Context (the problem)Taken from here.:
Despite Oprah and Eckhart's reduction of Christianity to but one "way" amongst many other equally legitimate ways to God, and their calling Christ a "revolutionary" who has been misunderstood by the Church, and who simply came to manifest "Christ-consciousness", a quick search through the internet reveals that many Christians are following Oprah in attempting to fuse together the teachings of Eckhart, and the doctrines of the historical Christian church.
Great website to gain quick summary of Eckhart's beliefs/teachings: Ripples on the Surface of Being
Key Responses by Eckhart Tolle
AC: Ultimately, would you say that real spiritual practice or real spiritual experience is meant to lead one to the letting go of the world, the transcendence of the world, the relinquishment of attachment to the world?
ET: Yes. Sometimes people ask, "How do you get to that? It sounds wonderful, but how do you get there?" In concrete terms, at its most basic, it simply means to say "yes" to this moment. That is the state of surrender-a total "yes" to what is. Not the inner "no" to what is. And the complete "yes" to what is, is the transcendence of the world. It's as simple as that-a total openness to whatever arises at this moment. The usual state of consciousness is to resist, to run away from it, to deny it, to not look at it.
JM: I was also struck by your interpretation of the cross as a symbol of "thy will be done".(From ">here)
ET: It's a strange dualistic symbol. Basically, it's a torture instrument. To me, Jesus stands for humanity. So this man is nailed to the torture instrument, totally helpless, in deep suffering. At that point comes total surrender to what is. "Not my will, but thy will be done." At that point, the symbolic significance of the cross is changed from being a torture instrument to a symbol of the divine. So what it points to is that the very thing that seems to stand in the way of realizing who you are. The very suffering that comes with being here in this physical realm---because eventually some form of suffering comes to everybody---can become an opening into that which we call the divine. If you're lucky, disaster comes before the physical form is lost and the psychological form dissolves. This sometimes happens through extreme suffering, when people lose everything, or they find out they don't have much more time to live. So they are faced with extreme disaster which cannot be explained away.
The possibility of such a transformation has been the central message of the great wisdom teachings of humankind. The messengers—Buddha, Jesus, and others, not all of them known—were humanity's early flowers. They were precursors, rare and precious beings. A widespread flowering was not yet possible at that time, and their message became largely misunderstood and often greatly distorted. It certainly did not transform human behavior, except in a small minority of people.From here.
1. Whereas in recent days, many have viewed Jesus as only a "GOOD TEACHER" rather than the "Son of God and Savior of the world"; Eckhart views Jesus (along with others such as Buddha) as one who only SET AN EXAMPLE for others in "SURRENDERING" as a result of suffering, BUT NOT ONE WHOSE SACRIFICE WAS NECESSARY FOR ATONEMENT! [i.e. Historic Christianity] In doing this, Jesus was only "one among many". (Note: In this view, Eckhart Tolle has done as much if not more than Jesus for us... since he not only supposedly sets the example for us in surrendering, but according to him...his teachings are not misunderstood and twisted like Jesus' example and teaching... so according to his view, Tolle, not Jesus is or becomes the de facto "real" or "best" Savior)
In other words, whereas before Jesus was a good "teacher" whose teachings (along with others) were instrumental in leading people to God, now in Eckhart's view Jesus (along with others) is one who has gone before in "participating in the right experience" (that of renouncing the world, ego, etc.) that leads people to experience reality (stillness, pure consciousness, self, transcendence of the world).
Put another way, in Eckhart's view, when Christ said "thy will be done, not my will", Jesus was not simply expressing the continuous attitude of his heart even in light of the present circumstances, but he had arrived at the divine and accomplished what is needed by others (an awakening), so that what followed (the penal substitution and atonement) was essentially unnecessary [/CONTRARY to SCRIPTURE and ESSENTIALS of Historic Christianity].
Finally, it should be noted that whereas Eckhart sees Jesus on the cross as "representing" humanity; he fails to see that Jesus set himself "in the place of" humanity (the elect). (Isaiah 53 "...Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, ..., ...he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.")
Such teaching fails to take into account passages such as:
Matt 6:10 (Lord's prayer) "...your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
John 6:27 "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."
Phil 2:6 "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,",
... not to mention those dealing with substitutionary atonement, including:
Romans 3:25 "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood..."
Hebrews 10:10 "And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
... also not to mention those dealing with God's decretal will in regard to the events of the cross
Acts 4:27-28 "Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. They did what YOUR POWER AND WILL had decided beforehand should happen." (i.e. Jesus didn't just suffer the wrath of men but the fulfilled the plan and suffered the wrath of God for those he represented through federal relationship.)
2. Eckhart falsely supposes that man can renounce the world and self on his own apart from any grace in Christ.
Such teaching suggests man can change his own nature, that the death of Christ was not necessary for man to die to sin, and that grace is not needed for man to renounce the world and himself.
This runs counter to:
Jeremiah 13:23 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil."
John 17:19 "For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified."
Romans 8:7 "the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so."
Rom 6:13 "Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life;..."
3. Those who seek to "together the teachings of Eckhart, and the doctrines of the historical Christian church" are fooling themselves. Not only do they attempt to join together doctrines that can't be joined (like oil and water) but they deny the critical teaching of Christianity found in the doctrine of the necessity of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ... along with teachings dealing with sanctification that accompany the doctrines of justification.
4. Eckhart is doing nothing different than others such as Joseph Smith or Muhammed when he seeks to supplant Scripture and the gospel of Christ by claiming the Scriptures have been misunderstood and that he knows better than the biblical writers.
For more, see here.
See also a comparison of Eckhart Tolle and Christianity on the Subject of Death.