The New Age Movement and the Church – Program 2
|By: Brooks Alexander, Dave Hunt, Tal Brooke; ©1988|
|People who have practices various forms of spiritism and witchcraft have been disturbed to recognize some of the same things being taught now in the Church. How has that door been opened?|
How is the New Age Movement Affecting the Church?
Tonight, John Ankerberg will conduct an open forum with three influential guests on the question: is the American church accepting new age ideas and techniques and presenting them as part of the gospel? John’s first guest is Dave Hunt, a Christian author who has awakened the church to the consequences of the ideas of the new age movement through his best-selling books, the seduction of Christianity and beyond seduction. John’s second guest has come out of the new age movement and is well aware of its power and practices. Mystical experiences led Tal Brooke to India where he became a disciple of Sai Baba, one of India’s most powerful miracle-working gurus. But after two years, Jesus Christ demonstrated he was more powerful than anything Tal had previ¬ously experienced in the occult, whereupon he gave his life totally to the Lord. He has recently graduated from Princeton University with his masters degree and is the author of two best-selling books. John’s third guest is Brooks Alexander, co-founder and senior researcher for the nationally-known spiritual counterfeits project of Berkeley, California. Before becoming a christian, Brooks embraced the religious world view of the new age movement and participated in mystical out-of-body experiences. John will ask these three men to freely share their views with you on the controversial question, “Has the new age movement influenced the church?” They will answer questions frankly about many well-known people, both christian and non-Christian alike. Many of the people mentioned in tonight’s program were extended an invitation to join our guests for this taping. Our invitation remains open to them and to other responsible spokesmen to participate and present their views in future programs. The John Ankerberg show has already arranged a future forum where well-known christian psychologists will meet face-to-face with tonight’s guests. With this in mind, we invite you to join us for this edition of John Ankerberg.
- John Ankerberg: in this new series, we refer to information concerning Carl Gustav Jung and Sigmund Freud that was talked about in a program several months ago. I have decided tonight to begin with that segment and add it to this series so you’ll have a basis to understand the information that will be presented. Many university students wrote to us at that time, and said they had never heard the information concerning Jung’s involvement with the spirit world and how these experiences shaped his psychological view of man. We consider this information important to the discussion, so we invite you to listen.
- Ankerberg Welcome! We’ve been talking about the New Age Movement that has got “evangelists” like Shirley MacLaine and others going around the country talking about the great things that can happen to you if you embrace the ideas of the New Age — if you have a mystical experience. And what we want to talk about is not just the secular culture — how is the New Age affecting that — but how is it affecting the Christian church? And I receive many letters from folks like you that are watching tonight, and you’ve said, “John, in some of these other programs we’ve thought it’s been great for you to talk about the things that are right or wrong with some of the folks that are in different religious groups in the cults that don’t believe in Christianity at all. And now you’re coming over on our ground here, and in some of the past programs you’ve talked about things that my pastor is talking about. And I have never heard of these things before, but I recognize some of those words, like visualization, and meditation, and seeing Jesus walk out of my prayers and talk to me. We’ve got that going on.” Here’s a letter from somebody that is kind of typical of maybe what’s going on in your church. This person said, “Before I was a Christian, I studied and engaged in various forms of sorcery, shamanism, spiritism, witchcraft and divination. I practiced and taught yoga, self and group hypnosis, Eastern meditation and visualization for 14 years. I was surprised and shocked to find a facsimile of this being condoned at a Charismatic conference. The technique of a spiritual bath was introduced. I recognized this was identical to the techniques I had practiced and taught before I was a Christian. Now it was couched in Christian terminology.” They want to know, what’s going on? Dave, what is happening to the church of Jesus Christ in this country? Is the New Age Movement affecting it? Is apostasy being embraced, being baptized with the Christian name, and we’re actually bringing witchcraft into the church? The same thing that we’ve been talking about in other areas of the culture?
