospel of Salvation. It bears no resemblance to the New Earth gospel that Eckhart Tolle and Brian McLaren preach. It also bears no resemblance to the "suicidal framing story" alleged to be "conventional" Christian theology by McLaren.

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Col. 3:1, 2, 3

Until the eyes of our understanding are spiritually enlightened, and our heart touched by regenerating grace, we see, we know, we feel nothing savingly or experimentally [experientially, ed.] of the power of God in the salvation of the soul. We may be religious, very religious; serious, extremely serious; pious, decidedly pious; we may attend church or go to chapel, receive the sacrament or sit down to the ordinance, say our prayers or pray extempore, read the Scriptures and good books; and comparing our religious life with the profane conduct of many by whom we are surrounded, may please ourselves with the deceptive illusion that we are recommending ourselves to the favour of God, and when death shall close the scene, shall be rewarded with eternal life. And yet all this time we may be as destitute of the power of God in saving the soul, as ignorant of law and gospel, of condemnation or salvation, of what we are as sinners or what the Lord Jesus is to those who believe in his name, as the very beasts that perish. True religion must be wrought in the soul by the power of God. We are not saved because we are religious; but we are religious because we are saved.

"Who hath saved us, and called us" (2 Tim. 1:9) - saved before called, and called because saved. The grace that wrote our names in the Lamb's book of life, that gave our persons to the Son of God, that he might redeem us through the cross by his sufferings, blood-shedding, and death; the grace that is now in the heart of Jesus as sitting at the right hand of the Father in glory and majesty, - this same grace quickens our soul into spiritual life, convinces us of sin, gives us repentance, brings us to the foot of the cross, reveals in us a precious Saviour, and raises up a faith and hope and love in his name which both save and sanctify us unto life eternal. Thus we are not saved by anything of a religious nature which we can communicate to ourselves, or others communicate to us; but we are saved by the grace of God, and by the grace of God alone. "By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God." (Eph. 2: 8.) If, then, that grace never visit our heart with its regenerating power and its sanctifying influences, we may have all the religion that the flesh can be possessed of, in all its high doctrine or all its low doctrine; in all its strictness or all its laxness; in all its Churchism or all its Dissent; in all its Pharisaism or all its Antinomianism; and yet die under the wrath of God and have our portion with the damned.

Compare this fleshly religion in which thousands are nursed and wrapped up, and in which thousands contentedly live and die - compare, I say, this external service, this mere bodily exercise, without life or power; without faith or repentance, without love or hope, without divine teaching or heavenly testimony, with such language as I have just read from the inspired word, and which is now all but sounding in your ears. Ask people, aye, very strict and religious people, what they know about being dead and their life being hidden with Christ in God; about being risen with Christ, and seeking those things which are above; about setting their affection on things above and not on things on the earth; and what answer can they give? What do they know for themselves of a heartfelt, experimental, and divine religion like this? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Which, then, are we to accept as true religion - that which bears the stamp of man, or that which bears the stamp of God? that which unenlightened, unregenerated men, and even ministers, would impress on our minds and impose on our consciences, or that which the Holy Ghost has written down in the inspired word as a guide to the saints of God? I need not tell you which we should believe - whether we are to follow the true light which shines in the inspired page and guides the soul to heaven and God, or that ignis fatuus, that meteor-like will-o'-the-wisp which, issuing out of the corrupt heart of man, only plays around us with deceiving light to lead us into, and drown us in the bog of superstition, error, and self-righteousness....

The spring and fountain of all true religion, of all vital godliness is union with Christ. He is the head of the body, the Church; therefore, from him, and from him alone, all spiritual life comes into his mystical members. "I am come that they might have life." (John 10:10.) "I am the resurrection and the life." (John 11:25.) If, therefore, we have union with Christ - and without union with Christ we have no saving, sanctifying, or experimental religion - we shall have union with him, not only in what he is now at the right hand of the Father, but in all that he was whilst he was here below. As, then, the path of the Lord Jesus Christ to the right hand of the Father in glory was a path of suffering, sorrow, and death, and as in his case the cross went before the crown, so it must be with us. If we have any hope in our soul of being with Christ in the realms of eternal day; if we have any expectation of reigning with him in the life to come, and enjoying those pleasures which are at God's right hand for evermore; if we have any sweet persuasion that we shall be glorified with him and see him as he is face to face, which we never shall enjoy without vital union with him, - we must first be conformed to his image as manifested here below. I need hardly tell you that all those whom God foreknew are predestinated to the image, that is, the likeness of Christ, as the apostle so clearly testifies: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Rom. 8:29.) This conformity begins below, but is completed above: "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (2 Cor. 3:18.) This image or likeness of Christ is twofold: 1, His suffering image, as seen here below when he was "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," and, 2, His glorified image, in which he now appears at the right hand of the Father. "Ought not Christ," he himself said, "to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?" (Luke 24:26.) As, then, with Christ the Head, suffering and glory were firmly bound together by the will and decree of the Father, so it is with the members. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him." (2 Tim. 2:12.) "If so be we suffer with him that we may be also glorified together." (Rom. 8:17.)....

