A New Age is definitely coming, but according to the Bible it will be an age of wickedness and chaos, presided over by the Antichrist. That, however, is not the rosy picture presented by the loose coalition of forces known as the New Age Movement. The philosophies of the New Age Movement have made shocking inroads into government, churches, schools, healthcare and television. As a Christian, are you prepared to give Biblical answers to the false philosophies put forward by proponents of the New Age Movement?
This new book from Way of Life Literature documents the explosive growth of the New Age movement in our day.
God’s people need to be able to identify the New Age and refute it with Scripture so that they can protect themselves, their churches, their loved ones, and their neighbors in these dark last days. Far too many are unequipped for this task.
The New Age philosophy has permeated the self-help, personal transformation field; it has leavened education (from lowest to highest levels) and reached deeply into business, health care, psychological counseling, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, politics and government, athletics and sports, even the military.
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I. The New Age’s Vain Dream (rebellion against God)
II. Oprah Winfrey: The New Age High Priestess
III. My Experience in the New Age
IV. The New Age and the Mystery of Iniquity
V. What Is the New Age?
VI. The Origin of the New Age
VII. How the New Age Evolved over the Past 100 Years
VIII. Mysticism: The New Age Glue
IX. The New Age and Christianity
X. Why Christians Are Being Deceived by the New Age
XI. Hegelian Dialectics: A Winning New Age Tool
X. What Does the Bible Say?
In this book we take a close look at popular New Age doctrines and practices such as Ayurveda, Reiki, yoga, Homeopathy, channeling, positive thinking and positive confession, visualization, mantras, hypnotism, human potential, reincarnation, UFOs, global transformation, and community building. We show that the New Age has gained a stronghold in churches through such things as ecumenicalism, interfaith dialogue, the contemplative movement, Norman Vince Peale-Robert Schuller positive thinking, and the human potential market and we document the infiltration of the New Age into evangelical Christianity.
The last chapter contains an extensive biblical refutation of New Age principles laid out in a format that could be used in Sunday Schools, Bible Institutes, and Home Schooling..
The book features an extensive index.
Excerpt from the chapter on Oprah Winfrey:
“Few things illustrate the dramatic increase in New Age influence over the past two decades than Oprah Winfrey.
Winfrey (b. 1954), the highly successful television talk show host, actor, producer, activist, and businesswoman, has been called “a really hip and materialistic Mother Teresa,” “a symbolic figurehead of spirituality,” a “moral monitor,” “America’s pastor,” “today’s Billy Graham” (USA Today, May 10, 2006).
Her syndicated television show is the highest-rated and longest-running television talk show in the United States, having run since September 8, 1986, for over 22 seasons and 3,000 episodes (“The Oprah Winfrey Show,” Wikipedia). Her show has 49 million viewers in 122 countries and practically any book that she recommends rises to the top rung of the sales charts. Her O magazine readership is about 3 million. She receives 10,000 letters and 4,000 e-mails a week. Her web site is visited 1.3 million times per day. A Gallop poll survey ranked her the number 4 most important woman in history.
Winfrey is one of the most influential promoters of New Age themes in the world today, and the thing to understand is that she also does not totally renounce her Christian heritage. She often talks about her upbringing and how the church shaped her life, but she intermingles Christian faith with paganism. She was raised in a Baptist church in Mississippi, the daughter of a deacon. After a rebellious youth she “repented” and joined a Baptist church in Nashville and spoke frequently in churches.
Oprah is a New Age Christian, and as such she represents multitudes of professing Christians, particularly in Western countries. She rejects the “negatives” of the biblical faith such as man being a fallen sinner and needing redemption through Calvary, but she tries to hold on to the more “positive” aspects of love, hope, peace, grace, and blessing (divorced from biblical meaning). She rips the heart out of the gospel while still claiming to believe it!
She says that New Age and the Bible are saying the same thing, as long as one doesn’t have a literalistic mindset:
“As I study the New Age movement, it all seems to say exactly what the Bible has said for years, but many of us were brought up with a restricted, limited understanding of what the Bible said.”
