Scriptural evaluation of the New Age Movement

new-ageIntroduction

The objective of this study is to briefly define the history, main beliefs and practices of the New Age Movement and evaluate it in the light of Scripture. Paul wrote in Hebrews 5:14 that by training and practice we will become skilled to discern between good and evil. When we study Scripture and evaluate other religions and movements according to Scripture, we are busy training and practicing our discernment skills. Jesus said in John 3:20-21 that everyone who practices the truth are willing to come to the light to see whether his deeds are done in God. The opposite is also true that those who love darkness, avoid the light, because it will expose their deeds as lies. The purpose of this study is thus to shine the light of Scripture on the New Age Movement to see whether it is from God and thus equip believers to grow in knowledge and discernment.

To achieve this goal, I will embark on this study by answering three questions about the movement. Firstly, What is it and where does it come from? Secondly, What do they believe and practice? Thirdly, How do we answer them? Finally, I will wrap everything up in a concluding statement in what Scripture says about this movement.

A word of caution is important here. We can sometimes get so focused on exposing lies that we lose sight of the truth. Our focus should be primarily on Christ and let His light shines on us. The light of Christ came into the world and the darkness could not overcome it. A healthy balance is important when we deal with discernment. As we continue to focus on Christ, we can see clearly what is not of the truth. When we lose sight of Christ, we are in danger of drifting into some form of imbalance, like practising the truth without love. The Bible teaches that we must speak the truth in love. This can only be achieved by keeping our eyes on Christ, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

1. Overview of the New Age Movement

The NAM can be described as a Westernised form of Eastern religions and beliefs combined with occultic practices, self-help, holistic medicines and forms of astrology. The term New Age Movement refers to a large number of autonomous groups and individuals. There are hundreds of groups and religious leaders in the world that can be described as New Age (Gordon, 2014). The NAM can be seen as a “spiritual house” or umbrella that house all these mystical and spiritual beliefs, practices and teachings which enable people to come to a new enlightenment which bring them into oneness with God. The NAM’s purpose is to discover the inner self which is then a self realisation of the god in me. These mystical and spiritual practices are supposed to help people get an enlightenment of who they really are, which in turn brings oneness with God. The NAM is the dawn of a new mystical and spiritual era of world peace, restoration and humanity where people and the world become one with God. For all practical purposes, the NAM is a transplant of the Theosophical Society of the Hindu philosophy of the East to the West. It is especially a transplant of Eastern occultism to the West (De Bruyn, 2013:45). Due to secularisation, the West has lost contact with Christianity and as a result an emptiness have grown in many people. A modernised version of Hindu philosophy and occultism (New Age philosophy) has penetrated the West and filled this emptiness. Traditionally the West emphasised intellectualism instead of the emotional and people have built up a resistance against intellectualism. This has caused people to be drawn to the non-intellectual and emotional experiences of the New Age Movement.

According to De Bruyn (2013:45), the New Age Movement (NAM) is not an organisation of individuals or groups, but a movement where a special mystical and spiritual bond exist between various individuals, organisations and groups. They all want to create a new culture as well as a new society. It can also be seen as a trend or a way of thinking. Although they differ on secondary matters, the spirit, direction, vision and values are the same. There are no clear boundaries within the movement, but several common themes unify the movement.

The Theosophical Society was mostly responsible for bringing the NAM to the West. One of the characteristics of the NAM is its feministic nature. Strange enough, it is three women who played the biggest role in the Theosophical Society. Russian-born Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) can be regarded as the founder of this school of thought (De Bruyn, 2013:46). Annie Besant (1847-1933) and Alice Bailey (1880-1949) built on her foundations (De Bruyn, 2013:46). The Theosophical Society is regarded as the forerunner of the New Age Movement. The goal of the Theosophical Society was to form a universal brotherhood of world religions, sciences and philosophy to enable people to discover the latent psychic and spiritual powers within them.

