Oprah, Modern-Day False Prophetess: Critiquing The New Earth Movement, Pt. 1

At present, I have a few ongoing series on Pisteuomen (e.g. Images of Antiquity, Studies in Mark and Thoughts On Adoption) and today I am going to add one to the list. This series might be surprising to some but I think it is an important issue. The title of this series will be "Critiquing The New Earth Movement". If you are unaware, The New Earth Movement is a religious trend that is being set and established by Oprah Winfrey and her pal, Eckhart Tolle. Both are celebrities, not educated religious scholars but as you and I know, with enough fame and money, often comes the ability to can convince many gullible people. Their new movement seeks to "awaken" and "enlighten" people to the power within. They claim that at this point in human history, we are in a position like never before, because we know how to transcend our evolutionary roots. If nothing else, this alone seems quite arrogant to me.

Anyway, because so many people are reading their books and watching their meditative webcasts (it went from like 2-million the first week to over 11-million the second week) and because they have launched an all-out but very subtle attack on The Gospel, I want to do what I can to expose the movement. Thus, I am going to be working through the book (among other things) and offering critiques of it. More than anything, though, as I said, I want to expose the movement for what it is. So, in this first installation, all I want to do is show Christians how Winfrey and Tolle are slowly pulling the wool over Christians' eyes.

The way that they are fooling people is at once, subtle and devastating. For example, on Tolle's website, he readily but not in a hateful manner, leads people into doubt about the witness, authority and reliability of Jesus, the Early Christian movement and the New Testament. Here is a question that is posed to him: "Dear Eckhart, I have been wanting to ask you this for months: What are your thoughts on the New Testament? It appears that you believe certain parts were add-ons, or apart from the essence of the teaching. Are there any parts in particular? And why?" Tolle answers: "The New Testament contains deep spiritual truth as well as distortions. Those distortions are of two kinds. Some are due to a misunderstanding of Jesus’ teaching, others arose because people had an agenda (wanting to fit Jesus into their preconceived notions, wanting to make converts etc.). At some point, if there is another book, I may write about this in more detail. But you can find all this out for yourself. When you are present, you access your inner knowing and you will sense what is true and what was added on or distorted."

Assuredly, I will refer to this quote more in the future. For now, however, all I want to do is point out how Tolle 1) Attempts to cast doubt on Christ, the first Christians and the New Testament, and 2) Mixes Christian language with Buddhist language (e.g. "misunderstanding of Jesus' teaching", "you can find all this out for yourself", "When you are present", "inner knowing", etc.). Indeed, the entire New Earth Movement is, in large part, an attempt to be pluralistic (to mix ideas from various religions together), especially between Buddhism and Christianity.

Don't believe me? Here are a few quotes from the first few pages of the book A New Earth:

"Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from then how to live. The Buddha is said to have given a “silent sermon” once during which he held up a flower and gazed at it"(6).

"The lotus flower is a central symbol of Buddhism and a white bird, the dove, signifies the Holy Spirit in Christianity. They have been preparing the ground for a more profound shift in planetary consciousness that is destined to take place in the human species. This is the spiritual
awakening that we are beginning to witness now" (8).

"The messengers–Buddha, Jesus, and others, not all of them known–were humanity’s early flowers. They were precursors, rare and precious beings" (8).

"According to the Buddha, the human mind in its normal state generates dukkha, which can be translated as suffering, unsatisfactoriness, or just plain misery. He sees it as a characteristic of the human condition. Wherever you go, whatever you do, says the Buddha, you will encounter dukkha, and it will manifest in every situation sooner or later. According to Christian teachings, the normal collective state of humanity is one of “original sin” (10).

"In the teachings of Jesus, it is salvation, and in Buddhism, it is the end of suffering. Liberation and awakening are other terms used to describe this transformation" (13).

As you can see from this handful of quotes, Tolle is trying ever-so sneakily to blend Buddhism and Christianity into one. Of course, this is logically and theologically impossible at the root of either religous group. Christians are Christians and not Buddhists because they believe and live differently than Buddhists and vice versa. As I continue to expose the many fallacies and untruths of the false prophetess Oprah and her new cult, I will have much more to say about this. In the meantime, don't be swayed.


