Your Father, who is in heaven,
Makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good,
Sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
- Matthew 5:45
“But aren’t essential oils New Age!?” you might be wondering. “Aren’t essential oil blends just magic potions? Are you condoning witchcraft?”
Essential oils have been used by Jews and Christians for millennia, but they have also been used by New Agers, Satanists, and other non-Christians. Does that make essential oils ‘unclean’? If you are uneasy about some of the alternative wellness philosophies and practices of today, this demonstrates that you have good moral and spiritual sense.
I commend you for your fear of God’s commandments and resolve to abstain from idol worship. Dabbling in diabolic practices is a serious matter and something no Christian can approve of. We don’t play games with the devil for Peter tells us he is prowling around, like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour; resist him solid in your faith (1 Peter 5:8-9).
My aim is not to water down your Christian principles to the point where you can feel good about embracing New Age philosophies – on the contrary! I want to bolster your faith so that you can approach the amazing world of plants and God and humans and healing with new zeal, strengthened by a clear Christian vision for all that is good, beautiful, wholesome, and true.
In order to set off down this path we must first acknowledge that we are at war. There is a battle for your soul - at this moment. The good news is we are on the winning side. The bad news is God never guaranteed we would not be deceived, make bad decisions, or get hurt . . . (or is that part of the good news? If we lived in a protective bubble of heavenly bliss, wouldn't we miss out on the beautiful trials of life?)
There is a famous quote by Sun Tzu, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” (I hope you are not scandalized by my quoting a non-Christian, but truth is true and this statement happens to be true, so I embrace it. This illustrates our first principle, actually, that Christians embrace everything that is good, beautiful, or true . . . but back to the battle.)
Ten Lies of New Age Spirituality
Let’s call our enemy’s chief, current deception, ‘New Age spirituality’. Some Christians may not agree with this, so I need to define what I mean by New Age. I do not mean ancient truths or perennial wisdom, like Sun Tzu’s quote above. God’s law is written on every heart (Rom 2:15) and, therefore, any immortal truth taught by a non-Christian is not false, but true. (I will explain this below.) That is not what I mean by New Age. In this book, my reference to New Age has to do with those principles which negate or contradict Christian principles or truths and are therefore false. ‘New Age’ is a convenient designation for an amalgam of non-Christian ideas and beliefs that have creeped into Western society since the 1970s. In order to bring clarity to a muddled way of thinking, this section highlights some major errors in New Age philosophy, not where it happens to be right.
Zoroastrian astrologers break time into twelve ages that each last 2,160 years. The New Age refers to the Age of Aquarius which follows the Age of Pisces, named after constellations in the zodiac. These details are not very important. God made these stellar cycles and Jesus Christ is the Lord of All Ages. The devil is trying to usurp the power Christ established in the heavens in order to give legitimacy to his jealous plan for our destruction, but he is an impostor with no real power of his own. The devil can only manipulate the natural, God-given powers of creation.
New Agers claim that the Age of Aquarius will be an age of female domination – an age in which organized religions will dwindle and ‘spirituality will rise’ - yadda, yadda, yadda – it sounds, to me, like the devil’s wish-list. I mention these because they are part of – “Know thy enemy.”
New Age is not an organized religion, so it is difficult to pin ideas to a creed, but the following ten convictions are those largely embraced or adhered to. As I go through these, I will do my best to untwist the lie so you can quickly recognize the truth that is being distorted:
New Age Lie #1: God is something to be used or a force to be harnessed. This idea was made very popular by the Star Wars movies. Truth: God is not the sun or the ocean or electric energy. God is three Persons with whom we have a personal relationship. As C.S. Lewis reminds us, God is wild and untamed. He is uncreated, unmoved, indivisible, and incomprehensible. He is not a magic power to be used for evil or for good. He is God.
