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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 Century AD.


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, P- 22).


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?