  1. Hey Michael,

    I honestly don't think it is all that big of a deal. Obviously I don't agree with O or ET (no reference intended to our beloved little alien!), but neither do I think there message is all that harmful to Christianity. They are opening up the question of spirituality, a question that most churches are not equipped to answer b/c they have no clue what it means.

    O/ET may simply be moving into a nice little niche market to make some $$$. However, the market is only there b/c the church doesn't have a clue what the hell it means to be a spiritual seeker.

  2. Jonathon,

    I get what you are saying but I really do disagree with you; I think this is a very big deal. I think many Christians are being mislead.

    As for the Church, I know you are pretty frustrated with it right now and from your other blog posts, I sense a lot of cynicism towards it all. As for me, I do not share your sentiments, though, I believe that some of your frustrations are very legit and on target.

    I think they are doing this to make money but it really is more than that. And as for the Church not being spiritual enough or teaching/living/modeling correct spirituality, well, that's always been an issue and always will be. The challenge is to do the best we can in all of these areas while striving to glorify God and worshipping in Spirit and Truth.

    Thanks for sharing, even though I disagree with you to a large degree.

  3. J,

    I would also disagree that "the market is only there because the Church doesn't know have a clue.." In fact, other religions have always been around, which is not the Church's fault; the fact is, some people simply will reject the God of the Bible for various reasons. It's not all the Church's fault.

  4. I'm with Jon on this one. I'm not too concerned about what the false prophets are doing outside the church, as much as I am concerned with the lack of solid preaching and teaching inside. I think the church needs to "clean the inside" first.

    more exegitical, expository preaching. hey, if you can't preach, just read the Bible for crying out loud.


  5. hey jon, what are your thoughts on mark driscoll?

    he seems to be doing a good job at presenting the gospel to seekers w/o comprimising the message.


  6. Chris,

    Thanks for visiting Pisteuomen and commenting. I see your point here but where I think you're wrong is that this is creeping into the Church. The whole point of writing the post is to clear issues up for Christians, many who are young in the faith (even though they may be old; or those on spiritual milk). So many Christian women watch Oprah. I am a pastor and I know this for a fact; Oprah is a huge deal. So, in this way, she is making her way into the Church. As a teacher and pastor, my job is to expose the issues. If we overlook them, I believe we have greatly erred.

  7. Michael,
    Wow, I didn't know Oprah was that huge in the church. In my circles, people don't watch Oprah, or much TV at all. I'm in the CRC, and prior to that I was in the OPC (you down w/ OPC?) When my family moves to down South, we're planning to join a PCA.

    These churches are usually very solid. Children are catechized, and the Bible is preached expositorily. Creeds are recited, etc.

    The thing is though, is that these churches are usually not full of new Christians or "seekers." I'm sure churches where there is a lot of growth need some good ol' fashioned cultural apolgetics.

    What kind of church are you in?


  8. I beleive that this is a very big problem. Eckhart Tolle and Oprah are luring Christians away from the true faith by repackaging Christ. His definiton of Christ is anti biblical yet he uses the name with authority. It is a slow and methodical seduction by the evil one. He claims there is no such thing as sin. If people buy this which they are by the millions then the avenue of saving the lost by repentace is no lonnger relevent to them. It is more important than ever to know and understand the bible and to have a right relationship with God. If you were to check out the message boards at Oprah's site you would be astouned at the number of people claiming to be bible beleiving Christians are melding the two together.(the bible and Eckhart's teaching in his book) They are oil and water but these women cannot see or hear the truth. They are blinded and the ears of their understanding are deaf. After reading the boards I finally understand why the church is in the state it is in. This is the emergant movement taking on full steam. Now I really understand how it can be possible to merge all world releigions. As a Christian it scares me to think of the persecution that is coming to us but I must keep in mind that God knows all that is going on. Jesus death on the cross defeated death and the devil. It is finished. Deb

  9. Deb,

    You have some excellent insights. While I disagree in parcel about your comments on the emergent Church, I do believe it is not too much of a stretch to say that some emergent persons/congregations have or can degenerate into this. There are some good things about that movement.

    You are certainly right about Christians being fooled; I think Jon and Chris are overlooking this too much.

    To pick up on something else you said, I do think that Christians will face this type of subtle persecution to an even greater degree in days to come.

    You are on to something here, I hope that I can keep exposing untruths inherent in this movement. Thanks for commenting and interacting, I hope you will continue to.