The Impact of the New Age Concept on the Church
|By: Dave Hunt; ©1991|
|What is the danger of the New Age Movement, and should we be concerned when we see certain beliefs and practices associated with the New Age Movement being accepted in the Church?|
The Impact of New Age Concepts on the Church – Has the New Age Come Into the Church?
Dr. John Ankerberg: The information in this program was taped live at the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute’s Apologetics Conference in Orlando, Florida.
Our instructor for this session is Mr. Dave Hunt. Dave is an internationally known researcher, author and lecturer. His books include the best-selling titles The Seduction of Christianity, America: The Sorcerer’s New Apprentice, and Global Peace and the Rise of Antichrist.
Dave Hunt has been a guest a number of times on our program, “The John Ankerberg Show.” Dave Hunt’s topic for this session is: “The Impact of New Age Concepts on the Church.” As you listen to this information, it will be my prayer that God will increase your faith and draw you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ.
Dave Hunt: Okay, well, we’re kind of carrying on from where we were the last hour. Some of you were there; some of you were not. Most of you, I think, were not. But anyway, our topic is “The Impact of New Age Concepts on the Church” and I documented quite a bit of what the New Age is and where it’s coming from and the impact it’s making on society in preparing the world for the Antichrist, and we’ll move on from there.
Has the New Age come into the church—occultism and witchcraft? I’ll just read a couple of excerpts from an article here. This is a group of feminist leaders, evangelical witches—if you’ve never heard of such a thing. “Had we always held a biblical balance between a feminine eminent god manifest in the depths of human experience and a masculine transcendent God who limits and holds us accountable, we could not have wandered so very far into sexism.” Got to get rid of this sexist language in the Bible and so forth. “Other values central to goddess worship include the importance of small intensive communities. Covens do not normally exceed thirteen.” These are evangelical covens I want you to understand. And it says, “Some of us evangelical feminists would argue that if one’s creator is indeed responsible for all the tremendous variety of the creation, then radical monotheism of necessity must be pluralistic.” It’s got to have a feminine side as well as a masculine side.
This is another article that starts out, “In the depths of my woman experience is the goddess in whose image I am made. The ground of my being is more mother than father. The mother of life empowers me and stirs creative energy in me. I am witch.” It goes on and talks about active imagination, which we will discuss and get into a bit in this hour.
The New Age Movement, as we said, is the old occultism. It’s the old lie. You can trace it back to the Garden of Eden. And we’ve talked about that, so we can’t take time to go back over that again. It has always been manifest in the church. You could go back to Acts 8 when Simon the sorcerer, you remember, supposedly, well, he believed and was baptized. There is some question as to whether he really was a Christian, because Peter said, “You have no part nor lot in this matter.” But, nevertheless, he wanted to get this power that the apostles seemingly manifested when they came from Jerusalem, laid hands on the converts in Samaria and they received the Holy Spirit. And Simon the sorcerer said, “I will pay you if you will pass on this power to me. Tell me the technique.”
This is the way witchcraft, occultism, shamanism, this is the way it works. It works through a technique. You learn it as passed down from mother to daughter; from father to son; from one generation to another. There are initiations that you must go through. You must learn how this power and this energy works. And this is basically what Simon the sorcerer wanted, and you pay for it.
Peter kept sorcery out of the church at that time. Sorcery has come into the church in various ways at various times. And I would say, in my opinion, that is one of the things that John Wimber has done, for example. John Wimber will come into town and you pay him to attend his seminar on “Signs and Wonders” and he teaches you how to do it, okay?
Unfortunately, some of this—and I have to keep saying, I’m not an anti-Charismatic. I believe I agree with A. W. Tozer who said, “There is not one syllable in the New Testament to indicate that the gifts of the Spirit are passed away; however, most of what goes on in the name of the gifts of the Spirit is not of God.”
And you had, for example, in the Charismatic Movement, which has become known as the tongues movement because they’ve glorified the gift of tongues above everything else, and contrary to what the Bible says, “Do all prophesy? Do all work miracles? Do all speak in tongues?” No. They have said everyone must speak in tongues and this is the answer or the manifestation, the sign, of the baptism in the Spirit. And therefore you’ve got a lot of people seeking something and being taught.
And not all Pentecostals or Charismatics do this, but the great majority who lay hands on you supposedly speak in tongues, now repeat after me, let your mouth go, let your tongue go and grab your jaw even some of them and “repeat after me” and you say a few halting phrases and they say, “You’ve got it, now go home and practice your prayer language.” You might as well go home and practice walking on water! Or why don’t you practice raising the dead? You don’t get a gift from God by practicing it and nobody teaches you. But that’s the way it is in the occult, okay?
Now, what John Wimber has done, basically, and I don’t think we have time to get into this whole signs and wonders thing, the Bible warns of false signs and wonders in the last days. It never says that this is power evangelism and this is the key to evangelizing the world. And in 2 Timothy 3:8, for example, which we won’t take time to turn to it, but Paul writing says, “As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” Who were Jannes and Jambres? They were the magicians of Pharaoh’s court. And how did they oppose Moses and Aaron? Oh, by skepticism and atheism and by saying there’s no such thing as miracles? No, by doing miracles; by seemingly duplicating miracles through the power of Satan up to a point. The very miracles that God was doing through Moses and Aaron.
