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Cults and World Religions

New Age



or Old Deceipt?

 

HOTELS FULL, ANIMALS LEFT HOMELESS
Animal Rights Activists Enraged by Insensitive Couple

~ on the birth of Christ

 

PREACHER STEALS CHILD’S LUNCH
Disciples Mystified Over Behavior

~ on the feeding of the 5,000

 

WETLANDS TRAMPLED IN LABOR STRIKE
Pursuing Environmentalists Killed

~ on the crossing of the Red Sea

Biblical Headlines as composed by Today’s Media 243

We have spent a great deal of time looking at the major “Christian” cults of the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Christian Science, as well as the groups that seem to grow out of these entities. We also spent a great deal of time on the philosophy of liberalism and the Eastern Religions. The New Age movement is the last step between all of these earlier groups and the one-world religion of The Anti-Christ. Do not think that I am prophesying the Rapture is just around the corner. It took Satan several hundred, indeed, thousands of years to set the stage for New Age to come into vogue. Yet, what we have now is a loose band of followers who are lumped together under a single title, even though they have little or no direct relationship with each other. Only God knows how long it will take this flock of disbelievers to congeal into a single body.

The “headlines” are funny, but very close to the truth as one reviews today’s newspapers and watches the television. While God has used several of the major tragedies over the past couple of years to bring the Gospel message to the forefront, the entertainment industry is clearly anti-God.

As is most of the world . . .

The New Age movement has been described by at least one reviewer as a sponge which seeks to absorb all of the religions, cultures, and governments of the world into a single organism. A better description of Satan’s final plans could not be more carefully drafted. New Age is the culmination of man’s global union. It is the unexpected result of tolerance and pluralism, for if, at first, men agree all roads lead to God, then the structure is in place to mold the path along which they should travel. This path is New Age. This is the threat to Christianity in the century to come.

The Height of Evolution

In a sense, this movement is the next step in evolution. It is, admittedly, a spiritual step, but one needed to arrive at a one world religion. The New Age Movement seeks to create a unified spiritual-socio-economic unity among all people. All systems combine on that single path to God, a path that has more entrances that anyone is able to count. What the path will exclude is Jesus Christ as He is described in the pages of Scripture.

In another sense, New Age is as old as sin.

Genesis 3:1-6
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden;3 “but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

When Adam and Eve listened to the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, they elevated themselves above God. They made themselves little gods. Satan has maintained that strategy throughout the centuries since the Fall. Now, as we look at New Age, the circle has almost been completed. We are, in a sense, back in the Garden of Eden. The Devil is about to complete his deception of most of the world.

New Age prophet David Spangler is quoted as saying “Lucifer works within each of us to bring us to wholeness, and as we move into a new age, which is the age of man’s wholeness, each of us in some way is brought to the point which I term the Luciferic initiation.” 244

Even Time Magazine has recognized that New Age is not new – “Even Time magazine has called the New Age ‘a combination of spirituality and superstition, fad and farce, about which the only thing certain is that it is not new.’” 245

Satan’s Flaws

There are four flaws to the presentation of New Age. Keep them in mind as we review this final assault on the church:

What we find is that the New Age religion is truly the religion of man. Objective truth and moral responsibility are fading concepts. Self is the center of the religion and in one form or another, all of the groups fitting under the New Age umbrella find man becoming God. This creates opposing world views and religious systems – Man versus God. The appeal of New Age is that it “seems right” to the Populus. 246 The evolution of religion has, over the past 400 years, brought man to the point where experience is the measuring rod of all things. Things that are “good” are accepted as correct. Shirley MacLaine and John Denver have made New Age a household concept. Before his death, Denver was quoted as saying, “You will be like god. One of these days I will be so complete I won’t be human. I will be god.” 247

There is no “history” of the New Age movement in the sense comparable to the other cults. 248 Individual groups may have a particular history, but New Age is a philosophical collection of writings and groups, with, perhaps, major philosophers driving the development of the movement. New Age is a religion of liberalism, humanism, and pantheism. Paul encountered a version of humanists in the Epicureans and pantheists in the Stoics, on Mars Hill in Acts 17. The New Age has held on in various forms ever since, with one religion or cult, and then another, advocating some portions of the New Age philosophy. Then with the transitions from liberalism and humanism, and neo-orthodoxy, and post-modern philosophy, the cycle has been completed. Further, as a philosophical rather than religious concept, many of its tenets are accepted by Christians, without the believer ever realizing they are accepting the beliefs of a false religion. 249

Eastern Religion has mixed with the culture of the Western world. New Age takes the concepts of each and melds them into a new single umbrella which encompasses all, yet, fails to accept any complete system, thus, creating a new one. Experience is king. Man rules, and Jesus is left in the dust, except as a good man!

