Friday, September 11, 2009

Discerning New Age Teachings

Nathan JonesPDFBy 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 BargerEric 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.

31 comments:

hartdawg said...

hey, i gotta question about something, the more people who answer the better. up here in the seattle area the seeker sensitive stuff is so ingrained its xtremely hard to find a good church. even christian, bible believing churches that truly believe all the right things never preach on hell, wrath, judgement or other tuff issues. one pastor even turned the great white throne judgement into a sermon about not judging others. i know of only 2 maybe 3 churches that`ll be bold and preach the hard stuff. my question is this: is the seeker sensitive movement as bad in the "bible belt" as it is up here or are there still alot of good churches down there?

Collards said...

Nathan,

A sinalog is a chronicle of a person pre-salvation sin. I guess I coined that term. Too many find entertainment value in a person's testimony of their sinful past and often the old story of Calvary isn't as exciting. Some may even have pride in their own life, but say this gets reader's attention and many can relate. Others think this validates their ministry when the unadulterated word of God can only do that (Col.3:3). We all can relate to sin, we all should press on too. The only glory goes to Jesus.

Another said if I didn't want to read Eric's column, pass over it. I said I didn't care for sinalogs and not his teaching. I would like to see it go deeper, but there are many apologetic ministries out there.

There have been too many people trying to either establish or maintain a ministry based on their past life instead of Jesus. Jesus is mentioned some usually, but for the most part, the testimony of their sinning is given the prominence. Even the Holy Spirit speaks not of Himself, but of Jesus (John 16:13).

We should have learned our lesson with others who have been exposed. Mike W. for one. Bob L.for another. The recent history is full of these entertainers.
Nathan, years ago, I was fed up with 3 ring circus style services, tapes and books that entertained bored Christians.
That is why I like Lamb & Lion. Dave sticks to the facts. He doesn’t put on a show. I am not saying Eric does, but we have seen the shows. You are in Dallas. You know what I am talking about.

Too many think the only way one can interest Christians is by these sinalogs. What does that say for the thirsting and hungering after righteousness?

Collards said...

Nathan,

I forgot that having lived a sinful life often doesn't make us an expert in that subject ( I can see why some people think that it establishes their credientals), it just shows we all need Christ. Some backstory I guess does establish some credibility, but something in our attempts to establish a man's crdentials we glorify sin. I realize this is often up to the listeners.

Let's get on with the exposing of darkness and the teaching of righteousness. Sensationalism only gets us so far and then to capture the audience again, we need to do evne more to excite the crowd.

I often walk past churches and wish their Marquees just had on Gospel Preaching of a scripture.

hartdawg said...

i dont believe there are too many apologetic ministries. we need them all too counter those who would attack the faith. actually i think we need more of them. i wish there was the same number of apolegetic ministries as there was those who attack the faith

Collards said...

Heartdawg,

Please read what I wrote. I never said that there were too many apologetic ministries out there. I said there were many. I meant one could go deeper if one wanted too. We can go beyond surface knowledge with all the avenues available to us.

hartdawg said...

my bad! speaking of going deeper many years ago i nearly got sucked into a ministry because the church i wented rarely went beyond salvation and i found a ministry that went really indepth but it started going more and more off path. i then realized that its not just idiots who get sucked in but really smart people who arent getting what they need at their churches.

Paul said...

Collards,
Have you logged on to Eric's website? I found it to be very scriptural and didn't find it was at all glorying in all the gory details of his past life before Christ. If I want a Christian perspective on a particular sin I think someone who has been delivered from that is who I would want to listen to. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well after he revealed himself didn't she tell everyone Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?

Paul said...

Hartdawg,
Well I guess the Gulf Coast of Texas is in the bible belt. True we have a lot of churches but the seeker friendly types are here too. Ever heard of Joel Olsteen?
You have a Church in your part of the world that I really would like to go to sometime. I met the pastor when he came to my Church and taught Walt Brown's Hydroplate Theory of the flood among other issues. I really enjoy listening to his sermons on the Church website at www.calvarypo.org

hartdawg said...

i go to a church called mars hill. pastor mark driscoll. he`s pretty good. xept he`s too calvinist in my opinion

hartdawg said...

still, i`ll check out the website

Junbuggg said...

Well hartdawg, here's the input from Florida, on churches, atleast the ones here in the Gainesville area. I have lived in the rural area, surrounding Gainesville, for the past 12 years, and have still not found a Church to call home.
:-(

The University of Florda is located here, and that may be the very reason that this town is ultra liberal! So much so, that every year, the University has a huge parade that goes through downtown by the University with the theme being "Gay pride". The University puts up a big banner that spans across the main street in front of the university for an entire week, to celebrate this kind of behavior. The parade is the grand finaly. So, there is much mindset in this county (Alachua)for liberalisium. I wonder if it's like this in every University town??

Anyway, the Churches out in the rural areas, like I live in, are so wishy washy that it makes my stomach turn. So, I do not attend a Church. But you know hartdawg, I probably get more "sermons" and more Bible study time on my own at home by watching tv and reading the Bible myself, in one week than most people get in 6 months of Sundays.

