Posts Tagged ‘New Age movement’
A woman standing in line outside the theater to see The Shack movie was eager to talk with me about Paul Young’s best-selling book. She said she “loved” The Shack and couldn’t understand why it had so many critics on the Internet. She was especially perplexed by the number of “negative” comments made by pastors. Obviously confused by all the controversy, she suddenly exclaimed—”But The Shack is just a novel!”
What the woman and so many other Shack readers fail to take into account is that the book is much more than just a novel. It is a carefully crafted presentation of Paul Young’s alternative “Christian” universalist theology based on “real” conversations he claims to have had with God. In Young’s forward to The Shack Revisited, a book written by his friend C. Baxter Kruger, Young corrects any misunderstanding that The Shack is “just a novel.” He writes:
Please don’t misunderstand me; The Shack is theology. But it is theology wrapped in story.1
If you want to understand better the perspectives and theology that frame The Shack, this book [Kruger’s] is for you. Baxter has taken on the incredible task of exploring the nature and character of the God who met me in my own shack.2
According to Young, God came to him in the “Great Sadness” of his own “shack” and communicated directly with him. Much of The Shack’s theology is based on what Young learned in his conversations with God.
Young’s Conversations with God
A Christian news source recently reprinted excerpts from several posts Young made on his personal blog back in August 2007. In these excerpts, Young explained that The Shack is a story, but it is a story based on real conversations he was having with God, his friends, and his family. He writes:
Remember, I am thinking about writing this for my kids, so I am searching for a good vehicle to communicate through. I figure a good story would be great . . . but I didn’t have one. So I started with what I did have . . . conversations. So, off and on, for about three months I wrote down conversations; conversations that I was having with God mostly, but which often included friends or family.3 [emphasis added by W. Smith]
Is the story “real”? The story is fiction. I made it up. Now, having said that, I will add that the emotional pain with all its intensity and the process that tears into Mack’s heart and soul are very real. I have my “shack,” the place I had to go through to find healing. I have my Great Sadness . . . that is all real. And the conversations are very real and true. . . .
So is the story true? The pain, the loss, the grief, the process, the conversations, the questions, the anger, the longing, the secrets, the lies, the forgiveness . . . all real, all true.4 [emphasis added by W. Smith]
Young’s “Christian” Universalism
In a February 16, 2008 post on a blog called Christian Universalism: The Beautiful Heresy: The Shack, an avowed “friend” of Paul Young corroborates Young’s 2007 blog post about his conversations with God. The friend describes how the conversations Young’s main character Mack has with God in The Shack are “real conversations” that Paul Young actually had with God. She reveals how these conversations “revolutionized” Young, his family, and friends such as herself. She says that the “radically dangerous” teachings that Young put in his novel have become her new “systematic theology” and The Shack is her new “systematic theology handbook.” The following are her exact words and punctuation as they were originally posted on the “Christian Universalism” blog:
I know the author well—a personal friend. (Our whole house church devoured it last summer, and Paul came to our home to discuss it—WONDERFUL time!) The conversations that “Mack” has with God, are real conversations that Paul Young had with God . . . and they revolutionized him, his family, and friends (Paul had a very traumatic past, raised by missionary parents, who left him in the care of the stone-age Dani tribe, while they did “God’s work.” He was abused by them, in the process—and there were other tragedies in his life, later on. When he was a broken mess, God began to speak to him). He wrote the story (rather than a “sermon”) to give the real conversations context—and because Jesus also used simple stories to engage our hearts, even by-passing our objective brains, in order to have His message take root in our hearts, and grow. . . .
I had already come to believe all the “radically dangerous” teachings within this book—so it mostly confirmed what I already believed. But, it most definitely highlighted the reality that I don’t yet KNOW (KNOW!) how much God loves me. I want the relationship with God that I see in Paul Young’s life. . . .
This was the first book that I read straight through 4 times. First to absorb it. Secondly, to underline. Third to highlight. Fourth, to put “headers” on the top of each page, so that I could find certain passages again. It’s become my new “systematic theology” handbook!5 [emphasis added by W. Smith]
Thus, by his own account and that of his friend, Paul Young would be the first to deny that The Shack is “just a novel.”
