The Postmodern Phenomena of New Age Spirituality: Examples in Popular Literature -- By: Mark Bair

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 27:0 (NA 1995)
Article: The Postmodern Phenomena of New Age Spirituality: Examples in Popular Literature
Author: Mark Bair

The Postmodern Phenomena of New Age Spirituality:
Examples in Popular Literature

Mark Bair

Mark Bair (M.A., ATS) is a pastor for Xenos Christian Fellowship in Cincinnati, OH.

This paper is an attempt to better understand the new brand of spirituality that is being written about on a popular level today. My concern is that we better understand it so that we can both avoid deception in the church and communicate the Christian gospel more clearly in the present context. I believe we need updated apologetics rather than update theology for the 1990’s, as some have suggested. The first step in improving our apologetics is trying to decipher what form the “fortresses raised up against the knowledge of God” are presently taking. As Francis Shaeffer said before there even was a term “New Age:”

If a man goes overseas for any length of time we would expect him to learn the language of the country to which he is going. More than this is needed, however, if he is really going to communicate with the people among whom he is living. He must learn about another language—that of the thought forms of the people to whom he speaks. Only so will be have real communication with them. So it is with the Christian church. Its responsibility is not only to hold to the basic, scriptural principals of the Christian faith, but to communicate these unchanging truths ‘into’ the generation in which it is living.

Every generation of Christians has the problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age. It cannot be solved without an understanding of the changing existential situation which it faces. If we are to communicate the Christian faith effectively, therefore, we must know and understand the thought-forms of our own generation.1

In order to aid the reader in the task of understanding our generation, this paper will examine contemporary authors who represent spiritual ideas that are counterfeits of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reader I have in mind is the concerned Christian worker who has a general awareness of the so-called New Age Movement, but is perhaps unaware of actual proponents of these ideas and how they are introducing them. Before I get to those specific ideas, I want to look at some introductory and background issues.

First of all, how should we categorize? While the term “New Age Movement” can be helpful for generalizing about a broad set of trends, it can also be misleading. For one thing, the term “movement” implies a somewhat monolithic ideology and organization. For some it may conjure up the image of a political movement. But that would miss its subtlety. How...

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