Buggg ~

hartdawg said...

in seattle they have gay pride parades and even people riding on bycycles naked! eric was right when he said how new age this area is. we have a statue of lenin (the communist) less then 4% attend church here. the gospel has never taken root here. we never had a revival. people spend more on dogfood than on the gospel and there are more doggy day cares than schools cuz children are a nuisence. if you have a mccain sticker you get alot of angry stares

hartdawg said...

there is nothing "new" about this new age is there? it sounds like florida (at least the university part) is bout as bad as the northwest. as eric said if these churches would do away with these programs and preach the word alot of this "new"age deception would be exposed. by the way paul my mother in alaska doesnt even think joel osteen is a christian. i wouldnt go that far but there is a lot of new age in that positive mumbo jumbo

hartdawg said...

my mother thinks joel is one of those tckle my ears preachers. one must judge- thats right judge for themselves

son of thunder said...

Paul said: Well I guess the Gulf Coast of Texas is in the bible belt. If the Gulf Coast is the Bible Belt, then Southern Indiana/ Louisville Metro is the buckle. ;)

I'm sure we have a lot of the seeker sensitive stuff around here, but honestly, I don't know. Most of the churches around here are So. Baptist, and since their going emergent....

What I do know is this: I work with 2 pastors. The first, who is actually my pastor, talks about the atoning blood of Christ publically. The second, almost hides the fact that he is a pastor.

The largest church in the area, in Louisville, KY, has a radio show and when I listen to it all I hear is mush. They talk about Jesus, but all you hear is about how He loved people. I've never heard them speak of His return aside from "He's coming back."

hartdawg said...

i thought texas was the buckle:) so from what i gather from everyone is that tho there are still areas where there are good churches the list is growing thin and most of the nation is going seeker-sensitive and some areas (the northwest and florida) are worse than other areas. i feel this new age stuff is winning, we`re fighting a losing battle and jesus must return soon.

hartdawg said...

i hope my question about how the churches in the rest of the nation, particularly the "bible belt" wasnt too far off topic or irrelevant (i dont think it was) but i wanted too see how steeped into new age/seeker sensitive (related??) this nation has become and i wanted to see if the rest of the nation is as bad as the pacific northwest. (doesnt appear to be yet but it seems to be heading that way) i havent heard from california or the northeast but i hear the northeast is pretty liberal. i hope this wasnt irrelevant

son of thunder said...

It is a growing issue in the church, and I'll tell you my theory as to why: Money.

Churches are, like most everything else, businesses. People = money, I'm sorry to say. My opinion is that many churches become "seeker-sensitive" with a watered down gospel to fill seats.

The church I attend is very, very small. And I credit that to the fact the pastor calls sin sin. If the Bible says it's an abomination, then it's an abomination.

Nathan Jones said...

Sonofthunder, coming from serving six years at the largest church in Louisville, I'd be curious what radio program you're listening to.

The church I served at has it's problems (money needed to keep such a massive machine going, as another comment stated), but it was very doctrinally sound. The last pastor loved Bible prophecy, the new one not so much.

Collards said...

Paul,

When the woman at the well testified about the Lord, she didn't testify about her past. I am sure they knew it. She said He told me everything I did. In other words, He had compassion for few Jews or even samaritans would give her the time of day. He also had answers (rivers of living waters). She pointed others to Jesus and she didn't go into her sinalog. he knew what she did, yet He had mercy and compassion. She spoke of His traits. In other words the Gospel.

Eric's webpage has his taking a stand ahead of his speaking of the Lord. he also promiently lists his testimony. As for that matter his items for sale. I am not saying He is in it for self glory, but He sure does speak about Himself a lot. he rose to fame on a book about his past life. He didn't really teach the word in it . It was just a story about his sinful past. Sometimes that is entertainment for bored christians.

Also many can read such sinalogs and feel like they studied the word. When the truth is that they really didn't study the word. I call having your worldliness and eating it too.

Now I am far from condeming Him as I think everyone who preaches Christ are wonderful. I just want to caution people to take their eyes off of sensationalism, stories and past acts of sin and put on Jesus.


Sorta Like : looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God Heb 12:2

Sensationalism does draws crowds, but so does free beer. The message of the Gospel spoken with authority by the Spirit is pretty sensational too.

It isn't thing we can do, or say, or think that reaches others. it is the grace of God moving in the world.

Zec 4:6 Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

people sin. We should point out what sin really is. missing the mark. we should also teach the truth wheter the word or agaisnt false teachings. But overall, we don't need to spend too much establishing our credentials

There is a story about two men praying. One spoke about all he did. the other said: And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.


It is interesting to note that his testimony minus sinalog has been recorded and read by many. It validated His ministry. Luke 18:13

Once again, we often have to give our credentials. Many use the term Dr. regardless if it is an earned Docotrate or not. Many use Revernd as a noun emphasing man when it is an adjective concern God. some use something like this;
Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, rom 1;1

Now once again I am saying we don't need all this built up when we are being used by God.

son of thunder said...

