The bringers of false and strange fire
NEW AGE ARTICLES with relevant videos.
The Church of Oprah Exposed by Watchman
If you haven’t run into it before, it would be hard to avoid it now. Oprah’s rolling out the red carpet for the New Age: a weekly online class with New York Times bestselling guru Eckhart Tolle and a daily broadcast with Marianne Williamson, whose Course in Miracles was beckoning seekers thirty years ago when I was tripping through the wonderland of discovering my own divinity and wielding the powers of the universe to create my own reality.
Ah, but I didn’t know Jesus back then – that is, I didn’t know him as the Son of God. I knew him only through my guru, who taught that Jesus was a great spiritual master and who blended quotes from the New Testament with quotes from the Bhagavad-Gita to produce a spiritual foundation for people like me – too hip, too cool, too sophisticated to tie themselves to the narrow-minded thinking of Christianity.
As someone plucked out miraculously from the New Age, I can only hope that Christians who love and trust Oprah will not blur the lines of their faith. Oprah has stated that though she was raised as a Baptist, she no longer believes that Jesus is the only way to reach God. It sounds so much more rational and compassionate, doesn’t it?
Why can’t we all just get along?
There are questions we don’t have the answers to. And there are questions that are not seeking an answer, but rather opening a door leading to “a wider path” – questions like the one posed long ago: “Hasn’t God said that you could eat of every tree of the garden?”
The New Age is based on concepts that sound almost irresistible. Like Eve, some hear the spiels of modern gurus like Tolle and Willamson and begin to think the faith of their fathers is too rigid, too narrow – that God would never impose an “irrational” boundary between us and “full knowledge of the spiritual realm.”
Sometimes the lie creeps in subtly as Christians begin to research natural or holistic medicine – alternatives which can be very God-honoring but for years were shunned by Christians, thus becoming New Age territory by default. Or a doctor may recommend yoga or meditation to reduce stress. No matter how uplifting and innocent some New Age practices appear, Christians need discernment in these areas, just as at the seashore they need to know where the undertow begins.
The more we understand the distinctions between New Age religion and Christianity, the less vulnerable we are ourselves and the better able to address the confusion of people who may be – as I once was – earnestly seeking the truth.
What exactly is the New Age? Impossible to narrow down, the New Age is actually a vast smorgasbord of beliefs and practices. Each New Ager fills his tray with whatever assortment fits his appetite. All is liberally seasoned with self-centeredness. It’s really a Have-It-Your-Way religion – thus its modern appeal.
Although there are many branches of New Age thought – ranging from meditation to firewalking – they stem from an ancient stock. The roots of the New Age tree spread around the globe to India. One might think that the desperate, degraded human condition of a land dominated by Hinduism would speak louder than words about the truth of the religion. But New Agers seem blind to the contradiction.
Instead the typical New Ager believes:
New Agers do not believe in evil. Therefore, they do not accept man’s problem as separation by sin from God. Instead, they believe that each of us has forgotten his or her own divinity. Therefore, the New Age solution is to seek “higher consciousness” through meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, diet, crystals, channeling. spirit guides, and more. Each of these diverse practices has the same purpose: to awaken the god in man.
While these practices may seem too far out to pose much of a threat to those abiding in the truth, Christians need to be on guard. In the past twenty years, New Age influence has been steadily creeping into our culture in schools, corporations, and doctors’ offices. Since Star Wars, movies have become dominated by New Age spirituality. Reincarnation, karma, the cosmic consciousness – all these once obscure ideas have become commonplace.
A true understanding of New Age practices makes one thing clear: Eastern practices cannot be blended into Christianity to produce something better. New Agers are Universalists, believing that all paths lead to God. They fault Christians for being intolerant and narrow-minded. But God’s word anticipates this: “Enter the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the path that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13, NIV)
The good news is that, in a way, the New Ager’s broad acceptance holds the key to getting him back on the straight and narrow. Most New Agers hold Jesus in high regard, believing Him to be a great spiritual teacher, or guru. Many study the words He spoke, although they put a different spin on them.
How can we reach those under such subtle deception? The answer is Jesus Himself. Since Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” He Himself can be the common ground on which the New Ager and the Christian can meet, though one stands in darkness and one in light.
Here is a five-step approach to discussing Jesus with new Agers:
1. Whom do you believe Jesus is?
2. Whom did Jesus say He is?
3. What did Jesus say about other spiritual paths?
Jesus was either who he said He was or He was a fraud. Given His claims, we can’t logically believe he was only a great teacher, for He would have been teaching falsehood rather than truth (this is an argument by C. S. Lewis).
