The New Age is a complex and adaptable blend of pantheistic and universalist ideas drawing and fusing elements from several religions and ideologies. Its adherents comprise a vast array of groups who often adopt a pick and mix approach to their ‘spirituality’. This book of testimonies chronicles their journeys and explains the inadequacy and pitfalls of their former worldview, and how they found lasting authentic peace and genuine fulfilment though coming to know and trust solely in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
At an early age, Paul attended a cruel, controlling, and abusive Roman Catholic convent school. He was aware of the Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, and other evils and sadly this meant that he was opposed to anyone who he perceived to believe and trust in the Lord. Instead he elected an alternative spiritual worldview and became increasingly absorbed and involved in occult activity. This led to him embracing a New Age philosophy anticipating that if everyone harmonised together, world peace would follow.
Paul then had a dream which he sensed was a warning from God to depart from his occult involvement without hesitation. He later realised that being ‘christened’ and ‘confirmed’ did not mean that he knew God personally and that neither practise is biblical. He then went to Australia and met some relatives who believed that Jesus was both the Messiah and truly God, and that through His sacrifice made atonement for sin and reconciliation with the Father.
They explained that he needed to repent and believe in Jesus as Saviour. Paul later read through the book of Revelation, and was surprised to discover that the content of the warning from his dream resembled what he was reading! He prayed simply that the Lord would remove his guilt and sin and felt as though a weight had fallen of his shoulders. In subsequent studies, he discovered that Krishna claimed to be ‘the door’ of salvation, ‘the Father’, the ‘goal of life’ and ‘the Lord’ (Bhagavad Gita 9:17-18), though it was actually Jesus who is ‘the door’ (John 10:9), and ‘the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14:6).
Paul started reading the Bible intensively and discovered that Jesus fulfilled scores of prophecies written in the Tanakh (Old Testament) about the life and ministry of the coming Messiah. No other religious leader could demonstrate anything near that. Furthermore, the teachings of the Bible are diametrically opposed to universalism. Hindu literature with schizophrenic behaviour of gods is so vastly different from the holy and righteous God of the Bible. Paul could now testify of the words of Yeshua, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32).”
Tal Brooke left the States and travelled to India on a spiritual quest. He quickly became disappointed with the gurus he encountered though he chose to follow Sai Baba, who was a renowned miracle worker who he worked closely with for a few years. Eventually he realised that he had been fooled by a false ‘Messiah’. As he pondered the motives of his previous guru, he uncovered answers in the Scriptures that he had dismissed so long ago, namely the Torah, writings, prophets and the gospels and writings of the apostles, in other words-the Bible.
What was it that had previously convinced Tal that Sai Baba was divine? At the risk of blurting out a cliché, he had a magnetic presence… In addition, he seemed to possess extraordinary knowledge and powers. He learnt meditative techniques. He spoke of grace, though not the type of grace that the Bible speaks of. Tal was concerned initially in a private moment, when Baba hugged him intensely and then twisted his pelvis in a strange way. At that stage though, point Tal was so taken in that he reasoned that Baba was innocent and could not sin.
Baba continued to perform at festivals and made wild claims about his apparent divinity. Later on Tal needed somewhere to stay and met some believers in Jesus who explained to him that Jesus was not a Cosmic Master and pointed out that in the Brit Hadasha (New Testament), Yeshua never referred to any of the Eastern concepts of Pantheism and gives warnings concerning false prophets.
Salvation could only be through the promised Messiah and only Jesus is Lord and Saviour, not Buddha, Krishna, or anyone else. Tal’s suspicions about Baba’s motives were confirmed when a few friends concurred some of the unsavoury aspects of Baba’s character. Tal learnt from Matthew 24 that there would be individuals claiming to be Messiah and they should not be believed. Baba was simply a miracle-working deceiver. But Tal also knew that Yeshua was the Messiah, the only way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) and there was no need for a guru or celestial being to guide him. Tal confessed the magnitude of his wrongdoing, repented, and confessed that Jesus is Lord.
Alan never doubted the existence of God and even at the age of ten stated to his parents that either only one religion could be right, or else they were all wrong. He was raised in a Jewish home though they were not at all Orthodox, and his father was both a liberal Freemason and a Deist. Though he attended synagogue and had a Bar Mitzvah, a seemingly random event occurred, when in a car journey with an older friend, he caught sight of a copy of the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tsu. He then quickly became familiar with a variety of religions and philosophies. Alan was also exhilarated with the concept of spiritual evolution which he believed would culminate in the perfection of the human race.
Meanwhile, two ongoing issues remained unresolved. Firstly, he felt like an onlooker never fully integrated with those activities and simultaneously and strangely, there seemed to be type of barrier preventing him from doing so. Secondly, irrespective of the perceived benefits, his life did not improve but actually worsened.
