Thursday, July 20, 2006

Chopra's Jesus is Liberalism's "Gospel"

Tonight, I ran across a post over at Matthew that reveals a quote made by Deepak Chopra regarding the ECUSA's recent decision. I decided to copy and paste the entire post, then add some comments to it:

Here’s a hypothetical situation. If I had my own radio/television show (maybe even a podcast), I just might devote an entire show each week to tracking the jibberish that comes out of Deepak Chopra’s mouth. Chopra has become an emblematic voice for 21st century American spirituality; he has an unmatched ability to speak ad nauseam without ever saying anything of actual substance.

Somehow this also translates into printed form. Take, for example, his article in Monday’s San Francisco Chronicle. Referring to the ECUSA’s recent decision, he writes:

[It] was an act of cowardice because it did not reflect the ideals of love in Christianity and was motivated by reactionaries in the Episcopal denomination. Countering a long tradition of laissez-faire tolerance, the reactionaries have gotten tough and threatened to form their own church if gays are promoted in the priesthood. The worldwide Anglicans are more intolerant, upholding that homosexuality is forbidden, unnatural, wrong or an outright sin, depending on who is doing the disapproving. You’d think that someone would stand up and ask a simple question: Who are we to condemn gays if Christ didn’t? In fact, who are we to condemn any sinner, since Christ didn’t? Christianity is about forgiveness, and for the past two decades, as fundamentalism swept through every Protestant denomination, moderates and liberals have been driven out, and were roundly condemned as they left. Along with them went tolerance and forgiveness, not to mention love.

Did Christ teach love or is that just a liberal bias? In the current climate, it’s hard to remember, but one thing is certain: Once a tight cabal of fundamentalists takes over any denomination, Christ’s teachings go out the window. The reversal of Christianity from a religion of love to a religion of hate is the greatest religious tragedy of our time.

Actually, Jesus has a lot to say that relates to judgment and wrath. And it’s not just a matter of homosexuality, but it strikes at the heart of the sin that infects and afflicts every son and daughter of Adam. And Jesus understood this - he came to “seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Unfortunately, Chopra’s Jesus is one that is far too common in the popular mind. He leaves the matter of our guilt untouched and simply tells us to be “better people.”

But this is not Jesus and this is no Christianity. Another religion, perhaps, but not Christianity. Chopra’s Jesus brings to mind the indictment issued by H. Richard Niebuhr against liberalism’s gospel in The Kingdom of God in America (1938): "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross."


Chopra has made criticisms about Biblical Christianity (a.k.a. Fundamentalism to many of it's detractors) before. One of the best debates that I have ever seen on television last year was between Chopra and Christian apologist, Greg Koukl. They appeared together on on Lee Strobel's Faith Under Fire program.

In a past blogpost called Hostility Towards Christian Faith, I shared Greg's brilliant response to Chopra's obvious dislike and hostility towards the true Gospel and truth claims of Biblical Christianity:

A few months ago I watched Greg Koukl (a wonderful Christian apologist) and Deepak Chopra discuss the future of faith on Lee Strobel's Faith Under Fire. Dr. Chopra has written numerous books on New Age spirituality that have sold millions of copies.

Greg did a superb job of representing the gospel in content and character, modeling the qualities of an ambassador that he and the folks at Stand to Reason seek to instill in others. He repeatedly demonstrated the problems with religious relativism and exposed the fact that, contrary to his denial that he is dogmatic, Dr. Chopra adheres to a theological position of which he seeks to persuade others.

As a sign of respect for Jesus, Dr. Chopra said that his teaching in the Sermon on the Mount is among his favorites and that he carries a copy of it with him. However, he considers Jesus only one among a number of God's messengers. Not only is this a contradiction of the biblical witness to Jesus' uniqueness, it's also unintelligible given Dr. Chopra's own concept of the nature of God. You see, Dr. Chopra emphatically denies that God is a personal being.

The concept of messenger presupposes two activities, both of which can only be performed by persons. The first is that of sending or commissioning. A messenger is one who is sent by someone not something.

The second activity presupposed by the concept of messenger is communication. A messenger is one who conveys a what? That's right - a message. The task of a messenger is to convey some kind of communication from the one who sent him or her to the recipient.

If I were to tell you that my toaster wanted me to tell you something, you'd think that I was either joking or something was seriously wrong with me. That's because we know that toasters and other impersonal entities don't communicate. So, how Dr. Chopra explains the concept of an impersonal God having messengers, I don't know.
I don't think he can. And he didn't. Dr. Chopra's position was logically impossible and spiritually unsatisfying.

It truly was absolutely fabulous! Greg Koukl pointed out the fact that people can have differing beliefs regarding faith, but that it is logically impossible for them all to be true at the same time. His trust in Jesus Christ and God's Word stood in direct contrast to Deepak Chopra who admitted "embracing his uncertainty." Koukl's view demonstrates a steadfast and true faith where Chopra's view can only lead to theological oblivion.

This is truly an important point to remember and share when confronted by someone adhering to such New Age beliefs.

Several weeks ago, I heard a Christian evangelist's radio broadcast and the one thing about his discussion that stood out in my mind was the fact that there is a liberal Christian movement today that is geared towards making The Sermon on the Mount the "new gospel" of Christianity. The evangelist pointed out the danger of doing this because even though the Sermon on the Mount is important in living our lives as Christian believers, it isn't the Gospel message that Jesus told us to "go into all the world and preach, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."

