Monday, January 21, 2008

New Age

By Greg Stier
The New Age is not new. Tenants of New Age doctrine have been a part of human history since the serpent deceived Eve in the garden with the promises of godhood. Although those in the New Age movement vary in their particular doctrines and practices (because it is not one centrally organized religion) they do have some common core beliefs. According to Douglas Groothius in his excellent book, Confronting the New Age, there are nine New Age core beliefs.

Here are their nine commonly held beliefs:

1. Evolutionary optimism
New Agers believe that the world is poised to explode into a New Age of enlightenment. They are convinced that this “new world order” will be united under a one world government and initiated by a quantum leap in humanity’s spiritual evolution.
Biblical view: “But mark this and there will be terrible times in the last days.” (2 Timothy 3:1)

2. Monism
Monism means “oneness.” New agers believe that we are all one with each other and the universe. We are all connected by the common cord of the cosmos.
Biblical view: “God saw all that He had made [diversity], and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

3. Pantheism
New Agers do not believe in a personal God. They believe that the totality of all the “oneness” in the cosmos can collectively be called “god”. Some call it “the force”. Others call it “consciousness”. But by any label it is the deification of the universe and everything in it. That’s why Shirley MacLaine can proclaim, “I am God.” She believes that as part of this cosmic consciousness, she is god and so are you.
Biblical view: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... Through him all things were made... In him was life, and that life was the light of men... The Word became flesh and dwelt among us... No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side has made him known.” (John 1:1, 3, 4, 14, 18)

4. Transformation of Consciousness
New Agers believe that the New Age must be experienced to be transformational. Through meditation, drugs, yoga, martial arts, or cosmic experiences, the goal of the New Ager is to become one with the universe. The goal is a state of mind that is at peace with oneself and at one with one’s universe.

Biblical view: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind....” (Romans 12:2) “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

5. Create your own reality
In the New Age movement morals are subjective. Since their is not an external objective standard of authority when it comes to behavior then you are free to create your own moral reality. The New Age encourages its participants to experiment and experience their own morals on their journey toward oneness.
Biblical view: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness....” (Isaiah 5:20)

6. Unlimited human potential
New Agers are convinced that all the power of the the universe is available to every person. The more that we can know the god within us the more we can unleash the cosmic force to achieve the unachievable (ESP, telepathy, out of body experiences, and psychokinesis [moving or manipulating objects with our minds] are all evidence of their belief in unlimited human potential).
Biblical view: “Now to him [God] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20, 21)

7. Spirit Contact
New Agers believe that there is an army of spirit guides, extraterrestrials, and entities who are seeking to communicate to humans through mediums or channelers. These channelers are humans who are in touch with the cosmic consciousness and are used by these spirit guides to communicate universal truth to others. These cosmic truths routinely contradict Biblical teachings.
Biblical view: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” (Galatians 1:8)

8. Masters from Above
New Agers believe that UFO’s and those who have had extraterrestrial encounters prove that there is not only life on other planets, but that these more evolved species have much to teach us.
Warning: Watch any of the Star Trek series and/or X-Files, you will see that this is true! Most Hollywood movies or television series about science fiction and space exploration are built on the premises of the New Age movement. Many who watch these shows end up buying the lies they promote!
Biblical view: “...Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)

9. Religious Syncretism
As Douglas Groothius writes in his book, Confronting the New Age, “New Age spirituality is a rather eclectic grab bag of Eastern mysticism, Western occultism, neopaganism, and human psychology”. Many New Agers claim to be Christian. Most Americans today are New Age in at least some areas of their belief system. The whole contention, “it doesn’t matter what you believe, it only matters that you believe,” flows from the New Age belief system.
Biblical view: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ” (John 14:6)


john said...

Yeah the Oprah Winfrey doctrine....

XtianDoctrine said...

Aslo Tom Cruise's Scientology...weird, innocuous, bizzaire

amma said...

I met an adherent of Grail messsage recently and we got talking. I tried to put across why i believed what i do without sounding judgemental, because his previous encounters with evangelicals was unsavoury. However, in the course of my discussion, i found out somethings that were both disturbing as well as frustrating.
1. He previously was a practicing christian and still believes he is a christian.
2. He believes most christians dont have a mind of their own, but merely followers of some other persons theology.
3. He believes christianity is limiting, ie its adherents do not open their minds to the possibility that life is more than what we think we know,in short, christians are parochial!
I dont buy his ideas in any way, but i wonder how do you preach Christ to someone who claims he believes in Him, yet seeks another way to LIFE?
How do make this one see truth without sounding condemning and judgemental? Therein lies my dilema

Akin said...

There are indeed a whole lot of us Chrisitians who do not have a personal understanding of what the Word of God says in the bible. The problem is we either don't study the bible or when we do have limited understanding of what it says. We tend to read the bible with our hearts covered with a " preconceived" knowledge - based on what we've heard someone else say or preach. We seem to lack the type of curiosity the Berean Christian had, who were described in Acts 17:11 as being, ".....more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so..." These folks SEARCHED the scriptures daily.

A friend and I were engaged in a discussion sometime ago during which I raised questions about a particular practice in some of our churches. In response he told he was going to go ask his mummy about it. Now what I expected he would do was to go pick up the bible and see if what I said was true. No he'd rather go find out from his mom.

Amma it is a good thing that you were able to refute, refuse, and reject the lies coming out of the mouth of the Grail Messaenger. You were only able to do that because you know what the Word of God says and you were able to stand on that knowledge. There are many who fall away from the truth simply because of the fickleness of their understanding. There are also those who fall because they seek for more "knowledge" than it is contained within the Word of God.

Akin said...

And the question about how best to share the gospel without appearing judgemental is a very important one indeed. The world we live in is one of political correctness, this is especially so in the so called developed nations where anything goes and common sense has been subsumed in the pit of liberty and freedom.

Now I do not think there is an easy way of sharing the "absolute" truth of the gospel that won't be offensive to someone who considers everything as being "relative" and to whom nothing is absolute at all. The best we can do is speak the truth anyways.....but IN LOVE.

Some have suggested we don't talk about hell but only about God's love. Unfortunately I do not suscribe to that at all. I believe the occasion will determine which message you share. The Holy Spirit should not be handicapped and put in a box. We should rely on Him to fill our mouth with the right words for the right situations.

What you do not want to do however is engage in endless philosophical does no good at all.

XtianDoctrine said...

And you are right. We have to tell it as it is.....with compassion of course......but we must tell it anyhow.