The expression New Age came into existence in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It was promoted by the New Age Journal and by a book by Mark Satin called “New Age Politics.” (Houdmann, 2014). Marlyn Ferguson’s best selling book “Aquarian Conspiracy” (1980) was the presentation of the social agenda and philosophical vision of the New Age. Ferguson’s writings attained status as the unofficial scripture of the movement (Houdmann, 2014). Russell Chandler, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, wrote that Shirley MacLaine can be considered the high priestess of the NAM. In her book, “Out on a Limb”, she describes her conversion to New Age, out of body experiences, contact with extraterrestrial beings, trance channeling and a guided tour of the unseen world. Her second book, “Dancing in the Light”, tells about her experiences in the world of yoga, reincarnation, crystal power, Hindu mantras, and recall of past life experiences mediated through acupuncture. She claims her spirit guides informed her that each person is God and a person’s’ wisdom is unlimited. One only has to realise it. Neil Anderson in his book, “Walking Through the Darkness”, writes: “The New Age movement is not seen as a religion but a new way to think and understand reality. It’s very attractive to the natural man who has become disillusioned with organized religion and Western rationalism. He desires a spiritual reality, but doesn’t want to give up materialism, deal with his moral problems, or come under authority” (Houdmann, 2014). From this quote one can see why the NAM is so popular in our postmodern society.

2. What Characterises the New Age Movement?

The NAM is by nature a mystic, occult and feministic movement. The movement is characterised by a few important characteristics.

2.1. Mystic Character

Mysticism may be understood as the belief that union with or absorption into the Deity (God), or spiritual apprehension of knowledge inaccessible to the intellect, may be attained through contemplation and self-surrender. The NAM tries to achieve union with God by removing physical barriers through yoga, meditation and visualisation (De Bruyn, 2013:47).

Scriptural Evaluation: Mysticism is not the experience of a Christian. The Christian doctrine maintains that Christ dwells in us through the Holy Spirit and that we can experience God directly through faith in Christ, through His Word. Mysticism tries to get spiritual knowledge through emotional experiences, like meditation or transcendental ecstatic experiences. Knowledge of Christ comes through a revelation by the Holy Spirit through the mind and is then experienced in the heart of the believer. Faith is reasonable and has content. It is not an empty experience, disconnected from the revelation of truth. Spiritual truth is discerned through the intellect as guided by the indwelling Holy Spirit, who lives in all believers (John 16:13). Unbelievers cannot correctly comprehend such things. The Bible tells us why: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

2.2. Occult Character

In the NAM aim is to get control of the forces outside of the physical realm, secret forces in a person and nature, and to activate it. NAM is called esoteric, because it is only those who were enlightened (initiated) who know how to contact and control these forces. Crystals play a big role in the way they practice mysticism. They believe crystals have strong healing powers. The powers of crystals are strengthened through meditation. New Age doctors use crystals for healing, but also ordinary people decorate their homes with crystals due to the good powers it brings (De Bruyn, 2013:47).

Scriptural Evaluation: The Bible makes it clear that we should have nothing to do with spirits, witches and the occult (Deut. 18:9-12). The Bible says we must not worship spirits, goddesses or any other god. (Ex. 20:3). Divination, sorcery, witchcraft, and spiritism are abominations to the Lord.

2.3. Feminist Character

New Agers believe that the New Age of Aquarius will feature equality of the genders and an end to patriarchy, which they identify as the hallmark of the ending of the Age of Pisces. The Age of Pisces is seen as the Christian Age, which is now making way for the Age of Aquarius. A second current in the NAM look at the Aquarian Age as one defined by the feminine spirit of the Piscean Age, which is inverting the patriarchy and power of men (Zeller, 2014). Feminism is one of the most important and influential aspects of the NAM. The NAM wants everything soft, loving and good and the feminine idea just brings that. The NAM coincide with the rise of the feminist movement (De Bruyn, 2013:48). The NAM has run chronologically to the feminist movement (Crowley, 2011:150). Cowley (2011:156) said that Scholar, Elayne Rapping, suggests that parts of the NAM stems from feminism. Feminism also resides within New Age practices. They prefer a religion with a God-Mother and God-Daughter. That is why the NAM calls their God GAIA, because she is the mother-goddess and the goddess of the earth in Greek mythology (De Bruyn, 2013:48). The NAM and the feminist movement has a joint objective and that is a human being with equal psychic parts of masculinity and femininity.

