R. C. Foster (1888–1970) was describing atheists and liberal Christians who are willing to borrow from the Sermon on the Mount but want to isolate some of those maxims from foundational teachings like the deity of Jesus, the atonement, etc. But Foster reminds us that the Sermon on the Mount “is founded on the rock of Jesus’ divine person” and can’t be stripped of that. (Studies in the Life of Christ: Introduction and Early Ministry, © 1938, p. 490 in 1966 edition) The rest of his chapter makes the case for the deity of Christ as seen in the Sermon on the Mount.
Foster couldn’t resist saying that false teachers “would ‘create a new religion for this new age,’ but find themselves forced to go to the New Testament for their material.” (p 489)
It’s a fact that pagan and New Age teachings aren’t very original. Think how many such materials borrow words and ideas from the Bible. I read about an energy-healing practice that advertises a “John of God crystal healing bed.” That one’s a double whammy. “John of God” sounds like John the apostle but really is a guy in Brazil who has been given this nickname.
Some writers try to give credibility to the Eastern religion idea of the third eye by referencing the King James Version of Matthew 6:22: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” Get it? The third eye is supposed to be reflected in the idea of “single” there. But verse 23 (“if thine eye be evil . . .”) indicates that the context is about good and evil—illustrated by healthy and bad eyes—not about any third eye. One book trying to connect this third-eye concept to the Bible quoted verse 22 and also showed a picture of both Jesus and Buddha. (I guess this was to convey that both Jesus and Buddha have officially given their stamp of approval.)
Look at some of the book titles from the New Age section of the bookstore that seem to be attaching themselves to God/Jesus/the Bible: The God Code, The Christ Within, The Isaiah Effect, The Third Jesus (wonder if the third jesus has a third eye. sorry), How to Know God, The Jeshua Channelings, The Seat of the Soul, The Divine Dance, Christ Consciousness: A Path of Inner Development, The Future of God . . .
I don’t understand this. If Christianity isn’t true, why do these writers want to rub shoulders with it—and taint their superior New Age teachings, as it were, with inferior Christianity? But if Christianity IS true, shouldn’t these books steer people to obey the Lord and follow all his teachings?
Of course, nothing is superior to Christianity. And so Foster couldn’t help calling out teachers who have nothing superior to offer and so are “forced” to settle for weak knock-offs of the real thing.