Editor's Note: As the end of 2018 approaches, Charisma is looking back at the major events of the year, from Billy Graham's death to sexual assault stories to wildfires to the historic North Korea summit and everything in between. The following is one of our top stories of the year. The information presented in the story was accurate at the time of reporting. Continue to follow Charisma News for all the latest updates for these stories and more.
This article was published November 6th.
It's common knowledge that the New Age movement has a strong foothold on our culture right now. Bookstores are lined with best-selling titles teaching people how to use crystals, how to meditate and cultivate "higher consciousness" and how to make contact with spirit guides, as people like Jim Carrey and Oprah Winfrey continue to push things like Christ-consciousness and meditation on the masses.
Popular teachers like Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle continue to sell millions of copies of books teaching the idea that God is an impersonal force in the universe and that we are to cultivate relationship with this force by shifting our consciousness and practicing things like "mindfulness," "presence" or yoga.
This year, Netflix recently came out with a series called The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, complete with spell-casting, incantations and demonic manifestations right around the same time the makeup company Sephora announced that they would be releasing a starter with kit for little girls, complete with crystals, sage and tarot cards.
A study found that witches now outnumber Presbyterian Christians in the US by 100,000, with 1.5 million self-identified witches as paganism continues to grow "astronomically." Twenty-seven percent of Americans identify as "spiritual but not religious", including 35 percent of Protestant Christians. This is one of the fast growing spiritual-religious demographics in the West right now. In fact, the population of those who identify as witches or pagans is continuing to increase as those who identify as Protestant Christian continues to decrease.
We are even beginning to see this emerge in politics, as witches have made headline news recently, having rituals in an attempt to hex Brett Kavanaugh and Donald Trump by chanting around an altar involving animal skulls and dolls with the faces of the two men on them. But a new study, released on Oct. 1 by Pew Research, revealed something shocking.
Pew Research surveyed Americans to see what they thought about the following four New-Age beliefs: 1) spiritual energy exists in physical things, 2) psychics have reliable insight into the future, 3) reincarnation and 4) astrology.
Not only did 62 percent of the general public hold at least one of these New Age beliefs, 61 percent of professing Christians held one as well.
Almost one-third of the professing church of Christ believes they will live again in another body in another life on this planet, even though the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 that "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this comes the judgment". Reincarnation contradicts the entire gospel. We will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Four in 10 professing Christians believes in psychics as a viable means of foretelling the future, even though the Bible repeatedly condemns this practice:
There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or who uses divination, or uses witchcraft, or an interpreter of omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts spells, or a spiritualist, or an occultist, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God will drive them out from before you.
If this isn't troubling enough, we have to remember that only four New Age beliefs were tested for in this study. This study did not test for things like pantheism (the idea that God is a force that is present within nature), oneism (the idea that all spiritual paths lead back to God and are equally valid), karma (the belief that there is a force in the world balancing the scales of good and evil) or the belief that man is divine by nature.
If we were to take other such New Age beliefs into account, it is a conservative estimate that at least 80 percent of the professing church holds to at least one New Age belief, which is nothing short of a theological crisis in the church. Atheism isn't the problem anymore in our culture, and neither is naturalism. Sixty-two percent of Americans hold to New Age beliefs, while only 3 percent of the American population is atheist. New Age is the religion of the future, and it is beginning to invade our culture and infiltrate the thought-life of Christians.
Our threat is this new wave of spiritual philosophy that draws from whatever religious tradition and practice it wants while promising its followers supernatural experiences and ascension into some hyper-spiritual state where they can attain paranormal powers and rise up the ranks of godhood. The threat is those teaching we can follow any path we want because God has revealed Himself in all world religions and is present in the universe as the energy of life.
Part of the problem is that Christians don't know what is "New Age" and what isn't. Furthermore, they don't know how to navigate or confute New Age ideas once they are identified. As a church, we are admittedly underequipped to deal with the type of spirituality that is taking over the culture and is now making its way into the churches.
We are being attacked spiritually as our beliefs are being attacked intellectually, and unfortunately, there simply aren't many resources out there that address this type of spirituality head-on in a way that is thorough and educational. There simply aren't any books written by Christians that really thoroughly address New Age spirituality in a way that defends the faith.
As some of you know, I have recently written a book with Josh Peck of SkywatchTV called The Second Coming of the New Age (foreword by Bible scholar Dr. Michael Heiser) where we outline, expose and refute the doctrines and practices of the New Age movement as being not only false but demonic.
We recently sat down with former pastor, best-selling author and CEO of SkywatchTV, Dr. Tom Horn, to talk about the content of this book, these recent studies and the pervasiveness of New Age spirituality in Western culture and its churches.
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