We are a Christian Fellowship meeting in North London with a strong interest in teaching
the Bible and understanding our time in
the light of Bible prophecy
A Christian response to the New Age movement [part 1]
I first became aware of the New Age movement by name early In 1988. I say 'by name'
because I soon realised that many of the ideas I had come up against through evangelism,
through my work as a teacher in London comprehensive schools and even from experiences
within the church actually came from this source or were moving towards it. Perhaps
this is the first
lesson Christians need to learn about the New Age movement. It is not always easily
identifiable like the Jehovah's Witness who arrives on your doorstep offering you
"The Watchtower.' In fact many people who are putting over New Age ideas may not
even be aware that they are doing so. So we need to ask the Lord for discernment
in order to "watch out that no-one deceives you" for as the Lord warned, a sign of
the end of this age and his return is that "many false prophets will appear and deceive
many people" (Matthew 24:11).
Defining the New Age Movement
So what is the New Age movement? Certainly its profile has been raised over the past
year with articles in both the religious and secular press familiarising people with
the term. Yet there are many within the movement who are reluctant to use the term
of themselves and unclear about how to define it:
A New Age writer Jeremy Tarcher has said, 'No one speaks for the entire New Age community.
Within the movement there is no unanimity as to how to define it or even that it
is significantly cohesive enough to be called a movement.' New Age as a Perennial
Philosophy (Los Angeles Times Book Review, Feb '88).
At best it is a loosely connected movement linking together a wide range of ideas
and philosophical systems in an attempt to formulate an understanding of humanity's
place within the whole order of natural creation. What is important for Christians
seeking to recognise and respond to the New Age movement is not just to look for
the term 'New Age' but to be able to
recognise the ideas behind it and to understand why they conflict with the revelation
given us by God in the Bible. Then hopefully we will be able to give a "reason for
the hope that is in us" and respond not with fear and paranoia, but with confidence
in our faith and with love for those who are being misled and a desire to lead them
out of darkness into the light of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
That is the main purpose of this booklet, rather than to give a detailed analysis
of the New Age Movement in all its various manifestations.
Origins of the New Age Movement
Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun and in many ways there is nothing
new about the New Age. There is a strong link with Hinduism, which is not accidental,
as many of these ideas began to take root in western culture in the 1960s with the
interest in yoga, transcendental meditation and eastern gurus, which characterised
the 'hippie' movement. The Beatles looked to India and became for a short while the
most famous 'evangelists'
of the New Age world view. The line from their song "I am the Walrus". 'I am you
and you are he, and he is she and we are one together' is as we shall see straight
New Age teaching. There is also a link with the mystical ideas of all the major religions
and particularly with the early Christian heresy of Gnosticism. It is significant
that there is a growing interest in the Gnostic gospels amongst radical theologians
and those interested in the New Age. The idea is being raised that these may represent
the authentic teaching of Jesus, which was suppressed by the early church.
This quotation from the 'Gospel of Thomas' in which Jesus is supposed to be speaking
expressed perfectly the New Age view of 'All is One', God is in everything:
'It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the All. From me
did the All come forth, and unto me did the All extend. Split a piece of wood and
I am there. Lift up a stone and you will find me there.' (James M. Robinson ed. The
Nag Hammadi Library, p. 126).
In addition the New Age draws heavily from pre-Christian tribal religions, from the
Druids to native American (Red Indian) medicine men. The occultic art of astrology
is a strong influence as the New Age is seen to be the transition from the 'dark
violent Piscean age' (i.e. this age) into the Aquarian Age, 'a millennium of love
and light'. In the words of the musical Hair the 'Age of Aquarius' will be at a time
when . . - peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars... Harmony
and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding. No more falsehoods or derision,
golden living dreams of visions. Mystic crystal revelation and mind's true liberation.'
New Age Goals - World Transformation
What is new about all this is the coming together of so many diverse influences in
a recognisable movement which hopes to 'cover the globe with a myriad of 'networks'
- interconnecting ideas, people, services and organizations in order to implement
world transformation' (DR Groothuis Unmasking the New Age. 31). The 'networks' are
an important aspect of the New Age Movement. There is no central organization, but
like minded people
coming together for a common purpose. Marilyn Ferguson in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy
makes the point that Networks are a source of power never before tapped in history:
'multiple self sufficient social movements linked for a whole array of goals whose
accomplishment would transform every aspect of contemporary society.'
When we begin to recognise this influence we detect it in such areas as entertainment,
the media, education, health care, religious and political groups, environmental
and feminist groups. With modem communications and travel facilities, ideas can quickly
cross linguistic, national and
political boundaries, and the New Age influence has taken root in Capitalist America
and Communist Russia with the aim of transforming both and merging them into the
New Age. The battle has begun and Christians cannot opt out because the goal of the
New Age is a radical change in the way people see themselves, the world around them
and God. This involves a definite denial and opposition to Christianity as John Dunphy
writing in The Humanist
(Jan-Feb 1983) on 'A Religion for the New Age' says:
'I am convinced that the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the
school classrooms by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytisers
of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognises and respects the spark of
what the theologians call divinity in every human being. The classroom must and will
become an arena of conflict between the
old and the new - the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with all its adjacent
evil and misery and the new faith resplendent in its promise.'