So what does the Bible tell us? In the last days, do you want to know the opposition to the truth as we were sharing in the last hour? Jesus said it’s not going to be atheism and skepticism, an explosion of interest in the spiritual, but religious deception and delusion. False prophets, false messiahs and so forth. Paul says, “You want to know the opposition to the truth, to the gospel in the last days? It will be from miracle workers who will through the power of Satan seemingly do what you would think would be miracles coming from God, only they’re not from God and they will lead you astray.” And this is sorcery that is coming in.
So, in my opinion, and I think John Wimber is a sincere man who loves the Lord and who wants to do what’s right, but who doesn’t follow the Word of God, unfortunately, and does not measure his experience against the Word of God. He has done with all the sign gifts, with all the gifts of the Spirit, what the tongues movement originally did with tongues. He says you can have them all and “I’ll not only train you how to do tongues, I’ll train you how to prophesy. Now, you may make a lot of mistakes.” You can imagine Jeremiah saying, “Well, sometimes I hit it and sometimes I don’t, but I’m in the learning process.” And that’s what these people teach. “Let your mind go. You get a word of knowledge. You get a thought that comes in.” They’re teaching journalism. You know, you get these thoughts, write it down. This is from God. And so he comes in, it’s like neurolinguistic programming. We don’t have time to go into that. But he’s going to model this and train you how to do all of these miracles.
Well, one of the occasions when this came into the church was about a hundred years ago. It was called “New Thought.” If you’re not familiar with that term, it was rejected as heresy. It was thrown out of the church. New Thought was what New Age is today. It’s nothing new. And out of this came the Mind Science cults. Those who were pushed out of the church, they became the founders of Unity, Christian Science, Religious Science, Science of Mind and so forth.
Now, it was kept alive, however, in the church by Norman Vincent Peale, who managed to maintain his credibility. In fact, he has about 16 million readers a month now, and I’ve shared a little bit about him. This is the man who went to Spencer W. Kimball, President of the Mormon Church, to get hands laid on him for reception of the Holy Ghost, and said he never felt the presence and power of God as he did on that occasion. This is the man who on the Phil Donahue Show said, “You don’t have to be born again. You’ve got your way to God; I’ve got my way to God. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine,” and so forth. I’ll talk a little bit more about Norman Vincent Peale. And this is the man of whom Billy Graham says, “I know of no one who has done more good for the cause of Christ and the kingdom of God than Ruth and Norman Peale.” Now, I want you to write to Billy Graham and ask him how can he make a statement like that. His protégé, Robert Schuller. And they kept this alive in mainstream Christianity.
I’m reading from an article in the Houston Chronicle: “New Thought leader sees acceptance on rise. Reverend Blaine C. Mays, ‘Meditation, positive thinking, and other principles of New Thought religion are gaining acceptance among more traditional church groups,’” says the President of an Association of Metaphysical Religious Churches. ‘Moreover, criticism of New Thought from traditional churches is on the decline,’ said Reverend Blaine C. Mays, President of the International New Thought Alliance. About 2,000 members of these metaphysical churches are gathered in Houston on this occasion. Mays, senior minister at the Unity Church of Christianity in Phoenix, Arizona, cited positive thinking principles of the Reverend Doctor Norman Vincent Peale and the Reverend Robert Schuller as evidence of New Thought principles being adopted by traditional groups. ‘Finally it’s coming out,’ Mays said. ‘When one goes to hear them, they are giving the New Thought message. Schuller’s possibility thinking and Peale’s positive thinking are nothing but New Thought,’ he says.”
Okay. Take it from a man who knows. They go on to say, “Despite a recent book challenging New Thought,” it goes on and mentions The Seduction of Christianity, best-selling book by fundamentalist Christian Dave Hunt who claims [New Thought] adopts non-Christian meditation practices and so forth. Indeed it does, but they say, “In spite of criticism like that, New Thought is gaining acceptance and is on the rise.”
Robert Schuller went to Unity headquarters, Unity School of Christianity in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, to speak to Unity ministers and ministers in training. If you don’t know anything about Unity, I should explain that first of all, it denies everything in the Bible! It’s into reincarnation, yoga, psychic powers. I mean, I am a researcher in this area, and when I go to the headquarters of Unity and go up on the second floor into the library—not the library, the bookstore for ministers in training, I drool. They’ve got more occult stuff there than you would find in an occult bookstore in Hollywood Boulevard. It’s incredible.
So, Robert Schuller goes there to speak to the ministers and ministers in training, not to correct them, but to commend them and to share his church growth principles to help Unity grow larger, okay. You need to know that about Robert Schuller. Now, I got the tape from them of his talk, but if you go there now, they will deny that it ever occurred. However, you could write to Christian Information Bureau and we’ll give you a copy or I think they charge you $5 for it, a copy of the tape. And he was asked on that occasion in the Question & Answer time, “You know, we hear a lot about the New Age Movement,” the questioner said and explained it in detail and holistic health and so forth of which we are all part. “In your opinion, what is the function of a minister in the New Age?” He didn’t skip a beat. He didn’t deny he was part of it. He didn’t claim he didn’t know anything about it. He simply said, “What we have to do in this age is positivize religion.” I said, “That’s very easy for you, being a Unity minister is why you’re already very positive. But you understand that I deal with people that you would call fundamentalists, and they use terms like sin and guilt and repentance and redemption. And what we have to do is positivize that.” Okay?
