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Recommended Reading on the New Age Movement

Jun 14, 2017

Let me begin with a confession: I was involved in the New Age Movement (NAM) back in my wild youth. And that was before it was even referred to as the NAM. My involvement was in the late 60s, early 70s, while the term itself came around a decade or more later. You can read about my involvement here: billmuehlenberg.com/2012/06/27/coming-home-my-testimony-part-1/

My conversion in 1971 put an end to my infatuation with NAM beliefs and practices. But sadly the movement really started to take off then in the West, and it continues unabated today. Given the many very real dangers associated with the NAM (not least of which its heavy roots in Eastern religions and the occult), Christians need to be very wary indeed.

Biblical discernment is required, even with some aspects which may be more or less spiritually neutral in themselves (various physical therapies and breathing exercises, etc). Indeed, we need to be wise and well-informed about the various recovery techniques, or psycho-technologies.

new age 2For example, how should Christians think about such things as creative visualization, tarot cards, alternative medicines, yoga, numerology, colour therapy, reflexology, astrology, the martial arts, Reiki, macrobiotics, the use of crystals, acupuncture, pyramids and aroma therapies, and so on?

As mentioned, some of these therapies can have some scientific validity, and some of these things in themselves can be used in a neutral fashion with no spiritual overtones. But far too often they are accompanied by spiritual and occultic baggage. Thus great care and discernment is needed here. These are matters we dare not take lightly or cavalierly.

I will need to pen more articles on the NAM to look more closely at the Eastern and occult influences, practices and beliefs. Suffice it to say that the Bible offers us plenty of warnings about the occult, sorcery, spiritism, magic, divination and so on.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 would be just one of the many passages that need to be considered. And the point to remember here is that the Bible does not ban such things because they do not work. It bans them because they do work – satanic counterfeits abound, and we dare not allow demonic influences into our lives, or the lives of our churches.

It will be noted that most of the books offered here were penned in the 80s and 90s. The NAM was certainly big back then, but it still is today. Perhaps part of the reason why Christians are not writing about it as much today is because it has become so mainstream. It is everywhere part of Western culture, and even worse, it has infiltrated our churches in many areas as well.

And sadly far too many people claiming to be Christians are up to their ears in various NAM practices, if not beliefs. They will actually become quite hostile if you try to point out to them some of the many spiritual dangers involved with these things.

Indeed, just yesterday I wrote a piece on Christians and yoga. Already plenty of battles have broken out, with some believers actually quite offended that I even dared to write about this. They are happy to defend things like yoga to the hilt, and they seem oblivious to any actual dangers involved.

And don’t get me started on how many so-called believers have gotten sucked into the poisonous worldview of folks like Oprah Winfrey. As I have often said before about her, she is one of the biggest promoters of New Age spirituality on the planet, and has deceived millions. Yet plenty of Christians just love her!

As to the books below, they are all almost of equal value. They have different emphases of course, and some cover different aspects of the NAM. Some are a bit more academic in nature while others are pitched at a more popular level.

Some involve personal testimonies of those who were once steeped in the NAM. Some do a great job of integrating all the biblical data on this. I have subsections featured below the main list for more specific areas of study. And if you were to ask me to highlight a few especially helpful authors, I could do that as well.

In the US Douglas Groothuis has penned at least four very useful books on the NAM. In Australia Clifford and Johnson have written a number of good volumes. And on the NAM influence in, if not takeover of, the churches, see especially the many valuable works by Peter Jones, some of which I mention below.

Here then is my list:

