THE NEW AGE MOVEMENT
Satan’s lie – in fact a mixture of truth and lie – that deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden has had a deadly influence on billions of people down through the centuries. He told Eve, “You will not surely die, for God knows that when you eat of it (the fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden), your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen.3:4-5).
The truth in the devil’s statement was that, if Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they would know instantly the difference between good and evil; the lie was that they would not die but would become like God. Today that old lie masquerades as The New Age Movement (NAM), deceiving millions around the world. Actually, there is nothing new about NAM, for it has its origin in the deceit that caused the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.
The Supreme Being
The ancient religions of the East that have ‘evolved’ in the last few centuries are but futile attempts of humans to deny the existence of God and affirm the illusion that they themselves are god (aham brahmasmi – I am the supreme being). Let me explain very briefly what this means.
According to Hinduism (believed to be ‘a way of life’ rather than a religion), a human being may experience one or more of at least five different states of ‘I am-ness’ at different times or at the same time in different dimensions of consciousness. The five states are –
1. I am not aware that I exist. (Unconscious or sleeping state.)
2. I am aware that I exist, but I cannot conceptualise it. (The semi-conscious state, the dreaming state, the state of most of the animals and birds.)
3. I am aware that I exist in relation with things, beings and objects. (The waking state of our consciousness.)
4. I am aware that I exist. I am also aware that I am existence itself. In this state, I can experience my omnipresence. I am a liberated soul in its state of complete awareness, fulfilled and detached – not bound by the limitations of ego.
5. I am I am. I do not know any other than myself. I am absorbed in myself and exist by myself. I am limitless and absolute, except when I am associated with my nature (prakruti). I am in all and all are in me. This is the state of the supreme eternal Brahman, the state of oneness – “I am only” – the indescribable state of Brahman in its absolute aspect.
While a sect of Hinduism teaches that Brahman does not exist (but the individual self exists), it attempts to define Brahman as ‘the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world,’ which ‘cannot be exactly defined’ – ‘the supreme self’.
In What is the New Age Movement? Matt Slick, President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry, USA, writes, “NAM is generally a collection of Eastern-influenced metaphysical thought-systems, a conglomeration of theologies, hopes and expectations held together with an eclectic teaching of salvation, of ‘correct thinking,’ and ‘correct knowledge.’ It is a theology of ‘feel-goodism,’ ‘universal tolerance’ and ‘moral relativism.’ In NAM, man is central. He is viewed as divine, as co-creator, as the hope for future, peace and harmony. Though NAM is tolerant of almost any theological position, it is opposed to the ‘narrow-mindedness’ of Christianity that teaches Jesus is the only way and that there are moral absolutes. According to NAM, man is presently considered separated from God not because of sin (Isa.59:2), but because of lack of understanding and knowledge concerning the true nature of God and reality. NAM teaches that man’s basic nature is good and divine.”
The pride that preceded the great fall of the archangel Lucifer and his fellow-angels from glory ages ago (Isa.14:12-14) has always been, and will always be, the root cause of man’s sin of rebellion against God. To what else shall we attribute violence, murder, hatred, jealousy, deceit, greed and lust throughout human history, if not to the first man’s wilful disobedience that resulted in his separation from God? If, according to NAM, man’s basic nature is good and divine, why is he selfish, greedy and lustful? Because it is in his nature to be what he is (Prov.27:19;Jer.4:14;17:9;Matt.15:18,19)!
When pride entered Lucifer, he desired to be like God, but ended up becoming God’s archenemy – Satan – who ‘blinded’ the minds of the first humans to God’s truth, and continues to do so with amazing success! (2Cor.4:3-6). NAM is just one of his many subtle deceptions that are confusing hundreds of millions of people, leading them away from God today.
The Week magazine’s (February 9, 2014) cover page article quotes some eminent personalities’ comments and understanding on the teachings of Buddhism. Here are a few of them.
“Buddhism doesn’t force you to believe in someone or pray in a particular way. It only teaches you to believe in yourself.”
“What impresses the youth is that Buddhism imposes nothing on its followers and has no baggage of religion. Buddhism teaches you to believe in yourself.”