- Hunt John, very often people say to me, “Why would you write such a book as Seduction of Christianity? And one of my responses is, “Why didn’t a thousand other people write it first?” And another one of my responses is, “How could I not write it!” when I get phone calls and letters like that all the time from people who tell me of their occult background and how they’ve been led to Christ in a tremendous testimony. And then they say, “I turn on Christian television and there it is, the same thing I’ve been involved in. And I call the counselors and talk to them. They’re using the same terminology. What’s going on? I thought I left this thing, and now I find it in the church.” Here’s another letter, John, from a young man who writes to me. He says, “I’m writing this letter out of a concern over recent developments in my church.” And then he says, “In early August a pastor from New York gave some teachings in our fellowship.” He says, “He began to refer to things such as visualization, sanctify the imagination, mind’s eye, the unconscious, incubation, synchronization, holograms, a third and fourth dimension, concepts that he gave very little biblical support to,” and then he goes on and says, “I tried to discuss it with the pastor. I said, `That doesn’t sound biblical to me.’ And the pastor said, `Well, you don’t have enough theological training to discuss this but let me give you a couple of books.'” He said, “The two books that he gave me to read were Seeds of Greatness by Denis Waitley” — a supposed Christian who writes in the area of human potential and success motivation and so forth — “and The Other Side of Silence: A Guide to Christian Meditation by Morton T. Kelsey.” Morton Kelsey happens to be a Jungian psychologist, the pastor of Agnes Sanford who went to the C. G. Jung Institute near Zurich, Switzerland along with Agnes Sanford’s son, John, and they become thorough-going Jungian psychologists. “Now, next,” he says, “as a result of some of this influence, something really terrific is going on in our church. We have a prayer meeting at 6 a.m. every morning. There’s a great prayer movement across America.” Well, you can’t fault that. But,” he says, “As part of this prayer, we sit there and we open ourselves up to visions and then we are — no matter how ridiculous it seems — whatever image comes into our mind, we are to begin to articulate this.” Now we’re being led into occultism again.
- Ankerberg Give us some examples of the things that the New Age Movement is bringing into our society that are also being practiced on the other side of the fence inside the church.
- Hunt Well, you referred earlier to Bernie Siegel, a Yale…
- Ankerberg A surgeon who is also teaching medicine at Yale.
- Hunt Right. Now, he learned a technique from Carl Simonton, who is also a medical doctor near Dallas who works with cancer patients. He has the cancer patients visualize their white blood corpuscles and so forth, and visualize inner guides, and they’re seeing some remarkable cures, apparently. And he says…Simonton taught him this sort of thing. He says, “I approached this exercise with all the skepticism one expects from a mechanistic doctor. Still, I sat down, closed my eyes, and followed directions. I didn’t believe it would work, but if it did, I expected to see Jesus or Moses.” And we talked about a technique that works, even when you don’t believe it’s going to work, you follow the directions….
- Ankerberg That’s because these men are not Christians, now.
- Hunt Oh, absolutely not. It’s an ancient shamanistic technique, a witchcraft technique. He said, “Instead of meeting Jesus or Moses, what do you know! I met `George,’ a bearded, longhaired young man wearing an immaculate flowing white gown and a skull cap. It was an incredible awakening for me because I hadn’t expected anything to happen.” He picked up an inner guide, which is really a demon. Okay? Now, I have a book…we talked about the connection, the Jungian connection, with inner healing. A book Healing the Wounded Spirit by John and Paula Sandford….
- Ankerberg Whom we’ve invited on this program and they turned us down. They said they didn’t have time to come and talk about this.
- Hunt Right. They’re supposedly the leading “inner healing” experts in the church. They give you in this particular book a list. On one side of the page we’ve got the technique taught by Carl Simonton. On the other side of the page we have what they say is the biblical correspondence. Now, Carl Simonton is not a Christian, he’s an occultist. He’s leading people into contact with spirit guides. Not to go into all the details, but the bottom line, the last thing down here on the page is, on the left, what Carl Simonton has you do the sixth week. It says, “All of the above. Get in touch with your inner guide, a wise old person within, or even someone you call Freddy Frog.” You see, it doesn’t matter. Call it Jesus, call it Buddha, call it the Star War Force, doesn’t matter. Just so long as you get in touch with this power. Okay? Now, that’s what the [Sandfords] say. Across the page they give the biblical correspondence. They say, “Inner guide – Holy Spirit.” And they give you some verses such as “Search me and know my heart;” “The Holy Spirit will teach you all things” and so forth. So now we are equating the biblical teaching of the Word of God with occult techniques.
- Ankerberg Not only that, but it’s…we’ve got to say that we believe that God can heal; we believe that God can do great things, but what I find in many of these people is that they have “laws” of God that you operate just like are being operated in shamanism on the other side. You have the witchcraft, the little formula, the cute little saying that you say, and Voila! It happens! And over here, a guy’s got “five steps” or “three ways” or the secret steps or whatever. Tell us about what’s going on in that area.