Young the Universalist
Back to my conversation with the woman in front of the movie theater. When she said that The Shack was “just a novel,” I described how his novel was actually a fictional device used as a “vehicle” for presenting some of his own misguided theological teachings—teachings that had more in common with New Age teachings than biblical Christianity. When she acknowledged knowing about the New Age movement, I told her that some of The Shack’s teachings were actually New Age teachings. But before I could explain what those specific teachings were and how I had once been involved in the New Age myself, the theater doors opened, the line started moving, and our conversation was suddenly over. She seemed relieved as she turned toward the theater and away from me. Praying that she would come to understand that Paul Young has more in common with New Age universalism than biblical Christianity. I had no idea at the time that Young was about to publicly declare in a new book what so many of us already knew. In Lies We Believe About God, which was released on March 7th, Young states that he believes in “universal salvation”6 and that “every single human being is in Christ” and “Christ is in them.”7 Thus, Young himself makes it very clear in his own words that The Shack is not “just a novel” but rather a “cunningly devised fable” (2 Peter 1:16) for presenting some of his own heretical universalistic New Age views.
Who is Paul Young Really Listening To and Conversing With?
Paul Young would have us believe that he has been having “real” conversations with God and that he was inspired by God to write The Shack. Yet he is now declaring himself to be a universalist who believes in the false New Age trinitarian doctrine that God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are already “in” everyone. In other words, Young, as a professing universalist, would have us believe that all of humanity is already saved (universal salvation). The question that naturally arises and that is now before the church is—just who is Paul Young actually listening to and conversing with? The God of the Bible or the false “God” of the New Age?
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)
1. C. Baxter Kruger, The Shack Revisited: There Is More Going on Here than You Ever Dared to Dream ( New York, NY: FaithWorks, Hatchette Book Group, 2012), p. xi.
2. Ibid., p. viiii.
3. Sunny Shell, “The Shack, a Biblical and Interactive Review” (http://blogs.christianpost.com/abandoned-to-christ/the-shack-a-biblical-and-interactive-review-28674/, posted 2/16/17, quoting Paul Young from his August 15, 2007 blog titled “The Shack – update – Background #2″ (http://web.archive.org/web/20070911092057/http://www.windrumors.com/29/the-shack-update-background-2/).
4. Sunny Shell, “The Shack, a Biblical and Interactive Review” (http://blogs.christianpost.com/abandoned-to-christ/the-shack-a-biblical-and-interactive-review-28674/, posted 2/16/17, quoting Paul Young from his August 15, 2007 blog titled “Is the story of THE SHACK true . . . is Mack a “real” person? (http://web.archive.org/web/20070911092319/http://www.windrumors.com/30/is-the-story-of-the-shack-trueis-mack-a-real-person/).
5. Christian Universalism-The Beautiful Heresy: The Shack (http://web.archive.org/web/20080307051159/http://christian-universalism.blogs.com/thebeautifulheresy/2008/02/the-shack.html, posted February 16, 2008 by Dena Brehm. (Thanks to Kent McElroy for bringing this blog to my attention).
6. Wm. Paul Young, Lies We Believe About God (New York, NY: Atria Books, an Imprint of Simon & Schuster, 2017), p. 118.
7. Ibid., p. 119.
LTRP Note: The Shack movie is soon to be released, and Christians and non-Christians alike will fill movie theaters to watch it. Before you open your minds and hearts up to this movie, please study the facts behind the book, The Shack, which will no doubt be carried over to some extent to the movie.
By J. Pekich (as mentioned in Warren B. Smith’s book, A “Wonderful” Deception in his chapter on The Shack)
Used with permission.
I finished reading my copy of William P. Young’s, The Shack, and had something happen that I want to share for those who are interested. While reading The Shack, I rented a movie that came out that also, like The Shack, involved some controversy. The movie was called, The Seeker, and it’s based on a book titled, The Dark is Rising, by Susan Cooper. The Seeker was said to have New Age undertones and was also, like The Shack, being marketed to Christians. Because of my interest in cults and also in the New Age movement, I decided to watch the movie to see if indeed the claims were accurate. This is where it began to get interesting.
In the movie, The Seeker, a young boy is a chosen one who is to find signs hidden throughout time, which will help fight against the encroaching darkness. I won’t go into the plot too much but what I will say is, in the movie, each sign that the boy is to find is known as a “fractal.” When I heard the term “fractal,” right away I realized that I had heard that same term somewhere else recently. Later on that day I remembered where I had heard it … The Shack.
Beginning in Ch. 9 in, The Shack, which is titled, “A Long Time Ago in a Garden Far, Far Away,” we read about how the character Sarayu (who represents the Holy Spirit) has created a garden, and we learn on page 129, that the garden is a “fractal.” We learn about fractals from Sarayu when she says, “A fractal is something considered simple and orderly that is actually composed of repeated patterns no matter how magnified. A fractal is almost infinitely complex. I love fractals, so I put them everywhere.”  Then we continue reading through the rest of Ch. 9, which is filled with ideas that are not only relativistic, but are also panentheistic, which means that God is in all.
