Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The New Age Lure and a Good Novel

I am a lover of good Christian fiction. The thought crossed my mind that maybe, now and then, I should share the ones I really like to help you filter through all the ones out there. For me good Christian fiction is a wonderful "escape" from the daily stuff—a way to slip away for a few moments here and there and, hopefully, be filled, built up, equipped, and strengthened at the same time. Unfortunately much of what I've read as Christian fiction simply throws in a character who is a Christian and some moral conduct and calls it Christian fiction. Obviously many people like this (it is a huge market), but for me I want something more—something that either really makes a subject come alive for me (i.e. abortion in Francine River's The Atonement Child) or the interaction of the unseen and the physical realm (i.e. many of Frank Peretti or Randy Alcorn's novels), or books that give a picture of what I believe the full Christian life is—not just limited to moral choices but with God active in lives, speaking to His children, and moving often in power.

As I discover what are, to me, gems in this genre I'll try and pass them on, and I'll start with a novel I finished this week called Out of a Dream by Rosemary Hines. You can read more about her and this novel and the series it begins at Without being a spoiler, in real life Rosemary came out of years of New Age stuff that started innocently enough but pulled her in, only to find at a major crisis in her life it was all empty and Christ alone was real. In her novel she captures aspects of that journey and very effectively shows the lure and seduction of the New Age movement and how it can begin innocently enough and end up sucking one into it and away from the true God found through Jesus Christ, and even away from much else in one's life.

This book hit home to me for multiple reasons—one, because I played with that stuff prior to becoming a Christian and, two, because I have dealt with multiple youth as a pastor/youth pastor who are caught up in it. I have had youth bring a backpack of witchcraft/spell books to a Christian camp, and a mom give me a binder of spells she found in her daughters room. This stuff is real, as are witch doctors who can cast curses, and people like Pharoah's magicians that tap into Satanic power, or Simon or the woman with the spirit of divination, both in Acts. It is real and the devil gives it its power, though he is more than willing to leave himself concealed in it. People who would never worship or flirt with the devil are caught up in his power and hold through all the other "innocent" things he empowers—and he is perfectly content to leave it that way as it all keeps people from the one true God. The Old Testament even talks about people who sacrificed their children to other gods really sacrificing them to demons. If the devil can convince a person that a pagan god, or witch doctor, or a tarot card or Ouija Board or a spell is real (and for many things youth dabble in, that it is harmless or just fun or good) then the person will continue to hold that person, god, or object to a high level until they meet the real, superior power of the resurrected Christ.

This is where, I believe, Christians bear some responsibility. People are created in God's image, and created to be a part of something that crosses back and forth between the seen and the unseen—something spiritual, eternal, and powerful. It is who we are! If people are taught that God doesn't talk to us, or if we have the same negative expectations as the world, or if we tell people miracles and the power of God stopped with the last Apostle or the writing of the Bible, or if we only give lip service the the angelic and demonic realm and spiritual warfare, then we are robbing them of the knowledge and experience they need to satisfy what they were created for. So, I believe, and I know from my being drawn into the stuff, they often look to satisfy what they know inside them is real, and they look for it elsewhere—an encounter with something beyond them, unseen, and powerful.

God is what they long for, and His power is at work all around us. May we be the vessels who believe, and live like, we have the God who breathes out stars, raises the dead, and calms storms living in us—may we live and believe and teach like people who truly believe there is an active spiritual realm, and not just be people who give it lip service or effectively deny it by the token credit we give it.

I would recommend Out of a Dream to anyone who feels lured by New Age stuff, knows someone who is lured by it, or simply wants a good Christian novel to curl up with. So, light the wood stove, make a good cup of coffee, and curl up—times like these are special!

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