Summary: A summary of 10 things Christians can learn from New Agers
2. Last week we began looking at what we have come to know for the last 20 or 30 years as the ‘New Age’. In some ways its not very new any more but it certainly is very pervasive in western society.
We are loosely based in Acts 17 over these three weeks and as I re-read that passage again this week. I was struck by how Paul felt as he saw the great number of idols in the city. Luke writes in verse 16 that he was “greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.”
This upset Paul. He saw people seeking God, but looking in all the wrong places. He saw people who were completely oblivious to message of Jesus Christ and the resurrection. Paul’s motivation for his time in Athens and in fact for his whole mission was his love for these people and hi concern at their lostness. His love was fuelled by Christ’s love. In 2 Cor 5 he wrote ‘Christ’s love compels us’.
Let’s keep Christ’s love for lost people foremost in our minds as we look further at the new age today.
Very briefly in review we said:
- Slide 1:1 - New Age spirituality – now more accurately called postmodern spirituality is the dominant form of spirituality preferred by those seeking today. For the most part people are bypassing the established church and looking for meaning in these many and diverse practices. The clip we saw from Compass just affirmed that.
- Slide 1:2 - New Agers are not the enemy – Satan is the enemy – New Agers are people genuinely seeking to make a connection with the divine. In Acts 17 Paul did not the epicureans or the stoics as people to be fought so much as people to be loved and
- Slide 1:3 - related to through incarnational engagement and respectful dialogue.
- Slide 2:1 - We observed 3 unifying factors in the New Age
a) The Undergirding belief in Monism and Pantheism – all is one therefore all is God. Therefore we are gods waiting to be enlightened.
Slide 2:2 b) The primary objective of personal and planetary transformation – the goal in the new age is for each person to reach a higher level of consciousness and eventually divinity. The ‘new age’ will come when there is a critical mass of people who have made that shift.
Slide 2:3 c) The creed of having no set creed but being syncretistic and eclectic. In the new age you can believe whatever you like – and even incompatible views can be brought together if you like them. The key to a belief system is preference and pragmatism. If you like it and if it works for you then that’s good enough.
And that was enough for one week. Now this week we come to look at what we can glean from this strength of interest in alternative spirituality.
Slide 3 Someone has said “The advent of the new age can be seen as a mixed blessing for Christians who are called to respond in faith to the presence of new religions towards the end of the 20th century. While the new age may be drawing away from traditional faith many dissatisfied individuals who have not embarked on a personal religious quest, it might also be doing a service to Christianity by encouraging Christians to delve deeper into their religious tradition and rediscover its treasures.”
That sums up where I want to go today. A rediscovery of what really is treasure in our own backyard – a return to some of the practices and values that are already ours but that we have neglected or moved away from.
And as we do that I am not saying the New Age has the answers and we need to get on board with them – last week we saw that new age theology is fundamentally flawed. But I am saying that much of what is valued in the New Age is not unique to them. In fact much of what they value is an integral part of an authentically Christian faith. Wondering what I’m speaking of?…
And my suggestion to you today is that if we pick up on these things then we will see what it is that is attracting people to the New Age and why they are bypassing us to put down their spiritual roots there.
In his book Ross Clifford speaks of ‘forgotten truths’. He mentions 4 or 5 but I have a few others I’d like to include also. So I’d like to share 10 of these today.
It means we won’t spend long any one – but it will give you a feel of some of what we can explore if we are to find common ground with New Agers and if we are to relate with them rather than avoiding them.