Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call with T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for joining us! In today’s program, Tom begins a two-part series with guest Warren Smith as they address the topic: How Old Is the New Age? Here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Today and next week I’ll be discussing the New Age movement – or, aspects of the New Age movement – with someone that I consider to be the foremost expert on that subject, both from his experience in it and his critical knowledge of it. He’s my friend, Warren Smith, and some of his books include The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace and Deceived on Purpose, as well as another very valuable book that we discussed in detail on Search the Scriptures 24/7, “Another Jesus” Calling. So, Warren, thanks for joining me today on Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Warren: Good to be with you.
Tom: Warren, by the way, has been added to our list of speakers for the TBC Conference coming up in August, and we’re really looking forward to that.
Warren, as you know, I recently completed a three-part series on the New Age movement, and what I tried to communicate was the fact that the New Age movement, which got going here in the US in the ’70s, and which some are saying, “Well, come on! That’s faded away, Tom!” — to the contrary, it hasn’t faded away but has, in my view, and I think Warren’s as well, entered into the fabric of our culture. That’s primarily what I wanted, Warren, to get your perspective on. But this morning—early this morning—I read through one of your booklets titled Be Still and Know That You Are Not God, which I want to discuss—I want the focus to be on [that], in our discussion this morning and certainly next week.
But first, I want you to start out by answering the question: Has the New Age faded away, like may other fads or trends that capture the interests of people but have a very short shelf life? What’s the story, Warren?
Warren: Well, Tom, the New Age has done nothing but grow exponentially since it first showed up in the 1970s. I know that when my book The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace was published by Moody Press, the PR person at Moody Press said, “Oh, what a shame, Warren! The New Age is passé. The timing for your book is just really not very good.”
And I said, “Au contraire! It’s growing as we speak.” And it’s continued to grow. They just don’t use the term as much. Now, it’s sort of morphed into the “New Spirituality.” They talk about the New Spirituality. But, as you said, Tom, it’s become part of the mainstream in our culture now, and it’s just part of our everyday vocabulary.
Tom: Right. Now, for the sake of…maybe there are some who were born after the ’70s, as we mentioned, they look back, and they say, “Well, that was the hippie generation, and we’re not there anymore.” Now, wait a minute. Let’s – for their sake – I’d like you to define the New Age movement.
Warren: Well, the New Age movement really is founded on the belief that God is in everyone and everything. All is one and everything is connected. And we hear that word “connect” all over the place, and “connectivity,” “oneness,” where Christians talk about Jesus’ death on the cross and the atonement—the New Age calls it the “at-one-ment” – same spelling, but it’s the “at-ONE-ment.” So it’s a collection of seemingly different beliefs, whether it be Buddhism – just…you name it—just a whole wide variety of things that are out there in the name of religion, but the foundational belief that God is in everyone and everything is common to all of them. And this is the way that the world religion will be brought together. But it’s not really being called the new world religion anymore, because people were kind of looking for that. Now, it’s the “new worldview.” So the New Age has become the New Worldview, and, unfortunately, as you well know, Tom, it’s now in the church in a fairly deeply embedded manner.
Tom: Without a doubt. And just going back to our young people, they don’t know they’re talking religion. They say, “Well, that’s my karma.” Wait a minute! Guys, that’s Hinduism. Or, “I’ve got a mantra.” “Here’s my mantra.” It’s been so taken into our vocabulary, and they don’t understand the basis for it and the teaching behind it. So, that’s a concern that we have, right?
Warren: Yeah, and I think the stereotype that that the devil wants everybody to believe is that it’s Shirley MacLaine running down the beach, or people blowing bubbles and reading horoscopes, wearing crystals – it’s kind of a silly, faddish type thing.
It’s anything but that! It’s a deeply embedded belief system that comes straight from the antichrist teachings that are out there in the world.
Tom: Which we’re going to get to. We’re going to really underscore, the Lord willing, in our two sessions together. Now, let’s get to your booklet. As I said this morning, I’m reading through it and I’m thinking, “No, no, I’m changing…as you know, Warren, I sent you another list of questions that we might talk about, but this certainly…I think it’s of the Lord to get into this. Your booklet is titled, “Be Still and Know That You Are Not God.” Now, first of all, what’s the story behind that title?
