Avoiding the Dangers of Yoga, Mysticism, New Age and the Occult
By Chris Lawson (April 29, 2013)

 

AVOIDING THE DANGERS OF YOGA,
MYSTICISM, NEW AGE AND THE OCCULT - Part 1

APRIL 2013

By Chris Lawson (April 29, 2013)

Read entire Newsletter in PDF.

 


To the Reader: Some portions of these articles were originally published in 2010, under the title "Defining Deception: What Is Yoga, Mysticism, New Age and The Occult?" The following, which is part one of this two-part series, covers the terms “Mysticism” and “Yoga.” Part two of this series (see below) covers the term “New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) and the term “Occult.” Biblical warnings against these philosophies and the spiritual practices they entail are given throughout both articles.

The Word of God declares:

"When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do." (Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Boldface type added.).

The Hand of Mysticism replies:

"The Hand of Mysticism lay outstretched upon the cracked plane, vainly trying to grasp the meaning of existence. The heliocentric universe, expanding forever outward, exposed itself to be uncaring, cold and unyielding. Of course it refused to give up its secrets. The planets, pushed aside by such a whirlpool of cosmic dust, lay banished; No moon, no tides, only seasonless space devoid of body. The Exquisite Timepiece, stands alone as the solitary guardian of time.

The Hand of Mysticism, animated by man's need to know, gestures greedily for spiritual enlightenment. The Hand seeks what it can never possess, a perfect understanding of God's timetable. Behold the marks on the Hand's palm for they portray man's ignorance. The penmanship of palmistry is but a shadowcraft, never truly revealing the future. Only the mages of universal mysticism can peer into the unknown morrow. The All-Seeing Eye, Exquisite Timepiece, and Father Sun form a triumvirate powerful enough to expose the secrets of the past, present and future.

This palm of humanity will never join the inner circle of true knowledge, but rather be left to it's own devices. Barred from the fount of universal truth it must consult other sources...perhaps the Hand will consult the Tarot, or roll the bones, or divine goat entrails. The Hand of Mysticism will do what it must to balm the burning pain of ignorance." (The Hand of Mysticism (Various online sources. Italics in original, boldface type added.)

Many Christians nowadays think they know what yoga, mysticism, the New Age and the term “occult” mean, and that they are not being affected by such. Unfortunately, many Christian leaders are leading people into such things without even realizing how dangerous these things are. In light of such, it is imperative that the Christian understand just what these terms mean.

To begin with, the word “imperative” is defined as: “a command; an order; an obligation; a duty.”  Applied to the world of spirituality and terminology, we would say that it is “imperative” that we define our terms. As discerning Christians it is part of our duty to know what spiritual terms mean and to stay away from those things that could lead to spiritual harm. To not do so can be disastrous.[1]

Cultists, spiritual abusers and false Christian leaders are experts at redefining biblical terminology. Simply put, they load biblical terminology with meanings that are not accurate. They take different forms of pagan spirituality, contemplative spirituality, mysticism, and even pure occultism, and lightly spray these forms of spirituality with Christian terminology, thus deceiving non-believers and undiscerning Christians alike. As a result of this people are led into grave error by attempting to worship the true God of the Bible in ways that are not Christian at all.

As any educator, teacher or grammarian knows, it is wise and necessary to define terminology, in all contexts. Defining terms helps us to have knowledge of what is bad and of what we ought to avoid. To follow a cultist or a false Christian leader who abuses biblical terminology is unwise and very dangerous. Entering a Christ-less eternity is oftentimes the end result of what happens to people who refuse to define biblical terms properly. The exhortation here is simply this - before you dive into the next new spiritual thing that comes along, do some research and find out just what it is all about. Define your terms and learn how others are defining the terms they are using! To not do so is dangerous! You have been warned!

To illustrate this point, some simple questions are in order. Which “Jesus” do you believe in, which “spirit” influences your mind and actions, and which “gospel” did you embrace when you first heard about Jesus Christ? Did you accept the biblical Jesus, the biblical gospel and the biblical Holy Spirit; or did you receive the Jesus of the cults, the spirit of antichrist and a gospel that is qualitatively different than the “Gospel of God” as is found in Scripture (Romans 1:1-5; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)? Paul the Apostle was concerned about this exact type of thing close to 2000 years ago.

