The Occult, The New Age and the Emergent Church
The Occult, The New Age and the Emergent Church: Understanding the Basics
In our modern church world that has gone almost two decades without any substantial teaching about the dangers of the occult and the new age, we have left ourselves - and our youth - exceptionally vulnerable to all manner of deception, occult practices disguised in religious garments, and new age socialization and globalization dressed as "Doing Church." If we have any hope of stemming the tide of the massive wave of spiritual darkness that has come as an angel of light to cripple the church, we have to first have at least a base understanding of (1) What the occult is, (2) What the New Age is, (3) What the Emergent Church is, and (4) The terminology, language and buzzwords that these groups use. Later a more detailed explanation of what these terms mean will be written. This is by no means an exhaustive study, but will at least give you a "sense of the thing" and will train your spirit to recognize the Deceiver when he comes - however he comes.
What Is The Occult?
The word "occult" means hidden. Essentially, the occult is a broad range of activities, practices and philosophies which include:
Tarot cards, Ouija board, palm reading, psychics, consulting with mediums, mediums and necromancy, astrology, sťances, communication with the dead, mind reading, mind control, astral projection (leaving your body), I Ching, fortune telling, witchcraft, Wicca, white magick, black magick, Satanism, Vampyrism, sorcery, wizardry, spells and spellwork, curandismo, voodoo, Santeria, Yoga, transcendental meditation, reincarnation, past life regression, Kabbalah, Buddhism, Hinduism.
No Christian under any circumstances should be involved in any of these activities or believe any of these philosophies, as they are scripturally forbidden by God. If you are, you need to stop, repent, and throw everything related to it away - books, jewelry, anything. God forbids it all.
What Is The New Age?
The New Age and the New Age Movement are broad terms describing a wide variety of groups, activities, ideology, theology, practices and terminology. The birth and development of the New Age movement goes back centuries, and has gradually unfolded from some of the original concepts put forth by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, mother of Luciferian based Theosophy, her successor Alice Bailey who published Lucifer's Trust (later to become Lucis Trust, still an existing organization with ties to the U.N.), the Golden Dawn, etc., into what it is today.
Some of the activities, groups, philosophies and practices of the New Age include:
Guided visualization, self-actualization, self-realization, self-awareness, crystal magick, crystal healing, UFOlogy, Global Peace Groups, T/M, (transcendental meditation), Yoga, trance-channeling, spirit guides, ascended masters, Wise Ones, Ancient Ones, psychic reading, past life regression, aura reading and kirlian or aura photography, EST, Scientology, Dianetics, group meditations, tantric sex, kundalini yoga, some forms of massage therapy (especially Reiki), etc.
Some major voices in the new age movement are: Marianne Williamson (author of Return to Love) Neale Donald Walsch (author of Conversations with God) Barbara Marx Hubbard (author of The Revelation), Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (authors of the wildly successful "Chicken Soup For The Soul" series), Benjamin Creme (forerunner for "Maitreya"), Oprah Winfrey (the media central go-to person for all things new age), Esther Hicks (who trance-channeled the "Abraham Group" whose "message" became the basis for the book and DVD "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne, also a major new age voice), and many others.
The dream of the new age Luciferian order, as previously stated, followed a progression of teachings and books beginning with Helena Blavatsky, then Gurdjieff, Alice Bailey, Marilyn Ferguson (author of the Aquarian Conspiracy) and Shirley MacLaine and various Hollywood luminaries who are following the path of "enlightenment" via the New Age Movement.
In the last few decades, the new age has come into full blossom and become part of much of our culture, media and education. If there is a common agenda, it is for one world, one religion, global peace, and realizing man's Divinity. It is heavily seated in the Green movement, animal rights groups, radical feminist groups, and gay rights groups. It is tolerant of all faiths, except one - fundamentalist Christianity. One is free to believe anything one wishes, so long as one does not believe that the Bible is the only truth and the infallible, inspired Word of God.
Here are a few of the terms, "buzzwords" if you will, that are prevalent with new agers and the new age movement, and can help to recognize when a person, group or teaching may be of new age derivation:
Global, Global Village, emergent, emerging, enlightenment, visualizing world peace, force, forces (as relates to the "Divine" or God), visualize, guided visualization, soul force, contemplative, divine, the divine within, the Christ spirit, Christ consciousness, God is in all things (panentheism), planetary, planetary Pentecost, mystical, convergence, inclusive, diversive, dialogue, dialoguing, consensus, consensus building, the One, self-realization, self-actualization, step up to the plate, bring to the table, common ground, unity-in-diversity, change agent, vision, vision casting, vision quest or questing, dream, finding your dream, fulfilling your dream, dare to dream, universe, universal reality, ultimate reality, center, centering, finding your center, getting centered, source, alignment, be still, intentions, imagine, imagination, imagining, reimagining, reframing, paradigm, transformation, transformative, evolutionary, tolerance, at-one-ment, doomsday, coach, transcendant, transcendence, quantum leap, empowering, destiny, team player, lone ranger, transitioning, relational, etc.
