There is no question about it, the world is in serious chaos, with poverty, sickness, and disease afflicting millions and millions of people. Suffering seems to be at an all-time high level. Understandably, the world is looking for answers. Many religious leaders (including New Agers) believe we need a new reformation. Neale Donald Walsch, a prominent leader in the New Age, is one of those with new reformation on his mind. He states:
We are suggesting that people become modern day Martin Luther’s and take the five steps to peace and tack them up on church house doors, as Martin Luther did with his 95 theses in 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany, which started of course, the first Reformation. Our intention is to stimulate the second great Reformation of world religion. That is our intention, our goal and our purpose. We intend to, in fact, inspire the second great Reformation of world religion.1
Comments like the one above are quite interesting because Walsch is not a Christian, but he speaks of a religious reformation he is hoping to witness. But Walsch’s reformation does not include Jesus Christ. On one of his websites, a statement explains what Walsch calls “the new spirituality”:
The New Spirituality is a global movement to create the space for humanity to experience its natural impulse toward the divine in a way which makes no one else wrong for the way in which they are doing it. 2
Walsch’s reformation is one that will fulfill Catholic mystic Thomas Merton’s vision:
We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.3
Merton believed that God dwells in all humans, and what’s more, that we are part of the Divine—or to say it more succinctly, that we are all God.4
Thus, the new reformation on the horizon is not one that points to Jesus Christ as the single Savior who shed His blood to redeem sinners heading to hell. The new reformation gospel says that God is in everybody, and humanity just needs to come to this enlightened understanding. When mankind comes into full unity, the global giants of poverty, disease, sickness, etc. will be eradicated. It is the perfect ploy of Satan to keep souls from true salvation and eternal life. It is a grand deception that will seduce the masses—a deception the Bible has warned about, and it will come to pass. And yet, as the Lord is slow to anger and quick to forgive, He continues to draw and beckon while there is still time. The apostle Paul expresses the heart of the Lord:
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (Hebrews 3:12-15)
We must ask ourselves: Is the “new spirituality” emergent social-justice reformation truly a new and God-given reformation that we are witnessing? Or is it no different from Neale Donald Walsch’s or Thomas Merton’s, in which man is lifted up and deified? While it appears the world is crumbling before our very eyes—despite continued efforts to help the poor and suffering and to stop crime and terrorism—governments, nations, and the people within them have decided that Jesus Christ is not the answer. The emerging “progressive” church has solidified this position by placing such emphasis on ushering in the kingdom of God now and minimizing the true Gospel message.
I realize that most Christians would probably laugh incredulously if someone told them they were heading toward the spirituality of Neale Donald Walsch. Most of them would define themselves as orthodox and biblically based and certainly not as New Agers entering some kind of new reformation that says everyone is God. But the emerging church bridges Christianity and this “new spirituality.” And the question we Christians must ask ourselves is, is this a bridge I am willing to walk on and eventually cross?
I watch prominent Christian leaders today embracing and promoting many of these new reformation “evangelists” blindly, without question. And following right behind them is so much of the proclaiming church. First Timothy 4:1 says: “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.” I exhort every believer to consider this: once the departure from faith begins, it is difficult to turn back. I challenge you to carefully and prayerfully consider what is really being presented.
We have seen the actions and heard the words of those who are attempting to undo the very tenants of the Christian faith; they have now come to the point of saying they wish to destroy Christianity. Listen to the words of occultist Alice Bailey as she describes her prophesied “Coming One,” whom she calls “the Christ”:
The reason He has not come again is that the needed work has not been done by His followers in all countries. His coming is largely dependent, as we shall later see, upon the establishing of right human relations. [T]he church has hindered … and has not helped because of its fanatical zeal to make “Christians” of all peoples and not followers of Christ. It has emphasized theological doctrine, and not love.5 …
Paul wrote to Timothy regarding these difficult times in which we live:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (II Timothy 4:1-5)
The Lord, through His Word, warned us that perilous times would come. But He also made it clear that the church of Jesus Christ would survive in the midst of great deception and attack on the Christian faith. In a profound discourse between Jesus and His disciples, Jesus assured them of this very thing:
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:13-18)
(Roger Oakland discusses the “new spirituality” in his books, Faith Undone and The Good Shepherd Calls.
1. Interview by Debbie Smoker with Neale Donald Walsch (Edge Life Expo, 2004, http://edgelifeexpo.com/interviews/walsch.html).
2. Neale Donald Waslch, “What is the New Spirituality?” (Group of 1000 website: http://www.thegroupof1000.com/newspirituality.cfm).
3. Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, p. 13, citing Thomas Merton from “Thomas Merton’s View of Monasticism” [delivered in Calcutta, October 1968], in The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, ed. Naomi Burton, Patrick Hart, and James Laughlin (New York: New Directions, 1973), p. 308.
4. See footnote #14 of chapter 6.
5. Alice Bailey, The Reappearance of the Christ (London, UK: Lucis Publishing Company, 1948, fourth printing, 1962), p. 12.
(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)