Warren: Well, Psalm:46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God,” and God is announcing to the nations that He is God. And there’s a security and a safety in knowing that for believers. And, interestingly, when I was in the New Age, we used to start…I remember one Edgar Cayce conference that I went to, we started off our morning meditations by affirming that: Be still and know that I am God. That was the way that we did it: that we were God! So, it completely usurps that, and interestingly, that passage is used throughout the church now to sort of incubate contemplative prayer, which I always thought was kind of weird. Why would they take the very thing that the New Age is using to affirm that we’re all God, why would they use that? And it’s just because it’s a bleed-through. It’s the way that they’re connecting things. It’s the bringing of things together from the world and into the church.
Tom: Yeah, but also, it’s a misunderstanding; it’s a misuse of that “Be still…” It doesn’t mean “quiet yourself; let your mind go blank.” It means, “Hey! Don’t be anxious about this. I’m in charge!” Am I pushing that?
Warren: No, that’s exactly right. It’s being used, and people from Beth Moore to…you name it, are saying that that is what that scripture is saying – that it’s to take us into a quiet place, into a place of meditation or contemplative prayer, and that’s not true at all.
Tom: What I want to do now is really take this idea, and hopefully we can explain to our listeners where it comes from – the very basis for it, and we have to go back to the book of Genesis:3:1-6. But I hear from people the idea of thinking that we are gods, or that God dwells in everyone. Come on! That is so absurd that… and they would say, “other than Mormons, who believes that sort of thing?” So it’s hardly worth discussing? No! This is so foundational to what I call, and I believe you’ve called, this: The Lie. We go back to Genesis 3, and we have the serpent; obviously Satan speaking through the serpent. And he passes off the lie here to humanity.
Now what I’d like to do here is just take the time – I’m going to read Genesis:3:1-6. So, people, as we talk more about this, we’ve already set the foundation from Scripture of the lie, and you can stop me at any point, Warren, and comment if you’d like. But let’s start with Genesis:3:1: “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the Garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the Garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it; neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof and did eat and gave also to her husband with her that he did eat.”
We could do probably three or four programs just going over the content of those verses. But the point being is that here, at the beginning, the idea of God – that you could become a god – was given to humanity. So, my point here is that this is – at least in my view, and I think in yours as well, Warren – this is the chief deception. This is the chief lie passed off on humanity. So, is it just there? Is that the only place that we see it, Warren? Or does it run through Scripture right down from Genesis to Revelation?
Warren: Absolutely. At the back of this booklet that I did, Be Still and Know That You Are Not God, I listed a number of scriptures; there could have been a lot more, and I think it would probably just be good to go through a few of these to establish the fact that man is not God. Now, when we accept the Lord as our Lord and Savior, we accept His finished work upon the cross, the Holy Spirit is sent to believers, and then in that sense, God is in people, but we are not God. But that’s only for believers. We are all one in Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus is not in everyone. So it has to do with faith and belief. And the one that really jumped out at me, Tom, when I was reading…I read through this Psalm many times, but it was Psalm:39:5: “Verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” That hardly says that we’re God. And it’d probably be worth doing just a few more.
Warren: Let’s start with Deuteronomy:5:7: “Thou shalt have none other gods before me [No other gods before me…that would include the god that’s “in everyone.” That’s another God.] In Isaiah:42:8: “I am the Lord, that is my name and my glory I will not give to another.”
Jeremiah:16:20: “Shall man make gods unto himself, and they are no gods?” Matthew:23:12: “And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased…” You can’t exalt yourself any more than to say that you are God! And “He that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” Lord, I know I’m not God. I need you to perfect your strength in my weakness.
I like this one a lot. In John:2:24-25, it says, “Jesus did not commit himself unto them because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man.” Now, if he knew that God was in man, that would be a completely different statement. So we have 2 Corinthians:4:5: “We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus, the Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.” So, we’re told not to be high-minded, not to think more highly of ourselves…”
Now, we are made in the image of God. We're not to completely grovel on our bellies, but we are in trouble without God, and we need Him. I remember one time I took a secretary where I was working at the homeless program out to work, and she said, “Warren, why do I need a Savior?”
And I said, “Well, Chris, maybe you don’t.”
She said, “What do you mean, I don’t?”
I said, “Well, if you don’t need to be saved from something, why would you need a Savior?”
If we’re God, as the New Age suggests, then we don’t need a Savior. We save ourselves by going within to the “god” within, and we recognize and awaken to our godhood, then we become fully realized. And that’s the lie of the New Age, and that’s the lie that’s coming into the church.
