The Truth Shall Make You Free!

By Lenora Grimaud


Lately, it seems that everywhere I turn, people are raving about the book, A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle, including Christians. I decided that I should read the book before passing judgment on it to see what Christians might have in common with the spiritual teachings of Eckhart—which of his teachings could enhance or compliment the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and which teachings area denial or distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I prayed for discernment. I also prayed to be open, to understand where Eckhart is coming from and what he is really saying. I know from experience how difficult it is to write about spiritual things without being misunderstood.

My first reaction to the book was very positive. It seemed to me that his message was very similar to the Gospel that Christians believe, except that he uses a different vocabulary to express it than Christians use. I was looking for the things Christians might have in common with Eckhart, and it seemed to me that the differences might only be semantics. It made me hopeful that perhaps the Holy Spirit was also teaching the Gospel to non-believers in a way that they could understand, and this gave me great joy. After reading the book, I felt it necessary to reflect on what Christians have already received from Jesus Christ—what we believe and hold to be true. As I reflected on the Scriptures, I began to experience a lot of confusion. I went back and forth between Eckhart’s message and the Scriptures. As I reflected more and more on this book, I had to keep asking myself, “What is the purpose of this book? What does it claim to do, and how valid are those claims? Is it truth, or is it a counterfeit of truth?” I have to admit that I didn’t find the answers until after many drafts of my reflection. I felt as though I was under some kind of spell. In fact, I would not be surprised if the book had a spell placed on it, because it seems to blind Christians who read it, from the truth.

I came to the conclusion that the “new consciousness” of Eckhart’s book is a counterfeit of the Kingdom of God that Jesus came to establish within the hearts of mankind. Eckhart’s teaching is a new form of Gnosticism and Pantheism. Gnosticism and Pantheism are heresies that have plagued the Church for centuries (see Catechism of the Catholic Church—285) and seem to reappear over and over again, clothed in different garments. The greatest danger of these heresies is that they lead to idolatry and divination; and ultimately, to irreligion and the rejection of God. The spirit behind this book is Anti-Christ—anti-Jesus Christ and anti-Church, the body of Christ. It is a counterfeit Messiah coming to lead the world into a “shift of consciousness.” You cannot believe in the Gospel of Eckhart and the Gospel of Jesus Christ at the same time—they are opposed to each other, adversarial. The counterfeit cannot say that “Jesus is Lord,” only that Christ is Lord; and Christ is everyone. This is idolatry. Jesus proved that he was the Messiah, but the world refuses to believe in him. This reflection is the result of much prayer, reflection, and deliberation, as well as a lot of “spiritual warfare.”

The Truth Shall Make You Free!

Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). He also said, “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples, you will learn the truth and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31-32). As Christians and Catholics, we believe that Jesus is the “Truth”—the only one who can save us—the only one who can set us free. We believe that everything we need to know about God, about life, about death, about the spiritual world, and about life after death has been revealed to us in and through Jesus. He has given this “Revelation” to his Apostles who passed it on to the Church, and then to us. He also gave us the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, who confirms all that he said; who helps us to understand the Revelation he gave us:

the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I said to you.…But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come. (John 14:26 & 16:13).

This is what we profess to believe, as Christians. And yet, there are many Christians today, who call themselves “seekers of the truth,” who seek out other Religions, and even Pagan Religions, looking for truth. If we go looking for the truth amongst unbelievers, are we not denying that Jesus is the Truth? Are we not turning our backs on the Revelation that has been given to us? Either we never really experienced conversion, receiving the Truth, or we are not satisfied with what we have received. We want someone who will “tickle our ears,” someone who will say what we want to hear, someone who will feed our insatiable curiosity and confirm our speculations. We are like the unbelievers to whom Jesus said: I have come in the name of the Father and you refuse to accept me; if someone else comes in his own name you will accept him. How can you believe, since you look to one another for approval and are not concerned with the approval that comes from God? (John 5:43-44). If we are blind to the Truth, we open ourselves to “listen to deceitful spirits and doctrines that come from the devils.” (1Tim. 4:1). Jesus warned us that Satan is the Father of lies, and all evil spirits are lying spirits because the Truth is not in them. (John 8:43-44).

Christians are not called to proclaim what they think, what their opinions are; what they perceive, or what their understanding is. They are not even called to proclaim their beliefs—they are called to proclaim what Jesus has given us—it is his words, not ours. It does not come from us and we do not go forth in our own name.

As Christians, we have no excuse today for not coming to the complete truth. The Scriptures have been translated into every language, and even into our modern dialect. There are numerous Bible Studies available; and so much biblical research has been done which adds to our understanding of Scripture. We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the Teaching of the Church and the Saints over the past 2000 years. There are thousands of good spiritual books written by very holy and committed Christians who bare the marks of Jesus. The Holy Spirit has been poured out, “as of a New Pentecost in our day.” We have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to lead us into the complete truth. Most importantly of all, we have the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Jesus is with us just as fully as he was with his Apostles, 2000 years ago. We really have no excuse for going backwards, searching for the truth amongst other Religions that, at best, are only a shadow of the truth.

Love Your Enemies:

The Church encourages us to learn about other Religions of the world, for the sake of love and dialogue. Love causes us to want to understand those of other Religions, to know where they are coming from. The desire for unity and peace causes us to look for a common ground that we might have with those of other Religions, so that we can relate with them and witness to our faith, as well as rejoice in their good works and the wisdom that God has given them. But, we do not go to other Religions in order to find the Truth; seeking a new gospel or another Christ. We must reject anything that conflicts with the Gospel we have already received; anything that denies Jesus Christ—who he is and what he stood for. Anyone who exposes themselves to the teachings of other Religions needs to be well-grounded in the Scriptures and the teachings of the Church or they won’t be able to discern the truth, and they will be in danger of losing their faith—a precious gift.

As Christians, we are called to love everyone—to respect the dignity of every human being and their freedom to believe whatever they choose to believe; even atheists and agnostics. We do not have the right to force our beliefs onto anyone. We are called, however, to proclaim the Good News; to witness to the Truth that has been given to us. Our faith also requires that we test and reject any teaching for ourselves that conflicts with, or denies the Scriptures and the Tradition handed down to us through the Church. Even so, we do not have the right to mock or disparage the religious beliefs of others, only the right to choose not to believe them or to follow them. Scripture makes it clear that we are not to judge unbelievers and those of other Religions, God is the judge. (1Cor. 5:12-13).