5. Jesus alone is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
New Agers are in a lot of confusion. That’s because they haven’t found the Truth, but only what fits into the spiritual perspective they have constructed. As in the Garden of Eden, the lie has never changed.
But neither has the Truth. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see immediate results from sharing with New Agers. In many cases – like my own – when they finally come to Christ, it’s because God had been planting seeds and watering for a long time. Just keep praying and loving and sharing the words of Jesus (from experience, I’d say they really won’t hear much else).
And remember, God loves New Age seekers too!
Barbara Curtis, now a prolific Christian writer, was a New Age seeker for seven years before learning the truth about Jesus Christ in 1987. She lives with her husband Tripp in a rapidly-dwindling nest with 6 of their 12 children in Waterford, Virginia
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WILLIAM COOPER-The New Age Conspiracy.pt1-4
The New Age Movement (NAM) is both a religious and a social movement. In fact, Western culture is currently experiencing a phenomenal, spiritual, ideological, and sociological shift. It is a religious world view that is alien and hostile to Christianity. It’s a multi-focused, multi-faceted synthesis, in varying degrees, of the Far Eastern, mystical religions, mainly Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Western Occultism, adapted to and influenced by Western, materialistic culture. It sometimes appears in secularized forms.
Prominent expressions of the NAM were carried on into more modern times in Europe and America by Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), transcendentalists like Thoreau, Emerson, and Wordsworth (early 1800s), and Theosophy introduced by Madame Helena Blavatsky (1831-1891) (The New Age Rage, pp. 22-24). The decade of the sixties witnessed a revival of Eastern mysticism as traditional values were being challenged. Zen, Carlos Castañada, the Beatles, Transcendental Meditation, and yoga all became popular.
The New Age Movement consists of an incredibly huge and well organized network consisting of thousands of groups, trusts, foundations, clubs, lodges, and religious groups whose goal and purpose is to prepare the world to enter the coming “Age Of Aquarius.” A small sampling of only a few of the organizations involved would include: Amnesty International, Zero Population Growth, California New Age Caucus, New World Alliance, World Goodwill, The Church Universal and Triumphant, The Theosophical Society, the Forum, Planetary Initiative for the World We Choose, the Club of Rome, Church Universal & Triumphant, Christian Science, and the Unity School of Christianity. This list, by no means all inclusive, demonstrates the diversity of organizations operating in economic, political, and religious spheres of influence.
The New Age movement is not a unified, traditional cult system of beliefs and practices, even though its roots derive from Eastern religions and the occult. It has no official leader, headquarters, nor membership list, but instead is a network of groups working toward specific goals. One of its main goals is to bring to the forefront a one-world leader who is called “The Christ” or “Maitreya.” Nevertheless, it is estimated that there are millions of worldwide followers of various New Age practices and/or holders of one or more of the major beliefs of the New Age.
The NAM has gained significant influence, affecting almost every area of the culture — sociology, psychology, medicine, the government, ecology, science, arts, education, the business community, the media, entertainment, sports, and even the church. The movement expresses itself in widely divergent and various mutated forms, from the blatantly obvious to the subtle. It is expressed in organized religious forms such as Christian Science, Unity, and even forms of Witchcraft. Yet, it shows up in secular forms as well, in various human potential seminars, and much in between, i.e., transcendental meditation, some alternative holistic health practices, and certain curriculum in public (and private) schools.
The book Networking lists over 1,200 organizations, centers, cooperatives, groups, communities, and networks in fields ranging from health care and spiritual growth, through politics, economics, and ecology, to education, communications, personal growth, and intercultural relations. There is hardly any area of human interest that does not have some people somewhere exploring it from a New Age point of view. Due to the lack of a central organization and the diversity of emphasis adhered to by the various New Age groups, there are literally hundreds of publications. Some popular publications and journals are New Age Journal, Body Mind Spirit, Yoga Journal, Gnosis, East West, Noetic Sciences, and Omega.
The major goal of the New Age Movement is to bring peace to the world upon entering the Age of Aquarius. This will be accomplished primarily through the leadership of “the Christ” (also known as “Lord Maitreya”), who will supposedly come to teach us to live at peace with each other. Some of the other stated goals of the movement are to establish a World Food Authority, World Water Authority, World Economic Order, and an entirely New World Order. It should be noted here that one of the requirements for a person to enter the New Age is that he or she will have to take what is known as a “Luciferic Initiation,” a kind of pledge of allegiance to the Christ of the New Age and to the New World Order. The primary goals of the movement then, are to prepare the world to receive the Christ and to enter the Age of Aquarius, thus establishing the New World Order.
