Saturday, November 22, 2008
'Out of India'
New Age Influence on the Church
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
MENIFEE, CA (ANS) -- India born Christian author and former model, Caryl Matrisciana said at the launch of her latest book, "Out of India" that the New Age philosophy has entered the Christian Church through the West's fascination with Yoga and Hindu-Christian blended contemplative prayer combined with other mystical meditative practices.
| Caryl Matrisciana
Matrisciana told ANS, "When I was twenty years old, my family returned from India, where I was born and lived for most of my life, to England, our homeland. It was during the turbulent sixties, and I was introduced to a movement that didn't even have a name at that time.
"Only now, with the benefit of hindsight can I see that the strange and mystical religion that I had been surrounded by in India is now at the heart of a form of spirituality that influences millions around the world including the Christian Church.
"Most people have no idea what they're doing when they practice the rituals of Yoga and think that they're only basic physical exercises. They have no clue that all the 'asanas' (postures) are designed to prepare the Hindu practitioner for his belief in the "cycle of death" known as reincarnation."
| Out of India Cover
In "Out of India", which has been described as a "fascinating and compelling apologetic biography", Caryl Matrisciana explains the spirituality that lies behind the New Age movement, its dangers, and its deception. It also explains how much New Age spirituality has entered the Christian Church as a new "ancient strand" of Christianity and teaches philosophies rooted in eastern mysticism which were adapted by so-called Christian mystics also know as the Dessert Fathers.
"I was privileged to live in a changing India, a nation coming out of the Imperial Raj adjusting to Independence from a former colony of the Crown," she said.
"A few years had passed since WW2 in which my father had spent active military duty in Africa and France with the British Army. He returned to the land of his birth, India, with his pregnant new English War Bride and there I was born in Calcutta. My mother told me I was the last British baby born in British India and for almost two decades I considered India my home although I was of British parents and attended half my early years in boarding school in England.
"My parents loved their life in India and poured themselves into much community work. Together they initiated many theatre productions donating the proceeds to various charities. My most favorite theatre memory was connected to Leonard Cheshire who's Cheshire Homes supported orphans and widows throughout India. During a production when all proceeds were donated to his life's work I got infected with the measles and wasn't able to perform as I was highly contagious. Naturally I was disappointed. I'd invested hours, days and weeks in many rehearsals and loved performing on stage. But, on finale night of the successful run, Mr. Cheshire graciously came to visit me at home while I was sick in bed and personally signed a program with wishes for a speedy recovery.
"That autograph is among my treasures with another I received in Calcutta from the Nepalese Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay who, in May 1953 conquered the highest point on earth, Mount Everest, with New Zealander Edmund Hillary. They both toured India and I got to be introduced to them!
"My father had produced several stage shows with my mother assisting in script writing, choreography, costume design and more. That was my introduction to the glamorize life of theater which I continued involvement in throughout my school days.
|Conquerers of Mount Everest, Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay
"When I was about 16 I was one of the "cute Program sellers" for one of my parents' theatrical productions which was well attended by the press. Without my knowing it, that was to become my media debut. Later, I walked a few 'fashion catwalks' between luncheon tables modeling designers new 'Seasonals'. During that time also, a local photographer who owned his own Studio taught me how to be a Still Photography Model.
"At the time I attended Art College in Calcutta and apprenticed with various well known Marketing Agencies. One, The Times of India, landed the advertising campaign for Remington Rand typewriters. The Art Director chose me as the 'efficient secretary' to promote the modern typewriter of an era! I'd never typed a day in my life but centre newspaper spreads and billboards across the nation showed otherwise. People came up to me in the street recognizing me as The Remington Rand girl! Without my planning it, that was the start of what was to become a sporadic modeling career although my first love was always Design and Commercial Art.
"Some years later, after returning to England, I was chosen for small parts in a few movies again without really planning to be a movie star! The first film was for French Actress Brigitte Bardot who was promoting her new fashion line in her Paris Boutique. My last was Clockwork Orange but my "bit" part in a night-club scene never made it into the finished product.
"My modeling days, again unplanned, were at their best when I was in America where I met many of the stimulating "beautiful people" and was introduced to a pot-pourri of alternative philosophies. But the changing point of my life came in the 70's in Chicago when a Christian model challenged me to a whole new outlook on life which became a lifestyle dedicated to follow Jesus Christ and His plan for my life.
