See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. (Mt. 24:4-5)
One day I was talking with my neighbor’s friend and I brought up Jesus. He told me that he knew Jesus well because he is Jesus.
Imagine my surprise.
I asked him if he could do a miracle, and he smiled and admitted that he wasn’t all the way Jesus. He told me that there is a Christ-consciousness in all of us, that Jesus came to show us that we are all already sons of God by believing that we are. He said we are all God, that everything is God, that we just need to meditate and realize these things, and everything will turn into love.
This is false teaching. The Christ-consciousness he spoke of is not the real Jesus Christ. I told him this, but he didn’t receive it. Many are led astray by this same false jesus. Many people who consider themselves Christians today have elements of this false gospel in their thinking. Others belong fully to this false religion, but think they are following the real Jesus. I love Jesus, so I don’t like to see people distorting his character and his teachings. I love you, so I don’t like you being sold a false gospel that gives you a hope that won’t deliver in the end.
We will call this particular false Jesus “new age jesus.” New age jesus is not the Jesus who died to save the world, he is not the Jesus who will return to judge and renew the world and save all those who are eagerly waiting for his return. To follow the new age jesus is to follow a false hope. People have been doing such things for a long time. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough” (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).
I have a great longing in my heart for you to have a sincere and pure devotion to Christ and not to be fooled into accepting a counterfeit that has no real power and can’t truly save you. I love you and I want better things for you than that. So let me say a few things about the new age jesus that will shine some light on the matter.
The new age jesus is an expression of pantheistic monism, which is a worldview of ultimately bad news
Pantheism (pan=all, theism=god) is the teaching that everything is god and god is everything. Monism (one-ism) is the teaching that in the truest sense, everything is one. Pantheistic monism is the idea that all the apparently different things we experience are all actually one thing, and that one thing is god, and god is eternally expressing himself in various ways. This is the teaching of Eastern and some indigenous religions, and is the philosophical undergirding of the New Age religion: You are God. You are the Christ. You have all the light in you. The serpent likes this line, because we are suckers for it.
I understand that saying new age jesus is bad news seems at odds with the practice of new age religion to most people. After all, it presents itself as all about pursuing love and light, peace and bliss, calm and contentment. It is expressed as a positivity gospel. But I want to try to show you that these desired goals do not fit within the overall philosophical and religious system in which they are situated, and the path will never ultimately take you there. The road signs don’t match the destination, someone is trying to trick you. If you are pursuing love and light in this new age path, I admire your aims and I admire your tenacity to pursue them in the face of their opposite in your own heart and life. And I have good news for you, news of a path of true freedom from the darkness in the real Jesus.
Pantheistic monism is the worldview we are hoping will not come to fruition in the final Star Wars movie, although seeds of it are surely in the canon. If the Star Wars universe is ultimately a pantheistic, monistic universe, then good and evil are ultimately both part of god, both part of the eternal reality. The light side and the dark side are just two eternal sides of the same coin of reality. That means there will be no ultimate triumph of light over darkness, no final victory, just an eternal balance of good and evil, light and dark. While this premise makes for an eternal movie franchise, it doesn’t make good stories because deep down we all know that light needs to triumph over darkness, that good needs to eventually stomp evil.
Pantheistic monism is bad news because it means that evil, suffering, lies, darkness, sorrow, despair, and death are all part of the story forever. They are part of god himself. They must be, because everything is god, and god is everything. This is literally a hopeless worldview. You are in pain? You grieve evil? You feel despair? You are in a death struggle with negativity? You hate death? What can you do but give in to them, they are here to stay. The best you can hope for is a 50/50 split with their opposites in the grand scheme. This is the inevitable conclusion of pantheistic monism, no matter how much you may personally want light more than darkness, it can’t work in this system. And what about the more visceral evil and injustice in the world? What about victims of child rape? Part of god. What about torturous regimes like North Korea punishing minor offenses with life in forced labor camps eating rats? Part of god. And if it is part of god, there is no way to judge it as the “bad” part of god. It is what it is, man, and it will always be this way. Talk of “balance” and of “yin and yang” sounds pretty cool until you really think about what it means. The real Jesus didn’t seek a balance between light and dark, he came to shine the light into the darkness, conquering and to conquer. And he did it with the power of love, no less.