Christ rose from the dead for himself triumphant over death and hell. But he rose not only for himself that he might sit on his throne of glory according to the promise of the Father, but as the head of the Church, of that countless multitude, which when gathered together will not only exceed the stars in number, but outshine them in glory. Now as all these died with Christ when he died upon the accursed tree, and were mystically buried with him when he lay in the sepulchre; so when the mighty Jesus rose from the dead and issued from that gloomy tomb in which he had lain for three days and three nights, they at the same moment rose with him. We read therefore that God "hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:5, 6.) We here see the connection that there is between Christ's resurrection and our regeneration. "Hath quickened us," that is, made us alive, "together with Christ." When, then, life entered into the dead body of Christ in the tomb, it was the mystical quickening of all the members of his body, the sure and earnest pledge of their regeneration. Peter, therefore, says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." (1 Pet. 1:3.) As but for the death of Christ there could have been no atonement for sin, so but for his resurrection there could have been neither justification nor regeneration; for as "he was delivered for our offences, so he was raised again for our justification." (Rom. 4:25.) Regeneration, then, is the resurrection of the soul as the prelude to the resurrection of the body and soul together in the great day; and it is to be known in vital experience in the same way as death is made known. For as we die spiritually and experimentally with Christ under and by the law, so we rise spiritually and experimentally with him under and by the gospel. When Christ rose from the dead, the law had no more power over him. The law did all it could do in killing him. When he was upon the cross, the law discharged all its thunders and curses upon his devoted head. It condemned and slew him, and then the law could do no more; for it is with the law of God as with the law of man: when once it has inflicted its penalty and the criminal has died under that penalty, the law has done its office. It dies in killing. A criminal cannot be twice executed. Thus it was with Christ, and thus it was with the people of Christ: when the law had killed Christ, it was dead as regarded him, and never could touch him again. So when he rose from the dead, he rose free from all law charges, demands, and exactions; he rose as completely discharged from the penalties of the law as a criminal who goes out of prison when the Queen has signed his free pardon.

...But how is this to be made experimentally known? By some manifestation or discovery of a risen Christ to the soul. We read, "Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord." (John 20:20.) Why? Because they saw in him their Lord and their God, as Thomas saw and confessed. Their doubts and fears, their unbelief and infidelity were all gone, and they rejoiced in him with joy unspeakable and full of glory. So when the soul is blessed with any manifestation of Jesus as risen from the dead, and with a sweet testimony of its interest in his death and resurrection, and the conscience is purged in any measure by the application of atoning blood so as to deliver it from the guilt of sin and the curse of the law, and bring it into the liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free, it rises experimentally with him; that is to say, it rises out of and from under the condemnation of the law and conscience, and enters into the blessedness of salvation by free grace and by free grace alone.

[J.C. Philpot, "Death and Resurrection, or Spiritual Convictions and Heavenly Affections," Preached at North Street Chapel, Stamford, on Lord's Day Morning, June 27, 1858]

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What is Oprah Teaching About EASTER?

"The song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified."
-- "Jesus" of A Course in Miracles

During this Easter week, it is important to understand what Oprah Winfrey, Marianne Williamson and Eckhart Tolle are teaching about Jesus Christ and Easter.

This week and daily throughout this whole year, Oprah has enlisted Marianne Williamson to teach from the A Course in Miracles, on her Oprah & Friends XM Satellite Radio. A Course in Miracles is reputedly "new revelation" that was channeled from a "Jesus" through a New York psychologist by the name of Helen Schucman.