Tom: Yeah, and it’s so important – especially as we continue this discussion – because we’re going to see [that] those who are highly influential within the church have missed the point of all those scriptures that you mentioned, which is really clear. So, this idea, as you alluded to earlier, it isn’t just in the world. It didn’t just start…it started in Genesis and it’s been pervasive throughout the world, but to see it in the church by those who might be conservative – at least, call themselves conservative - biblical Christians. They’re missing this because they’re promoting what - maybe unwittingly – they’re promoting the very lie that Satan offered. So, it’s really important that we know the Scriptures, number one. (We’ll talk about that later.) But to start off with that, so that those who may be young Christians, maybe they haven’t been believers very long, and they really don’t have an understanding – or at least a maturity – in the Scriptures to understand these things. So, the bottom line is, as we go through these ideas that are being promoted by the New Age and by many other sources that are related to the New Age, as we go through them, we’ve go to keep thinking back, “What does the Word of God say? What does the Word of God say? What does the Word of God say?” So that’s a good start for us, I believe, Warren.
Warren: Well, Tom, one thing that I think’s really important to put out there, because people can get like, “Boy, this is complicated. I don’t really understand this.” Well, if we go to 2 Corinthians:11:3, Paul said, “But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that’s in Christ.” There’s a simplicity in what the Lord was accomplishing on the cross at Calvary. The thief recognized Him as Lord, and “This day you’ll be with me in Paradise,” Jesus said. That’s simple! There’s a simplicity to the deception, and that simplicity is that God is in everyone, they say, but He is not in everyone! That is the lie. That’s the lie that’s talked about in 2 Thessalonians. It says “a lie” in scripture, but really, when you get down to it, it’s the lie.”
So, if people could just understand that, then they could spot it when they see it, and we’ll go through some of the places that it’s popped up through the years. And people will be amazed at the places that it’s come up. One other thing I wanted to say is that when you and Dave Hunt did your book that exposed the way that false teachings were coming into the church, there was sort of a scrambled effort by Christian leaders to make it look like they weren’t being caught by surprise, and they kind of came up and they started doing their little warnings about the New Age. And there were some fairly significant books and warnings that were issued. The things that’s really amazing to me is that some of the men and people, women, that warned about this at one time, have let it go, they’re not talking about it any more, and now they’re actually bringing it in themselves. And that’s how far we’ve progressed on this thing.
Tom: Warren, in your booklet you give an insightful chronology of how and by whom the modern-day promoters of the lie, that is “Godhood for humanity,” were introduced to the lie and introduced it to others. As I go through your booklet here, which I have in front of me, let me just bring up a few of the names, because, as I said, it’s a chronology. You started in 1935 with God Calling, and then Alice Bailey, 1948…but Norman Vincent Peale and The Power of Positive Thinking. Now, here’s a man who millions have gone through his magazine, but what does he write? “God is in you.” Now, we know that Norman Vincent Peale and others, their Christianity wasn’t just “modern” theology, but it was also theology that had a lot to do, whether they knew it or not, with Hinduism – the concept (certainly not a biblical concept, but call it a metaphysical mind-science concept, right?).
Warren: Yeah! Norman Vincent Peale – the more I looked into Norman Vincent Peale, it got more and more interesting. There was actually an article written – and you guys covered it in The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice – I think just about everything was in The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice that you and Dave did; but two men in the Lutheran Digest, I think it was called, showed how Norman Vincent Peale was accused of plagiarizing material from the occult. And a lot of Norman Vincent Peale’s teachings overlap with the occult. So, on page 40 on The Power of Positive Thinking, which is a huge bestseller – it continues to sell well today – he tells his millions of readers, “God is in you.” And that’s the lie.
Tom: Now, on that point – and I know you referred to it earlier – is God in the Christian?
Warren: In the sense that the Holy Spirit is sent when a person has faith and believes, and in that sense – but they’re not God. There are scriptures that basically say, “God is in you” in that sense in that we’re the temple of Holy Spirit as believers and the Holy Spirit is sent. But that is only to believers. Now, that sounds very exclusive, and people go, “Oh, boy!” Well, let’s get down to the bottom line. Jesus said in Matthew 7 that the way is broad that leads to destruction; the way is narrow that leads to eternal life, and few there be that find it. I think it’s really important for people to grasp this idea that if God is in everyone, that’s a broad way. That’s all-inclusive. That’s exactly what Jesus was warning about. That’s the false god and the false Christ that He’s warning about. And then we see all these different manifestations and all these different teachings that come through books like God Calling. That was the predecessor to Sarah Young’s book Jesus Calling. People don’t realize that she based her book on the inspiration that came from that occultic book, God Calling.