How are we to relate to non-believers, to those who are not part of the Christian Church Community? Many people today, even some who were baptized, do not believe that Jesus Christ is the only Son of God. They do not believe in the authority of the Church or in Sacred Scripture. To them, Scripture was written by man and is not the Word of God. So, they only accept some parts of the bible as being authentic or valid. They believe that Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, and a good prophet, because of some of his teachings. They do not believe that Jesus ever claimed to be God—they believe that came only from some of his followers. If they did believe that Jesus really made such claims, they would regard him as a fool, mentally ill, possessed by Satan, or an egotistical tyrant—or they would be converted and accept the whole Gospel.

As Christians, we need to be very careful that we don’t present Jesus to the world, as an ego-maniac. Sometimes we give the impression that Jesus became man in order to be a king like other kings—to make everyone his subjects and rule them with an iron rod; to reward those who follow him and destroy everyone else—everyone who won’t bow down to him. This is not the Jesus of the Gospels. Jesus said:

You know that among the pagans the rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to be great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mat. 20:25-28).

Jesus came to deliver humanity, not to condemn us. Those who reject Jesus will not be condemned because they rejected him, but because they were already condemned, living in darkness, and failed to recognize Jesus as the true light who would lead them to salvation—who would deliver them from darkness. The whole world—all of humanity—were prisoners of sin, slaves to darkness, and destined for condemnation. The whole world was under the dominion of Satan. Jesus came to save us, to make us free, not to use his authority to control us. Anyone who does good because they are forced to by the Law, or authority, is not free. Neither are they free if they do evil. We are only free if we do good because we love good and freely choose to do good, motivated by love. This love comes from God.

Jesus was not offended by those who did not believe that he was God; by those who were spiritually blind and did not have the fullness of truth that he offered; by those who were not his disciples or followers; by those who saw him as simply a good man, a good teacher, or a good prophet. If these people could recognize him as good, they were on the way to the truth—open to the truth. Jesus’ enemies were those who were jealous of him, who wanted him out of the way, who saw him as a threat to their power and authority, who accused him of being possessed by Satan and doing the works of Satan, even though many of them didn’t even believe in Satan or evil spirits—those who wanted to kill him.

When the disciples complained because they saw men casting out devils in Jesus name, who were not disciples or followers of Jesus—not part of the community—they tried to stop them. Jesus said: You must not stop them; anyone who is not against you is for you. (Luke 9:50). Jesus also taught, ‘Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me; and those who welcome me welcome the one who sent me.’ ‘Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will have a prophet’s reward; and anyone who welcomes a holy man because he is a holy man will have a holy man’s reward.’ (Mat. 10:40-41).

It is very important that we proclaim the Gospel and resist all false teaching. But, we must be careful not to slander, abuse, or judge those who do not believe what we believe, as disciples of Jesus Christ. If we go about accusing those outside of the Church of being possessed by Satan or evil spirits because they do not believe what we believe to be the fullness of truth, we are in grave danger of aligning ourselves with those who accused Jesus of being possessed by Satan and doing the works of evil spirits. God alone is judge. We are called, however, to use discernment and to recognize the “doctrines of demons.”

It is very hard for the Church to see so many of her children being led astray by ignorance and false teaching—from within the Church and outside the Church. Nevertheless, we cannot judge those who believe differently than us. What we know to be false teaching is truth to them. We cannot force the truth that we have received upon them. We are called to love them, not to condemn or judge them. There is no justification for Christians to treat those outside the Church, or fallen away Christians, like the Pharisees treated Jesus. Jesus didn’t go after the Pharisees (his enemies), he spoke out against them in response to their attacks. The Pharisees were the oppressors—they went after Jesus. We are called to be “in the world, but not of it.” However, the “responsibility to protect,” does call us to speak out against false teaching in order to protect the faithful, according to legitimate means.

What Christians Believe:

We live in the 21st Century. Jesus is not present to the world in the bodily form he had 2000 years ago. He is present in his apostles, true disciples, and Saints that walk among us. Jesus said: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well. (John 15:20). It is enough for the disciple that he should grow to be like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, what will they not say of his household? (Mat. 10:24). Jesus was not talking about the Church as a whole, but about people today like Mother Teresa, John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI. Anyone today, who knows anything about them, and has an ounce of truth in them, must acknowledge that they were extraordinarily good and holy, and excelled in doing good. Yet, there are some enemies of God who see them as evil or possessed by evil. There are other Christians, who are not quite so extraordinary, but never the less, true disciples. Yet, people only look at their faults; habitually judging others. To these, Jesus says: How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,’ when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.' (Luke 6:42).

The Catholic Church interprets the “Word of God” as being the person of Jesus Christ, who is the Revelation of God. God spoke the “Word,” and all of creation came into being through that Word:

In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him. All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower. (John 1:1-5).

The primary purpose of Jesus mission—of the Good News—is to proclaim that the Kingdom of God (the Parousia, or Presence) is at hand; to bring humanity into this kingdom; and to establish the kingdom of God on earth. This is the mission of the Messiah—the new Moses and the new Elijah. Everything Jesus did and taught leads to this primary purpose. He came to bring the kingdom of God; to reveal who he is in relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit; to reveal who God is in relationship to creation; and to deliver and free humanity from the power of sin and evil—from the false self, old man, or ego. Jesus came to reveal the “Name” of the Father (identity) to the world. (John 17:6). He established his Church to continue his mission to the World; to manifest his body and soul; and to proclaim the Good News. Jesus commissioned his Apostles to go forth and preach. The Apostles not only proclaimed the Gospel, but they understood it, and passed on that teaching to all those who came to believe. Later, within 10-70 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the oral Good News (Word of God), preached by the Apostles, was written down, and eventually canonized as Sacred Scripture—the written Word of God. The oral preaching and teaching of the Apostles, and the beliefs that the Christian Community held in common throughout the past 2000 years, is what the Church refers to as Tradition. The Magisterium of the Church includes the Apostles and all their successors throughout the past 2000 years, that were given authority by Jesus Christ to proclaim, interpret, and teach the Gospel. Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium are all in agreement and witness to each other; all are inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, whom Jesus promised to send in order to remind them of what he said, to enlighten them, to teach them, and to bring them into the fullness of truth. The Holy Spirit is the truth, and witnesses to Jesus—to his identity, life, works, and teaching; to his humanity and his divinity. Jesus promised that, in spite of false teachers and false shepherds, the Holy Spirit would protect the Church until his return.

