By Nathan Jones
The New Age Movement, this Westernized form of Eastern Mysticism, is a system of belief that tells you to look inside of yourself and to yourself for enlightenment and wisdom and power. Many Christians are falling for this false teaching, abandoning the life-saving message of Jesus and instead embracing the lie Satan told Eve in the Garden of Eden — "You will be like gods."
Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries, tells us what we as Christians can do to recognize and avoid being sucked into this dead-end New Age thinking. Eric is an authority on the cults, the New Age, and rock music today. From his past as a former drug addict and rock n' roll musician who was deeply involved in the New Age movement, Eric has emerged since he gave his life to Jesus Christ to become one of today's greatest defenders of Christianity in America.
Eric, the Bible says that in the End Times right before the return of Jesus we are going to enter into a period of great deception (Matt. 24:4,11). And, it seems to me that we are in that period. One of the greatest needs in the church today is discernment. How can we as Christians become more discerning since all of us are capable of being deceived?
If you go on your feelings you will be deceived, but if you go on the absolute truth of God's Word you will never be deceived.
There is no shortcut for sound Bible study. There is no shortcut for the preaching of the Word of God. I say enough with the programs; enough with the spin doctors from the pulpit! We must come back and teach the Word of God to our people because there is a famine of the Word. And, there is a famine of the Gospel today among our people. I am talking about in evangelical circles, places that say they believe the Bible. Let's preach the Word of God and enough of the programs. Come back to the Word! Look at what is happening in the lives of the people and tell me there isn't a need.
And, it's not just the responsibility of the preacher or the teacher. It is the responsibility of each of us as Christians to study. Don't let recreation and television and everything else get in your way. Obviously, I am not against TV, but the point is that we have forgotten what the off button does. We let everything get in our way. We let Sunday morning soccer tournaments get in our way. We let all this other stuff get in our way from being first of all constant in the church, but maybe even more important, constant in the Word of God. If you had to look at what's the most important thing — know the Word — because from there everything else emanates that we are supposed to be.
The bottom line is you can just never become a discerning Christian if your only spiritual experience is one hour a week on Sunday morning. I'll never forget when I was a youth pastor. I had a distraught mother come to me and say, "My son is doing all this stuff. Can't you do something about it?" I replied, "Ma'am, I only have him for an hour on Friday nights. I cannot replace what the school system has taught him, what his friends have done to him, and what is happening in the home." I mean, she looked at me like, "I thought you were the problem fixer, the problem solver for my son's problem." And, it is the same with us as adults.
When I first became acutely aware of this problem of discernment was when freshmen in evangelical colleges and universities were coming out of evangelical churches and could not even name the four Gospels or name two of the Apostles. You don't even dare ask them where Philemon is! It makes you wonder, but this is also the era we live in.
We live in the time when the Apostle Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 (KJV) that the "mystery of iniquity would abound." That is a mysterious, occultic, direct affront to the Word of God. That's what those words mean, the "mysterion of anomia" — "mystery of iniquity." When he said that when the occult rises up we know that is a prophetic sign that has to happen just before the return of the Lord. At the same time there is going to be this famine of the Word of God, where we have a lot of people that have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. We see these very things today.
To the Christian, to the pastor, to the Sunday School teacher, examine what you are going to present to the people. Examine what you take into your heart. It's fine to read other books than the Bible, but if the Bible isn't being read, do you really have time to read another book?
Test everything! Test it by the Word of God. If you don't know the Word of God you cannot test it, but you've got to test it. The fact that a person is smooth and charismatic and dynamic and can speak well and mentions Jesus name a whole lot of times does not necessarily mean that he is teaching the truth. Maybe 90% of what he is saying is absolutely true, but it is just that 10% that is so off base, so you've got to test it. Paul complemented the Bereans for testing everything that he taught by the Word, and he was an Apostle of God. How much more should they test what you teach and what I teach?
I say this so often when I am teaching to test what I'm telling you, to test what I am teaching, to test what I have on the screen behind me in my seminars, to test what I am saying. And, if you do, you're going to come out there ahead and be more Biblically sound. We need Christians who will test through the Word of God, use the Word of God as the strainer to strain everything through.
If you stay in the Word of God, you will be able to discern the false teachings of the New Age Movement.