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False Teaching In The Church
This is a major topic and our coverage of it will expand over time. Those who are bringing it into the church will claim it is Biblical and a way to become closer to Jesus. In reality these are Hindu/New Age practices that play on your emotions to take you away from Jesus. THey come into the church under different names, and the names change every couple of years. Names and phrases to watch out for include:
- Spiritual Formation
- Entering Silence
- Contemplative Prayer
- Repetitive Prayer
SPOTTING NEW AGE TEACHING
As a start let's take a few moments to learn some of the characteristics of New Age teaching. Knowing these characteristics will help you identify books, videos, and other materials that contain New Age teaching.
What Is New Age?
In his book “A Time Of Departing,” Ray Yungen defines New Age as: The Age of Aquarius, supposedly the Golden Age, when man becomes aware of his power and divinity. – Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2006, page 204
This sounds like a fad from the 60’s that has come and gone. But do not be deceived. New Age spirituality is bigger than ever, and it is everywhere. Ray Yungen writes: Christian Yoga, spiritual disciplines, spiritual formation, the silence, sacred space, and contemplative prayer—do any of these sound familiar? If you have not heard of them yet, chances are it is just a matter of time before these terms start showing up in your church. – Ray Yungen, A Time of Departing, 2006, page 204
Author and speaker Warren Smith was deeply immersed in the New Age Movement. At the height of his involvement with New Age: “the Lord intervened. He exposed the darkness that was actually behind the deceptive “peace,” “love,” and “light” of our New Age/New Gospel teachings. By the time it was all over, it was clear to us that all of our New Age beliefs had been founded on half-truths and lies.” - Warren Smith, blog post
In his book “False Christ Coming, Does Anybody Care?” Warren describes the “Jesus” of the New Age Movement: The New Age Gospel teaches that when humanity collectively accepts and experiences itself as being part of Christ and a part of God, we will not only save ourselves, we will save our world… With “new revelation” often accompanied by direct personal spiritual experience, people are taught that because they are a part of God, they are actually “at-one” with God and all creation. – Warren Smith, False Christ Coming, Does Anybody Care?, 2011, Pages 13 & 14
New Age teaching and spirituality is growing in our churches, it is moving into our schools. I regularly receive flyers from organizations that train teachers in how to use New Age techniques. They do not mention the phrase “New Age,” but they offer training in New Age practices such as “Yoga & Mindfulness for Kids” (from an organization known as PESI), and “Calming The Overactive Brain” (offered by the Institute For Brain Potential).
Yoga Is To Hindus What Then Lord's Supper is to Christians
The word “Yoga” means unity. Yoga is a practice that is at the core of Hinduism (New Age). It is the way to achieve unity with the Hindu Gods. Yoga is described as being: “a wonderful introduction to present-moment awareness and introduction to present-moment awareness and mindfulness.” This describes the New Age spirituality.
Other key New Age practices to look for include:
- Present-moment awareness: this means to not think about the past, nor worry about the future, but to focus on the present.
- Mindfulness: focusing on being calm in the present moment, and accepting your feelings and whatever you are experiencing. “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” - Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center
- Oneness with god: this is commonly manifested in what is called Practicing the Presence (of god). Practicing the Presence, or sometimes it is just referred to as the Presence (with a capital “P”) involves sitting quietly, often whispering a simple word or phrase to help you empty your mind and experience the presence of god. As you calm and empty your mind, the god who is within you (oneness with god) may be experienced.
- The Silence: this refers to emptying your mind of all thoughts; “to suspend thought through word repetition or breath focus—inward mental silence. Tilden Edwards called this the ‘bridge to far Eastern spirituality.’”
- Repetition / Breath Focus: these are two of the most common practices used to help empty your mind. Repetition refers to repeating a single word or phrase. This might be the name of “Jesus” or a phrase such as “I love you Jesus.” Throughout Jesus Always you will encounter exhortations to pray short prayers such as these. Breath focus means to slow and control your breathing, often by saying one word or phrase as you inhale, and another as you exhale.
Remember what scripture says, the true battle is not happening in a realm you can see. We are in a spiritual battle. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." – Ephesians 6:12
You are in a battle against spiritual forces of darkness, and they will do whatever it takes to draw you away from the true Jesus Christ… such as making you feel good when using practices that open you to demonic influence. Demons have the ability to calm you, to give you peace, and make you feel spiritual and close to “god.” Using the practices described in this chapter opens people to demonic spiritual forces, not God.
Do you remember what scripture says happened to the man who was cleaned out and left empty? He was in the condition New Age practices strive to achieve… empty: "Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came'; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first." — Matthew 12:43-45
What should he have done after the unclean spirit left? Filled himself with scripture. We are to fill ourselves with God’s word, leaving no room for demons, or even fleshly thoughts.
What should you do when you encounter someone teaching the practices identified here? Or when you encounter a pastor, book or DVD promoting these practices? Run! New Age practices are very dangerous. If they are in your church, and you can't convince you pastor to stop,then get out of that church. Do not get anywhere near these practices. Do not let them into your life. Tightly shut and lock the door to your mind and feelings, and turn to the true Jesus in scripture.
One of the common ways for these practices come into the church is through the book JESUS CALLING. Steve has written a book revealing the unbiblical teaching of Jesus Calling. You can get a copy from Amazon or read it free on our web site. It is called: RUN! It's Jesus Calling
Video 1: Learn How To Recognize Anti-Christian Mystical Beliefs
Video 2: Part 1 The Transformation of a New Age Medium
This is part one of a two part presentation about New Age practices and how they are becoming a part of the "Christian" church. New Age is not a 60's fad that has faded away. It is a religion that continues to grow and infect the Christian church. New Age practices include things such as yoga, mindfulness, and contemplative prayer. For example, many churches have yoga classes to help people stretch and relax. But, what are they really doing? Yoga is the central practice in Hinduism. Without yoga there is no Hinduism. The body movements are designed to bring you into unity with the Hindu gods... and it works. New Age practices such as Hinduism are not just stretching exorcises, or fun games... they are religious practices that work... putting into the realm of demons and the occult. Watch the video and learn more from someone who was deeply involved in New Age practices.
Video 3: Part 2 His Warning to The Church
This is a favorite of those promoting contemplative prayer. It says: "Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” [NASB] However, they prefer the NIV which says, "Be still, and know that I am God;"
They take this to mean to be calm, silence the stirring in your mind. Silence your thoughts, and you will hear the small still voice of God speak to you. In other words, empty your mind. Creat a "calm" nothingness in your head. They will often recommend a repetitive prayer to help you do this.
This IS NOT what scripture is saying to do. This psalm is about God being our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in trouble. This verse is saying, when trouble comes, don't panic. Trust the Lord. God is with you and He is your fortress.