Test the Spirit:

The Apostle, John, was constantly fighting against Gnosticism and warning Christians to be on guard against the enemies of Christ, and the need for Christians to test the spirit to see if they come from God:

It is not every spirit, my dear people, that you can trust; test them, to see if they come from God, there are many false prophets, now, in the world. You can tell the spirits that come from God by this: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh is from God; but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus is not from God, but is the spirit of Antichirst, whose coming you were warned about. (1John4:1-3)

The Christian understanding of Truth is not the same as the Worlds’ understanding of truth. In the world’s view, everyone has their own truth. Truth is constantly changing. It is temporary. The truth of yesterday is not the truth of today. Truth is relative to the experience, to time, to an event, to age, to circumstances, etc. This is why Pilate said to Jesus, ‘Truth?’ said Pilate ‘What is that?’ (John 18:38). Pilate wasn’t expecting Jesus to answer, and he wasn’t looking for an answer. The Truth that Jesus came to bring is very different. It is eternal; it transcends time, this world, and all of creation; it is infinite, absolute; it is God who is never changing, who has no beginning and no end. Jesus claimed to be the Truth, and his kingdom is not of this world. This Truth is beyond reason, beyond man’s understanding. The world cannot receive this Truth, or comprehend it, because it can’t receive Jesus. One must be born again of the Holy Spirit in order to receive this Truth (John 3: 5-8). This truth is the anointing of the Holy Spirit:

But you have not lost the anointing that he gave you, and you do not need anyone to teach you; the anointing he gave teaches you everything; you are anointed with truth, not with a lie, and as it has taught you, so you must stay in him. (1John2:27)

The closest that the secular world can come to the truth is Natural Law and Science. But, today, people are even disillusioned by Science, because much of what pretends to be true science is false; and Natural Law has become distorted by egotism. There can be no conflict between sane reason and truth; between Natural Law and Divine Law; between faith and science.

In our modern times, there are many non-Christian servants of God, who are holy and virtuous people in touch with Natural Law—the unchanging universal values within every human being—and live out those values, following their consciences:

It is not listening to the Law but keeping it that will make people holy in the sight of God. For instance, pagans who never heard of the Law but are led by reason to do what the Law commands, may not actually ‘possess’ the law, but they can be said to ‘be’ the Law. They can point to the substance of the Law engraved on their hearts—they can call a witness, that is, their own conscience—they have accusation and defense, that is, their own inner mental dialogue. Rom. 2:13-15)

However, much of their teaching is merely speculation. They draw bits and pieces from various Religions, psychology, the natural sciences, and sometimes even from the "doctrines of demons." Some of them develop their own spirituality, religion, or personal philosophy, based on their own experiences, intellect, and imagination. They study the Scriptures, and often gain much wisdom and insights from them, but something seems to block them from the fullness of truth—that Jesus Christ is the Truth; that he is the only Son of God—that he is God; that Jesus is the image of the Father and revelation of God; that Jesus is the incarnation of God—fully God and fully human; that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the only one who can deliver humanity from the power of sin and evil, and bring them into the kingdom of God—union with God—intimate and personal relationship with God; that Jesus Christ is the only one who can transform humanity and this present earth into a “New Earth.”

This is understandable since many of the thinkers of today do not believe that the Scriptures were actually written by the Apostles, or given to the Apostles by Jesus. They choose to believe that the Scriptures were not written until after the second century—“created by the Church to fulfill its agenda” (Chopra). They cannot accept the whole message of the Gospel because they cannot accept the Church. They cannot see that the Church is an extension of Jesus and of the Gospel. They cannot see the necessity of the Church in order to continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus in its pure form, and to manifest the presence of Jesus in the world. St. Paul says:

But they will not ask his help unless they believe in him, and they will not believe in him unless they have heard of him, and they will not hear of him unless they get a preacher, and they will never have a preacher unless one is sent, but as scripture says: ‘The footsteps of those who bring good news is a welcome sound’….So faith comes from what is preached, and what is preached comes from the word of Christ. (Rom. 10:14, 17)

For those who have a Gnostic or pantheistic ideology, the belief that God and Revelation (outer form) are one, and that Jesus is the literal incarnation, image, and manifestation of God, would be very difficult to accept. Many people either see everyone as God, or they see Jesus as being only a great prophet, equal to Buddha or Gandhi. They reject the authority of God—God and man are equal or one and the same, in their eyes. Jesus said: “No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me.” (John 6:44). God is God, and he can do anything he wants, and choose to work through anyone he wants, including non-believers and those from other Religions. Perhaps there are many who cannot know Jesus explicitly, but know him implicitly, and follow him according to what they know—what has been revealed to them—such as Gandhi, Buddha, Lao Tzu, and others. For those who have not received the outer form of the Revelation of God that Christians have received from the Church, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, it seems to me that it would be very difficult and confusing to try to articulate their experience of God; and there is no valid means of discernment—discerning between truth and error. They don’t have an authentic conceptual framework to work with in order to communicate spiritual teaching. This has been the cause of many heresies. Nevertheless, there are no contradictions in God. He cannot go against his own being. He is not like “a house divided against itself,” which will eventually fall and be destroyed. Whoever has the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of truth—will live the same kind of life that Jesus lived, because the Spirit witnesses to Jesus. Anyone inspired by the Spirit of God, Christians or non-Christians, will not be anti-Christ (Jesus Christ) or anti-the disciples of Jesus. They will be holy and righteous, and love their enemies. They will glorify God.

We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments. Anyone who says, ‘I know him”, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, refusing to admit the truth. But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him. We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived…Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the dark. But anyone who loves his brother is living in the light and need not be afraid of stumbling; unlike the man who hates his brother and is in darkness, not knowing where he is going, because it is too dark to see. (1John 2:3-6, 9-11).