Scriptural Evaluation: Scripture contains approximately 170 references to God as the “Father.” (Houdmann, 2014) One cannot be a father unless one is male. If God had chosen to be revealed to man in a female form, then the word “mother” would have occurred in these places, not “father.” In the Old and New Testaments, masculine pronouns are used over and over again in reference to God.

Jesus Christ referred to God as the Father several times and in other cases used masculine pronouns in reference to God. In the Gospels alone, Christ uses the term “Father” in direct reference to God nearly 160 times (Houdmann, 2014). Of particular interest is Christ’s statement in John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.” Obviously, Jesus Christ came in the form of a human man to die on the cross as payment for the sins of the world. Like God the Father, Jesus was revealed to humanity in a male form.

In terms of feminism: God created humanity, male and female with the man as the head of his house and woman in submission to her own husband. Woman was created as a help to man. The role of the husband as head and wife in submission to him is a creation order and has nothing to do with the culture at the time of writing of the Bible (Gen. 2:22; 1 Cor. 11:9). The Bible also says that a woman should not rule over a man in the church (1 Tim. 2:12). The picture the New Testament gives is that Christ is the head of the man as he is the head of the woman. This order was created by God as a picture of Jesus as the bridegroom and the Church as His bride. The Bible says a man should love his wife as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for her (Eph. 5:25). The woman should respect her husband and submit to him as the Church submit to Christ (Eph. 5:22-33). God’s plan was a plan of love and not abuse. It is sin in man that cause abuse and disrespect from both sides. We should respect God’s creation order of husband and wife.

2.4. Monistic Worldview

One of the spokespersons for the NAM is Fritjof Capra. He speaks of the monistic worldview as the approach to everything. Monism is a worldview that everything in and on the earth is essentially one (De Bruyn, 2013:48). It is the belief that all is one and one is all. From this the belief arises that God is in everything and everything is in God. This unity is a mystical and spiritual unity between nature, humanity, all material things and God. Therefore man cannot distance himself from nature, God and other human beings. The problem arises when man disturbs this central unity and harmony. The NAM belief we should all aim to wholeness and holism, because life is linked to the cosmos on all sides (De Bruyn, 2013:48). Man has to develop a consciousness of feeling part of the whole. The whole is in constant flux and the change is evolutionary to give different groups and people a chance to better themselves. According to the movement the history of humanity is not the fall into sin and the restoration by the saving grace of God. Rather, it is humanity’s fall into ignorance of its godly nature and then restoration through gradual ascent into enlightenment (Houdmann, 2014).

Scriptural Evaluation: Monism is the underlying worldview of those who hold to a form of Pantheism. The Scripture proof and arguments against Monism is thus similar as for Pantheism. I have dealt with it in the next section under New Age beliefs and practices.

2.5. Astrological Nature

According to the New Dawn Magazine (Jeffrey, 2003), mankind today stands on the threshold of a new era commonly referred to as the Age of Aquarius. The previous age of Pisces has come to an end and a New Age of possibilities for physical, spiritual and political development is emerging. The cycle of these ages traces the spiritual development of humanity’s consciousness. They are based on the astrological circle of the Zodiac and hence the Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius. According to them the first rays of the age of Aquarius have been hitting the Earth at least 200 years ago when the seeds of the Aquarian age were sown with the discovery of Uranus (1781) (Jeffrey, 2003). During the 70’s and 80’s the sun entered the sign of Aquarius (De Bruyn, 2013:49). By this astrological focus, the NAM creates the impression that it is factual and scientific. This New Age will bring harmony, peace, goodwill and international co-operation. While the Age of Pisces emphasised intellectualism and science, the New Aquarian Age will emphasise mysticism, spirituality, occultism and peace. They claim the past 2000 years of the Piscean Age was the age of Christianity, which was marked by darkness, conflict, struggle and division. They claim Christianity failed and was not able to make the world a better place.

