The New Age Movement may seem like yesterday’s news, but it’s alive and well and has become part of our culture. But it’s fool’s gold–looking spiritual but only pretending to be the real thing. Come hear how it’s soaked into our culture and how it differs from Christianity and the truth of God’s word.
She says she lived previously as Turkish harem girl, Hebrew slave, prostitute put to death by beheading and ancient Egyptian princess. Once an orphan raised by elephants. Modeled for 19th century French artist Toulouse-Lautrec. Her pet dog was really the incarnation of an ancient Egyptian god. Had a daughter and believed that not only did her daughter live in another life, too, but that in one of those lives, her daughter had been her mother.
Who is she? Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine.
The term “new age” seems like yesterday, but been around for thousands of years, with old elements of Hinduism and Buddhism. We’re likely to hear its influence when people say:
“I think the universe is trying to tell me such-and-such….”
“In my next life….”
“I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual….” or
“That’s just karma at work!”
Or you’re familiar with reiki or feng shui
It used to be something of a fringe set of activities or beliefs. But it’s become part of our culture, and sometimes looks so close to Christianity that it can do some real damage to our faith.
No organization structure, no doctrine, collection plate, or membership. It is a collection, an assortment of different theologies.
It’s called New Age Movement (NAM) because it’s anticipating the creation of a new era (a New Age, sometimes called The Age of Aquarius) characterized by harmony and enlightenment. We’ll get rid of hunger, sickness, poverty, racism, sexism and war…..Individuals can get a taste of this enlightenment through personal spiritual transformation, healing and growth.
This all began in the garden of Eden: Genesis 3:1-5
The question is always who has the authority, and whether can we trust God’s word. NAM says that we have the final say, individually. Once that door is open, the flood of harmful deception comes in: Don’t trust what God says…do this and you’ll be more enlightened, and have more personal power.
Fast forward through the centuries. Eastern thought develops Hinduism and Buddhism, with an emphasis on many gods and enlightenment. Scientific age. A legalistic church. A hunger for spirituality of some kind.
Then we have some influential new agers of our time, like Shirley MacLaine. Probably the biggest, most dangerous proponent is Oprah, who pushes a book that says:
Another new-ager is George Lucas, director of Star Wars.
The notion of The Force is new age thought, drawing from eastern religions. Then there is the quote: “Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
Just these three people demonstrate a lot of the repeated beliefs of the New Age:
God has given us many things that new age thought is trying to distort or rob us of:
Meditation Psalm 119:99-100.
Yoga, many medical practices, some self-defense techniques, and some approaches to what we should eat all have ungodly spiritual backgrounds. One Christian leader put this best when he said that with yoga, massage, self-defense, etc., it’s like the ocean: there are the shallow parts where everyone can benefit–such as stretching, learning where massage can help relieve pain, eating healthy, and where we can learn ways of defending ourselves. But if we start to dig too far into the spiritual things attached to them, you can get into trouble.
Not going to give all stretching, eating, proper stewardship of God’s creation, and self-defense over to the devil. We just need to know where the “riptides” are….
What the devil did with Eve is the same temptation he presents today: Did God really say that? And “Don’t you want to be enlightened?” Many begin to go down the path of new age thinking and action because they have a desire to be more than they are. They have a desire to be “spiritual” in some way and they are looking for something. Some are walking down that road because no one has shared the gospel with them yet.
Here is what Christianity teaches:
God is a personal, loving Father. Our big issue is that we are sinners, and need to be cleansed of our sin to connect with God and have the relationship with Him that God wants.
Christ is not a cosmic idea or principle. It means “anointed” and “messiah,” and pertains only to the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is truth–objective, unchangeable truth! Jesus said He was the way, truth and life. He also said He was the only way to God the Father.
Our greatest potential is realized by becoming a Christian–receiving forgiveness and coming to know the Lord personally. This frees us from the weight and stain of sin and condemnation and by giving us real hope for this life–and the next.
Self-fulfillment and peace are great. But they can’t be gone after directly, and aren’t an end in themselves. They are BY-PRODUCTS of a walk with God.
We should all be concerned about war, peace, the environment, humane treatment of animals, eating so as to honor the fact that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and we need to seek God to reach our full potential in Christ. The Bible gives us all the direction we need here–we just don’t always read it or follow it.
Example: Hebrews 9:27 settles a major issue with finality and clarity: no reincarnation.
One last thing. Many Christians either ignore or are afraid of people involved in the New Age movement. But New Agers are easier to convert than most people might think. Why? Because unlike the average person, they already have a strong belief in the spiritual world. (Ecc. 3:11)
Many of them are being drawn by God but are just going down a wrong path. Let us love them and demonstrate the power and love of God in our own lives. Let them see that Christianity is not a set of legalistic rules, but is a life full of God’s power and love and grace.