(Marsha West – Christian Research Network) Today I visited a long-time friend’s Facebook page. I’ll call her Ginger. Ginger is a professing Christian who says she reads the Bible regularly as well as what she deems Christian books. My attention was quickly drawn to the several games that were posted on her page including a “wedding” game. At the top are the words: What Surprise Is Coming Your Way In 2021 According To Your Astrological Sign. Twelve astrological signs appear along the border. A button is provided in the center for those who wish to play. Below the button are the words: You will finally have the dream wedding you’ve been waiting for Ginger, surrounded by all the people you love. Another game on her page invites you to pick one of 6 images to find out who will be walking beside you in 2021. Also on the page is a game that shows your 2021 tattoo. Ginger’s tat is “I am who I am. Your approval isn’t needed.”
I left Ginger’s page in disbelief and disheartened.
The thing is, we have discussed specific occult practices ad nauseum over the years. I have shared with her that God makes it clear His people are not to participate in any way shape or form in “magic.” Not even if what you’re doing is “just for fun.”
Ginger always left me with the impression that she was aware of the dangers of dabbling in the world of the occult. Perhaps she was telling me what I wanted to hear. What I saw on her page made it clear my impressions were inaccurate.
For those who don’t know all that much about the New Age Movement (NAM), I’m going to spend a moment to give you a condensed version and provide links below for further research.
First of all, at the core of NAM is a belief in mysticism. Briefly, mysticism’s focus is on esoteric knowledge, i.e. knowledge that is limited to a small group of people who believe they are endued with special or secret knowledge.
Many professing Christians in the visible Church combine Christianity with New Age spirituality. They even blend in NAM’s occult practices that are akin to witchcraft and incorporate pagan practices and cures for whatever’s ailing them gleaned from Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern religions. There’s also man-centered Christianity. Having “felt needs” met is of utmost importance to man-centered church-goers. Where does this sort of stuff come from? It principally started with Rick Warren’s unbiblical seeker-driven pragmatism. What God says in His Word really doesn’t matter to those whose only focus is on “self.”
Paganism and pragmatism combined with Christianity accomplishes what exactly? Those who do this have produced a religion of their own creation, one that works for them in a way that authentic Christianity has not done. What people do not seem to grasp is that counterfeit Christianity, because that’s what they’ve created, offers a false gospel that saves no one.
So, what it boils down to is that many of those who profess faith in Christ are drawn to Christianity for its “Savior” value, certainly not because they’re interested in the Jesus of the Bible who has made it clear that He must be the Lord and Master of those who are truly His.
Do you recall Ginger’s tattoo? “I am who I am. Your approval isn’t needed.” Many of her Facebook friends liked that. As I mentioned, for many years when Ginger was dabbling in astrology I warned her that she was treading on thin ice for the reason that the Bible refers to astrology as fortune telling which is a satanic practice expressly forbidden by God. Why does it matter to me what’s posted on her page? Because it highlights the fact that it matters not to her that she’s inviting family and friends to partake in practices God hates.
Experiencing God Through Mystic Meditation
Professing Christians who wittingly, or unwittingly, embrace New Age beliefs elevate what they experience in a personal way in their quest to draw near to God. What they are hoping for is to experience God in a “powerful way.” How is that achieved? One path people take is meditation. The other day I came across the following on a so-called Christian site:
Here’s how you can sit in the presence of God during your meditation practice: Choose a quiet, comfortable place to meditate. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. You can choose to cross your legs or sit in a chair. Allow yourself to let thoughts pass by without engaging them in thought. Let yourself speak a prayer, mantra or verse….
Until you attain an altered state of consciousness?
That, brethren, is how Buddhists practice prayer. The Roman Catholic “Desert Fathers” (mystics) are responsible for introducing unbiblical contemplative prayer. Why, pray tell, would a Christian even consider borrowing from Eastern religions, which are pagan, or from Catholic monks who were taught by their Buddhist friends how to achieve a deeper experience with God? Consider the implications!
What is more, why do Bible believing Christians think it’s a good idea to repeat a mantra to reach an altered state of consciousness? Where do you find this in the Bible? Is biblical meditation about emptying one’s mind? Seriously? No. When a believer practices biblical meditation their aim should be to fill their mind with God’s truths—truths about God’s love, mercy, and grace. Why do Christians do this? Because meditating on Scripture will help them form a Christian worldview.
I find it amazing the number of professing believers who fail to understand that their source of moral conduct comes from God’s Word not from some Eastern guru or deceased Catholic monk. (I’ve covered this subject many times here.)
The point I’m making is that a growing number of Christians seemingly do not care if their experiences line up with the Bible, even though the Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired, inerrant, and “only rule for faith and practice.” The Bible should be the Christian’s final authority. Period.
Over the years I have talked to many Christians who delve into all sorts of magical mystical practices to include contemplative prayer, yoga, and recently (are you sitting down?) Destiny Cards! What in blue blazes are Destiny Cards you ask? Without getting too far afield, the cards are like tarot cards. The only difference is that Destiny Cards have Bible themes. Not surprisingly, Destiny Cards were introduced by Bethel Church in Redding CA. Pastored by “Apostle” Bill Johnson, the church is best known for its School of Supernatural Ministry. Literally thousands of students come from many countries each year to attend its bogus school. The cards are used by Bethelites to “practice the prophetic.” Practitioners invite those who are interested in finding out their future to book with team members individually for “deep consultations, healing, spiritual readings, & spirit cleansing.” You cannot make this stuff up. So naturally I warn people that the “spirit cleansing” they’re hoping to achieve can actually cause spiritual harm. You’d be surprised by the large numbers of professing Christians who are not the least bit concerned, as they believe Bethel’s practitioners of witchcraft have prophetic gifts.
