Trying to describe the New Age Movement (NAM) is a bit like trying to nail a bubble to the wall. There is tremendous variance among New Age groups as to the tenets of their philosophy and the terminology they use. There is no headquarters and there is no specific founder. It is a mixture of Eastern religions and occult practices sugar-coated with Bible terminology. Even to quantify the numbers of participants is difficult. Marilyn Ferguson, the author of the Aquarian Conspiracy, estimated in her book in 1993 that there were 12 million American members and 30 million members worldwide. However, perhaps 50 million Americans if not more hold at least one New Age idea. According to the New Age Publishing and Retailing Alliance there are more than 3,400 New Age publishing houses producing millions of books, magazines, and journals. There is also New Age Music, which is mostly instrumental and intended to make a person relax and get in touch with the inner self. You could hardly be living in North America right now and not come in contact with some aspect of New Age philosophy, propaganda, and products. It is a malignant cancer that is permeating our society including its entertainment, education, medicine, religion, and politics.
The New Age teaching is not new. The Bible says the Devil was “more subtle than any beast of the field” in Eden’s garden. He is still the father of lies, using the same techniques. He challenged Eve’s understanding of the character of God, the authority of the Word of God (“God hath not said”), and the source of truth (“you will be as gods”). In the New Age Movement (NAM), he is still challenging these vital Christian doctrines.
I. TERMS OF NEW AGEISM:
THE BIBLE: To New Agers, the Bible is “a” source of truth, ranking equally with other writings such as Vedas (Hindu writings), Sutras (Indian proverbs), the writings of Confucius, and “revelations” received through mediums called channels. This cannot be so. The Bible claims exclusively to be “THE” Word of God. If it is “the” Word of God, then all other writings are human writings.
New Agers interpret the Bible subjectively and figuratively. To them, eternal life refers to reincarnation, and sin refers to our ignorance. Also, everything in the Bible is symbolic. This means, every interpretation is the decision of the reader and there is no “proof” of true meaning. This diminishes the authority of the Bible in their lives.
The Lord Jesus interpreted the Bible literally, saying that Jonah was swallowed by a real fish not a large negative force (Matthew 12:40). Paul preached the gospel in Corinth saying that the Old Testament literally said the Messiah would die, be buried, and even rise from the dead (1 Cor 15:3).
New Agers also claim divine revelation from spirits with whom they communicate through altered mind states and channellers. However, God says there is only one revelation, the Bible, which is complete (Jude vs. 3). Also, God warned in the Old Testament law, “The soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people” (Lev 20:6). Our responsibility is to use the Bible as our standard and as John wrote, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
GOD: New Agers do not believe in a Creator who is distinct from creation. They believe He is an impersonal “essence” or “energy” and everyone and everything is part of that essence. This is a combination of monism, which says that everything in the world is of the same “essence,” or “thing” and pantheism, which says that “thing,” is God. This means that we are also gods and we need to realize our divinity through meditation, mystic experiences, and ultimately, through a series of reincarnations. This is nothing more than the devil’s lie to Eve in Eden that they would “be as gods” if they listened to him.
The Bible speaks of “the LORD that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:18). He is clearly distinct from, and the Sovereign Maker of, creation. To underscore His uniqueness as God, eight times over in Isaiah, Jehovah claims, “There is none else.”
New Agers use two chief scriptures to justify their view of God. First they quote Jesus who said, “Is it not written in your law, I said, ‘Ye are gods’” (John 10:34)? They ignore the context of the passage that is a quote from Psalm 82:1 where the Psalmist refers to the judges of Israel as gods (Hebrew: mighty ones). In the Psalm, they were clearly men, not deities, who spoke on behalf of God to the people. A similar wording is used of Moses being a god to Aaron and Pharaoh because he represented God and told them God’s mind (Ex 4:16; 7:1). In John 10, Jesus was comparing Himself with the prophets and leaders of Israel. If they were mighty ones who deserved the people’s attention, how much more would the one who is God Himself?
The other misused text is Luke 17:21: “The kingdom of God is within you.” The Lord Jesus spoke these words not to tell people that there was deity in people. Rather, He was telling them that the King Himself was within (in the midst) of the people. This is a reference to Christ physically on the earth rather than some mystical essence of God in all of us.
TRUTH: Shirley MacLaine, actress and author said, “Perhaps everyone has his own truth and truth as an objective reality does not exist.” To New Agers, what is true and right is subject to every individual and every situation. This puts man on the throne as the supreme arbiter of right and wrong. Every person is therefore free to determine his own reality and do what he “feels” is right.
The Bible teaches that there is an objective source of truth and one single standard of right and wrong, God Himself. Before man was created, God judged creation using a standard of good and evil. At the close of each day of creation, He declared, “it was good.” Therefore, the standard to judge good and evil existed apart from and before man. What existed before creation? Only God! He is the soul determiner of truth and good and evil (John 14:6). He has given us His Word, the Bible, as a concrete, objective summary of truth and God’s standard. As Jesus said in a prayer to God, “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).