Oprah is also in the midst of a ten-week New Age Internet class that she is co-teaching with "spiritual teacher" Eckhart Tolle, which is based on his new book The New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Plume, 2006). According to Tolle, Jesus' teaching of "salvation" means "a radical transformation of human consciousness" (p. 13) and the process of "rebirth" is "reincarnation." (p. 252)

The "Jesus" of A Course in Miracles teaches the following things about the Easter story:

  • "This is Palm Sunday, the celebration of victory and the acceptance of the truth. Let us not spend this holy week brooding on the crucifixion of God's Son, but happily in the celebration of his release. For Easter is the sign of peace, not pain. A slain Christ has no meaning." (ACIM Text, p. 425)
  • "In you the knowledge lies, ready to be unveiled and free from all the terror that kept it hidden. There is no fear in love. The song of Easter is the glad refrain the Son of God was never crucified. Let us lift up our eyes together, not in fear but in faith." (ACIM Text, p. 428)
  • "The crucifixion did not establish the atonement; the resurrection did. Many sincere Christians have misunderstood this." (ACIM Text, p. 36)
  • "For the undoing of the crucifixion of God's Son is the work of redemption, in which everyone has a part of equal value." (ACIM Text, p. 209)
  • "Sacrifice is a notion totally unknown to God. It arises solely from fear, and frightened people can be vicious." (ACIM Text, p. 37)
  • "The journey to the cross should be the last 'useless journey.'" (ACIM Text, p. 52)
  • "Do not make the pathetic error of 'clinging to the old rugged cross.'" (ACIM Text, p. 52)
  • "The Atonement is the final lesson he [man] need learn, for it teaches him that, never having sinned, he has no need of salvation." (ACIM Text, p. 237) [all emphasis added]

Are you a spiritual seeker? This is not what Easter is about. This is not what salvation is.

The Truth:

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?" -John 11:25,26

Here is what J.C. Philpot preached, in part, on these verses many years ago:

And I would say to you, "Believest thou this?" Believest thou that though thou art condemned by law, condemned by conscience, condemned by the feelings of thine own soul, as being much shut up in darkness and death, there is in thee some living faith in the Son of God?

Dost thou believe that Jesus is the Resurrection? What evidence hast thou that He is? Has He quickened thy soul? Has he convinced thee of thy sins and given thee repentance for them? Has he brought thee out of the world? Has he turned thee from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan unto God? Has he raised thee from the dead--that death in sin or death in profession in which thou once walkedst? Dost thou ever feel any movements of divine life in thy soul, such as sighing, crying, groaning, hungering, thirsting, longing, panting and mourning? Hast thou any spirit of prayer in thy breast? Any earnestness, sincerity, self-abhorrence? Hast thou any contrition, brokenness, humility, softness of spirit and tenderness of conscience? Hast thou any godly fear working in thy bosom in buying and selling, in your daily walk, in your families, in your business, in the various matters and movements of your dally life? Do you find a fountain of life in you to depart from the snares of death, and some power and strength communicated to fight against your corruptions and overcome them? Has Jesus at any time or in any measure manifested Himself as a suitable Saviour to your soul? I say suitable, for that is sometimes the first view, which we have of Him. Has He in any measure drawn out a faith in Himself as such, and in the power and experience of that faith you have received and embraced Him as the Son of God?

Believest thou that He is the Resurrection? Why do you believe it, and that Jesus has risen from the dead? What evidence have you of that cardinal doctrine of our most holy faith, that vital, glorious truth, which shines in the world like the sun in the sky to illuminate the whole page of revelation with its gracious and glorious beams? Is this your evidence that you have seen Him as such by the eye of faith, and life flowed through it into your soul? Then you have a real, experimental evidence, though perhaps not a very sure one in your own feelings, that He has quickened you into divine life; that He raised you up with Himself when He rose from the dead, and that you are a member of His mystical body.