The true Jesus is the light that has come into the world and is chasing the darkness away
Enter the true Jesus. The Bible teaches that God is distinct from his creation. This is how the Bible starts in Genesis, with God creating the heavens and the earth out of nothing. He doesn’t make them out of himself or out of some pre-existing material, but out of nothing. VanTil, the brilliant Christian theologian always highlighted the central importance for Christians to recognize the Creator/creature distinction in the Biblical teaching. Everything is not God. God made everything, but God is not everything. God is not evil. God is not injustice. He is light and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). Evil has come into our existence through spiritual and human rebellion against the source of all good. And God has gone to war against evil, against satan, against death, against rape and wicked tyranny. The real Jesus is defeating all those enemies through his incarnation, his life of perfect love, his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his ascension to the right hand of God.
But there is a problem. Since the original rebellion, we are all born among those enemies to be destroyed by Jesus. You may not like to hear it, but you were born on the dark side. Can you let yourself admit it? Can you stop trying so hard to silence your conscience and just listen to it for a minute? Because God is merciful, he is making a way for his enemies to become his friends before the day of judgment when God will finish his war against sin and death. But to become God’s friend requires everyone to be converted, to switch teams. If you think that we are all born in the light, born on the good team, then you will not be able to switch. This is why conversion requires repentance, it requires confession of sin, it requires humility. It requires you acknowledging that you are on the dark side, and that you have loved it, and been fully under its power and spell. If you will confess this, and turn, repent, change your mind, and instead put your faith in Jesus and his word, you will be transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son. You will be given a new heart, a new citizenship, a full pardon for all your divine sedition. You will be born again into a new life of freedom from your sin, freedom from your darkness, freedom from your death.
Do you see that this is the opposite of meditating and realizing that you have been in the light all along, that we are all in the light?
Satan is busy blinding our minds to these realities: confusing us, deceiving us with false messages. He does this through false teachers, through deceitful spirits. Paul talks about them saying “such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14). How do these false new age teachings come to us? They come by means of spirits pretending to be spirits of light, through teachers like Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, popularized by public figures like Oprah or Jim Carrey. You know the books, you know the memes, you know the practices. It’s all about positivity, the secret, vibrations, astral travel, crystals, chakras, messages from the universe, angel guides, hallucinogenic drug awakenings, conspiracies, clairvoyance, etc. It’s all so positive and affirming of you just the way you are. Jesus’ name is allowed in, so long as he is a codename for a universal pantheistic god-consciousness in us all, but not if he is the Lord and Master of all to whom we owe all our worship. But that is not Jesus, and that jesus cannot save. You can keep as much positivity as you can muster, but at the end of the day, the darkness comes for you because it is in you. You can manifest as many happy thoughts as you can manage, but at the end of the day you will stand before Jesus and his war against evil, and you will answer for the real darkness within you that you attempted to paper over with positivity. We literally killed Jesus for saying this about us, but deep down we know that it is true.
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You have real sin. You have real guilt, before a real God. If you will see it and own it, and confess it and repent of it, the real Jesus will take it away. It will delight you to see how he can take away guilt and shame and darkness and addictions and sorrow and fear, and give you everlasting life with him. He will send his Spirit: a real, living Spirit being, the Spirit of holiness to come to you, to care for you, to form the light of the real Jesus in you. If you have tried or seen religion, but haven't tasted this, then you have not yet experienced Christianity. Come to the true Christ today. He will meet you in his word. Call out to him in all humility, he will come and meet with you, and he will begin the ultimate triumph of light over darkness beginning in the very core of your being today. And when death casts its long shadow over you, he will raise you up to live forever in the new creation he is busy making, a true world of love and light forever.
If you consider yourself a Christian and you are toying with this false jesus, trying to merge Christianity with him, trying to come up with a Jesus that doesn't offend anyone and accepts everything, just stop. Jesus does not accept everything, this is what makes him so good. He sees darkness, he calls it out where he sees it, he comes against it, and he makes a way for us to escape it. Have nothing to do with the false jesus of the new age. He is another spirit, with another gospel whose aim is to deceive you and lure you away from the light. Get under regular sound teaching from the Bible, get into the safety of a true church with people who can help you keep from being deceived, get under the care of pastors who will pray for you and watch over you, get into a daily practice of bible reading and prayer. There is so much hope and life and light in the true Jesus, don't let anyone pry your heart from pure devotion to the true Jesus. Everything was created by him, and through him, and for him. Jesus is King, let all imposters fall before him.