The New Age Movement professes a broad-minded openness to all religions, but its basic underlying philosophy represents a carefully calculated undermining of Judeo-Christian beliefs with various combinations of gnosticism and occultism. [Gnosticism is an ancient world-view stating that Divine essence is the only true or highest reality, and that the unconscious Self of man is actually this essence. It is through intuitional discovery, "visionary experience or initiation into secret doctrine" (not the plenary revelation of propositional truth in the Bible), that man becomes conscious of this true Self (Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 10, 1968, p. 506; New Bible Dictionary, J.D. Douglas, ed., pp. 473-474).] It bears a remarkable resemblance to the apostate world religion that H.G. Wells claimed as his own and predicted would one day take over the world. It also fits the description of “The Plan” for establishing the new world government that is described in various psychic communications from alleged E.T.’s and ascended masters. There is one more connection: the New Age Movement fits the description of the Antichrist’s religion — a rejection of the Judeo-Christian God and the declaration that Self is God. (Source: The Seduction of Christianity.)
Douglas R. Groothuis, author of Unmasking the New Age and Confronting the New Age, identifies six distinctives of New Age thinking: (1) all is one; (2) all is God; (3) humanity is God; (4) a change in consciousness; (5) all religions are one; and (6) cosmic evolutionary optimism. Norman Geisler details 14 primary “doctrines” of New Age religions: (1) an impersonal god (force); (2) an eternal universe; (3) an illusory nature of matter; (4) a cyclical nature of life; (5) the necessity of reincarnations; (6) the evolution of man into Godhood; (7) continuing revelations from beings beyond the world; (8) the identity of man with God; (9) the need for meditation (or other consciousness-changing techniques); (10) occult practices (astrology, mediums, etc.); (11) vegetarianism and holistic health; (12) pacifism (or anti-war activities); (13) one world (global) order; and (14) syncretism (unity of all religions). [HJB]
The New Age also encompasses a wide array of notions: spiritualism, astrology, bioenergy, Chi energy, chakras, nirvana, Christ-consciousness, Native American Spirituality, Prajna, out-of-body/near-death experiences, reincarnation, and the occult disciplines, as well as unorthodox psychotherapeutic techniques and pseudoscientific applications of the “healing powers” of crystals and pyramids. Some commonly used New Age terms are: guided imagery, reincarnation; positive thinking; human potential; holistic; holographic; synergistic; unity; oneness; transformation; awakening; networking; communal sharing; one-world/globalism/new world order (i.e., one language, one government, one currency, one religion); cosmic consciousness; etc. (See New Age Dictionary below.)
It is important for Christians to recognize even the most disguised forms of the New Age Movement. Some New Age practices are: rebirthing; inner healing; biofeedback; yoga; I Ching; reflexology; black and white magic; fire-walking; trance-channeling; therapeutic touch; transpersonal psychology; witchcraft; parapsychology; Magick; Tai Chi; Shamanism; hypnotherapy; acupuncture/acupressure; TM; martial arts; Zen; Relaxation; Erhard Seminar Training (est); Silva Method (formerly Silva Mind Control); visualization; etc. Some prominent New Agers are: Alice Bailey, Alvin Toffler, Dr. Barbara Ray, Benjamin Creme, Levi Dowling, George Trevelyan, Fritjof Capra, Abraham Maslow, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Ruth Montgomery, Shirley MacLaine, J.Z. Knight, Marilyn Ferguson, David Spangler, Jeremy Rifkin, Norman Cousins, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, John Denver, George Lucas, and Norman Lear.
Many New Agers attach great importance to artifacts, relics, and sacred objects, all of which can be profitably offered for sale: Tibetan bells, exotic herbal teas, Viking runes, solar energizers, colored candles for “chromotherapy,” and a plethora of occult books, pamphlets, instructions, and tape recordings. Crystals are the favorite New Age object. These are not only thought to have mysterious healing powers, but are considered programmable, like a computer, if one just concentrates hard enough. Other New Age objects would include the rainbow; butterfly; pyramid; triangle; eye in triangle/pyramid; unicorn; Pegasus (winged-horse); swastika; yin-yang; goathead on pentagram; concentric circles; rays of light; crescent moon; etc.
