The New Age Movement and the Church – Program 3
|By: Brooks Alexander, Dave Hunt, Tal Brooke; ©1988|
|How are Dominion Theology and the health, wealth and prosperity teachings related to the New Age Movement?|
Positive Confession and the New Age Movement
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 some of the things that are happening in our country via the New Age. And, obviously, it’s been written up in magazines; it’s on television. But we have come to a point in these programs where we’re talking about not only the influences on our secular culture, our universities, our medical societies, our psychiatrists, but also the church. We are now seeing it in the Evangelical church, we are taking some of the ideas of the New Age and some of their techniques and we’re bringing it over into the church and we’re calling it Christian. And primarily, the “laws of God” that revolve around health and wealth and prosperity, Dave, tell us about what is called Dominion Theology, the health, wealth and prosperity theology. Start us off.
- Hunt Well, it’s interesting that you connect them, because they are connected. If we can, as Kenneth Hagin says — “You can have what you say;” you can “Write your own ticket with God” — a title of one of his little booklets. He says, “Jesus appeared to him and gave him four principles, which, if you follow those principles you can always get what you want.” So now you’ve got a technique and you can write your own ticket with God. Well, if we can really do that then the logical conclusion is, we ought to confess healing, prosperity, peace, blessing, salvation for the whole world. And we ought to turn this world into paradise by our positive confession. This idea of “positive” and “negative” really gets my ire up. You know? If you’re talking about chemical bonding or magneticism or electricity, it has some meaning. But if you’re talking about truth, you’re talking about the Word of God, you’re talking about holiness, godliness, it has no meaning whatsoever. The issue is not, “Is it positive or is it negative,” the issue is….
- Ankerberg That sounds like the Force.
- Hunt Exactly. The issue is, “Is it biblical or not biblical? Is it true or is it false?” And this talk about being “positive” is a smokescreen and obscures the real issue. So now we’ve got to make a “positive confession” of the Word of God. We could trace that back again to a gentleman who came out of New Thought and who really brought religious science into this and it was picked up by Hagin and Copeland and so forth. How are you going to make a positive confession of Armageddon, for example? How are you going to make a positive confession of what Jeremiah had to say, and the judgment of God? So, Robert Schuller has come up with a new Bible where he highlights all the positive verses. What are we going to do with those that we don’t like, that seem to be negative? So, what we are, is we’re just cutting out what we don’t want. So the idea is, if I think positively, I will be healthy. Now, there is some truth in this. Solomon did say, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” If you go around, you know, feeling like you’re going to get sick and so forth, you probably will because the mind does have a connection to the body, but there is a limit to this. But they’re saying there is no limit; we have infinite potential. We can get what we want. Well, then, we ought to take over this world, and that is exactly what Dominion Theology teaches. It teaches that Jesus Christ…Earl Paulk, for example, who says, “Just as dogs have puppies and cats have kittens, so God has little gods. And until we realize that we are little gods and we rise to our full stature of godhood and we take over this world, Jesus can’t come back.” And He’s not coming back to rapture us out of here. We’re not arguing pre-, mid-, post-rapture, we’re saying “rapture or no rapture?” That’s the argument today. And they’re saying there is no rapture. There’s no reason to rapture us. That’s kind of an escape thing. “You defeatist Christians, you know, you’re going to have to be rescued out of here.” “No! We’re going to take over, we’re going to conquer this world; we’re going to reign and we’re going to set up the Kingdom. He will come back and rule over this Kingdom that we’ve set up.” Now they’re saying, “We must conquer disease; we must conquer death.” You know what the Bible says. The Bible says, “The dead in Christ shall rise first, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.” Earl Paulk takes that Scripture and says, “Then we who are alive and remain” — he takes a 180 degree turn. He says, “are left here to manifest immortality in these bodies.” Now, the Bible tells you very clearly in I Corinthians 15 when “this mortal will put on immortality and the last trump will sound. The dead will be raised and we will be changed.” It won’t happen until then. They’re saying, “No, we don’t have to wait until then, but we are going to conquer death because there’s healing in the atonement, and no Christian should ever be sick. We should never die, and we’re going to conquer death in these physical bodies before Jesus returns and takes over this world.