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [deceived] Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another [qualitatively different] Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another [qualitatively different] spirit, which ye have not received, or another [qualitatively different] gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ [Anointed]; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5).

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” (Revelation 12:9).

An Important Reminder

Something that is important to remember is that casting aside the biblical standard of divine revelation in order to have an “experience with God” will always end in spiritual disaster. The world of pagan (and Christian) mysticism and the kingdom of the occult do just this – they provide an “experience” outside of the parameters of what God considers to be true worship. Mystical and occult practices both either reject biblical truth outright, or they cleverly redefine it in order to lead people into alleged “direct experiences” with the divine. This is done in the name of “spirituality” and according to the wisdom of men, not the wisdom of God.

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (1 Corinthians 2:12-15).

It must be noted that the world of satanic deception is based upon two primary things – false teachings and deceptive experiences! People somehow think that if they have a spiritual experience it must be of God. However, one must carefully consider which “God” their experience originates from –Yahweh, Whom the Bible declares is “the God of truth,” or Satan, “the god of this world.”

“And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.” (Zechariah 8:8).

“That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth…” (Isaiah 65:16).

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (Jesus, John 8:44).

“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (Paul, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

When biblical truth is cast aside or distorted in order to fit ones own cleverly designed spirituality, one can be sure that deception will follow. False teachings are given via deceptive “experiences,” this is how Satan operates!

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6-9).

In order to be spared from spiritual disaster, the divine revelation of Scripture must always be the standard and measure for everything. Nothing less will do. To cast aside the Word of God and not test everything...people, leaders, prophets, doctrines, experiences, etc., is not only unwise, it is foolish.

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-5)

When the Word of God is no longer the standard of measure for Christian worship and living, then men’s (and women’s) opinions and experiences will be. Which is wiser and safer, obeying Scripture and testing all things by the Word of God, or following our own (or someone else’s) creative imagination and personal subjective experiences? God has given us His Word, the Bible, and He expects us to obey it, not twist it to make it fit a pre-conceived idea of what we think “spirituality” ought to look like. God expects us to fulfill what Paul the Apostle exhorted the Thessalonians believers, “Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Test all things, hold fast [cling tenaciously] to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).

Integration through “Christianizing”

With these things in mind, one must remember that integrating any form of pagan spirituality into the Christian lifestyle is a form of evil and considered by God to be an abomination. Simply relabeling or redefining pagan spirituality and practices for Christians does not make it Christian, or biblical. Call it centering prayer, Christian yoga, Christian mantras, visualizing Jesus, Eucharistic adoration, etc., it is simply pagan spirituality lightly sprayed with Christian terminology. People too often forget that one of Satan’s goals is to bring mysticism and occultism into the church in order to deceive people into thinking they are “communing with the Divine,” with “angels,” with “Ascended Masters,” with alleged “departed loved ones” (demons), and the like (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 1 Samuel 15:23-24).

It should be remembered that the ultimate goal of occult and mystical practices is to engage in a direct spiritual experience with whatever the practitioner considers to be “God,” or to engage in direct communication with the unseen spirit world. If a Christian engages in these practices, whether intentionally or unintentionally, worshipping God “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) is exchanged for defiling spiritual experiences that are not from God, but from the Prince of darkness.

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

When non-Christians present offerings and sacrifices to false gods, they are simply pursuing what will end in total delusion, and eternal damnation.

“Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils [demons], and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils [demons]. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils [demons]: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils [demons]. Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:18-22).

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8).

Let no man deceive you with vain words

In order to spare readers from involvement in practices that lead to spiritual ruin, several terms have been defined in this article. The goal in defining these terms is to help the reader be more discerning, so that one does not just “jump-on-the-bandwagon” into “new and exciting spiritual things” that look nice and feel good, but are extremely dangerous.

When reading the definitions that follow, one would do well to keep in mind that ancient Israel provoked the Lord to anger when they served idols and integrated the paganism of foreign nations into their worship of the only true God. God very clearly declared to them, “You shall not do this thing” (2 Kings 17:12).

"And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger: For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing. Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets. Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God.” (2 Kings 17:9-14).

The Lord has also warned through the Apostle Paul that believing Christians should be on guard against being deceived by those who speak “vain words”:

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [expose] them.” (Ephesians 5:6-11).

What Is Yoga?

The Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age, written by Debra Lardie, describes Yoga this way:

“A Hindu physical and mental discipline. Hinduism teaches that the self is divine and distinct from the activity associated with the body, mind, and will. Through yoga's system of exercises, people can train their consciousness to control the body and mind, thereby attaining a higher state of awareness…”[2]

“Through the regular practice of yoga, people can achieve perfect spiritual insight, tranquillity, and well-being, experiencing freedom from ignorance, suffering, and ultimately achieving rebirth.”[3]

This dictionary then goes on to describe the etymology of the word “Yoga.”

“The name “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit term that means “to join” or “to unite.” This etymology fits with the underlying philosophy of yoga.  Hindus claim that God is a vital energy source from which all reality emanates. People are connected to this universal life force and are archetypes of it. According to Hindu teaching, the human predicament is caused by a lack of awareness of this vital link between people and the cosmic consciousness.”[4]

The goal of Yoga:

“The goal of yoga is to help practitioners reexperience their oneness with the universal self. As people practice yoga, a higher level of connection with the infinite Oneness will result. Their view of the world will be radically changed as a particularization of Ultimate Reality.”[5]

Several types exist:

“Several types of yoga exist. Jnana yoga refers both to the path of discrimination and wisdom, whereas bhakti yoga refers to the path of love and devotion to a personal god. Karma yoga refers to the path of selfless action, whereas hatha yoga, which is popular in the West, stresses physical postures or positions. Japa yoga requires the repetition of mantras, or sacred sounds, to enable a person to concentrate without being interrupted by external distractions. Kriya yoga enables devotees to channel cosmic energy to their souls in order to establish a harmonious union of the mind, body, and spirit, releasing innate miraculous powers. Kundalini yoga emphasizes opening psychic energy centers called chakras supposedly located up and down the spinal column. This is thought to animate the Kundalini, a cosmic force coiled at the base of the spine.”[6]

Gurus teach spiritual techniques:

“Typical exercises, such as those found in hatha yoga, are practiced under the tutelage of a guru or yogi, a personal religious guide and spiritual teacher. Gurus teach students to combine a variety of breathing techniques with asanas, or relaxation postures. In each of the postures, students must first enter the position, then maintain it for a certain length of time, and finally leave it.”[7]

And now we come to the place where the Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age states how people in the West have mistaken yoga to be “mere breathing and relaxation exercises,” when in reality “[t]he practice of yoga serves as a gateway to Eastern mysticism and occult thinking.”

Author Debra Lardie states:

“Some in the West incorrectly think of yoga as mere breathing and relaxation exercises to develop, stretch, and strengthen the body's muscles, extend and align the spinal column, and enhance cardiovascular circulation. The practice of yoga serves as a gateway to Eastern mysticism and occult thinking. Certain postures, such as the lotus position, are taken to activate the psychic energy centers. And specific breathing exercises are practiced to infuse the soul with cosmic energy floating in the air. A guru might have students gaze at a single object, such as a candle, to develop and focus concentration. The guru might have them chant a mantra to clear their minds and become one with the object in front of them. The goal is to achieve increasingly higher meditative states until reaching oneness with the cosmic consciousness. This state of being is characterized by a blank stare in which the devotee is receptive to esoteric wisdom from the Universal Mind. See also: CHAKRA; HINDUISM; KUNDALINI; LOTUS; MANTRA; YOGANANDA; PARAMAHANSA.”[8]

The Bible says that the Christian is to separate from such things.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).

What Is Mysticism?

Mysticism is a vast subject. Many mystics and many dictionaries define mysticism in a myriad of ways. Here is a very basic definition from the Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

Definition of Mysticism
One entry found for mysticism.
Main Entry: mys·ti·cism
Pronunciation: \’mys-te-, si-zem\
Function: noun

1: the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics 2: the belief that direct knowledge of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight) 3 a: vague speculation: a belief without sound basis b: a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquisition of ineffable knowledge or power.[9]

The theory and practice of religious ecstasies. Traditionally conceived as the spiritual quest for union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God and the perception of its essential oneness, mysticism is now understood to encompass many other varieties of ecstatic experience and perception, including that of nothingness or of the disappearance of the soul. Forms of mysticism are found in all major religions. Ancient and medieval Christian mystics included St. Augustine, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Teresa of Àvila, and Meister Eckhart and his 14th-century successors. Whereas Hinduism and, in Islam, Sufism generally aim at unity with or absorption by the divine, Buddhism and the esoteric Jewish mysticism known as Kabbala are directed toward nothingness; Buddhism in addition emphasizes meditation as a means of moving toward enlightenment. Other mystical traditions are found within Daoism and shamanism.[10]

Keeping in mind the fact that mystical “New Age” practices are nowadays referred to as “New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality” practices, the following quote from the Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age is quite insightful (caps in original).

