Christian Biblical Counsel: NEW AGE MOVEMENT

Background

Because of its complex and individualistic nature, the New Age Movement is difficult to define. It is not a single organization but a spiritual, political and social network brought together through common interests in occult and pagan beliefs. Though Eastern religions are especially favored by New Agers, all religions are accepted as equal except for Christianity, which teaches only one way to God. New Agers may be involved in such pursuits as extrasensory perception, telepathy, clairvoyance, astral projection, psychokinesis, channeling, astrology, psychic healing, transcendental meditation, and yoga.

To the New Age follower, God is merely an impersonal consciousness or force, a divine essence that is inseparable from the earth and universe. Indeed New Agers see themselves as a part of God, and they seek altered states of consciousness through meditation or hypnosis in order to more fully experience their divine nature.

There is nothing new in the New Age Movement! It is merely the latest expression of humankind’s age-old sinful desire to be a god while rejecting “the true God,” and Jesus Christ whom He has sent (John 17:3). It is the religion Satan was practicing when he tried to exalt himself to be “like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12–14, NIV). It is the religion Adam and Eve accepted when Satan convinced them that they, too, could “be like God” (Genesis 3:4–5, NIV).

Needless to say, the New Age Movement is both alien and hostile to Christianity.

 

Various New Age Beliefs

Truth. Previous ways of thinking are obsolete. New ways of thought are needed to face and resolve the problems of today’s world. Truth is strictly subjective, intuitive, and relative. Experience alone is the test

of spiritual realities. There is no such thing as verbal or written revelation; because the Bible claims to have God’s revealed truth, it is a barrier to spiritual awareness. New Agers see themselves as open-minded, tolerant, and progressive, while Christians are narrow-minded, intolerant, and repressive. (Of course, the New Ager may be intolerant of Christianity!)

Salvation. The human problem is the inability to experience true identity in cosmic terms. True identity can be reached only through meditation and/or hypnosis when, suddenly, one experiences divinity in a burst of cosmic consciousness. To the New Ager, sin and death are mere illusions. Consequently, there is no need for the redemptive act of God in Christ. At this point, however, there is a blatant contradiction in the New Age belief system: Some New Agers accept the Hindu doctrines of karma and reincarnation. Karma is the belief that whatever a person does in this life, good or bad, must return to him or her in exact proportions of good or bad. Since most people are unable to “experience” all their bad karma in one lifetime, they are compelled to return in repeated reincarnations until all the bad is overcome by the good. This is an admission of evil in humankind and of the need to resolve it. (Understood in Christian terms, belief in karma and reincarnation amounts to a belief in salvation by works.) Through reincarnation, the soul continues to be reborn until “oneness with God” is experienced. This may require millions of reincarnations. It is, of course, incompatible with the biblical teaching that we have only one lifetime to settle accounts with God (Hebrews 9:27).

World problems and social concerns. Many New Age followers seem to be genuinely desirous of coming to grips with the world’s vexing problems: inequality, poverty, hunger, crime, disease, the ecology, and the like. Some see the movement as a revolt against the secularism which has left a great spiritual void in our culture. New Agers generally see pantheism (the belief that God is one with His creation) as the way to “solve” the world’s problems: We need to enter a state of “God consciousness” and usher in the “New Age” of enlightenment which will bring prosperity, peace, and harmony to all.

NOTE: In speaking with a New Age follower, the point needs to be made that the true Christian is also interested in the world, and that the church with all its flaws does more than any other entity to alleviate suffering, through its annual gifts of billions of dollars and through its relief agencies which minister worldwide.

 

Things to Remember in Talking with a New Age Adherent

• Don’t underestimate the New Ager by thinking that he or she is ignorant or is living on the fringes of society. Many New Agers are well educated, successful people who believe that there has to be an alternative to the secularism of our times.

 

• Do not attack with biblical texts or by condemning practices which are at the heart of their beliefs. Your goal is to positively and patiently witness for Jesus Christ and the Gospel.

• Do not assume that the New Ager will understand the meaning of your Christian vocabulary. You may use evangelical words such as saved, new birth, sin, or judgment, but be prepared to illustrate and explain such terms. Be sure that you also know something about their beliefs.

• Don’t try to match spiritual experiences with them, such as conversion stories, healings, and the like.

• Seek to make an objective presentation of God’s truth from the biblical perspective. Though your antagonist will have repudiated the Judeo- Christian concepts as no longer serving our culture, you have no other authority than the Bible. Tolerant people (as New Agers claim to be) owe you a hearing.

• Be patient and prayerful, depending on the Holy Spirit.

 

Helping Strategy

1. Present God as a person. He is not an essence, a force, or a mere cosmic energy:

A. He exists: “He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

B. He exists eternally: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. There is no searching of His understanding” (Isaiah 40:28).

