By Nathan Jones
Evangelist & Web Minister
Evangelist & Web Minister
Dr. David Reagan and I were delighted to have as our guest on this week's Christ in Prophecy Warren Smith, the author of the book The Light That Was Dark. This fascinating book tells Warren's touching story of how, in his search for a Savior, he got sidetracked into the occultic darkness of the New Age Movement. From his many years of experience under that influence, Warren now has dedicated his life to warning Christians about the dangers of the New Age and help us recognize how we can avoid these satanic influences from creeping into our churches.
Dr. Reagan: Warren, tell us, what are some of the basic characteristics of the New Age Movement?
Warren Smith: In 2 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul talks about the simplicity in Christ. There is a simplicity in deception as well. So, it's really important that people don't get confused.
There are so many different aspects of the deception of the New Age, what is now being called the New Spirituality, and even the New Worldview. New World Religion was the phrase used for a while, but a New Worldview is easier for people to remember.
Christians are being guided into this New Worldview thinking they will help the world come to peace. But, remember that in Daniel 8 we are told that the Antichrist is going to have a wonderful deception. He literally will destroy "wonderfully," for by peace he shall destroy many.
All these deceptive end times teachings are heading up to where the world is going to be told to get in line, and "atonement" will be a word that will be used. But, those of us who were in the New Age understand that it is "at-one-ment", not atonement, so much as "at-one-ment." In other words, the New Age teaches that we are all one because God is in everyone and everything. And, when we recognize our oneness, we can all come together and help achieve world peace. Some Christian leaders are even buying into this by having materials that bring this oneness and this god-in-everything teaching into the Church.
Dr. Reagan: Let's dwell a little bit longer here on the fundamental characteristics of the Movement. You boiled it all down to that the fundamental teaching of the New Age is God that He is in everything and is in us. That's what Shirley MacLaine was doing when she stood on the seashore and yelled, "I am god, I am god, I am god!"
Warren Smith: She was the one who put that teaching forward back in 1987 on television. She may have become the butt of late night jokes, like in David Letterman's jokes, but she's the one primarily responsible for outing that teaching and getting the conversation going. That's the big word these days — conversation. "Let's have a conversation," which really means, "Let's see what we can do to compromise. Let's get it all on the table and see what we can come up with." That's the idea that we can all move forward.
The year Shirley MacLaine started off teaching that we are all gods, that was in 1987, and that was the same year that Marilyn Ferguson the author of The Aquarian Conspiracy was on the Oprah Winfrey Show, on an episode entitled "The New Age Movement." Back in 1980, Marilyn Ferguson wrote her book The Aquarian Conspiracy and in that book she said that basically we have a great idea, a great heretical idea, of God within and God is in everything. She said basically, "We are not going to be able to pull this off right away, but over time if it is widely publicized we will be able to have our way." I mean, it was an outrageous thing to claim!
Actually, a lot of New Age leaders today are very upset that Ferguson used the word "conspiracy" in the title of her book, because it actually plays into the reality that there truly is a conspiracy, and the conspiracy is to get this great heretical idea that God indwells His creation and that God is in everyone and everything. She was trying to be cute.
Nathan Jones: For awhile there, almost every church was preaching from and every Christian bookstore was carrying The Shack.
Warren Smith: The Shack was a very popular book, not only in the Christian world, but it was actually at the top of the New Age bestseller list as well.
People will claim, "Well, but Jesus is in there." But, what a lot of people don't understand is that from what I think was on page 112, the Jesus of The Shack said, "God who is the ground of all being dwells in and around and through all things." Then, if you look carefully at the book when the word "Creation" is brought up, a capital "C" is used. Those of us from the New Age know that when you see creation with a capital "C", it means that God indwells His creation.
Dr. Reagan: That is very different from what the Bible teaches. God is not indwelling His creation, right?
Warren Smith: No. Psalm 39:5 tells us, "Verily, every man at his best state is altogether vanity." Or, in John 2:24-25, Jesus said referring to Jesus, "He did not commit himself to men because he knew what was in men." Now, why would that be said if God is in man? Why wouldn't He be emphasizing that? Instead, Jesus was actually saying to the effect, "Watch out! Men amongst themselves can be very dangerous." That is what Jesus was teaching. So, no, God is not within each person.
