I am amazingly (and perhaps blessedly) naive when it comes to certain aspects of the spiritual battle that wages all around us. We know from Scripture that there is a constant spiritual battle being fought in this world, with human beings the bounty. We know that there is more to the world than what we can see – that angels and demons are real and are present. We do not clearly understand how they operate or even where they are, yet they exist. The Light That Was Dark brings home the importance of being aware of this spiritual conflict and guarding ourselves against ignoring it.
Warren Smith is a social worker and author who was formerly involved in the New Age movement. This book chronicles his journey from the New Age to his conversion to Christianity. Smith’s journey to the occult began with a psychic reading which convinced him that he was spiritually underdeveloped. He agreed with this assessment and resolved to remedy this. He began to search for something to fill this void. He tells of sitting on his rooftop one evening and calling out to heavens “All you on the other side, I want your help in my life. I want to become more spiritual, I want to grow” (page 22). The spirits seemed to answer him. Through a series of “coincidences” he became a dedicated follower of Indian master Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a guide who led him deeply into eastern religion and meditation. Rajneesh seemed to have a supernatural hold on Smith and on his other followers.
Despite that hold, Smith eventually grew tired of Rajneesh and began to investigate other leaders. Soon he was studying A Course in Miracles and dabbling in other occult and New Age practices, even resolving to become a channel for “The Source.” But the further he progressed in his spiritual development, the more he began to experience shocking spiritual oppression. The stories of being attacked in the night by spirits, spirits he could not see, but could feel – spirits that would suck the very energy out of him or his wife – are chilling and haunting. The spiritual realm quickly became real to the author.
But one day, in the Metaphysical section of a bookstore of all places, he found a copy of The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelsen, an author, speaker and former New Ager who had become a Christian. This author’s biography was very similar to that of Smith’s wife, and so he spent several hours studying the book. Within those pages he learned what the Bible says about rebuking demons and the forces of darkness. The next time he was oppressed, he cried out to Jesus and immediately the evil departed. This proved true time and again. Smith began to see that the beauty of the New Age was false and that there were dark, demonic forces involved. He came to understand the truth of Scripture and he and his wife were saved by the power of Jesus Christ. They came to faith not through church leadership or programs of evangelism, but by diligent study of the Scriptures.
The book concludes with two pages that outline the author’s concern with the inroads the New Age is making into Christianity. This has been further detailed in his book Deceived on Purpose which I have reviewed here and highly recommend.
The Light That Was Dark is an important book and one I hope will be read by many Christians. Smith shows beyond any doubt that the New Age, or New Spirituality, is inexorably linked with the occult. Yet this occultic movement is making surprising inroads into Christianity. The lines between Christianity and the New Spirituality are becoming increasingly blurred. Authors like Smith provide a clarion call the church would be foolish to ignore.