Lie #2: “Christ” is a title applied to someone who has arrived at a state of consciousness where he or she perceives him or herself to be divine and can thus claim to be a “universal Master.” (Buddha is an example of Christ by this definition.) The Cosmic Christ is a pattern which can be repeated in many people, places and times; everyone is potentially Christ. Truth: Christ literally means ‘anointed one’, in Greek, and was a term used by pagans before Jesus to describe cosmic deities. Intentionally ‘baptizing’ pagan words and concepts, the early Greek Christians translated the Hebrew title, “Messiah”, into the Greek, “Christ”. Jesus Christ’s apostolic successors spent the good part of the first millennium articulating the nature of Jesus Christ to the Church and the world.
Through baptism we are united to Christ, but this is not what New Agers mean. New Agers have a general confusion about the nature of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. In truth, the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381 A.D. clarifies that there is “one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all ages; Light of Light, true God of true God, begotten, not created, of one essence with the Father through whom all things were made.”
Lie #3: There is one Universal Being of which we are all part. (This comes from Hindu-Buddhist philosophy.) Truth: There are many individual, created beings including minerals, plants, animals, humans, and angels. God is uncreated being. Individual persons are in free relationship with other personal beings: God, angels, and humans.
Lie #4: We invent our own truth. (Yes, we noticed.) Truth: Those who embrace God’s revealed truth and conform to His created reality will be happy; while those who ‘live in their own universe’ will be miserable and restless. This does not mean we fully understand everything that has been revealed by God, but it does mean that there is objective truth and our task is to discover it, not create an alternative reality.
Lie #5: Prayer and meditation are means of communicating with your divine-self. Truth: Prayer is communication with God (and some Christians would include petitioning deceased Christians who are in Heaven – asking for their prayers on our behalf). We are created by God for God. We owe Him alone our worship, glory, honor, thanksgiving, and repentance. Christianity has a doctrine of divinization (theosis), but it is distinctly different from the New Age idea. The bottom line is, we humans are not autonomous gods.
Lie #6: There is no sin, only imperfect knowledge. This is a Gnostic principle. Truth: Sin is love of oneself even to contempt of God. Because of sin God gave us His precepts and commandments to protect us and sent His Son to redeem us from sin and death. Jesus first instruction to us, at the beginning of His ministry, was, “Repent . . .” (Mt 4:17, Mk 1:15)
Lie #7: We save ourselves through self-fulfillment and self-realization. Truth: Salvation is a free gift from God through the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His gift of salvation invites us to repent and cooperate with His plan of redemption. Life in Christ is the only way we can realize our full potential as human persons.
Lie #8: Suffering and death are self-imposed. Suffering happens because one lacks the knowledge to prevent it or because of bad karma. Truth: Human suffering can be redemptive when offered in loving union with Christ’s suffering.
Lie #9: Self-promotion is good. Truth: New Agers blur differentiations - relationships and love are ill-defined in New Age thought. Christians are called to be humble, servant leaders. True love acknowledges the other person. Unity and community are Christian terms. Social duties are the work of Christian love.
Lie #10: Our future is determined in the stars. Truth: We construct our future by cooperating with God’s plan and working for His kingdom, or by refusing to cooperate. We have free-will.
New Agers are not all Satanists. Some of them are hard core, but most of them are like us: well-intentioned Christians, but a little off-base. The later are simply deceived and ignorant of the fact that some of their ideas are incompatible with Christian thought. As a wise pastor once said, “Most people live in a sea of deception and hold a thimbleful of culpability.” That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t correct yourself and others. Ideas have consequences – culpable or not. Don’t let friends suffer in ignorance of the truth. Jesus said, “The truth will set you free.” (Jn 8:32)
New Age spirituality is filling a vacuum. We Christians are partially to blame for not doing a better job in the New Evangelization. New Age ideas answer the often-silent cry in people's hearts which leads them elsewhere if they are not satisfied by familiar forms of Christianity. New Agers rightfully criticize reductionist, mechanistic thinking in modern medicine and psychiatry which refuses to take into consideration religious and supernatural experiences. One of our chief aims in this blog is to bridge the gap between soul and body from a Christian anthropology for a Christian philosophy of healing.
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