Dr. Reagan: Oprah Winfrey, she has been sort of a high priestess of this whole New Age Movement, with one New Age writer and speaker after another being paraded on her program. Would you quickly mention some other New Age names from the secular world that people might recognize that they should be aware of?
Warren Smith: Sure. Oprah had M. Scott Peck on her program back in the early 90's. A lot of people don't realize, though Scott Peck described himself as a Christian, he is really more of kind of like an emerging contemplative New Age Christian, because in his book he said, "God is within everybody." He actually laid out a plan when he said, "We're in crisis!" That's also what The Aquarian Conspiracysaid to the effect, "We are in crisis and we need to have a new way of looking at things. We need a new worldview."
What Peck basically said was, "Our salvation lies in community." He didn't say "in Jesus Christ," but in community. He said that due to the duress of these times, we need to change some of our rules; and yes, that includes the Church. So, he too was introducing this idea of God-in-all.
I wrote an article years ago about M. Scott Peck and the Community of the Cosmic Christ. Starting off the article, there was a big quote by Peck saying that the mystical prophet who is bringing forth this idea of sort of a quantum leap into a new level of understanding was the Catholic Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He was the father of the New Age Movement. The titleThe Aquarian Conspiracy was taken by Chardin. Chardin said, "This soul must be a conspiracy of individuals." And Chardin's teachings are simply this — that God is in every atom.
Nathan Jones: That rather sounds like Star Wars which is pantheism, right?
Warren Smith: May the force be with you! Yes, this force is God penetrating His creation, but that He comes in various ways.
Other New Age teachers are Deepak Chopra, Betty Eadie and Shirley MacLaine.
Warren Smith: Mehmet Oz, of the Dr. Oz fame, was for five years featured on Oprah Winfrey. Now he has his own program. Dr. Oz is probably one of the more dangerous, and I say that carefully, occultists out there. He has endorsed a book by a psychic by the name of Ainslie MacLeod. The book is called The Instruction. Dr. Oz has a front cover endorsement. In that book the psychic refers to spirit guides 175 times, with 40 before you get to chapter one. He talks about past lives. He encourages the reader to get into meditation and to contact their spirit guides.
Dr. Oz has also brought forward transcendental meditation,which Oz says he does. This is known as reiki, which is a very dangerous sort of body treatment that includes spirit guides. The reiki practitioners make it very clear that spirit guides are involved in that process.
Dr. Reagan: But these people are so nice, loving, and so smooth.
Warren Smith: In my days when I was a social worker and also in the New Age, some people thought I was kind of nice. But, as you know, niceness doesn't have much to do with it. We have some pastors out there who seem pretty nice, but they are bringing a lot of this New Age teaching into their churches.
Dr. Reagan: In fact, the Antichrist is going to be very nice.
Warren Smith: Back to Dr. Oz, he teaches New Age through holistic health. One well known pastor actually said that if you try to change your diet you'll have to be careful, because you could end up changing your worldview. That very well could happen. With Dr. Oz, one well known Christian pastor has actually brought him into his church to teach his congregation how to be healthy!
Nathan Jones: Speaking of the Antichrist, you always hear in the New Age Movement of this Lord Maitreya. Can you explain a little to me if he is supposed to be the Antichrist, or as New Agers believe, he is the Messiah of the New Age Movement?
Warren Smith: Benjamin Creme was like Maitreya's John the Baptist. In 1982, there was a full page ad in newspapers all around the world saying, "The Christ is here, and he is waiting to be called forth." Benjamin Creme was on coast to coast radio probably four or five times over the last decade saying the very same thing. He was saying that Maitreya is still waiting to be called forth. A lot of people have just dismissed it as a bad joke.
What I show in my book is that what Maitreya teaches is absolutely consistent with A Course in Miracles, with New Age Leader Barbara Marx Hubbard's teachings, with Neale Donald Walsch'sConversations With God, and with everything that Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and Dr. Oz are teaching.
It's all the same bottom line — New Age teachings.