After noticing that “fractals” were mentioned in, The Seeker, and in, The Shack, and remembering that the movie and the book were touted as having New Age undertones, I decided the common term found in both was a coincidence that needed to be further explored. I began to read many critiques about, The Shack, to see if any of them mentioned the significance of the word “fractal,” only to find that none of them approached the subject. So I decided to do a search on the Internet using the words “fractal” and “New Age”… bingo!!!
What I discovered was a widely held belief in New Age philosophy known as “Fractal Theory” also known as “Chaos Theory.” There is a phrase spoken amongst New Agers in which they say to one another, “As above, so below.” In the New Age movement, “Fractal Theory” or “As above, so below,” means that macrocosmos is the same as microcosmos. The universe is the same as God, God is the same as man, man is the same as the cell, the cell is the same as the atom … and so on.  New Agers claim that “Fractal Theory,” or the phrase “As above, so below,” comes from something known as the Emerald Tablet, and embraces the entire system of traditional and modern magic. According to New Age philosophy, the phrase “As above, so below” was inscribed on the tablet in cryptic wording by someone known as Hermes Trismegistus. The Emerald Tablet is one of the most revered magical documents in Western Occultism. 
So, how do “fractals” or “Fractal Theory” play into the phrase “As above, so below?” In New Age thought, “Fractal Theory” and “As above, so below” are synonymous. They attempt to explain the origin and meaning of the universe. “Fractal Theory” says that in looking at the big picture of nature, we see an evolution of consciousness from small systems of consciousness, to progressively larger and more complex systems of consciousness. Basically, conscious beings are like fractals evolving to ever greater scales of magnitude. Along the way, we follow the same basic patterns, but at each stage of consciousness we find unique variations in this evolving process. These variations can easily lead to confusing chaos if you don’t know the underlying patterns, or “fractals,” which are the basic laws. New Agers say if you know what to look for, which are the key fractal structures, it’s analogous to looking beyond millions of individual trees and realizing that what you really see is a forest … the unity behind the great diversity of nature.  To sum it up, “God” is both our origin and our aim, thus the core belief of the New Age movement which says we need to have a self-realization that we are all gods.
After doing more Internet searches to get a handle on the term “fractal” (I also ran searches with the term fractal combined with popular New Agers such as Eckhart Tolle, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Alice Bailey), I came to realize that “fractals” and “Fractal Theory” are not only a core belief in New Age thought, but are the very foundation of what defines the New Age which states that we are evolving from the Age of Pisces, represented by a mess or a chaos, and are moving into the Age of Aquarius, represented by the “fractal” or the self-realization that we are all gods. The term “fractal” was coined by Polish mathematician, Benoit Mandelbrot.  But, as is typical of the New Age movement, they latched onto Mandelbrot’s theory, spiritualized it, and then made it their own. 
Now for those of you who have a copy of The Shack, turn to page 138 and read where the character, Sarayu, tells the main character, Mack, that the garden which Mack described as “the mess,” is his very soul. Sarayu proclaims to Mack, “This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process (evolving). To you it seems like a mess, but to me, I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing alive – a living fractal.” 
Another interesting fact about the New Age phrase, “As above, so below,” which is synonymous with the term, “fractal,” in New Age thought, is that it’s also used in the popular paraphrase of the bible known as, The Message, written by Eugene Peterson. In, The Message, Matthew 6:9-10 where we find the Lord’s prayer, it reads, “Our Father in heaven, reveal who you are. Set the world right, do what’s best – As above, so below.”  Eugene Peterson’s recommendation of The Shack, is found not only on its front cover, but also on it’s first page beneath where it says, “What others are saying about The Shack.” Peterson’s comment states, “When the imagination of a writer and the passion of a theologian cross-fertilize the result is a novel on the order of The Shack.”  I disagree and would suggest that what’s being “cross-fertilized” is a biblical world view with a New Age world view.
After studying New Age philosophy by breaking out my old copy of Kingdom of the Cults, by Dr. Walter Martin , going to the library to check out a New Age book titled, As Above So Below, by Ronald S. Miller, and continuing to scour New Age sites on the Internet, it became obvious to me that The Shack is filled with New Age thought and Eastern mysticism. I did not come to this conclusion by reading critiques, but found it by doing my own homework. It is my opinion that somewhere along the way, William P. Young has been deeply influenced by New Age thought. This naturally leads to my next question … is William P. Young a New Ager, or is he himself a Christian who’s been deceived? I have no way of knowing the answer to that question, but what I do know is, after all of my studies, and listening online to William P. Young speak at Mariner’s Church , along with reading The Shack for myself, what Mr. Young teaches when he speaks, and the message his book conveys, is not orthodox biblical teaching, but in fact is New Age thought and Eastern mysticism interspersed with some Christian terms.