"The view that awareness of Ultimate Reality may be gained through a heightened state of mental perception and excitement. The mystical experience is designed to take participants beyond the boundaries of reality through a succession of physical sensations, resulting in the perception of direct communication with the inner god.  The goal is to become awakened to the deity within, thereby uniting with the universal life force. Sharing in this common objective are the Ultimate Reality of the New Age, the satori of Zen, the samadhi of Yoga, and the Nirvana of Hinduism...New Age mysticism gained its initial popularity during the 1960’s.  Eastern mystics promised their followers personal freedom, spiritual fulfillment, and a limitless array of innate abilities. Even today, proponents tell initiates they can achieve altered states of consciousness through self-discipline, diet, meditation, and the use of hallucinogenic drugs.  They introduce these initiates to ascended masters who will guide them in their journey to enlightenment. New Age mystics report feelings of euphoria, peace, and universal oneness, as well as a renewal of energy and a greater appreciation for the earth’s beauty. They assert that universal life forces have given them intuitive bursts of insight and creativity. See also: ALTERED STATES, NEW AGE MOVEMENT, SATORI, TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION."[11]

Note On Mysticism:

Please note carefully that Christians who practice yoga, contemplative “centering prayer,” visualizing Jesus, chanting, or inwardly rehearsing mantras, etc., oftentimes do experience the exact same thing that is stated in these definitions of occultism and mystical spirituality; however, the source of their “experience” does not originate from the God of the Bible.

“The goal [of mysticism] is to become awakened to the deity within, thereby uniting with the universal life force.  Sharing in this common objective are the Ultimate Reality of the New Age, the satori of Zen, the samadhi of Yoga, and the Nirvana of Hinduism...New Age mystics report feelings of euphoria, peace, and universal oneness, as well as a renewal of energy and a greater appreciation for the earth’s beauty. They assert that universal life forces have given them intuitive bursts of insight and creativity.”[12]

One should further recognize that undiscerning Christians who are taking pagan concepts, techniques and methods, and “Sharing in this common [unbiblical] objective” of experiencing “the Ultimate Reality of the New Age, the satori of Zen, the samadhi of Yoga, and the Nirvana of Hinduism…” are simply being deceived. This ought to cause serious alarm to any who are dabbling in these things, whether teaching them, promoting them or practicing them.

Zen, Yoga, Hinduism, Buddhism, New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality? Why would any Christian desire to partake in practices that mirror, and can quickly induct one into, esoteric, mystical and occult spirituality? Many people do not know this, but the baleful spiritual forces behind such practices can, and do, enslave and destroy individuals and families. These hostile spiritual forces have been doing this since the first attack on humanity in the Garden of Eden.

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5). 

To be continued.


 To the Reader: The following, which is part two of this two-part series, covers the term “New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) and the term “Occult.” Part one of this series covered the terms “Mysticism” and “Yoga.” Biblical warnings against these philosophies and the spiritual practices they entail are given throughout both articles. 


 

AVOIDING THE DANGERS OF YOGA,
MYSTICISM, NEW AGE AND THE OCCULT - Part 2

MAY 2013

By Chris Lawson (May 1, 2013)

Read entire Newsletter in PDF.

 

In part one of this two-part series, the last paragraph left off with the following quote from Genesis chapter one.

"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5).

What was the reason for this? To remind the reader that the same spiritual deception that came through the voice of the serpent (Satan, the devil) is the exact same lie that has fueled that world of the occult, in all its myriad forms, through all ages; “ye shall surely not die…ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:3-4).

There are corrupting influences that can cause Christians to deviate from the simplicity that is in Jesus. God’s concern, through the Apostle Paul is clear on this, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3). In light of this, an examination and warning about the New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) and the world of the “occult” is in order.

What Is The New Age?