C. He possesses the qualities of a person: He loves (John 3:16; 1 John 4:8), He speaks (Genesis 28:15; 1 Samuel 3:9), He has wisdom and knowledge (Romans 11:33), He acts (Deuteronomy 11:7; Psalm

145:4, 6, 12).

2. Present God as Creator. The New Ager holds a spiritualized concept of evolution, in which only “consciousness,” not matter, is of any consequence. State clearly your belief that:

A. An all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God created the universe (Acts 17:24).

B. He objectively planned and executed His creation as an act independent of Himself. God and the universe are not one and the same (Genesis 1:26–27, 31).

C. He independently sustains His creation (Colossians 1:17).

3. Present truth as an objective reality. God reveals Himself to humans in three ways:

A. Through His creation (Genesis 1:1; Romans 1:20).

B. Through the written Word (Romans 10:17; 2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12).

C. Through Jesus Christ, His Son (Galatians 4:4; Hebrews 1:1–2).

4. Present salvation as an act of God, who intervened in space and time to redeem us. Show both the human need for salvation, and the fact that it is offered through Jesus Christ:

A. Sin is everything which is against—or fails to conform to—the character of God (Romans 3:9–18; 2 Timothy 3:2–5; 1 John 1:5–6, 10):

(1) Our conduct reveals sin. We do not live up to God’s standards (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23).

(2) Our conscience reveals sin (Romans 1:21–23).

(3) God’s written Word clarifies for us the true nature of sin (Romans 1:18–19; 3:20; 1 Timothy 1:8–10).

B. Because of sin, judgment and death are inevitable (Acts 17:31; Romans 5:18; Hebrews 9:27). The New Ager may pretend that sin, death, and judgment do not exist; they may make “new rules” in order to avoid fear and guilt, but this doesn’t change reality:

(1) If the New Ager denies the concept of “right or wrong” or “good or evil,” ask him or her about the New Age acceptance of the Hindu doctrine of karma, which tries to balance the good and evil deeds of one’s life.

(2) If there is no sin, how does one explain all the evil in the world?

C. Objectively, it would be impossible to be a participant in a “New Age” or “New World Order” without experiencing a “new life.” Something special must transpire in an individual before he or she can pretend to offer a “New Age” for others. Only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ can we find personal transformation, reconciliation with the God-Creator of the universe, and the fulfillment of all those noble goals that we fail to achieve because of our fallen nature (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17):

(1) Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became incarnate, thus making God accessible (John 1:14). Accessibility also makes God approachable. Because He is approachable, we can enter into a new relationship with Him (John 14:6).

(2) Jesus Christ died on the cross, satisfying God’s demands for righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 3:18) and reconciling us to God in spite of our broken relationship with Him (2 Corinthians

5:18; Colossians 1:21).

(3) An unconditional commitment to Jesus Christ must be made in order to bring about this new relationship (John 1:12; 5:24; 2 Corinthians 5:17).

(4) At the moment of salvation we are fully restored to God’s image, thus satisfying one of mankind’s deepest longings:

(a) We were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26; 5:1).

(b) We lost something of that image through the Fall (Genesis 3:1–7; Romans 3:23; 5:12–14; 1 Corinthians 15:22).

(c) We shall be restored in God’s image (Psalm 17:15; 1 John 3:1–2).

(5) The Christian message is one of love toward God and others (Matthew 22:37–39; John 15:12, 17; 1 John 4:7–11). Christ has set the example for such unselfish love through His death on the cross.

5. Discuss the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ as the cornerstone of the Christian faith. He rose physically never to die again. He ascended into God the Father’s presence and is now the object of our faith:

A. An objective and measurable experience of new life in Christ is possible because of the Resurrection. All of Christianity can be defended because its truth is based on historical events. All we ask of any opponent of the Christian message is to hear and evaluate it as he or she would any serious evidence. Secular records, as well as biblical facts, substantiate the fact that Jesus Christ is alive (Romans 4:25; 6:7–9, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:20)!

B. Christ’s death and resurrection not only assure eternal spiritual redemption, but also our own future bodily resurrection (John 14:19; 1 Corinthians 15:19; 2 Corinthians 4:14). The Bible makes no mention of reincarnation.

6. Present God’s future kingdom as the legitimate coming “New Age”: God is preparing a genuine new age, a perfect world where injustice, selfishness, crime, disease, war, and other forms of inhumanity will be no more. It will be a reign of peace, love, equality, and prosperity to be enjoyed by all the redeemed. It will be a theocracy where Jesus Christ will be King of kings and Lord of lords (Daniel 7:27; Matthew 25:34; John 14:1–3; 1 Peter 1:10–11; Revelation 11:15; 21:22–27).

