Today I saw on my web site that someone had done a Google search, something like “Is Mark McMillion a New Ager or is he a true Christian?”. That gave me a laugh but also got me thinking. Why would someone wonder about if I’m “New Age”? Well, here in America, if you’re a Christian, almost immediately it’s assumed that you must be what’s called here “Conservative”. But if you are a “Liberal” Christian, it’s really and totally a different breed of cat.
I guess I hang out with Conservative Christians more than I do with Liberal Christians. But am I “Conservative” or “Liberal”? Nah.
“Why not?!” Partly it’s the whole thing about baggage. So many people think, “If you’re a Conservative Christian, then that means you must…” and there’s quite a list of things you’re expected to believe and do after that.
Here’s my question: what are you trying to conserve? “Traditional American Values”? I’m not. If I’m trying to “conserve” anything, it would be to get all the way back to the foundation of bedrock Christianity that’s been around a long time, all the way back to Jesus and the first generation of Christians after Him. And you can’t really “conserve” that. You have to seek it through prayer, receiving the Lord and then going on to be filled with His Spirit and following His Word and His leadings for the rest of your life. It’s called Christian discipleship.
But I can understand how some people almost think that is “New Age”. Because if you’re really standing on nothing but the Rock, Christ Jesus, if you are in living fellowship with God through the mediation of Jesus and the quickening of the Spirit, then you maybe end up saying and doing some things that don’t correspond to what folks think of as Conservative Christians or traditional values.
Honestly, I guess I just have to say it again: there’s just so much baggage that’s almost required to have if you are a Christian here. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived abroad for so long, I just had to leave a lot of that aside in order to “lay aside every weight” and “run with patience the race that was set before me.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Jesus said “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”. (Matthew 4:19) Not necessarily better citizens of your temporal nation in this world. On the other hand of course, the Roman governments soon found out that those despised Christians they were persecuting were usually some of the best citizens they had, most law abiding, least trouble making of any under their rule.
But Jesus said to His followers, “Go into all the world and make known the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) They were to witness their faith. They were to even leave their nation and people in order to reach those who’d never heard the gospel truth. They were to take on a new identity, no longer Galileans or even Jews but they were to be Christians. Nowadays there seem to be Conservative Christians, Liberal Christians, Catholic Christians and on and on. But if someone was to aim to be stripped of all the encumbrances and the nationalistic political flavors and were just full-fledged discipleship Christians, perhaps they might be thought to be “New Age”.
I’ve met very few New Age people. The ones I did meet were into crystals and saying things like “It’s in the ethers”. Paul told Timothy that in the Last Days there would be people who “have a form of Godliness, but deny the power thereof.” (II Timothy 3:5) Many people long for some kind of spirituality. Maybe they think they find it in the New Age teachings. They should be able to find it in true, full strength Christianity. I sure did.
I’m not a New Ager. My house is built upon the Rock of the Word of God. My faith is in the Risen Savoir, Jesus of Nazareth. My hope is in the coming Kingdom of God on earth. While I find a lot in common with Conservative Christians, some things I don’t hold in common. Paul told us “our citizenship is in heaven.” (Philipians 3:20) So if being a Conservative Christian means I have to allow myself to be influenced and manipulated by worldly political parties and causes, then I feel that’s wrong. Jesus said “You can’t serve God and Mammon” (Matthew 6:24) or any of the gods of this world and its causes and temporal objectives.
It’s normal for all of us to want to hang labels on things. That way we can understand it better. I don’t know an easy label that would fit my beliefs. I guess I just want to stand with some of the most committed Christians of all ages: John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, John Wesley, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, David Livingston, William Booth. They weren’t New Agers. But they were misunderstood and many were persecuted in their times. Nevertheless they stood up strong and bright for the Lord in their generations. Would to God that there were more like that.