The New Age, otherwise referred to today as the New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality, is a belief system that “encompasses thousands of autonomous and oftentimes contradictory beliefs.”[13] New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) practitioners oftentimes utilize occult methods and techniques for enlightenment, energy balancing, channeling, and much more. The New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) is actually ancient paganism clothed in 21st century dress. Western New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) teachings have borrowed theology and philosophies from various Eastern religions (e.g., Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc.) that are founded upon pantheistic (All-is-God) and panentheistic (All-in-God, God-in-all) evolutionary occultism, otherwise known today as “Conscious Evolution.”

Many of the practices found in 19th-21st century Western (Occidental) occultism have been brought to the West through Eastern religious leaders, cultists, yoga instructors and vast amounts of occult literature produced by Hindu, Buddhist and Theosophical publishing houses. So too, many teachings and practices in this movement are based upon the occult (hidden) concept that “All-is-One” (Monism), hence, because we are all “One,” we are therefore all part of God. In essence monism equals “Oneness,” everything is just one vast “fabric” of reality.

The New Age movement today claims that humanity is just “evolving” into a higher state of “Consciousness;” consciousness being spelled with a capital. “C” in order to declare its divinity of humanity. Again, this goes back to the same old lie of the serpent in the garden (Genesis 3). Hinduism and its varying branches of yogic philosophy and practices are based of this occult philosophy. Turning yoga into “exercise” is the ultimate folly, especially for Christians, for yoga practices and its occult philosophy are inextricably connected. Yoga is just one of many New Age practices now firmly entrenched in Western society, and in many compromised Christian churches.

The Index of Cults and Religions states that those caught up in the “New Age Movement” generally exhibit one or more of the following beliefs, oftentimes in conjunction with “occult” methodology.[14]

(1) All is one; all reality is part of the whole”;
(2) Everything is God and God is everything (pantheism and pan-en-theism);
(3) Man is God or a part of God;
(4) Man never dies, but continues to live through reincarnation;
(5) Man can create his own reality and/or values through transformed consciousness or altered states of consciousness.[15]

It should be noted that many forms of New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) meditation play a key role in opening up individuals and worship communities to dangerous “Altered States of Consciousness” (ASC). Little do people know - including many Christians who practice “centering prayer” (a Christianized version of Eastern “focused concentration”, e.g., Japa yoga, yogic centering) - that these forms of meditation are some of the most powerful and dangerous “mystical” tools known to man. They literally open people up to the unseen world of spiritistic influence, can easily lead to possession states, and can wreak all manner of chaos in the lives of those who practice them. Those who fail to recognize such things are either ignorant, choosing to remain uneducated, or willfully engaging in what they know to be dangerous.

What Is The “Occult”?

The term “occult” comes from the Latin occultus or “hidden.” The word “occult” is generally used to describe secret and mysterious supernatural powers or magical (magick) religious rituals. Throughout history “occult” practitioners have attempted to gain supernatural power or knowledge, apart from the God of the Bible.

The term “occult” or occultism generally refers to witchcraft, Satanism, neo-paganism, or any of the various forms of Psychic discernment such as astrology, séances, palm reading, etc. The following definition of “occult” comes from Dictionary.Com (bold in original).

oc·cult
[uh-kuhlt, ok-uhlt]
adjective
1. of or pertaining to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies.
2. beyond the range of ordinary knowledge or understanding; mysterious.
3. secret; disclosed or communicated only to the initiated.
4. hidden from view.
5. a. not apparent on mere inspection but discoverable by experimentation.
    b. of a nature not understood, as physical qualities.
    c. dealing with such qualities; experimental: occult science.
6. Medicine/Medical . present in amounts too small to be visible: a chemical test to detect occult blood in the stool.[16]

It is generally recognized that there are eight main categories that comprise the world of the occultism: (1) magic, (2) witchcraft/sorcery/voodoo, (3) Satanism, (4) spiritism, (5) divination, (6) astrology, (7) shamanism, and (8) necromancy.[17]  Collectively, these eight categories include literally hundreds if not thousands of methods and techniques that serve to contact the spirit world. The following list is a just a brief sampling of occult practices and belief systems.

