The New Age Movement
Article 2 in a two-part Series on New Age
by Ross Clifford
Interact Magazine 1990
Volume 1 Number 4
In this article I want to do two things: firstly, suggest two outlines for a sermon on the New Age Movement and secondly, list some principles for evangelism.
1. Sermon A
An evangelistic sermon on the New Age Movement that I have found produces much fruit is one I prepared on Hebrews 13:1-14. The message contrasts the New Age Movement with the Christian world view.
I normally start by indicating that a basic premise of the New Age Movement is that it is time for a paradigm shift (new religious model). I then contrast Christianity with this new New Age Movement model.
1. Verses 1-3: Christianity is about loving others, dying to self. The New Age Movement focuses on self-gratulation.
2. Verses 4-5a: Christianity is about objective values that are absolute and eternal, the kind of standards that society thrives on. New Age Movement is about subjective values that are transitory and each person does what they believe is right.
3. Verses 5b-6: Christianity is about living life with a God who walks beside you. In the New Age Movement there is, as such, no external God. You are on your own.
4. Verse 7: Christianity is about modelling one’s life on the Christian ‘greats’ – Paul, Peter, Wesley, Wilberforce etc. In the New Age Movement we have no such servant models, not are we likely to with its self-driven values.
5. Verses 9-13: Christianity is a religion based on God’s love and a once-for-all salvation found in the cross. The New Age Movement is about saving oneself and this seems a never-ending journey.
6. Verse 14: Christianity coffers a city to come, one where the whole person enters into eternity and lives a conscious existence in the presence of the Lord. The coming city of the New Age Movement is the abyss of being lost in the sea of the universal consciousness.
7. Verse 8: Christianity offers the Jesus of the Gospels. The Christ of the New Age Movement is a new Jesus with no historical foundation. Let Jesus be whom he claimed to be!
Is it time for a new model? Which world view do you believe is truth? Which is ultimately satisfactory? Which can build a life, a family and a country?
I find such a message particularly effective in seminars and amongst people in the 18-40 bracket. Of course I fill out the outline with relevant examples and New Age Movement reflections.
2. Sermon B
For a Christian audience tat is seeking to be informed and equipped on the New Age Movement, the following outline has proved appropriate.
Its statement of beliefs
Why is it successful
How to minister to those in the movement
In Part 1 I mentioned the kind of material I would include under each heading.
Principles for Evangelism
Let me list some of the basic guidelines:
1. Have the mind of 1 Peter 3:15. New Age, Movement people on the whole are sensitive so we must proceed with gentleness and respect.
2. Find common ground. They also are searching for spiritual truth. Affirm this.
3. Acknowledge that some of their emphases are good eg. Ecology.
4. Point out the moral bankruptcy in the New Age Movement. The world cannot survive on the principle that as we are gods we determine our own destiny. The consequence of this is that if I am a victim it is because I willed it! Is that the answer to the starving 4-year old in Ethiopia or to one who has been abused as a child? The Christian response is very different, and in compassion ministers to the victims. It acknowledges that the victim is normally not at fault.
5. Encourage a New Age Movement disciple to hear what the ‘master’ Jesus says about Himself. Then present the Gospel.
6. Show that we do know what it is to enjoy God. New Age Movement people are experiential.
7. Remember we are in a spiritual battle.
8. Avoid cognitive-based apologetics with New Age Movement people.
Let me conclude by encouraging you to take time to understand the New Age Movement. Read one or two books. Two that have made me think and given me tremendous insight into this world view are:
The Aquarian Conspiracy, Marilyn Ferguson, Tarcher.
Going Within, Shirley Maclane, Bantam.
Rev Ross Clifford is the senior minister of the Gymea Baptist Church in N.S.W.
© Ross Clifford (1 November 1990)