- Ankerberg Kenneth Hagin says in his book, “If Jesus Christ has cured us by His stripes” — quoting Isaiah 53:5: “With His stripes we are healed” — he says, “We have no right not to be well. God has done all He is ever going to do about healing you. It is now up to you to receive it.” Now, they’re saying if you have a heart attack, you have cancer, you have something else, you need to do what?
- Hunt Well, they’re going to put a guilt trip on anybody who is sick. But the problem is, and what you don’t hear from these men…I get letters, and I know that pastors out there are picking up the pieces. And I get letters from people and they say this. They say, “I was in positive confession five years, ten years, fifteen…” — this is their terminology, not my terminology. “It was hell on earth. I confessed my healing. I confessed my prosperity. It didn’t happen. It destroyed my faith. I came under a guilt trip. I turned my back on God. I left the church. And thank God, somebody loaned me Seduction of Christianity and it’s restored me to a right relationship with the Lord.” Somebody else writes and says, “I tried for so many years to get the faith that would remove mountains,” because faith has become a power. “I finally realized what I needed was faith in the God who moves mountains.” You see, a lot of people who pray think that faith is believing that what I’m praying for will happen. No, faith is believing that God will make it happen. Well, now, if that’s what faith is, Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” Now we’ve introduced another element. Is it His will? Not just if I go through the mechanics, but is it His will? Am I in a right relationship with Him? I want Him to have His way, not me pick up a technique so that I can manipulate God and get Him to do what I want.
- Brooke Dave, let me ask a question, and that is, Did the historical Jesus live this kind of life, or do we learn that the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head.” I mean, He was itinerate. He traveled. He wasn’t wealthy. And I think if we study the early church and we get Scriptures like, “He who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted, or shall suffer,” and I see….
- Hunt That’s negative, brother!
- Brooke Right. You can’t do that anymore! But, I guess I’m very happy that the early Christians, the early martyrs, were able to sustain through very tough circumstances and shine. And you don’t see them shining through prosperity, you see them shining through tough times. When the Circus Maximus was filled with martyrs and the caesars were doing this “to the lion”…to kill them either with gladiators or let the lions out of the cages, you see these people in their moment of power. And by 450 A.D. the Roman Empire fell and Constantine, the final emperor, it was out. That phase of history was gone. Christianity has survived almost 2,000 years.
- Ankerberg There’s a verse in the Bible that says, quoting Jesus, “If any man would follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.” And yet in the church, gentlemen, I hear a lot of people talking about the biggest problem that we have is you don’t have self esteem. I’d like to talk about that when we come right back.
- Ankerberg We’re back, and we’re talking about the New Age thinking, the new ideas that are coming out of the New Age philosophy, the mystical experiences that they’re having there and the philosophy that comes out of those experiences. How is this crossing the tracks and coming into the Christian church? And, particularly, in one area what’s being taught, there is a clergyman out that has a book that says, “This book can provide answers for the clergymen” — talking to other preachers here. “If your job is to save souls, you can do this” — here’s how you do it — “when you liberate them from the sin of self-degradation and lift them to the salvation of self-esteem. Come to the understanding that self will is sin; self love is salvation.” Now, that’s from Robert Schuller’s book of Self Love: the Dynamic Force of Success. What about that kind of teaching next to the verse where Jesus said, “If any man would follow me let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.” Tal?
- Brooke I had the privilege several times of speaking at Cambridge University in England and we’re very lucky because they have a student body of 1000 students who are Evangelicals. And not everyone who is a Christian is an idiot, which is the stereotype the public often has. I spoke in a room at one time called the Latimer Room. And you find if you go back to around the time of the Reformation, Cambridge was in a heyday of student revival then, and you had Ridley and you had Latimer. These men, for the faith, not only did not name and claim prosperity but for their faith in Christ and for their unwillingness to compromise, they were burned at the stake. Okay? They’re models of people who are going to go the whole way for Christ. It’s very easy if you’re going to get a bus-load of gold or a pink Cadillac with cow horns on it and sequins. Okay? These people were way beyond that. And I think, Dave, was there a quote in your last tour to Europe that you had from…?