It is the mission of Christians, however, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus and the revelation of God made know to us in Jesus Christ, his only Son. For the Christian, the difference between Jesus and these other servants of God is that Jesus is the incarnation of God, the visible image of God to humankind. Humanity was created in the image of God, but Jesus is the image of God. Jesus is the original, the blueprint for creation—the Word of God. Humans are created in the image of the Son of God. Because he is God, he is truth—absolute incarnate truth. We can trust in what he said and did and need not look to anyone else to teach us about God or reveal the truth to us. Because Jesus is God, he is Lord of heaven and earth; he has all authority. The world has a hard time accepting authority coming from God or anyone else. The world believes that every person is his own authority. Jesus established his Church upon the Apostles to continue his mission to the whole world. We can listen to the Church because Jesus is with us and commissioned the Church to go forth in his name. Jesus gave his authority to the Church, under the “Chair of Peter.” Jesus said: Whoever welcomes the one I send welcomes the one who sent me (John 13:20) and if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well.(John 15:20). This is a great mystery. Jesus and the Church are one. The Church is the mystical body of Christ. The Church is both, an Institution and the body of believers. We cannot love Jesus without also loving the Church; we cannot reject the Church without also rejecting Jesus. There is only one Church because Jesus only established one Church. Jesus said: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven. (Mat.16:18-19). St. Paul expounds on this: There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all, and within all. (Eph.4:4-6). The Church is human and divine; made up of sinners and saints, wheat and chaff, sheep and goats, and true and false disciples. It will continue like this until the Lord returns.

Not only is the Church a mystery, but Sacred Scripture is also a mystery. Sacred Scripture is the living word of God, enlivened by the Holy Spirit. It contains many paradoxes and many mysteries. It must be accepted in its entirety—as a whole. We cannot pick and choose. It contains hard sayings as well as those that bring joy to our heart. Many people attribute those sayings that confirm what they believe in their hearts to Jesus. What they don’t understand or approve of, they attribute to the Church.

Everything that Christians profess in the “Creed” points to the Holy Trinity—that there are three persons in one God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Creed is a witness to the Incarnation of God in the person of Jesus Christ; that Jesus is the only son of God; that Jesus is not only fully human, but fully divine; that Jesus is the true Messiah—Christ; and that Jesus is, in fact, God. If this is not true, than it makes Jesus a liar; the Apostles, liars; the Church a liar; and means that everything that Christians have believed for the past 2000 years has all been illusion, delusions, and lies. If Jesus is not God, then his word is not good; we cannot trust in anything that he said or did; we cannot trust in his Apostles either, or in anything they said or did. But, if Jesus is God, then his word is absolute Truth and we can put our faith in him; in everything he said and everything he did. The primary evidence of the divinity of Jesus was his resurrection from the dead. St. Paul says:

Now if Christ raised from the dead is what has been preached, how can some of you be saying that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, Christ himself cannot have been raised, and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless and your believing it is useless; indeed, we are shown up as witnesses who have committed perjury before God, because we swore in evidence before God that he had raised Christ to life. For if the dead are not raised, Christ has not been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, you are still in your sins. And what is more serious, all who have died in Christ have perished. If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people. (1Cor.15:13-19).

Recently, at Mass, a Priest asked the question: “Did Jesus ever write a book? He wasn’t expecting an answer, however; this was merely his introduction to recommending the book, A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle. The priest wanted to make the point that Jesus never wrote any books because he came to lead people into a “new consciousness”—the “being of God within them.” The priest also made the point that Christians are not supposed to be “clones of Jesus Christ.” He stated that it was ridiculous for Christians to ask the question: “What would Jesus do?” (WWJD). This priest cannot accept the inerrancy of Scripture or the Church, but he does believe that his own beliefs and teaching, as well as Eckhart’s teaching, come from the Christ within them.

Jesus never wrote a book with paper and ink, but he did write a book with flesh and blood—the “Book of Life,” and he wrote his book upon the minds and hearts of his disciples, and sent the Holy Spirit to be with them—the Spirit of Truth—the Advocate, who would remind them of all that he taught and did (John 14:26). Non-believers cannot accept the inerrancy of the Church or the Scriptures. They cannot distinguish between Divine Law and Church Law (temporal law); they see everything as Church Law.

Jesus did not write any books because he wasn’t sent to write any books. He only had a few years, and he used that time to establish his Church—to form his disciples. He didn’t need to write anything because his disciples would do it for him. The Church is an extension of the Mission of Jesus. He protected the Church from error by sending the Advocate, the Spirit of Truth. The Advocate is a witness to Jesus Christ. He does not come to everyone, but only to those who have put their faith in Jesus. (John 15:26-27).

Christians have never believed that they are meant to be “clones of Jesus Christ.” Nor do we become other Christs—other Messiahs and other gods—that would be idolatry. When Christians ask, “What would Jesus do?” they are asking, “What is the will of God for me in this situation, in this moment of time? How can I glorify God in this situation, in this moment of time?” Jesus said: “I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.” (John 14:20). Through our faith in Jesus and through Baptism, we are made members of the Body of Christ; through the indwelling of the Holy Trinity. We are individual and unique members of the one body. No one of us is the whole Body of Christ, but unless we are in him, we can do nothing; if we are cut off from him, we can do nothing. Jesus is in us—in our minds, the mind of Christ; in our hearts, the love of Christ; and through the gift of his Holy Spirit, empowering us to do the works of God, as he did.

Since the beginning of time, people have been seeking a “new consciousness” in the realm of the spirit. But it only led to idolatry and divination. This is how paganism began. There is much more to the “kingdom of God” that Jesus came to bring, than to simply be still and enter into the “power of now” or the “being within.” There is a whole spiritual realm that people mistake for the God within, or even their true self. As St. John says, not every spirit is from God. Test the spirit.

A New Earth, Truth or Counterfeit:

Eckhart states that “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.” He makes the claim that “this book itself is a transformational device that has come out of the arising new consciousness.” However, Eckhart does present new information and beliefs to the mind of the reader—information and beliefs that need to be discerned carefully. This is very important for Christians.

Central to Eckhart’s beliefs and teaching is that all of matter—creation, the body, the mind, the ego, rules and regulations, religions, beliefs—and all of space and time is an illusion and the result of what Christians call “original sin.” Christians believe that God created matter, time, and space; that he created humans in his image and likeness; that he created them out of matter and spirit, infusing them with a unique soul to live out their human life within the boundaries of space and time; that he gave humans an intellect and the gifts of reason and free will. “God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31). He did not create the world in one day, but in seven, figuratively speaking. Even though God is outside of time and space, and not restricted to time and space, He chose to enter into time and space for the sake of humanity. For the Christian, to believe that matter, time and space, and the body are merely illusions is to believe a lie. It is Gnosticism, a denial of the body—seeing matter as evil, indifferent, or the cause of evil. It is a denial of creation, as well as a denial of the creator. Gnosticism leads to divination and idolatry, not to God or Truth. It leads to attributing to creatures what can only be attributed to God.