General Works
Amano, J. Yutake and Norman Geisler, The Infiltration of the New Age Movement. Tyndale House, 1989.
Ankerberg, John and Craig Branch, Thieves of Innocence. Harvest House, 1993.
Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs. Harvest House, 1996.
Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, The Facts on the New Age Movement. Harvest House, 1988.
Chandler, Russell, Understanding the New Age. Word, 1988.
Clark, David and Norman Geisler, Apologetics in the New Age: A Christian Critique of Pantheism. Baker, 1990.
Clifford, Ross and Philip Johnson, Jesus and the Gods of the New Age. Lion Publishing, 2001.
Clifford, Ross and Philip Johnson, Sacred Quest. Albatross Books, 1993.
Clifford, Ross and Philip Johnson, Taboo or to Do? Darton, Longman and Todd, 2016.
Drane, John, What is the New Age Saying to the Church? Marshall Pickering, 1999.
Groothuis, Douglas, Confronting the New Age. IVP, 1988.
Groothuis, Douglas, Deceived by the Light. Harvest House, 1995.
Groothuis, Douglas, Unmasking the New Age. IVP, 1986.
Herrick, James, The Making of the New Spirituality. IVP, 2003.
Hoyt, Karen, et. Al., The New Age Rage. Revell, 1987.
Jones, Peter, Capturing the Pagan Mind. B&H Publishing, 2003.
Jones, Peter, The Gnostic Empire Strikes Back. Presbyterian and Reformed, 1992.
Jones, Peter, The Other Worldview. Kirkdale Press, 2015.
Jones, Peter, Pagans in the Pews. Regal Books, 2001.
Jones, Peter, Spirit Wars. WinePress Publishing, 1997.
Lucas, Ernest, Science and the New Age Challenge. IVP, 1996.
McRoberts, Kerry, New Age or Old Lie? Hendrickson Pub., 1989.
Martin, Walter, The New Age Cult. Bethany House, 1989.
Michaelsen, Johanna, The Beautiful Side of Evil. Paperback. Harvest House, 1982.
Miller, Elliot, A Crash Course on the New Age Movement. Baker, 1989.
Newport, John, The New Age Movement and the Biblical Worldview. Eerdmans, 1998.
Rhodes, Ron, New Age Movement. Zondervan, 1995.
Scott, Brad, Embraced by the Darkness. Crossway, 1996.
Smith, F. LaGard, What You Need to Know About the New Age Movement. Harvest House, 1993.
Strohmer, Charles, The Gospel and the New Spirituality. Thomas Nelson, 1996.
Strohmer, Charles, Wise as a Serpent, Harmless as a Dove. Word, 1994.

The New Age Jesus
Groothuis, Douglas, Jesus in an Age of Controversy. Harvest House, 1996.
Groothuis, Douglas, Revealing the New Age Jesus. IVP, 1990.
Rhodes, Ron, The Counterfeit Christ of the New Age Movement. Baker, 1990.
Zacharias, Ravi, Why Jesus? FaithWorks, 2012.

Reincarnation
Albrecht, Mark, Reincarnation: A Christian Appraisal. IVP, 1982.
Geisler, Norman and J. Yutaka Amano, The Reincarnation Sensation. Tyndale, 1986.
Morey, Robert, Reincarnation and Christianity. Bethany House, 1980.
Snyder, John, Reincarnation vs. Resurrection. Moody Press, 1984.

Near Death Experiences
Abanes, Richard, Journey into the Light. Baker, 1996.
Alnor, William, Heaven Can’t Wait. Baker, 1996.
Ankerberg, John and John Weldon, The Facts on Life after Death. Harvest House, 1992.
Green, H. Leon, If I Should Wake Before I Die. Crossway, 1997.
Habermas, Gary and J.P. Moreland, Immortality: The Other Side of Death. Thomas Neslon, 1992.

Alternative Medicine
Mathuna, Donal and Walt Larimore, Alternative Medicine. Zondervan, 2001.
Reisser, Paul, Dale Mabe and Robert Velarde, Examining Alternative Medicine. IVP, 2001.
Reisser, Paul, Teri Reisser and John Weldon, The Holistic Healers. IVP, 1983.

Oprah Winfrey and the NAM
Bruner, Kurt, Oprah’s Jesus. Destiny Image, 2010.
Lutzer, Erwin, Oprah, Miracles, and the New Earth: A Critique. Moody, 2008.
McDowell, Josh and Dave Sterrett, “O” God: A Dialogue on Truth and Oprah’s Spirituality. WND Books, 2009.

Happy reading, and stay safe.

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10 Responses to Recommended Reading on the New Age Movement

  • Ah yes, I was studying at BCV (now MST) in the late 70s early 80s when the NAM had become so popular. In fact, I chose to write a major essay on the topic. I also have several cousins (all in the same family) who subscribe to all things New Age. My collection of New Age books includes authors such as Ross Clifford, Ravi Zacharias and Douglas Groothuis … can’t remember the rest, as they’ve since been demoted to the bottom shelf of my bookcase! But one thing they all have in common: They describe an era where religion was starting to become a mishmash of beliefs that were acceptable to those who disliked any aspect of sin, moral judgment and ‘narrowly defined’ Christianity.
    In the 90s I wrote a book entitled ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ that addressed the personality types first described by Carl Jung, but went on to explain these types from a Christian perspective. This was aimed, at least in part, at the burgeoning NAM. It sold like hot cakes at the New Age Festival in Melbourne for the three years I was there, alongside Pastor Richard Warner. Ironically, our stand was next to the Tarot Readings, where customers were charged $50 to have their ‘reading’ done! They came from there to our stand, already completely disillusioned by having been ‘taken for a ride’. Our emphasis was on praying for people, as well as selling books that countered the NAM. I had one person who came in, extremely ‘in control’, wanting to know more about what we did. When I offered to pray with her she was out of there like Ginger the Cat in ‘The Last Battle’ (Chronicles of Narnia) after he went through the stable door! It turned out that this woman was heavily involved in Wiccan practices.
    I have also encountered a number of demonically oppressed/possessed patients in psychiatric wards around Melbourne during my agency nursing, many of whom had been involved in NAM previously. On several occasions, these patients reacted strongly when I entered the Ward, shouting out “We know who YOU are!” and begged me to leave! This is potentially the end result of being heavily involved in New Age practices. When you play with fire, you ARE likely to get burned.

