By Nathan Jones
Who are some of the main heretics from the New Age Movement?
Dr. David Reagan and I were delighted to have as our guest on Christ in Prophecy Warren Smith, the author of the book The Light that Was Dark. This fascinating book tells Warren's touching story of how in his search for a Savior he got sidetracked into the occultic darkness of the New Age Movement. From his many years of experience under that influence, Warren now has dedicated his life to warning Christians about the dangers of the New Age and help us recognize how we can avoid these satanic influences from creeping into our churches.
Nathan Jones: Warren, you have such an extensive background in the New Age Movement, and so can easily recognize it's teachings when you spot them. How then do these occultic teachings influence and even penetrate churches?
Warren Smith: You can go all the way back to someone like Norman Vincent Peale and his book The Power of Positive Thinking. I think it is on page 40 of his book where he says, "God is in you." Robert Schuller in a 2003 television program also said similarly, "Yes, God is alive and He is in every single person." That is classic New Age teaching.
Some of today's really well known preachers and pastors are using some of these new Bible versions. There is one from the New Century Version that say, "God rules everything, is everywhere, and is in everything." And so people say, "Oh, God is His universe."
Nathan Jones: And yet, God is omnipresent.
Warren Smith: Yes, but like Schuller said, "God is alive and is in every single person." That "in every single person" is very specific.
Then there are translations like The Message which just waters down God's Word. I was surprised to see in The Message right away the first time I read it where oneness is added to Ephesians 4. Oneness is a code word. "Oneness pervades everything you are and think and do." That feeds right into the whole New Age concept.
I would just like to say that, yes, I see these things maybe a lot more because I was involved in the New Age, but anybody that is reading their Bible learns that as Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my Words will never pass away." The Bible describes and warns about every deception I was involved in. It is describing everything that is coming into the Church that people try to explain away, like with The Shack. People will even say it's a good book to give to unbelievers. No it's not! It's not because of the New Age teachings that are in there, such as God dwells in and around and through all things.
Nathan Jones: The author is a stated Universalist, right?
Warren Smith: He calls himself a Christian.
Nathan Jones: Well, they all call themselves Christian.
Warren Smith: Oprah calls herself a Christian, too. Therefore, you've got to look at just what kind of "Christianity" they are talking about. The Scripture that comes to my mind is, "A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump." You cannot have these false teachings inserted into these supposedly "Christian" books, surrounding Satan's lies with a little truth. Some in like say the Emerging Church, they will say, "all truth is God's truth," but then they will take some teaching from out of A Course in Miracles and use that as the "truth."
New Age Church
Dr. Reagan: One of the things about the Emergent Church Movement that really concerns me, and I would say is a fundamental characteristic of that movement, is that they deny that there really is absolute truth, which ironically in and of itself is an absolute statement. If you are going to say discuss the issue of homosexuality, it's not what the Bible has to teach, but you go with it because it's what you think should be accepted. Emergents are always asking, "What do you think? What do I think?" There is an exchange of questions all about this or that, but no one comes out and draws the line saying, "Here's what the Word of God says." Emergent Church teaching is not a belief in absolute truth.
Nathan Jones: Apologist Eric Barger had some great statements which maybe you can confirm for me. He says, "The New Age or the Emergent Church follows this: experience over reason, spirituality over doctrinal absolutes, images over words, feelings over truth, earthly justice over salvation, and social action over eternity." Is that the definition of a New Age Church?
Warren Smith: He's done a good job of covering a lot of that.
I think one of the most significant observations that he mentioned there is something that people need to be aware of, and that because of the acceptance of New Age teachings, spiritual experience is trumping the Word of God in the Church, especially in the Emerging Church.
Warren Smith: Throughout these churches, people are having spiritual experiences that will bring in hopefully from the Devil's standpoint "new revelation" which will end up providing a new worldview. The way they are seeking new revelation is mainly through contemplative prayer. It's a code really for meditation.
Dr. Reagan: What is contemplative prayer? We hear a lot about that lately. What is it?
Warren Smith: The way contemplative prayer is presented is you recite Scripture, and then you close your eyes or you be still and listen to see if God will speak to you. Basically, it's almost like a technique. They wouldn't say that you don't empty your mind since you are reciting Scripture, but it's pretty close. You wait to hear what God would tell you.
The dangerous thing with contemplative prayer, and Richard Foster for one talks about this when he says basically, "You can always tell the voice of Satan because it is foreboding and dark," is that's just very bad advice. What I never have heard with any of these people who are talking about contemplative prayer is to test the spirits, as 1 John 4:1 instructs. Believers need to remember that these admonitions were directed to believers. Just because we are following the Lord, that doesn't mean that we cannot still be mislead.
There are a lot of deceptive voices out there, and a lot of these voices are now coming in through books like The Shack. People just don't realize that the author of The Shack told a small group that met privately in a house church that he had real conversations with God and that the teachings in his book were from God, but he just put them in a novel form.
Nathan Jones: That's rather like Joseph Smith who founded the cult Mormonism, or Mohammed who founded Islam. They all claimed to be hearing from God.
Warren Smith: Their followers are also being directed to listen for God's voice. I've even seen some recent conferences where they have well known Bible teachers and church leaders that are inducting a whole audience by saying, "Okay, let's see what Jesus would tell us right now with no warnings." But, remember 2 Corinthians 11 where Paul chided the Corinthians that if another Jesus, another Gospel, or another spirit comes through here, you might just fall for it.
There is another "Jesus" out there. I just need to tell people to make sure that it is Jesus Christ of Nazareth who is consistent with the Bible, because there are a lot of Jesus' out there who Paul was warning about.
Dr. Reagan: Is this simply a reflection of the Post-modern Age, which we are supposed to be in right now, where people are turned off by the idea of reading the Word of God and finding out what God would say to them, as opposed to having a touchy-feely experience?
Warren Smith: This teaching is sort of being advocated in the Church, that it's kind of hip to skirt around the Bible a little bit and instead have some spiritual experiences. There is nothing wrong with doing things a little bit differently when it comes to you trying to reach people where they are at. I can just tell you, I was really alternative! I was out in San Francisco, where if you really look at the Jesus Movement, those people were hippies.
But, today we're being taught that you have to change everything you do in church to reach people now. The Word of God when I stood in that fraternity house and I was convicted by the Holy Spirit, that was just the power of God and His truth. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me." It is a narrow way, and oneness is a broad way.
This voice from the Enemy that is trying to come into the Church, and is doing a fairly good job through contemplative prayer, is trying to bring in this very simple bottom line teaching that we are all connected. There is that big word — connected. We are all connected. We are all one. We are all God. And, if we don't subscribe to this belief, we could hinder world peace, because those that don't subscribe to divinity could be hindering world peace and would have to be dealt with in the future. I see that threat to Christians being set up right now.
Nathan Jones: So, the New Age is teaching peace through tyranny... under the Antichrist. Is that the eventual goal?
Warren Smith: Jeremiah said, "Peace, peace, but there is no peace." Peace is a great code word, just like love and happiness. Peace, love and happiness. But, we must ask just what are the bottom line teachings that come with this quest for peace?
In the fourth and last segment of our interview with Warren Smith on how New Age teachings have infiltrated the Church, he'll explain the push towards Universalism and what Christians can do to protect ourselves from being deceived.