073 – Religious Fear vs Spiritual Freedom (With Austin Fletcher)

Christianity has entered a new age.

Have you ever felt like what you were taught about faith was based more on a list of what not to do more than a freedom you feel Christ offers? Or have you ever wondered why we preach sermons of fear more than sermons about overcoming? If so, you are not alone! 

This week, we are talking with Austin Fletcher, host of New Age Christianity. We are discussing the freedom of true spirituality versus the controlling fear religion can lead to. Whether you realize it or not, God has set us free from sin nature and law. Austin shares with us his life mantra of trying to live by the verse which states “Everything is permissible”. Most of the time, our first reaction would be to quickly try to finish the second half of the verse but let it sink in: Everything is in fact permissible. Sure, there are things we should not dabble in. This is not an excuse to justify sin. But when you are living according to the Spirit our desire falls in line with God’s purpose. 

It’s been over a year since we have done an episode on this very topic and this time, we brought the guy who created the podcast about it! We have entered into a new age of Christianity so let’s explore what God is offering up. Austin’s words are strong and can challenge us but let them sink in. Just because it’s different from what you have always heard doesn’t make it wrong.

View Transcription (by Otter.ai)

Austin Fletcher 5:55
awesome. How are you guys doing?

Cody Johnston 5:56
Doing well, doing well. So we got to know Austin, because it just so happens. We were searching the term New Age Christianity. And we share a spot so we are neighbors in iTunes. Yeah. And we started listening to the show really enjoyed everything you had to say. And just the fresh spin that you had on so much just the the lack of religiosity and just being able to be open and free with your conversations was fantastic. We had just left a place called Eureka Springs, Arkansas. And they’re kind of like, if Arkansas has a new age hub, talking specifically like New Age, Doc, whatever doctrine or whatever that is. belief system like that would be it. And so, New Age stuffs always like been interesting to us. We see a lot of parallels between the Bible and New Age. And just kind of how those parallel we didn’t episode way back in the beginning of this time. That is probably extremely embarrassing. You’ve listened to so go listen to it. Make fun of it online,

Austin Fletcher 7:01
to third episode.

Cody Johnston 7:03
Episode. Oh, man. Yeah, it was way back.

Austin Fletcher 7:06
Good. I liked it.

Cody Johnston 7:09
I appreciate that. I really had no idea what we’re doing. Now we’re much better at faking like we know what we’re doing. So

Austin Fletcher 7:15
you got all the answers I approve of. That’s all that matters. Hey, that word.

Elaine Johnston 7:20
At least now we have experts that we’re interviewing and because we don’t know what we’re talking about.

Cody Johnston 7:27
So anyway, needless to say, I reached out to Austin on Facebook.

He was cool enough to message back. We got talking and here we are. So we’ll just start off with this. What is a new age Christian?

