Wednesday, September 9, 2009

New Age Christianity

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Has the New Age Movement made any in-roads into Christianity?

Has this Westernized form of Eastern Mysticism, a system of belief that tells you to look inside of yourself and to yourself for enlightenment and wisdom and power, had an impact on Christian thinking today?

And if so, have Christians bought into the idea that we ourselves are gods?

Eric BargerI went to Eric Barger, the founder and director of Take a Stand! Ministries, to find out the answers to these questions. 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.

Is Christianity itself being impacted by the New Age Movement?

It is, and do you know why? Because our culture has adopted the gospel of self as a religion.

How many of our churches are holding yoga classes? Yoga now is becoming a mainstream class offered in churches, especially big in emerging circles. I heard Rob Bell and Doug Pagitt both recently speak about how yoga is so transforming. Yoga is about emptying yourself out when we should be filling ourselves with the Holy Spirit and the Bible and thinking on these things. Instead, with yoga we are emptying ourselves so we don't think of anything!

Rob Bell, who is an Emergent Church Movement leader from Michigan, went as far as to say that we should listen to the message of the yoga masters. Now, wait a minute! I know all about yoga, and yet his congregation seems to buy into this because many of them have no church background.

You can have a big congregation, but it depends on what type of Gospel you preach when you get in there. I will take 10 people who will turn a community upside down for the glory of God over a thousand who will sit there and do nothing and never ever make it to Heaven. We want those 10 who will actually go out and evangelize with the Gospel, not with a false counterfeit.

These Emergent leaders have brought this into our church culture, and now it has seeped its way deep into the church. Hey, if a church doesn't stand for good doctrine, if we don't have a standard that is the Bible being the truth we follow and the only truth we follow, then this other stuff is going to make it through the door. It's just that simple.

Besides the Bible, Christians also read a lot of self-help books. Are these worth reading?

I was in a well known national chain print shop recently, and they had a whole book rack there of self-help books. I went down through them and found just one Christian book there throughout all of those books. The rest of them, every one of them, I could name to you as somebody that has adopted Eastern philosophies and put it into a Western context as a New Ager.

So, this is the stuff that is being sold to us as the way to control the problems and things in our life, to get what we want and to grow rich. The idea that we are going to make it through life and be more popular people and be more powerful around people by using these techniques — yeah, it works. But, let's never forget atomic bombs work, and just because they work doesn't make it right.

This teaching goes back to the sin that Adam and Eve committed when Satan said, "You will be like gods." This replaces God with us.

The five major doctrines (even though New Agers would never claim to hang to doctrine) or the five major belief systems inside the New Age comes right out of Genesis 3:1-5 concerning the Fall of mankind. The New Age Movement started with the very first trans-channeling or mediumship or séance in history. The devil possessed the body of a serpent and spoke to Eve, the same as a medium giving over the use of his body to a spirit to speak to people today. That is the first séance that we have ever seen in recorded history and that is where the lie came from, just like the same lie being perpetrated in New Age séances.

A New Age book out there talks about the fact that the masters of the universe have been channeling to New Age philosophers. One of the things they've supposedly told them is that a time is coming in the very soon future when those who live by faith will be taken out so that those who live by reason can continue in their evolutionary development and develop the world and the earth. This is going to be a New Age explanation of the Rapture. The Devil reads the Bible, so the Devil knows to prepare an false answer to the disappearances.

Look at the most famous transchanneler in modern history — J.Z. Knight. But, the name of the demon she channels — Ramtha — is more famous then her. She has been doing that for over 30 years. I saw a clip on YouTube recently when she is on the Merv Griffin show and she is talking to Merv Griffin as herself, and they go out to break and come back and Ramtha has shown up while they are at break. And, this is a man's voice now speaking out of this woman's body. Now, whether it is fake or not, it is just like Saul in 1 Samuel 28 when he went to the witch of Endor. Whether that was Samuel or not that spoke to him, he died the very next day for even trying to contact the spirit realm. We are not to be involved contacting any spirit in the spirit realm except the Holy Spirit of God.

All other spirits that do not confess Jesus Christ as Lord, whether they be angels or spiritual beings, they are demonic spirits and are counterfeits. Our world today is loaded with people looking for anything. They think a spiritual experience validates the idea that it must have come from God and it must be good. They forgot or didn't know that Satan comes as an angel of light.

In the next part of this interview we'll ask Eric who he believes is the loudest voice in the New Age Movement.


Laura said...

First of all, let me say that I've never done yoga, but I know people who have, and SOME of them just do the exercises. Some yoga teachers don't go into the whole spiritual part of it. As far as exercise goes, it's great, but leave out the empty your mind junk!

You don't have to go to the Christian bookstore to find self-help philosophies. Walk into just about any "evangelical" church and sooner or later they'll be calling on you to "rededicate yourself to the Lord." But what is rededication anyway? It's a commitment we make to do better, to try harder, to stay committed--it's all about rededicating the SELF-life (the flesh) to God. God doesn't want or need our rededicated (or not) self. In fact, it's essentially, toilet paper to Him.

God wants us to walk by FAITH in Christ, not clean up our flesh (self) and make it presentable (which is impossible to do anyway).

Furthermore, just about every "Christian" counselor you go to will tell you how to "cope" with problems in life--in other words, how to manage your self (flesh). But what they rarely deal with is the flesh patterns themselves, those old ways of thinking and acting that we utilize instead of depending completely on Christ.

Unfortunately, the bookstores selling the self-help books are 1) presenting what's heard in many churches across America today, and 2) presenting what sells. But true, Godly brokenness (and the path to victory) is when we come to the end of our resources, give up on SELF, and depend on Christ.

hartdawg said...

this guy blasted all these self help books AND RIGHTLY SO! but he shoulda also mentioned the fact that if you go into a christian bookstore you see the same trash under a christian name. "become a better you" "you`re all that" and the list goes on

son of thunder said...

And I have seen "self-help" Bibles.

son of thunder said...

That's kind of ironic when you think about it. A self-help version of a book that tells you that you can't help yourself.

I wonder how that works.

Anonymous said...

What happened to abstaining from the appearance of evil. Yoga and all the other meditation new ager things are we just do it without the meditation part? I don't want anything I do lead someone else to believe that I agree with something that at its core is satanic. We need to look at this from a Biblical viewpoint, not what sounds good to us or looks good to the world.

C~ in Salem

hartdawg said...

a self help bible? good grief! there was a time i would have laughed in ur face thinking you were joking. yoga does give the appearance of evil. i do believe we do need to empty ourselves but that means to empty OF ourselves so the HOLY SPIRIT can fill us

Laura said...

Lots of yoga classes have nothing spiritual about them, so this is definitely a gray area. I personally am not interested in doing yoga (I like krav maga myself), but some born-again believers do. They do the exercises without buying into the whole spirit aspect of it. I'm certainly not going to judge them for it! Jesus is about grace and love, and I want to extend that to others!

If you don't agree, that's fine. But I will give people grace in this area since it's not black and white!

son of thunder said...

Yes, hart, a self-help Bible. I saw it in a local used book store about a year ago or so. It was a New Living Translation (if I remember right) published by Tyndale House.

And we do have to be careful when it comes to stuff like yoga. Remember what Paul said about eating meat sacrificed to idols? If you think there is even an outside chance that it will lead someone into sin, DO NOT DO IT.

I guess there's no real harm in it if it's only to stretch and strengthen the body God gave us, but we must be careful that people know exactly why we're doing it and what we believe. People should know for a fact that we do not buy into all that mysticism nonsense and that we don't give a care less about our "chi" or whatever.