God has divinely appointed our lives to be lived in the most crucial hour of human history: the time of the coming of two men. First there is the coming of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ for a Rapture of His people, and then there is the coming of the Antichrist. Two different groups of people in the earth are awaiting the arrival of these two men. There is a remnant that is looking for the coming of Christ in the darkest hour of history, the darkest spiritual hour of the Institutional Church. There is also the world that is looking for the coming of Antichrist to bring all of the world governments under one federation and to rid the world of the clutter of religion. The generation before and at the coming of Jesus Christ for His saints will see the battle against the world and the Christian apostasy at its hottest, the deception at its greatest, and the compromises of the Church at their most prolific in history. Likewise the generation before the coming of Antichrist will be most crucial in its preparation of the world for him.
The New Age Movement
The New Age movement and its great ideological conversation are boldly growing throughout the civilized world. To understand its present intent, we must briefly view its accruing manipulative powers in history. In the early years of this movement (before the turn of the twentieth century), it was known as the New Consciousness movement. It was so named because it was a movement to literally alter the consciousness of its followers. Its intent was to bring a “new” understanding of the self in the light of global mindset. One of the prominent writings promoting this movement in the 1920s was Marilyn Ferguson’s The Age of Aquarius. In this book she explained the unfolding of such a movement for the future into what would ultimately be called the New Age movement. One of the critical characteristics of this movement is its bringing together of Eastern and Western thought. Eastern thought and religion has generally been formed upon mysticism and transcendentalism, while Western thought has generally been based upon linear logic. Buddhism, Hinduism, and other Eastern religious thought must be mixed with Western thinking in order to bring about a new global view of philosophy, epistemology, politics, government, music, art, and even religious thought including Christianity. To merge the East and West in thought will bring about a new view of existence or consciousness concerning who we are and why we are here.
The New Age of the Institutional Church
Parallel to the world, there is also a “new age” movement within the institutional church. This new age view is demanding a new view and a new interpretation of Christianity. This new age movement within the Church began around the turn of the twentieth century, on the heels of the birth of Liberalism and Modernism.
When Liberalism erupted in Europe a number of characteristics identified it as an enemy to true Christianity: (1) the rejection of historic Christian doctrine; (2) the tolerance of all religious views; (3) the denial of the literal Word of God; (4) the denial of the deity of Christ and all the doctrinal aspects of the “God-Man”; (5) the broad acceptance of evolution; (6) the denial of any supernatural intervention of God with man; and (7) the birth of the Social Gospel and teaching that sin was a social issue. Historic Fundamentalism was born to confront this evil corruption of the Word of God.
There soon followed in Europe the birth of the “Neo” movement that ultimately has permeated the message of public Christianity bringing about the demise of the public proclamation of the true Gospel. This movement commenced with what was called “Neo-Protestantism” or “Neo-Orthodoxy.” It stepped forward in the writings of Karl Barth initially as a reaction to Liberalism. Its cry was that “we need to get back to the Bible,” which sounded honorable on the surface. It declared, “The Bible contains the Word of God,” rather than that the Bible is the Word of God. While Neo-Orthodoxy took the position of the Liberals believing that the Bible was a collection of myths, sagas, and legends, it also believed that the Bible was man’s only hope. What was needed by modern man was a new method of interpretation in order to understand the Bible. Their new approach to interpretation embraced form criticism and existentialism. In their “new” view of Scriptures, the Bible becomes the Word of God only when it existentially moves you. This neo concept of theology also spoke of the “community of God,” teaching universalism in the understanding of salvation.
Because Neo-Orthodox men were situationalists in belief, another new theology was born called Neo-Morality. This new movement denounced all absolutes believing that “love” was the only absolute law of God. Part of its warp and woof was pragmatism and relativism. Neo-Morality destroyed all principles, dogmas, and absolutes of Scripture.
In the latter part of the 1940s the “new age” movement of the Church mutated into Neo-Evangelicalism. This was a new version of Fundamentalism that denounced biblical separation. The twofold burden of Fundamentalism at this time was that “ye must be born again” and that “ye should earnestly contend for the Faith.” This next step in the Church new age movement wanted the former burden of evangelism without the latter burden of contending. Standing against the ecclesiastical separatist position of a separated life and a separated Gospel, they forwarded a more-accepted Christianity that avoided anything negative, that sought acceptance by the scholastic (especially Neo-orthodoxy ones), that despised dogmatism in doctrine and preaching, that showed greater concern for social issues, and that promoted an ecumenical spirit. In the March 1956 issue of Christian Life magazine, eight points were given concerning this new movement: (1) to have a friendly attitude towards secular science; (2) to have a willingness to reexamine the work of the Holy Spirit [that would eventually include the Charismatics]; (3) to have a more tolerant attitude toward varying views of eschatology; (4) to have an increased emphasis upon scholarship; (5) to have a more definite recognition of social responsibility; (6) to have a reopening of the subject of biblical inspiration; (7) to have a growing willingness of theologians to converse and dialogue with the Liberals; and (8) to restructure preaching with (a) an overemphasis on the positive aspects while neglecting its warning aspects, (b) an occupation with psychology, (c) a replacement of authoritative pronouncement with the concept of “sharing ideas,” (d) a message that the people want rather than what they need, (d) a retreat from what is viewed as dogmatism, and (f) compromises in the Great Commission.
As the New Church Age continued to mutate, Neo-Orthodoxy destroyed the literality of Scriptures; Neo-Morality destroyed all absolutes; and Neo-Evangelicalism destroyed biblical separation.
