Summary: In this sermon you will learn about the background of the New Age Movement and how it began in America. You will also learn three distinct New Age doctrines and what the Bible says about them.
Is The New Age New?
Like the cults, the New Age Movement uses terms and phrases that Christians are familiar and comfortable with. Yet, these terms are vastly different in meaning. This is why many Christians are deceived into thinking that the New Age is simply another appeal for world peace. The rise of some rather unusual groups over the past twenty years has caused the New Age Movement to become more appealing to some who would not have otherwise become involved with the movement.
The New Age Movement is in a class by itself. Unlike most formal religions, it has no holy text, central organization, headquarters, membership, formal clergy, geographic center, dogma, creed, etc. Their book publishers take the place of a central organization and their seminars, conventions, books and informal groups replace sermons and religious services.
The New Age Movement is a loosely structured network of individuals and organizations who share some similar beliefs and practices.
The Development Of The New Age
New Age teachings became popular during the 1970 ìs as a reaction against what some perceived as the failure of Christianity and the failure of Secular Humanism to provide spiritual and ethical guidance for the future. Its roots can be traced to many sources: Astrology, Channeling, Hinduism, Gnostic traditions, Spiritualism, Taoism, Theosophy, Wicca and other Neo-pagan traditions, etc. The movement started in England in the 1960ìs where many of these elements were well established. The New Age movement today is a strange mixture of science and Eastern mysticism with a liberal splash of the occult.
Like streams flowing into the ocean, the New Age Movement has been the receptacle of many streams of influence that have made it the massive body it is today.
• Nineteenth-century Transcendentalism –– The elevation of intuition over the senses as a means of finding "truth."
• The Inadequacy of Secular Humanism –– Secular humanism taught that humanity and human reason were all-sufficient. This human reason did not solve every problem, people craved something more –– something divine. The New Age movement met that need.
• The 1960’s Counterculture –– The 1960’s introduced an openness to new options and ideas. It also fostered anti-materialism, utopianism, an ecological outlook, a rejection of traditional morality, and an interest in the occult.
• Revival of the Occult –– Spiritism, astrology, etc.
• Influx of Eastern Ideas –– The flood of Eastern ideas and practices into North America paved the way for the emergence of New Age beliefs. Hindus and New Agers hold similar views of God, the world, humanity, and salvation.
Let’s focus more closely on the two major influences of the New Age Movement.
Its Link To Eastern Mysticism
Many New Agers follow Eastern mystical leaders like Mahareeshi Mahesh Yoga, Baba Ram Dass, Sai Baba, and Guru Maharijih. Other names associated with New Age thinking are Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, the founder of Theosophy; Alice Bailey, follower of Theosophy and New Age prophetess; Benjamin Creme, founder of the Tara Center and author of The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom; Marilyn Ferguson, author of The Aquarian Conspiracy, a pro-New Age work; David Spangler, who gained fame when he took over the education program at the Findhorn community in Scotland and author of Revelation: The Birth of the New Age; George Trevelyan, a British leader of the New Age movement. More recognizable names include celebrities such as Shirley MacLaine, Merv Griffin, Linda Evans, John Denver, Philicia Rashad, and Sharon Gless.
In reality, the New Age Movement isn’t new at all, but rather, its teachings which originated from Buddhism, Hinduism, Western occultism, and other religions have been neatly presented in a new container which have become very captivating to many people including some Christians.
One major influence that has molded the New Age Movement has been the Theosophical Society. As a movement, Theosophy ("God-wisdom") was founded in New York City in 1875 by a Russian woman named, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky ("HPB"). She is better known as Madame Blavatsky, an eccentric Russian woman, who is referred to as "a godmother of the New Age Movement." Upon arriving in New York in 1872, she began to "pave the way for contemporary Transcendental Meditation, Zen, Hare Krishnas; yoga and vegetarianism; karma and reincarnation; swamis, yogis and gurus" (Nina Easton, "Roots of the New Age," Los Angeles Times Magazine, September 6, 1987, p. 10).
Blavatsky greatly helped to popularize the mystical and religious teachings that have become the basis of the New Age Movement. After she died in 1891, Annie Besant moved into the leadership position in the Theosophical Society. It is quite evident that these and other eastern religions which heavily influenced the United States in the sixties and seventies had a tremendous impact upon the New Age Movement as we know it today.
Its Link To The Occult