Writings by Cole Huffman

Book Review: Ravi Zacharias' "Why Jesus?"

A few weeks ago one of our daughters, age 11, attended the birthday party of a classmate. The classmate participates in a yoga class and thought it would be unique and different to hold her party there. Our daughter was not impressed afterwards. As soon as she walked in the door home she flashed a bemused smile, cocked her head sideways and pronounced, “Weird! That was the weirdest thing I’ve ever done!” 

It may or may not surprise you to hear that my daughter and her classmates all attend a Christian school. And so the party plans raised a few parents’ eyebrows. But then most American Christians’ eyebrows will lift in puzzlement if you suggest yoga is inextricably intertwined with the metaphysics of Hinduism. That’s not how they experience it. They experience it as just an exercise class, so what’s the problem?
Ravi Zacharias would call this a consequence of “Weasternism.” It’s a term he coined in his latest book, Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality. Ravi calls mass marketed spirituality “New Spirituality,” and its Weasternism seductively merges Eastern spirituality with Western materialism. The seduction of the New Spirituality is that the individual is lured into becoming his/her own spiritual arbiter and authority. The two most prominent proponents of this are Oprah and Chopra, whose names together sound like the proprietors of an exotic boutique. But Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra influence millions of people with muddled spiritual thought. Ravi takes them on, especially Chopra, in this book.
Ravi is as formidable a philosopher and Christian apologist as exists. He has lectured and ministered all over the world for four decades. As a man who grew up in India but lived his adult life in America, Ravi has a unique cultural vantage point. He’s an incisive surveyor of spiritual topographies, a seismologist of both the Eastern and Western soul.
The easy enculturation of Eastern spirituality to Western sensibilities is explained by the increasing willingness of many Americans to absorb beliefs rather indiscriminately. We’re a self-made people who apply our entrepreneurism of life to matters of the spirit, baptizing “whatever works.” Truth is in the eye of the beholder, and Ravi very capably describes how we got here and what’s at stake. This is Ravi at his best, as field guide to the habitats of truth and error. Having read other Ravi books through the years I was re-impressed with Ravi’s deftness in advancing the uniqueness of Jesus as the person of truth for everyone. Because confidence in the Bible is integral to this conviction Ravi concludes the book with a suggested bibliography on the authority of the Scriptures.
Chopra and others redefine Jesus or don’t allow him to speak for himself apart from their prism. In their view Jesus is someone who obtained the kind of God-consciousness we all have within us awaiting discovery. Ravi shows his readers why no one searching for divinity in themselves finds it, and why it is impossible to grant to each person their own subjective spiritual authority. For a church that too easily lets itself lose its way in the fog of trendy spirituality, Ravi’s book is like the lights of an airport landing strip.
My friend Melissa Ruleman at the Commercial Appeal also penned a review of Ravi’s book HERE
Posted by Cole Huffman at 5:46 PM
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