(This story of freedom from the lies of New Age doctrine was written as a testimony/lesson, which our youth pastor allowed me to give to the church’s youth group, grades 6 through 12, on November 9, 2011 at Gold Coast Christian Church.)
I’ve been a born-again Christian for about four years.
My mom and my dad met at a Christian church as teenagers and even though they were very involved in church during that time, after they married they left the church. Eventually, my mom studied New Age ideas and my dad did too.
So I grew up in a home which embraced New Age beliefs.
“New Age” is a term which covers a wide range of beliefs. It is as if a person is walking through a cafeteria, picking and choosing the desserts only (from other belief systems), so you may see elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, astrology, mysticism, Native American beliefs, Kabbalah (which Madonna used to follow), witchcraft/Wicca, the occult, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism–the list goes on and on.
This cafeteria style is referred to as Syncretism. There are no set rules, because anything and everything is okay–except set rules.
Typically, people who hold this belief system describe themselves as being spiritual, not religious. They don’t usually refer to themselves as a New Ager.
New Agers believe that all religious paths lead to God so all religions are basically the same. What they don’t like is a religion that accepts only one path to God, such as Christianity.
At the root of the New Age belief system is the belief that each of us are part of the divine or god. But for some reason, we don’t realize it so we each have to spend many, many, many lifetimes until we do, learning different lessons, and then if our “good karma” outweighs our “bad karma,” we can pass on to a higher level of understanding called “Christ-consciousness,” eventually becoming perfect like God.
The belief in having more than one lifetime is called reincarnation. This progression to perfection all depends on our own effort and works. Each person is their own savior and not only is each person evolving to perfection but the world community as a global community is as well.
This is important for you to realize. They believe that the world is just getting better and better but one of the things holding us back is Christians and their intolerance. This was how I thought. I couldn’t wait for the world to get evolved enough so that the Christians would just go away. You’ve heard of the Bible verse that says “in the twinkling of an eye,” which Christians believe is about the rapture. Well, there is a New Age belief that only the truly evolved believers like themselves will be left on earth and that those who are not evolved (basically stubborn), will be removed as if in the twinkling of an eye. This is the way Satan has prepared them for when Christians disappear in the rapture.
People who believe like this also then believe that there is no such thing as evil. They think that the appearance of what Christians would call “evil” is actually just ignorance of who you really are. Therefore, they believe there is no sin. They believe that every decision a person makes, even a bad one, has value so there is no reason to repent or turn to God from one’s sin. Because guilt is only an invention of the Christian church.
So as a kid, with my sister and brother, I went with my mom to meetings delving into New Age studies through an organization called ARE (Association for Research and Enlightenment; their prophet is Edgar Cayce). At these meetings, we’d read each other’s auras, prophesize over each other, seek help from the spirit world and do Eastern-style meditation. Occasionally, we’d go to the Church of Religious Science, which is a New Age church.
When I was 14, a friend took me to a Christian church event and I responded to the alter call. I probably even recited the “Sinner’s Prayer.” I came home and pulled out a New Testament of the Bible, which my older brother had given to me a few years before, one of those hand-out-type Bibles he’d gotten free somewhere.
That evening, I told my mom that I had accepted the church’s alter call and she told me that it was just a bunch of emotionalism and that she herself had responded to many alter calls when she was a teenager until she realized that the Christian church was just working on her emotions.
After that, I still believed in my New Age ideas but I often attended the Lutheran church with my friend’s family and the youth group nearly every Wednesday night. I met my husband there and we married when I was almost 18. By 21, we had three daughters, and one who died when I was seven months pregnant. We continued to go to church almost every Sunday, first to the Lutheran church and then an evangelical free church. Wherever we lived, we attended, for the most part, spirit-filled Christian churches.
On the sly though, I still hung on to my New Age belief and studied from New Age books. My husband and his entire family are Christians. Most people just assumed I was too. I did not want to be hassled for my belief system so I stayed stealthy and secretive. I was not really impressed by the Christians I knew. I really didn’t think they had anything different than I thought I had. This is why I think it is really important to know that we are, as Christians, ambassadors for Christ to everyone, even people we think are Christians, because we just never know. From my viewpoint at that time, my New Age family acted more Christian than most Christians I knew.
I was content in my New Age belief; it answered all of my questions and I could explain it really well to other people.
My own particular New Age belief system was “Gnostic Christianity.”