Gives you a little idea of an insight into who Robert Schuller is and what he teaches. And yet again, and I’m not here to criticize Billy Graham, but why don’t you write to him and ask him? He came on the 1000th Hour of Power broadcast of Robert Schuller along with the four living ex-Presidents of the United States and our current President George Bush, to praise Robert Schuller along with such wonderful leading Christians as Sammy Davis, Jr. and Bob Hope and so forth, and others like Mother Teresa, etc. And Billy Graham said, “It was I who in 1969 said to Robert Schuller, ‘Why don’t you get your message on TV?’ God bless you, Bob. Many more years of the Hour of Power,” and so forth. Ask him why he commends people who undermine the very Gospel that he preaches, okay?
Please write to him and ask him and let me know the response that you get. Because my Bible tells me—I’m launching off; I’ve lost my notes, but I’ll tell you something that’s on my heart—my Bible tells me, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, what does it say this book is to be used for? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness that the man or woman of God may perfect, mature, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.” And I would submit to you that any minister of the gospel, I don’t care who he is, whether his name is Dave Hunt, Billy Graham or whoever he is, if he does not use the Bible for what it itself says it is to be used for—for what? doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness—write and ask Billy, “Billy, why is this idiot Dave Hunt running around with no credentials trying to tell people something’s going on in the church? Why doesn’t a man of your stature stand up and take the Word of God and use it for doctrine, for reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, because that’s what it says it’s supposed to be used for!” Okay? I think that’s a valid question that you could ask.
So, we have these lies, delusions, that have come into the church and are destroying it from within. Now, the Mind Science cults teach, as we talked about in the last hour, that it works by laws. You see, it’s a science. This power, this force that permeates the universe works by laws. It’s like electricity. And let me just give you some quick quotes here if I can without running out of time completely. This is from a Guideposts advertisement, Norman Vincent Peale: “How you can make a miracle.” Wait a minute. You can’t make a miracle. He says, “You have this potential in you.” That’s the Human Potential Movement. “A miracle is built into every human being. Have you encouraged the miracle principle to emerge in action and make you the great person you can be? Expect a Miracle,” this is a book that he wrote, “holds the secret of the miracle principle and tells you how to make a miracle happen in your own life.”
This is going out to non-Christians. This is going out to everybody. It’s a principle you follow. It’s a law and you can make this thing happen, okay? That’s Science of Mind, religious science. And this is the old occultism and you don’t even have to be a Christian to make miracles happen, right? If they go by laws, and if by miracle you mean flip on the light and the electricity goes through the current and so forth.
Now, if it follows laws, it’s not a miracle. That’s the argument of the atheistic scientist. He’ll say you think it’s a miracle because you don’t know the laws that govern it. See, these poor primitive savages, they thought when lightning struck that the gods were throwing thunderbolts. But now science has explained it and we know we don’t need that kind of a god. And they would say to you God is the God of the gaps. You have a God who is a hypothesist to explain what science hasn’t yet explained. But one day when science has explained everything, we don’t need your God anymore. That’s where religious science will take you: to the end of God.
Christian Science finally eliminates God because it all works by science. Mary Baker Eddy said, “Oh, Jesus was the scientist and He knew the laws and the principles by which this all works.” That is exactly what has come into the church through Robert Schuller, Norman Vincent Peale, Kenneth Hagin, Copeland, Paul Yonggi Cho. They’re all teaching that, and I’ll document it for you.
Norman Vincent Peale. This is one of his magazines, Plus, and this article is about prayer. “Things Go Better When You Pray.” He says, “Why do things go better when you pray? One reason is that through prayer you begin to exercise and really make use of the great factor within yourself, the deep subconscious mind. Many psychiatrists refer to it as the unconscious or the super-conscious. Jesus never used these terms, but He described it when He said, ‘The kingdom of God is within you.’” Okay? So what are we doing when we’re praying? We’re not talking to a transcendent God out there, we’re talking to ourselves! We’re communicating with this deeper level of the psyche which is part of Carl Jung’s “collective unconscious,” which is this power and this force that resides within us; this potential that we have.
Norman Vincent Peale talks about “you visualize a white mist filled with myriads of little points of energy that gleam like diamonds. Scientists say this is the life substance, the life force, the creative energy. Visualize this mist high above you, around you, then deeply breathe in the white mist and visualize it as proceeding upward in your throat, in your nasal passages, in your brain vitalizing, sharpening, quickening your mind. The creative energy of Almighty God is all around us. I grew up in a so-called practical era before the scientific understanding of the spiritual life of mankind developed. But I’ve been practicing this type of meditation for several days and I can report that after using it only half a dozen times, one begins to feel different. It induces a sense of vital energy and an awareness of God’s presence. God is vitality; God is life; God is energy as you breathe God in, as you visualize His energy you will be re-energized.”
Isn’t that heresy? That’s occultism. That is as blatant as you can get. Ask Billy Graham, “Why do you commend this man?”
On the back cover of one of Norman Vincent Peale’s books you’ve got the pictures of the two endorsers: Billy Graham and Robert Schuller. I mean, look. If you’re not called, you don’t think you’re called by God as the Bible says, to use this book for correction, for reproof, you know, you don’t have to commend the man! Please write to him. Will you do that and ask him why?