SIN: The New Age definition of sin follows from their misunderstanding of God. They would reason that if everything is god, then nothing is evil. How convenient! No wonder New Ageism is so popular in Hollywood. They do not think in terms of right and wrong but, rather ignorance and enlightenment. Sin, therefore, is the ignorance that impedes us from realizing our deity.
Paul wrote to Timothy that people in the latter days would have a “seared conscience.” New Age thought is an iron that sears the conscience to indifference toward sin. The Bible states, “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4) and not ignorance. New Age thinking reduces our problem to ignorance to try and detour personal accountability for thoughts, words, and actions.
SALVATION: If New Agers believe there is no sin, then they have no need of salvation, and the death of Christ is meaningless. They equate salvation with light and understanding. To realize your full potential as a god, you must remove your ignorance through mystic experiences, vegetarian diets, meditation, and propagation of world peace. According to their philosophy, a person will reincarnate and hopefully move up the scale of light until they arrive at a pureness of deity.
The Bible declares, however, “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and “we must be saved”(Acts 4:12). The Lord Jesus is THE Savior who delivers us from the wages of sin (Romans 6:23).
THE LORD JESUS: Jesus once asked His disciples, “Whom do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). The New Ager would say that Jesus was an enlightened man, not God, because if deity is contained in Christ alone, then they cannot have deity in themselves. They would say Jesus was “a” Christ, which is different than “the” Christ, the universal divine energy.
They read the gospels because they feel Jesus gave us an example to instruct us toward the light. They classify him as a cosmic ideal of enlightenment just as others are, including Krishna, Buddha, Zoraster, Rama, Hercules, and Hermes.
The Bible takes a strong stand against the blasphemous New Age position. John wrote, “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). Later John added, “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already it is in the world” (1 John 4:3).
THE FUTURE: The New Age or Aquarian Age describes an undefined period in which peace and enlightenment will prevail on the earth, realized through the removal of ignorance. Personally, they determine their personality in the next life (after reincarnation) by how they live in this one. One could become a spider, a tree, or a cow in the next life. Through multiple lives and reincarnations we can transmigrate into deity. This is the Hindu principle of Karma or sowing and reaping. If one has a bad lot in this life, it is because they must have had bad Karma in the previous life. This belief leads New Agers to environmentalism (the worship of the creature more than the Creator), Vegetarianism, Animal Rights Advocacy, and Globalism. The Aquarian Age of universal peace will be realized through “syncretism,” which is the uniting together for one world government, religion, and economy.
The Bible speaks of a personal future for every individual in Heaven or Hell. The Bible says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20,21). According to the Scripture, we live once and die once. Then we go to Heaven if we have been saved or Hell if we have rejected Christ for salvation (John 3:36). The Bible also points to an age or millennium of peace on the earth that will be brought about by the return of Christ to reign on the earth (Isaiah 32:1).
II. THREATS OF NEW AGEISM:
Paul wrote to the Roman Christians, “Be not conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2). The world is trying to press us into its mold and we are exhorted to combat this by “the renewing of our minds.” We are to resist the influence of prevailing thought by guarding our minds. The greatest danger for a believer is generally not that he is suddenly going to rub crystals, chant mantra, and have out-of-body experiences. The devil uses subtle pressures of the surrounding New Age thinking though education, media forms, and religion. Our only defense is the Word of God.
No one makes counterfeit $3.00 bills. Counterfeiters work hard to produce imitations of what is real and good. Through NAM, the devil has been producing ideas and even using biblical language, and biblical passages to try and pass them off as truth.
A. TRUTH VS. TOLERANCE: NAM propagates the gospel of tolerance passing it off as the “Christian” virtue of love. So when a true believer rejects a teaching, New Age thinkers will condemn him for narrow mindedness and bigotry. However, truth prohibits tolerance. The truth that 1+1= 2, prohibits us from accepting that 1+1=5. The same applies to spiritual and moral truths. Murder can’t be right and wrong at the same time. New Age thinking pressures us to “put aside our differences” and come together in “unity.” When the garrison of truth crumbles, we open ourselves to all manner of error and sin. The Corinthians were proud that they could tolerate an immoral man in the fellowship of the assembly (1 Cor 5:1-2). Remember, too, that it was the putting aside of differences that led Pilate and Herod to be friends and put the Savior to death. We must always love souls, but “buy the truth and sell it not” (Prov 23:23).
B. SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCE VS. OBJECTIVE TRUTH: To New Agers, experience is the measuring stick of reality. Many New Agers have had mystical experiences where they get into mind states and states of altered consciousness where they see visions and communicate with spirits. These emotional and subjective experiences are used to judge the Bible rather than the Bible used to judge their experiences.
