A Majority of Christians are Influenced by New Age Teachings?!
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61% of Christians are Influenced by New Age Spirituality!
A majority of Christians are influenced by new age?
A study came out in May of 2017 conducted by Barna Group in partnership with Summit ministries. The study gauged how much of the tenants of other worldviews influence Christians’ worldviews. According to the study:
- 61% are influenced by New Spirituality,
- 54% are influenced by postmodernism,
- 36% are influenced by Marxism, and
- 29% are influenced by secularism.
The study showed that in some cases, Generations X and Y are 8 times more likely to accept the above views than Baby Boomers and Elders. The study found that of the 61% of Christians convoluting New Age Spirituality with traditional Christianity, 28% believe that all people pray to the same god, no matter the name used for that god, 27% believe in a form of pantheism, and 32% believe in the doctrine of Karma (if you do good, you will receive good; if you do bad, you will receive bad).
A survey published in December 2009 by Pew Research Center had similar findings, claiming that many Americans mix traditional Christian doctrines with Eastern religious teachings, including reincarnation (22%), astrology (23%), and the presence of spiritual energy in physical objects and environments (26%), with 65% of adults believing in at least one new age phenomena.
What exactly is new age?
Gotquestions.org claims that the expression “new age” came into existence in the 1970s and 80s, promoted by the New Age Journal and a book by Mark Satin called New Age Politics. The problem is that “new age” is an umbrella term with no clear boundaries. But, there are some defining common themes which unify the movement. For instance, New Age is an individual approach to spiritual enlightenment and practices. These practices are humanistic and churches have already begun springing up unapologetically broadcasting their new age beliefs, such as the Emergent Church, Bethel Church, Hillsong United, International House of Prayer, the New Apostolic Reformation movement, and various others. Teachers include Todd White, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, Marilyn Hickey, Rick Warren, and more.
On the surface, new age appears to value love, compassion, and unity. But what they really mean is tolerance, and coexistence between contradictory beliefs. New agers are often seen moving from one guru to the next, seeking the next spiritual high. Do you know any Christians who gravitate to one teacher for a season and then to another the next? Do they often hang around one theme they are learning, repeating words or phrases accordingly? The deception is that these spiritual highs transform them. They may feel like it does, but it is apparent by those around that there is not real transformation. It’s change for the sake of change. When confronted, they may claim that the change is deeper than anyone can see, never mind that we know one another by our fruit (Matt. 7:16, c.f. Prov. 20:11, Luke 6:44).
What’s the problem with new age?
Proponents of New Age often enthusiastically advocate practices such as Yoga (or other physical behavior they claim gives them an enlightened spiritual pose), meditation, humanism, self-improvement and self-help techniques, and repeating phrases or words as ways to achieve a trance-like consciousness believed by them to be a heightened sense of spirituality. This eclectic mix of practices seduces in its worship of self (God within you), freedom from guilt of sin (even when sin is committed). The biggest problem with new age spirituality is that it focuses on man and not God. But God defines who man is; man does not define Who God is.
New Age Christianity is all about experience and emotion – fleeting and subjective litmus tests. You can see these events in Pentecostalism with the slain-in-the-spirit phenomena first introduced in Toronto, Canada (today referred to as the Toronto Blessing), and revisited with the Brownsville Revival. In fact, one has to really question why evangelicals and charismatic Christians are constantly looking for “revivals”. Are they saying that they need new life that they lost, or are they seeking experiences they have not had in a while? Are revivals only just another spiritual high?
Why do Christians find new age spirituality so enticing?
Though the United States is overwhelmingly a professing Christian nation, a significant majority also profess this second master. Most new agers must jump from Christian self-actualize teacher to teacher, and that is because the spiritual fulfillment they believe they experience is actually empty. Most who have been attracted to new age experiences say that they struggled deeply with who they were. Their identity was of foremost importance to them. They found the new spirituality experience appealing because it puts the focus on the individual rather than on Christ. Many seek deep, spiritual experiences and meaning in their lives. Most don’t realize that it is in Christ we find our identity. Apart from Him, our identity is empty and depraved.
Another reason many turn to new age is because the how the bible presents God as both Judge and Justifier is too black and white, restrictive, or “legalistic”. Going deeper into these experiences and learning from psychospiritual teachers allows them to redefine God to fit whatever mold they envision for Him to be. It trades the truth for a more palatable lie, and represents a different Christ and a different Gospel. But, like cults, when one redefines Who Christ is and What He has done, he is accursed (Gal. 1:8; 2 Cor. 11:4).
There is one thing, the likes of new ager, John Eldredge, say about the heart and human experience, though. It truly is central to the being from where wellsprings of life come forth. But, that is why we ared to guard it, and not follow it (Prov. 4:23). It can be deceived and from it will not flow life, but lies and empty passion (Jer. 17:9).
We have a saying here: Don’t follow your heart, but rule over it.
Stay vigilant and teach your brothers and sisters to repent and turn back to Christ.