A modern form of Gnosticism basically believes that Jesus was an example only, literally the first-born of what we all will eventually become. Gnosticism is the belief that salvation is gained through your own knowledge. It believes that the Christian church has lied and has not taught the true teachings of Jesus which he taught to his closest students/disciples and through them to us that we all could work as Jesus did to acquiring a “Christ-consciousness.”
In the New Age belief system, nothing really is at stake, because a person believes that we are spiritual beings who got stuck as humans in a physical world so God loves us all enough to just allow us to keep coming back lifetime after lifetime until, like Jesus who also had many lifetimes, we finally perfect ourselves so we no longer have to return to earth as humans. In that belief system, a person believes that there is no eternal separation; there is no threat of hell because there is no such thing as hell. They believe that hell is only an invention of mainstream religious Christianity, in order to keep mankind in control under the church’s power and to keep us all in the dark to our real identity.
C.S. Lewis’ book, “Mere Christianity,” says that Jesus is either a lunatic, a liar or the Lord.
There is a fourth point, which I used to believe and which a lot of people with a loud voice in our culture currently believe. I’ll refer to it as the “Da Vinci Code Theory.” Jesus came and did everything supernaturally that the Bible states but his words were distorted in the Bible by the church in an attempt to keep mankind from knowing their true identity: divine.
The book “The Da Vinci Code,” which became a movie, is about Gnostic Christianity. Hollywood-type people, for the most part, think like this so it is promoted widely through their movies. Some other movies with obvious New Age agendas are Crash, The Matrix, Avatar, Star Wars, the Disney movie Pocahontas . . .
Because I had wanted to disprove Christianity to my husband, I read a lot of early church history and unfortunately I knew a lot more about Christianity’s beginnings then most Christians I knew. I didn’t know the Bible but I did know the history of the early church. Because I had this knowledge, this didn’t help me value a lot of what regular Christians would say, especially in their being able to quote the Bible because I believed the Bible was falsified. Christians could quote it but had no idea of who wrote the Bible and how it came into being.
I had read books by popular writers who also held similar views about Christianity as I did. It wasn’t until much later that I realized that their “facts” about the early church and the Bible were distorted. Their point was always that the religion of Christianity was all based on a conspiracy by the power-hungry church to keep mankind in the dark.
I was really content in my belief system. But thankfully, God had other plans and in a slow process, He drew me closer and closer to His Truth.
Bit by bit, I came to realize that those books I had read which criticized Christianity and Jesus were basing their ideas on very flimsy facts.
I also eventually came to the realization that the Bible actually has integrity, and more integrity than most historic accounts do and I also came to realize that God could actually be speaking to us through the Bible.
I started working at a Christian publishing house because I respected the moral ideas of Christianity. My work gave us some worship CDs. I listened a lot to these, not really believing or listening to all of the words, but I loved to worship God through music which glorified him. Thankfully God had shown me that He was worthy of our praise and I really did feel that. Even as an unbeliever I would raise my hands during worship time because it seemed right.
After the 9/11 attacks, because these were instigated by Muslims, I read a book on the religion Islam, whose followers are called Muslims. The book told me that only Jews and Christians view mankind as being made in God’s image and believe that God loves us and that God is a Father to us, his creation. Muslims, on the other hand, can be killed for stating such things because Islam does not believe any of that. This helped me recognize that not all religions are good and that they don’t all have the same concept of God. It helped me recognize that Christianity was actually a pretty healthy religion and a lot better than most other religions.
In 2005, a work friend mentioned to me, in passing, a New Testament Bible verse:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
2 Timothy 4:3,4
Never discount the power of God’s word as stated through our Bible.
These verses really got under my skin, because it got me to questioning. Was I one of those people who had wandered off into myths?
In the Bible book of Genesis, there is the account of a man named Jacob who physically wrestled with God, and he would not let God go until God blessed him.
After my friend had shared the Timothy Bible verses with me, I did my own wrestling with God, for about three years. I demanded that God show me his Truth (often crying out in anguish), no matter where it might take me and no matter what it might reveal to me. I had also begun reading the gospels in the Bible over and over because I wanted to appear more knowledgeable about the Bible to the Christians at my work.
Part of this process was that even though I was not a Christian yet, I became very protective of my nieces and nephews on my husband’s side and their Christian upbringing because I now recognized that Christianity was the best religion to live under. I just didn’t know how to embrace it for myself as I was so entrenched in my New Age belief.
