The other day at the book store I was looking at the top 10 hard back bestsellers and sure enough another Depak Chopra book was listed as number one: The Third Jesus. I checked out the dust jacket and it seemed to be as I suspected, another new age-take on Jesus that draws on the love and redemption of Jesus, but sort of skips over the cost of discipleship and the road to the cross.
The language is all spirituality and enlightenment, which can be applied to Jesus in a few ways, but does not capture the complete, orthodox picture the Bible and historic church give us about Jesus.
Noted Biblical scholar Ben Witherington has written up a review of the book at his blog and comes to this conclusion:
Jesus did not, and does not come to take us to a higher spiritual plane, so that we might better get in touch with the little bit of God that is in us all or our own God-consciousness. Indeed, he seeks to lead us to have a relationship with the God he called Abba who is wholly other, and who urges us to recognize the Creator Creature distinction. We are not God, nor is God inherently in us or a part of our being. The end result of navel gazing is that we may well get more in touch with ‘our inner child’, but we do not get more in touch with the ‘outer’ God who created the universe and all that is in it. The former sort of spirituality is a form of narcissism, or at its worse, self- worship. The latter form of spirituality reinforces the Creator/creature distinction and leads to worship of the one true God.
I don’t claim to have Jesus all figured out. I don’t claim that people can’t learn from Jesus even if they won’t become committed followers of Jesus. However, I do not believe Chopra presents an accurate view of Jesus with his Biblical grab-bag approach. Of course the main difference here is my Christian tradition values the Biblical witness and the traditions passed down throughout Christian history. Chopra is coming from a completely different angle, an angle that I think misses out on the life-changing revelation of God and call to discipleship.