We cannot separate Religion from spirituality anymore than we can separate the body from the spirit. That would be dualism. Religion is the manifestation, or outer form of spirituality. If our spirituality is corrupt, our Religion will be corrupt. We are all religious beings. Religion can take the form of Atheism, Satanism, Humanism, Paganism, and all the major Religions of the world. Authentic spirituality manifests itself in the Virtue of Religion—which recognizes the justice we owe to God (CCC). St. Paul recognized this virtue in the Athenians who had an altar To an Unknown God (Acts17:23). The more disordered our spirituality is the more it leads to the manifestation of irreligion and atheism. Christians believe that the True Church that Jesus established is the manifestation of the Kingdom of God on earth. It is still in the process of transformation. Eckhart believes in reincarnation; Christians believe in transformation and transfiguration. As a comparison, Christians believe in a resurrection comparable to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Reincarnation would be the death of a caterpillar and subsequent reincarnation into some other form of matter, such as a butterfly or a bird.

Eckhart seems to have a lot of natural wisdom that he has gained from the study of Psychology and World Religions, especially Buddhism. Most of what he says about the “ego” can be found in psychology, especially Jungian Psychology. But he adds his own embellishments and presents it all as some kind of esoteric knowledge—part of a new consciousness. However, he does offer some fresh examples of how the ego works that could be very helpful for many people. The ego is the false self, or the illusory self. Eckhart attempts to help people recognize the difference between the false self and their true self. He equates the ego to the Christian understanding of sin, evil, temptation, evil spirits, and Satan—he sees them all as part of the ego or the collective ego. He says that the ego has intelligence and power, and that it is important for us to recognize and acknowledge the ego or we risk becoming controlled or possessed by the ego; we risk mistaking the ego for our true self. Fear, guilt, condemnation, rejection, and judgment also come from the ego, as well as pride, anger, envy, greed, lust, sloth, procrastination, and indifference. All forms of selfishness, exploitation, cruelty, and violence come from the ego. Eckhart sees evil as the result of being controlled or possessed by the ego, which he says is an illusion. This is not the Christian understanding of evil or the cause of evil.

Eckhart also equates the ego with outer forms and structures, such as the “Law,” which people cling to, while ignoring the spirit of the Law, which is internal. I agree with part of this but, if I understand him correctly, Eckhart sees all outer forms: structure, laws, religion, doctrine, etc., as part of the ego. I disagree with this. All outer form is a manifestation of what comes from within—either from the ego or from God. However, the ego can make use of all “form” even when it is an outer manifestation from God, such as the Law, Religion, and doctrines. (Rom 7:7-13). Whenever we break a commandment, the ego, or false self is involved, but it started with our thoughts—in our mind. We tend to focus on the external breaking of the law, and then we are filled with fear, remorse, guilt, self-hatred, and condemnation—which is also from the ego. Sometimes, Christians confuse these things (fear, remorse, guilt, condemnation, self-hatred) with repentance and see them as part of their true self. This insight into the ego, I think, could be very beneficial for Christians. The ego can present temptations to us, and when we embrace those temptations with our thoughts, we come under the control of the ego. Jesus said that the man who commits adultery or even looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Mat. 5:28). The ego was already speaking to him through his thoughts.

When St. Paul speaks about sin living within us, sin could be compared with Eckhart’s understanding of the ego. St. Paul also uses the terms, “false self” and “old man” or “old nature.” These terms could all be applied to the ego. Involuntary acts caused by sin living in us are distinguished from sinful acts committed using our free will. Jesus came to free us from the slavery to sin—the involuntary acts of sin. He came to set our will free so that we could choose good. In regards to sin, St. Paul says:

The Law, of course, as we all know, is spiritual; but I am unspiritual; I have been sold as a slave to sin. I cannot understand my own behavior. I fail to carry out the things I want to do, and I find myself doing the very things I hate. When I act against my own will, that means I have a self that acknowledges that the Law is good, and so the thing behaving in that way is not my self but sin living in me. The fact is, I know of nothing good living in me—living, that is, in my unspiritual self—for though the will to do what is good is in me, the performance is not, with the result that instead of doing the good things I want to do, I carry out the sinful things I do not want. When I act against my will, then, it is not my true self doing it, but sin which lives in me…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body doomed to death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Rom. 7:14-20, 24).

Very often in Scripture, the words, heart, mind, and spirit are used interchangeably to refer to the same thing. Jesus said:

‘Make a tree sound and its fruit will be sound; make a tree rotten and its fruit will be rotten. For a tree can be told by its fruit…A good man draws good things from his store of goodness; a bad man draws bad things from his store of badness.’ (Mat. 12:33, 35).

To Christians, the “store of badness” represents the false self—a store of evil inclinations or vices—what St. Paul refers to as “sin” living in us. Eckhart would call it the ego, or the egoic mind. The “store of goodness” represents the human spirit, the new man, or higher self—the true self, created in the image of God, where God has written his law. It is the store of virtues—character.

‘But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and it is these that make a man unclean. For from the heart come evil intentions: murder, adultery, fornication, theft, perjury, slander. These are the things that make a man unclean. But to eat with unwashed hands does not make a man unclean.’ (Mat.15:18-20).

In this passage, Jesus uses the heart to represent the mind, and the evil thoughts that come from out of the “store of badness,” increased by the accumulation of vices. St. Paul would call it “sin.” Again, Eckhart would call it the ego and the egoic mind.

Eckhart says that “All that is required to become free of the ego is to be aware of it, since awareness and ego are incompatible. Awareness is the power that is concealed within the present moment. This is why we may also call it Presence.”

