Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Age Movement & Christianity

New Age Movement & Christianity

I have taken texts from both Wikipeda and from CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY

What is the New Age Movement?
New Age (New Age Movement and New Age Spirituality) is a decentralized western social and spiritual movement that seeks Universal Truth and the attainment of the highest individual human potential. It combines aspects of spirituality, cosmology, astrology, esotericism, complementary and alternative medicine, various religious practices, humanism, collectivism, nature, and environmentalism. New Age Spirituality is characterized by an individual approach to spirituality, while rejecting religious doctrine and dogma.
The New Age Movement first appeared as an entity in the 1960s and 1970s, although elements can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It gained momentum in the 1980s and strengthened with the Harmonic Convergence event of 1987. New Age practices and philosophies are found among many diverse individuals from around the World.
The New Age Movement includes elements of older spiritual and religious traditions ranging from atheism and monotheism through classical pantheism, naturalistic pantheism, and panentheism to polytheism combined with science: particularly ecology, environmentalism, the Gaia hypothesis, and psychology. New Age practices and philosophies sometimes draw inspiration from major world religions: Buddhism, Chinese folk religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, and Sufism; with particularly strong influences from East Asian religions, Gnosticism, Neopaganism, New Thought, Spiritualism, Universalism, and Western esotericism.[1]

a. The New Age movement (NAM) has many sub-divisions, but it is generally a collection of Eastern-influenced metaphysical thought systems, a conglomeration of theologies, hopes, and expectations held together with an eclectic teaching of salvation, of "correct thinking," and "correct knowledge." It is a theology of "feel-goodism," "universal tolerance," and "moral relativism."
b. In the NAM. Man is central. He is viewed as divine, as co-creator, as the hope for future peace and harmony. Governed only by my thoughts. It needs but this to let salvation come to all the world. For in this single thought is everyone released at last from fear."
c. Unfortunately for the NAM. the fear they want to be released from might very well be the fear of damnation, of conviction of sin, and it is even, sometimes, fear of Christianity and Christians that teaches Jesus is the only way and that there are moral absolutes.
d. The NAM. is difficult to define because "there is no hierarchy, dogma, doctrine, collection plate, or membership." It is a collection, an assortment of different theologies with the common threads of toleration and divergence weaving through its tapestry of "universal truth."
e. The term "New Age" refers to the "Aquarian Age" which, according to New Age followers, is dawning. It is supposed to bring in peace and enlightenment and reunite man with God. Man is presently considered separated from God not because of sin (Isaiah 59:2), but because of lack of understanding and knowledge concerning the true nature of God and reality.
The New Age Movement is a religious system with two basic beliefs: Evolutionary Godhood and Global Unity.

What is Evolutionary Godhood?
It is the next step in evolution. It will not be physical, but spiritual:
For the most part, the NAM. espouses evolution, both of body and spirit. Man is developing and will soon leap forward into new spiritual horizons. Many New Age practices are designed to push one ahead into that horizon. Some of them are astral projection which is training your soul to leave your body and travel around; contacting spirits so they may speak through you or guide you; using crystals to purify your body's and mind's energy systems; visualization where you use mental imagery to imagine yourself as an animal, in the presence of a divine being, or being healed of sickness, etc.

Evolutionary Godhood also means that mankind will soon see itself as god, as the "Christ principle."
The NAM. teaches that Man's basic nature is good and divine. This opposes God's Word which says...
that we are sinners: "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned" (Rom. 5:12, NIV).
and that our nature is corrupt: "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath" (Eph. 2:3, NIV).
It teaches that since man is divine by nature, he then has divine qualities.
This is an important part of NAM. thinking. Because the average New Ager believes himself to be divine, he can then create his own reality. If, for example, a person believes that reincarnation is true, that's fine because that is his reality. If someone he knows doesn't believe in it, that is alright too because that is someone else's reality. They can each have a reality for themselves that "follows a different path."
In contrast to this, the Bible says that God alone is the creator: "This is what the LORD says -- your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself" (Isa. 44:24, NIV).
The New Ager who believes in his own divinity and ability to create usurps the authority and position of God. He also is still listening to the lie of the devil who spoke to Eve and said she would be like God (Gen. 3:5).