Robert Schuller. Possibilities magazine. This is just one of them. The man on the front cover, John Marks Templeton, successful Wall Street money manager. He’s into Mind Science. The major article is an interview with Sir John Marks Templeton, and they say, “Mr. Templeton, you’re one of the most successful mutual fund managers in the world today. What do you consider to be the single-most important factor contributing to your success?” He says, “Probably my concept of reality. Over the years I’ve been convinced that nothing exists except God.”
That’s pantheism. That’s Hinduism. God is everything. You know how Mind Science works: God is all; God is good; therefore, all is good. And if you see something out that there looks like sin, sickness, disease, suffering, death, it doesn’t exist. God is good and God is all. You are misperceiving reality. The problem is your mind. You’ve been caught in the downward spiral of negative thinking. You need to become a positive thinker. And as Robert Schuller says, “Change your thinking and you will change the universe!” You see? Okay? That’s the power of positive thinking and that’s exactly how it works.
Now, it gets a little worse. He says, “The Christ Spirit dwells in every human being.” That’s what Tony Campolo teaches. Jesus is in everybody. If you saw that film: “It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming” or whatever the title was. Do you remember? Do you remember this lady in Haiti who wanted to give her little baby to him and he wouldn’t take it. Then when he gets to the airplane he’s got a guilty conscience and he says, “I realized why, because that little baby is Jesus.” Everybody is Jesus, as Mother Teresa says. Even an AIDS victim is Jesus in a pitiful disguise.
That’s a misapplication of the Bible. Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these” what? “my brethren, you have done it unto me.” Jesus isn’t in everybody. Tony Campolo says Jesus is in everybody. I don’t mean mystically, I mean the real Jesus, okay? And so he says, “The Christ Spirit dwells in every human being whether the person knows it or not.” Unsaved people who are rebels against God, have never received Christ, they’ve got the Christ Spirit in them. That’s Robert Schuller. This is what he’s teaching in the magazine.
I don’t want to pound on Robert Schuller too hard, but let me give you,… this is Christianity Today, October 5, 1984. A letter he wrote back to Christianity Today explaining some of his beliefs. “Point 2: I don’t think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of Christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality, and hence counterproductive to the evangelism enterprise, than the often crude, uncouth and unchristian strategy of attempting to make people aware of their lost and sinful condition.”
Jesus said, “I came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” You can’t be saved unless you know you need it. I quoted him earlier, A. W. Tozer, you remember, who says, “Yes, we’ve got to believe everything God says about Himself, but we’ve also got to believe everything God says about us. And until we believe we are as bad as God says we are, we will never accept the remedy God offers.” And Robert Schuller says, now wait a minute. You’ve got to build up their self-esteem. I mean, if they feel like they’re worthless sinners, then they couldn’t believe God loves us.
God loves us not because we deserve it. That’s one of the fallacies out here. We didn’t have time to really deal with all of this selfism in the church. Oh, well, the price that He paid for my redemption shows the value of the purchased possession. Boy, does that ever give me a sense of self-worth. No, the greater the price, the greater my sin. He had to sink to the depths of Calvary because of my guilt.
And what about God’s judgment satisfying the claims of God’s justice? What about doing this to the glory of God? We’ve become so self-centered. “Well, He did it for me.” Yes, because He loves us, but He loves me not because I’m worth it, and not because of who I am, but in spite of what I am, in spite of my sin. And He loves me because of who He is and it is all to His glory, not to build up my self worth!
And they’ll say, “Well, but I’m a new creature in Christ Jesus.” That ought to give me a sense of self-worth and so forth. Well, it says the heavens declare the glory of God! When I look at the heavens, I don’t glory in myself, I glory in God. Even if I’m a new creation, which I am, the glory is to God, not to me, you see? And I’m never going to be able to walk the golden streets up there someday and say, “Well, I’m here because, after all, I was worth it, you know.” No. It will be to His glory forever and forever.
But that’s not our topic this morning. We’re trying to talk about the occultism that has come into the church, the false views of God and false views of faith. This is an article, well, by Robert Schuller, Chattanooga News-Free Press. And, you know, on TBN Paul Crouch was whitewashing Robert Schuller and he was saying, “Well, I get letters from people who have been listening to this guy Dave Hunt” —well, he didn’t say that—“and they say that you’re into the New Age and so forth. And you don’t believe that, do you?” “Oh, no, of course not.” “And you do preach repentance, don’t you?” And Robert Schuller says, “Of course I preach repentance; but I do it so positively that nobody recognizes it.” Come on. He’s talking about his daughter overcoming pain and so forth. “She was using the power of faith that God has created within all of us.” I thought it was a gift from God, not something that’s created in all of us. Even the ungodly; it’s available to you.
Now, this is a secular paper so this is his evangelism of non-Christians, you see, telling them they’ve all got this power within them. “How do you go about tapping this transcendent power of faith?” “Begin by deep programming yourself from all that is negative. Now allow positive thought after positive thought to pour into your mind” and so forth. This positive/negative stuff makes me ill.
The issue is truth. Is it true or is it false? Is it biblical or is it not biblical? Positive/negative has nothing to do with it. That’s a smokescreen that obscures the issues. If you want to talk about electricity or chemical bonding or magnetism or something like that, positive and negative has some meaning. But in the area of morals, ethics, of spirituality, of holiness, positive and negative has no meaning and it obscures the truth. The issue is truth. Don’t give me this positive and negative stuff. As we earlier said: How are you going to make a positive confession of Armageddon, you know?
