By Warren B. Smith
(From chapter 5 of False Christ Coming: Does Anybody Care? – Mountain Stream Press, used with permission)
As New Age believers years ago, my wife and I had no reason to doubt any of the “new revelation” that was coming our way. When we were students of A Course in Miracles in the early 1980s, it never occurred to us that Helen Schucman had received her spiritual dictation from anyone other than the real Jesus Christ. As members of A Course in Miracles study group, we studied what the “Jesus” of the Course said and applied his teachings to our lives. Having never read the whole Bible for ourselves, we thought the Course was helping us to understand what the Bible was “really” saying. We accepted the Course’s interpretation of the Bible completely. It had a certain logic and seemed to make sense. We believed we were on the right path. Meaningful “coincidence” that had led us to the Course, and the supernatural signs that often accompanied our study appeared to confirm that we were spiritually where we were supposed to be.
But at the height of our involvement with the Course, the Lord intervened. He exposed the darkness that was actually behind the deceptive “peace,” “love,” and “light” of our New Age/New Gospel teachings. By the time it was all over, it was clear to us that all of our New Age beliefs had been founded on half-truths and lies. Shocked and amazed by this discovery, we came to the conclusion that A Course in Miracles was not from God and that the “Christ” of A Course in Miracles was not the true Christ. Because we had not previously been aware of the Bible’s real teachings, we had not been aware of Jesus’ many warnings about spiritual deception. He said in the last days false prophets and false teachers, accompanied by deceptive signs and wonders, would deceive most of the world into following a counterfeit “Christ” who would pretend to be Him.
But by far, the most important lesson we learned in the midst of what turned out to be our “crash course” on spiritual deception was that Jesus really did die on the Cross for all mankind. On that Cross, He defeated sin, death, and a real spiritual being named Satan and called the devil. We learned from our trying, and at times harrowing experiences, that we actually do need a Savior, and that it was only through belief in the atoning death of the true Jesus Christ that we are truly saved.
We learned the hard way that the “Old Gospel” really works, while the New Gospel definitely does not. When we learned to call on the name of Jesus Christ and all that His name stands for, we experienced His victory over an evil presence that had not responded to any of our metaphysical New Age teachings—most especially A Course in Miracles. Calling on Jesus literally saved our lives.
How We Were Deceived
The more we studied the Bible for ourselves and reflected on our own particular situation, the more we came to understand the extraordinary deception of which we had been a part—a deception that was hiding behind New Age/New Gospel teachings like A Course in Miracles. In the following lengthy passages excerpted directly from my book, The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace, I describe my initial understanding of just how badly we had been deceived:
“For some time now, my spiritual teachings had convinced me that I was a sinless, guiltless, perfect Son of God and that I was every bit as much a part of the universal Christ as Jesus or Buddha or anyone else. I had been taught that I was a holy part of God, inherently equal to Christ and that I didn’t need to be saved, redeemed, or born again. Because evil was only an illusion, there was no evil to be saved from. I had believed that I was responsible for myself and my world and I was the creator of my own reality.
“But as I looked at those ‘truths’ now, I could see that they were not truths at all. What was being taught—no matter how cleverly expressed—stood in stark opposition to the actual teachings of the Bible. Couched in spiritual platitudes, the Course and the New Age, although pretending to be friends of Jesus and the Bible, were really no friends at all. Like Judas, they betrayed Christ in the name of love and with a deceptive kiss.
“Jesus warned about false prophets who would come in sheep’s clothing—even in His name. His words were concise and clear:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
“They would look not like an enemy but like someone you could trust, and I was now thoroughly convinced that the Course was a channeled wolf in sheep’s clothing that came not to praise the Bible’s Jesus but to bury His teachings forever—if that were possible.
“In the midst of my study, I started to understand that for a number of years I had been letting my spiritual teachers—most especially the Course—tell me who Jesus really was and what His teachings really meant. I could see that through my own laziness in never reading or studying the Bible for myself, I had swallowed a false gospel—hook, line, and sinker.
“I realized now that, although I was made in the image of God, I was not God or a part of God in any way. God was God, and I was me. I wasn’t Christ or a part of Christ, and neither was Buddha or anyone else. Jesus was the Christ, and there was no other. And, in spite of what anyone else tried to say, He had won an amazing victory on the cross of Calvary—one that Joy and I had learned to call on time after time. It was a victory that was fully described in the Scriptures and that so many of the old hymns proclaimed.
“Something very mysterious had happened on that ‘old rugged cross’ that a whole New Age was doing hand-over-head flips to completely avoid. It was the ‘victory in Jesus’ that A Course in Miracles was desperately trying to redefine and explain away.
“Finally, after all we had been through, I was starting to see that the heart of the Gospel is not so much that God helps those who help themselves but rather that God helps those who can’t help themselves. It was not in affirming our strength but in recognizing our weakness that we had finally learned to ask the Lord for help. It was His grace, not our own self-sufficiency that had saved the day.
“Yet even though we had recognized our need to be saved from the evil that was coming at us, we had stubbornly refused to acknowledge Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. Clinging tenaciously to our metaphysical identities, we hadn’t understood that our faith ultimately had to be in Jesus, not in ourselves, and that Jesus meant it when He said:
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
“We had put our faith in ourselves as God and not in God as God; by going within we had gone without. We had grossly underestimated our ability to not be deceived, and we had grossly overestimated the wisdom of our metaphysical teachers.”1
Bible Warns of Spiritual Deception
As time went on, I reflected on how the reality of a deceptive spirit world was never mentioned in the Course or any of our other New Age teachings. The rest of this chapter, taken from The Light That Was Dark, describes how we came to see this:
“When we could finally see through the spiritual deception, most of the Scriptures we had been reading clicked into place. It was as if scales had fallen from our eyes, and suddenly the New Testament was flooded with light. Though we had a lot to learn about other aspects of the faith, it was apparent that we were, by virtue of our having been so thoroughly deceived, already well-versed in the Bible’s description of deception.
