By Nathan Jones
Can going into yourself rather than going to the Bible reveal truth?
Dr. David Reagan and I recently had the pleasure of asking this question of James Walker, President of the ministry Watchman Fellowship based in Arlington, Texas. James is a former fourth generation Mormon who found the Lord Jesus Christ and since then has dedicated his life in trying to lead people out of the spiritual darkness of the cults. Experts on cults and false religions, his ministry has indexed nearly 1,200 religious organizations, cults, occultic groups, and controversial doctrinal practices to aid people in spiritual discernment.
Oprah on the Bible
Dr. Reagan: Shirley MacLaine is one of the New Age's poster children. MacLaine was on Oprah's show and she said this, "The way to really find out the answer to life's questions was not by going to the Bible, but by going to your inner self through meditation." When she said that Oprah said and I quote, "You know, that is the same as what the Bible teaches when it says, 'Ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find.'"
James Walker: Yes, it is Oprah misunderstanding the meaning and taking the Bible out of context. When the Bible says to ask and to seek, it is not meaning we are to be asking Shirley MacLaine or yourself. You are not to be looking into the mirror and asking yourself. The problem is many of these New Agers are seeking God, which is a good thing, but the problem is they find God in the mirror. This mirror god cannot give you the desires of your heart. This god you find in the mirror cannot satisfy your deepest spiritual yearnings and longings.
Is the Bible limiting to our understanding of God and ourselves?
Nathan Jones: This quote is really off the wall. "As I read more of Shirley MacLaine's writings and the Aquarian Conspiracy, it seems to me that they are saying that the Bible has always said is that just many of us were brought up with more restricted, limited vision of what the Bible says."
James Walker: What many New Agers will do, and you will find this with all sorts of cults whether it's Mormonism or the Jehovah's Witnesses, is they will take the Bible and they will try to say that the Bible actually teaches their doctrine. You will find this too with the New Agers.
For example, in the Bible where Jesus says "you must be born again," they will say, "Well, see, Jesus said reincarnation and so you must be born again and again and again." When you take the Bible in the whole context, of course, you see that the Bible says, "It is appointed to all men once to die and after that the judgment." There is no reincarnation, but there is a facing judgment time when we'll all stand before God. That is what the Bible really teaches.
New Agers will continue to go through the Bible and pick things out like "the Kingdom of God is within you." They will take verses out of context to make them appear that Jesus and the Bible are promoting New Age spirituality.
New Agers may say Jesus is God, but only in the sense that everything is God. They believe the dolphin is God and the tree is God, so in that sense Jesus is God. But, almost every New Ager would make a distinction between Christ and Jesus. Jesus was a mere man yet an ascended master they would say, whereas Christ is a concept or idea that Jesus had of his divinity and that we all need to have that same Christ consciousness. We can all emulate Jesus by realizing our own divinity within. Again, the idea is you go within yourself to find the truth rather than to God's Word.
Concerning Shirley MacLaine's mention of the Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson wrote a book called the Aquarian Conspiracy which kind of became a blueprint back in the 1960's. Basically, it was a blueprint for taking what we now call New Age spirituality and mainstreaming it.
It's interesting to look back and realize that some of these New Age beliefs that were the theories they hoped would become something and could be established into society have actually happened now. In the 1980's and 90's New Age spirituality was considered to be off the wall, but now it is mainstream. When you go to a bookstore, New Age teaching is in virtually every section of the bookstores now.
In the last part of this series "According to Oprah," we'll look at how she views reality.