“Alchemy, Animism, Astrology, Automatic, speaking (through spirits), Automatic writing (spirit-guided), Cabalistic knowledge, Calling up the dead, Candomble, Celtics (the religion, not the Celtic “race”), Channeling, Chaos Magic, Chiromancy, Clairaudience, Clairvoyance, Crystalmancy, Demon worship and consultation, Discordianism, Divination, Eckankar, Enchantments, Fetishism, Fortune telling, Freemasonry, Glass looking, Gnostic wisdom, Hermetic Traditions, Horoscopes, Hydromancy, I Ching, Illuminated organizations, Illuminati, Incantations, Kabbalah, Knights Templar, La Regla Lucumi, Lukumi, Lycanthropy, Macumba, Magic, magick (magical arts), Mediums, Mirror gazing, Necromancy, Neo-paganism, Omens, Oracles, Ordo Templi Orientis, Ouija boards, Paganism, Palmistry, Prognostication, Psychometry, Qabalah, Quimbanda, Radiestesia, Rosicrucianism, Runes, Santeria, Satanism, Scrying, Secret societies, Sevi Lwa, Shamanism, Soothsaying, Sorcery, Spells (casting, conjuring), Spirit-guides, Spiritists, Spiritualism, Tarot cards, Tea cup reading, Thelemite, Umbanda, Vedic astrology, Vodun (Voodoo), White witchcraft, Wicca, Witchcraft, Wizardy.”[18]

Occultism usurps Christ’s office as Savior of the world

God's Word clearly condemns occultism in all its forms. What is the reason for this? Once a practitioner opens the door to the world of occult influence, the unseen word of the demonic will inevitably come through. The results can be deadly. All who dabble in the occult, including Christians who mistakenly think it is “okay” to do so, place themselves (and their families) immediately at risk. Those who willingly pursue such things set themselves in hostile opposition to the Creator of the universe.

Statistics reveal that occult practitioners across the globe oftentimes suffer the consequences of delusion, psychoses, paranoia, undiagnosable diseases, sexual perversion and immorality of every kind, moral and ethical failure, demonic possession, suicidal tendencies, child sacrifice, and much more.[19]

God also condemns occultism because it usurps Jesus Christ’s high office as the only Mediator and Savior of the world. Occult practices provide another mediator between heaven and earth – the chosen “tool of the occult.” Preferring tools of the occult before Christ and His salvation is a snare unto death for many. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). This certainly is not part of God’s ordained plan for the salvation of souls. Jesus Christ Himself is the only mediator between God and man. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5).

Practitioners under the curse of God

In summary, any and all forms of occultism defile practitioners – no matter what degree they are engaged in. Occult practices cannot save people from their sins, nor can they deliver souls from death. Like a baited hook, occultism leads people into complete spiritual ruin, in this present life and for eternity to come. It is also observed that all forms of occult engagement severely insulate people against yielding to the Lord Jesus Christ and being “born-again” (John 3:3-5). Practitioners of the occult need to know that they are under the curse of God and that only a true miracle from God, through faith in Jesus Christ, can deliver them from occult bondage.

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” (1 Samuel 15:23).

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death. He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.” (Exodus 22:18-20).

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the Lord am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine. A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:26-27).

“And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.” (Deuteronomy 13:5).
People that will not renounce their involvement in the occult and yield to Christ will remain slaves to sin and the servitude of Satan. Jesus said, “He that committeth [continues on in] sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8).

 “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers [who practice such things] upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me [idolaters]; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:1-6).

“And the Lord passed by before him [Moses], and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty [idolaters]; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:7).

Note in the above texts that idolatry (abominations) places one under a ban (prohibition) and the curse of God - even unto the third and fourth generation. Only belief in Jesus Christ, in His blood atoning sacrifice for sins, and His resurrection from the dead can break this ban and its resultant curse. God is willing to deliver all who truly repent and place their faith and trust in His Son, Messiah Jesus.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18).

Worshipping God “in spirit and in truth”

God is Holy and is to be worshipped, not through occult means, but as Jesus said, “in spirit and in truth.” John the Apostle was a dear friend and disciple of Jesus.  He wrote the Gospel of John, the epistles of I, II and III John, and the Book of Revelation. John himself quoted Jesus as saying, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24). It is the third Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Holy Spirit, who guides people to worship God “in spirit and in truth.” It is the wisdom of fallen men (1 Corinthians 2:14), fallen angels (Galatians 1:6-9) and Satan (Matthew 4:8-10) that seeks to derail the true worship of Almighty God. John also write about the Person of the Holy Spirit, Whom Jesus sent into the world to help believers discern between truth and error:

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” (John 14:17-19).