The message of the Cross of Christ involves the following: first, and foremost, the repentance of sins; then, forgiveness for those sins by faith in Christ and His shed blood at the cross. Only then, can reconciliation, mercy, grace, and ultimately salvation of the soul be bestowed upon the born again believer. In John 3:3, Jesus didn't say, 'you should be born again.' Jesus didn't say, 'I suggest that you be born again.' He said, "You MUST be born again."

The author at the Matthew Hall blogsite sums it up quite well:

Unfortunately, Chopra’s Jesus is one that is far too common in the popular mind. He leaves the matter of our guilt untouched and simply tells us to be “better people.”

But this is not Jesus and this is no Christianity. Another religion, perhaps, but not Christianity. Chopra’s Jesus brings to mind the indictment issued by H. Richard Niebuhr against liberalism’s gospel in The Kingdom of God in America (1938): "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross."

For more about the reasons to avoid the heresy and apostasy of "Christ without a Cross," see this post that discusses Beware the Crossless Gospel.

Hat Tip: SmartChristian


Bob said...

Hey, good post. Liberal Christians are really the people I have the hardest time to deal with. I would much rather talk with atheists and new agers any day simply for the fact that that frankly they are so slippery. They will say all the right phrases like I believe that faith in Jesus is what saves (while behind the scenes they may mean that the word "Jesus" is different for everybody). This is deceptive because they know what you mean when you ask them point blank questions and it is flat out dishonesty and insencerity which saturates the speach of theological liberals.

Anyway, the quotes you put up were telling of how liberals like to play with words and spin things. After all accepting gays is "loving" and you don't want to push people away when Jesus was soooo "accepting"...right? Well if these guys are going to hell in their unrepentant sin then the most "loving" thing to do is to plead with them to repent that they might be accepted before God.

Oh, I wish I could have seen the faith under fire with Greg on it. I saw one with Al Mohler and John Shelby Spong (speaking about liberal weasles!) it was pretty good. Spong was saying a buch of junk about how no theologians actually believe that Jesus is the only way and that the bible is innarent anymore to which Mohler said: "You need to get out more"

In response to the universalist statements you simply can't come to these conclusions from the bible, Christ said things like: "He who has the Son has the Father also, he who does not have the Son does not have the Father"
So it doesn't matter whether you woship Allah, Yahweh, Buddah so on...if you don't have Christ you don't know God. (Sounds kinda intolerant)

In Christ

Christinewjc said...

Welcome Bob!

Very well said! I appreciated all that you shared here.

Went back over to your blog and enjoyed reading your post called, Hey! It Says: "Judge Not!" Truly an excellent post! I think Chopra needs to read it, too!

Christinewjc said...

Found this comment on a blog a while back and saved it. Thought it would be interesting to post someone's opinion that appreciated what Chopra had to say and disliked what Koukl had to say.

Ironically, she titled it:

Embracing My Uncertainty

" Embracing My Uncertainty
Was watching Deepak Chopra tonight on a show called "Faith Under Fire".
He said something about embracing his uncertainty, and I loved that.
I've read a couple of his books, and also read some things which people who don't agree with him have said about him. All I know is that what I've heard him say rings true with what I believe.
I also find myself getting very calm and relaxed and content when I listen to him speak.

There was another guy on the show with him, and listening to him speak gave me the opposite feeling.

I'm consciously working on letting go of judgement. I don't want to judge people. Even people who have harmed me in some way or another, I don't want to judge them in any way.
I used to think that judging someone was very simple and obvious, but I don't think it is anymore.

I think that even when I'm making conscious efforts not to criticize someone in my heart/mind/soul , I sometmes do anyway. I think that for now it's enough that my goal is to not do that.

Is it judgement/criticism if I say "I don't want to be like him"? I'm not sure.
I don't want to be like the man who was on the show with Deepak Chopra. I don't want to make anyone feel badly. I used to believe that it was silly to feel that way, that sometimes you have to say harsh truths. I still believe there are harsh truths, but only because we don't understand them. Is it my place to tell someone a harsh truth? If I am aware that someone doesn't understand that they are using cruel language, what good does it do to say "You are cruel"?

If I feel that someone is being cruel but they don't think that they are, that could result in a disagreement or argument.

But if I am able to make him understand how he is being cruel, that would be more beneficial.
And what if in attempting to find a way to make him understand my feelings, I came to understand his? And what if both feelings/ideas/beliefs could exist without anyone being "wrong"?*

Of course, as an adult who has engaged in many a passionate discussion, I know that there are people who only speak and don't hear. I know that there are people who have decided in their heart/mind that they won't hear me, or any idea that doesn't fit with what they currently 'know' to be true. At least that is the perception. I try to exhaust every effort before resigning myself to the possibility that the person I'm talking with operates that way. I always believe that I can learn something even from people who I don't agree with. However, what you can learn from someone who doesn't listen, is greatly diminished."

There is possibly weeks worth of analysis that could be done on that post!

*The part I placed in bold may sound "politically correct," but it is truly an outright example of relativistic thinking!