Austin Fletcher 7:44
Oh, boy. So that is been? That’s the whole reason I started New Age christianity.org is to try to answer that question. And it is I think the one of the earmarks of people of our ilk, is that for me to hand out a definition to a bunch of people and say this is this is what you are. We’re kind of like, yeah, I’m not going to play that game anymore. And so I’ve learned with this community that to have some sort of top down official definition, it of itself is the antithesis of being one. Right. So the newest Christianity, as an as a concept, is my attempt to kind of let it build a community of people that that decide what that what that answer is, you asked, What is a new Christian, still being figured out? And I think that that is part of the earmarks. So New Age, Christian is someone who’s journey, and somebody who’s not afraid to ask questions. And I’ll do my best to kind of fill in the remaining blanks. But again, that’s that is by far the the overarching answer is that this is not something that you’re going to go find the statement of beliefs on the website, or you’re not going to hear certain dogma come from the top down. And it is that is first and foremost is a group of journey errs that aren’t afraid to ask questions beyond that. You know, New Age Christianity, I almost named the organization New Age of Christianity, because it’s not so much directly about mixing New Age, religion and Christian religion, it is more a play on the reality that we are coming into a new age, the Age of Aquarius, if you if you studied the ages in the Bible, you will see that the age of areas where the age of the Ram was during the time of Abraham and Moses, right. And then you get the age of the fisherman or the age of Pisces, which is the last 2000 years where you know, I will make you fishers of men. The new symbol, the fish symbol that has been throughout the church throughout the last 2000 years is actually a a reference to the constellation of Pisces. And now we’re moving into the Age of Aquarius, which you know that song from the 60s, you know, this is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, like, each age, there’s kind of a transition period between them and the transition periods anywhere from 80 to 120 years, depending on who you talk to. So we’re transitioning between Pisces and Aquarius. And I think technology what’s going on church wise, what’s going on socially is all the evidence that you need, that everything in the human existence is changing drastically. Pick a subject that we’re changing. So it’s really a reference to is the new age of time, we find ourselves in the in the transition between ages. Now, there are new age elements, because they’re true. And we’re not afraid of that. And so I think a new age, Christian also kind of does hold to some elements of Christianity, namely Christ. And there is my favorite saying if anything is true, there is a way in which it is true. And Christ is king. But there’s a way in which he is king that I don’t believe most Christians understand. And they make him king and the version of an idol, and a version of a work that people have to believe or else there’s something much so much bigger than he’s actually like itself. He is the Word made flesh, the logos made flesh. So there’s no amount of Christ. And then there is an element of New Age concepts. You know, we’ve done a couple episodes on crystals or you know, a lot lots of things on energy, and auras and stuff like that. There’s references shocked prisoner in our discussions. I do major, probably 70% towards unpacking the Bible in a new way. And about 30% towards unpacking New Age ideas, as the community grows, that that balance may shift. But that is my best answer for what a new age Christian is. And beyond that, Far be it for me too. Over define. So early in the age, I do think maybe 50 years from now, there’ll be a little bit more, you know, more refined definition. And then you start getting me we’re going to do the same pattern we always do every, you know, when Christianity started, you roll out into now you start getting denominations, you just start getting different schools of thought and you start kind of splitting up that pie because become people become more refined. I don’t view denominations as the, the great evil or the great Satan. I do view many of them as symptoms of stupidity. But as far as like the i, this idea of New Age, Christianity being more refined by subgroups over time, I think is very natural. And it’s and it’s a good thing. It can be a good thing anyway. So yeah,

Elaine Johnston 12:44
so I just have to ask how much flak from Christian circles Have you gotten for expressing those beliefs and talking about crystals and all the weird whoo, whoo stuff?

Austin Fletcher 12:58
Oh, my gosh, so depends on when you ask me that question. You know, 12 years ago, I was I had a personal experience that changed my life. And it made me kind of start looking at a lot of things in Christianity to go that’s kind of shallow or bullshit, or, wow, there’s something there that they don’t even realize is there like it’s Christianity got a lot of great stuff. It’s just so, so shallow and, and then another good stuff that they do well, and they do really well. And you learn from that. So I think for me, 12 years ago, I was disowned by my own by members of my own family. I was disowned. And I was told by people who I administered beside for years, that I need to either move on, I needed to need to be quiet, or I need to leave. So I left because that’s never been caring about how big my ministry has been has never been my motivation. And then I would say, in all honesty, I was kind of recounting this with a another communicator, friend of mine, Ronnie heerema, and I realized about every three years, I have gone through a massive shift that has essentially caused everyone in my life or every one in my spiritual journey, to kind of rethink whether or not they want to hang out with me. And so I’m going through one right now and, and I will, you know, get it’s, it’s arguably the most personal one at this point. And so I get a lot of flack started to get some feedback on the YouTube channels and stuff like that of, Oh, this is this is some new ager pretending like they love Jesus and stuff like the and it’s, you know, the good old fashioned Bible thumpers always show their true colors in the end.

Cody Johnston 14:42
But it’s it’s been a one difficult journey for sure. So before we get into the actual meat of the of the topic at hand, which we had even said with the topic at hand is here, but that’s fine. What was that initial thought? The just kind of like that, that first initial little truth bomb you dropped or thought bomb you dropped it made everyone go, Oh, my gosh, what is wrong with them? They made your church tell you to shut up her kid.

