Friday, December 22, 2017

Worldview: New Age Spirituality

The “New Age Movement” is a broad term that covers a wide variety of groups. Common New Age assumptions include:
  • All is One. There are no real distinctions in the world. There is only “one species on this planet and its name is life on earth.” Matter, time, and space are unreal myths that must be eliminated. The end and goal of life is to become absorbed back into the One—like a drop is absorbed back into the ocean.
  • You are divine. Since you are part of the One, you are part of God.
  • The purpose of life is to alter consciousness so that you perceive that “All is One” and “You are divine.” This is where the New Age movement specializes. There are hundreds of techniques called “psychotechnologies” for altering consciousness. These include EST (or The Forum), Silva Mind Control, Theosophy, a Course in Miracles, Applied Kinesiology, and many forms of meditation.
  • The result of altering your consciousness is unlimited psycho-spiritual power—power to do anything: travel to other planets, levitate, walk on hot coals, etc. The promise of power and ultimate control of our lives is a great appeal of the New Age movement. It is the ancient temptation, “You shall be as gods.”
Many New Age people will include Christ in their spirituality in some way, but they have a great difficulty with such Reformation doctrines as the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and the need for atonement.

The New Age Movement is not only dead wrong about God but also about man. Man is not God. In no sense is man God. Moreover, man will never be God. The very thought is blasphemous. Nor is the natural man good. He does not have within himself divine power. Of himself he has no power at all. If man looks to himself for the solutions to his problems, he will find nothing but sin, wickedness, and rebellion against God. Man's big problem is not ignorance of his divinity, but the fact that he is a sinner. The destiny of the natural man is not the consciousness of being one with God, but separation from God. If the New Age people do not repent of their terrible sins and turn in faith to the true God, they will suffer under the wrath of an angry God forever. 

Even though God created man in the image of God—righteous, holy, and full of the knowledge of God—in Adam we all sinned against God and lost that image. The image of God was turned into the image of the devil. Man became corrupt on the inside. His very nature became wicked. The Prophet declares, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9). 

As a result, apart from regeneration, man is not good, but evil. All his words, deeds, and even his thoughts are sin. The apostle declares, ". . . There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God . . . . there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10-12). All the seeking of the New Age people after this divine energy is not a seeking after the true God. No one of himself seeks after God. No one can. 

Since the New Age Movement is wrong about God and man, it should not surprise us that they are wrong about salvation. Mans salvation is not a coming to an awareness of the fact that he is God. Salvation is not a change of consciousness or an awakening experience. All the meditation in the world will not save a single soul. Neither will music, drugs, mysticism, exercise, mind over matter, or the occult bring salvation. No spirit, extraterrestrial being, sage, monk, or enlightened one can help you find God. 

Salvation is not the recognition that you are God, but it is an intimate fellowship with the personal God. It is not becoming God, but a partaking of His eternal covenant life. It is walking with God and talking with Him. Salvation is enjoying Gods love and blessing and living with Him in His eternal kingdom. Thus we read of God's people, ". . . Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (II Cor. 6:16). 

Because we are all sinners, salvation can take place only by means of a reconciliation through the blood of Christ. We who have forsaken God and rebelled against Him, must be brought back to Him. The guilt of our sins must be forgiven. We need to be regenerated so that we love God, trust Him, and seek to keep His commandments. That is why God sent His only begotten Son into this world. Christ took upon Himself the sin of all of His people and went to the cross in order to bear the horrible wrath of God against us. Christ, therefore, is not just another spiritual leader, as the New Age people say. He is the Savior of His people. We read in II Corinthians 5:19, 21, ". . . God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them . . . For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 

Salvation is not found in man or in humanity in general. It is not of man's works or will. The Scriptures say, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy" (Rom. 9:16). Salvation is the sovereign work of God's grace alone. 

All of this implies that in spite of the claims of the New Age Movement there is a difference between right and wrong. There is a moral standard which all men are responsible to obey. We may not live any way we want. The permissive, liberated life style of the New Age Movement is not acceptable to God. The true God is a righteous God. He is a God who loves righteousness and hates sin. The Psalmist says, "The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works . . . . The Lord preserveth all them that love him but all the wicked will he destroy" (Ps. 145:17, 20).