To New Agers, experience is the measuring stick of reality. Many New Agers have had mystical experiences where they get into mind states and states of altered consciousness where they see visions and communicate with spirits. These emotional and subjective experiences are used to judge the Bible rather than the Bible used to judge their experiences.To New Agers, experience is the measuring stick of reality. Many New Agers have had mystical experiences where they get into mind states and states of altered consciousness where they see visions and communicate with spirits. These emotional and subjective experiences are used to judge the Bible rather than the Bible used to judge their experiences.As believers, we are made to feel like we live second-rate lives because we have never “experienced” such things. The Bible warns us, though, of “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor 11:13-15). This skewed thinking is also found in charismatic circles where the experiences of “speaking in tongues,” “laughing in the Spirit” and ” being filled with the Spirit” are given higher authority than what the Bible says. Therefore, all sensational events and experiences are not from God. Anything contrary to God’s Word CANNOT be empowered by the Holy Spirit. Thus, no matter how “wonderful” and “ecstatic” the experience is, we must never fall prey to the sacrificing of our knowledge of the Bible on the altar of sensational experience.
C. HUMAN POTENTIAL VS. DEPRAVITY OF MAN: If man is basically good, he just needs the keys of understanding and enlightenment to unlock the good or deity within. Man becomes his own savior by his own works. On the other hand, if man is a depraved creature with a warped, sinful nature, no amount of programs or self-development will make him different. He will need salvation and regeneration from a source outside himself.
If man is basically good, he just needs the keys of understanding and enlightenment to unlock the good or deity within. Man becomes his own savior by his own works. On the other hand, if man is a depraved creature with a warped, sinful nature, no amount of programs or self-development will make him different. He will need salvation and regeneration from a source outside himself.If man is basically good, he just needs the keys of understanding and enlightenment to unlock the good or deity within. Man becomes his own savior by his own works. On the other hand, if man is a depraved creature with a warped, sinful nature, no amount of programs or self-development will make him different. He will need salvation and regeneration from a source outside himself. New Age thinking compels us to look within. It produces selfishness and puts man and his works at the front. There are many companies that send employees to “human potential seminars” and employees are trained to learn to control their own fate by “visualization.” All of the striving to realize human potential by human effort goes against the truth of the gospel – “not of works lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:9). This thinking can also propel us into the political world to try and realize the potential within us all by developing proper social programs. People are not unenlightened with unrealized potential in need of proper programs in education. Let us use our time, energy, and money to focus on the only hope and help for a lost sinner, the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
D. HOLISTIC VS. INDIVIDUAL: NAM teaches that we are all connected through the “essence” or god within. Thus the key is “connectedness” and everyone tapping into the same energy. As believers, we need to watch out for counterfeits of our source of power, the Holy Spirit.
Almost 100 percent of New Age web sites have some component of “holistic medicine.” Christians should be cautious of techniques, therapies, and some medicinal treatments. Many are based on “energy fields,” looking within yourself to connect with others, and finding the solution to all health difficulties through “spiritual” means, and using natural cures because they unite you with nature. For example, New Agers often hold crystals because they believe the energy within them draws us into the great “energy” or “god presence” around us. Yoga and meditation sessions are equally dangerous tools of the devil to control the mind.
III. TECHNIQUES for EVANGELISM:
A. REVIEW THE RESURRECTION: The Apostle Paul said, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor 15:17). Christianity rises or falls on the resurrection of Christ. This is a historical event and must either be fact or fiction. The overwhelming evidence demonstrating that Christ rose from the dead includes the Biblical witnesses of Christ’s post-resurrection appearances (1 Cor 15:1-8), the resulting effects of this in the apostles lives, and the extra-biblical evidences confirming His appearances. If a New Ager will agree to the resurrection, he then must face that Jesus is THE Son of God and the Bible is THE only revelation of God and must be interpreted literally.
B. TEST THEIR TRUTH AND TOLERANCE: New Agers believe that we determine our own reality (what is right and wrong). Challenge him by asking if you could steal something of his. When he says that is wrong, counter by saying that it isn’t to you. When you persist, he should eventually start to realize that he is appealing to the universal standard, “Thou shalt not steal.” This shows that there is an objective standard in the universe for right and wrong, God’s holy law. Romans 2:14-15 is confirmation that God has put an intuitive knowledge of right and wrong in all of us. Truth is not subjectively and personally determined. It is objectively and divinely decided.
Also, you can show the folly of the tolerance mentality. Ask him if it is acceptable that you be completely intolerant of anybody else’s view. Obviously he will say it isn’t. To him, we all must tolerate each other. The fact that his tolerance can’t tolerate your intolerance shows that really he doesn’t believe in tolerance. Then illustrate the truths of loving a person and rejecting a teaching. This provides a bridge to the gospel.
C. STUDY THE SCRIPTURE: Most New Agers will read the Bible. Although they approach it as “a” book rather than “the” word of God, it is still the tool God uses to bring about conviction. Ask the person to read the first three chapters of Genesis. Then discuss with them whether God and creation are distinct. Then go through the Scriptures comparing other texts such as John 1:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” Once a New Ager is convinced that God is not in Creation, he is left with nowhere to turn for the voids and problems in life. This immediately leads to discussion of the nature of man, the need of salvation, and the work of Christ.
D. PRAY FOR POWER: You are not sufficient to win the victory over a soul lost in New Ageism. This is a philosophy initiated and propagated by demons. Paul said, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph 6:12). Therefore, we must depend on God to deliver souls from this darkness and “translate them into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col 1:13).