Austin Fletcher 15:11
Yeah, it’s surprisingly, it’s so much further beyond that, now that it does, I kind of think back and I’m like, wait, that was it. But it was that maybe Christ didn’t die on the cross so that you could stay a sinner your whole life, maybe, maybe he actually buried the sin nature that you died with him in that Adam, that a dynamic nature is no more and that it’s actually buried in that you have actually put off the old man, so that you can put on the new I, I was struggling with sin myself. And I got to the point where I just got so tired of that I decided to fast and pray and I would either die of starvation. Or I would apprehend what I believe the Christ the cross was capable of doing. I couldn’t articulate it. I didn’t know the verses I just knew in my Knower that there was more power to the cross that what I was living in, nobody could tell me what it was. Nobody could tell me the doctrine or any of that stuff. I just, I prayed the most pure prayer I’ve ever prayed. And 10 days later, I had an experience that still to this day, it’s kind of like It Wasn’t that huge of a deal. But I knew in my nowhere that I had gotten what I’ve asked for. And it was essentially the truth of baptism and the burying of an old nature. And I’ll you know, in that specific case, the next time temptation came, I literally was sitting at a red light. And I heard this voice, the same old familiar temptation. But I like turned around because I felt like it was somebody in the backseat, or like to the side like it wasn’t inside of me anymore. It was outside of me. And it was just this realization that Christ actually did make it possible to live a sinless life, and a righteous life. And it doesn’t seem like that scary of an idea anymore. But man it I mean, people get scared when you tell them that you actually righteous did they lose their control over you? And that was the original one.

Cody Johnston 17:10
I mean, I feel that I grew up in the Assemblies of God circle, you know, kind of modified Pentecostalism and it’s always you’re a dirty rag, you’re a dirty rag, you’re a filthy sinner. And we were talking about this the other day of like, wow, no wonder prayer has no power because we’re calling on God. But at the same time, we’re cursing or damning ourselves and all the time. And God’s probably up there going, like really like how am I supposed to work with this? How am I supposed to do anything like you’re constantly destroying, like talking down to my creation. So actually, I love that thought, I love the idea of putting off the the sin nature, we’re new creations that is, honestly, I love your story. And I want I want to tell you, this is somebody who’s tell you the other day when we had a conversation, one of the things that drew me to you in general Austin is your the most not spiritual, spiritual person. I don’t know how to encompass this, but like, you talk in a way that makes and I’m speaking from someone who’s like growing up in church, and it makes me happy. And I can just imagine what it would have done to me when I was like, deep rooted in like my traditional church baggage, it would make me extremely comfortable and extremely uncomfortable at the same time. Like, I just want to, like congratulate you on that, because I love it. Thank you because like you’re using, you’re using these terms that are like, Oh, these make me feel good. But you use them in a way that’s like, wow, I am really have some bad perspectives. spiritual walk. So props to you on that one. Thanks. So diving into the actual conversation at hand, and we already have some other conversations for the future planned out. So if anyone out there is listening, like oh, I really want to hear more about this new age, Christian lifestyle. For one, Austin has an entire site podcast everything imaginable dedicated to it. So go find his stuff from too, we already have some plans to bring him back in the future to dive more into that at a more fitting and opportune season of the year. So if you guys know how we like certain seasons of the year and seeming stuff, you can probably deduce what we’re talking about. But the big thing we wanted to kind of hit on today was talking about really just the fear based religion that we kind of throw out versus the freedom of true spirituality. And I don’t even really know where to initiate this conversation other than just to say, I think we can all pretty much agree. fears, like the primary emotion we use to like, quote, unquote, evangelize, right? Like the entire evangelical church movement, it really I mean, even past that, really just church throughout history, it’s been fear. So why fear? What What is it about fear whenever there’s supposedly so much more to this whole Jesus God thing?