So, we’re starting to take for granted things in the faith that we just shouldn’t be, and that goes from contemplative prayer to praying in circles… We’ve got a pastor in Tennessee who’s saying that he’s communicating with his deceased son, and the book is endorsed by some high-profile people like James Robison, Greg Laurie, Chuck Missler was originally on that endorsement – he’s taken it off, but he’s never really made much of a statement about why and the dangers of communicating with the dead.
So these things are all entering into the church in different, varying ways, and it’s New Age, but it’s not called New Age. It’s the new spirituality; it’s sort of like a new take on Christianity – it’s a new Christianity, but it’s not Christianity.
And the thing that I realized, Tom, the Bible, a “2000-year-old-book,” Rob Bell calls it, it read clearer and truer than any newspaper, any magazine, anything when I came into the faith from the New Age. It describes everything that’s going on today, but I think that what’s happened is that people have grabbed on to these flashy books, and heretical books, like The Shack, and Jesus Calling, rather than really knowing the Word of God, which will warn them and tell them everything they need to know about what’s going on.
Tom: And that’s the heart of what we’re doing here. We’re trying to explain to people that there’s going to be a lot of confusion, and confusion is going to become greater and greater, but the solution, which you talk about – we’ve got to get back to the Word of God.
But getting back to your chronology, you mentioned people like 1971: Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who was referred to as the father of the New Age Movement. Again, here’s the idea; I’m quoting him: “I can be saved only by becoming one with the universe. What I am proposing to do is to narrow the gap between pantheism and Christianity by bringing out what one might call the Christian soul of pantheism, or the pantheistic aspect of Christianity.”
Now, those are contradictory, aren’t they, Warren?
Warren: Yeah, and the thing that’s amazing to me is that there’s a supposed Christian leader whom very few people have heard of, but he’s been traveling in the high circles of denominational leadership, by the name of Leonard Sweet. And Leonard Sweet calls Teilhard de Chardin – those quotes that you just read [by] the father of the New Age movement – he calls him 20th-Century Christianity’s major voice. And I think this is really worth showing people how there’s this speaking out of both sides of the mouth type thing that’s going on, where they affirm Jesus as Lord and Savior, and then they bring in someone like Chardin.
In his book Aqua Church, Leonard Sweet quoted a hymn. I mean, it’s just great: Jesus, Savior, pilot me over life’s tempestuous sea; Unknown waves before me roll, hiding rock and treacherous shoal; [Chart] and compass come from Thee, Jesus the Savior, pilot me.
You say, “Well, what’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with Leonard Sweet?”
Well, one paragraph later he quotes Teilhard de Chardin, and, Tom, listen to what’s really being said here, and I’d like to hear your comments on this. He quotes Chardin, and he says…or, this is Chardin’s quote: “Christ is in the church in the same way as the sun is before our eyes. We see the same sun as our fathers saw, and yet we understand it in a much more magnificent way.”
Tom: They understand it in a broader way. A broader way that so deviates from scripture. It’s just contradictory.
Warren: Exactly! And Leonard Sweet, in his book Soul Tsunami, with a front-cover endorsement by Rick Warren, Leonard Sweet says, “To survive in the post-modern culture, one must learn to speak out of both sides of the mouth.” Now, that’s…when I was a kid and you were a kid, Tom, that was the Lone Ranger’s…Tonto said, “Kemosabe, me thinks he speaks with a forked tongue.” Jesus said, “They honor with their lips but their hearts are far from me.” This is the way they’re sticking their foot into the New Age in the church. They’re saying, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior.” Then they’re quoting Teilhard de Chardin and they’re bringing in New Age definitions.
Tom: Warren, we’re out of time for this session, but Lord willing, next week, I want to continue with this chronology that you’ve laid out, and I think some people are really going to be shocked by some of the quotes by leading evangelical Christians that are consistent with what Pierre de Chardin has said, Leonard Sweet, and so on.
So, Warren, thanks for being with me today on the program, and we look forward to what we’re going to discuss next week.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7 featuring T.A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708; call us at 800.937.6638; or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for being here, and we hope you can tune in again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.