New Age music is a term applied to the works of various composers and musicians who strive to create soothing audio environments rather than follow song structures. Born of an interest in spirituality and healing in the late 1970s, it is often used as an aid in meditation. The defining features of New Age music are harmonic consonance, contemplative melodies, nonlinear song forms, and uplifting themes. New Age performers may use traditional ethnic, acoustic, electric, or electronic instruments, or even sounds from nature. New Age music is meditative, almost invariably instrumental style with roots in Oriental, jazz, and classical music; often derivative, New Age compositions can sound like minimalist music or like lush evocations of the natural environment. Prominent New Age musicians include electronic-music pioneer Brian Eno, multi-instrumentalist Kitaro; solo-piano artist George Winston, vocalist Liz Story; harpist Andreas Vollenweider, and electric violinist Jean-Luc Ponty.
Athletes are using guided imagery. Graduate schools of business are invoking Zen, yoga, and tarot cards in teaching courses on creativity in business (e.g., Stanford Graduate School of Business). Stock market gurus employ Fibonacci numbers and “wave theory” in their forecasting, both based upon astrology. Even some churches teach that the best way to get to know God is to visualize Christ, ignoring that visualization is a powerful occult device. (Visualizing an entity, even God or Christ, ultimately puts one in touch with a masquerading demon.)
In summary, the term “New Age” is an informal term derived from astrology, which indicates that this earth, if not the cosmos, is on the verge of an evolutionary transition from the Piscean Age (rationality) to the Aquarian Age of spirituality, bliss, and harmony of all things. Even though it is undergoing a significant revival, the “New Age” is hardly new. In fact, it is very old. A better term would be the “Old Occult.”
Keeping in mind that the myriads of New Age groups are quite eclectic, drawing from several religious traditions mentioned earlier, the following is a general description of the more prominent unifying themes of the NAM. i.e., the highlights of what New Agers believe concerning their source of authority, God, Christ, sin and salvation, good and evil, Satan, and future life:
1. Source of Authority. New Agers claim no external source of authority — only an internal one (“the god within”). They believe the individual is the standard of truth, saying that “truth as an objective reality simply does not exist” (Shirley MacLaine, It’s All in the Playing) (cf. 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:21; Matt. 5:18).
4. Sin and Salvation. There is no place for the concept of sin in the New Age. There can be no sin because there is no transcendent God to rebel against. There are no rules or absolute moral imperatives. New Agers have a “New Thought” view of sin, which knows nothing of a representative man (Adam) by whose sin all men sinned. Nor does New Thought teach that there is any original sin, but that man’s true essence is divine and perfect. Indeed, it finds nothing which is of the nature of sin. Instead, it speaks of “troublesome desires” which appear to be natural human impulses which direct men from consciousness to their identity with God, and, therefore, are troublesome but hardly sinful. Since New Agers believe that each person is god, thereby having endless potential for self-improvement, sin is denied as the Bible defines it (man being inherently sinful and utterly depraved — Rom. 5:12). Sin is merely ignorance of one’s “inner divinity.” Because sin does not exist, there is no need for repentance or forgiveness, and Jesus did not die for our sins. They think that any perceived lack that man might have is merely a lack of enlightenment, thereby eliminating the need of salvation or a Savior. [In fact, salvation is not even an issue for New Agers. The soul is part of the universe and never dies. It is reborn or reincarnated in different physical bodies in a succession of future lives. The good or bad "karma" earned in the present lifetime determines one's subsequent incarnation. Humans should seek to progress to higher states of consciousness and higher planes of existence. There are many different paths to the goal of spiritual perfection. No one path is the only correct path. The assumed cycle of reincarnation and karma presupposes a salvation by works, contrary to the principle of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9).]
5. Man’s Destiny. The salvation of the world depends upon human beings. When enough people harmonize their positive energy and turn their thoughts to peace, the world will be cleansed or negative elements and New Age ideals will be realized in an era of spiritual enlightenment. Since man is intrinsically divine and perfect, his only real problem is ignorance of that fact. Man has a perception of finiteness which is, in reality, an illusion (Ken Keyes, Jr., Handbook to Higher Consciousness, pp. 125-29). Salvation in the New Age is for man to become enlightened through experiential knowledge (gnosis). New Age groups offer various occultic techniques to enable individuals, and ultimately the world, to evolve into this oneness (unitive) consciousness (James Redfield, The Celestine Prophecy: An Experimental Guide, pp. 243-60). These techniques may include altered states of consciousness (often transcendental meditation), yoga, crystals, channeling (spirit guides), psychics, past-life therapy, acupuncture, etc.