"Moving from a self absorbed life, with self centered ambitions to a worldview that put the souls of others first was indeed liberating. Instead of promoting products and ideas centered in a world economy and degenerating moral system I was challenged to invest in eternal goals and guide spiritually lost people, as I'd been, into a relationship with the Living and Resurrected God.
"My talents in theatre, artistic creativity, promotional advertising and film making have been used for the past 3 decades to further the Christian Gospel of salvation. I've continued to work in what I love best and God has given me a different motivation – His! I've produced over 50 documentaries to inform about Biblical Truths and help Christians become educated about the sub-culture and spiritual deception."
Matrisciana admits that returning from India to England in the sixties was emotionally and physically dislocating.
"The lifestyle I'd been used to India was completely turned different to life in England, on top of which the sixties was an era of great change for my generation who were breaking away from traditional values that used to be held dear in the past," she continued.
| Swinging London.
Some of the beautiful people in Carnaby Street
"New forms of music, quite distinct from the music loved by my parents' generation, was becoming mainstream fanned by the famous Liverpool music group, The Beatles. Fashions were changing from below-the-knee skirts to the short "mini-skirt" introduced by English designer Mary Quant. London's West End Theatre aired new philosophical messages through stage shows like 'Hair The Musical', and the name 'Swinging London' was coined for the world to admire. "
Caryl said she attempted to adjust to the bombardment of so much new found "freedom" but mixed social messages collided with her upbringing and traditional boarding school environment. Spiritual confusion led to mixing the Roman Catholicism she grew up with in her Convent education with prevailing eastern mysticism. Over the years she was to develop an "interspirituality" which embraced "ancient faith" practices with a "new", "evolving" faith which taught the possibility of "achieving" a "higher consciousness" which left behind "the old".
"I pursued my love of Art which took me away from the beautiful sleepy countryside of Hampshire where my parents were living to Swinging London where "it was all happening!" she said.
"I soon got embroiled over my head in the developing counter-culture. Slowly but surely through partying with a 'progressive' crowd I started experimentation in drugs and, at first tentatively, moved into experimentation with the supernatural world. I developed an interest in astrology, psychic manipulation (started with a Ouija board), and sought spiritual 'treasures' from a Mystical India which was unrecognizable from the Hindu religion I'd grown up surrounded by in India . I got drawn into Yoga, believing it to be spiritually benign, when I'd known from childhood that it was intrinsically a part of Hindu spirituality. Drug-use seemed to 'expand my consciousness' to embracing a different 'truth' which, while 'third' eye-opening, was also confusing. Yoga meditation and 'stillness' contemplation played a large part in 'mind altering' and in 'shifting awareness'.
"The part of my life that was not confusing revolved around my career. My first London job was in trendy Knightsbridge painting tapestry canvases for those able to afford the luxury of customized needlepoint. I progressed to painting animation with a studio attached to BBC programming in Shepherds Bush. From there to movie production in Soho. Circumstances led me to start my own Graphic Design business and an opportunity to design film credits for two major motion movies. In the early 70's an opportunity with a real estate development company took me to Florida and the Bahamas. It was at that time that I was reintroduced into advertising and fashion modeling but I also kept pursuing my love of art and illustration."
Matrisciana says that her change of heart from "new age" mysticism to Christianity was the outcome of a momentous development birthed in America in the 60's called The Jesus People Movement. She says, "It was a move of God's Grace when He poured out His Holy Spirit over a generation lost in massive spiritual upheaval, deception and confusion. For the first time in history, an entire generation, innovatively called 'the hippie generation' was manipulated into a cruel 'consciousness revolution' seductively labeled 'flower-power'. It was unleashed across almost the whole of western society, promoted in part through The Beatles and other entertainment celebrities, fanned by the press and poisoned by the acceptance of drug use.
"A Pandora's Box was opened with exponential drug exploitation combined with the introduction of occult spirituality. Gurus, so-called 'godmen' from India became the new 'spiritual masters' of so-called new 'science' of religion. Hundreds upon hundreds of innocents turned to the profusion of cults available while others became seduced by manipulative psychological techniques through "mind science" alternatives. Thousands dumped the traditional values of Judeo-Christianity and their parents' values which had supported national patriotism, conservative politics and belief in the Bible.
"But, alongside this societal shift: the cross fire of spiritual warfare, when eastern thought was battling for the west - where the likes of me got caught in the cross-hair of spirit entities bent on destroying - concerned and astute Christians were daring to approach the lost, and spiritual seekers, with Biblical truth. A sound and True Gospel, preached by the faithful, brought thousands to Jesus Christ Who called Himself 'The Way, The Truth and The Life'.