- Hunt Well, we could name a number of people who believe that. We could take Kenneth Hagin, for example, in his booklet, Having Faith in Your Faith. By the way, a couple of years ago my wife and I had the privilege of making another delivery behind the iron curtain. You know, our car’s taken apart at the border by the guards and in spite of that, the Lord takes everything through. And when I got to the first people to make a delivery to them, I hadn’t talked to them for more than a minute and they said, “What do you know about Kenneth Hagin and Yonggi Cho?” This is behind the iron curtain in the Soviet Union, where I had thought this Gospel of wealth and prosperity would go over like a lead balloon. As a matter of fact, it’s crept into the church back there. And in his booklet, Having Faith in Your Faith, Kenneth Hagin says, “It used to bother me when I saw non-Christians” — these are godless people — “getting miracles, and my church members missing out. And then I realized, well, Jesus said, `Whosoever says to this mountain.’ Anybody can say it. Because all people are spirit beings. So even the godless atheist is a spirit being.” And he said, “The Lord taught me that these people are simply developing God’s laws of faith.” Now another one is Paul Yonggi Cho. He says, “I asked God, `How is it that the Soka Gakkai, the Nichiren Shoshu'” — they chant “Nam myoho renge kyo,” this is their positive confession. The power of the spoken word. And they’re getting miracles. “How is it that these occultists are getting miracles and the Christians are not?” And he says, “God told me it’s because they’re fourth dimension beings.” Just like God’s a fourth dimension being, Satan and angels and demons and man, and so they’re simply developing God’s laws of the fourth dimension. Now, what we’re into is what’s called “religious science,” “Christian science.” You don’t have to be a Spirit-filled Christian, much less, you know, really walking with the Lord in obedience to His Word to flip on the switch and get electricity to work or to tap into the energy of the atom. So Robert…not Robert Schuller, but he teaches basically the same thing, but his close buddy, Norman Vincent Peale, in The Power of Positive Thinking says that, “Just as there is atomic power, so there’s spiritual power.”
- And just as there are scientific methods for releasing the energy in the atom, so prayer is a religious technique for releasing spiritual power.” So you don’t have to be a Christian, all you have to do….when the witch doctor slits the rooster’s throat, he sprinkles the blood in a certain pattern and he mumbles a formula, the gods “come through.” Because all is one, and we’re tied in in a mechanistic way and they’ve got to do it. That’s exactly what they’re teaching.
- Ankerberg How about this. You were talking about Kenneth Hagin; you’re talking about words, positive confession, the magic formula. What do you make out of this? New Thresholds of Faith, page 75: “God created the universe with words. Words filled with faith are the most powerful things in the world. Our lips can make us millionaires or keep us paupers. Faith’s confession creates realities. Realization follows the confession. Confession precedes possession.”
- Hunt You know, that could be taught in a thousand New Age seminars or success motivation/self-improvement seminars out in the world. Now, the other book that I mentioned, Denis Waitley’s book, Seeds of Greatness — ten secrets. Secret number 7 is faith. Okay? Here’s a Christian psychologist who is out there. You can pick it up on American Airlines. Tune in to the Nightingale Cohen Corporation tapes on self-improvement and so forth, the whole thing. He’s got a whole chapter on faith. You don’t find God in there once. And in fact he says that “these principles that I am teaching” — he says, “Ernest Holmes devoted his life to this thing.” Now we’re into religious science. I’m talking too much. While we’re on it, let’s just…let me show you one other thing. This is Possibilities magazine out of the Crystal Cathedral. Last summer. The man on the front cover, John Marks Templeton, a very successful Wall Street money manager. The major interview is with him. And they say, you know, “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.” Now we’re back to what we’re talking about. This is religious science. This is pantheism. God is good; God is all. Therefore, all is good. And if you think you see sin, sickness, suffering, disease, death, it doesn’t exist. The fault is in your perception. You are misperceiving, and what you have to do is change your thinking. You must begin to think positively. It gets a little bit worse as you go on in the interview, because you find him saying, “The Christ Spirit dwells in every human being, whether the person knows it or not.” They lie, right out of the pit of hell! And we’ve got it in a magazine put out by a man who is recognized as an Evangelical leader in the church of Jesus Christ. I think these things ought to be known and they ought to be condemned by every Bible-believing Christian.
- Ankerberg All right. We’re going to talk more about this when we get right back, so please stick with us.
- Ankerberg All right, we’re back, and we’re talking about the New Age ideas that are coming into the church. And I’m sure that most of you have seen Napoleon Hill’s book, Grow Rich With Peace of Mind, or some of his other books. Do you know the basis of his philosophy…where it came from? He says, “Now and again I have had evidence that unseen friends hover about me, unknowable to ordinary senses. In my studies I discovered there is a group of strange beings who maintain a school of wisdom which must be 10,000 years old. Here is how I found out. A voice spoke. I saw nobody. I cannot tell you whence the voice came.” He goes on and he says, “I came to see unseen speakers” — they materialized — “and they said, `I come from the Great School of the Masters. I am one of the council of 33 who serve the great school and its initiates on the physical plane.'” He goes on to describe how these spirit guides, these spirit beings materialized in front of him, talked with him, and gave him the philosophy of Think and Grow Rich, his book, which influenced people like Clement Stone, who then went on to influence people like Norman Vincent Peale, who then went on to influence people like Robert Schuller. We’re talking about how this has come from our secular culture who have embraced the ideas that there are spirit guides; that there are these untapped powers that can help us. We can look within and we can reach a new level of human potential. I want to talk about these spirit guides. What else would you suggest, Dave, are examples of this coming right into the church?