The Christian uses the term, “Presence,” to refer to God, especially the Holy Spirit. We cannot even become aware of God, or his presence, except through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a grace. We also need the Holy Spirit in order to become aware of the ego, or sin, within us, as well as to say no to the ego. It is often easier to become aware of the manifestations of the ego—the outward acts—than it is to become aware of the false self within. By acknowledging this outward behavior as evil or sinful, we get the grace to follow them to their source—the false self, or ego. Christians do not believe that awareness is enough to over-come the ego, or sin. As Christians, we choose to believe that Jesus is the only one who can free us of the ego, or sin. Jesus said that some demons can only be over-come through prayer and fasting, not to mention the power of the Holy Spirit. Eckhart sees the ego as something that is neutral—neither good nor evil—that we do not need to resist, and should not resist. He claims that it is enough just to acknowledge it and it will begin to die.

For the Christian, the acknowledgement of sin, and the desire to be free from sin, is called Repentance. John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus; to call the people to Repentance, in order to prepare them to receive the Lord, to receive the healing and deliverance that Jesus came to bring; and to open them to receive the kingdom of God. John baptized with water, as an outward sign for the people of their sincerity and commitment to turn from sin and evil. The Church offers the Sacrament of Penance, where a Christian can come into the presence of Jesus; meet with Jesus face to face. In this Sacrament, the Christian who has fallen under the influence of sin and evil, or the false self, or the ego, can receive healing and deliverance from Jesus. Jesus always connected forgiveness of sin with healing and deliverance. Forgiveness is God’s mercy and compassion. The Christian is given a penance by the priest, as a form of reparation, an outward action to represent his sincerity, commitment to avoid sin, and rejection of sin and evil. The just man falls many times every day—transformation and dying to the false self are not instantaneous, but part of a process.

Even Alcoholics Anonymous would disagree with Eckhart that coming out of denial and acknowledging his problem or disease is enough for the alcoholic to be set free. This is only the beginning. AA presents 12 very important steps that the alcoholic needs to make in order to return to sanity. These steps were drawn from the teaching of the Gospel:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol [sin]—that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. [Jesus as Lord].
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, [Jesus Christ] praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

All “addiction programs” include the necessity to become aware of “stinking thinking,” to recognize how our thoughts feed the compulsion of our addictions—to recognize those thoughts and to reject them, seeing them as disordered. Most addiction programs suggest stopping and waiting a few minutes before giving in to the impulse of our addiction; finding something else to distract us; taking deep breaths. This is all common sense, not some kind of esoteric wisdom. Much more is needed, but in regards to the section on “Addiction” in Eckhart’s book, this is all he mentions.

Eckhart knows a lot about the ego but he does not have the means to cope with the problem of evil or with Satan. Jesus said that “Satan is a liar, and the father of lies.” Scripture tells us that there are “doctrines of demons.” Eckhart cannot discern between the Truth and a counterfeit; between the Truth that comes from God and doctrines of demons. Reincarnation is a doctrine; the belief that we are all one being is a doctrine; the belief that the “Presence” he speaks of is Truth, or God, is a doctrine; the belief that there is no heaven, hell, or purgatory is a doctrine; the belief that Jesus did not rise from the dead and ascend into heaven is a doctrine; the belief that there is no Satan or evil spirits is a doctrine; the belief that Jesus did not die on the cross for the sake of humanity is a doctrine; the belief there will not be a final judgment is a doctrine; the belief that Jesus will not come again in the same way that he left, is a doctrine; the belief that Jesus cannot forgive sin is a doctrine; the belief that Religion, the Church, and Scripture is a result of the ego, is a doctrine; the belief that there is no resurrection from the dead is a doctrine; the belief that there is no distinction between the creator and creation is a doctrine; the belief that there is not only three divine persons in one God is a doctrine; the belief that the Eucharist is merely a memorial and not the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ is a doctrine. Everything that we have received from the Revelation of God is doctrine. Every denial of what we have received is also doctrine. Christians believe that Revelation comes from God through Jesus Christ. Eckhart believes that Revelation and the Church are doctrines of the ego, and that his book “is a transformational device that has come out of the arising new consciousness.” We must choose who and what we will believe: Jesus Christ and the Church, or Eckhart and the doctrines of demons. Peter and John said to the Sanhedrin: “You must judge whether in God’s eyes it is right to listen to you and not to God. We cannot promise to stop proclaiming what we have seen and heard.” (Acts4:19-20).

I’m not really sure where Eckhart is going with “the power of now.” I understand what it means to live in the present moment, and being fully present to life. There are many good books about the “Art of Listening”—being fully present to others, instead of pretending to be present while engaging in fantasy; thinking about what we could be doing or need to do; and thinking about what we want to say next. I understand what it means to be aware of the presence of God in all of life. Mother Teresa’s gift of seeing Christ in all the poor and dying is an example. St. Francis’ ability to see God in all of nature is another example—his response was to praise and glorify God. Recognizing Jesus in the Eucharist is another example. There are many good spiritual books about ‘Living in the Presence of God,’ and on the ‘Awareness of God’—which is a grace and not something we can do on our own. Contemplative prayer is an example of Presence and being present—union with God. I also understand what it is to be outside yourself watching a conversation your false self is having with another person. It is as though you are an observer and the “you” that you are observing is not your true self—merely your body inhabited by your false self or ego. You are surprised and disappointed at what you hear coming out of your mouth, because you recognize it as coming from the ego or false self. This is not a common experience and I think it is a grace given to enable one to grow in self-knowledge, and an opportunity to observe the false self in action. If it was a continuous experience, I think we would become narcissistic, autistic, or schizophrenic. Most of the time, we don’t become aware of the ego until too late—after we have acted on it—when we pray or examine our conscience. Sometimes we are able to catch the ego in our thoughts right away and reject him, or we recognize him immediately after, before we act it out.

What Eckhart says about “living in the power of now” appears to be a counterfeit of the Christian understanding of trusting in divine providence, and living in the Kingdom of God within us—Contemplation, or union with God. For Eckhart, the past and the future are illusions—there is only “now;” one can only be responsible for the present moment, not the past or the future. His understanding of detachment seems more like indifference. If we are indifferent we cannot possess gratitude and thanksgiving to God or humans.

When Jesus began his mission, he didn’t reveal himself to everyone, but only to those he was calling to be his disciples—those who would become his Apostles (sent ones); those whom the Father was drawing to him; those who believed that he might be the Messiah because of what they experienced in his Presence. These men were called to leave everything and follow Jesus, to set aside every other responsibility—home, possessions, work, family, social and cultural responsibilities, etc. Their only responsibility and commitment would be to proclaim the Good News, and to serve God. There would be other disciples who would not be called to leave everything—who would have to fulfill their responsibilities to spouses, family, and society; who would be in the work place and have to be concerned with past and future events, while living in the present moment. The Church recognizes Marriage as a Sacrament, as well as Ordination. (1Cor. 7:29-35). Eckhart seems to be advocating a life of endless drifting with no goals or responsibilities.