Nathan, it's the very same one. I loved the previous pastor. He spoke truth and didn't mind stepping on toes, as my mom would say.

Like you say, "the new one not so much."

I think a lot of the problem stems from the sheer enormity of many of these mega-churches. It's like Frankenstein's Monster: they shove a bunch of programs and gymnasiums and weight rooms and other nonessentials into the beast and then it goes out of control. You then have to contain the situation which demands more and more money. And, as I have observed, nobody wants to leave church feeling "bad". I think that used to be called "conviction".

So these pastors have watered down their message so people will feel "good", all to contain the Monster.

But I honestly don't see the sense in a building with the main sanctuary which is 3 stories tall, a movie theater, two fellowship halls, countless classrooms, and a foyer which would hold about 10-12 buildings the size of my church. To me it's overkill. And it's grown larger during the more "seeker-sensitive" years.

Now, on the opposite side of the coin, these places have the resources that many small congregations can only dream of and they help a lot of people.

glen walling said...

hey guys whatever it's like in the US it's nothing like the UK
virtually no-one here go's to church (except old people), and atheism and spiritualism is totally dominant

son of thunder said...

We're trying our best to catch up, Glen. :(

Matt said...

Hartdawg, I am from Southern California, and still have family there. From the few churches that I have experienced in that area, namely my home church and a couple of the neighbor's churches, they all seem to be very focused on Jesus, and are willing to preach on the hard topics, including hell, judgement, and repentance. Now, I can remember when some sermons seemed a bit watered down, but I guess that is because it wasn't, well, deep enough. (I am a university student in New Mexico, and by God's Grace I have much hunger for the Word.) I remember many of the teachings of my church back home, and I believe them to have been good. I can say that the small baptist church here in Socorro, NM is quite good though. It was because of one of Dr. Reagan's visits that I came to know of prophecy in great detail and with great interest. I am curious though, why more churches don't preach on prophecy more, since I have found that way more interesting than any so-called New Age stuff that I have come across.

Junbuggg, My wife and I live in a university town, albeit, it is a tiny town in the middle of New Mexico. Not many people can even find the state, let alone a town in the state. We have not had any gay pride parades or anything. This is an engineering/sciences school. We have angry atheists and receive mostly cold-shoulder treatment here instead. Many students are liberal in both thinking and in theology. Many consider themselves Agnostic, or nostic, or atheist. There is a great fascination with Sci-fi here (to the point where I thought that to gain admittance you had to have seen all Star Wars movies and now at least some star trek), and many of that probably leads to New Age stuff. We hope to reach the campus for and by the Grace of Jesus Christ, but atheism in academia is very well entrenched. It is an interesting battle to say the least.

hartdawg said...

thanks for the info matt. i`m actually surprised as i thought southern california is more "progressive" than seattle area. are you from orange county or a more rural area? there are some good churches up here but they are becoming harder to find. i suspect that seattle and prolly new york are simply leading the way for the rest of the nation. we may be as bad as the u.k. in 15yrs

Nathan Jones said...

Glen, hard to believe only 100 years ago the UK was the center of mission sending.

I can finally understand how every third generation in Israel forgot God. When I was younger it escaped me, but we are seeing it for real in the Western world today.

If it's any consolation, many folks from the UK are signed up with our ministry, and the British Isles bring in the second-most hits to our sites, so there are other believers in your neck of the woods.

Matt said...

Hartdawg, yes, I am from Orange County. The county is becoming more liberal, I know that, and it is a sad thing. But there are still a good churches there, between the mega churches like Saddleback and tiny churches like the Calvary Chapel Tustin. Yeah, it seems that Seattle, New York and DC are all leading the country to a place that we don't want to go. All we can do is pray and be keen as a serpent and innocent as doves.

hartdawg said...

one thing i noticed is people are getting fed up with the whole seeker sensitive and new age stuff. house churches are becoming increasingly popular here in the seattle area. i donno about the rest of the nation.

hartdawg said...

personally, (and i hope i dont sound like a heritic) i get so fed up with church at times that sometimes i thing christians should just do away with church as we know it, away with the buildings, programs. . . and just meet in homes. instead of tithes going to pay the light bills, projects, saleries and stuff the tithe money can go to actually meeting needs (starting with those in the house churches) feeding the hungry, purchasing bibles. . .and spreading the gospel. and when a house church gets too big split up and start a new one. does that sound good?

son of thunder said...

Hartdawg, that is in no way, shape or form heretical. That is the way the church did it for the first 300-400 years, before the Holy Roman Empire changed the way we do church. It's the way they do it in many countries where it's either illegal to be Christian like in Iran or you have to go to a state-run church like in China.

Personally, I'm in your camp.

hartdawg said...

thunder, even those "churches" had overseeing bishops and structure. i`m not entirely sure as to how historically accurate ur statement is as they also worshipped in the temple. i dont think its heretical and tho i`m frustrated i`m not sure whether it would be good or bad. it was mostly a "what if" statement and honestly i see both plus and minuses to doing away with church as we know it.