Scriptural Evaluation: Astrology is the “interpretation” of an assumed influence the stars (and planets) exert on human destiny. This is a false belief. The royal astrologers of the Babylonian court were put to shame by God’s prophet Daniel (Daniel 1:20) and were powerless to interpret the king’s dream (Daniel 2:27). God specifies astrologers as among those who will be burned as stubble in God’s judgment (Isaiah 47:13-14). Astrology as a form of divination is expressly forbidden in Scripture (Deut. 18:10-14). God forbade the children of Israel to worship or serve the “host of heaven” (Deut. 4:19). Several times in their history, however, Israel fell into that very sin (2 Kings 17:16). Their worship of the stars brought God’s judgment each time (Houdmann, 2014).

3. New Age Practices and Beliefs

New Age groups and practices rarely identify themselves as new age. Their occult practices and beliefs identify them. The problem one encounter is that there is no official document of doctrines. Based on the writings of groups and individuals who share the common New Age philosophy, the following can be regarded as their primary doctrines. This section examines the New Age beliefs and offers a Biblical response.

3.1. Pantheism – God is all and all is God

Everything is God and God is everything. Everything that exists is God. One New Ager puts it like this: “For God is the All, and the Goddess is everything, and there is nothing else that is.”(Gordon, 2014). This belief is known as pantheism. The word pantheism comes from the Greek word “pan” (all) and “theos” (god). Everything is a single, living organism: the god Gaia (De Bruyn, 2013:50). Since everything is God, you are also God. While they talk about God as personal, for most New Agers God is impersonal. God is often referred to as the force of energy. Two important quotes from New Age thinkers are (De Bruyn, 2013:50): “God is all and all is God” and “All is one and all is God; we are God.” According to the NAM everything that exist participates in God to such an extend that every human, animal, plant and thing could be regarded as God (De Bruyn, 2013:50). This is also a popular notion among Eastern religions and one of the main reasons why they worship basic anything. In Hinduism, animals and animal like gods are worshipped because they are regarded as sacred. Actress Shirley MacLaine says that she and anyone else is God (De Bruyn, 2013:50).

Scriptural Evaluation: New Age pantheism denies the Biblical view of creation in Genesis (Gen. 1:1). Although the world is an organic unity, it is made up of many distinct and separate creatures, and those creatures are separate from God. In Genesis 1:1 we read “In the beginning God created heaven and earth.” In the beginning before there was a creation, God existed and He then created everything in the universe in six days. In Romans 1:15 the creatures are clearly distinguished from the Creator. From Genesis 1-2 it is clear that God created everything from nothing in His omnipotence and that nothing emanated from God and is still linked to Him (De Bruyn, 2013;57).

To understand the relationship of God and His creation, we must understand two theological concepts. Firstly, God is immanent. He is not far away from His creation, but very near. He is everywhere in creation. He is omnipresent (Ps. 139:7-12). He is intimately involved in all the affairs of this world. He providentially upholds and governs all things according to His eternal purposes (Acts 17:25, 28; Eph. 1:11). Secondly, God is transcendent means that He is in Himself and infinitely exalted above the world. He is absolutely different from the world. The Bible says God is the “Most High” (Ps. 47:2) and “Above all nations and His glory above the heavens.” (Ps. 113:4). The Bible declares: “before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Is. 43:10). God is near to every one of us, but He is near as the infinite God, Creator, Governor and Redeemer (Houck, 1989).

3.2. God is not a Person

From the above it follows that God cannot be a person, but an impersonal, eternal, consciousness, force or a form of energy which penetrates everything and is present in everything (De Bruyn, 2013:50). That is why God is conscious of the sparrow falling on the ground, because He himself is the sparrow (De Bruyn, 2013:50, cf. Martin, 1990:28). The God of the New Age is an impersonal presence, not a Person with intellect, emotions and a will as the Bible present God.