My encouragement to everyone is to listen to the warnings of the late Dr. Walter Martin. His call to Christians was to know the word of God so we would be able to spot counterfeits.  Walter Martin’s heart was so heavy because of the lack of discernment within the Christian church. His call to Christians took place back in the 1980s. His fear was since the New Age had already infiltrated our society through books, seminars, and business philosophy, that it was only a matter of time before it would infiltrate the church. Dr. Martin hit the nail on the head and was right to sound the alarm. Now 25 years later, the New Age has indeed infiltrated the church, so much so that what is orthodox Christianity, and what is New Age philosophy, is becoming blurred. It is so important that we heed Hebrews 4:12-13:
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
Only by studying and knowing God’s word, which is truth, can we as Christians gain biblical discernment to spot the counterfeits.
(Be sure and read Warren B. Smith’s booklet, The Shack and Its New Age Leaven)
 The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, pg. 129
 As Above So Below-Paths to Spiritual Renewal in Daily Life, Ronald S. Miller & The Editors of New Age Journal, Penguin Putnam, intro. pp. xi-xv
 The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, pg. 138
 The Message, Eugene Peterson, paraphrase of Matt. 6:9-10
 The Shack, William P. Young, Windblown Media 2007, inside cover
 Kingdom of the Cults, Dr. Walter Martin, Bethany House 1997, Ch. 11
Letter to the Editor: Chakra Article in Orange County Newspaper Brings to Remembrance Ray Yungen’s Work
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
I came across this article [see below] in the travel section of our local newspaper the Orange County Register, dated January 1, 2017. The mention of the “seven chakra garden” was what prompted me to send this to you. It also made me want to mention some things about your dear departed friend, Ray Yungen, who taught on this very subject. I never had the pleasure of meeting him, and yet of all the speakers I’ve heard he was the one I’d hoped to meet and talk to. It must be so very, very hard for you losing him! I only saw his conference appearances on line [YouTube] a few times, and he just was fantastic in every way. He came across as very balanced, stable, likable, knowledgeable, wise and with a fun sense of humor! The way he wrote and the way he spoke he seemed to be such a clear thinker, it is such a delight to read his works. I admired him so much. I have been reading your online newsletters that I missed through the year. I just read one by Ray in June of 2009 regarding the Desert Fathers—excellent! So I thought writing to you and thus keeping his memory alive was a positive thing to do . . . I hope this is so!
Warmest regards to you in very cold Montana!
Before Watching The Shack Movie, Read This – The “Inspiration” Behind the Movie and Eugene Peterson’s Connection
I was drawn into the New Age Movement years ago by books and lectures containing parabolic stories that were not unlike The Shack. They felt spiritually uplifting as they tackled tough issues and talked about God’s love and forgiveness. They seemed to provide me with what I spiritually needed as they gave me much needed hope and promise. Building on the credibility they achieved through their inspirational and emotive writings, my New Age authors and teachers would then go on to tell me that “God” is “in” everyone and everything.
I discovered that author William P. Young does exactly the same thing in The Shack. He moves through his very engaging and emotional story to eventually present this same New Age teaching that God is “in” everything.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me first provide some background material concerning this key New Age doctrine that “God is in everything.” A good place to start is with Eugene Peterson, the author of the controversial Bible paraphrase The Message. After all, Peterson’s enthusiastic endorsement of The Shack is featured right under the author’s name on the front cover.
Ironically, it was Peterson’s endorsement that caused me to be immediately suspicious of The Shack. Through his questionable paraphrasing of the Bible, Peterson had already aligned himself in a number of areas with New Age/New Spirituality teachings. One obvious example is where he translated a key verse in the Lord’s Prayer to read “as above, so below” rather than “in earth, as it is in heaven.” “As above, so below” is a term that I was very familiar with from my previous involvement in the New Age movement. This esoteric saying has been an occult centerpiece for nearly five thousand years. It is alleged by New Age metaphysicians to be the key to all magic and all mysteries. It means that God is not only transcendent—“out there”— but He is also immanent—“in” everyone and everything.