7. Present the gospel – Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD

8. Use the “Follow-Up Steps” as indicated.

 

See also Cults, Demons, The Occult, A Comparison of Christianity with Major Religions and Cults

The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996

New Age Spirituality

A New Mask for an Old Message

by June Hunt

Rudyard Kipling wrote:

“East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

But the two have met in the New Age Movement.

A hungry wolf sees a flock of sheep. In order to get past the shepherd undetected, he shrewdly covers himself with wool to look like a sheep. By looking like a sheep, he can get close to and attack the sheep. A wolf in sheep’s clothing, a woolly wolf, might look soft and innocent, but his true nature is to kill and destroy.

New Age Spirituality presents itself as innocent and helpful. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it can look good on the outside. In reality, however, it is deceptive and destructive. Thousands of people follow lies about God and His world because they fail to recognize New Age Spirituality for what it is.

Are you putting your faith in a cloaked lie? How can you know if you are? Read on to understand the lies of New Age Spirituality that may be influencing you!

I.     Definitions

A. What Is New Age Spirituality?

•     New Age Spirituality is made up of a large, loosely structured network of individuals and organizations bound together by a worldview that chiefly consists of …

—  the central belief of pantheism

—  the common hope of global enlightenment

—  the creation of one’s own reality through positive thinking

—  the cycle of ongoing reincarnation

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”

(1 Timothy 4:1)

B. What Are the Old Roots of the New Age?

•     Hinduism is the dominant religion of India, which teaches the following:

—  All existence is one substance … monism.

—  All existence is divine … pantheism.

—  All things, even rocks, are inhabited by God … panentheism.

—  All people go through many life and death cycles … reincarnation.

—  All reality is illusion (Maya).

•     Helena P. Blavatsky, known as “The Mother of the New Age,” was a Russian occultist who rejected Christianity and adopted pantheism. She developed a cult out of Hinduism known as theosophy (the wisdom of God).

•     Christian Science is a mind science cult created out of theosophy and Hinduism by Mary Baker Eddy. It spread throughout the United States with the publication of her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.

—  Charles and Myrtle Fillmore crystallized and further developed this line of thinking through their Unity School of Christianity.

•     The name New Age is an umbrella word coined to identify a host of groups and organizations that have adopted the thinking of Ancient Occultism and Eastern Mysticism.

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

(Matthew 7:15)

C. What Are Some Religions and Organizations That Embrace New Age Thought?

Partial List

•     Christian Science

•     Church Universal and Triumphant

•     The Forum (formerly known as “est”)

•     Freemasonry

•     Kabbalah

•     Krishna Consciousness

•     Share International

•     A Course in Miracles

•     Religious Science

•     Rosicrucianism

•     Steiner Institute (Anthroposophy)

•     Unitarian Universalist Church

•     Unity and Diversity Council

•     Life Spring

•     Unity School of Christianity

“Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”

(Matthew 24:4–5)

D. What Are Some New Age Symbols Flooding the Marketplace?

•     crystals

•     dolphins

•     lotus

•     Pegasus

•     peace sign

•     rainbows

•     unicorns

•     Yin Yang

•     goat’s head

•     ankh

•     pyramids

•     pentagram

•     concentric circles

•     eye in a triangle

•     rays of light

“Behind your doors and your doorposts you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked on their nakedness.”

(Isaiah 57:8)

E. Who Have Been Key Players?

Partial List

•     Alice A. Bailey

•     Deepak Chopra

•     James Lovelock

•     David Spangler

•     Ken Wilber

•     Helena P. Blavatsky

•     Matthew Fox

•     Shirley MacLaine

•     Rudolf Steiner

•     Marianne Williamson

•     Benjamin Creme

•     Jean Houston

•     James Redfield

•     Neale D. Walsch

“The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

(2 Timothy 4:3–4 NASB)

II.    Characteristics of New Age Thought

A. What Is Pantheism?

•     The word pantheism comes from the Greek words pan, which means “all,” and theos, which means “god.”

—  “All is God and God is all.”

•     Pantheism is the belief that God and the universe are identical and that God is not a personality but the expression of the physical forces of nature.

—God   is in nature……  therefore,   nature is God. 
—God   is in man……  therefore,   man is God. 

Q “What is the difference between Christianity and pantheism?”

To a Christian, if the world were destroyed, God would still exist. To a pantheist, if the world were destroyed, God would be destroyed.

“This is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—he says: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.’ ” (Isaiah 45:18)

B. What Is Global Enlightenment?

•     People are in a state of ignorance about their divine nature, but they can receive personal enlightenment through …

—altered   consciousness……  transcendental   meditation 
—psychic   powers……  occult   practices 
—spirit   contact……  channeling 

•     World consciousness will produce a new age of hope and fulfillment through a socialist synthesis of Western capitalism and Eastern communism.