6. Good and Evil. Mimicking the Eastern religions, New Agers distort the distinction between good and evil. They believe that because “all is One,” ultimately there is neither good nor evil. They think that a person can transcend his consciousness and go beyond the bounds of moral distinctions, so that even murder sometimes becomes an acceptable way of serving one’s gods (e.g., Charles Manson). [HJB]
7. Satan. The traditional view of Lucifer as the devil or Satan is clearly absent in New Age literature. Rather, he is described as a mighty being of light and the “Ruler of Humanity,” as Alice Bailey, foundational apostle and leading writer of the New Age Movement, puts it. As to the history and achievements of Lucifer, Benjamin Creme, a leading lecturer and proponent of the New Age, says, “Lucifer came from the planet Venus 18.5 million years ago; he’s the director of our planetary evolution, he is the sacrificial lamb, and the prodigal son. Lucifer made an incredible sacrifice, a supreme sacrifice for our planet.”
8. Future Life (Reincarnation). New Agers believe in the ancient [Hindu] Eastern religious concept of reincarnation — that through a long process of rebirths, man can eventually reach spiritual perfection (cf. Heb. 9:27). New Agers often place animal rights above human rights, because many New Agers believe animals are reincarnated souls. They also teach the Hindu principle of “karma” — that what a person sows in this life, he will reap in the next life in his reincarnated state. This belief in reincarnation has led to believing in the power of “spirit guides” or “channels” — those who allow spirits from another dimension to speak through their bodies. [HJB] These entities always seem to repeat the three-fold error: (1) There is no death, (2) man is god, (3) knowledge of self is salvation and power (Brooks Alexander, Spiritual Counterfeits Project). New Agers misrepresent church history, the doctrines of Christianity, and often twist Scripture to support the idea that original Christianity taught reincarnation. They wrongly argue that the early church suppressed the doctrine and censored its teaching (Kenneth Ring, Heading Toward Omega, p. 158).
“Old Occult” — The New Age Movement is a modern revival of very ancient, divergent, religious traditions and practices. The actual original root is squarely centered in Genesis 3:1-5, and reverberates throughout the movement’s continued historical expressions. In the original lie, Satan questions God’s word, His authority and benevolent rule (v. 1), disputes that death results from disobedience (v. 4), and claims that through the acquisition of secret or Gnostic wisdom man can be enlightened and can be “like God” (v. 5).
Many of the occult practices and beliefs revived by the modern NAM were a part of very early pagan cultures. Many practices common to the NAM, such as witchcraft/sorcery, spiritism, divination, (clairvoyance; seeing the future), necromancy (consulting the dead), and astrology, are clearly and strongly condemned in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18: 9-17; Isaiah 47: 9-15). These and other occultic practices were spread through the ancient magic and mystery religions of the Chaldeans, Egyptians, and most notably, the Assyrian-Babylonian culture (Ancient Empires of the New Age, pp. 15-62). Noting the scope of its continuing presence, the Bible informs Christians of Babylon’s eschatological implications. The lie of Genesis 3 is significantly developed in Babylon (Isaiah 47) and continues to its ultimate state of development, revealed as Satan’s one-world system at the end of the age (Revelation 17-18).
Three major world religions whose beliefs and practices are entwined with the NAM are Hinduism, a product of 5,000 years of development, Buddhism, circa 560 B.C., and Taoism, circa 500 B.C. (Eerdman’s Handbook to the World’s Religions, pp. 170, 221, 252). Another prominent occultic influence in Europe was Druidism, the religion of the Celts, which extended from 300 B.C. into the middle ages (Ibid., pp. 114-19). [Return to Text]
Reincarnation — Christians should be able to demonstrate that the Bible does NOT teach reincarnation. When Jesus calls John the Baptist “Elijah,” He is clearly speaking metaphorically. Luke 1:17 demonstrates that John was filling the office of Elijah, fulfilling the prophecy of Malachi 4:5-6. In fact, Elijah was seen with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-3. The meaning of the resurrection is the opposite of reincarnation (Hebrews 9:27; 1 Cor. 15:12-28). Point out that if God is an impersonal force, then love and forgiveness are not possible. These are personal attributes as opposed to impersonal karmic law. Fundamentally, intercessory prayer is absolutely necessary. The battle for the souls of men is won through God’s grace, intervening and drawing them to Himself. [Return to Text]