She uses biblical terms but defines them according to the New Age dictionary. On one show with Shirley MacLaine, Oprah said that being born again is the same as being “connected to the higher Self” and she said that “ask and it shall be given” is the same as seeking answers from your “intuitive Self” (“The Gospel according to Oprah,” Vantage Point, July 1998).
Oprah’s objective is not merely entertainment. The Oprah Winfrey Show Fact Sheet says:
“Our mission statement is to use television to transform people’s lives, to make viewers see themselves differently and to bring happiness and a sense of fulfillment into every home.”
Oprah’s 2005 book Live Your Best Life described her philosophy that everything is one and man is divine and man can create his own reality. Her gospel is that man is not a sinner, God is not a judge, all is well with the universe, and I just need to surrender to the flow. She encourages people to meditate and pray (and it doesn’t matter to what you pray, to God or to Glorious Future or to All that is Divine or to All that is Love, or whatever) and say:
“My heart is open to find the flow, the flow, the flow, the flow that is my life. I am willing to surrender to the flow that is my life.”
In a nutshell, Oprah’s gospel is ME. She says, “God wants you to love yourself. It starts with you.” Her web site shouts the good news: “Discover, embrace and nurture yourself ... celebrate and honor you!”
She says that gurus are here “not to teach us about their divinity but to teach us about our own” (Wendy Kaminer, “Why We Love Gurus,” Newsweek, Oct. 20, 1997).
In February 2008 singer Natalie Cole told Oprah and her audience how that when she turned 58 she decided to pay tribute to herself. “I put on a luncheon and I gave myself a cake, and on that cake it said, ‘Happy birthday to my best friend, me.’ I thought that was the coolest thing that I could have done” (http://www2.oprah.com/spiritself/slide/20080228/slide_20080228_284_101.jhtml).
Oprah has paraded a steady stream of New Age thinkers before the world:
One of Oprah’s regulars is Della Reese, star of Touched by an Angel. This television show preaches the New Age doctrines that men are not estranged from God by sin, that they do not have to be reconciled through Christ’s Atonement, that God is the Father of all men, that angels are not perfect, and that salvation is by human kindness. Reese is the co-founder with Johnnie Coleman of the Understanding Principles for Better Living Church. Coleman is a New Thought minister of the Unity School of Christianity, which teaches, “We are Divine through the Christ within, the individualization of God in us.”
Oprah’s audience has followed movie star Shirley MacLaine’s journey into the New Age, beginning with her television mini-series Out on a Limb, which promotes such things as spirit channeling, mental telepathy, astral projection, and reincarnation. It even describes Shirley’s alleged out of body trip to beyond the moon. In the movie she stands before the ocean and shouts, “I am God! I am God! I am God!” Twenty years later, Oprah is still promoting MacLaine. In 2007 she had her on the program to discuss her book Sage-ing While Age-ing. The book and interview prove that MacLaine is still pushing the New Age.
In February 1988 Oprah featured Satanist Michael Aquino, who said, “We are not servants of some God; we are our own gods.”
Oprah has promoted several psychics who allegedly communicate with the dead. Raymond Moody, author of Life after Life, has been on Oprah’s show to tell her audience that communication with the dead is possible.
Psychic medium John Edward told Oprah and her audience: “I act as a conduit between the physical world and what I call ‘the other side.’ I act as that conduit, like a bridge, and I bring through their information. So it’s like they beam me their energy, I interpret it in my frame of reference, and I pass it on to the person I’m sitting with.”
Oprah has also promoted psychic medium James Van Praagh. He claims to receive messages from spirits that provide “detailed evidential proof that a loved one survived death.” He says, “I think that all things are spirit and are derived from spirit. When you look at life from that perspective, it takes on a whole new meaning.”
In 1987 Oprah featured Wayne Dyer, Shakti Gawain and Arnold Patent as expert panelists on the New Age. Dyer told Oprah’s audience, “You are what you think about, that’s all you are, you’re purely your thoughts.”
During that program Oprah said:
“Isn’t it just spiritual evolvement; isn’t it coming closer to the force that is God whether you call it God or not, isn’t that what it is?”
“And so what you can create for that day you can also create for your life. I realized this and say this often in speeches too. I am where I am because for as long as I was cognizant I believed in my possibilities. ... I allowed myself to move with the flow of the universe even before I read any of these books. I understood that is what I was doing. Once you get this and you understand what God is then you never had to be unhappy ever--ever.”