Austin Fletcher 19:58
So I don’t know, man, I wanted to look up the author. And I’ll try to get it to you for maybe the show notes. But there was a book that came I came across not too long ago. And something I had never understood until recently, is you know that until 400 AD, the Hebrew alphabet did not have vowels. Right? So, in 400 AD, is recorded that there’s different rabbis that were around at that time that basically said, that’s the year that God died. And the reason is, is because the scriptures didn’t have vowels. And so when the reader would read the scriptures, they would have to insert their own vowels. And to give you a prime example, for this discussion, the difference between the word fear and the word love is one vowel. Right? And so there’s a reason that in the Jewish tradition, they would ask questions like, why did you read it that way? What did you What? Because it was viewed as a mirror of yourself inside of the Bible. So we’re, as you you read it, you were illuminating what you thought you were illuminating what you believed, and then you would have other teachers and other people saying, Well, why do you believe that? Why did you read it that way? And so fear, being the primary motivation is, I believe, the mirror of the fact that it comes from our basic assumption that God is different than we are, therefore, we must be less than he is. Now, I believe God is different than we are because he is the universal mind. Right? I am. And I am not the universal mind, I have access to the universal mind through the Spirit. I can know anything that I desire to know that’s how the creative process works. That’s what’s in the scripture says that we we can freely know. But nonetheless, I don’t know everything I don’t, my neighbor is a you know, he’s a shade tree mechanic, he works out of his house, I don’t know how to repair a big block engine, I could know that if I wanted to, but I don’t. And so knowing everything, and having the ability to know anything are not the same thing. So we are not the father. But we are exact representations of his likeness. And so we see that difference and in an equal in us that we are, well, he’s different than I am, therefore, I’m not God, I’m not. And I teach that it’s actually we should see our likeness and realize that is the very thing that makes us part of God is because without us, he doesn’t have a body. Without us, he doesn’t have individual expression. Without us, he doesn’t have experience inside of time and space. So the fact that we’re not the Universal Mind, actually is the reason we should look at ourselves and see our Im, instead of our I’m not nice. And all that to say is that core assumption that even even makes, you know, when you eat of this tree, then you will be like him. So she saw her difference, and didn’t see it as evidence of oneness. She saw it as evidence of separateness. And so all of our human doings are filtered through this idea of separation. And therefore, when you’re, when there’s someone bigger, better and better than you, then you’re forever in this energy of trying to measure up. And that’s why no matter how many times you you called the scriptures, about being one with God, or I am in you and your knee, if you have a fear, or if you have a separation mindset. You cannot see scripture through love. I believe it’s it is inherently impossible.

Cody Johnston 23:31
That’s good. I feel like separation mindset is maybe not intentionally, but almost exclusively charge. Right? Like, and just as you’re saying it, I’m like, Man, I’m like trying to track through my own, you know, spiritual baggage that I’ve kind of accumulated. I’m just like, wow, like, there’s this idea that I am one with God. It’s like, Oh, yeah, you’re his creation, you’re to dwell with God, you’re to be in his presence, but it’s never expressed of like, You are one with your Creator, you are in him. And that separates you away from all of this sin nature, kind of like going back to what we’re talking about before we officially started talking about this topic, like it’s that that sin, nature is dead, but yet we identify so rooted in that, for me, when you look at the life of Jesus, and for three and a half years, he says, You know, I only do what I see the Father doing. I say what I hear the father saying, My work is to do the will of the Father, and He creates this separation, if you will, between him and father. And then at the very end, he in the upper room.

Austin Fletcher 24:39
I think it’s the Daniel says, you know, show us the Father, and it’ll be enough, it might be him or Philip I can never remember. And he says, the thing. If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father and the Father are one. And it’s like, there’s this inherent like, Guys, if you don’t get it from inside, I can’t give it to you. And it is it is the white stone that no man can receive except an Omega no except for him who receives it. Not even Jesus can give you your IM this, you have to receive it for yourself. And so when you if that is our name, and I believe that is I am, right we are and I cannot, I can’t tell somebody Your name is I am because the moment it comes out of my mouth, I’m trying to tell you, hey, his name is I am. The moment I’m saying your name I’m talking about myself as has is a first person reality that not even Jesus Himself can give to you. And so he’s doing what he can to to draw this oneness. And at the very end, he’s like, Guys, you still don’t get you still don’t understand that this is this is oneness.