—  a one-world government

—  a one-world culture

—  a one-world economic system

—  a one-world leader

—  a one-world religious system

•     Astrologers refer to this new world order as the Age of Aquarius.

—  Evolutionary cycles correspond to the signs of the Zodiac, each cycle lasting approximately 2,000 years.

—  Christianity began with the Age of Pisces, and now we have moved into the Age of Aquarius.

—  New Age really means the Aquarian Age … “the age of the enlightened man. The man with super-consciousness has begun.”—Johannes Aagaard

•     Globalism is the goal, and peace is the promise. Globalists seek to …

—  Redeem the environment—deep ecology, the spiritualization of earth, moving toward environmental harmony.

—  Redistribute wealth—to achieve parity among nations through economic justice.

—  Demilitarize all armies globally. The destruction of superpowers’ armament capability is crucial to meet the globalists’ agenda.

—  Restructure our planetary civilization into an enlightened one-world federation.

Q “What’s the difference between Christianity and Global Enlightenment?”

A one-world, global order (Global Enlightenment) is man’s attempt to establish peace and harmony in the world system. Christianity is God’s vehicle to establish His kingdom on earth.

“Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He [Christ] will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (Isaiah 9:7)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)

C. What is PMA—Positive Mental Attitude?

Positive Mental Attitude is the belief that you are in control of and can create a positive personal reality through the use of thought and imagination.

•     Positive thinking teaches that reality is created and controlled through the mind.

—  Death, illness, sin, and evil are merely illusions.

—  Perfect health, riches, and prosperity can result from positive thinking or confession.

•     PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) techniques.

—  Positive confession

—  Visualization and imagery

—  Meditation and altered consciousness

•     Truth becomes what you perceive it to be.

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve.”—Napoleon Hill (Father of PMA)

•     PMA as “spiritual law.”

—  The implication is that you can control your world through right confession. Christianity asserts that faith is not a manipulative tool used to get blessings, but the basis for a relationship with God.

Danger: PMA can lead you to relate to God as if He is only a “giver” and not as the Lord of your life.

•     Because no external moral absolutes are acknowledged, truth is something you create from inside yourself and is subject to mental manipulation.

•     PMA allows for an easy faith.

—  PMA offers a painless Christianity.

—  PMA encourages self-gratification.

—  PMA sees suffering as unnecessary.

—  PMA negates the belief that God is the potter and we are the clay.

Since our base desire is to gratify the flesh, we need to better understand God’s sovereign Lord ship over our lives in order to gain a truly positive perspective.

Q “What’s wrong with being positive?”

Nothing is wrong with having a positive attitude. The error is in believing that you can change the future by the way you think. God wants us to have a positive outlook that is based on the hope we have in Christ’s victory over the reality of sin and death, not based on how we choose to think about the future.

“ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ … Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57)

D. What Is Reincarnation?

Reincarnation teaches that when you die, your soul migrates from one body and is reborn in another body. Reincarnation contradicts the Biblical doctrine of sin and final judgment. Instead of trusting in Christ’s death to pay sin’s penalty, those who hold to reincarnation see reincarnation as being the means of atonement.

•     The Eastern View of reincarnation

—  Brahman is the Universal Soul into which the individual soul is ultimately absorbed. The soul is reincarnated through many life and death cycles until this state is reached.

—  Karma is a Hindu term for cause and effect. One’s actions and attitudes in this life determine the type of existence in the next life. Based on one’s karma, a person may regress into a lower life form such as an insect or an animal. On the positive side, one may evolve into another human being with greater stature.

—  Moksha is the final release of a soul from the cycle of death and rebirth into “selflessness.”

—  Nirvana is the transformation of human consciousness from the state of the self to a state of selflessness. Nirvana is the final release from rebirth, desires, suffering, and death; it is a state of bliss and supreme happiness.

•     The Western View of reincarnation

—  One’s soul is freed to be God.

—  The evolutionary movement in future lives is always progressive, never regressive, until the soul reaches perfection.

Both views of reincarnation hope to achieve at-one-ment. The desire is to become one with the divine, through some mystical union. One with a new age philosophy believes this oneness is achieved through absorption into the divine.

Q “Does the Bible teach anything about reincarnation?”

Although the Bible does teach that man’s soul is eternal, we are appointed to die only once, then to be resurrected.

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

Q “What does the Bible say happens after I die?”

After death both believers in Jesus and unbelievers will experience a resurrection and will face God’s judgment.

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.” (John 5:28–29)

Q “Will I get a different body from the one I have now?”

