I was speaking at an event recently and made the statement that I am more concerned these days when Christian students of mine tell me that they are going to attend a Christian college rather than when they tell me they are heading to a secular state university. I think that always surprises audiences until I explain myself.
If I was Satan, I would know I’m not going to win my battles against the church of Jesus on secular campuses. Truly faithful Christian kids that go there will have their radars on, defenses up, and will be prepared for what’s coming: mockery, ridicule, and dismissal. They anticipate attacks on their faith, intolerance for their beliefs, and name-calling for their convictions.
Instead, if as Satan I was really interested in striking a blow against the Kingdom of God on earth, I would go to work at the institutions training up the next generation of Christian “leaders” in society. I would paralyze faithful administrators at Christian colleges, universities, and seminaries, with fears over money and the desperate effort to increase enrollment at whatever cost to the spiritual temperament of the campus. I would infiltrate the faculty and use professors there to teach New Age humanism wrapped in Christian language – blending light with just enough darkness to make it deadly, counting on the Christian students not knowing the Word of God well enough to discern what was happening.
And that seems to be exactly what is happening as both the Gospel and the Biblical Christian worldview increasingly take a backseat to manmade social justice causes and New Age spirituality at the vast preponderance of Christian institutions in America.
When I got done with my talk, a man approached me and asked if I had seen a recent article from Joe Carter on the prevalence of New Age beliefs in the church. I hadn’t, but it piqued my interest, so I found it. Carter reveals startling data from recent Pew Research analysis regarding how many Americans held to New Age beliefs – specifically things like:
- Spiritual energy being present in physical things like mountains and trees
- Astrological positions of planets and stars affecting people’s lives
- Psychic powers
It wasn’t surprising to me to see those Americans who are spiritually conscious but not devoted church goers holding to high degrees of confidence in these New Age concepts. Nor was I overly surprised to see that the most skeptical and irreligious in our society (the atheist and uninterested agnostic) don’t believe much of it at all.
But what was remarkable to me was the group that Pew designated as “Sunday Stalwarts” – those who attend church regularly, pray daily, believe in God as described in the Bible, and believe in heaven and hell. Almost a third of that group put confidence in psychics, 20% believe in the New Age idea of reincarnation, and about 16% believe in astrology.
Couple this with all the Eastern mystical practices of meditation, “breath-prayers,” labyrinths, contemplative prayer, Enneagrams, that are floating throughout large American church culture today, and I came away from the article convinced more than ever that the greatest “mission field” for Bible-believing Christians these days is not overseas. It’s not in remote African villages or the distant reaches of the Far East.
It’s in our churches. It’s in our Christian colleges. It’s amongst those who believe they are Christ-followers but whose minds have not been transformed to His but instead have been seduced by the spirit of the age.
Jesus famously told his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” In 2018 America it seems that many of the supposed workers need to be harvested themselves.