Elaine Johnston 25:44
What comes to my mind talking about this is whenever Peter was walking on the water with Jesus, but then he realized, like, Oh, I’m walking on water, and then had that. I’m almost like, not necessarily filthy rag but just like that he was at one with God. And then he immediately like, wasn’t walking on water with Jesus. Like he realized like, Oh, yeah, I’m not Jesus, I can’t do this. I shouldn’t have this power. But he had it. Right. I said, that’s just like, what I keep envisioning talking about all of this.

Cody Johnston 26:12
Yeah, the idea of, of it’s literally in those moments of his doubt he separate yourself from the doubt is kind of what led to that separation. So

Austin Fletcher 26:20
you’re saying, I’ve heard sermons people do the Jesus that Peter lost faith in Jesus? Like because oh, you of little faith, or, like in the references is kind of to Peter’s faith. And it’s like, I don’t think Peter lost, like has nothing to do with his faith in Jesus has everything to do with his faith in himself.

Elaine Johnston 26:36
Yeah. And like you were saying, like, Jesus can’t even give that to you. Like he said, Hey, you can walk on water. But that doubt was like, Oh, I can’t do this. Even though Jesus gave me the opportunity to I can’t do it.

Austin Fletcher 26:51
You can look at all the buildings do miracles, you can look at the building whether you know pick a subject inside of Christianity and churchy entity, and you can ultimately comes down to like, it’s everything in this world in the kingdom is apprehended by faith. And yet, the subtlety of how works, throws its way in there, over and over and over and over again, that we’ll be able to walk on water when you when you start living, right, you know, or you’ll, you’ll be sinless when you stop sinning, like, like, Guys, it’s such an identity first, then then, you know, take care of the inside of the cup, the outside will take care of itself.

Cody Johnston 27:30
What is fear? Where I fear message look like in the church? Because I think sometimes it’s very obvious. And then other times, it’s more, more hidden. So what is that? What does that message come across? What are some modern ways the church’s teaching that

Austin Fletcher 27:44
I think, you know, beyond the sin nature side of things, and sin management, number one, is in times, for me, it’s it is the, the future in times I, if you listen to, I can’t remember one of my early parts. Like I kind of do an overview of predator ism and end times. And there is for those who have never heard of the idea. for 1800 years, the church, all of the church primarily believed in predator ism, and predator ism, essentially, that all the End Times prophecies, including revelation, or a vast majority of Revelation, all came true, and have already happened in 70 ad, when Rome destroyed Israel, or Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, destroyed the genealogical records. So there’s never been a high priest, there’s never been a temple, there’s never been a sacrifice since 70 AD. And the fact that it came true 40 days to the day from the day that Jesus said, not a generation will pass away until all this happens. And so if you, I think that that will number one is, to me is the number one source of fear inside the church, it’s kind of this don’t screw up, or you’re going to get it in, it’s not just going to be hell, which is, I would say is number two. So the future and times is number one, and that one’s just so practical, on a tangible level. Hell, to me is number two, in the sense of that’s more of a spiritual kind of deep fear that’s just always present. If you guys have done I know, we talked a bit about your views on hell. Love wins and stuff like that. I don’t know if you’ve done any episodes on it. But I would certainly challenge that traditional understanding of hell. And then I think another one is, Satan himself, and the ever present enemy concept. Because if you’re always at war, then you do always have something to be afraid of. If you’re living in an in a victorious world, where there are no enemies other than your own, your own creation, which is a thing, then you realize, oh, wow, the only thing I got to be afraid of is being in mature. And so yeah, so that’s good, oh, I need to mature so that I can overcome this fear and that perfect love casts out fear. So let me grow in love. And, you know, the rest is history.

Cody Johnston 30:09
So touch on sin nature, what is sin nature? And why is that the primary thing we’re trying to control versus freedom.