Remember that I said in the New Age belief system, there is no belief in evil? This also means that there is no belief in Satan, the devil. Well, because I was reading the parts of the Bible about Jesus, it finally started to penetrate that Jesus spent a lot of time casting demons out of people. So the next step in my thinking was that there must be such a thing as the devil and evil because it seemed to be so vindictive and personal.
And remember that New Agers think that the world is evolving to perfection? Well, I also started to realize that the world was not getting better. That it is, in fact, really broken for some reason. In contrast to the brokenness of this world and the people in it, I started to see that God’s nature is holy and I started to realize that no one else is like him except Jesus.
At this time, the Holy Spirit was also getting through to me that I am not perfect and my concepts of perfection are not God’s concepts. Nice and good are not the same thing.
In the winter of 2008, my husband had to do extensive business travel, coming home only on weekends. It was during this time that the Holy Spirit led me through some good Christian books, one specifically on forgiveness. I was finally recognizing my own sin and I felt incredibly convicted.
At my work, prior to it being published, I had read a manuscript of a book entitled “Lost Boy” by Greg Laurie. His life was a mess before he came to Christ. What drew him to God was God’s love for him. That was not what God captured me with because as a New Ager, I believed that people deserve to be loved and honored. What got me about the book was how nice it must be to have such a simple faith that Jesus Christ was who Christianity said he was. I really started to wish I could just accept it. I also recognized that the author was not an idiot, yet he believed in Christianity. It seemed that a lot of intelligent people believed in Christianity. And, even though those New Age books I had read years ago implied and blatantly stated that information about the Gnostic Gospels and “changes” in the Bible were squelched by the organized church, I was seeing that there were Christians who did know about these things and that the knowledge of these things weren’t a big deal to them. There seemed to be intelligent rebuttal to the criticisms I had read and believed.
It was at the Holy Spirit’s urging, a pressing not from me, that I was able to let go of the last “stronghold” of my New Age belief system, which was my belief in reincarnation. This was the hardest thing for me to do, because so much of my worldview, the way I viewed everything, was based on it. But, I was finally ready just to know his Truth, and I took what is known as “a leap of faith.” Once I did this, God filled in the knowledge of why reincarnation does not make sense and how much His actual redemption plan through Jesus Christ does.
“Repentance” means: a turning back toward God. I felt a deep, soul-wrenching sorrow and I felt really bad for my past actions. There were a few nights, while my husband was away, that I was physically “on my face” before God. I felt God’s presence in a new way and His love in spite of my sins and I recognized that only He could save me, by forgiving the penalty that my sins created. I finally accepted that I could not be my own Savior because a person cannot work their way into perfection or godliness. Only God can, which is who Jesus is. I laid my will and my life down to Him, finally recognizing who Jesus really is and what Jesus did on the cross for me personally.
God journeyed me to rest solidly in a belief in true Christianity as Jesus stated in John 14:6:
“I am the Truth, the Way and the Life.”
I thought and prayed about what to do this lesson on, whether on apologetics (the defense of Christianity), or on something else. And I believe that I should talk to you about discernment in regards to “contending for the faith” and more about the belief system from which I came from.
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
In these Bible verses, Jude, one of Jesus’ half brothers, wrote us that we must contend for the faith because certain people have crept in unnoticed.
Jesus states in John 10:10:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
When Jesus speaks of “the thief,” he is speaking about Satan, who is also known as the devil. There are a lot of warnings about him in the Bible.
In John 8:44, Jesus also says when he is speaking to the Pharisees:
“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
This is the character of our enemy; he is a liar and a murderer who wants to destroy us.
One of the ways he does this is through false belief systems like New Age.
The term “New Age” got its start at the end of the 19th century. It refers to the 12 astrology horoscope signs of the zodiac. They believe we are currently in the horoscope age of Pisces; the sign is drawn as two fish.
Remember how I said that writers in that belief system take a fact and distort it? One of their lies is that the symbol used by early Christianity of the fish, which means “fishers of men” (you may have seen an example on a car decal; it is known as an “Ichthys”), actually refers to the age of Pisces horoscope sign.
New Agers believe that the next age we are approaching is the Age of Aquarius, so, a “New Age.” Each age is approximately 2,160 years long. And each age has its own “savior” who they believe comes with a message about the “truth” of who we really are, which is part of the divine. They believe that Jesus was an avatar ushering in the Age of Pisces. So they also believe that there will be a savior for the Age of Aquarius too, just as there were saviors for all of the other ages before the Age of Pisces. This is the way Satan has prepared them to accept the anti-Christ when he comes. He will be heralded as the savior of that particular age.