“What God really is, is God manifests himself--herself--itself through your breathe through your conscience and through your intuition. And as long as you have that, you have the presence of God and you also have power and it is acknowledging and realizing that that’s what it is instead of looking out here to find it, you already have it.”
Shakti Gawain’s book Creative Visualization describes her New Age doctrine. She says we should be open to “accept the goodness of the universe ... to receiving the blessings of this abundant universe” (pp. 51, 52). She encourages people to trust their inner selves. “Make contact with your inner Child, your Mentor within. That teacher knows which fork in the road to follow. And you know when you have chosen right, because then you feel alive. Start exercising your intuition by letting it guide you on issues of less importance. For instance, shall I go to that party or not? What feels best? And then act on it, like if you never had a doubt in your mind” (http://shaktigawain.wwwhubs.com/). Trusting oneself is actually a blind leap into the dark.
Another panel of Oprah guests who discussed the New Age consisted of Don Curtis (Unity ministry and channeler), Kevin Ryerson (Shirley MacLaine’s channeler), and Marilyn Ferguson. Curtis claimed that the doctrine of reincarnation was originally believed by Christians but was thrown out at the Council of Nicea in the 4th century. (This Council had nothing to do with deciding what was in the Bible and did not address the issue of reincarnation; it was about the Arian controversy and the battle over the doctrine of Christ’s divinity.) Curtis said that there is a spiritual awakening occurring in America and it is about “the awakening of that divine self within individuals.”
Oprah said that if Jesus claimed exclusive divinity, “It would make Jesus the biggest egotist that ever lived” (http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/oprah-gospel.htm).
On that program Oprah said:
“We are talking about the new age movement, which in essence a lot of people are now believing, but you have to take, you are responsible for your life is one of the philosophies, the power of God lives in you as well as above and around and through you and with that power you control your life” (“The Universe According to Oprah,” http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac36.htm).
In 1998 Oprah featured another panel on the New Age composed of Betty Eadie, Sophy Burnham, and Dannion Brinkley. On that show Oprah said:
“... one of the biggest mistakes humans make is to believe that there is only one way. Actually, there are many diverse paths leading to what you call God.”
When an audience member disagreed, testifying that she believed that Jesus Christ is the only way to God, Winfrey got upset and said that she didn’t think that someone would go to hell because they don’t believe in Jesus. She stated emphatically, “THERE COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE ONLY ONE WAY.” She argued that it is the heart that matters to God, not faith in Christ. She asked, “Does God care about your heart or whether you called His Son Jesus?” When the audience member tried again to testify for Jesus, Oprah cut her off and said, “I’m not going to get into a religious discussion.” Why, the fact is that she gets into religious discussions all of the time. There is only one religion she avoids, and that is Jesus Christ as THE way, THE truth, and THE life. For a video clip of this episode see http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/oprah-fool.htm or http://www.watchman.org/oprah.htm.
On the same program Oprah said:
“I was raised a Baptist and we were too hung up on traditional ways. I was sitting in church and heard that God is a jealous God. I asked ‘Why? Come on-let’s get over it!’ ... I believe in the FORCE--I call it God” (“The Gospel according to Oprah,” Vantage Point, July 1998).
Oprah has gotten so big and wise in her own eyes that she can instruct God! People should be able to do what they please and worship whatever they please, and if God has a problem with it He just needs to get over it!
Betty Eadie, a New Age Mormon and the author of Embraced by the Light, has described her personal trip to heaven to Oprah’s audience. She said that when she had a near death experience, three spiritual beings who were her guardian angels appeared to her and guided her to heaven. Oprah said: “I believe that there are many paths to God, or many paths to the light. I certainly don’t believe there is only one way...” Eadie replied that she talked to Jesus in heaven and he also said that there are many paths! Eadie said: “But he [Jesus] said about the other faiths that it didn’t really matter, that love was the ultimate. That if we love one another that everything else would be okay (http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac36.htm).
