Counterfeit Christianity

Imagine that you've been trying to share your faith with a friend who's always been hostile to Christianity. Then one day, to your great delight, your friend tells you she's finally seen the light. "I've discovered the reality of God!" she exclaims. "I pray every day, I've joined a small group, and I finally understand the resurrection of Christ." Of course, that's exactly what we want to hear from our unsaved friends. But before you start cheering, beware: If your friend happens to be toting a book called The Celestine Prophecy, she may have been taken in by something that only sounds biblical. That's because the book's author has redefined -Christian terminology and doctrines and given them whole new meanings-New Age meanings, that is. The Celestine Prophesy has spent a full year riding the crest of the bestseller lists. The author, James Redfield, has sold two million copies. A sequel and a movie deal are currently in the works. Everywhere you go, people are quoting from The Celestine Prophesy and describing their search for spiritual truth. But is spiritual truth really what they're getting? On the surface, the answer might seem to be `yes.' The Celestine Prophesy quotes the Bible and talks about the importance of Jesus and a consistent prayer life. But just listen to how Redfield defines these terms. For example, Redfield praises a woman for her dedication to God. But it turns out that Redfield's "God" is nothing more than something he calls a "universal energy source"-a source that Redfield alternately refers to as "The Higher Will." Redfield also advises his readers to pray. But he defines prayer as the process of living in a "a highly expectant state" which, he says, attracts the "universal energy" to us and results in answered prayer. And what does Redfield say about Jesus Christ? He claims that Jesus was the first man who truly became attuned to the universal energy source-so attuned that He was able to pass through the physical universe and attain a new life in the spiritual realm. This, Redfield claims, is the true meaning of the resurrection-that Christ transcended death by increasing His energy. Of course, these teachings are absurdities. The Celestine Prophesy is nothing more than New Age teachings gussied up in Christian terminology. But Redfield's use of Christian terms is fooling a lot of people. The Apostle Paul teaches us that the most dangerous wolves are those who pose as part of the flock. In the same way, the most dangerous heresies are those that mimic Biblical words and pose as Biblical truths. Books like The Celestine Prophesy should serve as a warning of how easy it is to be taken in by something that looks and sounds Biblical-that claims to have the truth about Christianity-but doesn't. When your unsaved friends tell you that they understand the resurrection of Christ, ask them what they believe the resurrection means. And be ready to provide a Biblical definition of Christian doctrines. Doctrines that lead to salvation through Christ-not New Age counterfeits.


Chuck Colson


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