New Age Movement
The Serpent’s Old Lie in an Updated Package
Among the myriad of new religions and cults today, nothing is more far-reaching or hard to define than the New Age Movement (NAM). Russell Chandler, a former writer for the Los Angeles Times, observed that “New Age is not a sect or cult, per se.” Instead, the NAM is a worldview that claims to offer a new way of thinking. Despite a lack of formal structure and organization, millions of New Age activists hope to transform society by bringing about a reawakening that will emphasize self-discovery, spiritual growth, and enlightenment.
I. The New Age is not New at All
a. After our study of Hinduism last week, you will see today that a lot of what I am going to say about NAM is very familiar and really isn’t new at all.
i. In fact, New Age ideas go all the way back to the garden, where the serpent asked Eve if God really said she couldn’t eat from that tree. (Gen. 3:1-5)
b. New Age concepts find their roots in many ancient sources including the Babylonians mystery rituals, which are supposed to elevate humans to godlike status; nature worship; occult practices and reincarnation.
c. The New Age draws heavily from Hinduism, which, besides reincarnation, teaches concepts like monism (all is one) and pantheism (all is god).
i. Another contribution stream of the New Abe movement is Buddhism, which teaches mind control, meditation, and spiritual enlightenment, as well as reincarnation.
ii. It also borrows from Taoism (pronounced “dow-ism”), a Chinese philosophy that teaches that all things are constantly changing (the process called Yin and Yang); and, therefore, nothing is absolute; all is relative, including morals and ethics.
iii. From Gnosticism, the New Age adapts the concept of esoteric knowledge, which is supposed to ignite a divine spark and powr with in and, therefore, negates the need for Christ’s atoning death.
d. So you can see that NAM is not new at all, but really just a blending of a bunch of different beliefs and teachings, made suitable for people’s lifestyle of sin.
II. Alive Bayley – Made NAM popular
a. The NAM label has been around for over 50 years, but really didn’t become popular until Alive Bayley started to write about it.
b. She was a British born Episcopalian, who essential laid the ground work for the NAM of today.
c. In the 1960’s during the crisis of the Vietnam War, NAM struck the hearts of the younger generation in America and became popular over night.
i. This counterculture was fed up and disillusioned, looking for new truth and reality wherever they could find it.
ii. The 60’s served as a spring board for the generation gap, anti-establishment thinking and psychedelic expressions through the use of LSD and other drugs.
d. During this time a music group called “Hair”, came out with a song, entitled ‘The Age of Aquarius,” which in many respects became the theme song of the NAM.
i. The song itself makes references to some astrological events:
1. The moon being in the seventh house
2. Jupiter aligning with Mars, which is peace guiding the planets and love steering the stars.
3. According to Astrologist, the Aquarian Age will begin when the vernal equinox passed from Pisces (the fish) to Aquarius 9the water bearer).
4. For NAM, this will mean the end of the Christian era and the beginning of a new age symbolized by Aquarius, the water bearer, pouring water over the earth to heal the planet and cause mankind’s problem to disappear.
ii. This sounds like another great flood.
1. But God has promised us, that he would never flood the earth again and has given us the rainbow to remind us of that promise. (Gen. 8 – 9)
2. So for the NAM to be right, would mean that God is a liar and doesn’t keep His promises, which is absolute non-sense.
III. How do New Agers’ Define “God?”
a. There is no central organization of authoritative set of writings that present the NAM doctrines.
b. Instead, New Agers tend to adhere to certain principles or beliefs
c. Here are some examples:
i. Monism – the idea that everything flows together, that human beings, natural phenomena and even “God”, are not separate but actually one.
ii. The reality is that everything is interrelated, interdependent and interpenetrating in the NAM.
iii. This leads into pantheism – which simply means “all is god.”
1. You and everything around you is god.
d. The NAM god is more of an “it” than a “He.”
i. They have no concept of a personal creator who exists outside of and exercises control and authority over his creation.
ii. For New Agers, the creation account in Genesis is a quaint myth, because there is not creator.