The second major element of the New Age Movement is Global Unity which consists of three major divisions: Man with Man; Man with Nature; and Man with God.
Man with man.
The NAM teaches that we will all learn our proper divine relationship with one another and achieve harmony and mutual love and acceptance through the realization and acceptance of this divine proper knowledge.
Within this hoped harmony is economic unity. The average New Ager is looking for a single world leader who, with New Age principles, will guide the world into a single harmonious economic whole.
It is also hoped that this leader will unite the world into a spiritual unity; that is, a one world religion.
The New Age hope is reminiscent of the Scriptures that speak of the coming Antichrist:
2 Thess. 2:3-4, "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God." See also Rev. 13:17,14:9,11; 16:2; 19:20.

Man with nature
Since the NAM. says that God is all, and all is God, then nature is also part of God. Man must then get in tune with nature and learn to nurture it and be nurtured by it. In this, all people can unite.
American Indian philosophies are popular among New Agers because they focus on the earth, on nature, and man's relationship to them.
New Age philosophy generally seeks to merge with those philosophies that put man and nature on an equal level. We are no more or less important or different than our cousin the animal, bird, or fish. We must live in harmony with them, understand them, and learn from them, is the general philosophy of the New Age.
This is opposed to the Scriptural teaching of man's superiority over animals (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:19). This does not mean that Man must abuse what he is over, but Man is given the responsibility of caring for and being stewards of God's creation (Gen. 2:15). God will hold Christians responsible for the stewardship that has been entrusted to them.
The New Agers have a name for the earth. It is Gaia. Gaia is to be revered and respected. Some New Agers even worship the earth and nature.
This opposes the Scripture that says we are not to have any other Gods before God (Ex. 20:3).
Additional beliefs of the NAM. view of God are:
He (it) is impersonal, omnipresent, and benevolent -- therefore he (it) won't condemn anyone.
The New Age god is impersonal. An impersonal God will not reveal himself nor will he have specific requirements as to morality, belief, and behavior. This is why reincarnation appeals so much to them. With it, there is no judgment, there is a second chance, a third chance, and fourth, etc.
It should be noted that because the New Ager seeks to elevate himself to godhood, he must lower the majesty and personhood of the true God. In other words, the universe isn't big enough for one true God, but it is big enough for a bunch of little ones.
There are no moral absolutes in the New Age. Therefore, they claim to have a spiritual tolerance for all "truth systems." They call this "harmonization."
There is an obvious problem here. To say that there are no moral absolutes is an absolute in itself which is self contradictory. Also, if morality is relative, then stealing may be right sometimes, along with lying, adultery, cheating, etc. Living in a world of moral relativism would not bring a promising future.
It would follow that if reality is relative and truth is too, then driving a car would be difficult. After all, if one New Ager thinks the light is red and another thinks its green, when they collide, their different realities will come crashing down on them. That is something most interesting about New Agers, they don't live what they believe. That is because in reality, New Age thinking doesn't work.
The New Age movement does espouse honesty, integrity, love, peace, etc. It just wants to do it without the true God. It wants to do it not on His terms, but on its own.
New Age is as subtle now as it was when it started decades ago.
Only now instead of long hair and smoking pot,
they are in suits and ties working up their way the corporate ladder in the establishment.

What is Christianity?