There are a growing number of Christians who are making frequent use of these terms without knowing where they come from or what they mean in the new age or occult world. This is my own rule of thumb:
Using a few words that are part of the new age vocabulary is almost inevitable.
Using five or more on a consistent basis is a leaning.
Over ten as part of someone's teaching structure is a belief system.
What is the Emergent Church?
Out of nowhere it seems, in the last decade, the "emergent church" has become a major movement in the evangelical west. It is difficult to define, but one thing is fairly certain: it is a breeding ground for nearly every new age concept, teaching and practice there is or has been in the history of the church. Although it is difficult to define clearly what it is, this is a fairly good description based on the information we currently have:
∑ Scripture is no longer the ultimate authority for many well-known "emerging" leaders. They rely heavily on new and exotic Bible "translations" such as "The Message."
∑ Leans increasingly, and heavily, on "contemplative prayer" concepts that closely mirror eastern occult meditation techniques, as well as "labyrinths", candles, incense, religious pictures, etc. The result is a moving away from evangelism and "works" and toward "inner silence" and "wordless prayer".
∑ The Gospel of Jesus is being replaced with humanistic methods that promote church growth and a social gospel.
∑ Emphasis on the "here and now", fixing your life, etc., and little or no emphasis on the return of Jesus and of coming judgment.
∑ Increasing emphasis on "repairing the world" and establishing the "kingdom now" rather than expecting judgment and Jesus' return and the creating of a new heaven and earth as well as a thousand year reign.
∑ Experiential, mystical "Christianity" is promoted to attract the "postmodern" generation. This includes changing the language of faith - i.e., not sin, but "mistakes" - not repentance, but "changing your mind" - not Jesus is Lord, but "leader and friend".
∑ As part of that effort to attract the world, cults, occult groups and pagan religions are no longer referred to as such, but are called "Sacred tribes", and Emergent leaders seek "dialogue" with them to see "what we share in common". Evangelism to them is considered an insult to the "sacred beliefs" of these "sacred tribes."
∑ Scriptures, particularly the Gospels, are being reinterpreted according to their belief that we are here to "repair the world." Example: When the scriptures speak of those who "love His appearing", they say that, for example, if you feed a homeless person, that you have brought the Kingdom to that person, and you have brought "His appearing" to them. This way they continue to downplay the coming of Jesus and appear to be implying that we - corporately - are the coming of Jesus.
∑ The truth of the scriptures are being dumbed-down - scripture study is replaced with power-point references on Sunday, and sensual, human-pleasing experiences, music and activities are being promoted as the key to experiencing God.
∑ A Growing trend toward ecumenical unity for the cause of world peace, eradicating hunger, curing AIDS, etc. The emerging church is beginning to become a social and political force and less and less of a spiritual force, as emphasis on evangelism, the Second Coming, taking a stand against sin and having a clear Biblical word is being replaced with a silence on those issues if not a denial of the importance of them, in order to do social good.
∑ The church will begin to find that unity around the "Lausanne Covenant", which just recently presented the "Holistic Gospel of Christ" which emphasizes the "redemption of cultures" not people, and that the Gospel is about people having a "perfect bond with God" and "growing in every area of their lives." It says that we are given a "cultural mandate as well as an evangelistic mandate", and that the spread of the Gospel will lead to the "restoration of all nations." No emphasis on Jesus' coming, and rather than speak of man's sinful condition, it speaks of "disconnection of souls, clash of civilizations and confusion of truth." Renewal of "life, society, culture and all nations" is the goal of this covenant, NOT a call to repentance and preparation for judgment and Jesus' return.
So pervasive has this covenant become that Christianity Today has said that 'the unifying question is quickly becoming "Do you subscribe to the Lausanne Covenant?" This covenant is the new-age permeated Gospel of the Emerging Church that will unknowingly welcome the antichrist and a new world religious order in which TRUE evangelical Christians will be considered divisive, archaic and in the way of the "postmodern" religious worldwide union.
Emerging church leaders are numerous and prolific writers and speakers, and include people such as Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Jimmy Carter, Dan Kimball, Ken Blanchard, Dallas Willard, Brian McLaren and many others. Those who are not directly identified as "emergent" leaders but nevertheless share in and carry their agenda are Rick Warren, Robert Schuller, Tony Campolo and others.
It is this author's hope that sane Christians will study well this short guideline for identifying new age and occult infections in the church and hold the line against it. While no one wants to promote a "witch hunt" just because someone might innocently use a few new age terms in their writing or preaching, I have little fear that will happen. Rather, at this point, it appears that in churches all across the country, the foxes are not only guarding the henhouses, they are investing in poultry stock. Few are raising any warning, let alone a witch hunt. But every believer should divest themselves of the loaded terminology of the new age and keep the Gospel pure from it. Using new age terms in our preaching and teaching is not going to make us relevant; it will only make us vulnerable to the powerful occult and new age "forces" behind their concepts. The church has its own vocabulary; it's called the scriptures. Let's use it, be known for it and identified by it. Let us become once more People of the Book who are untainted by the seductive verbiage of the new age movement and the emergent soup mess.