Was Jeremiah a positive prophet? I suppose Jesus, when by saying that Jerusalem would be surrounded by armies and would be destroyed and there wouldn’t be one stone left upon another in the temple, I guess Jesus by His negative confession made that happen. Now, Jesus should have confessed a positive confession, and then Jerusalem wouldn’t have been destroyed. Is that the teaching? Yes. That’s the teaching. And they’ll tell you the apostle Paul didn’t really understand these positive principles that have been revealed to Hagin and Copeland and so forth.
Actually, going back just a step here, Kenneth Hagin is not the founder of the positive confession movement. The founder is E. W. Kenyon. E. W. Kenyon attended, for about five years, the Emerson School of Oratory in Boston which was a hotbed of “New Thought” and that’s out of which came these various cults that I’ve mentioned. And Kenneth Hagin plagiarized the writings of E. W. Kenyon. And you’ve got a lot of other stuff in there, too. You’ll find it in E. W. Kenyon’s book, What Happened Between the Cross and the Throne. And you must know that some of the heresy that they teach—Hagin and Copeland and so forth—they teach that when Jesus said, “It is finished” upon the cross, it was not finished. Even though He said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my Spirit,” He ended up in the hands of Satan. And Kenneth Copeland says the blood of Jesus shed upon the cross does not atone. Christ had to sink into hell, taken into hell by Satan, where He was tortured three days and three nights by Satan. That’s where your redemption comes from. Now, if Satan didn’t torture Jesus enough, we’re not redeemed. If He did, do we thank Him? Is He our co-redeemer, as the Catholics say of Mary? Our co-redemptrix? Heresy has come in. And that can be traced back to E. W. Kenyon also.
Here’s another example. An article, Robert Schuller. “My spiritual fitness program for building happiness in today’s tough times, by TV’s top evangelist Robert Schuller.” And you will find nothing about God or about Jesus. It’s talking about faith but it’s not the faith of the Bible. These men have turned faith into a force that is activated by positive thoughts or negative thoughts, too, you know. You get what you say. So if you say, “I’m getting a cold. I’m getting a cold,” you’re going to get a cold. But even though your nose is running and you say, “I’m okay. I don’t have a cold,” eventually, well, give it a few days and you’ll be okay. But that’s not faith. Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” And they’ll say, “But wait a minute, now. Jesus said if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain: Be thou removed, and it will be removed” and so forth. See the power of faith? Jesus said, “Have faith in God.”
And that mountain is not going to move until God wants it to move and it’s going to move when and where God wants it to move. It has to be according to God’s will. Now, if you introduce God into the equation, that changes everything. But, you see, a lot of people, Christians, think that faith is, if I can only believe, that what I am praying for will happen. That’s not faith. If you can make it happen by believing it will happen, you don’t need God. Faith is believing that God will make it happen! And that depends upon His will and that changes the whole equation. So they’ve turned it into a power that we can activate and use with our minds.
This is another Possibilities magazine. Della Reese was on the front cover. She’s a member and a major promoter of Science of Mind, occult. In here, again, we’ve got “Ten Steps to Positive Faith” by Denis Waitley from one of his books. And you will read this entire page and you will find nothing about God, nothing about Christ. Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” “Questions About Your Faith: Do you expect success? Are you lucky? Would others view you as an optimist? Do you fantasize and imagine your own success? Do you encourage or criticize yourself with your self-talk?” Let’s be positive. Say, “Every day I’m getting better and better; I’m going to really be successful. I’m going to go out and sell a lot of stuff today and I’m going to visualize people buying it” and so forth.
Norman Vincent Peale in his book, Positive Imaging, well, again, Denis Waitley talks about Ernest Holmes, “Dr. Ernest Holmes, who devoted his life to teaching this great truth explained it in other ways.” The Founder of Religious Science. Quote, “Here’s a power which every person has but which few people use consciously. One individual does not possess this power above another or to a greater degree. Everyone has it” and so forth. Again, every person possesses this potential, they possess this power and they can activate it.
In his book, Positive Imaging, Norman Vincent Peale tells how he, as a young pastor, needed some money, and a member of his board encouraged him to go out. He gave him the names of some of the wealthy men in the community. “Go out and ask for $5,000 from each one.” The first one he was going out to was Dr. So and So. And Peale said, “Why, he’d laugh at me if I asked him for $5,000.” And this man said, “You go out and ask him for it, and I will visualize him writing out the check for you.” And so Peale went out and he asked this doctor for $5,000. The man laughed at him and said, “Why should I give you this money?” Then he said, “Something’s coming over me.” And he reached into his pocket, pulled out his checkbook, wrote out a check for $5,000, gave it to Peale. Peale comes back to this man. He’s ecstatic. He says, “He did it! He did it!” He says, “Of course he did it! I sent a thought hovering over him that hit him right between the eyes.” And Peale says, “I saw it hit him and it changed his mind! It changed his thinking!” And the gentleman said to Peale, “It ought to change your thinking, too.” And Dr. Peale in that book, Positive Imaging, says, “And it did change my thinking and positive imaging has been part of everything I have said and done and written ever since.”