In the same year that Neo-Evangelicalism was born (1948), Israel became a nation and the birth of the World Council of Churches was acknowledged. But there was another “neo” birth: it was Neo-Pentecostalism. A rising “healer” within the Pentecostal Holiness Church began to announce “audible voices from God” and declared that he had the power of healing in his right hand. He also promoted a new approach to Pentecost and to the Holy Spirit. His name was Oral Roberts. He finally left the Pentecostal denomination and joined the apostate United Methodist Church in 1968 as a result of their bailing him out of financial debt for Oral Roberts University.
Neo-Pentecostalism became the seed for the conception of the Charismatic Movement in the late 1960s outside of the Pentecostal denominations. This movement had a profound effect on the Roman Catholic Church between 1968 and 1972, there, the term Charismatic becoming more identified with the “New Pentecost” in Rome. By 1972 charismatic became more and more a transdenominational term. Rome will call it a renewal. Since Roman Catholics believe their parishioners receive the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, the speaking in tongues is simply a renewing of that which they received at Confirmation.
By the end of the 1970s, nearly all of the Pentecostal denominations had become identified with the Charismatic movement. This error made the Holy Spirit greater than the Bible and open revelations from the Spirit co-equal in authority with the Scriptures. The messages of prosperity and health became their watchword rather than the message of Christ and a holy, spiritual life in Him. All of this new view of Christianity is part of the last Church age, the Laodicean Church Age dedicated to the “New Age” of the Church.
The New Church Age Music
As the ministry of church music has capitulated to Contemporary Christian Music, it has also contributed to the mood and spirit of this “new age” of the church age. In Confronting Contemporary Christian Music, I made the following observation:
Why do multitudes of people attend the Gospel sings heard all around our country today? Is it for the Word of God contained in the songs? The songs may contain Scripture itself, but the melodic wrapper is presented in such a way that it is not offensive to the world, and it truly comes across as entertaining rather than “churchy” or “preachy.”
We are being told that music is now the key to evangelism and that evangelism is the sole purpose of the church. But a church cannot build itself on evangelism; it must build upon the Word of God. If evangelism is the only fountain, the church will be a shallow, carnal church without the stability to meet the onslaught of this powerful age. If the preaching of the pulpit weakens, it will tolerate songs that are weak in melody and message (though the message may be true). If our songs are only evangelistic in nature, or their arrangements “easy-listening” in mood and spirit, they too give a cushioning effect to whatever truth the lyrics may contain. Ralph Carmichael wrote and arranged many such songs years ago containing very close harmony, marked with dissonance, producing a smooth and soft effect. It was a musical sedative to the soul. And it compelled the sword of the Word of God to be sheathed, leaving it impotent upon its hearers. Yes, music directors can make the Word of God impotent simply by the way they arrange a song, the way they sing it, or even the way they accompany it. Once a less-than-the-best direction is set on a musical path in a church or movement, it is but a matter of time before the music will go “the way of all flesh.”
We are truly in the “New Age of the Church” that is conforming more and more into the New Age of the political world. The Church hates anything that is antiquity. It has gone to new church buildings that are more and more modern in architectural structure with the sanctuary becoming more of an auditorium for entertainment. The acrylic lectern now has taken the place of the “offensive” pulpit of wood. Psychology has taken the place of old-fashioned preaching, and platitudes of oratorical speech for the natural man have taken the place of the strong preaching to the heart and conscience of a man. We are in the church age of the “new Jesus,” the “new view” of God, the “new view” of salvation, which is rapidly leading the church to Universalism. This new age of the Church is pressing us to a new view of Roman Catholicism, calling us to repent of our former protesting against the Mother harlot Rome.
What the Bible calls “apostasy” or “the falling away,” the institutional church is calling a “revival” or an “awakening.” We are now reading of rising “Christian music” like BALM (Born Again Lesbian Music) to which prominent men, such as Bill Gaither, have lent their stamp of approval. The powers of neutrality that now oppress many Christians who took a stand in the past, the powers of compromise which are becoming more and more open in evidence, and the powers of apostasy are all coming in like a flood into the churches of the world. They are getting ready to join hand in hand with all the other religions of the world to bring about the one World Church that will freely ride the back of the Beast, the Antichrist.
The true remnant is battling against this “new” way and the “new” view of God and His Son that will ultimately be separated from the Scriptures. The written Word of God and its dogmatism must go before the final “New” can permeate all aspects of the global church. We are now in the “Yea, hath God said” stage, when the evangelical world does not even agree on what is the text of the Word of God. Its view has become more nebulous and semantic. Most preachers are now Bible “critics” rather than Bible proclaimers.
There is nothing new that is true, and nothing that is true is new. The urgency of the hour is critical; we have no time to throw away that which has been tried and proved through the centuries by the greatest of saints. The new will wear off after a while, and the Church will find another “man of the hour” with his unique “purpose-driven life” and his concept of the “prayer of Jabez.” The Institutional Church today is in a very fluid state, rising and falling with the tides of the popular. It is becoming as unstable as water, yet the people love to have it so.
May God keep us on the old and deliver us from the tantalizing influences of the “new.” This New Age may be in vogue with the populous mass of humanity, but it has no character of inner spirituality to stand before the God of Eternal Verity. We plead with the Remnant: keep on keeping on! Don’t waver with the mighty tides of change; they have no identification with the God of the Bible!