Volume. XXVI, No. 12
Sunday, 18 September 2011


Biblical Assessment of the New Age Movement - Part IV


In the last three Sundays, we have examined the New Age Movement from a biblical perspective. We could only briefly consider its Theology, Anthropology, Soteriology and Bibliology due to the vastness and complexity of its subject. Henceforth, readers are encouraged to dive further into the subject and examine deeper concerning the satanic and deceptive nature of the New Age Movement and the paraphernalia of beliefs and practices that pose to threaten biblical Christianity in our days, so that they may not be tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. (Eph 4:14) In this last instalment of these articles, we shall conclude with our discussion of New Age Pneumatology.

New Age Pneumatology: The spirit world is the source of all wisdom 

The term Pneumatology comes from two Greek words, namely, pneuma meaning “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit” (ie. used of the Holy Spirit) and logos meaning “word,” “matter,” or “thing.” In Christian systematic theology, Pneumatology refers to the study of the biblical doctrine of the Holy Spirit. In contrast to biblical Pneumatology, New Age Movement also has its counterfeit Pneumatology, namely Spiritualism.

Revival of Pagan Spiritualism

There have been three eastern religions whose beliefs and practices are intertwined with the New Age Spiritualism; they are Hinduism, a product of 5,000 years of development, Buddhism, circa 560 B.C., and Taoism, circa 500 B.C. (Eerdman\'s Handbook to the World\'s Religions, pp. 170, 221, 252). In recent decades, these three Eastern religions are increasingly gaining popularity in the West because of their commonality with many if not most of New Age beliefs and practices—all three religions promote human beings to connect with the greater or higher spiritual force/power in the universe in order to attain spiritual enlightenment or fullest human potential as the ultimate goal. For example, an almost universal belief among New Agers is an adaptation of the Hindu concept of reincarnation which teaches that after death the soul, or essence, comes back in another form to continue spiritual evolvement. New Agers misrepresent church history, the doctrines of Christianity, and often twist Scripture to support the idea that original Christianity taught reincarnation. They wrongly argue that the early church suppressed the doctrine and censored its teaching (Kenneth Ring, Heading Toward Omega, p. 158).

Besides these Eastern religions, there have been organisations, movements and cults that propagate the same spiritualism or spirituality. The following is a list of some of the organizations, beliefs and practices associated with the New Age Movement: Astrology, Aura, Black and White Magic, Brahman, Chakras, Christ-consciousness, Christian Science, Church Universal & Triumphant, Crystals, Druidism, Eastern Mysticism, ESP, Extraterrestrials, the Forum, Firewalking, Gaia, Hare Krishna, Higher Consciousness, Human Potential Movement, Kaballah, Karma, Magick, Mind Science, Native American Spirituality, Near-death Experiences, Neo-paganism, Nirvana, Parapsychology, Prana, PSI, Psychic, Reiki, Reincarnation, Religious Science, Shamanism, Silva Mind Control, Spiritism, Taoism, Tarot cards, Theosophy, Therapeutic Touch, Trance-channeling, Transcendental Meditation, transpersonal psychology, UFOs, Unity School of Christianity, Witchcraft, Yoga, Zen etc.

In the past few decades, a myriad of occultic practices have made a comeback via these Eastern religions, organisations, movements and cults. Practices which were once regarded utterly abominable in the western world are now welcomed into many homes as family entertainment and children’s board games. These include Horoscopes, Palm Reading, Crystal Ball, Water Witching, Pendulum, Divining Rod, Tarot Cards, Tea Leave Reading, Numerology, Palmistry, Ouiji Board etc. Although they have been given modern names, they actually all have their occultic origin. In fact, only the names of some of these practices have changed such as “channelling” or “spirit guides”; they are actually the practice of ancient “mediums” and “spiritism” respectively—these practices are basically channelling spirits which have been used by shamans, witchdoctors and mystics in the ancient world to communicate with the spirits or the underworld in order to obtain guides and directions and God has always warned His people not to participate in any of these abominable practices.

