By Ray Yungen
The New Age and Christianity definitely clash on the answer to the question of human imperfection. The former—the New Age—espouses the doctrine of becoming self-realized and united with the universe, which New Agers see as God but in reality is the realm of familiar spirits. On the other hand, the Gospel that Christians embrace offers salvation to humanity through grace (unmerited favor). Romans 3:24 boldly states: “. . . being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” In Romans 6:23, we read: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This gift is not earned or given as a reward for earnest or good intentions as Scripture clearly states:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
This Scripture that tackles the issue of pride sharply distinguishes all of man’s religions from Christianity. Religion persuades us that man is innately good and, therefore, can earn his way to heaven through human perfectibility or, better yet, through the realization of his own divinity. Christianity emphatically states the opposite view that man needs to humbly recognize his own sinfulness and fallibility, and consequently needs salvation through grace.
The Holy Spirit, through the Scripture, convicts the sinner of his sinful and lost condition and then presents to the despairing and repentant man God’s solution–salvation through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the Cross: “. . . in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7) and then:
[I]f thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
Salvation is entirely a gift of grace bestowed on whoever believes in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross as both God and man. Consequently, we must receive Him as Lord and Savior, understanding that it is by grace and grace alone that we are made acceptable in Christ before a holy God. Justification is God’s gift to the believer. This saving faith, also a demonstration of God’s grace, is more than an intellectual belief in Jesus’ death on the Cross but involves committing and entrusting one’s life to Jesus as both Lord and Savior–Christ’s going to the Cross was a finished work, and we as believers are now complete in Him. Nothing else can be added to this. How totally opposite from New Age thinking is God’s plan of salvation!
It all comes down to the preaching of the higher self versus the preaching of the Cross. New Agers may say God is synonymous with a person’s higher self, and the experience of God can only be discovered by way of meditation. However, the Christian admits his or her sinfulness before a Holy God and remembers he is saved only by the grace and mercy of God through the sacrificial shedding of Christ’s blood for his sins.
The message of Jesus Christ reaches out to the lost human race with the love of God who sacrificed His only begotten Son for the Swami Muktanandas of the world. The Bible teaches that man has an inherently rebellious and ungodly nature (which is evident), and his ways are naturally self-centered and evil in the sight of God. The Bible teaches that God is not indifferent to us. The sacrifice of Christ for the ungodly to reconcile us to God reveals the Lord’s love toward Man.
This explains why Christianity must be steadfast on these issues. If a belief system does not teach the preaching of the Cross, then it is not “the power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18). If other ways are correct, “then Christ is dead in vain,” rendering His shed blood unnecessary and immaterial (Galatians 2:21).
Because of this conflict, we can safely say that Christianity is the most formidable obstacle to the New Age, standing like a bulwark against this tidal wave of meditation teachers and practical mystics. But, incredibly, many of the most successful practical mystics are appearing from within Christianity itself. Ironically, instead of stemming the momentum of New Age spirituality, it is our own churches that may very well be the decisive catalysts to propel this movement into prominence. Certain spiritual practices have become entrenched in our churches that, like an iceberg, seem beautiful and impressive on the surface but in reality will cause severe damage and compromise of truth. (from A Time of Departing, pp.24-26)