Now, Religion in the News. This segment could be subtitled: further signs of the apostasy, a commentary on spiritual events and trends reported in the media that help measure the condition of professing Christianity. “The Reverend Tony Higdon, Rector of Emmanuel and Saint Mary, the Virgin, Atwell Essex, revealed to the general synod yesterday his interest in the New Age movement, [and] it’s use of crystals for meditation. In the past, Mr. Higdon, a conservative evangelical, has vigorously fought against any slackening of the church’s teaching on homosexuality. It was Mr. Higdon’s private member's motion to Synod in 1987, that led to the church declaring that homosexual genital acts fall short of the Christian ideal. Last year, he wrote about a spiritual experience that led to him deciding not to be so aggressive and confrontational. He announced his change of heart in the Synod debate on a new service for wholeness and healing aimed at preventing bizarre healing practices and exorcisms. Mr. Higdon told the Synod: “I am seeking to engage in dialogue with the New Age movement in order to discover what is good in it. In our parish, we have learned classical relaxation and meditation and I provide beautiful objects other than myself for meditation.” He said he had mounted the crystals, which are mentioned in the Book of Revelation and laid them in the south transept of Saint Mary, the Virgin. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rite Reverend John Perry, chairman for the church’s council on health and healing said he had been to one of Mr. Higdon’s services and found it to be a normal Christian one. The bishop in Europe, the Rite Reverend John Hind, who chaired the committee for the new rite said that Mr. Higdon’s experiences reflected a quest throughout society for healing. The healing rite will be revised and returned to the Synod next year. It is expected to be in use in churches by 2000.”
Tom: Well Dave, here’s a conservative evangelical who is kind of thrown off his ways of confrontation. I mean does this speak to us? Are we to dialogue with the New Age to pick up on their techniques?
Dave: Well first of all he mentions meditation. He doesn’t define that term, but we know what New Age meditation is. In the Bible, meditation is thinking deeply, to come to a clear understanding of God or of his Word.
Eastern meditation which is associated with relaxation techniques that he’s talking about involves the opposite. You tune it out. You recite a mantra or whatever and you let something else take over. You reach an altered state of consciousness which loosens the connection between you and your brain and your spirit and allows another spirit to interpose itself. Then it talks about he had some spiritual experiences. This is the antithesis of what our program is about. We are trying to draw people back to the Word of God. He didn’t come to a conviction of heart and mind based upon sound doctrine [and] teaching the Word of God, but he got some spiritual experience.
Tom: Right, that’s what converted him, that’s what changed him.
Dave: That’s right.
Tom: Changed his whole view.
Dave: Right. And that is very, very dangerous. A lot of people are seeking experiences rather than truth. Now I’m not saying that you can’t have an experience. I mean I have experienced the power of God, the joy of the Lord, I mean we have, my wife and I have taken things behind the Iron Curtain for example. We’ve seen God do miracles and blind the guards eyes. I’ve been healed instantly myself. I’ve seen others healed instantly. We don’t pick up our doctrine, or learn about God from our experiences, but from his Word.
Tom: Yes, and you don’t turn to pagan practices to the occult to try and find out what may be good in it, what may be practical; what may—
Dave: Right, so here’s a spiritual technique, which as you say, is pagan practice; comes out of yoga, out of Hinduism; Buddhism. It doesn’t come from the Word of God and it is through this spiritual experience that now he has come to some new conclusions that in fact, are contrary to the Word of God. He was opposed to homosexuality. The Bible opposes homosexuality, but now suddenly through some spiritual experience he no longer opposes this— Well, we should at least face the facts that the Bible opposes homosexuality. Furthermore, that it cuts your life expectancy about in half and that is not being taught, not being told or revealed to the children in school where this is being introduced. But that’s a whole other topic.
But the problem here, is pagan practices, Eastern meditation, a spiritual experience that caused him to change his convictions and it didn’t come about through the Word of God.