We were created in the image and likeness of God. God created us with an intellect, and gave us the ability to reason—to discern good from evil; truth from error. Our reason can enable us to comprehend, perceive, and understand. God gave us a Will, in order to choose. When our will is in union with God, it is rightly ordered and wills only “the good thing;” it reaches out to God and others in love. When our will is not in union with God it becomes self-will and seeks only to gratify the self. It is our reason and will that separate us from the animal kingdom. Animals are moved primarily by instinct, cravings, and training. They also respond to affection with affection. When I read what Eckhart says about “no resistance,” I couldn’t help thinking about all those who were mesmerized by Hitler. Hitler was very involved with the occult sciences. He had a power that was very charismatic, commanding, and persuasive—but, it wasn’t from God. The people seemed to be disconnected from their reason. They responded to whatever he said or commanded, like mindless zombies who couldn’t reason or understand that what they were hearing was an abomination, and evil. They had no capacity for discernment. They followed like sheep and put up no resistance. Hitler had a hypnotic affect upon the people, using forms of brain washing and mind control. Otherwise, the people never would have followed him. The Anti-Christ will have a similar charismatic power. It is a counterfeit of the charism and power that Jesus manifested, but it robs people of their freedom and reason and leads to works of evil. The Anti-Christ will mesmerize the people, and have a hypnotic affect on them. He will use methods of brain-washing and mind control in order to put them under a spell—a trance like state of the mind. We need to wake up from our sleep, awaken to the voice of the Good Shepherd—Jesus Christ—and not allow ourselves to be taken in unawares.

Pope Benedict XVI, has a powerful charism like that of Jesus. There is something about his very presence—the Presence of the Holy Spirit—that touches the depths of goodness within everyone. He doesn’t even have to say a word, and people are moved to pray, to praise God, to want to love, to want to over-come evil. His presence is one of hope. Pope John Paul II also had this charism, as well as Mother Teresa of Calcutta and St. Francis. We know it was of God because of the fruit within them, and because of the good that emanated from them. Pope Benedict, in his visit to the United States, urged the Nations to have a “conversion of heart;” to awaken to “natural law,” which is engraved within the hearts—the essence—of every human being. Natural Law represents the unchanging universal values (truth) that we cannot neglect, for the common good of humanity. This can only be accomplished through prayer. Benedict also stressed the use of “Reason,” which enables us to recognize God. Among these universal values, Pope Benedict cited: the dignity of the human person, human rights, Religious freedom, and the “responsibility to protect” all that God has given us, beginning with the dignity of the human person and the rights of the human person. He reminded us that Religion is a right of every human being, and that the freedom of Religion—including ritual, worship, education, dissemination of information and freedom to profess and choose religion—must be granted to everyone. Everyone has a right to practice their own Religion and to pass on their beliefs and traditions to their children. True Religion never violates the “common good”—natural law and moral ethics. He said that we are responsible to protect and care for everyone in the world who cannot care for themselves; everyone who does not have their basic human needs met. Each State or Nation is responsible for those under their domain, but if they can’t or won’t take responsibility, it is ultimately the responsibility of every Nation, people, and individual. Pope Benedict urged the Nations to implement measures that would safe-guard these universal values—natural law. His message was compatible with the message of the Gospel, and witnesses to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus resisted his enemies on every occasion, until his “last hour”—the hour of his passion. He took a stand against them and spoke out the truth. He never resisted with violence or abuse, except when he overturned the money tables in the Temple. His resistance made his enemies all the more angry and ready to kill him. He came to reveal the truth, not to please or cajole his enemies—the enemies of truth and love. Jesus took authority over spiritual enemies, as well, casting them out of people and commanding them to leave. Jesus said:

I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well…The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father. (John 10:14-16, 17-18).

Jesus embraced the cross, death, because in order to resist it he would have to use the miraculous power of God or resort to violence. But, more importantly, he came to suffer the consequences of man-kinds’ inhumanity to man—the consequences of sin. He identified with the poor and innocent who suffer because the world sees them as expendable and gives them no value. Jesus came to enter into the human condition and into solidarity with the poor—to be with us in all things except for sin. He identified with his Jewish brothers and sisters who would endure the Holocaust at the hands of Hitler; those who could not defend themselves. Jesus chose to be defenseless for our sake.

Eckhart is not alone in his beliefs. Deepak Chopra, as well as many people influenced by New Age philosophy, Gnosticism, and Theosophy claim that humanity is on the verge of a shift in consciousness—from an egoic consciousness into God consciousness. They call this shift an “awakening.” They further claim that in this new consciousness, all creation is one being—God. They say that this shift, this new consciousness, which is our true self, will bring about a “new earth.” They claim that eventually the whole world will evolve into this new consciousness; the whole world is on the verge of an evolutionary new shift. They also say that this shift will come about through people deciding to make that shift now, which will speed up the evolution of mankind. Eckhart says that this shift cannot happen without “grace.” Christians understand grace to be a power or gift of the Holy Spirit. Satan and evil spirits can also empower people to do what they want. Eckhart says that only those who are ready will be able to make this shift into consciousness. One thing is for sure, if there is not a conversion of heart and a return to morality, this shift won’t be into light, but into darkness. (Sounds to me like they are awaiting the same thing Christians are awaiting as we wait in hope for the Lord to return again, but they are not waiting for Jesus).

Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle are intelligent men of learning, educated in the study of World Religions. They appear to be moral and peaceable men, having some natural virtue, and men who sincerely believe what they preach. However, their teaching is merely speculation, drawing bits and pieces from various Religions, psychology, and the natural sciences. Their teaching is only their own personal philosophy, a figment of their own imaginations, if not the “doctrines of demons.” So far, they have not produced any signs or fruits that would validate the divine origin of their teaching, such as those produced by Jesus, the Apostles, and the Saints.