Let’s see, now. The Jesus of the Bible said that no man comes to God but by Him (John 14:6), whereas the Jesus Eadie talked to said there are many paths. Obviously one or the other of them is a false christ! Oprah and her audience like to think that they can believe the Bible and New Age, too, but believing in opposites is not reality; it is an exercise in futility.
Oprah has featured Sarah Breathnach and her New Age books. In 1996 Oprah promoted Breathnach’s Simple Abundance, which encourages journaling as a tool to “dig below the secret wounds of the soul” to discover “your authentic self.” Breathnach tells her readers that they are “asleep in God.” In 1998 Oprah promoted Breathnach’s book Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self, which is “a life bible for women around the world.” Breathnach says, “Whatever we are waiting for--peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance--it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”
Oprah has often promoted Caroline Myss (pronounced mace), the author of Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing. She teaches the divinity of man and the power of positive confession. She claims that “all circumstances can be changed in a moment, and all illness can be healed” (Anatomy of the Spirit, 1996, p. 286). She says, “Act on your inner guidance, and give up your need for ‘proof’ that your inner guidance is authentic” (daily message on her web site for April 5, 2008). She says, “For me, the spirit is the vessel of divinity. Its language is intuitive. Its truth is rooted in ancient wisdom” (“Caroline Myss’ Journey,” Conscious Choice, September 2003).
Deepak Chopra received a great boost after his appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997. His book Ageless Body, Timeless Mind sold 130,000 copies in one day. Chopra says, “In reality, we are divinity in disguise, and the gods and goddesses in embryo that are contained within us seek to be fully materialized” (The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, p. 3).
Debbie Ford, another New Age guru promoted by Oprah, preaches the gospel of “self-love and emotional freedom.” Her philosophy is the typical New Age synthesis of eastern mysticism, Jungian psychology, hypnosis, and more. She says: “My work and what I teach people is that you must go inside. You must go inside and get the answers because that will move it from your heard to your heart” (Linda Richards interview with Debbie Ford, January Magazine, http://www.januarymagazine.com/profiles/debbieford.html). She teaches that people don’t have to be ashamed of seeming bad traits like selfishness or laziness or greed or lying because they can be good things in their place. She says, “I found out what people hated about themselves and I taught them how to embrace it and to love that part of themselves and have compassion” (interview). She calls the dark side of one’s self “the shadow,” and encourages individuals to learn how to make peace with it. “Most people think that our shadow side is something to fear, run from, hide or suppress. But our shadow side, when it’s reclaimed, when it’s brought into the light, can give us all the gifts we are looking for” (“Debbie Ford on the Shadow Process,” Innerchange, Feb. 1, 2004). She does not mean to say that the dark side of man is sin and that sin must be repented of and forgiven by God. To her, the biblical concept of sin does not exist and darkness can be embraced for the “good” it can do.
Ford believes in the divinity of man. The front flap to her book The Secret of the Shadow: The Power of Owning Your Whole Life says that once we learn to integrate the shadow side we “return to our Divine essence.”
“There is a Rumi quote that I heard many years ago that really drove my spiritual search: ‘By God, WHEN YOU SEE YOUR BEAUTY, YOU'LL BE THE IDOL OF YOURSELF.’ Somehow, I knew that was the truth. When we have the courage to become intimate with all of ourselves--the dark as well as the light--we come face to face with our authentic selves. And we discover that we are absolutely lovable, even though we are flawed human beings” (Innerchange interview).
That’s the message that resonates with Oprah and her friends so very, very deeply!
Dannion Brinkley has told Oprah’s audience about his near death experiences and the spiritual power and truth he gained from these. He describes this in his books, beginning with Saved by the Light (1994). He says that he met Thirteen Beings of Lights within the Hall of Knowledge and was given a mission, a message, and prophecies of the future. His web site says: “This new millennium holds more power than any other in history. We are all great, powerful, mighty spiritual beings for choosing to be part of this most special time on Earth.”
New Ager M. Scott Peck promoted his book The Road Less Traveled on the Oprah show. He wrote: “God wants us to become Himself (or Herself or Itself). We are growing toward God. God is the ultimate goal of evolution” (The Road Less Traveled, 1978, p. 270).
(We included only a small portion of our chapter on Oprah Winfrey).