What Is The New Age Movement?
The New Age movement often picks parts of many different religious beliefs and ideas and then mixes them all together. New Agers think nothing of combining Hindu and Christian teachings, along with Buddhism, Zen, Moslem, Wicca, the occult, spirit guides and maybe some ancient Greek philosophies thrown in. Stir and blend all ingredients together and simmer for 20 minutes till the mixture thickens. Season with some sin if needed. (Sin is just ignorance, so no problem.) New Agers believe that this materialistic era is coming to an end and humanity is progressing into a time of spirituality and peace.
We who live in the Western world are living in rapidly changing times. We are changing the way we think and the way we look at the world. In the past, reason was thought of as a gift from God to help us understand the world. But for the Christian in the past, reason was always subordinated to the truth of Christianity. The ancient Christian held on to the Christian mystery, and to the supernatural. Christian doctrine came first!
If the Christian believer could not completely explain a doctrine by using reason, the Christian in the past still believed the doctrine anyway. That is because they had faith that God was bigger than their power of reasoning. They didn’t have to completely understand everything about how and why God did something to still believe in Him. The Christians from antiquity bowed before the Christian mystery. A mystery that transcends all reason.
The 20thand 21th century have seen such enormous progress in technology, medicine and science, because thinkers and educators have asked questions and have studied and reasoned and made many discoveries that have changed the way we live. Because of this progress we modern Christians now often put our faith in our intelligence and in our ability to reason. We often trust the power of human reasoning and the knowledge it brings more than we trust our Christian faith. Our intelligence now comes first for many.
If we cannot understand a Christian truth as taught in Scripture, we refuse to believe it happened or call it a myth or explain it away. We believe that people who lived long ago were backward and unscientific and believed that God gave them miracles, but now we moderns have progressed and know so much more. We think we are too smart to believe in a God that we can not completely understand. We have put our reasoning ability and our intelligence up in first place, and put God down in second place. When we do this there is no mystery and no supernatural. And we have lost so much.
And all of this has opened the door for the New Age movement to enter. The New Age movement entered and rejected putting reason and intelligence first. And the New Age movement spoke out against the emptiness and shortcomings of a society that put rationalism and materialism before God. This all seemed good. Then the New Agers took reason down out of first place and put God back up in first place. And that sounded good too. Many Christians were impressed and followed the New Age spirituality hoping to find more of God. But alas, the New Ager’s god is not the God of the Bible. Not the same God we have come to love and call “Father”. And the New Ager’s Jesus is not the Jesus that died for us and brought us salvation! Or the Jesus we have learned to know and love. Another god and another Jesus! Scary! Shouldn’t we run away?
If the New Ager’s god is not the Christian God, then who is he? First of all, the New Age movement is so disparate that it is hard to summarize its beliefs. But generally they believe in three basic things. They believe that “All is God.” “All is one.” And “All is well.” The first, “All is God” is known as pantheism. There is no God outside his creation. God is in everything. He is not a personal God but more of an impersonal energy or a creative force. A god-like force that runs through all creation, - trees, animals, rocks and people. The earth and stars and crystals are divine, and have power and influence.
Shirley Maclaine, a prominent New Age advocate, said: “Everyone is God. Everyone.” “The way to find God is to look within.” Swami Muktanada, a New Ager said, “Kneel to your own self. Honor and worship your own being. God dwells within you as you.” One of the New Age forms of enlightenment is to look within for the inner light. To look for the god within. If you were to worship the god within you, doesn’t that mean that you are worshipping yourself? Mankind has fallen once again for the primeval temptation “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5) That was Satan’s first lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden when he was tempting and tricking her to disobey God.
The New Age movement is self-centered. Their long term goal is the development of the self. The worship of self is the topic of New Age books and courses. They publish many books on self-realization, self-fulfillment, self-worth, etc. The highest goal for a New Ager is to find one’s own self. To find one’s own self is to find God, they say. These beliefs are the opposite of the New Testament beliefs where the way of fulfilment is loving and serving a personal God and serving others. Christianity is about self-denial, not about self-worship!
The New Age Movement believes that “All is one”. They try to reconcile opposites and bring all religions together. In so doing, the New Age movement rejects much of Christianity. The movement rejects moral absolutes, and they give “sin” a new definition. They believe that sin is just ignorance. Good and bad are considered two sides of one coin by the New Ager. Some even blasphemously consider God and Satan to be two sides of one person. You see how apostate and corrupt their ideas can become.
Since the New Ager says that our problem is not sin but ignorance, there can be no judgment. Contrast this to the Christian view that “man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) The New Ager enjoys the attraction of spirituality without the cost of repentance from sin. The New Ager believes that everyone is making progress onwards and upwards. Reincarnation is spoken of everywhere in New Age groups since we need more than one lifetime to get it right! Here is where the belief that “All is well” comes in. “We are all making evolutionary progress towards Utopia.” They assure us. Everything is wonderful. Again, they have fallen for Satan’s lie to Eve in the Garden of Eden when he told her: “You will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4)
And the new Age Jesus is not our Jesus. Their Jesus is seen as one of the ascended masters, along with Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed and others. Their Jesus is not the “Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6) He is not our Savior, of the Son of God, but just a wise prophet. Not the Jesus of the Bible.
Our Christian faith teaches that our salvation is not something we could ever earn but it is a free gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8-9) (John 3:16) The only salvation the New Age movement believes in is self-salvation and the only forgiveness is self-forgiveness. In a popular New Age teaching workbook, “A Course in Miracles,” lesson 70 teaches about salvation. The lesson is titled “My Salvation Comes from me” and the reader is urged to repeat, “My salvation comes from me. It cannot come from anywhere else.” On the contrary, the Bible teaches that Jesus is the only way of salvation. (Acts 4:12)
We as Christians need to soak ourselves in the Truth and stay away from these false teachings. We are to study the Scriptures and follow Christ and build ourselves up in our faith. Scripture warns us: “See to it that on one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy.” (Colossians 2:8) And also we need to bring the good news of Jesus to those who are involved in the New Age movement. Many of them are searching for the truth. We can obey Christ’s call to preach the gospel (good news) to them and pray for them and love them into the kingdom.
Most of the information from this blog was taken from Nicky Gumbel’s booklet”Searching Issues”