How to talk to a New Ager: Share Your Story

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Continuing the discussion from Why did a loving God allow other religions to even form?:

Hi friends,

Do you have experience building trust and sharing the gospel with people from a New Age perspective? What has been helpful? What hasn’t worked? Which passages of Scripture do you find yourself discussing the most?

Or is this your testimony - you were once involved in the New Age movement, but are now a disciple of Christ? What helped you realize that the New Age movement wasn’t true? What led you to Christ? How were Christians helpful - or unhelpful - in this process?

Let’s share what we’ve learned together. This is a great way to encourage one another to keep growing in wisdom and love!

(Warner Joseph Miller) #2

Well, I’ll be first and add this to the pot. In my encounters with “New Agers” and/or new age or post-modern-type thinking, one of the things I’m especially sure to do is correctly define and explain shared terms. Shared terms like love, faith, God, salvation/redemption, grace, truth and even the very cross of Christ and name & Person of Jesus can and do mean vastly different things to different people and religious worldviews. Therefore, it is paramount that when engaging with new age thought - in whatever form - to ask questions. Seek clarity from the people using the terms. What they define as love and God is probably different than what you define it as. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself in a false accord or believing you’ve made progress when, really, you haven’t. So yes…take the time and seek clarity and understanding. You’ll actually be helping yourself in finding the core beliefs and speaking to those as opposed to going in circles and rabbit trails – as what is prone to happen especially in these types of convos. Hope that made sense. Peace up!:v:t6:

West African Spirituality
(LaTricia J.) #3

Right before I came to Christ, I considered myself a Universalist (aka New Age follower). I had been through Islam (orthodox and American alternatives) in my late teens/early 20s and then embraced African Traditional Religion, that ended up being the bulk of my spiritual/religious experience so far. When I started to move towards being a self-defined Universalist rather than identifying as a African traditionalist, it was because I was questioning a lot of things and just didn’t know where to go or what to do. It was like knowing there is something but not knowing what that something is or even where to find it. And that was the entry point that Christ used in my life.

The friend who led me to Christ pretty much did as @WarnerMiller spoke about regarding being clear on definitions. He clarified all terms and wouldn’t really give room for me to be all woo and if I was being vague due to thinking in woo terms, he would ground the conversation by being concrete and definite and not speaking from a point of speculation. He didn’t treat the bible and biblical references with a New Age perspective, he spoke solidly from the bible and explained biblical terms if and when he used them. He didn’t give scriptures per se because that in a way would have been pointless to bombard me with scriptures that I didn’t understand. Instead, he allowed me to come to him with questions.

One of the first things he explained to me (even if I didn’t fully get it, it was one of the first references he went into detail with that stuck with me all long) was Christ being the Shekinah Glory. This wasn’t random, it was based on me sending him a podcast I had listened to and telling him this is where I was spiritually, and the podcast was from a Jewish rabi being interviewed. I just knew I was going to sign up to be a convert. LOL Had he not taken the time to bridge the gap, I would probably be studying the kabbalah or something.

He was so very patient with me. I kept being woo and finally I asked him about grace. It was a wrap. He explained God’s grace from a biblical perspective and shared his testimony with me. That was the evening of June 2, 2013. It was after that conversation that I gave my life to Christ and accepted God on His terms and not mine.

That’s the thing about New Age belief, it still revolves around accepting God on the believer’s terms rather than on His terms. Even New Age Christians, which is more like Gnosticism, they still mesh many things together and call it Christianity when it’s not, there’s no reliance on Christ and the salvation He died for. I really thought I was doing something big and deep when I was doing all of those things, like I was really unraveling the mysteries of the universe (multiverse) and the spiritual realm and having so much spiritual growth. And the whole time I was just spinning my wheels and feeding my ego and being a spiritual joke to the enemy.

That was long winded, sorry. LOL

(Warner Joseph Miller) #4

@LaTricia_January…that was fantastically put. So much good insight in there. I especially liked:

I, generally, tend to do that, as well. Not that I don’t use the wisdom of the scriptures and correct theology. However, quoting verbatim from a text (the Bible) that my listener doesn’t respect or regard as true seems a practice in futility. I know some have disagreed with me in this. They’ll cite 2 Timothy 3:16:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness…”

Ironically, tho…I’ll perhaps reference a biblical truth (using my own or familiar cultural and generational idioms, slang, colloquialisms, vernacular, etc) while yet retaining the integrity of the truth of the scriptures. And amazingly, my listener – who would’ve almost certainly rejected the Bible book, chapter & verse had I quoted from it – actually end up agreeing with the biblical truth!

@CarsonWeitnauer has a post engaging with this topic of Translating Into the Vernacular. He quotes the CS Lewis essay “Christian Apologetics” in God in the Dock:

To conclude—you must translate every bit of your Theology into the vernacular. This is very troublesome and it means you can say very little in half an hour, but it is essential. It is also of the greatest service to your own thought. I have come to the conviction that if you cannot translate your thoughts into uneducated language, then your thoughts were confused. Power to translate is the test of having really understood one’s own meaning. A passage from some theological work for translation into the vernacular ought to be a compulsory paper in every Ordination examination.

According to the footnotes, this essay was read to Anglican priests and youth leaders at one of their conferences in 1945. So, this is a very practical word of advice!

What do others think? Where do you stand on this?