  • Many thanks for that Ann.

  • I think many people are attracted to New-Age by a lot of the “pretty” stuff, such as crystals, candles and colours. It seems more exciting than a “dull old prayer meeting”. New-Age tends to have a curious magnetism about it, that pulls people in….I know when I was younger that I spent a lot of time reading up about all sorts of weird and wonderful practices. There is one thing, though…if you warn people off it, they are even more likely to take it up. Simply telling them it is “bad” is not enough; explanations are essential.

  • On this subject, a young guy Steven Bancarz who was deeply involved in New Age thinking has started a website Reasons for Jesus. He has the same message, but 50 years later. Nothing changes, especially the One who rescues and redeems.

  • I got involved because of needing healing – facing possible ovarian cancer, 38, daughter left me to live with dad (who abandoned us before her birth) and feeling totally alone in the world, stopped at a rock shop, and the old man, a crystal healer told me I was going to be ok. So I had to find out about that, after the operation which removed an orange sized tumor from me, but it was benign. I learned reiki and learned how false most teachers are. I studied, well, everything, and during this time, in a conflict with a rather major New Age guru, after I repeatedly would not bend on saying, I believe in God, not buddha, or an avatar, etc, God called me back to Him, it is totally His doing. I didn’t deserve it, but here we are/ I was reminded who my savior was, Jesus, and only Jesus. Please don’t give up praying for those you love who have fallen into the silky trap of “enlightenment.”

  • As a Child, I grew up in the occult. My parents met in a Spiritualist Church and hence I had my immersion in the world of so called white witchcraft. The Spiritualist Church calls up so called dead people from the past, which every Christian knows are demonic spirits, otherwise known as familiar spirits. As a child there was always an icy fear in our house, with things continually moving in and around our house all by themselves. When I came to know Christ and repented of Occult practices, I had the fight of my life spiritually. There was a literal war on for my mind. But the perfect love of Jesus cast out all fear, eventually I was free. For several years now I have gone to, ‘The Spirit Soul and Body festival’ with a group of Christians to give prophetic words from God. I find the people who are searching around the clairvoyants are hungry for spiritual encounters, because of this we can introduce people to the Living God right in the midst of the clairvoyant activity. The lost that go to these places are hungry and I find God right there in the midst of all witches and clairvoyants that are batting for the other side. It’s a perfect place to introduce people to the living God Jesus Christ. Just like Daniel did in Babylon, he was in the midst of the astrologers, but Daniel had the Living God and His word being released right in the midst of the Occult.

  • Please Bill do you know which publication would be best to read on Martial Arts? My youngest grandson has been doing it for a couple of years. I haven’t been happy about it but didn’t say anything because I hoped I was over-reacting, maybe unfairly to the Asian roots. Also because my daughter and son-in-law thought it was so good for him I thought they might think I was just being too narrow minded and old-fashioned. However you have confirmed my fears and I feel I must say something, but need the facts and arguments. I must say they all love the Lord and go to Church every week but as you say New Age thinking is creeping in even there. I feel there is a great lack of teaching on many things in the Church! Does anyone else have any wisdom for me?

  • Thanks Lesley. Many of the books listed above would have sections or chapters on the martial arts. I would have to pull the volumes back off my shelves to see which ones specifically do cover this. In the meantime here are a few articles that are fairly helpful on this issue:

    probe.org/martial-arts/

    www.jashow.org/articles/new-age/should-christians-participate-in-the-martial-arts-%E2%80%93-three-testimonies/

    www.equip.org/article/should-a-christian-practice-the-martial-arts/

  • Thanks Bill. I have taken copies of these and now feel free to discuss them with my daughter and son-in-law.

  • For Lesley

    Gaylene Goodroad from the blog Herescope herescope.blogspot.com has written of her many years in martial arts. She has an pdf format ebooklet worth reading called ‘My life in ‘The Way’ – from the broad way of the east to the narrow way of Christ’.

    I too spent many years in the NAM and spoke a few times to our congregation as to why is it antibiblical, using the Bible, sadly fell on deaf ears and my then pastor was no better when I tried to tell him the danger of yoga – how silly of me, yoga is only exercise etc, etc…..

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