These days one’s experience with God trumps anything He says in His written Word.
You’ll find this sort of thing in the New Ager’s bible A Course in Miracles, only in the reverse. New Age adherents blend their beliefs, which include pantheism (God in all) with Christian terminology. The Course has incorporated traditional Christian terminology with terms that are nontraditional. In other words, the Course uses Christian terms, but it completely changes the intended meaning to mesh with their occult beliefs.
New Spiritual Horizons
Many New Age practices are designed to push man ahead into “new spiritual horizons.” Besides tarot card, included in New Age practices are,
astral projection which is training your soul to leave your body and travel around; contacting spirits so they may speak through you or guide you; using crystals to purify your body’s and mind’s energy systems; visualization where you use mental imagery to imagine yourself as an animal, in the presence of a divine being, or being healed of sickness, etc.
Other beliefs include reincarnation, astrology, the magic arts, psychic healing, and the divinity of self or “Christ Consciousness,” which has nothing whatsoever to do with Jesus Christ for the reason that Jesus is separated from what they dub “the Christ.” For New Agers “the Christ” is divine and regarded as a cosmic, impersonal being. Listen to what Biblical Discernment Ministries says:
A major idea in New Age thinking is that of the “Christ Consciousness.” In other words, Christ is an office rather than an individual, such as Jesus, whom Christians know to be THE CHRIST. This idea of “Christ Consciousness” asserts that Jesus was not the only Christ, but that He equipped Himself to receive the “Christ Consciousness” (i.e., He was a great “spiritual master” who attained Christ Consciousness), as supposedly also did Buddha, Krishna, and Mohammed. [This is an old occult Gnostic teaching which stems from the ancient Babylonian mystery religions. New Agers also reinvent the historical Jesus by claiming that he spent 18 years in India (during His “silent years”) absorbing Hinduism and the teachings of Buddha.] New Agers believe that Jesus received the Christ Consciousness at His baptism, and that it left Him at His crucifixion. (source)
This is blasphemy. Anyone who holds this view of Jesus Christ is not, I repeat, not a Christian.
New Age beliefs have permeated Christendom through blending various religious and occult beliefs. New Age spirituality has been introduced into churches through syncretism. The hodgepodge of different beliefs in the Church could be compared to a supermarket stocked with shelves of poisonous products ready to be consumed by undiscerning believers hungry for “spirituality.” In my article Evangelicalism Has Been Hijacked By ‘Woke’ Elitist Progressive ‘Christians’ I gave a brief summation of the problems associated with syncretism:
As syncretism spreads, creeds, confessions, and doctrine get tossed aside resulting in a fundamental change of beliefs. When Truth declines, false teaching flourishes. The wily serpent uses syncretism to separate God from His people. … Evangelicals have been assimilated into the world because of it.
Following are several poisonous movements, phenomena, and worldly practices that the Body of Christ has made a steady diet of for many years.
Church Growth-multi campus megachurches
Corrupt Bible versions (The Message; Passion Translation; The Bible Project)
Critical Race Theory & Intersectionality (racist)
Democrat Christians (an oxymoron)
Experiential Christianity (experience trumps the Bible)
Extra-Biblical revelation (new revelation from God; God speaking directly to man, not through His Word)
New Apostolic Reformation (apostles & prophets)
Pragmatism (whatever works)
Progressive Christianity (liberalism)
Prosperity/Health & Wealth gospel
Purpose Driven (seeker churches)
Psychology (steeped in secular humanism)
Signs & Wonders
Social Justice (another gospel)
Word of Faith (metaphysical)
Yoga (pagan practice)
There are a lot more poisonous ingredients that can, and no doubt will, get added to “syncretism stew.” What readers need to know is that all these movements, phenomena and practices are unbiblical in varying degrees. It is critical for the true believer to know that all the above will in no way feed your soul. Moreover, you have wandered into territory that is forbidden by God.
The sad thing is that virtually every Bible believing Christian with an ounce of discernment recognizes false teaching when it rears its ugly head. Discerning believers recognize it and yet many do little to put a stop to it.
They find it difficult if not impossible to:
–Separate from professing Christian family members and friends who partake in occult practices
–Separate from “Christians” who spread false teaching
–Challenge family and friends who hold heretical beliefs
–Call out the ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing who prowl around the pasture where little lambs graze
–Secure consequences for the cultists, apostates and heretics
Many Christians think that it is more important to hold family and friendships together than it is to grab a shepherd’s crook and beat back wolves in sheep’s clothing that are devouring Christ’s beloved. They feel that if they don’t make waves and keep the peace, they will be able to rescue those they care about from wolves. In these circumstances peace keeping is not what God’s people are commanded to do! We are to “Contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 3:1-3
If you’re one of those who dabble in above-mentioned practices, no matter what your reason is, you’re in deep sin. On top of that you are in rebellion against God. What must you do to get right with your Maker? Repent and stop sinning (flee from evil).
I will close with this admonition from Martyn Lloyd-Jones:
“Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ” does not mean that you accommodate yourself to wrong teaching and doctrine, that you say nothing when falsehood is being propagated. No! For that is a denial of all the New Testament. Not only that, it is a denial of some of the most glorious epochs and eras in the Christian Church. ~ D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Life in the Spirit in Marriage, Home & Work: An Exposition of Ephesians
Copyright by Marsha West, 2/14/21