After you die, your soul will not migrate into a different kind of body. Your soul will enter a new body that will not die again. Your new body will be similar to your present body, and you will be recognizable.

“All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.… So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:39, 42)

E. Holistic Health in New Age Trappings

Holistic health encompasses a very broad spectrum of therapies used in the healing arts. The treatment, along with the term “holistic,” is based on the recognition that each of us is a whole person, made up of the interacting elements of body, mind and spirit.

Holistic medicine is founded in ancient medical practices. Some holistic practitioners however, are Christians and use certain therapies in biblically-acceptable ways.

Categories of New Age Holistic Therapies:

•     Natural Therapies

Natural therapies are those therapies that are not man-made or technological in nature, such as …

—  Ayurveda—an ancient healing methodology from India that blends herbal treatments with Hindu religious teachings

•     Mind Therapies

Mind therapies are those practices that put the power of the mind over illness, such as …

—  Yoga—a meditative technique used to establish a union between the practitioner and the Hindu god, Brahma

•     Energy Manipulation Therapies

Energy therapies are those practices that use universal or life energy (chi or prana) to strengthen the weakened body, such as …

—  Applied kinesiology—a form of chiropractic treatment that tests muscle strength or weakness to diagnose illness. The manipulation of chi is primarily for wellness.

—  Iridology—a system of diagnosis in which the iris of the eye is read to identify disease and establish treatment.

—  Crystal work—a shamanistic technique to manipulate chi. Crystals are used to diagnose and treat illness. Crystals are traditionally used in muscle testing, dream work, visualization, divination, and spirit channeling.

—  Reiki—the manipulation of the life force, chi, to bring healing and well-being to the individual. It is a precise way of using “light energy” to restore and balance your own vital energy—physically, emotionally, and mentally—and to connect with your inner self—your spirit.

•     Supernatural Therapies

Supernatural therapies are those therapies that employ psychic practices and spiritism to treat the patient, such as …

—  Channeling—the employment of spirit guides to diagnose and treat disease using a psychic source.

—  Psychic surgery—often practiced by a novice who works under the influence of a spirit guide. The surgery is most often done without the use of a sterile medical environment or anesthesia.

—  Spirit guides—entities that guides the practitioner during diagnosis and treatment. The guide is summoned while the individual is in an altered state of consciousness.

Q “What is the difference between contacting spirit guides for enlightenment and a Christian’s receiving direction from the Holy Spirit?”

•     God forbids demonic activity—including the use of mediums and spirits.

“I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people.” (Leviticus 20:6)

•     The Holy Spirit is God, who guides Christians into all truth.

“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.” (John 16:13)

Concerns about the Use of New Age Holistic Methods:

•     Use of an unscientific approach

•     The claim to bring about healing through manipulation of energy

•     The attempt to make the patient solely responsible for his or her health

•     The use of therapy unknown to the medical establishment

•     A claim that the therapy is a cure-all

•     A claim of an extremely high cure rate

•     Questionable qualifications of practitioner

•     Primary proof of healing totally from testimonials

•     The use of Christian language or adherents to gain credibility

Dangers of New Age Holistic Medical Practices:

•     The failure to properly diagnose

•     The failure to adequately treat

•     The possibility of emotional harm (guilt, depression or lack of faith)

•     The waste of resources

•     The spending of thousands of dollars on bogus treatment

•     The increase of toxic effects on the body

•     The loss of reality by becoming totally absorbed in one’s treatment

Concluding Thoughts about Holistic Medicine

The way we practice medicine is changing. The holistic health movement has dramatically changed how we see ourselves, the universe, and ultimately the supernatural.

The traditional way of viewing medicine as a business and treating only the physical body is now seen as less effective. The treatment of mind, body, and spirit has now become the norm. Most patients desire caregivers who have an overall concern about the whole person. However, patients must be aware of the methodology used in their treatment and its accompanying dangers, not only for physical and emotional well-being, but for their spiritual lives as well.

The patient and the caregiver must realize that true wholeness comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Healing comes in its fullness when the patient and the doctor draw on their faith in God and when their combined faith is in the center of His will.

The spiritual aspect of the alternative health movement has raised the need for Christians to critically assess and rightly discern the spirit behind such practices. Solomon, who was known for his extraordinary wisdom, said,

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

(Proverbs 3:7–8)

III.   Causes of New Age Influence

A. What Is the Appeal of the New Age?

Many people are deceptively drawn into New Age Spirituality because …

•     It offers something positive for everyone (health enthusiasts, psychologists, ecologists).

•     It rejects moral absolutes (no distinction between good and evil).

•     It incorporates a broader view of unity to the point that all religions are the same.

•     It generates curiosity in the supernatural.

•     It increases one’s sense of personal worth.