“You can go to the bar, have enough girls, own a Ferrari and still be a Buddhist. It fascinates the youth.”
“The path of Buddhism is an inward journey. It cannot be used for material good. Its only purpose is to take us away from our selfish, material desires. The Buddha is a personification of the capacity for enlightenment in each of us.”
“Scientific-minded people love reason, not just faith. So, too, does Buddhism, the Nalanda tradition in particular. Buddha himself expressed that his followers accept his teachings not out of faith or devotion, but after thorough investigation and experiment. Some Nalanda scholars implemented Buddha’s teachings after thorough investigation. They investigated and rejected those teachings that went against reason. They took the liberty of examining Buddha’s own words. Buddha gave us that liberty. Later, the concept of science developed in the west, and they engaged in strict investigation about reality through experiment”(The Dalai Lama).
That NAM and the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies have their roots in Satan’s deception is too obvious to go unnoticed. God is nowhere in the picture! The enemy has ‘gift-wrapped’ his lie so attractively that people from all communities fall for its appeal.
The Ecumenical Movement (EM)
The EM is a master-plan of Satan to deceive well-meaning, evangelical and respectable Christians of almost all denominations in the present age! (The word ecumenical comes from the Greek word oikoumene which basically means this inhabited world.)
Some of the Christian denominations which have joined the EM follow liberal theology. They name the name of Jesus Christ and even state that He is Lord and Saviour, but reject what the Bible says about Him. They say they are followers of Jesus Christ and yet deny what the Bible declares concerning Christ’s nature and work. They reject several essential biblical truths such as the inspiration and authority of the Bible (2Tim.3:16), Jesus as the only Saviour, and salvation as God’s free gift to those who believe apart from good works.
The main aim of EM is to bring churches of all denominations and cults and, ultimately, all other religious organisations, together as One Ecumenical Church or World Church. At the first Ecumenical Assembly held in Amsterdam in 1948, the motto One World – One Church was adopted.
There are reasons why true believers of Christ should not support EM or be associated with it in any way. EM is built on the premise which misleads sincere Christians into a counterfeit 'unity'. This is certainly not the unity of the Spirit. It is not the spiritual oneness of the Body of Christ which our Saviour has prayed for (Jn.17:20-21). The true church is composed of only the born-again Christians whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
The Word Of God
In Jeremiah 7:1-29 we see how passionately God rebukes the people of Judah through His prophet for their false and worthless religion, their idolatry, and the shameless behaviour of the people and their leaders. He spoke to them again and again telling them to reform their ways and actions. “Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts…” (vv.13,23,24). Jeremiah was almost put to death for speaking on behalf of God (chapter 26).
The eternal Word (Jesus Christ of Nazareth) who became man and dwelt among us 2000 years ago was persecuted and crucified for revealing the truth. The truth was: Jesus not only represented God, He was God Himself who came into this world to win back the entire mankind that fell for Satan’s deceit (read Jn.1:1-5,14;3:16-21;14:6). This is the good news that the Christians have been proclaiming from the first century to a hostile, unbelieving world.
Those whom Christ has chosen to be His own, because they have rejected Satan’s lie and embraced God and His truth, do not belong to this world. Therefore, Christ warns His disciples that the world will hate them because it hated Him first (read Jn.15:18-27;15:1-4).
While writing about the difficulties the followers of Christ would encounter in this world as they live godly lives in Christ Jesus, Paul in his second letter to Timothy (3:12-13) warns them, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.” Having said that, Paul reminds Timothy about the scripture he was taught from his childhood that have given him the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus (vv.14-17).
As Christians, let us “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” It is high time we set aside our petty doctrinal differences that are of no consequence so long as they do not interfere with our relationship with Christ in whom we are united through baptism of the Holy Spirit (Eph.4:3-6). As the body of Christ in this world, we have received a high calling from God to be His ‘ambassadors.’ Our one and only mission as Christ’s representatives is to implore the world on behalf of Christ to be reconciled to God (2Cor.5:17-20).
The Lord Jesus says, “If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (Jn.8:31-32).