- Hunt Yeah. My wife and I spent about six weeks in Europe last summer. Actually, I was there three weeks. And we drove around where the Reformation took place. And as we drove around, we read again of the Reformation. And I must confess, I had forgotten a lot about what the Reformation was all about. Here’s Latimer and Ridley at the stake, and Latimer says to his companion as they’re being burned…he says, “Be of good courage, Master Ridley, and play the man. For today, we shall light such a candle as I pray by God’s grace will never go out!” It’s gone out. We’ve forgotten what it’s about. You know, I stood there at Constance on the Bodensee between Germany and Switzerland, at that stone that marks the place where John Huss was burned at the stake. A few blocks from the cathedral where he was condemned by a corrupt priesthood that was turning out about 1,500 illegitimate children a year, right in the diocese of Constance, and all he was standing for was “Sola Scriptura” and the priesthood of all believers. That this is our authority. And they burned him at the stake. And I stood there and I wept. And I thought of the eternal values that these men stood for, that they were willing to die and give their lives for, and I stood there and I thought of Robert Schuller’s theology of self esteem. One of his books is titled, Self Esteem: The New Reformation. And he says, “Yes, it was right for Calvin and Luther and those men back there to turn the focus upon scriptures, but we need a new reformation that’s centered not in God but in man and that returns us to our divine right for self esteem.” I wouldn’t die at the stake for that! And I thought of this health and wealth gospel — our divine right to health and to success, and I wept for the church of Jesus Christ today. We have forgotten. And in 1545, I would remind you, the Catholic Church met in the Council of Trent to consider the demands of the Reformers, and they rejected every one! Now, that church today stands for a rejection of the….No, they said! “Sola Scriptura? No!” We also have the pronouncements of the Pope, the Congress of Cardinals; we have the traditions of the church and so forth. The Protestant Church is in worse shape today, than the Catholic Church was in that day, because we’ve got Christian psychologists inside the church today saying, “Sola Scriptura? Oh no! All truth is God’s truth! And some of that was revealed to Freud, and Jung, and Rogers, and so forth.” One of the things that the Reformers were opposed to was images in the church. We’ve got worse than that today. We’ve got images that speak! That have spiritual power that you visualize! It’s in the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church. And, I mean, my heart was just broken.
- Ankerberg This summer, Dave, a lot of people came back from Europe, Catholics, and “Mary talked to them” and they believe it. And they say, “It was the mother of our Lord Jesus.” Why not?
- Hunt That’s another form of channeling. We’ve got a channel who channels Mary also along with Jesus. It’s the same thing. I’m not just jumping on the Catholic Church. The Protestants are into the same thing and worse.
- Ankerberg We have many Protestants that write us right here at the program and they say, “Look, I have a guide, and He’s Jesus. He appears to me and He talks to me. The problem is He’s telling me some things that aren’t in Scripture, but it is Jesus.”
- Hunt And now we’ve got a great ecumenical movement based upon experience. If you can speak in tongues, or if you can do miracles, or if you can get visions, so Oral Roberts has formed Charismatic Bible Ministries, the greatest move for unity they say, and the logo is, “Unity and Love Through Signs and Wonders.” And now we’ve got “signs and wonders seminars” where you go to learn how to do miracles. I mean, you might as well practice walking on water. You know? “Go, try and raise the dead. Well, we’ll role model.” It’s neural-linguistic programming. “We’ll get up there and show you how to do it and then you go through the motions and step out and try. You may make a few mistakes, and if you do, I mean, you tried to prophesy and you didn’t prophesy, so you know….” Well, how often did Ezekiel, Jeremiah and Isaiah apologize for being wrong? We had in the February 1987 Believers Voice of Victory we’ve got a full-page prophecy by Kenneth Copeland delivered at Dallas to a large crowd and Jesus is speaking through him. And this Jesus says, basically — I’m not quoting it verbatim — He says, “Don’t be upset if people accuse you of claiming to be God. They accused me of that. Wouldn’t they accuse you?” Well, I’ll give you a good reason. He’s God and I’m not! And then this Jesus goes on and He says, “But I never claimed to be God, I only claimed to be a man through whom God works.” Now we’ve got a denial of the Deity of Jesus Christ. We’ve got a lying spirit in the mouth of a man who claims to be a prophet of Jesus Christ. Blatant heresy!