But, as I found out just before abandoning the deceptive teachings of the New Age for the Truth of biblical Christianity, God is not “in” everyone and everything. The Bible makes it clear that man is not divine and that man is not God (Ezekiel 28:2, Hosea 11:9, John 2:24-25, etc.) In my book Deceived on Purpose: The New Age Implications of the Purpose Driven Church, I quoted the editors of New Age Journal as they defined “as above, so below” in their book, As Above, So Below:
“As above, so below, as below, so above.” This maxim implies that the transcendent God beyond the physical universe and the immanent God within ourselves are one.2
My concern about Peterson’s undiscerning use of “as above, so below” in the Lord’s Prayer was underscored when the 2006 bestseller, The Secret, showcased this same occult/New Age phrase. In fact, it was the introductory quote at the very beginning of the book. By immediately featuring “as above, so below” the author Rhonda Byrne was telling her readers in definite New Age language that “God is in everyone and everything.” Towards the end of the book, The Secret puts into more practical words what the author initially meant by introducing the immanent concept of “as above, so below.” On page 164, The Secret tells its readers—“You are God in a physical body.”
Most significantly, in his book The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, New Age leader Benjamin Crème reveals that a New World Religion will be based on this foundational “as above, so below” teaching of immanence—this idea that God is “in” everyone and everything:
But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent—outside of His creation—and also the concept of God immanent in all creation—in man and all creation.3
New Age matriarch Alice Bailey, in her book The Reappearance of the Christ, wrote:
. . . a fresh orientation to divinity and to the acceptance of the fact of God Transcendent and God Immanent within every form of life. “These are foundational truths upon which the world religion of the future will rest.4
In a November 9, 2003 Hour of Power sermon—just two months before he was a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the National Association of Evangelicals—Crystal Cathedral minister Robert Schuller unabashedly aligned himself with this same New Age/New World Religion teaching. The man who claims to have mentored thousands of pastors, including Bill Hybels and Rick Warren, stated:
You know in theology—pardon me for using a couple of big words—but in theology the God we believe in, this God of Abraham, is a transcendent God. But He is also an immanent God. Transcendent means up there, out there, above us all. But God is also an immanent God—immanence of God and the transcendence of God—but then you have a balanced perspective of God. The immanence of God means here, in me, around me, in society, in the world, this God here, in the humanities, in the science, in the arts, sociology, in politics—the immanence of God. . . . Yes, God is alive and He is in every single human being!5
But God is not in every single human being. God is not in everything. One of the many reasons I wrote Deceived on Purpose was because Rick Warren presented his readers with this same “God in everything” teaching. Quoting an obviously flawed New Century Bible translation of Ephesians 4:6, Rick Warren—whether he meant to or not—was teaching his millions of readers the foundational doctrine of the New World Religion. Describing God in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life, he wrote:
He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything.6
Compounding the matter further, “immanence” has been taught as part of the Foundations class at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church. An ill-defined reference to immanence in the Saddleback Foundations Participants Guide plays right into the hands of the New Spirituality/New World Religion by stating:
The fact that God stands above and beyond his creation does not mean he stands outside his creation. He is both transcendent (above and beyond his creation) and immanent (within and throughout his creation).7
All of this discussion I am giving about “God in everything” immanence is to explain why The Shack is such a deceptive book. It teaches this same heresy. This book ostensibly attempts to deal with the deeply sensitive issues surrounding the murder of a young child. Because of the author’s intensely personal story line, most readers become engaged with the book on a deep emotional level. However, the author’s use of poetic license to convey his highly subjective, and often unbiblical, spiritual views becomes increasingly problematic as the story line develops. This is most apparent when he uses the person of “Jesus” to suddenly introduce the foundational teaching of the New Spirituality/New World Religion—God is “in” everything. Using the New Age term “ground of being” to describe “God,” the “Jesus” of The Shack states:
God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things.8
This false teaching about a “God” who “dwells in, around, and through all things” is the kind of New Age leaven that left unchallenged could leaven the church into the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. And while many people have expressed a great deal of emotional attachment to The Shack and its characters—this leaven alone contaminates the whole book.
Clearly, the “Jesus” of The Shack is not Jesus Christ of the Bible. The apostle Paul chided the Corinthians and warned them that they were vulnerable and extremely susceptible to “another Jesus” and “another gospel” and “another spirit” that were not from God (2 Corinthians 11:4). In the Bible, the real Jesus Christ warned that spiritual deception would be a sign before His return. He further warned that there would be those who would even come in His name, pretending to be Him (Matthew 24:3-5, 24).