1. All that is here was always here
2. How it got here is not the New Agers’ concern.
3. The New Ager is more interested in how he can develop his “godlikeness: because, if all is god, then he, too, is god.
IV. How do New Agers find “Salvation?”
a. For the New Ager, salvation is not a matter of the saving of one’s soul from being fallen and sinful, but instead achieving a new “awareness” of his or her divinty and oneness with all things.
i. This new state of awareness is called by many different names:
1. Cosmic consciousness
2. God consciousness
b. Instead of repenting from sin, the New Ager reawaken to themselves.
c. Prayer to a personal God is replaced with meditation - a journey within.
d. Atonement from sins is not found in Christ, according to New Agers.
i. In fact, Christ is denoted from second person of the Trinity to one of many “cosmic Christ’s,” including Buddha, Moses, Elijah and Mohammed.
ii. In a play on the Christian term “atonement,” the NAM awareness is sometimes called “at-one-ment.”
1. Whatever you want to call it, the “self” is lifted up to the highest levels and “seen as the cosmic treasury of wisdom, power, and delight.”
2. Shirley MacLaine the actress and NAM evangelist summed it up in one of her NAM books, “You are unlimited. You just don’t realize it.”
V. NAM Practices and Beliefs Condemned in the Scriptures
a. Many gods, goddesses, spirits, and demons
i. Gen. 1:1
ii. Exodus 15:11; 20:2-6
iii. Deut. 6:4
iv. Isaiah 45:5-6, 21-22
b. Manipulating or bartering with the spirit world
i. Duet. 13:1-5
ii. Duet. 18:9-14
iii. 1 Kings 11:33
c. Blood sacrifice rituals
i. Heb. 7:27
ii. Heb. 10:10-13
iii. 1 Peter 3:18
d. Mythological, unhistorical legends
i. 1 Cor. 15:1-8, 12-19
ii. 1 Tim. 1;4
iii. 2 Peter 1;16
e. Secret Knowledge only for elite “knowers”
i. John 1;12
ii. John 3:16
iii. Col. 2:8-10
iv. 1 Tim. 2:4
f. Magic arts, spells, taboos, astrology
i. 2 Kings 17:16-18
ii. Isaiah 47:12-15
iii. Acts 8:9-24
g. Confusion of identity between the creator and the created
i. 1 Kings 8:27
ii. Ps. 8:1-9
iii. Ps. 24:1-10
iv. Ps. 89:5-14
v. Isa. 40:12-17
vi. 1 Peter 1:24-25
h. Ethics and morals derived from humans or the self; no absolutes, everything is relative
i. 1 Kings 8:46
ii. Ps. 51:1-4
iii. Ps. 143:2
iv. Eccles. 7:20
v. Rom. 2:14-16
vi. 1 John 1:5-10
i. Rom. 6:23
ii. Hebrews 9:27
j. Salvation by human effort
i. Rom. 4:3
ii. Gal. 2:15-16
k. Picking and choosing among religions
i. Exodus 20:2-5
ii. Exodus 23:13
iii. John 1:7-9
l. Worshipping other gods, especially fertility religions
i. 2 Kings 17:9-12
ii. Jer. 2:20
iii. Ezek. 6:13
m. Christ is optional, only one of many spiritual masters
i. John 14:6-8
ii. Acts 4:12
iii. 1 Tim. 2:5-6
VI. So How do we reach out to and respond to the NAM.
a. Have a thorough understanding of your own faith.
b. Knowing God’s Word is imperative
c. Know the living Word – Jesus Christ in a personal and vibrant way.
d. A favorite response of the New Ager to the Christian who tries to point out the absolute truth of the Bible is, “That’s your reality, but it’s not mine.”
i. Christians can only respond confidently but humbly that, in the end, only one reality will turn out to be real: Jesus Christ – the only way, the only absolute truth and the only source of life.