"In hindsight, I'm grateful that a Christian male model had the courage to talk to me that day during a print-shoot in Chicago. At the time his comments about Jesus made me very angry because I thought he was narrow minded and a religious bigot. I didn't know anything about spiritual warfare and that my activities with the occult allowed spiritual principalities to possess my thinking. I didn't know they jealously guarded my mind from freedom offered through knowledge found in the Gospel. I didn't know they didn't want the Holy Spirit to change me through a belief in the work of Jesus on the Cross for my sins. I didn't know I could be set free from guilt by repentance. I thought my religious 'tolerance' was broad-minded never suspecting Jesus' Words that the "broad gate" led to destruction and the 'narrow' Way (Jesus) to eternal life.
"My reality had been distorted by 'altered states' through drugs and pseudo psychology. Doors had been opened and deluding spirits persuaded me that "all paths" led to God, and, the narrow salvation of the Bible's Savior was too confining, sin was only subjective and truth, relative.
"Raised a Roman Catholic, I believed I was already a Christian. I didn't know there was a difference between a (Christian) religion with its traditions based in men's philosophies, and the Word of God inspired by God Himself, designed for personal interaction with a Living and Resurrected God. All those years in convents had not taught me Christ's Teachings about His Holy Spirit. I didn't know about a born-again life through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone. I didn't realize I couldn't call myself a Christian while being involved in immorality, partying, drugs and spiritual idolatry. I didn't know my vegetarianism and Yoga practices were rooted in eastern ideas about securing one's own salvation.
"By the mid 80's I was quite surprised to see many Christian Churches were embracing the New-Age spirituality I'd been involved in but now it was being redefined with 'Christianized' ideas and Biblical terminology. At that time I wrote 'Gods of The New Age' which became a best seller. I'd hoped it would inoculate Christians and help alert them to the east-west spiritual fusion that was taking place in schools, seminaries, medicine, politics and the Church. I also produced many documentaries teaching on the pagan invasion. (The 13-part Pagan Invasion series is still available through Calvary Chapel outlets)
"But here we are two decades later and the 'Pagan Invasion' continues to aggressively speed through Christendom, even intruding the pews of Evangelical Churches through the controversial Emerging or Emergent Church movement. Once again it is the True Gospel of Jesus that is under attack while a more tolerant, ecumenical type of Jesus walks through Christian's churches.
"Soon after my born-again new-spirit birth in America, I returned to England to work with Christians who were fired up, like myself, to spread the Gospel of discipleship according to Jesus' last command to His disciples before He ascended into Heaven with the promise He'd return again."
Caryl then quoted, "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28: 19-20)
She went on to say, "It took less than a decade for me to become aware of the seduction of Christianity even within the Evangelical Church. I was unbelieving at first, doubting myself – after all, wasn't I young in my understanding of Biblical faith? But as I checked through Scripture I noticed the apostle's Paul's warnings to his fellow believers to be 'alert' and 'on guard' and 'awake to' spiritual deceptions, 'doctrines of demons' and false teachings 'from among you'! And, what about the disciple Peter's warning of 'false teachers among you' teaching 'destructive heresies' to 'bring the way of truth into disrepute' and 'in their greed exploit you?' (2 Peter 2: 1 – 3)
"I realized the exploitation was coming from within the Church-body by so-called fellow Christians who'd become tools for spiritual principalities to 'exploit' just as I'd been in the 60's.
"So now, two decades later," says Matrisciana, "comes my new book, 'Out of India' - an update on what used to be called 'The New Age' but the term 'age' has been dropped and it now calls itself the 'New Spirituality' and is alive and well in the church as the growing 'contemplative movement'.
"In my book I show how the new spirituality got to where it is and how well meaning people, in an attempt to evangelize today's post-modern culture have removed what they believe is 'offensive' and softened Bible doctrine to be lukewarm and of no good.
"Many churches are moving into the mysticism I grew up with in both India and Roman Catholicism. I pray 'Out of India' will help Christians understand the merging of the mystery faiths and see that 'a different gospel' has entered from 'those amongst us' who come dressed as sheep but are really wolves in sheep clothing."
She concluded by saying that the Apostle Paul warned, "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough." (2 Cor. 11:3-5)
OUT OF INDIA
A True Story About the New Age Movement
BOOK by Caryl MatriscianaOut of India successfully identifies the mystical religious roots behind Yoga, which is being practiced today by millions of people, many of whom are Christians. Revised and adapted from the best-selling book, Gods of the New Age.
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