You don’t even have to be a Christian. Just a matter of ethics. Do I have the right to exercise control over other people’s minds and visualize them writing out checks for me? I mean, what kind of a world is this? It’s an occult power. But now, they say, it’s faith. It has nothing to do with God; it has everything to do with self and getting what I want.
Now, you know it began with a gentleman—we’ve got to get into visualization—it began with a gentleman back there named Napoleon Hill. I talk about him in the first chapter of The Seduction of Christianity.
Napoleon Hill realized that there was this temple of wisdom out on the astral plane run by a School of Masters. And he tells in his books how one evening one of them, in a disembodied form, came across the astral plane, manifested itself in his study, and in a vibrant musical voice said, “You have been under the guidance of the Great School for years and we have chosen you to give the formula of success to the world.”
The formula of success, literally given by demons—unless you believe in a School of Masters out there coming in disembodied form and so forth, these are demons—the formula of success literally given by demons to Napoleon Hill became the foundation for the entire positive mental attitude, success motivation training that you get at IBM and Xerox and General Motors and out there in the business world; and which has come into the church through Christian psychology and success motivation training through people like Zig Ziglar and so forth.
This is what we’re facing in the world today and in the church around us. Is faith a force? God’s creative power will work for you. Charles Capps, one of the positive confession teachers. God’s creative power will work for me. Yeah, because I’m a little god in God’s class. And he begins by saying, “Words are the most powerful thing in the universe.” Now, we’ve got something even more powerful than God called words. And God uses words and we can, too, if we only learn the laws of how this works. He says, “Man is a spirit being very capable of operating on the same level of faith as God.” God is a faith God. So they will take the verse that I just quoted for you in Mark 11, “Have faith in God,” and they say, “No, what it means is, have the God faith, the God kind of faith. Have the faith of God.” And God is a faith God. God has faith in His faith and He has faith in the power of words. So they will go to, well, here, I’m quoting it without reading it.
It says, “God is a faith God, and God released His faith in words. These principles of faith are based on spiritual laws. They work for whosoever will apply these laws. You set them in motion by the words of your mouth.” Exactly what Paul Yonggi Cho says; he said you can create the presence of Jesus with the words of your mouth. Now, where do they get this from? Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand the worlds were framed by the word of God.” They turn it around and they say, “No. No. What it says is, we understand that it was by faith that God framed the worlds.” See what they’ve done? They’ve turned faith into a power that God uses. It’s like Mormonism. I see some ex-Mormons here. It’s exactly like Mormonism. The Mormon gods are white magicians who learned the laws innate in the universe and they ascended through higher levels of initiation until they became the masters of these forces. It’s exactly what these people are teaching. And that’s why they teach we are little gods.
I quoted Earl Paulk, “Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods.”
Kenneth Copeland says, “You don’t have a God in you, you are a God,” okay? Yeah, we are little gods; in fact, we’re rebels. A little god is not a good God. You can say it to the Mormons or you can say it to the positive confession people. Look in Jeremiah 10:10-11 and what does it say there? It says, God says, “You say to the gods who have not created this heaven and this earth, they will perish from under this heaven and from under this earth.” God says, anybody out there who claims to be a little god, if they haven’t created the heavens and the earth, they’re going to perish. That’s what He has to say about this godhood.
Benny Hinn, right here in Orlando. He tells his congregation, “Say after me: Within me is a God-Man. Now, let’s say even better than that: I am a God-Man. When you say you’re a God-Man, you’re not talking about your flesh or your soul, you’re talking about your spirit-man. This spirit-man within me is a God-Man. Say after me: He’s born of heaven and he’s a super being. Say, I am born of heaven. I’m a God-Man. I’m a God-Man. I’m a sample of Jesus. I’m a super being” and so forth. Heresy in the church. We’re little gods; we have the power and we can operate on the same level of faith as God.
So, go to Genesis 1:3 where God said, “Let there be light,” and they put the emphasis upon “said.” “God said, Let there be light.” You see the power in words? Wow, God’s using this thing called words and you can speak it forth too in this creative power. No. Don’t put the emphasis upon “said,” but put the emphasis upon God. God said. It happened because it was God who said it; not because God said it. We can sit here and we can chant, “Let there be light. Let there be light,” turn out the lights and “let there be light, let there be light” and so forth. Or we can chant, “It is Sunday. It is Sunday. It is Sunday” and it won’t be Sunday until one second after midnight tonight.” But they say, “No, there’s power in words and this force, this energy called faith is contained in words. And when you speak it forth, it releases this power.” This is the old occultism, and I’ve got to get beyond that: It works for anybody.
I was quoting from Having Faith in Your Faith, by Kenneth Hagin. God has faith in His faith; we should have faith in our faith because faith is this power. He says, “It used to bother me when I’d see unsaved people getting results but my church members not getting results. Then it dawned on me what the sinners were doing. They were cooperating with this law of God, the law of faith, because they’re spirit beings, too. We’re all spirit beings, so they’re seeing miracles by cooperating with this law of faith.” Heresy.
Do we have witchcraft in the church? I shouldn’t take time for this, but I bring all these things. Maybe some of you got this. I think this was a year ago. “Your miracle candlelight service is set for December 24. Return the red candle to me today. Keep the green candle and light it on December 24th as we agree for your miracle.” So you get a little red and green candle. That sounds like witchcraft, right? If you’ve been into ceremonial magic, you know what it is.
