Your Brains at the Door part 3
of New Teachings
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
May 25, 2008
message series examines several of the spiritual concepts that are
dominant in our society but are contrary to Biblical teaching. In
particular, we are looking at the spirituality being promoted by Oprah
Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle in their webinar based on Tolle’s book, “A
New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.” The videos used are not
available on the Sunrise website. However, you may still be able to
find them on iTunes or YouTube. In the event that you do find them, the
start times for the clips are included in the notes below.]
Over the past couple of
weeks we’ve been looking at some of the teachings of the most powerful
and most influential woman in the world… Oprah Winfrey. And we’ve been
focusing in on a ten week Internet class she just finished up
partnering with the New Age author Eckhart Tolle who wrote the book “A
New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.”
So far we’ve
looked at eight of the claims that they’ve been promoting, and we’ve
given a Biblical response to each of them. You can find those
summarized in your notes this morning.
But you might be
wondering, why Oprah? Why are you attacking Oprah? Well, we’re not
trying to attack Oprah here. As we’ve talked about, she’s done some
pretty incredible things with her life. But that doesn’t mean that we
shouldn’t examine and evaluate her teachings. Especially when it comes
to issues of spirituality.
James 3:1 (NIV)
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you
know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
and Eckhart Tolle have set themselves up as teachers… and through this
Internet class they’ve been teaching a couple million people every
week. And through her TV show, Oprah teaches 15-20 million people
daily. So when you’re dealing with someone with that much influence
who’s making the types of claims that she’s making, then we really have
to take a look at it. We have to see what she’s promoting and we have
to determine if what she’s saying is true or not.
checked out all ten weeks of the classes. And they did have some good
things to say. But that’s not what we’re talking about here this
morning. We’re talking about their false claims… the claims that
contradict what the Bible teaches.
Now, in the past… and we’ll
do it again in the future… we’ve given some logical truths that the
Bible is trustworthy. We don’t trust the Bible just because it’s the
Bible; we believe the Bible because we’ve discovered it to be true
rationally, logically, and experientially. So we’re not dealing with
those ground floor issues during this series. We’re starting with the
understanding that the Bible is true and is a reliable guide for
everyday life and for spirituality… for connecting with God.
Eckhart Tolle and Oprah both use the Bible to promote what they’re
teaching, anyway. So we’re going to look at their teaching to see if it
really does line up or not.
Ephesians 4:14 (NLT)
We won’t be
tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be
influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound
like the truth.
Of course, if you do conclude that what Oprah
and Eckhart Tolle are teaching is a bundle of lies or empty
philosophies or high-sounding nonsense, then they’ve already come up
with a response for you and for everyone who disagrees with them. Take
Video – Week 9 from 32:03 to 32:53
- If you are reading this book and you find it meaningful... you have
already begun to awaken. If you haven't, the book will be
So if you don’t understand them or
you don’t agree with what they’re saying, apparently it’s because
you’re not awakened yet. So at the risk of showing my lack of
awareness, let’s look at the first claim… number 9 in your notes…
Video – Week 1 from 45:09 to 46:21
- "I let go of the guilt of did I make it to church or I didn't make it
to church... this force that we call God cannot be contained in a
church.... but if church allows you to feel like you are being of
service, then use it that way.")
be a healthy spiritual person all by yourself
just saw in that video that as far as Oprah and Eckhart are concerned,
being part of a church is optional. If it works for you, great. But you
don’t need it. They consider faith to be a solitary, individual journey
that could take place as part of a church but could take place anywhere
else, too. Being part of a church is optional.
But think about
it. What’s that going to do? That’s going to remove your support
system, that’s going to remove your accountability, that’s going to
remove your encouragement. That’s going to rob you of the opportunity
to contribute toward the growth of other. And it’s going to prevent you
from being equipped to deal with strange new beliefs. Your spiritual
food will come from people like Oprah with no one there to clarify what
Scripture really teaches.
So here’s the biblical response…
design is for believers to worship and grow together
Oprah and Eckhart were right in a couple things they said. It’s true
that God can’t be contained within the walls of a church building.
God’s much too great and powerful for that. He’s omnipresent, which
means He exists everywhere. And it’s also true that God doesn’t want to
be worshiped or served only on Sunday. He does expect us to devote
everything we are and everything we have to Him. And that means we
worship beyond Sunday morning. We serve beyond Sunday morning. They go
beyond a once a week thing for us and become a way of life for us.
So they were right in that. But they weren’t so right in minimizing the
importance of being part of a church family.