The Arguments of New Age

Look at the general concepts of New Age:

New Agers are optimistic – but then, wouldn’t you be too if you were eventually going to be God? And, besides, holistic health, alternative methods of treatments, and stores dedicated solely to vitamins and other remedies of Mother Nature are the watchword of a society which wants to discover the Fountain of Youth. Sin is rejected as the source of disease and aging. Boa quotes G. K. Chesterton: “Those who worship health cannot remain healthy. To be healthy is good, but health is not an absolute good.” 251

Another part of the New Age movement is the marriage of psychology to religion. Secular society assumes man is the product of blind evolution. There is no sin, on problems. Man has the resources within himself to resolve his problems. This power is helped and supported by education. Man must accept himself just as he is. Man must learn to love despite his short comings. How much of this has seeped into the “feel good” prosperity preaching of the church?

New World Order

In practical terms, New Age is the new world order. We can see it today in the growth of the position of the United Nations in world affairs. There is a New Age meditation center at the UN. Presidents use the phrase “new world order.” 252 Satan must be rolling in laughter to know that he is deceiving everyone. The reason for the deception is that New Age is much more than a religion. It is a world movement combining religious, philosophical, political, and financial systems which enables it to bring together people of all religions and non-religious groups. This is the aspect of globalism, social evolution. The world is one big village and the entire human race will become one.

New Age is the mix of Eastern Religion, Western Technology, and everyone’s philosophy. It is syncretism at its finest. Remember syncretism is the combining of different forms of beliefs and practices. This is what New Age accomplishes, or, at least, is on its way to accomplishing. New Age is a demonic, counterfeit, false religious system which gives no place to Jesus Christ. At its heart, it is occultic in origin, mixing a variety of Satanic concepts with the philosophy of the East. At the heart of all of these is the cosmic force, the mystical spiritual energy, The Force of Star Wars.

Along with a portrayal of New Age ideas in numerous movies comes an almost overwhelming obsession with UFOs 253 and extraterrestrial life. The aliens become part of the channeling or spiritual messaging system of the New Age religion 254 and, oddly enough, the message from space is amazing similar to the goal of the New Agers – a unified peaceful society. “Man is on the brink of tremendous changes and breakthrough, and ONLY New Age Man, transformed man, can make it through to a new world and a spiritually sane existence.” 255

According to the most recent surveys and sources, the majority of Americans, including many conservative religious leaders, believe that UFOs are real. But the question is not “Are they real?” Rather, the question is “What are they?” UFO incidents seemingly involve communications between aliens and humans in a form which the Bible clearly condemns as demonic or occultic. This means that UFOs are not extraterrestrial, but of the demonic spirit world. UFOs are the tool of Satan. Tom Wolfe, chronicler of American culture, has called UFOlogy a religion. “And that religion is, at bottom, not terribly different from most other new religions of the past two millennia. Most of them, the successful ones as well as those that have vanished, have been based on the belief that there exists Another Order, invisible to the great mass of humanity.” 256

Interestingly enough, many New Age groups see an end time “rapture,” or something similar. For example, in the early 1990s, Solara claimed to be an angel and proclaimed that if 144,000 followers would unite in concerted prayer (“conscious Oneness”), the “doorway” would open to the Golden Era – and it would remain open until December 21, 2011!

John the Apostle wrote “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Some writers against UFOism see in this passage a warning against listening to the aliens. The entire context of John’s letter is directed at the false teachers he and his readers faced. If the false teachers could preach from a “spirit” which denied the deity of Jesus, then this proved their falseness. The same may be said of the “aliens” of today – spiritual or human!

Modern Roots

At its heart too, one may see the merging over the past four hundred years of the philosophy of the Theosophy Society with the little god concept of the Mormons and the power of the Christian Science Mind. 257 East meets West. Science meets the humanities. Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. By our imaginations we have the power to do or to be anything we desire.” 258 The stars of Hollywood, both in movies and on television, as well as in print, are attempting to convince us of this. School systems change their approach, parents are indoctrinated by their children. Seminars replace church services. 259 Slowly, the philosophy has crept into theology and the churches. Liberalism opens the door to a looser view of the Bible. It is a simple step to accept the miracles of experience as more important than God’s Word. Then, experience moves to be the guide of all.

Note, too, the merger of matter and spirit into one essence is a modification of gnosticism. This circle is complete in what one writer calls neo-gnosticism, the idea that life is moving up rather than down. The Fall, if there was one, was an involuntary descent of God into matter. Now, that event is being undone. The spirit world is “good” and a major part of the New Age motif is an effort to contact this world to help “poor man” merge with the cosmic spirit.

Best of all, from the world’s view point, New Agers are not all the same. Individual differences may be maintained throughout this process. Some are militant. Some are assuredly demon possessed. All are driven by the concept of counter-culture. Some are religious, some are not. The majority are spiritually empty. All are looking for something more.

In the end, New Age is nothing more than the original lie of the Garden of Eden repackaged in shiny, bright new paper!

In Perspective

The church stands at an amazing crossroads in history. Never before has the movement of the world been so obviously unified against God. But, with the merging of all religions, the need for spiritual fulfillment is obvious. The disguises of Satan have run their course. His strategies have run their course. It is time for the church to fight back. New Age is Satan’s final attack on the church. Christ assured his disciples that the gates of hell could not stand against the attack of the church. 260 Now is the time to attack.