Scriptural Evaluation: God is not an impersonal force, energy or consciousness. God is a personal God (Ex. 3:6, 14; 20:2). This can be seen by the names of God. His name is Jehovah, which means “I AM.” God revealed Himself as a Person to Moses and spoke to him. God said: “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.” (Ex. 3:14). Every Time the Bible calls God by name, Jehovah, it declares that He is a Person. He speaks to His children (Gen. 17:1); He listens to their prayers (Ps. 50:15); He knows them by their names (Is. 43:1); He lives in heaven and rules everything (Ps. 103:19; Ecc. 5:1; Isa. 66:1). The incarnation of Jesus as Emmanuel, God with us, is the greatest proof that God is a Person. He has revealed Himself to humanity in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1-5; Heb. 1; 1 John 1). Even after His resurrection, Jesus appears in bodily form to the disciples (Luke 24:42-43; John 20:27). They worshipped Him as God while appearing to them in Person (Matt. 28:9).

3.3. All religions are equal

According to De Bruyn (51), for the NAM, there is no difference between all different religions. They say: “Not one way, but anyway.” (De Bruyn, 2013:51). From their Pantheistic view, it follows that there is not one God or one way to God. Everything is God. So whether you worship a cow or an image representing some deity, all religions worship the same God. They even regard Jesus as a form of God, but they deconstruct Him to just another deity and not the only God and Redeemer of the universe. All religions can be compared to different rivers all running to the same ocean. In the same way all religions reach the sam supreme god. This is the same philosophy of Hinduism.

Scriptural Evaluation: New Age is idolatry. They promote the worship of multiple gods, while the Bible teaches there is only one God (Is. 44:10-20). The Bible declares there is no other God apart from Jehovah (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; Rom. 1:23). God the Creator of the universe said that He alone must be worshipped and loved (Ex. 20:3; Deut. 6:5; Luke 10:27). The Bible says we are not allowed to make any representation of that which is in heaven and on earth and worship it (Ex. 20:4). Jesus declared that He is the only way and the truth and there’s no way by which man can reach God besides Him (John 14:6).

3.4. Creation and the fall of man

According to the NAM, God did not create everything otherwise He would be distinct from creation. That is why they believe everything come by way of emanation (De Bruyn, 2013:52). They try to connect with the idea of the Bible that God is light (1 John1:5), by saying that everything emanating from God is different forms of light. The fall occurred when one of the great angels revolted against God and caused distortions in the vibrations of light. These vibrations occurred over a long period of time and the material world came into existence. Light vibrates slower on earth and higher in heaven. Vibrations are the highest when a man is completely united with God. Man reaches this point by way of evolution and reincarnation after a long time of existence as different beings. The final state is nirvana when man is dissolved in God and reaches a final state of rest and unending peace (De Bruyn, 2013:52).

Man was not created. He emanated from God. Man is not a sinner. Sin is just a lack of knowledge where a person is not enlightened yet. Sin is just the energy used in a wrong way or at the wrong time. There is no distance between God and man due to sin, because man is in God and God is in man. When man becomes estranged from himself, he also becomes estranged from God (De Bruyn, 2013:52). Redemption of man has nothing to do with the atonement of sin, but rather an enlightenment needed of the divine inner potential in himself. This redemption can be obtained by becoming more and more one with God. This transforming experience, also called enlightenment, can be achieved by mystic occult rituals, meditation, yoga, exotic dances, etc (De Bruyn, 2013:53). For true liberation, man should not look for it outside of himself to God, but by discovering the divine potential within himself.