God has set down an absolute standard of righteousness for man—His law, the ten commandments. Because all men are creatures of God, they owe to God perfect obedience and service. Not that obedience to the law is the way of salvation. It is not. Nevertheless, it is God's requirement for all men. Moreover, those who are saved by Gods grace seek to keep his commandments out of love and thanksgiving for their salvation. Jesus says to us, "If ye love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15). 

Finally the New Age Movement is wrong in its involvement with the occult and spiritism. The Bible makes it very clear that we are to have nothing to do with spirits, witches, and the occult. We read inDeuteronomy 18:9-12, "There shall not be found among you any . . . that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee." 

Divination, sorcery, witchcraft, and spiritism are abominations to the Lord. It was because of these things that God drove the Canaanites out of the land. Certainly that means that we are to have nothing to do with them. We must be very careful about it too, for the television is full of this. Many of these wicked things are found in seemingly innocent children's programs. 

The New Age Movement is wrong in its worship of spirits, goddesses, and other gods. It is wrong in its worship of self as God. The Bible teaches us that we are to worship and serve God alone. The very first commandment is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex. 20:3). Our trust must be in the true God. It is He in Whom we must find our joy, comfort, and peace. He is our only hope of life everlasting. All that we are and all that we have must be dedicated to the service of Him alone. Our whole life must revolve around Him. He must be our life and our love. 

All of this makes it clear that the Scriptures condemn the New Age Movement. We may have nothing to do either with its beliefs or with its practices. 

The New Age Movement is such a destructive movement that in conclusion I want to suggest ways in which we can avoid the errors of this wicked movement. 
  • First, we must be very careful to avoid the subjectivism of this movement. Everything about the New Age Movement is subjective. It has lost objective reality. Nothing is what it seems. That is because its knowledge is based upon human experience—man's feelings, emotions, dreams, imagination. Even the seeming outside sources, the channeled spirit beings, all come through the human mind and mouth. The source of knowledge for the New Age people is the divine within. It is you yourself. That is so true that they can cut themselves off from everything else and make their own reality. We must have nothing to do with such subjectivism. There is nothing in the natural man but sin. Man's subjective thinking and feeling will never lead him to the truth. If you want truth, you must go to the God of all truth who is Himself the Truth. He has given to us a very objective standard of the Truth—Holy Scripture. Jesus says, "Thy word is Truth . . ." (John 17:17). In the Bible we have everything that we need to know about God, man, salvation and reality, It is there in black and white—God's written revelation of Himself. It is objective Truth. Therefore, we must take care to learn and believe the doctrines of the Scriptures. Jesus says, "And ye shall know the, truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Knowing the truth of God's Word is what frees us from sin and every false and evil way. 
  • In the second place we can avoid the errors of this wicked movement by trying the spirits. The Holy Spirit says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I John 4:1). We must be realistic about the age in which we live. We live in a time of many false prophets. It is the time of a great falling away in the church. The world is filled with error. Everywhere we turn there is some prophet, preacher, guru, or sage who says that he has the truth and seeks to enlighten us. Therefore, try the spirits. See whether or not they are of God. Don't believe what they say, just because they say that they have the truth. Test their word with the Word of God. Test not only their religious beliefs and practices, but test also their politics, science, psychology, medicine, and all else. For even though the religious philosophy of the New Age Movement may not be on the surface, in all these areas it is there underneath, waiting to get you after you have let down your guard. 
  • In the third place let us avoid the errors of this wicked movement by resisting the emphasis upon and exaltation of self. In the New Age Movement all the emphasis is put upon self. It is ironic but true. Their fundamental point is, "All is one. There is no self." Yet from a practical point of view, the bottom line for them is nothing but self. Their world revolves around self. We must not get caught up in that sinful emphasis. That is wicked. On the one hand we are to crucify self—kill it. We must be humble rather than proud. We must see that of ourselves we are sinners who are worthless; On the other hand we must glory in God and His greatness. The purpose and emphasis of our life must be to exalt Him. Our calling is to obey the words of the Psalmist who says, "Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods" (Ps. 96:3-4). 
If you would like to learn more about this movement, I recommend the following books: 1) Understanding the New Age, by Russell Chandler, 2) Unmasking the New Age, by Douglas Groothuis, and 3) America: The Sorcerer's New Apprentice, by Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon.