Pray for False Teachers!
Scripture is loaded with warnings about false teachers and the destruction that will come to them as a result of their erroneous teachings. I came across the following one this morning while at prayer. "There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. In their greed they will exploit you with fabrications, but from of old their condemnation has not been idle and their destruction does not sleep." (2 Peter 2:1-3) These words are clearly an indictment on the New Age teachers of our time. How many of them relegate Jesus to the rank of "prophet" among many, or misrepresent Church teaching by attempting to "Christianize" New Age practices in order to make them more appealing to Christian audiences. You can find a perfect example of this by reading this article by the purveyors of Reiki who "cherry pick" Scripture in such a way as to make it appear as though Jesus used Reiki to heal people! (see http://www.reiki.org/reikinews/reikin15.html ) Many others claim that the New Age "energy" god (aka chi, ki, qi, prana, vital force, innate intelligence) is the same as our beloved Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Trinity. (Check out this article by a practicing Taoist who mistakenly equates the Spirit with "chi" and goes on to describe dozens of different kinds of "chi" that allegedly exist in her world. http://taoism.about.com/od/qi/a/Qi.htm ) The third chapter of 2 Peter goes on to say: "But these people, like irrational animals born by nature for capture and destruction, revile things that they do not understand, and in their destruction they will also be destroyed, suffering wrong as payment for wrong-doing." Most New Age teachers don't really understand Christianity which is why they are so adept at misrepresenting it and/or blending it into other religions with which it is not even remotely compatible. The Pontifical document, Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life, says this problem represents nothing more than a return to ancient gnostic ideas that represent "a compendium of positions the Church has identified as heterodox." Most of these ideas are presented in ways that distort the Lord's Word, "replacing it with purely human words" that create a kind of para-religion that is not compatible with Christianity. " An example of this can be seen in the enneagram, the nine-type tool for character analysis, which when used as a means of spiritual growth introduces an ambiguity in the doctrine and the life of the Christian faith," the document states. This confusing mess is what the average poorly catechized Christian "seeker" encounters when he or she dabbles in the New Age. No wonder so many of them are being lured away from the Church! But one part of this chapter of 2 Peter really struck my heart - the repeated warnings about what God does to these false teachers (think Sodom and Gomorrah). I immediately realized that no matter how upset, discouraged, outraged, shocked and frustrated we become with them, even false teachers are children of God, and are among those in most need of our prayers!