Austin Fletcher 30:17
So a lot of people don’t know. Because in English, it’s kind of like, you know, a lot of people know the thing on love, where there’s, there’s multiple Greek words for love, right? You know, got a filet o and all this stuff. Well, there’s multiple Greek words for sin, that often get translated. But if you dig into it, you have different types. And I’ll just kind of zero in on the two most important one is sinful actions. And one is a sinful nature, who you are, that you are a sinner. And if you go study at him, Cortana and him or Tia, you’ll actually see that you can still have our Tonto, you can still sin, but that the the nature of the MRT has been done away with and light and reckoning yourselves dead to sin him thia. And so what kind of baffles me is, you know, Paul says, All things are permissible. I don’t know how many people are listening to this podcast, who immediately wanted to jump in and go, but not all things are acceptable. Or not all things are beneficial or not. Because we love to finish the sentence. And I whenever I quote that verse, I don’t finish it not because it’s not true. But because we forget the first half, all things are permissible, like, just let that sink in. With that, there is freedom that Christ came to give you from law, freedom from law and rules, and regulatory righteousness. And there are plenty of ministers out there handing out rules and regulatory righteousness and conditional righteousness. And I would say sin management, here’s how, you know, you get your accountability partner, you know, make sure you do you read your Bible, you know, twice a day, and you need to go to church every Sunday, they need to give and seen by the way, isn’t just, you know, a lack of morality. It’s also you know, not giving to the church. And it’s, you know, not not you give your kid Yeah, it’s such a broad, subjective definition, you know, why it’s so subjective, because all things are permissible. And if you hand out free, what you’ll find is that instead of sin management, what you’ll find is that people are forced to develop their own frickin relationship with the Holy Spirit. Because when you give them a list, they have a relationship with a list of their righteousness, their relationship, their flow is measured against the list. And it would be like being married to each other, with your relationship being with your marriage contract, not with each other.

Cody Johnston 32:45
Yeah, that’s good.

Elaine Johnston 32:48
I like what you said about how you don’t finish that verse, not because it isn’t true. But we tend to focus more on what’s not all beneficial, it’s not all good. It’s not acceptable. Because I feel like that’s what a lot of Christians or just what the church is, motive is, is focusing on the negative focusing on the sin focusing on the bad things. But God’s like, Hey, you have the freedom to do things like you, you can be creative. And I just feel like we don’t really focus on the goodness of God, as much as we focus on the badness of Satan or hell, or sin.

Austin Fletcher 33:23
All died. And Adam, right? Well, you didn’t have a choice. You died in Adam, whether you wanted to or not. And so I’ll die to Christ. And yet somehow, we still preach that people have to make that choice, otherwise you didn’t work. And so literally, the assumption is that Adams death was more pervasive and more powerful than Christ, that Adams was forced on you but but Christ’s, you know, you you have to do something. And the reality is the opposite that there is no one keeping a record. And there is there is no, there’s no thing that is keeping you from oneness with God other than your enemies and your own mind.

Cody Johnston 34:03
So right now my first thought of like, like, the whole churchy background is, well, what about the devil? And I’ve heard your stances on this, but I want to share it on on to our group. So what about the devil? Oh, boy,

Austin Fletcher 34:19
you really want to share this with your group?

So you can be like, well, we’re not sure we

Cody Johnston 34:26
actually really like your stance on Yes, I’ll go on record saying I very