I know that sounds self-serving coming from a pastor. Of course I want
you to be here. But it’s not just me saying it. Take a look, first of
all, at the pattern of the early Church when it was first formed in
Acts 2… we’ve looked at this passage before…
Acts 2:42-47 (NLT)
the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to
fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and
to prayer… And all the believers met together in one place and shared
everything they had… They worshiped together at the Temple each day,
met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great
joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill
of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship
those who were being saved.
Do you see how much they were
together? Do you see how much they depended on “togetherness” in their
spiritual journey. For them, being part of the family of believers was
not optional… it was necessary. It was crucial to their spiritual
And then take a look at what Hebrews 10:25 says…
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)
let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but
encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is
What are Oprah and Eckhart saying? They’re saying
that it’s okay to neglect meeting together as believers. Of course you
can’t miss their class, but you can certainly drop out of church.
According to them faith is an individual journey.
But the truth
is, it’s also a group journey. It’s a community journey. We need others
and they need us. Within the context of the church family… the church
community… we support each other, we encourage each other, we celebrate
with each other, we cry with each other, and we spur one another on to
greater heights. We worship and we grow together. That’s the way God
designed His Church to operate.
Video – Week 7 from 7:20 to 9:45
- "There's suddenly a peace that comes when the emptiness that is left
behind by the form that has dissolved is not resisted internally. And
then through that empty space there comes what the Bible calls the
'peace that passes all understanding.'")
what the Bible calls the peace that passes all understanding. But let’s
deal with the claim first…
peace of god is the result of acceptance
you’re suffering in life… maybe something’s happened to you, maybe
something’s been done to you, maybe you’ve caused the problem yourself…
if you’re suffering in life, then Tolle says that the way you
experience the peace of god is to accept what’s happening to you. You
come to a point of acceptance.
But I’ve mentioned to you before
about how during these Internet classes, they continually quote Bible
verses but take them out of context. They twist them to mean whatever
they want them to mean. In this case, they reference the Bible verse in
Philippians chapter 4 that talks about the peace of God that goes
beyond our understanding and they conclude that the way you experience
this peace is to accept what’s happening.
But that peace is not about acceptance… it’s about trust.
peace of God is the result of trust
know that sounds like semantics (but then, I've always been prone to
"some antics"). But I think this is an important distinction. It's not
about acceptance. It's about trust.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the
peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So you don’t simply
accept what’s happening to you. In fact, we’re told to talk to God
about our suffering. Ask Him to help. Don’t fret and worry… don’t be
anxious… take your concerns directly to God. And then trust Him. And He
will give you a peace that will guard you and bring you through safely
on the other side.
But again, it’s not about acceptance. It’s about trust.
Video – Week 1 from 32:26 to 33:32
(Tolle - "If there's no shift in consciousness we will go downhill very
hope of the world is a higher consciousness
you just heard Eckhart explain, he believes that all the atrocities of
the 20th century… and there were plenty of them… all of them were the
result of a lower consciousness. The people causing the atrocities
simply weren’t aware yet. They hadn’t awakened. And so according to
Eckhart Tolle what the world needs is for more and more people to
achieve a higher consciousness.
Here, let me show you something.
I brought a jar of water with me this morning. Anybody here want to
take a drink? No, it’s pretty brown, isn’t it?
Let me ask you,
why do you think this water is brown? Here’s two options… could it be
that this water has simply not experienced a higher consciousness yet?
It hasn’t awakened so it’s still operating on a lower consciousness?
Or… is it more likely that this jar of water is contaminated with some
You see, the problem with this world with a lower
consciousness. It has everything to do with sin. Sin has contaminated
all of creation. The inclination toward sin is what led people to
commit those terrible atrocities. It’s what leads you to do things that
you know are wrong. We have been contaminated with sin, and we are
helpless to cleanse ourselves.
James 1:14-15 (NLT)
comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These
desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow,
it gives birth to death.
Now, I guess I should mention that
Oprah doesn’t believe in sin. Earlier this year she promoted another
New Age program called “A Course in Miracles”. And one of the teachings
of that course is that there is no sin. So if Oprah doesn’t believe
that sin exists, it’s no wonder that she doesn’t think sin is the
But sin does exists, and it is the problem. So what’s the Biblical
hope of the world is Jesus
came to take care of the sin problem. You and I couldn’t do it. God had
to become a man and enter into His own creation to take care of the
problem for us.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT)
Yet it was our weaknesses
he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought
his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was
beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All
of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to
follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.
Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sin. He died in our place. He and
He alone is our hope for overcoming the sin in this world and the sin
in our lives. Over in the New Testament, Matthew references a prophecy
Matthew 12:21 (NLT)
“And his name will be the hope of all the world.”
the hope of the world has nothing to do with achieving a higher
consciousness. Because the problem isn’t a lower consciousness. The
problem is sin. And Jesus offers the only solution to sin.
Acts 10:43 (NLT)
is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who
believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”
our hope is in coming to Jesus, accepting that what He did on the cross
He did for you and for me… He died so we could be forgiven. And He rose
from the dead, proving that He really does have power over life and
death, and that He the authority even to forgive sins. Jesus is the
hope of the world… He’s my hope, He’s your hope.
1 John 1:8-10 (NLT)
we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living
in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and
just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If
we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that
his word has no place in our hearts.
Video – Week 1 from 27:17 to 28:43
reads from a new age book "A Seeker's Guide" - “The old way is the
hierarchy has the authority, church authorities tell you how to worship
in church and how to behave outside of church. The new spirituality is
that you are your own best authority as you work to know and love
yourself you discover how to live a more spiritual life. The old is God
and the path to worship him have already been defined and all you need
to do is follow the directions. The new is being able to listen within
for your own definition of spirituality, your deeper longings are under
search. And the old says exact here what Eckhart was saying. That
there's only one path it's the right way and all other ways are wrong.
And the spirituality says that many paths lead to spiritual freedom and
peace. You have a rich array of gems from which to draw illumination.
The world's religious traditional, mythology, psychology, healing
methods, scientific wisdom, your own experience and that you can begin
to string a necklace all your own.”)
your own best authority on Truth
is the claim that says spirituality is a totally subjective matter and
you’ve got to find your own path. There is no right and wrong… just do
whatever you think is right. As long as you feel good, that’s all that
matters. You don’t need anyone else’s input, you don’t need any
guidance, you don’t need any structure… you are your own best authority.
that’s such a post-modern view of spirituality. That’s such a 21st
century model. That’s a snapshot of our society today. Anything goes.
What’s right for me may not be right for you. Find your own path,
because it’s all about you. You are your own best authority. That’s the
idea that Oprah was endorsing there.
But you know what that
reminds me of? One of the saddest verses of the entire Bible. In the
Old Testament book of Judges, you read about a time that was pretty
Godless. People had rejected God and had begun to worship their own
idols. They didn’t follow any moral or spiritual code… everyone saw
themselves as their own best authority. They were Godless and lawless.
This is what it says in Judges 21:25…
Judges 21:25 (NLT)
…All the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
that sad? That verse was written as a heartbreaking commentary on how
far the Jewish community had fallen. They had lost their way. They had
lost their unity. They had lost their God.
It wasn’t a good
thing that people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. But
haven’t we come around to that again? Isn’t what Oprah said the
sentiment of a lot of people? You are your own best authority? You
should do whatever seems right in your own eyes? You can even go ahead
and create your own beliefs. Go ahead and draw from the various
conflicting faiths in the world… it doesn’t really matter what’s true.
In fact, what’s true for one person may not be true for someone else.
That’s what they’re telling you. So take whatever makes you feel good,
and create your own believes.
Isn’t that where we are right now as a society?
“What this fails to acknowledge is that man dos not define reality; man
does not determine what truth is.”
~ James A. Smith Jr.
authority for Truth is God speaking through His Word.
to what Oprah and Eckhart are teaching, you don’t awaken to your life’s
purpose by looking for the truth within. You discover your life’s
purpose by getting to know your Creator. By connecting with God. By
discovering the truth of who He is and by looking into His Word.
2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)
Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and
to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we
are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
Colossians 2:8-10 (NLT)
let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding
nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of
this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the
fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your
union with Christ…
Okay, so we’ve now gone through 12 of the
false claims being promoted by this Internet class and are becoming
quite popular in our society. We’ve gone through them rather quickly so
we’ve only been able to scratch the surface on these different claims.
So over the next few weeks we’ll dive into a few claims in more detail,
starting with: Is Jesus just one of many paths to God? That’s next week.
just as we finish up here this morning, I want to show you a verse
about the people of the city of Berea, because they model for us how
you and I should be treating the various faith claims that come our way.
Acts 17:11 (NLT)
the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica,
and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the
Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the
Just because Oprah says it doesn’t mean it’s true. Just
because I say it doesn’t mean it’s true. Search the Scripture and see
for yourself whether or not you are being taught the truth.