Do bear in mind that these things can only be received and realised by faith. Your faith may be small and yet blessedly real. But you say, "The law condemns me, my conscience accuses me, my sins are a heavy burden to me, under which at times I seem almost ready to sink, and I do feel such thorough inability to bring myself any relief, such complete helplessness and miserable impotency to deliver myself out of my state, that it seems as if I shall die in my sins. O that pardon would reach my breast." But is there no longing look to the risen Son of God, no ardent cry, that He would manifest Himself and drop a word into your soul? Is there no breathing in your heart after Jesus that He would graciously come over the hills and mountains of your sin and shame, and break in upon you with some beams of heavenly light? Have you never seen Him suitable to your case? Have you never beheld his Person by the eye of faith as the great and glorious God-Man? Have you never seen the efficacy of His atoning blood, the beauty and blessedness of His justifying righteousness, and have you never heard some gracious words from His mouth? Has His holy word never been opened up to your mind so that you have seen light in God’s light, and believed what you read from the sacred, solemn power, which attended it to your Soul? Have you never been blessed under the preached word, and found faith raised up to receive and believe what dropped with sweetness into your ear and heart? This was faith; for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Then, though you feel dead, as slain by the sentence of the law and the verdict of your own conscience, yet if you find any living faith in the Son of God as the resurrection, you shall live. The Lord has declared it, and His word will stand when the world is in a blaze, "Thou shalt live." Thou shalt live here by a life of faith in the Son of God. Thy small faith shall be increased, thy hope be enlarged, and thy scanty love, which now steals through the weeds almost unseen, like a little tiny brooklet, will open into a stream, and before thou art laid upon a dying bed, or perhaps there, thy peace shall flow like a river. It is hard to believe this, for we look so much to self and so lose sight of the freeness and fullness of sovereign superabounding grace. But do weigh these things in the balance of the sanctuary, and especially by the word of the Lord in our text. Do you not find in your own bosom these two things-death and life? Your own death as a condemned sinner and your life, which is hid with Christ in God. Then, by this death and by this life you have a manifested interest in the promise, "Though he were dead, yet shall he live."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Dark Side of Jealousy

"I am raising up an abrasive time that will provoke you and produce My jealousy in you so you rise up with a new war mantle against the forces of hell in your midst. I will raise the abrasion! I will provoke MY people to action."
--Chuck Pierce's latest prophecy on The Elijah List, 3/8/08 [emphasis in original].

There is another side to this jealousy issue (see previous post). Those who believe that they are gods, little gods, or agents of "God's" transformation on earth, may come to see themselves as imbued with the deistic attribute of wielding instruments for war and destruction. This "jealousy" isn't about peace, harmony and love, as is evident from the quotation above. When reading this "prophecy" through the lens of Dominionism, troubling questions come to mind. For example, just how will the "forces of hell in your midst" come to be defined by those who are wearing the mantle of war?

Indeed, the rest of Chuck Pierce's prophecy talks about confrontations, abrasive circumstances, change, power, enemies, etc.:

"I will create a strong people that will rule in every sphere of authority. Spheres of authority will be rearranged in these next 40 days....

"I control the end from the beginning. There is nothing that happens in the earth realm that is outside of MY dominion. Agree that My will will be done on earth as it is in Heaven this day. Look up and see Me as the King who reigns. See Heaven's highway forming in the earth realm around you.....

"Nations are hanging in the balance! My Kingdom government will now begin to rise up and form to influence the government of the earth...."
[emphasis in original, links added]

Bill Hamon, another false prophet touted by the Elijah List, has updated his timeline prophecies (see 2/2/08 post) in a recent message announcing "The Beginning of the Third and Final Apostolic Reformation." He wrote that "every saint is called to demonstrate the Gospel of the Kingdom (not just the Gospel of salvation) in their sphere of influence." This is a clear example of the emerging new gospel of Dominionism. Note how the Gospel of salvation is denigrated:

This Reformation will bring about a paradigm shift in the goal and purpose of the Church. Most Evangelical and Pentecostal theologians see no purpose for the Church other than to win more souls to Christ so they are made ready for Heaven. Now we are receiving revolutionary, reformed thinking from the heart and mind of God. The expanded goal and vision of the Third Reformation Church is to co-labor with Christ in His passionate desire for the fulfillment of Revelation 11:15:

"...there were loud voices in Heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'"...

Christ's Third Apostolic Reformation and purpose is to use His restored Church to fulfill God's original mandate to mankind--subdue all things, take dominion and fill the earth with a mankind race in God's own image and likeness, bring more and more of God's Kingdom and will to earth, and transform nations into sheep nations (those who do the works of Christ. See Matthew 25:31-46). This is the end result of the saints taking the Gospel of the Kingdom into every aspect of society.... [color and emphasis in original]

End Times eschatology is being revised by these prophets to mean a literal rule and reign on earth. Under a subsection titled "Make the Transition," Hamon states:

Those whom Jesus has made kings and priests unto God shall be the overcomers who reign with Christ on the earth. Please do not get stuck arguing and debating over what will happen during the seven years. Let us set our vision and goal beyond those seven years to Revelation 11:15. It is the time to give all of our life and labor to be co-workers together with Christ in demonstrating and enforcing His Kingdom in all the earth. We will not cease until we can join the voices in Heaven victoriously, declaring that the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord Jesus and His anointed one, the Church....