Who sent that out? Well, here we have the poster and we’ve got Richard and Oral Roberts and you can see them lighting the red candles that you’ve sent in and praying over your prayer requests. Of course, an important part of this is to send your seed faith offering because that “releases” this force called “faith.” It takes that seed faith offering to release this force called faith. This is witchcraft, folks. I’m sorry. It’s blatant occultism in the church.
Here’s another one. And I’ve got piles of these things. W. V. Grant, I haven’t even brought with me. He’s something else. “Man receives $5,000 in 14 days after stepping into circle.” Now, again, if you know anything about ceremonial magic, you draw this circle and you step inside of it.
“Your step by step instruction included. Woman gets healed of cancer after stepping in the circle.” What’s the circle that he’s talking about? Well, here are the footprints of Robert Tilton and you can see the circle around it and you step in this and here are your careful directions: “When you rise up in the morning, place your feet by faith on mine for the next 21 days. Together let’s stand in your miracle of blessing. Rush your request to me so that I can personally stand on and claim your miracle blessing….I believe….” So forth and so on.
Again, of course, the key to this thing is to send in your seed faith offering. This is occultism. They call it “a point of contact.” That’s not what the Bible is talking about.
Well, how can this kind of stuff come into the church and be accepted and be so rampant? One of the warnings about the last days: “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.”
I’m reading, this is Believer’s Voice of Victory, December 1988. Kenneth Copeland’s magazine. He says, “You see, we’re going to be unified and that union will not be based on doctrine. Doctrine doesn’t unify, it divides. It blows folks in every direction.” No. No. That’s not what the Bible says about “being blown about with every wind of doctrine.” This is false doctrine. And an unstable person is blown. That’s not true doctrine. He says, “It doesn’t matter what your doctrine is.” I’ve already quoted you recently Paul Crouch saying, “I don’t care what your doctrine is, and don’t you call me to argue doctrine. I don’t want to see your ugly face. You heresy hunters can go to hell. I don’t even want to hear from you.” Okay? We’ll quote that in our next newsletter word for word from a recent broadcast.
But Kenneth Copeland says, “We will come together in the unity of the faith when we drop our silly list of doctrinal demands.” Wow. The day will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.
So we get prophecies from these “prophets.” This is Believer’s Voice of Victory, February 1988. I think it’s page 9. And this is a prophetic utterance that came forth from Kenneth Copeland. Before a huge crowd, thousands of people, and Jesus was speaking through him. And what did this Jesus say? “Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you’re God. They spoke that way of me. Should they not speak that way of you?” I’ll give you a good reason: He is God and I’m not. “And they crucified me for claiming that I was God but I didn’t claim that I was God, I just claimed I walked with Him and that He was with me.” Hallelujah. We just heard it from John last night: Jesus is God and He declared He is God when He said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” They knew what He was saying and that’s why they took up stones to stone Him. This Jesus? Is that Jesus talking through Kenneth Copeland? No. It’s a false spirit. It’s a demonic spirit.
Now, you have to ask yourself: Why didn’t somebody—there were several thousand people there—why didn’t at least one person stand up and say, “Heresy! Stop!”? What about the editors of his magazine? What about the thousands of people who read his magazine and who can pass that by and accept this as a revelation from Jesus Christ when it’s a blatant denial of the deity of Jesus Christ?
Well, I said we’d better get to visualization because it’s the most powerful form of occultism in the church. But let me just take one or two other things here. Third John 2 he says, “I wish above all things that thou mightest prosper even as thy soul prospers” and so forth. And they get from that prosperity teaching, the laws of prosperity. Well, if you go to Romans 1:10, Paul uses the same Greek expression and he says, “If by any means I might have a prosperous journey coming unto you.” Now, Paul didn’t mean he was going to make a lot of money on his way to Rome, right? He meant prospering spiritually. That’s what it’s talking about. But they’ve turned away from this and everything now is focused upon this earth. In fact, one of these teachers says, “When you get positive like this and you use these laws, money is just going to come falling on you….” But anyway, that’s basically the teaching. That you get into this prosperity thing and money will just start falling on you from everywhere, because this is what God wants: to give us money. No, that’s not. That could be the worst thing that could happen to you. It’s not that God is going to put you in poverty necessarily either. Whatever is His will and whatever He determines to be best for your life at certain time or whatever, we submit to Him.
But they will take verses like Philippians 4:13. Let’s just turn there, and you might keep your finger in Jeremiah, because we’re coming right back as fast as we can. But let’s turn to Philippians 4. I’ve got so many things stuck in my Bible here I’m going to lose them all. Let’s just read the context. Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” That’s one of the favorite verses of the positive confession movement. Let’s look at the context. Verse 11: “Not that I speak in respect of want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content.” Paul was writing from prison, not from a palace. “I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound everywhere and in all things; I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” He’s really saying, “I can suffer for Christ. It doesn’t matter if I’m in prison, it doesn’t matter where I am, that’s the context in which he says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And to take that verse and to use it to mean victory, success, prosperity is an abuse of the Word of God and taking it out of context.
You’ve got some terrific programs going on through psychology. This is “The Power of Imagination: Uses of Imagery in the Healing Arts” presented by a couple of Catholic universities, Marquette University and the Institute for the Advancement of Human Behavior, Loyola Marymount University. And you’ve got medical doctors and so forth teaching this.