Scriptural Evaluation: Even though God created man in His image as righteous, holy and full of the knowledge of God, we all sinned in Adam and lost that image (Rom. 3:9-18). The image of God was turned into the image of satan through the sinful nature. The Bible also declares that the heart of man is evil above all things and who can understand it (Jer. 17:9). The Bible also declares that there is no one righteous and everyone is unclean (Is. 64:6; Rom. 3:11). Jesus also said that out of the evil in man’s heart sprung all evil thoughts, desires and deeds (Matt. 12:35). The Bible is thus clear that man is evil at heart and thinks and does evil all the time (Gen. 6:5). Without the outside intervention of God, man has no hope of any redemption from within his own heart. The Biblical narrative of creation and the fall makes it clear that man was created perfect and very good. That he violated God’s law by being tempted by a personal being satan to disobey God (Gen. 6). It is this act of disobedience which caused humanity to fall into sin. God said that man would die spiritually and so become corrupt if they disobey His law (Gen 2:17). God by His grace paved the way of salvation by sending His Son into the world to become a sin offering, so that those who put their trust in Jesus would be saved (John 3:16; 2 Cor. 5:21; John 14:6). The New Age movement is nothing else than the deception of satan, the age old snake from the garden of Eden, to mislead humanity to desire to be gods (Gen. 3:5).

3.5. Reincarnation

An almost universal belief among New Agers is an adaptation of the Hindu concept of reincarnation, which teaches that after death the soul or essence come back in another form to continue spiritual evolvement. New Agers misrepresents the doctrines of Christianity and often twist Scripture to support the idea that original Christianity taught reincarnation. For them resurrection and being born again is the same as reincarnation. Reincarnation is seen as a step in the progression towards Godhood. This is determined by Karma; the law of cause and effect. What you are now is determined by what you did in your previous existence. Self-realization or total enlightenment, where the soul enters the endless freedom from the demanding control of karma, is the ultimate goal. From there on there is no rebirth, because a person has reached Nirvana, the place of passionless peace when he is absorbed into God. On this way of evolution by means of reincarnation, man can be his own redeemer. In contrast to Hinduism, none of the New Age books emphasize clean living as a way to clear bad karma. Instead, there is an emphasis on global unity.

Scriptural Evaluation: The idea of reincarnation is foreign to the Bible. According to the Bible every person is born with his own soul and will give an account to God for the deeds he did in his body on this earth (Rom. 14:12; Matt. 12:36-37). The Bible teaches we live once and then die, after which all of us will face judgement as a di-unity of body and soul (Heb. 9:27; Ps. 139;13-15; Jer. 1:4-5; John 9:1-3; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:12, 15). The Bible teaches the resurrection of the dead not reincarnation (1 Cor. 15:2–23; John 5:28-29). The only way to get saved is through God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-10). Reincarnation is also a form of works to earn a better life. The Bible rejects salvation through works in any form (Rom. 11:6; Eph 2:8-9).

Rebirth is also not a form of reincarnation. The phrase “born again” literally means “born from above.” Jesus said to born again means to be born from the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-7). Every person is born spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1-4), without the life (Holy Spirit) of God in them. There is no spiritual connection with God. Through a miraculous work of God, a person is spiritually resurrected and the Holy Spirit has placed in a person’s heart (Eph. 2:4). This process of being spiritually resurrected by the Holy Spirit when a person is united with the death and resurrection of Jesus is called rebirth or being born again. This is also not the same as being taken up into God, but as a unique separate person we have a relationship with God as a Person through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

3.6. Taoism

Taoism comes from the Tao, which means the way or Universal Path. This belief teaches that the Tao is the ultimate reality and the origin of all things. Taoism means man has to live in harmony with nature. (De Bruyn, 2013:54). Tao is the manifestation of two polar forces, known as yang and yin. These two forces are found everywhere in the form of opposite forces. Yang is the principle of activity, maleness, light, dry, & heat while Yin is the principle of receptivity, stillness, femaleness, darkness, moistness & cold (Montenegro, 2012). The way to harmony and peace is to balance the Yin and Yang forces. When one life according to the Tao, the process of evolution will be such that yang and yin are always in equilibrium. Man should always try to keep the two in equilibrium, because problems arise when they are not (De Bruyn, 2013:55)

Scriptural Evaluation: Although the word Tao means the way, it is not the true way. There are many religions who claim they are one of the ways to God, like the NAM through Taoism. Jesus Christ said the He is the only way and that no one will come to God except through Him (John 14:6). The apostle Peter said there is salvation in no other name under heaven by which man can be saved, but by the God-man Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). Paul wrote to Timothy that there is one God and one Mediator between God and man and that is the man Jesus Christ (1 Tim. 2:5). The Bible made it clear that man is evil at heart and in sin and that Jesus is the only Savior of humanity by His atoning sacrifice on the cross. Everyone who trusts in Him alone will be saved.

