A photo capturing a diverse group of individuals, engaged in a vibrant discussion about spirituality, symbolizing the inclusive and progressive nature of New Age Christianity.

What Is New Age Christianity?

Christianity has evolved in many ways over the centuries, adapting and changing to fit new cultural contexts and ideologies. In recent decades, a new expression of the faith has emerged that blends Christian beliefs with New Age philosophies and practices.

Known as ‘New Age Christianity’, this modern spiritual movement aims to make Christianity more inclusive, mystical, and focused on inner divinity.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: New Age Christianity combines Christian beliefs with New Age spirituality, focusing on universal love, mystical experiences, environmentalism, and the idea that God is within each person.

Core Beliefs and Values of New Age Christianity

Belief in Inner Divinity and Oneness

New Age Christianity believes that all humans have an inner divine essence that connects us to each other and the divine. This inner divinity makes us all part of the web of oneness with the universe and transcendent divine source (called God, Spirit, the All, etc).

Meditation and spiritual practices are used to realize one’s inner divinity and connection to the whole.

Emphasis on Experience over Dogma

Rather than focus on doctrine or theology, New Age Christianity emphasizes direct spiritual experience of the divine. Things like meditation, energy healing, mystic visions, and gnosis (intuitive spiritual knowledge) are more important than rational theology or biblical study.

New Agers believe spiritual truth must be experienced, not just intellectually learned.

Inclusive and Tolerant Worldview

New Age Christianity embraces religious pluralism and is very tolerant of other religions. There is no exclusivism or claim that Christianity is the one true religion. Rather, New Age Christianity sees truth and value in all faiths and seeks unity of all religions.

It also aims to be inclusive of all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Unity in diversity is a core value.

Focus on Mysticism and Spiritual Growth

Mystical experiences, intuition, and esoteric knowledge are highly valued in New Age Christianity. Practices like meditation, visualization, energy healing, astrology, divination, and learning about angels/spirit guides are common.

The goal is inner spiritual development and growth in order to transform consciousness and connect with the divine within.

Reverence for Nature and Environmentalism

New Age Christianity regards nature as divine and sacred. There is a strong emphasis on living in harmony with the earth and protecting the environment. Many believe we must have a spiritual awakening to heal our collective relationship to the planet.

Sustainability, organic food, natural medicine, and green living are popular among New Agers.

Key Differences from Traditional Christianity

Non-literal View of Bible and Doctrine

New Age Christianity takes a more flexible, non-literal view of the Bible and Christian doctrine compared to traditional Christianity. Adherents believe the Bible contains symbolic truth and holy wisdom, but may not be historically or scientifically accurate.

Doctrines like the virgin birth of Jesus or the resurrection are seen as powerful metaphors rather than literal events. This allows New Age Christians to shape their beliefs based on personal experience rather than strict church dogma.

Acceptance of Other Religions and Spiritual Paths

Whereas traditional Christianity claims exclusivity and Jesus Christ as the only way to salvation, New Age Christianity embraces the validity of all faiths. There is recognition of the shared essence underlying all the world’s religions.

A 2013 Pew survey found that 65% of self-identified New Age Christians believed that “many religions can lead to eternal life,” compared to only 24% of evangelical Christians. New Age Christianity seeks to extract the perennial philosophy from various traditions and blend it with Christian-based beliefs.

More Flexible Morality and Ethics

New Age Christianity does not adhere to the same rules, commandments, and values of conservative Christianity. There is greater moral relativism, with right and wrong decided by individual conscience and situational factors rather than absolute codes.

Hot button issues like LGBTQ rights, abortion, and premarital sex tend to be viewed more liberally. The emphasis is living according to love rather than inflexible rules. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1) is a commonly cited verse.

Use of Meditation, Yoga, and New Age Practices

Incorporating meditation, yoga, mystical practices, and New Age techniques like energy healing into Christian worship is embraced in New Age Christianity. The goal is to cultivate greater spiritual awareness and tap into the divine within.

This contrasts with traditional Christianity’s hesitancy toward practices deemed too “Eastern.” New Age seminars at Christian retreat centers have become popular for learning practices like breathwork, mandala art, or chanting with Christian themes.

Belief in Unlimited Spiritual Growth Potential

Rather than salvation being contingent on faith in Christ, New Age Christianity sees salvation as an ever-progressing process of spiritual evolution. Humans are divine beings with unlimited potential for spiritual growth over lifetimes.

The goal is attaining higher states of consciousness and realizing one’s divine nature. Traditional Christianity emphasizes human dependence on God’s grace, while New Age Christianity focuses on humans’ inherent divinity and power.

History and Development of New Age Christianity

Roots in 1960s Counterculture and New Age Movement

New Age Christianity has its origins in the 1960s counterculture and New Age movement. During this time, many young people rejected traditional Christianity and began exploring Eastern religions, indigenous spirituality, and new spiritual ideas.

This interest in mysticism and spirituality laid the foundation for New Age Christianity.

Influenced by Eastern Religions and Indigenous Spirituality

New Age Christianity draws from Eastern religious traditions like Hinduism and Buddhism. Concepts like karma, reincarnation, meditation, and energy healing entered New Age Christian thought. Indigenous spirituality also had a major impact, bringing things like shamanism, earth-based worship, and reverence for nature.

Rise of Progressive Christianity in 1990s-2000s

In the 1990s and 2000s, a movement called progressive Christianity arose. Progressive Christians challenged traditional doctrines and sought to make Christianity more socially liberal on issues like women’s rights and LGBTQ inclusion.

This opened the door for New Age ideas in some progressive Christian circles.

New Thought Movement’s Impact on New Age Christianity

The New Thought movement of the 19th century paved the way for New Age Christianity. New Thought promoted ideas like positive thinking, prosperity theology, and using prayer/meditation to heal sickness. These mind-over-matter concepts found their way into some forms of New Age Christianity.