Without ascribing any ill motive to William Young and his book The Shack, the author’s use of spiritual creativity seems to give a “Christian” assent to the New Age/New Spirituality of the proposed New World Religion. His mixing of truth and error can become very confusing to readers, and God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33).
Dr. Harry Ironside, pastor of Chicago’s Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948, emphasizes the fact that truth mixed with error results in “all error”—a direct refutation of the Emergent Church teaching to find “truth” wherever it may be found—including books like The Shack. Ironside wrote:
Error is like leaven, of which we read, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” Truth mixed with error is equivalent to all error, except that it is more innocent looking and, therefore, more dangerous. God hates such a mixture! Any error, or any truth-and-error mixture, calls for definite exposure and repudiation. To condone such is to be unfaithful to God and His Word and treacherous to imperiled souls for whom Christ died.9
The Shack has touched the hearts and emotions of many people. While there are many other examples of the author’s unbiblical liberality, introducing the heretical New Age teaching that “God dwells in, and around, and through all things” is in and by itself enough to completely undermine any value the book might otherwise have for faithful believers. To allow yourself to get carried away by this story, while disregarding the book’s New Age/New Spirituality leaven, is to fall prey to the “truth-and-error” mixture that pervades The Shack. And as Dr. Ironside warned—“God hates such a mixture!”
Before Christians buy one more copy of this book, they need to come to terms with what this author is ultimately teaching and what it is they are passing along to their friends and fellow believers.
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:4) For footnotes or to read this entire article about The Shack, click here.
By Caryl Matrisciana
When I was twenty years old, my family returned from India, where I was born and lived for most of my life, to England, our homeland. It was during the turbulent sixties, and I was about to be introduced to a movement that didn’t even have a name yet. How could I have possibly known then that the strange and mystical religion I had been surrounded by in India would someday be at the heart of a spirituality that would influence millions around the world?
I will never forget that hot, muggy day in London in the summer of 1966 when I was twenty years old. How could I forget? After all, it was the day that changed my life forever.
Perhaps if I had been out in the English countryside or beside the sea, that hot, stifling day would have been bearable—but in the city it was miserable. Oh, to be in a garden with its soothing assortment of colorful flowers, my feet dangling in a cool spring!
Reality was all too blatant. The British capital was steeped and simmering in its own crowded bustle, intense noise, and pandemonium of traffic. By day’s end I could hardly bear the sound and sweat of it all as I was jostled along in an overcrowded, red, double-decker bus through rush-hour traffic.
Still, in spite of all the unpleasantness, a breathless anticipation filled my soul. That surging excitement was my only motivation to struggle across blistering-hot London. I knew I was on my way to a marvelous experience.
Eventually the bus rounded Piccadilly Circus and honked impatiently at the myriads of pedestrians overflowing onto the streets. The sidewalk vendors and little shops were teeming with hundreds of tourists. T-shirts hanging on shop canopies sported the slogan “swinging London,” along with coffee mugs, postcards, and dozens of other souvenir items.
A New Spiritual Gospel
The phrase “swinging London” had recently been splashed across the world’s newsstands by Time magazine1 and had captured an atmosphere that really did permeate the London air. I basked proudly in the energy that surrounded me, enchanted with the good fortune to live and work in this pulsating metropolis.
The bus changed gears noisily and puffed out dirty diesel fumes. We moved slowly down Shaftesbury Avenue, the heart of theater land, in Soho. My pulse pounded harder. The next stop was my destination.
I pushed my way through the crowded bus and jumped off with a spurt of enthusiasm. Renewed vigor had me effortlessly nudging my way through throngs of theater goers who crowded the sidewalks. At last I arrived! I stood still for what seemed to be an endless moment, absorbing the glowing neon advertisements that assured me I was at the right place. The theater marquee carried but one word. The name of the show was Hair.2
Soon I was to experience the musical blockbuster that the whole world was singing about. The people milling around me were quite different in appearance from those on the bus. Denim jeans, casual Indian cotton shirts, and hippie informality identified almost everyone. Hairstyles ranged from long to longer to longest. I grinned to myself, realizing I too looked like the in generation. At the same time, it was a relief to know that my parents couldn’t see me now. How they would argue that I was not conforming to the “required London theater dress.”
I had waited months for tonight. Tickets for Hair were nearly impossible to buy. I clutched mine protectively, waiting to squeeze through the door. Scanning the crowd, I searched for the friends I was to meet.
The air buzzed as people hummed various songs from the score that was about to begin. Never before had I gone into a show already so familiar with its lyrics and tunes. For months the airwaves had carried those melodies around the world.