Begin now to earnestly pray, prepare and work for God's Kingdom to come, and His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. [color and emphasis in original]

The Truth:

The teaching about creating heaven on earth can be found in both the New Age/New Spirituality and the New Apostolic Reformation/Emergent movements. The teaching claims that God's Kingdom will be built on earth, Armageddon will be bypassed, and Paradise restored. The biblical phrase from the Lord's Prayer, cited by Bill Hamon in his last sentence quoted directly above, now carries the meaning "as above, so below."

This idea comes from Hermeticism; it is not a Christian, nor a biblical teaching. It should not surprise us that a doctrine imported into neoevangelicalism from the occult world would begin to bear evil fruit. Wherever one finds the utopian language of peace, love and harmony on earth, it quickly secedes into warfare and Dominionism language!

Pastor Larry DeBruyn, author of the new book Church on the Rise: Why I am not a Purpose-Driven Pastor, has explained what this heresy means in a new article reprinted with permission below.


Thy kingdom come--"as above, so below."

"As above, so below."[1] That's how the New Spirituality defines reality. Between the realities of time and eternity, light and darkness, heaven and earth, material and immaterial, God and man--there's no real distinction or difference. All is one. As above, so below. But before dealing with this concept of spirituality as it relates to the teaching of Scripture and Eugene Peterson's inclusion of it in The Message, some knowledge about the phrase's origin and meaning will be helpful.

The saying seems to have originated within a collection of fourteen books known as the Corpus Hermeticum. According to James A. Herrick, "These Hermetic writings . . . were based on the systems of various philosophers and teachers in Alexandria, Egypt, between A.D. 150-300."[2] Herrick quotes Wayne Shumaker's statement that, "Hermeticism was basically a Greek contemplative system developed on Egyptian soil."[3] The goal of Hermeticism is to realize, through the practice of physical exercises and the procurement of secret knowledge, a spiritual evolution of soul to ultimately become, as in the case of the legendary and mythical Hermes Trismegistus (i.e., "thrice great"), a god. One of the hermetical writings, The Emerald Tablet, contains the first known mention of the maxim, "As above, So below." So what does this ancient- gnostic- philosophical- contemplative phrase, commonly employed to define the essence of New Age spirituality, mean?

Dennis W. Hauck translates the phrase as follows: "Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracle of the One Thing."[4] Note the upper case letters. As the letter "G" is capitalized in God's name, so are, "Below . . . Above . . . [and] One Thing." It is obvious therefore, that the phrase assigns unity and divinity to "everything" that exists. This concept of reality, it is believed, holds, "the key to all mysteries. . . . Macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom, the atom is the same as . . . and so on, ad infinitum."[5] As quoted by Warren Smith in his book Deceived On Purpose, a New Age book defines the saying as follows: "This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one. Heaven and Earth, spirit and matter, the invisible and the visible worlds form a unity to which we are intimately linked."[6] Thus, the phrase obviously teaches pantheism-panentheism, the worldview underlying the religious conglomerate of what we know to be eastern-mystical-new-age spirituality.[7] That's why Eugene Peterson's continued use of the phrase in his rewrite of the Bible, The Message, is troubling.

The Message reads, "Our Father in heaven, / Reveal who you are. / Set the world right; / Do what's best-- as above, so below."[Emphasis mine, 8] At least three issues, and/or problems, arise for reason of Peterson's injection of this mystical and occult saying into the Lord's prayer.

First, why would the paraphraser use such a phrase--so tainted by, associated with, and sourced in a pantheistic and magical worldview--in the first place? Because of the phrase's occult associations, it should have been given no place in the Bible, especially since the Law forbids intentional contact with that world (Deuteronomy 18:9-13). Being the erudite and studied man that he is, surely Peterson must be aware of the phrase's occult undertones. So why would he include it in his version of God's Word?

Second, we should note how Peterson punctuates the words, as above, so below. A dash precedes the phrase. Grammatically, a dash may be used, "To add emphasis to parenthetical material or to mark an emphatic separation between parenthetical material and the rest of the sentence."[9] As such, Peterson makes the phrase to function independent of the request, "Thy will be done . . .." Knowing Peterson to be a most literate man, what "message" was he trying to communicate by separating the phrase from, or making it parenthetical to, Jesus' basic instruction on praying for God's will? Does he mean that the phrase describes as Hauck puts it, "One Thing"? Does Peterson not agree that in His teaching on prayer, Jesus distinguished the two different realities, or spheres, of "earth" and "heaven"?