Key Figures and Seminal Works

Some key figures and works that influenced New Age Christianity include:

  • Matthew Fox – Wrote books like Original Blessing promoting Creation Spirituality.
  • Marcus Borg – A leading voice in progressive Christianity. Wrote Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time.
  • Richard Rohr – Franciscan friar who writes on spiritual transformation. Founded Center for Action and Contemplation.
  • Elizabeth Clare Prophet – Founded Church Universal and Triumphant, a New Age Christian group.
  • Pierre Teilhard de Chardin – Catholic priest who wrote of Christ as the divine energy at the heart of evolution.

Practices and Expressions of Faith

Meditation, Visualization, and Mystical Contemplation

Meditation and visualization are common practices in New Age Christianity to experience inner peace, mystical connection, and divine guidance (1). Methods like centering prayer, labyrinth walking, and chanting mantras allow practitioners to quiet the mind and connect to the divine within.

Many use guided imagery and visualization during meditation to envision desired outcomes, receive inner wisdom, and align with God’s will. These mystical practices stem from Eastern religions but are now widely embraced in New Age circles.

Yoga, Tai Chi, and Energy Healing

Physical practices like yoga, tai chi, qi gong, and energy healing therapies are prevalent in New Age Christianity. According to a Pew Research study, the number of American adults who practice yoga rose from 9.5% in 2012 to 14.5% in 2017.

Many Christians practice yoga solely for physical exercise and stress relief. However, some implement Hindu spiritual elements like chanting mantras. Likewise, energy healing modalities like reiki and crystal healing are growing in popularity despite their roots in Eastern mysticism rather than Christian faith.

Nature Worship and Environmental Activism

Reverence for nature and environmental activism are major emphases in New Age Christianity. Practitioners may find spiritual connection through outdoor worship services, hiking, gardening, or farming. Some hold pantheistic views of God’s presence within nature.

This often leads to ecological initiatives and social justice causes like climate change prevention, reforestation, sustainability, and green living. According to author Steve McSwain, “Creation care and social justice matters are primary tenets of the emerging church movement.”

Alternative Worship Expressions and Music

New Age Christian worship often incorporates Eastern-inspired rituals, mystical symbolism, meditation, and creativity. Services may include chanting, liturgical dance, labyrinth walks, spiritual readings, or long periods of silent reflection.

The music features contemporary melodies and poetic lyrics focused on experiencing God’s presence. Popular artists in this genre include Michael W. Smith, Kari Jobe, Jesus Culture, Hillsong United, and Elevation Worship.

Study of Metaphysics and Consciousness

Many New Age Christians study metaphysics and consciousness to deepen their spiritual awareness. Beliefs like pantheism, reincarnation, astrology, and psychic abilities that were once shunned are now embraced by some.

According to the Pew Research study mentioned above, 29% of Christians in the US hold at least one “New Age” belief. Books like The Secret that blend Christianity with New Thought metaphysics top the bestseller lists.

This reflects growing mainstream interest in exploring the nature of reality and higher consciousness from an open-minded Christian perspective.

Criticisms and Controversies

Seen as Heretical and Undermining Orthodoxy

Some Christians argue that New Age beliefs are heretical as they contradict or undermine orthodox Christian doctrines. For example, New Age ideas about Christ consciousness are seen as undermining the divinity of Jesus and traditional Christology.

New Age universalism and relativism are accused of diminishing the uniqueness of Christ and the necessity for salvation. There are concerns that New Age individualism and focus on self-spirituality weaken the concept of biblical authority, sin and the need for repentance.

Accused of Relativism and Universalism

New Age thinking is often accused of promoting relativism – the idea that there are many valid spiritual truths and paths to God or enlightenment, rather than one absolute truth. This is seen as incompatible with orthodox Christianity which holds that salvation comes only through faith in Jesus Christ.

Similarly, New Age universalism – the idea that all religions point towards the same universal truth – is seen as contradicting the Christian belief that Jesus is the only way to salvation.

Concerns About Lack of Tradition and Authority

Some Christians argue that the individualistic nature of New Age spirituality lacks the tradition, accountability and authority that characterizes orthodox Christianity. Without creeds, doctrines or institutional authority, New Age practices are seen as prone to pick-and-mix syncretism, self-deception and even spiritual anarchy.

The lack of tradition is seen as opening the door to spiritual confusion and ethical relativism.

Questionable Incorporation of Non-Christian Practices

New Age’s openness to spiritual insight from Eastern religions and indigenous cultures leads to the incorporation of non-Christian practices like meditation, yoga, chanting, vision quests, and shamanism.

While defenders argue these can be practiced harmlessly, critics see them as undermining Christian spirituality. There are disagreements around practices like reiki healing and the use of crystals, which some Christians reject as occultic.

Debate over Compatibility with Traditional Christianity

While New Age proponents argue its open and individualistic approach can enrich traditional Christianity, critics contend that at its core, New Age thinking is incompatible with orthodox Christian beliefs.

They argue that legitimizing unorthodox beliefs and practices weakens the integrity of Christian doctrine and practice. Defenders counter that the shared goal of spiritual growth means New Age practices can complement Christian faith for some people.

This fundamental debate continues over whether “New Age Christianity” is a viable spiritual path or an irreconcilable oxymoron.


While controversial for some, New Age Christianity continues to grow as a postmodern expression of the faith for the 21st century. It aims to revitalize Christianity by marrying ancient tradition with a progressive, inclusive, and mystical spirituality.

Whether it can successfully achieve this synthesis while remaining true to the Bible and Christian theology is still hotly debated. Regardless, New Age Christianity reflects the ongoing evolution of faith in our ever-changing world.

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