Evangelizing New Agers
by Doug Groothuis
Christians are called to proclaim the true gospel of Jesus Christ to New Agers by
developing appropriate evangelistic strategies. This article will make some
suggestions along these lines. But first it will be helpful to summarize the New Age
world view. (Biblical references which are helpful in refuting these ideas also follow).
A. All is one (monism). Reality is a seamless garment. (Gen. 1:1ff.)
B. All is God (pantheism). God is an all-pervading impersonal Energy, Force or
Consciousness. (Rom. 1:18-32)
C. Self-deification/self-salvation. We look within for power, knowledge and
healing. (Ezek. 28:1-9; Eph. 2:8-10)
D. Paranormal potential. We can experience ESP, telepathy, spirit-contact
(spiritism), etc. (Deut. 18:9-14)
E. Ethical relativism. Moral absolutes can be transcended. (Matt.5:17-20; Rom.
F. Cosmic evolutionism. The human race is progressing toward a "New Age" of
planetary peace and prosperity. (1 Thess. 5:3; Matt. 24:3-31).
G. Religious syncretism. All religions are really one, and teach the above (A-F).
Jesus was just one of many mystical masters. Reincarnation is stressed. (John
14:6; Acts 4:12; Heb. 9:27)
With this outline in mind, let's briefly explore evangelistic strategies.
1. Be prepared for spiritual battle. Realize that an evangelistic or apologetic
encounter involves a clash between God and Satan. Both spiritual and intellectual
weapons should be readied. But also remember that the enemy is Satan, not the
New Ager (Eph. 6:12).
2. Don't stereotype people. Every New Ager is different. The person should be
honored and not just classified as "a New Ager." Find out what he or she thinks.
3. Clearly define your terms. The New Ager believes that at the core of all
religions is pantheism. Therefore, you need to counter the New Age tendency to
"pantheize" Christianity. For example, when New Agers speak of "Christ
consciousness" they refer to a mystical state of "enlightenment," that we can
attain, as Jesus supposedly did. It is asserted that Jesus was an ordinary person
who became "the Christ." Luke 2:11 refutes this by saying that Jesus even as an
infant was at that time "the Christ."
4. Point out common ground with New Agers. This can open a door for
evangelism (see Acts 17). We are free to recognize and honor truth wherever it
appears (always taking God's Word as our authority). The New Ager, for instance,
has rightly rejected atheistic secular humanism.
5. Show weaknesses in the New Age world view itself. If the New Ager sees
problems with his or her viewpoint, he or she may become more interested in
Christianity. Several areas could be spotlighted:
A. The New Age view of the divinity of humanity must neglect the reality of human
evil. The biblical view of our finitude and our fallenness as sinners better explains the
human condition than the New Age idea that we are all really God.
B. The concept of an impersonal God is unsatisfying because it allows no ultimate
personal relationship. Tuning in to "the Force" pales in comparison with loving and
being loved by our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ should be exalted as the supreme
revelation of God's love.
C. Furthermore, the idea that the Ultimate Principle of the universe is impersonal is
logically troublesome. It makes better sense to say that a personal God created
personal beings in His image (Gen. 1:26).
D. The New Age offers no spiritual discernment. It opens a Pandora's box of
paranormal poisons with no reliable antidote in sight, and ignores the fact that
Satan himself masquerades as "an angel of light" (2 Cor. 10:14-15). The many
writings of Kurt Koch make plain the spiritual dangers of occultism.
What's more, the "altered states of consciousness" desired and/or experienced by
New Agers are often considered to be "beyond reason." The danger of this
irrationalism should be highlighted (compare Rom 12:2).
E. The New Age's ethical relativism ("we create our own reality/morality") is
illogical. A consistent ethical relativist is hard to find because our natural and logical
tendency is to make absolute moral statements. The New Ager contradicts himself
when he states absolutely that "there are no absolutes"! The New Agers who says
that morality is relative because we all "create our own reality" will most likely not
be content with such relativism if someone steals her car under the pretension that
stealing "was part of his own reality." Christianity provides the moral absolutes the
New Age lacks.
F. New Agers frequently warp history because of their desire to justify their beliefs
on the basis of authorities of the past. This is especially the case when they try to
argue that New Age pantheistic religion is compatible with faith in Christ by claiming
to have discovered an "esoteric Christianity" -- supposed inner teachings of Jesus
later rejected and suppressed by the church. New Agers should be encouraged to
face facts and be honest in their examination of history. Christians should be
prepared to demonstrate the truth of Christianity through the use of historical
G. The New Age doctrine of reincarnation is not only unbiblical (Heb. 9:27) but
logically untenable and ethically unsatisfying:
1. So-called evidence of reincarnation derived from hypnosis ("past-life
regression") can be better explained as psychological aberrations or even demonic
2. It is difficult to view the law of karma as just, or reincarnation as a "learning
experience" (as New Agers view it), if rewards and punishments are given without
the conscious knowledge of those being rewarded or punished. If a fifteen-year-old
girl dies an agonizing death from leukemia because she was Josef Stalin in a
previous life, but never comes to know that fact, how can that be considered just?
What can her leukemia teach her about her past life behavior, if she can't
remember her past life?
3. If all is one, and individuality is ultimately illusory (monism), how can individual
souls be reincarnated from one body to another? The "oneness" teaching
contradicts the concept of the individual; yet individual souls are required for a
coherent doctrine of karma and personal responsibility. Some on has to
4. The biblical teaching of the historicity of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection is
well established factually, unlike speculations concerning supposed past lives. We
have better evidence for Christ's resurrection than for reincarnation.
The New Age movement challenges us to reach out to those intoxicated by
spiritual deception. We must seek the Holy Spirit concerning how He would have us
witness of His saving truth to those in darkness.
About the Author:
Doug Groothuis is author of Unmasking the New Age (InterVarsity Press) and
other books on the New Age. In the summer of 1993 Doug joined the faculty of
Faith & Reason Forum would like to thank the Christian Research Institute (CRI) for granting
permission to put this article on our website. Taken from the Witnessing Tips column of the
Christian Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1987, page 7. The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian
Research Journal is Elliot Miller. End of document, CRJ0008A.TXT (original CRI file name),
"Evangelizing New Agers" release A, October 4, 1993. Copyright 1993 by Christian Research
Institute, Post Office Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000.