They studied the Scriptures in the same way that they studied the Buddhist, Hindu, and Moslem teachings—or any of the natural sciences. They studied without faith, and without the witness of the Holy Spirit, and were prevented from meeting Jesus in the Scriptures. They concluded their studies by rejecting the historical Jesus, the Apostles, and the Church. They edited the Scriptures, keeping only what supported their own understanding, and attempted to give a new and enlightened interpretation to the words of Jesus. They rejected the interpretation of the Church and the understanding of Scripture that Christians have had for the past 2000 years. They rejected both, the oral and written Word of God, and the authority of the Magisterium to teach and interpret the Word of God, oral and written.

All of the references to Jesus that Eckhart uses in his book are taken out of context and used to support his own bias and beliefs. At first glance, his interpretations sound very good and impressive, and make his own beliefs more palatable. But, this is not the way Christians read or study Scripture. There are many Theologians who are Atheists, and even teach Scripture, without ever really coming to know Jesus; without encountering the living God. Christians read Scripture in order to come to a deeper knowledge of Jesus, their Lord—a deeper knowledge of God, the author of Scripture. Before my conversion, Scripture did not make any sense to me; I couldn’t understand it—especially the parables. After my conversion, Scripture came alive and I could understand everything I read.

Now instead of the spirit of the world, we have received the Spirit that comes from God, to teach us to understand the gifts that he has given us. Therefore we teach, not in the way in which philosophy is taught, but in the way that the Spirit teaches us: we teach spiritual things spiritually. An unspiritual person is one who does not accept anything of the Spirit of God: he sees it all as nonsense; it is beyond his understanding because it can only be understood by means of the Spirit. A spiritual man, on the other hand, is able to judge the value of everything, and his own value is not to be judged by other men. As scripture says: ‘Who can know the mind of the Lord, so who can teach him?’ But we are those who have the mind of Christ. (1Cor.2:12-16).

Christians believe that Jesus Christ came to enable us to make this “shift of consciousness—into God consciousness.” We call this shift, conversion, or salvation. It is not something that we simply believe with our intellect, but something we have experienced. We cannot come to this conversion without faith—a gift of grace from God. It begins with believing the Good News of Jesus, that “the kingdom of God is at hand;” believing in his promise of new life—a new birth in the Holy Spirit, bringing us into the kingdom of God within us; believing his promise of deliverance from bondage to sin and evil; believing his promise of a personal relationship with God as our Father; and believing his promise of the Holy Spirit to enable us to see with new eyes, to love as God loves us, and to be transformed into his image and likeness. We die to the old man, the ego—sin—and receive a new nature, the fullness of life—eternal life, by putting on the “mind of Christ.” For some Christians, this conversion is very dramatic and perceptible; for others it is very gradual and quiet, and they barely recognize the change that they have undergone. But, the fruits are the same. As we increase in the love of God and practice the opposing virtues to our faults, we are freed from all guilt and fear, and sin loses its power over us. We receive the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, his joy, and his love; and manifest his love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, trustfulness, and self-control to others. No longer are we victims of our ego, selfishness, and self-indulgence; giving all our attention and energy to feeding our ego with the things of this world—security, materialism, money, power, greed, lust, pleasure, and temporal wants and needs.

All Christians are called to discipleship—to follow Jesus—to be filled with the Holy Spirit, receiving charismatic gifts for the building up of the Church and the kingdom of God on earth. This is what the disciples experienced at Pentecost, and has continued to be a part of the Church’s experience. In order to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, manifesting the charisms of the Spirit, one must take a leap of faith—let go of clinging to our human understanding, intellect and reason. We have to say “yes” to the call of God and want to serve Him. Our desire is only to do the will of the Father, and to establish the kingdom of God on earth. It is all a process that takes time. It is not automatic. Christians are at various stages of transformation, which is a stumbling block for non-believers because they expect all Christians to be immediately transformed into Saints. But, Christians are filled with the hope that when we see the Lord, we will be like him, and enter into his kingdom forever. When the Lord comes again, the kingdom of God will be fully established on earth. Scripture says:

I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons. It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free, For we must be content to hope that we shall be saved—our salvation is not in sight, we should not have to be hoping for it if it were—but, as I say, we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet—it is something we must wait for with patience.(Rom 8:18-25).

It is important for Christians to remember that Eckhart is not the Messiah—a new Christ. His teaching is not a new Gospel—a New Covenant. As would be expected, his own ideology is reflected throughout his teachings. This is only natural, because Eckhart is not God; and does not claim to be God, as Jesus did. If he were God, he would be able to do all that Jesus did. He does appear, however, to be a holy man of virtue, peace, wisdom, and insight. Only time, which he calls “the enemy of consciousness,” will reveal the truth and illusions within his teaching.

Eckhart is not a Christian so we can’t expect him understand, let alone, teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Any interpretation he gives on Scripture will be suspect, to say the least. Eckhart appears to have studied some of the teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Science, Psychology, as well as New Age Occult teachings. His ideology appears to be primarily Buddhist; pantheistic and Gnostic.

What we believe is very important; theology is important for our personal transformation and the transformation of the world, and can enable us to become spiritually mature and to grow in holiness. But, it is our purity of heart and our love that ushers us into heaven; our gratitude, humility, and the motivation of love behind all our actions; our peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, trustfulness, and self-control. This comes from grace, from the Holy Spirit.

If we are truly Christian, we should love Eckhart, but that doesn’t mean we should love or embrace what he teaches. When I hear Christians say, “This book changed my life,” I really have to wonder what they are talking about. The philosophy of this book is very “New Age.” There are many things in the book that just don’t ring true; that seem to be a counterfeit of the Gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ. A counterfeit is a copy or imitation. Imitations sometimes look better than the originals, because they have a fresh new look, but they are not the original and have no value. Some people try to claim that their counterfeit copy is the original, because they don’t know the difference. Eckhart offers a new mind-set (consciousness) that resembles the “mind of Christ,” but it is not the mind of Christ—it is a counterfeit. We won’t find the mind of Christ—the Spirit of Truth—in the “Power of Now,” or in the new consciousness that is presented in A New Earth. I do not mean to imply that Eckhart does not have the truth in him, only that his teachings do not seem to come from the truth. I would recommend that Christians, instead, use the Scriptures and Christian spiritual writings for their spiritual growth. There are so many wonderful and inspirational Christian books available today that Christians do not need to look for nourishment outside of their faith. Only the Truth can set us free, and Jesus is that Truth.

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