Truth for Today

More Truth for Today articles from past issues of the Presbyterian Standard are available online here.

Old Truths for a New Age (1)

Rev. Brian Garrard

We have all heard by now of the 'New Age movement' – but do we really know what it is and what it represents? In this series the Rev. Brian Garrard gives us a survey of this movement and God's answers to it. The first article outlines New Age teaching and then presents the orthodox doctrine of God as our main defence against it.

First published in the Presbyterian Standard, Issue 19, October-December 2000.


"There is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us" (Ecc. 1:9,10).

"And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness" (1 John 5:19).

THE subject of the New Age needs to be considered, although there are those who believe that enough has been written already. Perhaps, too, some think the worst is passed? Whatever the case may be, we are living in days that are growing increasingly evil and the New Age movement is a major influence in this.

A Word of Caution

It is possible to think that the New Age is the only foe the kingdom of God has today, or that the Muslim religion threatens us. Perhaps too,we feel intimidated by secularism, etc. Now all of these need to be kept in view, but the real danger to biblical Christianity is the Roman Catholic system, plus evangelicals who are capitulating to Romanism. Even so, it is important to examine 'new' movements, especially the New Age, because in a number of ways, Roman Catholicism is using the system to further her own aims.

What is it?

This is difficult, because there is no single statement of its beliefs, main headquarters or one major leader. It is a mix of religions, ideologies and philosophies (often confusing). Advocates of the New Age believe the world has passed through a succession of ages and that recently we have gone beyond the Age of Pisces (the fish) which they call the Christian age or interlude. This, they say, was fuelled by masculine, Yang energy. A new era has dawned called the Age of Aquarius, motivated by feminine Yin energy. This helps us to understand the rise of feminism and that its origins are undoubtedly satanic.

There are writers who believe that we are seeing a revival of ancient Gnosticism, which in its day was a great enemy to the Early Church. The word comes from the Greek gnosis (pronounced with a soft 'g') and means 'knowledge'. As then, so now, it was an 'Irish stew' of religions and ideas, coming in different forms, from the mystical to the magical. Man is regarded as being in bondage to the visible world and the spirits who control the unseen. The means of escape was the obtaining of a special, liberating knowledge, that would eventually bring us through various stages of spiritual reality to the great and good God.(1)

Because they regarded the material world as evil, the Lord Jesus Christ was said not to have come to earth as a true human being. Various ideas have been advanced to explain this away, ranging from the Lord's appearance as a spirit being, to someone else taking his place upon the cross.(2)


In summarising at this point, we can say that the New Age is:

1) Full of human reasoning and anti-the God of the Bible.

2) It is paganism revived and reconstituted, especially with old pantheistic ideas.(3)

3) It has a new theology with 'new' ideas of God, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Bible in general. Redemption has also been redefined, with human beings becoming their own saviours.

4) It dreams of a one-world order, dominated by one central government, with a unified global 'church', having one leader.

5) It promotes a new sexuality, reversing God's order and seeking the overthrow of the biblical concept of marriage and the family.

6) It uses magic, witchcraft, occultism, astrology, healing, incarnation, etc....

What is our First Line of Defence against the New Age?

In answer, we say: an insistence upon the biblical doctrine of God. This is necessary because of:

(i) the movement's belief in an impersonal God. He is seen as an abstract force.

(ii) the notion that God is the world and the world is God and that all of us are part of his vital essence.

Our Understanding of God must be Trinitarian

1) The word 'trinity' is not found in the Bible, yet even so, the idea is everywhere in the Scriptures.(4)

2) In simple form, the Bible doctrine of the trinity states that God is one Lord (see Deuteronomy 6:4; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6). Yet this one Godhead exists in three separate Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (See Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 3:16,17).(5) "In the Bible all divine titles and attributes are ascribed equally to the Father, Son and Spirit."(6) This does not mean there are three Gods, but one Godhead, existing from all eternity as three separate and distinct Persons.

3) This doctrine is the basis and fountain-head of all other Bible truth and we are in grave spiritual danger if we do not remain faithful to it.

God must also be understood in terms of His Attributes

1) He "hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself allsufficient."(7) (See John 5:26; Romans 11:33,34.)

2) God is infinite and free from all limitations in time or space.

3) He is absolutely holy and perfect (Matthew 5:48).

4) He is eternal and immense (Psalm 90:2) and present in every place (Acts 17:28; Psalm 139:7-10).

5) God is also unchangeable and immutable (Exodus 3:14; Malachi 3:6).

6) He is all-knowing and seeing (Job 12:13; Psalm 66:7 & 139).

7) Our God is also full of goodness, truth, love, grace, mercy, longsuffering, holiness, etc. (cf. Exodus 34:6).

God is a Personal God

1) He is a living and true Person (see for example the whole of Isaiah 45).

2) Such a deity is intimately concerned with us and has done all to redeem from sin and save us from judgment to come (Isaiah 45:5; John 3:36).

3) As such, he is to be worshipped, loved and feared. Human nature must never receive our adulation. God alone is our sovereign and we must ever be subject to him and his divine laws.

4) There is no help in 'going within' as the New-Agers tell us. All we discover there is sin, corruption and hopelessness. We must look away from ourselves to Christ, who is our only Saviour and Redeemer.

(To be continued, D.V.)


1. For a brief description, see W. Walker's A History of the Christian Church, pp.53-56.

2. The NT spends a great deal of time answering this heresy. See in particular 1 John, although it surfaces in other epistles.

3. Pantheism: the world is God and God is the world.

4. Tertullian is credited with first using the term in the 3rd century.

5. See the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 2:i,ii,iii.

6. Dr Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol.1, p.444.

7. Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 2:ii.