•     It preys on the spiritual vacuum in a person.

•     It abandons accountability for sin.

•     It targets those with little knowledge of sound Biblical doctrine.

•     It satisfies one’s desire to be like God.

•     It offers a deceptive alternative to those who will not accept the simple message of Christ.

•     It nourishes one’s hope for a perfect world.

The ultimate appeal of New Age Spirituality is rooted in original sin.

“ ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ ”

(Genesis 3:4–5)

B. What Is the Root Cause of New Age Deception?

Wrong Belief:

“My identity (significance) is found in fulfilling my divine potential to become God!”

Right Belief:

My identity (significance) is in Jesus Christ, whose sacrificial love enables me to have a personal relationship with God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16–17)

IV.  Steps To Solving The New Age Dilemma

A. Key Verse to Memorize

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

(Colossians 2:8)

B. Key Passage to Read and Reread

Genesis   chapter 3 
New Age Lies  God’s Truth   
•     We should seek all knowledge through any   means of enlightenment.  •     We are not to seek supernatural knowledge   apart from God’s stated will.  vv. 2–3 
•     Truth can be revealed through channeling.  •     Satan channeled through the serpent.   Satan was a deceiver and brought about destruction.  vv. 1, 13 
•     There are no moral absolutes.  •     Adam and Eve suffered guilt from breaking   God’s moral law.  v. 7 
•     Pain is not reality; but is only an   illusion of the mind.  •     God conferred pain on Adam and Eve.  vv. 16–17 
•     There is no divine judgment.  •     God punished Adam, Eve, and the serpent   for disobedience.  vv. 14, 16–17 
•     There is no death. Everyone is in a cycle   of reincarnation.  •     God stated that man would die and return   to dust.  vv. 19, 22 
•     We are God.  •     We are governed by God.  v. 23 
•     God is only a physical force of nature,   not a personality.  •     God is a personality who communicates   with us.  v. 9 

C. What Are the Pitfalls of Positive Thinking?

Promises of New Age Thinking  Promises of God 
•     Your source for a positive self-image is   in your imagination •     Your source for a positive self-image is   in God’s   Word
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new   creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”(2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

•     Your source of success is in positive   self-talk •     Your source of success is in   Christ, who enables you to do all the things that are God’s will for   you. 
“I can do everything through him who gives me   strength.”(Philippians 4:13)

 

•     Your source of health and prosperity is   to name   it and claim it •     Your source of health, illness, life,   death, wealth, or poverty is in the sovereign hand of God
“I form the light and create darkness, I bring   prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord,   do all these things.”(Isaiah 45:7)

(Read   Deuteronomy 32:39.)

 

•     Your source of power to create reality is   in the spoken word •     Your source of power is in   Christ. Power is in a person, not a process. 
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority   in heaven and on earth has been given to me.’ ”(Matthew 28:18)

 

•     Your source of your faith is your choices.   Your choices determine what your life will be.  •     Your source of your faith is   Christ, whom you have chosen to be the object of your faith as He is   revealed in God’s Word. Your dependency is on Him. 
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man   remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do   nothing.”(John 15:5)

(Read   Romans 10:17; Galatians 2:16.)

 

•     Your means of conquering problems is positive   confession. Evil should not be acknowledged.  •     Your means of conquering the problems of   evil in this world is Christ
“I have told you these things, so that in me you   may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have   overcome the world.”(John 16:33)

 

D. How to Challenge New Age Reasoning

•     Be prepared to challenge New Age reasoning.

•     Pray that God will open the eyes of New Agers to see their illogical thinking.

•     Understand the illogical assumptions:

—  New Agers state that reason is an illusion.

—  New Agers state that there is no right or wrong.

•     Respectfully lead them to see the inconsistencies between the way they live and the worldview they declare by asking a series of questions:

—  “I would value learning from you.… May I ask you several questions?”

—  “Have you ever moved your hand from a hot stove?”

—  “If you are intellectually honest, and I know you will want to be, wasn’t it your logic and reason that gave you the impetus to move your hand to keep it from being burned?”

—  “Have you ever quickly moved out of the path of a moving car?” If they answer yes, continue with the following:

—  “Wasn’t it your logic and reason that made you move out of the path of a moving car so that you would not die?”

—  “If death doesn’t exist, why did you move?”

—  “Do you believe pain exists?” (Assume a no answer.)

—  “Do you believe death exists?” (Assume a no answer.)

—  “If death doesn’t exist, would you be willing to walk into the path of a moving vehicle on a highway?”

—  “Because you have moved away from pain and from potentially deadly situations, then I must conclude that you do live as though logic is real. Therefore, your New Age worldview is not working for you.”

