New Age Spirituality and the Evangelical Church

New Age spirituality has infiltrated the Evangelical Church in America. Now that I have your attention allow me to take a step back and say that there are aspects of New Age spirituality that have taken root in many churches that were once evangelical, and continue to claim the moniker for themselves.  Then there are churches in the Emergent Church movement and its offshoots who have incorporated many elements that correspond to New Age practices as well as tinges of Hindu religious rituals.

In 1963 Harry Blamires wrote, “There is no longer a Christian mind.”[1] He further went on to observe,

“[A]s a thinking being, the modern Christian has succumbed to secularization. He accepts religion – its morality, its worship, its spiritual culture, but he rejects the religious view of life, the view which sets all earthly issues within the context of the eternal, the view which relates all human problems – social, political, cultural – to the doctrinal foundations of the Christian Faith, the view which sees all things here below in terms of God’s supremacy and earth’s transitoriness, in terms of Heaven and Hell.”[2]

This sounds strikingly similar to the findings of the National Study of Youth and Religion. In 2005 Christian Smith and his fellow researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill recorded the discoveries from their study of the religious beliefs of American adolescents. Smith coined the phrase “Moralistic Therapeutic Deism” to describe the spiritual understanding of these adolescents. It is moralistic in that they believe that God wants men to behave properly. It is therapeutic as seen in their belief that God wants people to be happy. It is deistic because they believe that God created all things, but is not actively involved in the lives of people unless one decides that God could serve them in a particular situation, like a genie in a bottle. Unfortunately, this form of religious understanding is all pervasive in Western society, and in Evangelical churches.

The current drift from the truth of Scripture was not unforeseen. Paul predicted this very departure sometime around A.D. 62 when he informed Timothy that a time would come when some within the Church would fall away from the faith, choosing instead to pay attention to “deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Tim. 4:1). Church history is replete with examples of how sound doctrinal teaching quickly faded following the Apostles’ deaths, and how it was obscured for many centuries until the Reformation. For instance, sometime around A.D. 52, Paul was already dealing with false teaching concerning the Tribulation (2 Thess), and by A.D. 55 he was refuting the false gospel spreading in the church of Galatia.
It is my purpose here to begin a study of what has led to this point in history when adherence to sound Bible doctrine has become the exception, not the norm, and how the infiltration of New Age teachings was made possible. In the next section, we will begin by examining the drift into secularization, which created the vacuum that sucked New Age spirituality into the Evangelical Church.
[1] Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think? (Vancouver, BC, Canada: Regent College Publishing, 2005),
[2] Ibid., 3-4.

Posted in Theology, Worldview.

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