and why Jesus said to "Beware of false teachers!" We must "test the
spirits to see whether they are from God;" ( 1 John 4:1-3).
Key Person or Founder,
- Biblical Christianity: Jesus Christ. Founded about AD 30-33, in the Judean province of Palestine (Israel today), under the Roman Empire. Followers of Jesus Christ become known as Christians.
- New Age: Based on Eastern mysticism, Hinduism, and paganism. Popularized in part by actress Shirley MacLaine (1934-) in the 1980's and 1990's. Beliefs vary.
- Biblical Christianity: The Bible, written originally in Hebrew and Aramaic (Old Testament), and Greek (New Testament).
- New Age: No holy book. Use selected Bible passages; I Ching; Hindu, Buddhist, and Taoist writings; and Native American beliefs. Writings on astrology, mysticism, and magic.
Who is God?
- Biblical Christianity: The one God is Triune (one God in three persons, not three gods): Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Often the title "God" designates the first person, God the Father. God is a spiritual being without a pyshical body. He is personal and involved with people. He created the universe out of nothing. He is eternal, changeless, holy, loving, and perfect.
- New Age: Everything and everyone is God. God is an impersonal force or principle, not a person. People have unlimited inner power and need to discover it.
Who is Jesus?
- Biblical Christianity: Jesus is God, the second person of the Trinity. As God the Son, he has always existed and was never created. He is fully God and fully man (the two natures joined, not mixed). As the second person of the Trinity, he is coequal with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. In becoming man, he was begotten through the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus is the only way to the Father, salvation, and eternal life. He died on a cross according to God's plan, as the full sacrifice and payment for our sins. He rose from the dead on the third day, spiritually and psychically immortal. For the next 40 days he was seen by more than 500 eye-witnesses. His wounds were touched and he ate meals. He psychically ascended to heaven. Jesus will return again visibly and psychically at the end of the world to establish God's kingdom and judge the world.
- New Age: Jesus is not the one true God. He is not a savior, but a spiritual model and guru, and now an "ascended master." He was a New Ager who tapped into divine power in the same way the anyone can. Many believe he went east to India or Tibet and learned mystical truths. He did not rise physically from the dead, but "rose" into a higher spiritual realm.
Who is the Holy Spirit?
- Biblical Christianity: The Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is a person, not a force or energy field. He comforts, grieves, reproves, convicts, guides, teaches, and fills Christians. He is not the Father, nor is he the Son, Jesus Christ.
- New Age: Sometimes considered a psychic force. Man is divine and can experience psychic phenomena such as contacting unearthly beings.
How to be Saved
- Biblical Christianity: Salvation is by God's grace, not by an individual's good works. Salvation must be received by faith. People must believe in their hearts that Jesus died for their sins and psychically rose again, which is the assurance of forgiveness and resurrection of the body. This is God's loving plan to forgive sinful people.
- New Age: Need to offset bad karma with good karma. Can tap into supernatural power through meditation, self-awareness, and "spirit guides." Followers use terms such as "reborn" to describe this new self-awareness.
What Happens after Death?
- Biblical Christianity: Believers go to be with Jesus. After death, all people await the final judgement. Both saved and lost people will be resurrected. Those who are saved will live with Jesus in Heaven. Those who are lost will suffer the torment of eternal separation from God (hell). Jesus' bodily resurrection guarantees believer that they, too, will be resurrected and receive new immortal bodies.
- New Age: Human reincarnations occur until a person reaches oneness with God. No eternal life as a resurrected person. No literal heaven or hell.
Other Facts, Beliefs, or Practices
- Biblical Christianity: Group worship, usually in churches. No secret rites. Baptism and Lord's Supper (Communion). Active voluntary missionary efforts. Aid to those in need: the poor, widows, orphans, and downtrodden. Christians believe that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah promised to Israel in the Old Testament (Tanakh). Jesus said his followers would be known by their love for one another.
- New Age: Can include yoga, meditation, visualization, astrology, channeling, hypnosis, trances, and tarot card readings. Use of crystal to get in harmony with God (Energy), for higher consciousness or other psychic powers. Strive for world unity and peace. Emphasis on holistic health.