Witnessing to a New Ager is not much different from many of the “normal” evangelistic efforts we put forth. The New Ager has bought into the false spirituality of secular religion. He is hungry for spiritual fulfillment. The trick is to get him to listen to God’s Word long enough for the Holy Spirit to work in his life. The New Ager accepts the concept of God. The issue is “Who is God?”

Don’t go for the “kill” immediately upon winning a point. While there is no organizational tree to chop down, there will still be differences in definitions of terms. Make certain both you and the unbeliever are talking the same language. Use rhetorical questions to get him to “define” areas of discussion. Questions like, what do you think redemption means? Or, did Jesus die on the Cross? Use these types of questions to point the New Ager toward the objective truth of the Bible. Be prepared to give answers for your faith in Jesus. Use your personal testimony. Avoid mocking or attacking the individual elements or proponents of New Age.

And remember, our job is to sow and water the seeds. God gives the increase! 261

Footnotes:
243. email jokes from mikey-funnies-owner@youthspecialties.com, April 11, 2000
244. Kerry D. McRoberts, New Age or Old Lie?, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1989, 78, quoting David Spangler, Reflections on the Christ, London: Farres, Scotland: Lecture Series, 1978, 44.
245. Walter Martin, Hank Hanegraaff, Gen. Ed., The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised), Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1965, 1977, 1985, 1997, Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1997, Parsons Technology, Inc., PO Box 100, Hiawatha, Iowa., Chapter 11, quoting from Time Magazine, December 7, 1987, 62.
246. At least one authority claims that Hindu teachings include the idea that experiences of divinity are encountered through expertly guided sexual exercises. What great appeal this has to the lusts of men. The holy prostitution of ancient paganism has been reborn in the Goddesses of Mother Nature and the earth. It is any wonder moral responsibility has disappeared in favor of the sensual? Kenneth Boa, Cults, World Religions, and the Occult, USA: Victor Books, 1977, 1990.
247. Edward F. Murphy, Handbook for Spiritual Warfare [computer file], electronic ed. of the revised and updated edition, Logos Library System, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1977, c1996 by Edward F. Murphy, quoting Newsweek, “The Wiz of Show Biz,” December 20, 1976, 68.
248. Lutzer cites Texe Marrs to the effect that there are 30 New Age rituals and beliefs which may be found in the pagan religions of ancient Babylon of 3,000 years ago. Erwin W. Lutzer and John F. DeVries, Satan’s Evangelistic Strategy for this New Age, USA: Victor Books, 1989, 24, quoting Texe Marrs, Dark Secrets of the New Age, Westchester, IL: Crossways Books, 1987, 26.
249. Kingdom of the Cults sees New Age as the growth of Theosophy and three of its off-shots. “From Theosophy came (1) Anthroposophy, founded in 1912 by Rudolf Steiner; (2) the Arcane School, founded in 1923 by Alice Bailey; and (3) the “I am” sects, which began to appear in the 1930s. These related branches of spirituality eventually spawned even more groups, which in turn created countless others.” Martin, The Kingdom of the Cults (Revised), Electronic Edition, Chapter 11. However, this is probably too narrow of a view.
250. Murphy, Handbook for Spiritual Warfare [computer file], quoting Norman Geisler lecture series 1990.
251. Boa, Cults, World Religions, and the Occult, 27.
252. Murphy, Handbook for Spiritual Warfare [computer file].
253. UFO is an “unidentified flying object.” The title comes from the early days following the Second World War. The concept covers weather balloons to flying saucers to the fleet of Star Wars, at least in the minds of most Americans. Anything in the sky which is not immediately identified is a UFO.
254. Channeling is the New Age version of speaking to the spirits. Instead of using a medium like Spiritism, New Age uses “channels” to the spirit world. This is the same old practice with a new name and package.
255. William M. Alnor, UFOs in the New Age, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992, 14, quoting Wayne Aho, as found in Brad Steiger, The Fellowship, New York: Ballantine, 1989, 161.
256. Alnor, UFOs in the New Age, 85, quoting Tom Wolfe, foreword, In Advance of the Landing: Folk Concepts of Outer Space, by Douglas Curran, New York: Abbeville Press, 1985.
257. Alnor, Ibid, 111, cites the story that H.P. Blavatsky’s messages came from “aliens” tying Theosophy directly into UFOism. It is clear that Blavatsky believed she talked with spirits, but there is nothing in any of the historical accounts of Theosophy which ties these spirits with extraterrestrial beings, just with members of the spirit world. Alnor also cites a source to the effect that Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, believed the Moon was inhabited. And, of course, Mormonism teaches that God came from another planet. To this extent, Mormonism can be viewed as directly connecting to the UFO concept. And then, of course, there is Scientology . . . .
258. Murphy, Handbook for Spiritual Warfare [computer file].
259. For example, there is EST, the Erhard Seminars Training which has been described as an irrational procedure in which the individual is emotionally driven to break all ties to the external God or objective morality. EST commenced in 1984 and is now franchised through Transformational Technologies, Inc. Boa, Cults, World Religions, and the Occult, 259.
260. Matthew 16:18-19: 18“And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
261. 1 Corinthians 3:6

 

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