“Several weeks later, after much study, reflection, prayer, and many more talks with Joy, I sat down by the creek one morning, determined to go through the Scriptures . . . laying out in even more detail what they said about A Course in Miracles and the other false teachings that had been woven into our lives. I went back and forth through the Scriptures trying to piece together our spiritual story.
“One of the first passages I looked at talked about ‘another gospel’ and how susceptible we can be to false teachings that try to change the Gospel of Christ:
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. (Galatians 1:6–7)
“I also reread the Scripture . . . that talked about ‘another Jesus’—how even those who have already accepted the true Jesus and His Holy Spirit could be deceived by a false Christ.
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:4)
“Helen Schucman heard an ‘inner voice’ that said, ‘This is a course in miracles. Please take notes.’ The voice, which later identified itself as “Jesus,” proceeded to dictate a body of material that completely contradicted the real Gospel of Christ and whose oppositional teachings could only be characterized as ‘another gospel,’ ‘another spirit,’ and ‘another Jesus.’ Most of us who had read, studied, and believed in A Course in Miracles never knew or took seriously the Bible’s explicit warnings about the deceivers who would come in Christ’s name and pretend to be Him.
“And most of us never knew the Bible’s explicit warnings that false Christs and false prophets would arise in our midst and seduce us with supernatural signs and wonders to make us think their teachings came from God. Those signs and wonders would be so convincing that ‘if it were possible’ they would fool even the most faithful believers of the real Gospel and the real Christ.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
“But even if we had been aware of the warnings, who would have ever suspected that these false Christs and prophets would arise within our very selves and within our spiritual friends and teachers? Certainly the ‘Jesus’ that arose within Helen Schucman and manifested as an audible ‘inner voice’ was proof to us all that false Christs and false prophets were not always flesh and blood but could also come in the form of lying spirits pretending to be a ‘spirit guide,’ the ‘Holy Spirit,’ our ‘higher self,’ or in Helen’s case, ‘Jesus.’ The lying spirits delivered not only false counsel but also false teachings, such as A Course in Miracles.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)
“Just so there would be no mistake about where the lying spirits came from and how they operated, the Bible spelled it out in even more detail . . .
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)
“An angel of darkness could cleverly disguise himself as an angel of light. His servants could disguise themselves as teachers of Christ or even as Christ Himself. They were deceivers of darkness from the other side—another gospel, another spirit, another Christ—the ultimate deception. We certainly hadn’t gone out looking for deception, but in our spiritual ignorance we had walked right into their clever trap.
“The Scriptures had been prophetic as they described in detail the signs and wonders and false prophets and false Christs and lying spirits. Many of us had been so convinced we were on the right path that we never stopped to question . . . any of the . . . voices that seemed to be divinely inspired; and just as Helen Schucman’s ‘inner voice’ went unchallenged, so did our own inner voices and those of our spiritual teachers.
“In fact, the Bible had not only predicted spiritual deception but actually warned us to ‘test the spirits’ before we listened to them:
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God. (1 John 4:1)
“The test is a godly ‘Halt, who goes there?’ to make sure the spirits are really from God. . . .
“In some mysterious, God-appointed way, deceptive spirits cannot withstand the Bible’s test any more than they could remain in our presence when we commanded them to leave in the name of Jesus Christ. God mercifully provided us with this way of discerning what is really happening. In fact, the Course’s Jesus himself answered the question of whether or not he was the Christ. His answer, ‘Oh yes, along with you,’ clearly failed the Bible’s test.
“Those of us who had believed the Course’s Jesus—that he was the Christ and we were too—were deceived into thinking that ‘the Christ’ was something bigger than Jesus or us or anyone else. But in believing the Course and my other spiritual teachers, I had unwittingly become the very person the real Jesus warned me to watch out for:
Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. (Matthew 24:4–5) . . .
“What we had thought to be spiritual truth had turned out to be nothing more than fiction. What we had believed to be the fiction of the Bible had ironically turned out to be the Gospel truth. The age of deception that had been predicted was already well on its way.
“In listening to our spiritual teachers, we had missed the many warnings that were being shouted to us from the pages of the Bible. We were, in reality, fallen human beings, prone to temptation, and easily overcome by evil. And although there was no way we could ever save ourselves, we could be saved by Jesus Christ—the true Son of God—whom God sent to set us free.
“I knew now that if being ‘a sinner’ meant falling short and being in need of salvation and redemption, then I was a sinner. And if ‘repenting’ meant turning away from my sins and my ungodly ways, then I was ready to repent. And if being ‘born again’ meant being born again from God on high, then I wanted to be born again.
“I knew I had a lot to learn about Jesus and all of His teachings and that being a disciple of His would be the test of my life. But I was grateful that Joy and I had been given a window into the spirit world in what had turned out to be our crash course on the truth of the Bible.
“In some strange and wonderful way, Joy and I had backed into the Gospel and into our faith. It was only after our whole world had been turned upside down and inside out that we found ourselves right side up at the foot of the cross.”2
In the years following our conversion in 1984, as just described in The Light That Was Dark, my wife and I have watched as a somewhat underground New Age movement has evolved into the popularly accepted, worldwide spiritual phenomenon that it is today. It has grown at an exponential rate and is now highly organized both spiritually and politically.
1. Warren B. Smith, The Light That Was Dark: From the New Age to Amazing Grace (Magalia, CA: Mountain Stream Press, 2005), pp. 145–147.
2. Ibid., pp. 155-156.