Let me take you real fast, because we’re going to run out of time here, which is always my problem. Let me take you real fast to the lush palace of fine arts in San Francisco where over a thousand people came for this conference that’s being given to thousands of people across the country for years. They were taught to “visualize themselves in beautiful place, a peaceful place. See in your mind an entity approaching you. Be it animal or human, visualize it carefully until it becomes vivid and clear. Then begin a conversation with it. It will talk back. This is your inner guide. It is never wrong. It will be with you for life.” And these people were ecstatic. This is shamanism. Wow!
Carl Jung gave us an explanation. Where did he get the explanation from? From Philemon, his demon. That was his guru that said he walked up and down the garden with and who taught him these things. Taught him about collective unconscious and so forth. We’re just tapping into deeper levels of ourselves, as Norman Vincent Peale says. This is the wisdom of the universe, and now it comes to us in this manifested form of some kind of an entity. And it’s never wrong and it will be with us. We consult it for our business decisions, and so forth.
You don’t have to be too bright to see the day when millions of these inner guides will identify the Antichrist as the “good guy” and will be believed. You see, we’re literally being set up for a delusion such as the world has never seen before. It’s not a question of a handful of demons out there trying to zap people. We are training ourselves to be demonized.
All kinds of courses out there in visualization, how to get in touch with these entities. When you make contact with an entity, for example, in Seduction of Christianity I quote Robert Wise, how he got involved in inner healing through Rosalind Rinker, who learned it from Agnes Sanford. And there’s a whole connection there that we don’t have time to go into. And he tells how he began visualizing himself as a child on the playground and visualizing Jesus coming to him and then he says, “Suddenly this Jesus that I had created in my mind took on a form and action of its own and it began to act on its own without me. I was no longer in control.” He made contact with the spirit world. It was not the real Jesus. You can’t call from the right-hand of the Father on high Jesus Christ to come and appear as your private guru anytime you please.
When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection, it says, “He came in their midst. He showed Himself to them,” right? They didn’t visualize Him. He comes when He will to whom He will for His own purpose. But divination is when you have a “technique” for getting in touch with God, conjuring Him up, making this happen. And doubting Thomas, who was not present that day, had to wait a week before Jesus, in His own time and way, came and manifested Himself to him.
Well, what we’re being taught today is that doubting Thomas need not have waited five minutes. All he had to do was visualize and he would have had Jesus right there. Now, when Jesus appeared at the lake, remember? Peter said, “I’m going fishing” and someone went with him and then Jesus is on the shore. Do you remember what it says? It says this was now the umpteenth time Jesus appeared to them, right? No. This was the third time Jesus appeared to them. They weren’t visualizing Him and could have created Him any time. No. Absolutely not.
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul delineates the appearances of Jesus. He appeared to Peter, He appeared to the women, He appeared to the Eleven, He appeared to 500 brethren, “last of all, he appeared to me.” You can put them all on one hand. They were not creating the presence of Jesus with their mind, but that is the teaching of inner healing and that is the teaching of people like Paul Virkler, for example, who in his Dialogue with God tells you to visualize Jesus. You’ve got a book in your Christian bookstores for youth ministers that says, “Visualize God” and “focus and finally this image will speak to you.”
God is invisible. He’s a Spirit. And to visualize some form for God, even though you’re not creating an idol with clay and wood and stone, they were all created first of all in the mind, right? And to create a visual image of God is not going to help you. It will lead you astray because God is invisible. “Whom no man hath seen nor can see.”
The Word of God says we walk “by faith, not by sight.” And visualization, either for getting an answer to your prayer… And here’s Paul Yonggi Cho in a Christian magazine defending himself. “What do you do when Dave Hunt attacks you? How do you respond?” Well, I didn’t attack him. But anyway, he goes on and he says, “Visualization helps you to have faith. It’s not occultic. If you pray for something, you can’t really have it unless you visualize what you’re praying for.” Now, Jesus said “have faith in God.” How will visualizing the Cadillac I’m praying for help me have faith in God? It gives me faith in visualization. And the better I can visualize, the more confident I am that I’m going to get this thing because I’m able to conjure it up, not because I have faith in God and am submitting to His will. This is the danger.
The psychologists don’t like me, and Capps, “Christian Association for Psychological Studies,” did a review of The Seduction of Christianity and they call it “unbiblical, anti-Christian, irrational, inaccurate, extremely biased, dishonest, encouraging the power of demons,” and so forth. I don’t make statements like that about them. I document. I tell you what they say. They don’t give any documentation. And then they said, “Seduction claims many times that visualization is not taught in the Bible. The Bible clearly does teach visualization.” And they give you a number of verses. The best ones they can come up with, Philippians 4:8. Philippians 4:8 says, “Think on these things.” Romans 6:11. Romans 6:11 says, “Reckon ye yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.” 1 John 5:15 says, “We know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him.” I’m astonished. One of the verses they quote is Hebrews 11:1 to prove that the Bible teaches visualization. What does Hebrews 11:1 say? It says, “Faith is the evidence of things not seen.” You attempt to see things that are not to be seen, you are trying to walk by sight instead of by faith.
And I would suggest if you’re satisfied with an imaginary visualized Jesus, you’re going to have to be satisfied with an imaginary faith with an imaginary salvation because that’s exactly where this is leading people, away from the true God to themselves and into a pit that will damn people forever. It’s very solemn and it’s very serious.