Still, I could not have imagined the impact the show itself was to have on my life and thinking. I would not have guessed how religiously I would follow this new spiritual “gospel.” I was about to be “converted” by the message of Hair, along with thousands of other people of my generation.
We shuffled inside and located our seats. The theater darkened. The rustle of programs stilled. Chills and goose bumps spread through the audience as the orchestra began to play. There was heavy, loud rock music as magnificent, full voices swelled in harmony. There were colors, lights, and sounds. Everything mingled together to draw me willingly, passionately, into the phenomenon. Never before had I known such intense involvement in a theatrical production.
With exciting extravagance, the show animated and popularized outrageously impudent and risqué ideas. Tricky little songs whipped us into attitudes of rebellion and promiscuity. We cheered and applauded the demise of family, society, government, and country. We decried the past and its values. We sang about the hopeless state of our planet; we coughed and choked for the pollution and wept over the sadness of war.
Every person in the audience was transformed into a mystical searcher through the song lyrics. Everyone contemplated the plaintive question asked in, “Where Do I Go?” That particular song had us following everything, nothing, and even myself. It had us asking the eternal question posed in the lyrics, “And will I ever discover why I live and die?”3
Like many other people my age, I had never considered that topic before, but I was to do so a thousand times in the days and months to come. That evening’s performance was to lead me, and countless others, on a spiritual quest.
Having disparaged the past and present and looking grimly into the emptiness of no solution, Hair suddenly gave a glimmer of hope. We whooped ecstatically through the marvelous escape presented in “Hashish.” This gleeful song promoted the wow experience one could achieve through no less than twenty-five different highs.
In the years to come, I would get hooked on one particular high and try several others. I would understand all too well the appeal of replacing realism with psychedelia.
A New Way of Thinking
L ittle did I comprehend at the time that through this musical I was being subtly introduced to a new religious system. One song ridiculed the faith of my youth. It encouraged us not to believe in God per se, but instead, to see that we ourselves were like gods. Joyfully we sang the immortal words of the great poet William Shakespeare, taken from his play Hamlet:
What a piece of work man is!
How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty.
In form and moving, how express and admirable, In action how like an angel,
In apprehension how like a god.4
My perception of the world was about to change. From here on I was being introduced to a new alternative to my old way of life—one that in the future was to jealously lead me into an uncompromising spiritual dimension. “Let the sunshine in,” the cast vocalized.5
“Let the sunshine in!” we responded at the tops of our voices. Oh yes, oh yes! Let the sunshine in! My heart ached with hope. How I longed to experience this new “opening” and its promised sensation. In any case, it would have been hopeless to struggle against the overpowering emotional, mental, and sensual seduction taking place. (To read this entire chapter one of Out of India, and for endnotes and credits, click here – picks up on p. 17.
LTRP Note: In December of 2016, Caryl Matrisciana went home to be with the Lord. While she will be terribly missed by so many family members, friends, and co-workers in ministry, her tireless work in defending the Christian faith will live on.
T. D. Jakes, Rob Bell, and Steve Furtick Make it Onto Oprah’s New Age Super Soul 100 List of “Awakened Leaders”
Mega-church pastor T. D. Jakes, evangelical defector Rob Bell, and emergent church pastor Steve Furtick were among the list of mostly New Age names given on Oprah’s Super Soul 100 list of “awakened leaders.” As Lighthouse Trails has documented for many years, Oprah Winfrey is the most influential New Age leader today and has given a platform and a voice to countless New Age teachers including Marianne Williamson and her Return to Love book (expounding on A Course of Miracles).
Along with T.D. Jakes, Steve Furtick, and Rob Bell are some other names you might recognize. Remember, week after week, millions of North Americans still follow Oprah. Even many Christians read the materials of these listed below and find themselves enamored with the people and the teachings of the New Age.
Dr. Christiane Northrup
Dr. Michael Beckwith (from The Secret)
Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul)
Pastor John Gray (from Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church)
Marianne Williamson (A Course in Miracles teacher)
Share International, the organization for Benjamin Creme, has announced his death. He was 93 years old. The announcement stated:
Share International regrets to announce that Benjamin Creme, British artist, author and lecturer has died. He passed away peacefully on 24 October 2016 at his home in London, with his family around him.
Through his work as the Chief Editor of Share International magazine, as author of many books, and as international speaker, Benjamin Creme has been an inspiration throughout the world in presenting information about the emergence of Maitreya the World Teacher and the Masters of Wisdom. Working from a background of the Ageless Wisdom Teachings given to the world by Helena Blavatsky, co-founder of the Theosophical Society, and the Alice Bailey esoteric teachings, he has expanded and brought up to date this ancient knowledge.
