New Age in the Church

Recently, a friend of mine asked me if I knew what the New Age Movement (NAM) teaches. Unfortunately, I was not able to tell him off hand any of them, so I began to do some research to educate myself on this topic. I cannot tell you how surprised (shocked, is a better word) I am at how much the NAM teaching has infiltrated the church. What’s worse is that it was introduced into the church by well-known and well-respected Christian leaders. Here, I will mention just a couple of them.

Richard Foster

More than any other individual, Richard Foster has spread Roman Catholic and Pagan mysticism throughout Protestant and Baptist churches.

Foster’s book Celebration of Discipline, which has sold more than two and a half million copies, was selected by Christianity Today as one of the top ten books of the 20th century.

He grew up among the Quakers (the Religious Society of Friends), was trained at George Fox College, has pastored Quaker churches, and has taught theology at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and at George Fox College.

The Quaker connection is important, because one of their doctrines is direct revelation via an “inner light.” This is defined in a variety of ways, since Quakerism is very individualistic and non-creedal, but it refers to a divine presence and guidance in every man. There is an emphasis on being still and silent and passive in order to receive guidance from the inner light.

Quaker founder George Fox claimed that he received the doctrine of the inner light without help from the Scriptures (The Journal of George Fox, revised by John Nickalls, 1952, pp. 33-35).

This is an unbiblical and very dangerous idea that opens the door for every sort of heresy. The Scripture is able to make the man of God perfect; obviously, then, nothing more is needed (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Foster’s recommendation of these Catholic mystics is not half-hearted. In the introduction to the 1998 edition of Celebration of Discipline, he says that they taught him spiritual depth and substance (pp. xiii, xiv), and he calls them “Devotional Masters of the Christian faith.” The following section was removed from Richard Foster’s 1978 edition of the “Celebration of Discipline” book which is instructing the dangerous new age practice of Astral Projection:

“A fourth form of meditation has as its objective to bring you into a deep inner communion with the Father where you look at Him and He looks at you. In your imagination, picture yourself walking along a lovely forest path. Take your time, allowing the blaring noise of our modern megalopolis to be overtaken by the sound of rustling leaves and cool forest streams. After observing yourself for a bit, take the perspective of one walking, rather than the one observed. Try to feel the breeze upon your face as if it were gently blowing away all anxiety. Stop along the way to ponder the beauty of flowers and birds. When you are able to experience the scene with all your senses, the path breaks onto a lovely grassy knoll. Walk out into the lush large meadow for a time, lie down on your back staring up at blue sky and white clouds. Enjoy the sights and smells. Thank the Lord for the beauty.”

“After awhile there is a deep yearning within to go into the upper regions beyond the clouds. In your imagination allow your spiritual body, shining with light, to rise out of your physical body. Look back so that you can see yourself lying in the grass and reassure your body that you will return momentarily. Imagine your spiritual self, alive and vibrant, rising up through the clouds and into the stratosphere. Observe your physical body, the knoll, and the forest shrink as you leave the earth. Go deeper and deeper into outer space until there is nothing except the warm presence of the eternal Creator. Rest in His presence. Listen quietly, anticipating the unanticipated.”

Richard Foster has not issued any explanation as to why he removed this section from the 1978 edition of his book. If he has repented of the sin of promoting this form of witchcraft, he should make it known.

On page 2, Foster wrote that even people, ”who have yet to turn their lives over to Jesus Christ – can and should practice them.”

Foster promotes centering prayer, visualization, guided imagery, mantras, silence, walking the labyrinth, Carl Jung’s interpretation of dreams, channelling the light of Christ, healing of memories, direct experiential communion with God, even out-of-body experiences.

Centering Prayer. Where did I hear that before? Oh, yes. In 2013, the church I came from invited a speaker from the US to conduct a spiritual retreat for the staff. The first thing he taught us was….you guessed it, Centering Prayer.

Rick Warren

Another Christian leader who uses Carl Jung’s methodology and teaching is Rick Warren, author of the best seller “The Purpose Driven Life”. In the book he talks about how you know your SHAPE. SHAPE is acronym for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experiences. He states that, “When you minister in a manner consistent with the personality God gave you, you experience fulfillment, satisfaction, and fruitfulness.” (p. 246) According to Warren, the SHAPE program identifies “the secret” (pg. 248) that helps you “see more clearly how God is calling us to minister in His world.” But didn’t Paul say that a renewed mind is how “ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”? (Rom 12:1).

This aspect of Warren’s teaching sounds strangely similar to Carl Jung’s Personality Theory. He says that “…the ultimate aim and strongest desire of all mankind is to develop that fulness (sic) of life which is called personality… To the extent that a man is untrue to the law of his being and does not rise to personality, he has failed to realize his life’s meaning.” (The Development of Personality, Collected Works 17; from The Essential Jung, pg. 191, 207)

Warren also asserts that “The Bible gives us plenty of proof that God uses all types of personalities. Peter was a sanguine. Paul was a choleric. Jeremiah was a melancholy.” (p. 245) Does it, really? The Bible never gives “proof” of the classification of personalities; it is a purely pagan concoction. The four temperaments, as conceived by Hippocrates and later developed by Galen, was a prevalent Greek philosophy during the time of Paul’s apostolic ministry. Unlike Warren and Jung, however, Paul did not implement these Greeks ideas into his teachings. In fact, he categorically rejected them and “determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (I Cor 2:2).

There is more that I can say here but time and space will not permitted it, so I will simply ask you to follow the link for more information.

Dream Therapy

Dream Therapy, or dream work, is also gaining popularity among Christians with ministries being set up that specialises on this. But did you know that dream work, like crystal and channeling, is one of the more popular New Age practices? The following is an extract from the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (p. 195).

What is dream work? In general, dream work attempts to remember, explore, evaluate or manipulate normal drams for psychological, physical, spiritual, or occult purposes. These purposes include physical healing, greater self-understanding in secular counseling, discerning “God’s will” in so-called Christian dream work, and a variety of occult goals in New Age dream work.

At the risk of oversimplifying, dream work may be divided into three basic categories: 1) “secular” dream work, as in Freudian, Gestalt, Jungian, humanistic, and other conventional psychotherapy; 2) so-called Christian dream work, popularized by Morton Kelsey, John A. Sanford, and others, which often relies on Jungian psychology; 3) New Age dream work, which incorporates diverse elements from, for example, ancient pagan (e.g. shamanistic) dream methods, modern spiritistic revelations (e.g., Edgar Cayce, “Seth”), Jungian techniques, and transpersonal (“Eastern”) and fringe psychologies. It must be noted that the lines separating these categories are not rigid. Elements of Jungian, humanistic, Christian, and New Age dream work are often mixed together.

 

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