For the sake of argument, let's assume that "earth" and "heaven" are "One Thing," one reality. Such a belief would make Jesus' teaching on prayer irrelevant. If above and below, heaven and earth, are "One Thing," then why should any disciple needlessly pray for the Father's will to be done "on earth as it is in heaven." If there be no distinction between earth and heaven, then one will would possess one world. As such, prayer would be reduced to a meditative exercise pursued to realize the interconnectedness of below and above, of earth and heaven, and this is the very intent of meditation and contemplation in New Age religion!

Third, adding such an occult phrase to God's Word is troublesome, if not downright alarming. Moses warned Israel, "You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2; See 4:5.). Ironically, this second Law (Deutero means "second") was given by God to Israel just as the nation was preparing to enter Canaan, a land filled with a magical religion devoted to occult arts and idolatrous practices.

So there you have it! Peterson includes a phrase in the Lord's Prayer (as above, so below) that nuances a connection to the forbidden world of the occult, a world which God forbade Israel to have contact with (Deuteronomy 18:9 ff.). All of us would do well to pay attention to Agur's prophecy in Proverbs: "Every word of God is tested; / He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. / Do not add to His words / Lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar" (Proverbs 30:5-6).

About attempts to unify spiritual reality into a conglomerate-cosmic whole (as above, so below), we ask, "What would Jesus think (WWJT)?" John's Gospel provides clear indication about what Jesus thinks; and that is, cosmic reality is not composed of one monistic whole. By His claim not to be from "earth," but to be from "above," Jesus indicated that there is not one reality, but two: the world "above," the abode of God, the place He reveals to us as heaven; and the world "below," the abode of man, the place we know as earth. About Himself, Jesus announced, "He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all" (John 3:31). Again John records Jesus to have said to the Pharisees, "You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins" (John 8:23-24). In these statements Jesus declared that, "he and they emerge from two entirely antithetical realms."[10] Then as another commentator put it, "An abyss separates them from Him . . .."[11]

ABC. For reason of the abyss, we need birth from above through Christ. Twice Jesus said to Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3, 7). The words "born again" mean to be born from above. Obviously, the new birth, regeneration, does not come from below for, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh . . .." (John 3:6a). Salvation never comes from developing something within or below. Thus, we can see, to coin Kipling's phrase, that "above is above" and "below is below," and never the twain shall meet--except of course, in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we are confronted with the plethora of teachings and systems of the New Age/New Spirituality, we will do well to obey Paul's injunction to the Colossians: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him" (Not in us!) "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:8-9, KJV).

[1] Ronald S. Miller, Editor, As Above, So Below: Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life (Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc., 1992).
[2] James A. Herrick, The Making of the New Spirituality, The Eclipse of the Western Religious Tradition (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2003) 338.
[3] Ibid.
[4] "Hermeticism," Wikipedia Another translation similarly reads, "That . . . which is Above is like that which is Below and that which is Below is like that which is Above, to accomplish the Miracle of Unity." See Christopher Warnock, Esq., "Hermes Trismegistus: Hermetic Philosophy, Astrology & Magic"
[5] Ibid.
[6] Miller, As Above, So Below quoted by Warren Smith, Deceived On Purpose, The New Age Implications of the Purpose-Driven Church (Magalia, California: Mountain Stream Press, 2004) 32.
[7] To believe that God is everything is pantheism. God is not the mosquito that bites me on a camping trip. Neither is God in everything, which is panentheism. God is not in the big landscape rock that decorates my neighbor's front yard. To believe that God is everything, or in everything, contradicts the biblical theology that God is individual, personal, and separate from His creation. Pantheism-panentheism is the worldview which lays at the root of idolatry (Compare Exodus 20:4-5a, Deuteronomy 4:15-19, and Romans 1:18-23).
[8] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2002) 1337.
[9] "Basic Manual of Style," The Random House College Dictionary, Laurence Urdang, Editor In Chief (New York: Random House Inc., 1975) 1562.
[10] D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1991) 342.
[11] Frederick Louis Godet, Commentary on the Gospel of John, Volume II (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1881) 98. Of the difference between Jesus and the religious Pharisees, Westcott also wrote: "He and they belonged essentially to two different regions; the spring of their life, the sphere of their thoughts, were separated from the spring and sphere of His by an infinite chasm." See B. F. Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1950) 130.

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" (1 Timothy 4:1)