Elaine Johnston 34:31
episode so far. So

Austin Fletcher 34:33
yeah, yeah, that one, I have a few soap boxes. And that’s one of them. And you and I kind of touched on earlier like, as long as you have an enemy and you’re at war, then fear. Fear is a motivator. I mean, tell me you’re in peace and love when you’re at war. So if there is no enemy, and there is no war to fight, then what is what is the work that is in front of you, and it’s running a race, and it’s a maturity thing. But so that’s the big picture. But I believe, you know, so there’s a few passages where most modern definitions or interpretations of the devil come from Ezekiel 28, and Jeremiah, Jeremiah 14, Isaiah 14, man, I should remember that. One of them he talks about, you know, you get the idea of Lucifer, which has was is not in the Bible. It’s not the devil’s name. It’s actually from the Latin Vogue eight 400 years after Jesus after apostle Apostle Paul died. That it’s, it’s the Latin word is lucid ferrier, or light bearer, you know, kind of a fairy, something across the water. So lucid ferrier turned into Lucifer. And so that, that alone should tell you just how, how weak, the doctrine around Satan really is. And for me doctrine, it takes 50 verses to build a doctor and it takes one verse to tear it apart. Because I do believe the scriptures can have it should not be broken. And so you know, if there’s one verse that kind of pokes a hole in what I think, then I revamped what I think until everything I think includes every concept that scripture gives me. And so the doctrine around Satan is so weak, and so assertive, because we take these certain ideas. So as you get 28, it talks about you know, that it was a being in the garden of God had the the nine stones and it walked amongst the sons of fire. I mean, I had, first of all, if you read both of those passages, I firmly believe that are talking about Adam, right? Because Adam, was fits everything in those definitions. And so then you get into, I don’t know how deep you guys want me to go on this. But then you get into the question of Jesus, when he says that the devil, there is a devil, there’s a serpent and he was a liar from the beginning, is the father of lies. And so I’m not saying saying that there isn’t a thing there. I’m definitely saying it’s not what we’ve been taught. And so if it’s not what we’ve been taught, but there’s something there, then there must be a third answer, right? Because it’s I’m not, I’m not about I’ve never been about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And to fast forward to the end, I believe, the opponent or Satan, the accuser, is the very thing inside of us, that we It is our I am not in this, and that if you go type illogically to Jewish history, you have the hero and the phenom, which historically been understood to be the white stone and the Blackstone are representing the sun in the moon. You’ll you’ll see that Israel was ruled by this that it was the European cinema inside the high priest he followed. And that was the judgment system. It was a yes, no binary system that judged Israel. And yet, in we fast forward revelation, and were given a white stone with a new name on it and the white on being Yes, I am. Yes and Amen. Right. Not yes and no. So that Satan representing being represented by the Blackstone, and I am not is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, right? So it’s, I am and I am not, and that Satan is actually our own manifestation of I am nothingness. And it is the question itself of separation. And oh my gosh, I just fast forward through like, 1000 different things. It,

Cody Johnston 38:30
that’s okay. You have a whole a whole episode dedicated to that. Yeah. But people can go and find if they want if

Elaine Johnston 38:36
they just wanted to shock our audience.

Cody Johnston 38:39
Right? But no, I really like that, because it. It’s so funny, I grew up, my mom was raised Pentecostal. And I used to hear from her family, as well as her, like, Don’t mention the name of the devil, or he’ll come looking for you. You know, like, that was like a common thing. It was just taught. And I was like, as I got older, I’m like, why am I so scared of this thing? If it’s if that mentality is defeated? Why am I living in fear of something that has no authority? And then it’s kind of goes and you touched on this in one of your episodes as well. It’s like, well, Satan’s omnipresent, but he’s not omnipresent. Like he’s always there and always listening. But he’s not always there. Because he’s not God and can’t be everywhere at once. Well, is here is he not? Like, we’ve got to make some us we can’t. And this is, this is a big thing. And I’ll let you share your thoughts on this to a big thing. That is the problem. Nowadays to me, is everyone is attempting to take the Bible, and instead of being okay with questions, instead of being okay with something that contradicts our predetermine mindset, we do these mental gymnastics to fit the bill according to what our specific doctrine says. And so we take these scriptures, oh, well, you have one group saying you can’t cut your hair or wear jewelry, you have another group saying that’s completely okay. You can do it, like, you know, whatever, and you have these contradictions. And really, every single person out there is going to interpret things to their liking in some kind of fashion. Like, it’s a big book. And it’s full of a lot of things. And there’s so many different ways you can take so many different things. But it’s just it’s used as a system of pushing agendas, I guess. And so if you have I’m sorry, I’m ranting. Now, do you have anything to

Austin Fletcher 40:26
say to that mentality? As you’re talking? Like, the first thing I’ll tell you, all things are permissible.