The appeal of the New Age is clear. The 'gods' of the old age - Christianity, Secular
Humanism, Capitalism and Communism - have all failed; the earth is on the brink of
environmental catastrophe; we must work for a new age in which we rediscover the
sense of the sacred in nature and in ourselves in order to save the world. It all
sounds so plausible - but that is the nature of deception. The New Age movement probably
represents the greatest (and most subtle and sinister) challenge to Christianity
since the heresies of Arianism and Gnosticism assailed the Early Church in the Second
Love and Light or Doorway to Occult
The more we study the ideas behind the movement, the more we come to recognise that
for all the fine sounding words such as love' and light', which are extensively used
in New Age writings, there is a demonic influence at work within it, manipulating
those who are involved. This should not surprise us as Satan is able to transform
himself into an angel of light in
order to deceive those who reject the Lord. The New Age appeal will always be to
improve the quality of people's lives, relating to different kinds of people in different
ways. For example it appeals to those concerned for the environment by promising
that when people are 'attuned' to New Age ways of thinking they will naturally work
for the 'healing of the planet.' To businesses and individuals wishing to improve
their efficiency and earning power it offers programs on how to relieve stress, increase
concentration and visualise your dreams and work for their accomplishment. Many of
these programs use yoga and eastern meditation techniques either openly or packaged
in some westernised 'non religious' form.
The New Age also seeks to influence Christians through using titles which will appeal
such as 'Creation Centered Spirituality' or 'A Course in Miracles'. The following
advertisement from the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland illustrates this:
'A Course in Miracles is a channeled three-volume set of books in a self study format.
The goal of the course is inner peace found through forgiveness and turning within
for guidance. In the supportive environment of a group we will look honestly at our
relationships, seeing when through fear we deny and project our guilt onto others
and how we can learn to love
ourselves and each other by forgiving rather than judging. Using meditation, guided
imagery and higher self exercises we will endeavour to make contact with the guidance
of the Holy Spirit within.' (Guest Programme. April - Dee, Findhorn Foundation 1990,
We should note that the word 'channelled' refers to the New Age practice of receiving
insights intuitively or psychically from 'non-physical entities.' Alert Christians
should have no difficulty in identifying such entities as demons. We should also
note that this programme offers the guidance of the Holy Spirit, inner peace and
forgiveness without reference to the Lord Jesus, the one to whom the Holy Spirit
bears witness and who offers us peace and forgiveness through the blood of his cross.
Biblical 'Fall and Redemption' theology is ridiculed and rejected by New Age teaching
and is held up as the main barrier to people achieving peace through discovering
the 'god within.' Of course as an 'angel of light', Satan offers good things, not
evil, to those whom he seeks to deceive.
In The Magic of Findhorn, the story of the community by Paul Hawken, the author relates
how Robert Ogilvie Crombie (Roc), an associate of the Findhorn Community met a spirit
being whom he recognised as 'Pan'. This being, during the course of the ensuing conversation,
asked him, 'Do you love my subjects?' "Yes'. In that case do you love me?' 'Why not?'
'DO YOU LOVE ME? "Yes' ...'You know of course that I am the Devil? You have just
said that you love the devil.' 'No you are not the devil. You are the god of the
woodlands and countryside. There is no evil in you.' There are many other references
in the book to contact with spirit beings.
David Spangler, one of the leaders of the New Age movement states in Reflections
on the Christ (p. 40-44), published by the Findhorn Foundation, 'Christ is the same
force as Lucifer, .(who) is an agent of God's love acting through evolution - . .
Lucifer prepares man . . for the experience of Christhood . . . The light that reveals
to us the path to Christ comes from Lucifer . . . the great initiator . . . Lucifer
works within each of us to bring us to wholeness as we move into the new age . .
. each of us is brought to that point which I term the Luciferic initiation , . Lucifer
comes to give us the final Luciferic initiation . . that many people in the days
ahead will be facing, for it is an initiation into the New Age.'
Could such an 'initiation' be the "powerful delusion" of which Paul speaks in 2 Thessalonians
2, causing people to worship the "man of sin"? Whatever our conclusions on this point
we have to recognise that we are dealing with a powerful force of antichrist, whose
goal is for Lucifer to take the place of Christ, which means for Satan to take the
place of God.
Many in churches today play down the need to study Christian doctrine. Why is this
dangerous in the light of information in this chapter?
A saying of the early church was 'Heresy has many gospels. The Church has four.'
How would you argue for the Gospels we have in the New Testament being the authentic
record of the life and teaching of Jesus Christ?
Compare the quote From the Gospel of Thomas with John 1:1-18. What conclusion do
you come to?
Read Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 28:12-19, 2 Corinthians 11:14, Revelation 12-13. What
do these passages tell us about Lucifer's/Satan's ambitions, his downfall and our
victory over him?