So what do they believe about the Age of Aquarius?
When I was a kid there was a very popular play. It was called “Hair” and one of the songs is “The Age of Aquarius.” In fact, in fifth grade I sang the school choir solo in this song. The first line is: “When the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars.”
This is horoscope. Astrology language.
New Agers believe we are ushering in this New Age when we will be tolerant and no longer have the restraints of religion, specifically Christianity. They believe one of the “restraints” which will be broken in our current culture is the dumb idea that sexual relations should only be between a married couple which consists of one man and one woman. This is why, in our culture, we are bombarded now with examples of other sexual lifestyles and we are told that these are all okay and that Christianity is not okay because it is so intolerant.
True Christianity believes that Jesus the Christ is part of the three persons in one Godhead, the Trinity, which consists of the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. God is the creator and mankind is his creation. Man is not on the same level as God. Man is broken because of the fall in the garden of Eden. The results of Adam deciding to believe Satan who told him that mankind could be “like God” means that now people are spiritually dead which also then means that eventually each person physically dies.
Mankind’s spiritual life used to enable him to have a close relationship with our holy God. Jesus willingly sacrificed himself on our account so that we could again come into a relationship with our God. Jesus is the only Savior of the human race and that is because he is the only divine son of our holy God. He is an amazing mystery; Jesus is completely a man and he is completely God too. Only Christianity believes this: that Jesus is God and that we cannot be our own Savior, which means that we cannot work our way to heaven.
The following Bible verses show that the New Age belief system is actually very old. Satan just keeps using the same tactics to keep us for himself.
As mentioned, Jude starts off his letter stating that he intended to write about something else but he felt compelled to write:
“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
In another New Testament book, II Peter, Jesus’ disciple writes in depth about this same thing in Chapter two. He begins by writing:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies (which means lies that they will try to pass off as Christian ideas), even denying the Master (Jesus) who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
These are just a couple of warnings in the New Testament. What both Peter and Jude are telling us as Christians is that we need to be aware of infiltrators, of evil sneaking in. We need to be able to discern.
“Discern” means to recognize or perceive clearly. In regards to Christianity this means you need to be able to recognize when an idea is not Christian.
To be able to discern, you must realize that one of your responsibilities as a Christian is to keep the Christian message pure. The only way to do this is to know what Christianity believes. Besides attending a Bible-believing church, read your Bible every day. I highly suggest a good study Bible so you can better understand those tough passages. I like the ESV study Bible. Ask God to help you fall in love with His written word, to give you a passion to want to read it and to spend time thinking about it and discussing it with him. Our tendency is not to want to so it is best to ask God for his help in reading your Bible. Satan loves when a Christian does not know how to discern lies from the true Christian message.
Find people to hold you accountable. Pray with and for these people and ask them to pray for you. Recognize that you need the covering of prayer because as a Christian, you are now on Satan’s radar. Don’t be scared. Recognize that he is only a created being so he is not even close to being as powerful as God but we need God’s power to protect us from his influences.
Discerning also means you have to recognize that just because someone or something states that it is Christian, it may not be. This is very evident in books because some “Christian” publishing houses are more liberal or loose in their theology (their belief in God). In fact, very recently, a major secular publishing house (“secular” means not religious but worldly) bought out one of the largest Christian publishing houses in the world. They had already bought out another large Christian publishing house about 20 years ago. So now they own 50% of Christian publishing worldwide. We are now seeing some of the books touted as “Christian” no longer reflecting the real Christian message.
I had read a lot of New Age books. There is an abundance of them, such as “The Da Vinci Code” and all other books by Dan Brown. A recent popular non-fiction book is “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. I personally stay away from any books recommended, like this one was, by Oprah Winfrey, because she is a New Age believer. These books were runaway best-sellers around the world, translated into many languages.
These are some tactics for you to protect your Christian belief.
The New Age, Syncretism way of cafeteria-style religion is alive and flourishing. When you read the Bible, you will see that this is what the early church’s main battle was against. Other historic writings in the first and second centuries also prove this. It is up to us Christians to continue to “contend for the faith.”
Here is a YouTube clip of a well known actor, talking about his New Age spirituality. Listen to his passion about the lies he believes and listen how his audience responds.
In 2003, a reputable Christian survey group, Barna Research, found that one out of five USA adults believes in reincarnation. One out of ten USA born-again Christians believes in reincarnation. Does this surprise you? Is this a problem?
Ponder Hebrews 9:27:
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.