A Closer Look at New Age Spirituality

This is Rob Frost's nineteenth book and he certainly wears well! The sub-title explains more fully what has motivated him to write this volume: 'Exploring the challenge of psychotherapy, astrology, holism, ley lines and more'. He initially set out to offer a damning critique of these and other New Age practices, but the deeper he dug the more he realised that things were not that simple. Indeed, he came to believe that there were many lessons to be learnt from them, and it is these he seeks to draw out in his journey towards what he calls 'becoming a New Age Christian'.

His basic conviction is that the contemporary Christian church has buried its own spirituality under a mountain of words and ecclesiastical practices, and that it is just not meeting the deepest needs of the growing number of people who are genuinely searching for a satisfying form spirituality for the 21st century. People want something deeper than a mere dry and formal 'churchianity', and if their quest leads them into things like environmentalism, alternative medicine, astrology and mysticism we should treat that as something to be understood and redirected rather than ignored or dismissed.

Rob writes out of considerable personal experience as well as wide reading of the topics he deals with, and the book is well illustrated with quotations, stories, personal encounters and testimonies. He is well aware that not everyone will agree with his conclusions, and confesses that he already has an empty file waiting for evangelical hate mail! I have a sneaking feeling, however, that his file will not be much used, for his generally well argued approach will commend itself to all but the most obscurantist of readers. It may be argued that he is inadequately critical of some of the beliefs and practices he examines, but he does hold fast to the centrality of Christ and the authority of scripture throughout. After all, his purpose is to draw out positive lessons rather than to highlight the negative, and the result is a sensitive and readable book that will be of help to many who seek to make sense of the multiplicity of attitudes and ideas we lump together under the general title 'New Age'. If Rob's definition of a 'New Age Christian' is right as one who is hungry for God, constantly looking for something deeper and dissatisfied by ritualism and institutionalism, then he can count many of us in as fellow travellers.

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