Saturday, February 20, 2016

Entry #8 of the New Age Series


Today’s let’s talk about “The Shack,” by Paul Young, a popular book several years ago.  It spent over 172 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List, 52 weeks at #1.
I had just heard the title and didn’t know much about it until a friend asked if I’d heard of it.  She had received a copy as a gift and said she was afraid to read it.  I wasn’t, so she gave it to me.  I read it, with pen and paper beside me because if THIS friend was afraid to read it, there had to be something wrong with it.  There was.  I took negative notes on every chapter except one!

Briefly, it’s a fiction novel about a man whose daughter had been kidnapped and killed.  He ended up on some mind trip where he went into the woods and spent some time with what the book says is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Apparently, it was the New Age father, son and spirit because they weren’t very much like the trinity of the Bible.  See if you agree.

God was portrayed as a woman who was black and hefty and known as Papa.  I immediately knew this book was in trouble with God…the real God…when I saw that description because all male figures in the Bible are referred to as “he” or “him.”  Likewise all females as “her” or “she.”  So how could God, referred to in the Bible in the masculine, be presented as female?   Next he/she was portrayed as black, which meant the author had assigned a race to God.  God is spirit and has no race or color.  Finally, it portrayed him/her as overweight which meant that God had an eating problem, was a glutton, or had a health issue that caused him to have weight gain.  None of this is true about God the Father.  Maybe the New Age “God” has these troubles but our perfect heavenly Father does not.

Next the Jesus character in the book was portrayed as sort of a Brawny guy with a plaid shirt and jeans and a tool belt, which is neither here nor there because Jesus had been a carpenter and in today’s setting would have probably looked like that.  However, on page 104 the Jesus character is mixing something in a bowl and drops the bowl, making a mess and having to clean it up.  Maybe this doesn’t mean much to you, but I think that if the real Jesus could be tempted in every way as man and not sin, he could probably hold onto a mixing bowl.  Just sayin’.  On page 112 he tells the main character that God dwells in, around, and through all things.  Blammo!  There’s our basic New Age belief.
Last but not least is the “Holy Spirit,” of “The Shack,” who was portrayed as a small Asian woman who was glittery and flittery and sort of a “now-you-see-me, now-you-don’t” character.  And again, a woman.  (Not sure how the Jesus character got away with being a male.)  She was here sometimes and you could see her, and here at other times and you couldn’t.  And her name was Sarayu.  I knew when I saw the name that there had to be something behind it, so I did a search and sure enough, there it was.  Sarayu is a river in India and has ancient significance because it’s mentioned in The Vedas and Ramayana, two works of Hindu writings.  The Vedas are credited to the Hindu god Brahma.  On page 136 Sarayu says, “…evil and darkness…do not have any actual existence.”  Maybe not in your make-believe fantasy world, sister, but they do in the real world.

Stay tuned!  J

Friday, February 5, 2016

Entry #7 in the New Age Series


Today’s post concerns the very popular “Jesus Calling” devotional book by Sarah Young. Did you have any idea that it is very New Age? Here’s why.

It’s my understanding that Sarah started out as a Christian. Then she read “God Calling,” a New Age book whose authors were two anonymous women who referred to themselves as “the two listeners.” They operated in “spiritual dictation,” believing they were receiving personal messages from God. It was a popular book on New Age participants’ bookshelves decades ago. Because of Sarah Young’s endorsement of it, it has resurfaced and is popular again. She said, “It is a treasure to me.” She liked it so much that she wanted to receive personal messages from Jesus, so she began to operate in spiritual dictation, too. In other words, she became a channeler. How do we know that it is not from the real Jesus Christ? Well, you decide.

On page 246, the August 23 entry, he is talking about entrusting your loved ones to him. He says, “I took Isaac to the very point of death to free Abraham from son-worship. Both Abraham and Isaac suffered terribly because of the father’s undisciplined emotions. I detest idolatry, even in the form of parental love.” Abraham was being obedient to God, not worshipping Isaac. And what undisciplined emotions was this "Jesus" talking about?

On page 376, the December 25 entry, as he is talking about his birth, he says, “I accepted the limitations of infancy under the most appalling conditions—a filthy stable. That was a dark night for me…” Wouldn’t it be more likely that it was a dark night for Satan? Jesus was glad to give up Heaven for earth. In my opinion, the only thing that might appall Jesus is sin. Paul said in Philippians 4:11 that he had learned to be content in whatever situation he found himself. Wouldn’t the Savior feel that way even more?  And he thought that a filthy stable is "the most appalling conditions?"  Can you think of anything more appalling?  Yeah, I can, too.

“Jesus Calling” is rife with references to “My Presence.” That sounds good until you discover that the New Age is also rife with these same references, and especially with both words capitalized. There is even a New Age book called, “Practicing the Presence,” by Joel Goldsmith, in which he states, “All is God manifested…God constitutes the life, the mind, and the Soul of every individual.” We’ve already established that God is not in every human, but He lives in every Christian.

One last point for today. The New Age refers often to Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.” They suggest that it is a call to sit in silence and listen for God’s voice when it is actually a call, according to Matthew Henry and others, to the nations to literally “shut up” and be still and know that HE is God. It is taken out of context. God is speaking to the nations in this verse. I have to admit…I had interpreted it as sitting in silence, too, but if we’re supposed to be quiet and listen and think on nothing, wouldn’t it make sense that Satan could drop a few ideas into our heads in that time, too? And didn’t King David say, “Blessed is the one…who meditates on His law day and night?” Psalm 1:2

Warren B. Smith, a man who spent years in the New Age then got saved, has written several books. One is “Another Jesus Calling” in which he points out so many, many New Age tendencies in “Jesus Calling.” It is available from amazon.com. I have taken some of the info in this post from this book. There is much more.

Stay tuned!