New Age Channelling

As mentioned, channelling is the communication of information to or through a human being from a source that is said to exist on some other level or dimension of reality than the physical, namely the spirits. Such practice is clearly forbidden by God in the Scriptures (Deut 2:31, 18:10-11; Lev 18:21-30, 20:2-5; 2 Kgs 16:3, 17:17, 21:6; 2 Chr 28:3; Ps 106:37-38; Jer 19:4-6, 32:35; 1 Sam 28:11-14) so Christians should have nothing to do with them.

During the course of channelling, the New Agers also talk to these “spirit beings” because it gives them a feeling of having a god to talk to. Since New Agers view god as a \'force of nature,\' it leaves them without a personal God to listen to them when they need an all-knowing being to know what\'s inside their hearts. They may be able to talk about god as a force, but they cannot talk to god as a personal being. The New Age practice of communicating with their own Inner Self or Higher Self helps to take the edge off their loneliness but channelling the “spirit world” offers them an exciting and exotic option -allowing them to talk to actual “spirit beings” who will talk back to them and even answer their questions about life. Former top New Age Leader Randall Baer tells the story of his experiences with some of these channelled Spirits in his book Inside the New Age Nightmare. Randall Baer began to get more and more drawn into the lies of these Spirit Entities as time went by. Let\'s read about his story:

"The spirit would began to speak to us (he and his girlfriend, Vicki) explicitly and directly. All of a sudden Vicki would go into a trance. Then a Spirit would come into her body and animatedly speak. I couldn\'t believe what was happening…these electrically compelled spirits would come in and identify themselves, and then proceed to convey some august universal message of great import. I found that I even could converse with these \'high and wide\' spirit-entities. They would answer my questions with what sounded like great wisdom and supernatural prescience… For hours at a time, spirit after spirit would come into Vicki\'s body [his girl friend’s body] and speak through her. She was totally oblivious to what was being said and done. It was like she was tucked away somewhere while the spirits temporarily would \'use her vehicle\', as they said, to speak to me. (Randall Baer, Inside the New Age Nightmare, pg. 29)

Gnosticism and New Occultism

The most central and commonly shared beliefs among New Agers are various combinations of Gnosticism and Occultism. Gnosticism is an ancient world-view stating that Divine essence is the only true or highest reality, and that the unconscious Self of man is actually this essence. It is through intuitional discovery, "visionary experience or initiation into secret doctrine" (not the plenary revelation of propositional truth in the Bible), that man becomes conscious of this true Self (Encyclopedia Brittanica, Vol. 10, 1968, p. 506; J.D. Douglas, ed., New Bible Dictionary, pp. 473-4). Now, what does Gnosticism have anything to do with Occultism and New Age Movement? Humans have a tendency to experience a power that is spiritual and supernatural in origin because we are all descendants of Adam and Eve inherited with the same sinful curiosity. People embrace New Age beliefs and practice also due to the same sinful curiosity. Should it be a surprise to find that the New Age Movement is almost always on the basis of acquiring knowledge or power? This is true of any form occultism as well: gaining of secret knowledge or power! The fact is that we all crave a knowledge that is esoteric, not normally available to the ordinary person. Our first parents got caught with Satan’s words: “ye shall be as gods, ‘knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:5) This is also exactly what the gnostic heresy of the early church is all about! The author of Christianity Through the Centuries, Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, writes:

“The Gnostic yearns for redemption that will free him from the world and imprisonment in his body. The key-note is knowledge (Gk: gnosis), a possession of ancient secrets which would ultimately facilitate the soul’s union with God. The goal of this knowledge was salvation. In the Gnostic thought there was no resurrection. Evil material bodies were not saved, only the soul or spirit could inherit salvation. The Christ-Spirit had given special gnosis to an elite while resting upon the man, Jesus. This gnosis was necessary for the process of salvation, but “only the pneumatic Gnostics, those possessing the esoteric gnosis, and the psychic group, those having faith but no access to the gnosis, would get to heaven.

Yet, the universal irony is that most people today are not interested in hearing what God has to say based upon God’s revealed will; rather, they choose to seek esoteric hidden knowledge from someone who is supposed to know better than average normal people—whether he be a psychic, a channeller, a palm-reader, a card-reader, a Ouija board expert, an astrologist or a charmer! Though knowing and acquiring spiritual knowledge is a God-given desire, it is intended to be fulfilled by the knowledge and power which comes from God alone. Unfortunately, natural man will always use this desire to seek the way of death. Knowing this spiritual weakness of man, Satan is busy trying to pass off his counterfeits for God\'s knowledge and power as the real thing in the form of New Age occultism through the ages.