When Alan was at the end of his tether and amidst his despair, he prayed to the Lord Jesus and began reading a dusty old Bible and embarked on intense study. He recognised the sovereignty and providence of the lord who had been drawing him to the Scriptures which he would have ignored otherwise. He realised that the so called ‘Ascended Masters’ were fallen angels and lying spirits. Through the Bible, he learnt that there is only one way of salvation and that God had come in human flesh as fully God and fully Man, and paid the price for his sins which he could never repay. Alan thoroughly repented and felt and knew he was cleansed from all the occult involvement from previous years.
Alan came to understand that God is not a ‘force’ or ‘higher self’ and came to know God personally. Driving in his car and listening to Mozart, he was able to make sense of what the lyrics meant. Yeshua was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). He knew that the gospel was true, and that Messiah had taken the punishment for his sins, that he had been born again and been made new. Around that time he met a young cellist who has been caught up in Buddhism and he explained to her how he had come to faith in Messiah. She renounced Buddhism, believed the Word of God, dedicated her life to the Lord and eighteen months later they were married. The reason to his question he asked so many years ago as a child “Why am I me and nobody else”, was answered “it is because each of us has been made uniquely to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”
Randall Baer had plenty of questions concerning God and the Bible. Tragically, no one was willing to give him the time to discuss those things. Like many growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s a range of other ideas and Eastern philosophies were emerging and becoming more mainstream. In his teens he tried Hatha Yoga, meditation, and accepted a New Age worldview.
Meanwhile he experimented with marijuana and he felt as if he was floating in the cosmos and became one with light and the universe and met ‘god’. Randall then progressed to hallucinogenic drugs in many forms. These experiences accompanied studying Hindu, Taoist, and Buddhist texts, plus yoga and western mysticism. His experiences reflected those traditions.
A few years passed and an LSD experience involving a potent demonic spirit took possession of him. It caused him great upset rendering him unable to speak for two days and psychologically damaged for a further six months. Nonetheless he opened up a ‘Natural Health Centre’ and was exhilarated when he experienced ‘crystal power’ through spirit guides. He moved to Santa Fe renowned for psychic phenomena and became intoxicated with an increasing realm of spirit guides and Ascended Masters that basically propagated New Age belief and practises.
One night he had another terrifying experience. He swiftly realised than masquerading behind the appearance of seemingly beautiful experience was great evil that was Satanically inspired. That was a turning point as he recognised the New Age Movement for what it actually was, and he wanted to be free from facing another similar experience. Randall turned to the Bible for answers and compared Scripture with New Age thought. He understood that New Age thought selectively chooses parts from the Bible and jettisons other sections. He recognised that he was a sinner who had broken God’s law and that he would face judgement and hell. But there was a certain hope. Since God had made atonement for sin through Yeshua, he could have assurance of eternal life through the gift of God’s grace. Randall repented of his sin and trusted in the Lord as his Saviour.
Caryl Matrisciana was born in India and her great-grandfather was the governor general of Bombay. She was disillusioned with various aspects of Indian culture such as the veneration of cows and trees and the caste system and poor treatment towards women. At the time she considered Roman Catholicism to be morally superior to Hinduism. Although she was initially successful with a modelling career from a young age and then later worked for the BBC, it dawned upon her that her lifestyle amongst the upwardly mobile bore an uncanny resemblance with the caste system which she detested.
She then embarked on travelling around Europe and sought excitement and experiences. Caryl had a few relationships including a marriage that failed. She resumed modelling but also combined that with artwork, drugs, and eventually took up yoga. None of that satisfied her inner longing for peace and rest so she discussed and practised an increasing number of philosophies with her sophisticated friends. She took an interest in the Hare Krishna movement and George Harrison of the Beatles became her hero, though it became evident that they were focussed on attracting the rich, and famous and utilising their financial resources.
One day Caryl eavesdropped into a conversation and found it intolerant that Jesus could be the only way to God and that a chap quoted the Bible as his sole authority. Nonetheless she attended a meeting, and she was introduced to a new concept of God, foreign to both Roman Catholicism and the New Age movement. She struggled with the reality that she could be a sinner and was stunned by the simplicity of the gospel and that she could not save herself. The rituals, hundreds of masses and the rosary had been futile.
It all became clear when she understood that the sacrifice which Jesus paid through His sacrifice on the cross was completely sufficient and what she needed. The spiritual experiences, drugs and yoga were counterfeits. She felt her sense of shame and she confessed that she was a wretched sinner before God. There were no bright lights but there was a genuine peace, assurance of eternal life and confidence in the Lord who had saved her. She was freed from drugs and nicotine and God brought about a change in her life. The greatest gift was reconciliation with God through His Son, Jesus the promised Messiah.