- Ankerberg Gentlemen, in terms of these things that are in the church, what would you advocate to the people that may be in churches like that and are saying, “Hey, you’re mentioning all the things we do. We have visualization. We do have these kind of prayer meetings. And we do have meditation where we’re supposed to picture in our minds certain things. And we’re supposed to confess with our words certain things. And we are supposed to have this, etc. I’m in that kind of a church, what should I do?
- Brooke “Have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness,” and get out of Babylon! You know, the early Israelis were told back in that time when they were in Babylonian captivity, finally it was time to get out, “Get out!” You find, though, in history that a lot of them brought Babylon with them. The church at this point is in the same situation.
- Ankerberg What about this verse. I John 4:1-3: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” Do you see this testing going on in the church today?
- Alexander: By and large, No. People are so uncritical, partly because of the pragmatic mentality which excludes all considerations other than the question of whether it works or doesn’t work. You forget about the fine print; you forget about the implications; you forget about the larger connections. If it works, that’s the only question you’re trained to ask. Our whole culture, television, the way we’re brought up, education, what’s fed into us at every level of our growth teaches us that that is the operative question. And when you bring a person to the point that that is the only question they ask, they are denuded of defensive responses. There is nothing that can really stand in the way of these things.
- Ankerberg The scary thing about it, Brooks, is the fact that Scripture itself says “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” And it’s not just talking about outside of the church. And “it’s not surprising then if his servants come and masquerade as servants of righteousness.” I Timothy 4 says, “The Spirit clearly says” — this is the Holy Spirit — “clearly says that in latter times some will abandon the faith,” and what will they do?
- Hunt “Give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils.”
- Ankerberg “Things taught by demons” is what they will listen to. Does that mean even inside the Christian church that can happen?
- Alexander: Perfect example right here. A book that’s called The Jesus Letters by two Connecticut women who recently put out a second printing of this. It’s letters from Jesus or channelings from Jesus and these women made the initial contact with the entity on February 3, 1978 sitting at her desk in Newington, Connecticut, writing a philosophy of healing for a course she was taking. “My hand began to write: `You will be the channel for writing of a book,'” she explains. Who endorses this? Norman Vincent Peale. He says…Norman Vincent Peale writes of these messages, “I found myself fascinated, deeply moved and having the feeling that he was also speaking to me as I read.”
- Hunt Read what this Jesus said to Jane. Right underneath there.
- Alexander: “It little matters if these writings came from Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus of Jane, they are all the same consciousness and that consciousness is God. I am part of God and Jane and Anna are part of that same God.”
- Ankerberg Here we have the New Age philosophy then…Dave, in 30 seconds give me a summation. If we’ve got this inside the church, what should our Christians do?
- Hunt Well, we’ve got to get back to the Word of God, stop following Christian gurus. I don’t want to be anybody’s guru. Don’t follow Dave Hunt, or Robert Schuller, or John Ankerberg or anyone else. But be like the Bereans and “search the Scriptures daily to see whether these things are so.” And to say, “Look, I don’t know. Is that in the Word of God?” You’ve got to know the Bible for yourself. You’ve got to walk with the Lord in obedience to Him, and if you don’t really know the Lord, then open your heart to Him and cry out for help. Because this thing is going to get worse and we better really know what we believe and why we believe it on the basis of the Word of God.
- Ankerberg All right. We’re going to talk next week with the audience. We’ve got plenty of them here. And we’re also going to answer such questions as, “Is this New Age Movement really dangerous? Is it a conspiracy? Where is it heading?” We’ll talk culturally and then we’ll also talk from the Scriptures. I think you’ll be fascinated with that discussion. Please join us.