3.7. The New Age Jesus

According to the NAM, Jesus was not the Christ from birth. He was a person who, by way of reincarnation developed through several stages until He became Christ. Jesus the Redeemer does not mean the same thing in the NAM. It only means He was one of the periodic manifestations of the divine. They teach Jesus is not a person. On the one hand He is the evolutionary divine principle in all people. That part of Jesus, which is in all people is called the Christ consciousness. On the other hand Christ is an office in the divine hierarchy which everyone can aim to achieve by mystical practices such as meditation and yoga. The current holder of that office is Maitreya, a name connected to Buddhism. Maitreya is the expected redeemer and prophets of all religions. He is regarded as the Jesus of the Christians, the Jewish Messiah, the fifth reincarnation of Buddha, the great Imam Mahdi of Islam, and the Krishna of Hinduism.. He will solve all the world’s political, economic and religious problems. (De Bruyn, 2013:56).

According to the “Center for Christ Consciousness” the human mind has spiritual currents running its thought streams. These streams contain vital information from the “Spirit” that is highly valuable to humans. The “Spirit” is the source of everything true, beautiful and good. In human life, spiritual growth is achieved by aligning with these spiritual currents that come from both the personality and mind of the “Spirit” through intellectual assent and emotional devotion. Christ Consciousness is the growing human recognition and the blending of the human evolutionary (or ego) mind with the Divine Mind, and the Divine Personality that is the source of human happiness and fulfilment. This awareness accrues over time within the consciousness of human thinking when intention, attention, and openness is focused on knowing who and what is that “christed” state of higher mindedness of enlightenment. The highest state of intellectual development and emotional maturity is sometimes termed the “christed” state because of the sacredness and purity of the individual who has achieved it. Jesus achieved this in his human life, and was given this term before his name as the recognition of his achievement of this spiritual status. This path is open to anyone, regardless of their religious tradition if and when he or she is open to become a living vessel of love and truth on the planet and actively strives to attain it (D’Ingillo, 2010).

Scriptural Evaluation: The New Age use the term Christ to refer to a divine consciousness or spirit. This concept is not found in the Bible. Christ is a Greek term which means anointed one. The New Testament uses the term to refer to Christ as the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. Jesus was and is a Person. The Old Testament predicted through the prophets that a Son will be born to us through a virgin (Is. 7:14). The angel which appeared to Mary said that she will be pregnant through the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18). Jesus was a man, but also God (John 1:1-5; Heb. 1). Jesus was not a spirit or a consciousness. Jesus is also not the redeemer of all religions, but rather the only Redeemer of humanity (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus warned us to be on guard against false teachers who would proclaim a false Christs (Matt. 24:24-25). The New Age view of the Christ Consciousness is one of these false Christs. The Jesus of the Bible is unique. He is God’s one and only Son (John 3:16; Matt. 3:17).

4. The influence of New Age thinking on the Church

Today, various research polls are consistently demonstrating that a significant shift has been occurring in the West and that millions of adults have embraced a worldview that is totally at odds with the faith they profess. According to surveys, 86% of Americans claim to be Christian, yet 72% reject the notion of absolute truth, 40% believe a New Age (pantheistic) view of God, 30% believe in reincarnation, and 36% believe that astrology is scientific (Branch, 2014).

In South Africa practices like the power of positive thinking is very popular among charismatic and pentecostal churches. A preacher like Joyce Meyer, which is very popular in South Africa with her book “The Battlefield of the mind” is in my opinion a lite version of mind over matter. She claims you can change your life by changing your thinking. Paul wrote there is no value in restraining the body, because it cannot remove the sinful nature, which can only be done through rebirth (Col. 2:11). The word of faith, which is a form of mind over matter, is a popular teaching among many churches. By vizilizaion techniques, many professing Christians will create their own reality of spiritual things. They claim if they visualize something and believe it, it will come to pass.

