My name is Dr. Bob Welch, PhD. I am on the faculty at Continental Theological Seminary (CTS) located in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium where I teach primarily in the areas of New Testament Theology and Historical/Philosophical Studies. Through my work at CTS, I have become aware that New Age beliefs and practices are gaining influence in Europe. New age beliefs and practices may be defined in the following manner:
that which is used to describe spiritual or non-scientific activities such as meditation, astrology, and alternative medicine, or people who are connected with such activities.
Common New Age beliefs and practices include channeling (contacting the dead through a medium), the use of crystals and meditation (the repeating of a word or phrase, known as a mantra, in order to reach a higher spiritual plane). Many who support the New Age movement also believe in reincarnation and partake of astrology, fortune telling, and other occult-related practices.
I am initiating a research project into New Age practices in Europe in conjunction with the Dimitrov Research Center at the CTS. One important goal of the project is to ascertain the level of inroads New Age beliefs and practices have made in European society, particularly among younger people ages 15 – 35 .
As a pastor in a local church, you have contact with a broad range of individuals in your community and insights into issues causing disquiet and concern among them. I prepared a short survey that will help me and my colleagues at CTS better understand how New Age is affecting your church and the broader community which your church serves.
Your input will provide valuable information on the level of New Age practices in Europe. I will send you a copy of the results of my project for your use in addressing New Age practices as they manifest themselves in your community.
Your responses to the survey will be completely confidential. Along with the research center staff assisting me, I will have sole access to your responses. The research paper that will be produced at the end of the project will only include aggregated, anonymized data with no personal information about the respondents.
Thank you in advance for your assistance with this project.
Dr. Bob Welch, PhD
Survey for PEF Ministers
Some have noticed that today’s society reflects a renewed desire for spirituality and that New Age ideology offers alternatives to Europe’s historical Christianity. Do you believe this is occurring? If so, is it affecting perhaps a certain age-group of your congregation?
Link below to a Pew Research report on religion in Western Europe that includes the responses to questions about participation and belief in several new age practices. The responses on NA are toward the bottom of Section 5.