“But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” (John 15:26-27).

“Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” (John 16:13-15)

It is to be concluded then that God the Holy Spirit leads people towards and into God’s truth. Conversely, it is the world of the occult and spiritistic influence (demons) that leads people away from the truth of Scripture and away from the real Jesus Christ of Scripture.

Rejecting the New Age and all forms occultism

In consideration of all of this, the only wise course of action is to reject all forms of occultism, including occult yoga and unbiblical “mystical” New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) practices. Leaders in Christian churches that practice, teach, promote or endorse any type of Christian spirituality that seeks to mix or integrate yoga, visualization, mantra meditation, centering prayer, the alleged “transferrable anointing” (holy laughter, Shaktipat Diksha, etc.), or any other type of occult practice with their Christian lifestyle/worship are in serious error and should be lovingly rebuked. If they cannot separate from these things as the Bible commands, they should altogether step down from public Christian ministry. “Christianizing” tools of the occult will eventually lead them and their followers into dire consequences. (See, Endnote number 19).[20]

No matter how much people attempt to revamp mystical and occult practices for use in a “Christian” context, these methods and the underlying philosophies that drive them ever remain in opposition to God and His prescribed directives for the Christian. The biblically educated understand these things, take heed, and avoid them. On the contrary, the ignorant oftentimes mock at such things. God however will not be mocked! “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7).

Parting Words

When “the doors” of mysticism and the occult are opened through yoga and New Age (New Spirituality/New Gospel/Contemplative spirituality) practices, the kingdom of darkness will come rushing through as an unstoppable flood, regardless of whether one claims to be a Christian or not. The following is perhaps one of the Bible’s most comprehensive warnings against occult practices. Giving a blanket condemnation covering eight forms of occult activity:

“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after [follow; do according to; imitate] the abominations [idolatries] of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire [child sacrifice], or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination [detestable] unto the LORD: and because of these abominations [detestable acts] the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect [blameless, complete, perfect; or having integrity] with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered [allowed] thee so to do.” (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).

It is up to each individual to examine oneself and obey God’s holy Word. God expects His people to use their minds, obey His Word, and discern between truth and error and good and evil. Rejecting occult practices of every sort and yielding to the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:3-5) is a responsibility that every Christian has. If one claims to be a Christian and yet partakes in such things, the directive Paul gave to the believers at Corinth would be appropriate, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove [test] your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).

It is only after we examine ourselves in light of God’s word, and test the “words” we have been believing and listening to, that we will be able to “[p]rove [test] all things; [and] hold fast [cling tenaciously to] that which is good.” The Christian ought to do everything possible to “abstain from every form of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). This is the way to avoid eternal destruction and reap the benefits of everlasting life. It was our Lord Jesus Himself who said,

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14).

 

 Endnotes:

[1] American Heritage Dictionary: "im·per·a·tive," http://www.answers.com/topic/imperative.

[2] Debra Lardie, contributing editors Dan Lioy and Paul Ingram, Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2000), pp. 288-289.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mysticism; http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/mysticism.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Debra Lardie, contributing editors Dan Lioy and Paul Ingram, Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2000), p. 180.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Index of Cults and New Religions, http://www.watchman.org/cat95.htm

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Dictionary.Com, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/occult.

[17] John Ankerberg and John Weldon, The Coming Darkness (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), pp. 37-38.

[18]“ What is the occult?,” http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-occult-defn.html

[19] Numerous texts on this subject can be referenced including Hindu occult texts from Eastern gurus. Suggested encyclopedic works with many quotes and case examples include the Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, the Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions and The Coming Darkness, by Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; Kingdom of the Occult by Dr. Walter Martin, Occult Shock and Psychic Forces by Clifford Wilson and Dr. John Weldon; the Concise Dictionary of the Occult and New Age by Debra Lardie; and numerous books and reference works by Dr. Kurt E. Koch, including but not limited to: Occult ABC: Exposing Occult Practices and Ideologies; Demonology Past and Present: Identifying and Overcoming Demonic Strongholds; Between Christ and Satan; Occult Bondage and Deliverance: Counseling the Occultly Oppressed; The Strife of Tongues; Occult Practices and Beliefs: A Biblical Examination from A to Z; Christian Counseling and Occultism: A Complete Guidebook to Occult Oppression and Deliverance.

[20] Ibid. 


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