What is the first thing you think of when you hear the term "New Age Movement"? It is a wide-spread philosophy, but most people would be hard pressed to define it or describe it. Some may have a vague idea, but don't really know if it's good or bad, so they think, "Well, to each his own." Chances are, someone you know has been influenced by it in some manner.
The New Age philosophy has gained popularity in the past few decades. It's influences reach across the country, affecting thousands of people, both directly and indirectly. It does not refer to a specific religion or denomination; in fact, many people who are followers of this movement do not consider themselves to be "religious", but rather think of themselves as "spiritual. Crystals, incense, "positive energy", and pyramids are some of the things often associated with this movement.
As Christians, we need to pray for those without Christ. The New Age Movement proves that there are hundreds of people out there who are earnestly searching for something to give their lives meaning and purpose.
We need to lead them to the only One who truly gives life meaning and purpose. We also need to be able to point out WHY this movement is wrong, from a Biblical standpoint, not just our own fears and opinions. After all, when it comes to opinions, everybody has one, and why should they give any special significance to ours? We have to be able to prove the faults of this false religion based on God's own truths.
Instead of the promised serenity and peace, this false doctrine can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair for many of it's followers. Since they do not believe in the Almighty God of the Bible, or His Son, Jesus, they do not have the hope of eternal life that is promised by God to those who have believed in Jesus for their salvation. As with any false religion, New Agers need to know that God and His church love them and care about their lives and their eternal destiny.
The New Age movement is characterized by certain mindsets about God and the world. This way of thinking is directly opposite of what God's word teaches. Let's look at the four main characteristics of this religion, and then we will look at how we can best pray for the followers of it.
1. The first characteristic of the New Age movement is that they do not recognize the Sovereignty, omnipotence, and omniscience of Jehovah God. Instead, they see God in everything: in themselves, in plants, animals, insects, and people. This often leads to worship of the creation, rather than the Creator. Followers often believe that God is in each person, even those who have committed horrible criminal acts.
It is true that God created us in His own likeness, and has created in each of us a longing for Him, a God-shaped void in our lives that only He can fill. He wants to have a very real and personal relationship with us, through His Son, Jesus Christ. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within our physical bodies. That is the only possible way for us to have God within us. Jesus said,
"I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father except by Me." (John 14:6) The undeniable fact is, we are not all gods. He does not dwell within each of us, but only within those who have chosen to accept Him, through the person of Jesus Christ.
Thinking that we can be like God, or we can each be our own god, is sin. The very first commandment clearly tells us:
I am the Lord, thy God...... Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. (Ex. 20:3-4) And isn't this lie the same one the serpent used on Eve in the garden? In Gen. 3:5 we read how the serpent deceived Eve into thinking she would be like God.
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
The truth is: none of us are like God, or will ever understand Him or His ways. In Isaiah 55:8-9, God tells us:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
2. Another characteristic of this movement is they often believe in reincarnation and "works"; that they will be reborn after this life, and have another chance to "get it right", so to speak. For that reason, they often seek to do good works, in order to increase their "good karma" or "positive energy". However, the Bible's teachings clearly oppose such ideas. The Bible teaches that after death comes judgment and eternity. Hebrews 9:27 says:
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment." And John 5:29 tells us: "And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." We do not get another chance to "get it right".
New Agers do not understand the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. We know that believers who have trusted in Christ's atoning work on the cross have no need to "get it right" after death, because Jesus took care of all that. Romans 4:5 tells us:
"But to him that does not work, but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Also , we are made the righteousness of God through the cleansing blood of Jesus: "For he has made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." (II Cor. 5:21)
3. A third characteristic of this New Age Movement is the belief that a "new era of enlightenment" is coming. They believe that the world is evolving into a higher state of consciousness, and that their philosophies are leading up to this great enlightenment. But once again, the Bible teaches just the opposite. Man is inherently sinful, and has been ever since the first man sinned for the first time in the Garden Of Eden. See what the Bible says in Romans 3:10-11:
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understand, there is none that seek after God."
Simple objective observation shows the truth of what the Bible teaches. Man, if left to his own devises, without the direction and guidance of God, does not evolve into a higher being, but to a lesser one. Sin always leads downhill, and like an avalanche, it gathers intensity the further it goes. Every evil thing in our society today has gotten progressively worse. Fornication, adultery, (yes, they are two different things!) homosexuality and other sexual perversions, abortion, pornography, child abuse and molestation, gambling, drunkenness, drug abuse, pregnancy outside of marriage....... every sin only gets worse, it doesn't somehow "evolve" into a better state. If it did, shouldn't the world be a much much better place now than it was back in our grandparent's time?
Romans chapter 1, verses 18-32 show us quite clearly the continual downhill progression of sin. Look with me at some of these verses.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (18)
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, (21-22)
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (24-25)
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (26-27)
But even then, man did not stop, and somehow "evolve" into a better creature. Romans chapter 1 goes on to say this:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (vs. 28-32)
Sin never says "that's as far as I go, I won't go any farther!" Man, of his own nature, just continues to get worse and worse. II Timothy 3:13 says: But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
4. Instead of actually getting better, what the New Age movement has done is try to make everything seem better, by saying that everything is okay. That's the fourth characteristic of this treacherous philosophy: moral relativism. They do not uphold a standard of absolute right and wrong; instead, all decisions are based on what is right for that individual, at that time. Thus, we are now told that homosexuality is not wrong, it is merely an alternate lifestyle. Pornography is not wrong; it is a protected right under the First Amendment. Fornication is not wrong; far better to "try it out first", and besides, "Everybody does it!" Drunkenness is no longer a disgrace, it is a disease. Even abortion, killing an innocent, unborn child, is not wrong, it is a woman's "right", we are told. Oh, God, forgive!
God has set forward an absolute standard of right and wrong. In the beginning, all of our laws were based on that standard. His moral compass has not moved; there are still some things that are morally wrong in God's eyes. We are not judged by the standards held by the world. God is the measuring stick by which we must measure ourselves and our actions, regardless of what the world says is okay. The Bible says, in II Cor. 10:13:
"But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you."
The word "rule" means a measuring rod or line, like a ruler; it is a standard or rule of life and doctrine. In other words, it is the limit, or boundary line, of what God expects. God has designated a certain line or boundary as a standard for us to live by. He gave us the Bible, His Holy Word, to teach us His boundaries.
It is imperative that we understand that all of our actions have consequences that have already been determined by God. If we base our actions and decisions on God's standards, we will do well. "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." (Galatians 6:16). However, if we base our actions on what man says is okay, we are following man's way to damnation. Matt. 23:32-33 says: "Fill yourselves up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?"
Fortunately for us, Jesus made the way for us to escape the damnation of hell. He died to save us from our sins, to save us from ourselves. As Christians, we must be aware of the dangers and insidiousness of this New Age movement. We must constantly guard our hearts against the influence of this philosophy. Television, music, movies,magazines, and other outside influences all expose us constanly to this false religion. We need to test everything we read, see, hear, or feel, against the absolute truth of God's Holy Word, so that we are not deceived ourselves into beliving a lie. I John 4:1 says: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Remember, I Cor. 10:12 cautions us:
"Take heed, lest when you think you stand, you fall instead."
And, as Christians, we need to pray for those around us who have hung their eternal future on this false religion. The greatest need these New Agers have is to know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. Pray that they will learn of His mercy and love, and will rest in his love and forgiveness. Be ready at all times to explain what the Bible teaches about these things. Pray for opportunities to share the gospel with them, and that God will open their hearts and minds to the message of the gospel.