The God of the Bible says that we are to use our reasoning faculties.

“ ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ”

(Isaiah 1:18)

Q “How can I avoid the pitfalls of a New Age version of positive thinking?”

•     Don’t view positive thinking principles (PMA) as biblical.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21)

•     Don’t assume that positive thinking principles will bring desired results.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)

•     Don’t make decisions based on positive thinking principles, but rather on biblical principles.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17)

E. What Are Biblical Answers to New Age Arguments?

Argument:

“We can create reality from ‘universal energy.’ ”

Answer:

Only God can create reality. Only God can create something out of nothing (ex nihilo).

“This is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—he says: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.’ ” (Isaiah 45:18)

Argument:

“Brahman, the impersonal god of which all things are a part, rules the universe.”

Answer:

Only God rules the universe.

“The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19)

Argument:

“God enables everyone to be wealthy because ‘whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve’ ”

Answer:

Jesus says not to focus on earthly, temporal things, but instead to focus on eternal treasures.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19–21)

F.  How to Confront New Age Spirituality

Around AD 50, the apostle Paul confronted pantheists in Athens, giving us the model found in Acts 17:16–34.

•     Communicate concern.

—  Sincerely care about their eternal destination.

—  Sincerely grieve over their misplaced devotion.

“While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.”

(Acts 17:16)

•     Converse with reason.

—  Be non-attacking and non-argumentative.

—  Be willing to allow disagreement.

—  Be patient and tactful.

—  Be knowledgeable about New Age terms that sound biblical but are actually unbiblical.

“He reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.”

(Acts 17:17)

•     Claim the deity of Christ.

—  Christ Jesus is God in human form.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:1–3)

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” (John 1:18)

—  Christ is not just another messenger of God.

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.” (Colossians 1:15–19)

—  Christ is the only way to know God.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

—  Christ rose from the dead and appeared before hundreds.

“What I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:3–6)

•     Commend their desire for spirituality.

—  Their desire to know truth

—  Their desire to know God

—  Their concern for ecology or other social causes

—  Their desire to impact the world in a positive manner

“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: ‘Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.’ ”

(Acts 17:22)

•     Clarify the truth about God.

—  God is the Creator—not the creation.

“This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.” (Isaiah 44:24)

—  God is distinct from the world.

“With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please.” (Jeremiah 27:5)

—  God is holy—people are sinful.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

—  God is changeless—the world is changing.

“In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” (Psalm 102:25–27)

—  God is a personality—not an energy force.

A personality consists of …

a.   Mind

“The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10–11)

b.   Will

“He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.” (Ephesians 1:4–6).

c.   Emotions

“Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)

—  God is the source of all reality.

“From him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

•     Convey God’s judgment.

—  God condemns sin.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.” (Romans 1:18)

—  God requires repentance.

“In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30)

—  God the Son will judge the world.

“The Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)

•     Challenge reincarnation.

—  There is only one death.

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27)

—  There is no change of identity after death.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’ ” (Luke 16:19–31)

—  There is eternal life only in Christ.

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36)

•     Confront the concept of karma.

—  Problems with karmic philosophy:

a.   It offers no scientific evidence to support it.

b.   It does not allow for a beginning of history. Subsequently, history has no meaning.

c.   It does not satisfy man’s sense of justice.

d.   It has no basis for right and wrong.

e.   It implies that suffering is one’s own fault.

f.    It promotes not a life of service to others, but rather a life of self-absorption

—  Questions for those who believe in karma:

a.   How is justice served if people have no knowledge of why they are suffering?

b.   If the individual does not know why he is suffering, how can he avoid the same suffering in the future if he cannot correct his mistakes?

c.   How can karma be just if the individual is destined to commit the same evil over and over again without knowing its root cause?

d.   How can progress be made without an understanding of the past cause of suffering?

•     Continue to have hope.

—  Continue to learn how to answer their questions.

“In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)

—  Continue to offer your friendship just as Christ gives His friendship to you.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.” (John 15:12–17)

Since the pantheist’s concept of God is impersonal, your strongest impact can come through sharing that you have a meaningful, personal relationship with God through Christ.

G. How to Know God Personally

Four Truths You Need to Know

#1 Your Problem—Sin keeps you from being adopted into God’s family.

The Bible says that we all have sinned. Not one of us is perfect. We have all willfully chosen to go our own way instead of God’s way.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

#2 Your Position—Your sin separates you from God.

God is perfect—He is without sin. And because of His perfection, He requires perfection of all who come into His family. But because we are not perfect, we cannot earn the right to become children of God. The consequence or penalty of our sin is separation from God.

“Your iniquities [sins] have separated you from your God.” (Isaiah 59:2)

#3 Your Provision—God provided the way for you to be adopted into His family.