Conclusion:

Dear friends, we have examined the Theology, Anthropology, Soteriology, Bibliology and Pneumatology of the New Age Movement. We can rightly conclude that the New Age Movement is a religion: a conglomeration of all human religions! This religion, however, is not going to get any sinful, wretched and hopeless soul anywhere because this movement/religion is essentially the old serpent’s lie of “ye shall be as gods”! (Gen 3:5) Satan is still tricking humanity with the same Edenic lie and masses of people are still being deceived! Don’t look inside yourself or seek for directions from the New Age gurus or the spirit world—look into the Great Book of God, the Holy Bible, and you will know that all you need is Jesus and there is no other way to Salvation except through Him. (John 14:6) God has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who died and rose from the dead (1 Cor 15:3, 4) that all men might receive eternal life. The Scripture says, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim 2:3-6) Will you come to Christ Jesus today?

Ps Weng

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements:

*Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Dns Joyce Gong. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Daniel Volvricht.

*Hope Bookstore - open 12:30-1:45pm every Sunday.

*Photos & videos relating to Hope Church over past the 25 years required. If you have any interesting material, please let Dn Wai Kin Wong know.

*Christmas Concert: Helpers needed for this year’s 25th Anniversary Christmas Concert committee. Many key roles needed to be filled in ranging from venue I/Cs, stage director, scripting, publicity/publications, to audio/video production. Please contact Dn Wai Kin Wong if you are moved to serve the Lord in this year’s Hope Church Silver Anniversary Concert.

*Service Roster for Oct-Dec is being prepared. Please let Dn Edwin D’Mello know of your availability for Church duties.

*Reminder: Next week’s fellowship lunch is catered. $5 per adult. Free for children under 5 years old.

Looking Ahead:

* AFG Retreat, 1 - 3 Oct.

* Christmas Concert, Sat, 3 Dec.

Praise and Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Ps Ki (Lond); Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (Mildura); Mr Kang Fun Tan; Bros Samuel Ki (S’pore) & Joseph Selvanayagam (Melb/Syd/Adl); & those who travelled.

2. Church activities - over the past week.

3. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

4. Ps Ki’s fruitful Ministry in Kenya/Tanzania; God’s protection of Sis Myung in London.

5. Welcome Dinner for new worshippers last Lord’s Day.

6. Street-Evangelism yesterday at Chinatown - tracts distributed.

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser;  Bro Len & Sis Margaret Pearson; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Bro Elton Law; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Margaret Hooper, Myung Ki (Lond), Irena Kurek-Braden (NSW), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Lehia Paauwe (Per), & Susan Varadi; Mr Swee Liang Ng (Bro Raphael’s father); Mrs. Chuilin Yap (Malacca); & others in affliction.

2. Cambodia Missions - Pr Zhang & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Khmer pastors & families in villages.

3. Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam & Ministry.

4. Batam Missions - Next year’s mission trip - 4-7 Jan 2012.

5. iSketch&Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry - Pr H S Lim (Melb).

6. IBPFM (USA) - Rev K Coleman, Board & Missionaries around the world.

7. Ps & Sis Weng - Ministry in Hope BPC.

8. Ministry in New Life BPC, London - Ps & Sis Ki;

9. Presbyterian Missionary Union - Missionaries.

10. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.

11. House of Hope, Cebu, Philippines.

12. Journey mercies: Bro Phil & Sis Iris Surman (Adl); Mrs. Adeline Tan & Bro Danny Tan (S’pore); & those who are travelling.

13. Job - Sis Clara Sim & others looking for a job.

14. Studying in Auckland, NZ - Bro Peter Koo

15. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin & Korean.

16. God’s comfort - For those in grief.

17. Street-Evangelism - Protection of participants & Salvation of those who received Gospel tracts.

18. Mission work in the Philippines - Bro Richard & Sis Myra Horenung (Mindanao).

19. Believers under torture/persecution in Islamic & Communist countries.

20. Obed Family - Guidance for their future in Vanuatu; Sis Edna - good health with twin pregnancy.

21. Australia - Wisdom for those in authority in Federal, State & Local Governments.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063