- Hunt Well, you know, John, first of all, I wonder, what do leading businessmen out there think? Because that book, Think and Grow Rich, has impacted the lives of more chairmen of the board, presidents of major corporations….Do they really believe in a “temple of wisdom” out there and “masters” from this school who can come across the astral plane? And they said to Napoleon Hill in a vibrant voice, “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.” So the formula of success literally given by demons to Napoleon Hill became the foundation of the entire PMA/Success Motivation world out there that is studied by our businessmen. Now, Napoleon Hill is dead, but his ideas live on. And one of the ways they live on is through the Napoleon Hill Foundation which is headed by a gentleman named W. Clement Stone, who is on Schuller’s board and so forth. The Napoleon Hill Foundation gives an annual gold medal award — the Napoleon Hill Gold Metal Award. And to receive this you must give public testimony of the benefits you’ve gotten from Napoleon Hill’s teaching. In 1986 — I don’t know about ’87. I’ve been out of the country for the last six weeks. But in November of 1986 the recipient that year was Robert Schuller. He got it in Dallas at a banquet that was co-sponsored by the Napoleon Hill Foundation and the Dallas Baptist University. Okay? So these things, again, are coming right into the church of Jesus Christ.
- Ankerberg And again, we’ve asked Robert Schuller to be a guest and appear and talk about these things, and he also declined our invitation. It’s been for 24 months that we’ve invited some of these men to appear. They will not debate these issues. Keep going.
- Hunt Now, what’s happening, John? It’s incredible! Just going back to the secular world again for a moment, here’s a book by Dr. Errol R. Corn and Karen Johnson called Visualization: The Uses of Imagery in the Health Profession. He’s one of our top physicians in Southern California. This is for medical doctors. He is teaching them how to teach their patients to contact these spirit guides. And he says, “When you become aware of this guide, you get in the state of consciousness, establish contact, find out what its name is, what its purpose is. You do this by actually talking with the creature. It could be human or animal, and so forth. And then he says, “You must realize that this guide can provide support, protection, messages that will solve the client’s problems, he can give total symptom removal to the client.” What does a medical doctor think he’s doing? Well, whatever he thinks he’s in touch with, I can tell you what the Christians think they’re in touch with. So here I’ve got an excerpt from a book written for youth ministers — an Evangelical book for youth ministers. It gives you a yoga breathing exercise, how to get into this relaxed state of consciousness, and it says, “When you’ve done this breathing exercise several times, image God.” You don’t have to know the Bible very well to know that it’s an abomination to form an image of God. And you say, “Well, we’re not forming it out of wood or clay or stone, just in our mind.” Every image formed out of wood or clay or stone was first of all formed in the mind. Okay? This is mental idolatry. But it gets a little worse. He says, “When the image is clear, focus on it. Eventually, it will speak to you.” Now, we’ve made contact with the spirit world. And we’ve got some entity here that is literally speaking and guiding us. I guarantee you it is not God and it is not Jesus. You cannot call God up in that way. Just as an example, Jeremiah, who certainly was a man of God, in the 42nd chapter of Jeremiah, the Jews asked him, “Go to your God and ask Him directions and we’ll do what He says.” So, of course, Jeremiah immediately went into his alpha levels and he visualized God and so forth….No! It says — verse 7 of Chapter 42 says, “After 10 days, the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying.” We’re being taught today that you can call from the right hand of God anytime you want. The Son of God is your private guru to appear before you. You’ve got control, and you can visualize Him and there He is, and this is the real Jesus. It’s astonishing. One of the teachers of this is Mark Virkler in Orchard Park near Buffalo, New York. An Assembly of God [Church]. Tommy Reid is the head pastor there. And they’re teaching courses…it’s called the Association of Church Centered Bible Schools. You’ve got churches across America and Canada that are saying, “Fantastic! We can tap into this thing.” They’ve got a curriculum, you know, and, “We can be part of this big organization.” And one of their major courses is called “Beyond Academics to Spirit Encounter.” And he says, “We teach you how to get in two-way dialogue with God.” Now, you can visualize Jesus, you can visualize God and you can get this voice that will speak to you and so forth. It’s the same demonism that’s being taught out there in the secular world that the secular world is buying, and now we’re embracing it in the church of Jesus Christ.
- Ankerberg Leviticus says, “Regard not them that have familiar spirits. Neither seek after wizards to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.” We’re going to talk more about this next week, and we’re going to talk about some of our preachers who are saying, “Every one of you who are Christians are entitled to be wealthy. Every one of you who are Christians are entitled to be in good health. And if you’re not, you don’t have enough faith.” We’re going to talk about that kind of theology next week. Please join us.