Working under the tutelage of one of the Masters of Wisdom, Benjamin Creme dedicated the last 40 years of his life to his work for the Emergence of Maitreya the World Teacher and the Masters of Wisdom, and in doing so inspired hundreds of thousands of people across the world. He began his public work in 1975 and lectured worldwide from 1979 onwards, only finally stopping at the age of 90. (source)
Warren B. Smith wrote about Creme in his book, False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? The following excerpt from Smith’s book gives a brief overview of Benjamin Creme:
In February 1982, Wayne Peterson, a director of the U.S. Government’s Fulbright Scholarship Program,1 was relaxing in his Washington D.C. home looking for something to watch on TV. His interest was piqued when he noticed popular talk show host Merv Griffin holding up a book titled The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom. Peterson, a former Peace Corps volunteer and veteran American diplomat, writes that his first thought was that the book had some “fundamentalist Christian message,” but he questioned why Griffin would be “promoting” this religious group on his show. Fascinated, he stayed tuned as Griffin interviewed the book’s author, British artist and esotericist Benjamin Creme. Peterson recalls what transpired in the interview:
During this discussion, Creme said that the one Christians call the Christ had reappeared and was living in a major industrial city in the Western world. This time his name was Maitreya, and he was bringing with him a large group of his disciples, highly advanced, spiritual men called the Masters of Wisdom. He said we could expect to hear more about Maitreya on local and international news programs very soon.
Maitreya’s purpose, Creme indicated, was to help us realize our innate divinity through learning to live in right relationship as brothers and sisters of one great family. The first step was to establish sharing as the way to eliminate the poverty and starvation that caused millions around the world to die daily in the midst of plenty. Maitreya was emerging in time to help us save ourselves and the planet, and would make himself known to all in a televised ‘Day of Declaration’ soon to come.2
As Peterson listened to Creme and heard about Maitreya, he recalled an incident from childhood. As a little boy in the midst of a life-threatening illness, he believed that he had been visited by “Mary,” the mother of Jesus. So powerful was her help and presence that he expressed his desire to depart with her rather than stay in the world. In her successful effort to convince him to stay in the world with his family, Peterson states that she told him the following:
I am going to tell you a secret that few now know. If you stay with your family, you will see the Christ because he will come to live with the people of the world.3
Universal New Age Christ
Convinced that Maitreya was the “Christ” that “Mary” had promised would come, Peterson ordered Creme’s book. From his reading, he learned more about the “Christ” and his “highly evolved” disciples, the “Masters of Wisdom.” Peterson read how these Masters of Wisdom are supernaturally assisting in the evolution of humanity. From his reading, Peterson came to the conclusion that what we commonly refer to as angels are really “Christ” and these Masters of Wisdom. He read that in the future, as humanity transitions from the “old order” to a New Age, there will be more and more open collaboration between these Masters of Wisdom and world leaders in all fields and disciplines. Reading Creme’s book, Peterson felt he was beginning to get the big picture:
“As I read Creme’s book, I learned more about the Christ, or World Teacher, whose personal name is Maitreya. He is the one awaited by all the major religions albeit unknown to them. The Christians wait for the return of the Christ, Buddhists for the next Buddha, Muslims for the Imam Mahdi, Hindus for a reincarnation of Krishna, and the Jews for the Messiah. These are all different names for one individual, Maitreya, who is here not as a religious leader but as a teacher for all humanity.”4
Benjamin Creme, in The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, said:
“In the esoteric tradition, the Christ is not the name of an individual but of an Office in the Hierarchy. The present holder of that Office, the Lord Maitreya, has held it for 2,600 years, and manifested in Palestine through His Disciple, Jesus, by the occult method of overshadowing, the most frequent form used for the manifestation of Avatars. He has never left the world, but for 2,000 years has waited and planned for this immediate future time, training His Disciples, and preparing Himself for the awesome task which awaits Him. He has made it known that this time, He Himself will come.”5 (from False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care?, chapter 4, pp 45-47, Mountain Stream Press, used with permission)
1. Wayne S. Peterson, Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Beings: Experiences of an American Diplomat with Maitreya and the Masters of Wisdom (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads Publishing Co., 2003), p. ix.
2. Ibid., p. 31.
3. Ibid., p. 3.
4. Ibid., pp. 33-34.
5. Benjamin Creme, The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom (North Hollywood, CA: The Tara Press, 1980), p. 30.