1. God is personal. If God were impersonal, then the following qualities could not be His.
a. God speaks and has a self given name: "I AM" (Exodus 3:14).
b. God is long suffering, (Psalm 86:15; 2 Peter 3:15).
c. God is forgiving (Daniel 9:9; Ephesians 1:7; Psalm 86:5).
d. God hates sin (Psalm 5:5-6; Habakkuk 1:13).
2. Man is not divine, but a sinner (Romans 3:23).
a. He is deceitful and desperately sick (Jer. 17:9).
b. He is full of evil (Mark 7:21-23).
c. He loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19).
d. He is unrighteous, does not understand, does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12).
e. He is helpless and ungodly (Rom. 5:6).
f. He is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).
g. He is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3).
h. He cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14).
3. Salvation is not correct thought, but deliverance from the consequence of our sin (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9).
a. Salvation is God's deliverance from damnation (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 1:18; 2:5; 5:9).
b. This salvation is found in no one but Jesus alone (Acts 4:12).
4. Miracles are from God not from the mind of man (Matthew 8:1-4; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 17:12-19; John 2:1-11).
a. Miracles imply an action by someone that is greater than ourselves. If God is impersonal, miracles cannot occur. But they do occur today as well as in Bible times and are not simply proper thoughts or understanding.
5. Christ means "anointed. Jesus was the Christ, the anointed one." It does not mean a consciousness or quality of people. Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, the Deliverer from sin.
a. Jesus is the Christ (Matt. 16:16,20; Luke 9:20).
b. "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory" (Luke 24:26).
c. "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and rise again from the dead the third day" (Luke 24:46 ).
d. "...we have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ)" (John 1:41).
e. "He [David] looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ..." (Acts 2:31).
f. "...God has made Him both Lord and Christ this Jesus whom you crucified" (Acts 2:36).
g. "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Rom. 5:6).
h. "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom. 6:4).
i. Christ is crucified (1 Cor. 1:23).
j. You sin against Christ (1 Cor. 8:12).
k. The blood of Christ (1 Cor. 10:16).
6. Only the Bible has the message of Grace. Grace is the unmerited favor of God upon His people. Grace is the undeserved kindness of God. Grace is getting the blessings we do not deserve. At the death of Christ we are blessed; we are given grace; we are given eternal life and forgiveness of sins. Only Christianity has the message of free forgiveness given. Every other religious system on earth has some form of salvation dependent totally or in part on what the adherents do. Not so with Christianity.
7. Humanity is not unlimited, but just the opposite: it is under bondage (Romans 5:12). Sin is its master and a deadly and deceitful one at that.
8. True morality is that which is revealed by God in the Bible (Exodus 20). Anything else is only an imitation, a set of ideas laid down by man that originate from the mind of sinful man.
9. The Bible opposes almost all the tenets of the New Age Movement. As Christians, we should be watchful to recognize what is false and teach what is true. We should be wary because the Edenic lie still rings strong

New Age and Christianity are not compatible - no Christian can say Jesus is Lord and yet be a New Ager.
The New Age promotes the self - I am, I can, I will become (beware of the 'positive thinking gurus' like Anthony Robbins and others like him, who are leading millions into the New Age philosophy with their teachings).
New Agers believe in the 'Consciousness' - everything is god and god is in everything - a leaf, a tree, etc. is god.
Deceased Satanic high priest Anton LaVey, in his book, "The Satanic Bible". LaVey laughs at New Agers who believe they are serving the god of Light and Love. LaVey says they just do not have the courage to believe the truth, i.e., that their god is also Satan.

Witnessing to New Agers
1. Ask questions
a. If we are all God, then why do we act so badly?
i. They might say it is because we all have not come to a full realization of our true divine potentials. It is ignorance that leads to bad deeds.
ii. Then ask them how, if we are divine, our mere ignorant self could so easily override our divine goodness.
b. Why do our "realities" contradict each other?
i. They might say that they don't contradict each other. They are simply different shades of light on the same picture (or something vague like that).
ii. Then ask if truth contradicts itself. It does not. The logic is that if we are all in different forms of truth, then these different truths can't ultimately contradict each other--or they wouldn't be true. However,...
a. The NAM says that Jesus is only one of many ways to God. But Jesus said He was the only way to God (John 14:6). They can't both be right; therefore, the NAM teaching that we can create our own truths can't be true.
2. Don't let them take Christian words and use them out of the context of biblical meaning.
b. New Agers recognize the tremendous influence and spotless reputation of Jesus. They want Him to be associated with their beliefs. As a result, you might find yourself facing a New Ager who uses Christian words--but with non-Christian definitions. Listen carefully, and don't let them steal what is Christian and transplant it into their system.
c. You must question the terms they use. You need to make sure that what they mean by Christian terms is the same thing that you mean by them.
3. Listen for internal contradictions.
. As mentioned above, truth does not contradict itself. You must listen to what they are saying and ask questions. Sooner or later you catch on to inconsistencies.
a. Inconsistencies usually arise when discussing the relationship between reality and belief.
a. For example, a New Ager might say that you can create your own reality. I might reply, "Good. Then if I believe red lights are really green, would you want to go driving with me?"
4. Tell them that God is personal, that he loves them, and that Jesus died for sin.
. The Word of God will not come back empty without accomplishing what God wishes it to (Isaiah 55:11). If you focus on Jesus, tell them the truth about sin and salvation, and use Scripture, then, at least, they will have heard the truth. Praise be to Jesus the Christ.
a. Remember, God's word is powerful. Whether or not they accept it isn't the issue. You simply need to present the truth in an accurate and loving manner (Col. 4:5-6; 1 Tim. 1:5).

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