In many churches it is popular to see visions and dreams. In my opinion, this stems from the new age practice of visualization. In many charismatic churches, visual messages, play a big role. They claim the Lord is speaking to them often through visions and pictures. Prophecies are many times in some form of a picture which carry a message. Charismatic churches are also full of ecstatic experiences which are not linked to the preaching of Biblical truth. In New Age it is popular to get knowledge through emotional or ecstatic experiences like trances and kundalini. Charismatic churches also practice slain in the spirit, which is a form of kundalini. There are also many charismatic churches today, which has anointing oils for different diseases or holy water. This is also new age practices, which blew over to the church.

5. Conclusion

The New Age Movement is a combination of seemingly unrelated groups, techniques, and beliefs that keep influencing each other and constantly create new mixtures. Its characteristic is not a homogeneous doctrine, but practices that are based on a modern version of Satan’s original lie (Genesis 3:1-6). Although no leader can be made out, one can clearly observe how Satan himself orchestrates the whole movement, spreading his lies wherever he can find people open to deception.

Even though some try to harmonise aspects of the New Age Movement with Christianity, the basic beliefs and practices of the movement are contrary to the faith of the Scriptures. The god of the New Age Movement is not the God of Christianity. The Christ of the New Age Movement is not the Christ of the Bible. The mankind of the New Age Movement is not the mankind described in the Scriptures. The salvation of the New Age Movement is not the salvation of the true God.

The fundamental error of the New Age Movement is what Paul refers to in Romans 1:23, 25. “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator. They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator.” They have taken the incorruptible God and made him man, birds, beasts, and creeping things. They have made the creation, God. Instead of worshiping the true God, they worship the creation. The New Age Movement is nothing but idolatry.

 


 

 

6. Bibliography

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Gordon, B. 2014. New Age. http://www.4truth.net/fourtruthpbworld.aspx?pageid=8589952991 Date of access: 28 Aug. 2014.

Houdmann, S.M. 2014. What is the New Age Movement. http://www.gotquestions.org/new-age-movement.html Date of access: 1 Sept. 2014.

Zeller, B.E. 2014. New Age: Gender and Sexuality. http://www.patheos.com/Library/New-Age/Ethics-Morality-Community/Gender-and-Sexuality.html Date of access: 1 Sept. 2014.

Crowley, K. 2011. Feminism’s New Age: Gender, Appropriation, and the Afterlife of Essentialism. http://books.google.co.za/books?id=_NE1kxKz_lUC Date of access: 3 Sept. 2014.

Houdmann, S.M. 2014. Is God male or Female. http://www.gotquestions.org/God-male-female.html Date of access: 3 Sept. 2014.

Jeffrey, J. 2003. Aquarius Rising; A New Age Dawning. http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/Article/Aquarius_Rising_A_New_Age_Dawning.html Date of access: 3 Sept. 2014.

Houdmann, S.M. 2014. What does the Bible say about astrology or zodiac. http://www.gotquestions.org/astrology-Bible.html Date of access: 3 Sept. 2014.

Houdmann, S.M. 2014. What is Christian Mysticism. http://www.gotquestions.org/Christian-mysticism.html Date of access: 4 Sept. 2014.

Houck, S.R. 1989. Reformed look at the New Age Movement. http://standardbearer.rfpa.org/articles/reformed-look-new-age-movement-2 Date of access: 28 Aug. 2014.

Montenegro, M. 2012. Eastern Roots of the New Age. http://www.christiananswersforthenewage.org/Articles_EasternRoots.html Date of access: 3 Sept. 2014.

D’Ingillo, D. 2010. What is Christ Consciousness. http://www.ctrforchristcon.org/christ-consciousness.asp Date of access: 3 Sept. 2014.

Branch, C. 2014. Conversations with the Counterfeit. http://www.watchman.org/articles/new-age/conversations-with-the-counterfeit/ Date of access: 3 Sept. 2014.