God the Father sent His own Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins—a penalty that you should have paid. And Jesus, who is God (God the Son), didn’t want you to be separated from Him. That is why He left heaven, came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross as your substitute in order to save you from being eternally separated from Him.

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

#4 Your Part—You need to receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

By trusting that Christ died as your substitute and by yielding your will to His will, you are forgiven for all your sins. And when God forgives you for all your sins, you are saved from that eternal separation! In fact, the heavenly Father adopts you as His very own child and gives you eternal life with Him in heaven.

“To all who received him [Jesus] … he [the Father] gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

You have a choice to make about yielding control of your life to Christ—to the One who loves you and knows all about your past, present, and future. If you open your heart to Him, you will see that He has a personalized plan that includes not only His purpose for creating you, but also His promise to fulfill you … to satisfy the deepest hunger of your heart. If you desire to be adopted into God’s family, you can tell Him in a simple prayer.

Prayer“God,   I don’t want to be deceived any more. I admit that something has been   wrong—I’ve believed in a false god and a false religion. I now see that   You—as the God of the Bible—are the only true God. Jesus, thank You for dying   on the cross for my sins and for taking the punishment in my place. I’m   asking You right now to come into my life to be my Lord and Savior and to   forgive me of all my sins. I give You control of my life. Make me the person   You created me to be. In Your holy name I pray. Amen.”

 

New Age Spirituality is not new, but a rewrapped package of pantheism. It is merely an age-old counterfeit of Christianity. And where there is a counterfeit, the existence of the authentic is confirmed. There is only one true God, who offers the gift of salvation to those who not only can never be God, but also face eternity without God.

—June Hunt

Selected Bibliography

With grateful appreciation for early editorial assistance by Christian Information Ministries. http://www.christianinformation.org

Albrecht, Mark C. Reincarnation: A Christian Critique of a New Age Doctrine. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1982.

Chandler, Russell. Understanding the New Age. Dallas, TX: Word Publishing, 1988.

Chopra, Deepak. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams. San Rafael, CA: Amber-Allen Publishing and New World Library, 1994.

Christian Information Ministries. http://www.christianinformation.org.

Clark, David K., and Norman L. Geisler. Apologetics in the New Age: A Christian Critique of Pantheism. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990.

Creme, Benjamin. The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom. Los Angeles: Tara Center, 1980.

Cuddy, Dennis L. Now Is the Dawning of the New Age New World Order. Oklahoma City, OK: Hearthstone Publishing, 2000.

DeWitt, John. The Christian Science Way of Life. Boston, MA: Christian Science Publishing Society, 1962.

Eadie, Betty J. Embraced by the Light. Placerville, CA: Gold Leaf Press, 1992.

Eddy, Mary Baker. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Boston, MA: Christian Science Publishing, 1906.

Ellis, David B. Becoming a Master Student: Tools, Techniques, Hints … and Suggestions for Success. Rapid City, SD: College Survival, 1985.

Ferguson, Marilyn. The Aquarian Conspiracy: Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s. Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher, 1980.

Foundation for Inner Peace, A Course in Miracles, 2nd ed. New York: Viking, 1996.

Geisler, Norman L., and Ronald M. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1990.

Groothuis, Douglas. Confronting the New Age: How to Resist a Growing Religious Movement. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988.

Groothuis, Douglas R. Unmasking the New Age. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986.

Halverson, Dean C. Crystal Clear: Understanding and Reaching New Agers. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1990.

Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich. New York: Fawcett Books, 1937.

Holmes, Ernest. The Science of Mind. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1938.

Hunt, June. Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Forgive … When You Don’t Feel Like It. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Handle Your Emotions. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 200

Joy, W. Brugh. Joy’s Way: A Map for the Transformational Journey—An Introduction to the Potentials for Healing with Body Energies. Los Angeles, CA: J. P. Tarcher, 1979.

Lutzer, Erwin W., and John F. Devries, Satan’s “Evangelistic” Strategy for This New Age. Wheaton, IL: Victor, 1989.

Martin, Walter. The New Age Cult. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 1989

Matrisciana, Caryl. Gods of the New Age. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1985.

Miller, Elliot. A Crash Course on the New Age Movement: Describing and Evaluating a Growing Social Force. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989.

Morey, Robert. Reincarnation and Christianity. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship, 1972.

Sire, James W. The Universe Next Door: A Basic World View Catalog. 2nd ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988.

Sneed, David and Sharon Sneed. The Hidden Agenda. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1991.

Spangler, David. Reflections On the Christ, 3rd ed. Findhorn, Moray, Scotland: Findhorn Publications, 1981.[1]


[1] Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on New Age Spirituality: A New Mask for an Old Message (1–24). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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