Right, right. So as as a because this that one gets like, I speak to myself on that when I look at myself in the mirror, and I go, all right, Austin, Mr. All things are permissible, you know, what else is permissible, a bunch of rules, a group of people that wants to have a bunch of rules and control each other. I think it’s stupid. I think it’s a really bad way to live. And I’m not a fan, but it is permissible, there’s Nope, I used to have this kind of like, in the back of my mind, like, all those religious people, those are the ones that Jesus the most mad. So therefore, God’s totally cool with this group, because he’s just loving. But actually, it’s the religious people that are making a minute. And there’s still even as I’m taking over, like, there’s part of me that’s like, it might still be true, there might be a hell for those people. But, you know, but the reality is all things permissible, and there is a measure of grace for that. There is a fine line between reading the scriptures and, and finding instructions for life and reading the scriptures and thinking that it is life. And And And Jesus says that to the Pharisees, you know, you you think you you read the scriptures, and you think that they are the source of life, and he’s and I’m literally standing in front of you, you don’t understand the role that the scriptures are meant to play in your existence. They’re meant to be a tool and a refiner, and they’re not meant to be the source. And that, to me is, I’m interested in finding people who can kind of inherently understand that I can, I can cross biblical swords with some of the best, I’m not the best, I used to be a lot better because I, I, man, I used to devour that thing, just hours and hours a week, if not a day at times, and but I can still hold my own pretty damn well. And there is kind of this inherent, like, if I can just feel when somebody is trying to find life in the Scriptures, or if they’re trying to find life and a relationship with God Himself. And it doesn’t mean that, you know, again, all things permissible, it’s just not one of those energies that I try to spend too much time with anymore. Because I’m just, I don’t know, like I better things to do.

Cody Johnston 42:45
So you mean, it’s okay, if you don’t read your Bible every day?

Austin Fletcher 42:49
I tend to think so.

Elaine Johnston 42:53
A lot of people are like, convicted of that, or like I need to write read my Bible, especially like within youth group and high school kids, because I know I used to, I used to feel like I’m a bad Christian, or I’m sitting that I didn’t read my Bible. But then I felt like, well, that’s a wrong reason to read your Bible,

Cody Johnston 43:09
when you have a relationship based on fear it. It’s not a relationship. I mean, that’s, that’s why people stay in abusive marriages. That’s why people stay in like these terrible situations, because they’re afraid of the repercussions for stepping out of line. And I prefer not to view the creator of all things as an abusive husband to his bride. I just I don’t think that he follows the rule of thumb where he can be just with a stick. I don’t think that’s God. And if that is God, maybe we if that was truly God, I just for one, there wouldn’t be life in that period. And why would you worship something like that? Why would you want like, that’s the epitome of if you’re worshipping a god, I’m okay. I’m going to say some brush. If you’re worshiping God, based on fear, in reality, you’re kind of worshipping Satan, the idea of Satan, right? I mean, is that I don’t think I’m to align with that. I mean, you’re you’re worshipping, literally fear, and this this brashness, this, this attack. And so what are, what are some ways people can kind of identify that fear at work in their lives?

Austin Fletcher 44:23
Oh, boy. So I’m about to do a episode on judging message by its fruit. And the number one thing is, is if you’re if you’re hearing a message of any sort, if you’re hearing and here’s the thing, let me just super big caveat here. The message, judging the message by its fruit is not about you know, okay, I’m going to judge all Joel’s teens message by his fruit, and I’m going to look at his flock, and I’m going to measure how mature they aren’t, right? Because that’s, we do. What it is, is judged measures by its fruit in you. And here’s all the evidence you need that it has nothing to do with the guy saying it, or the girl saying, or the key read is Jesus himself had the perfect message we all agree. And yet one out of 12 of his apostles didn’t do so well with it. It didn’t produce the best fruit in him. That’s all you need to know that judging measures by its fruit cannot be about judging the speaker. It is about where you’re at in your life. In that moment. Are you at the right place to hear this word? Are you in the right place? To understand this concept to learn this lesson? I have plenty of things that I would like to tell people that they’re not ready for. Does that sound familiar? Yeah, that’s what Jesus said to the apostles in the upper room. I there’s so much more I’d like to tell you but you can’t handle it. So the fruit that you need to judge is in your own life. So what is that fruit? Well, there’s there’s really convenient lyst love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self control alongside of the fruits of the Spirit, right, the fruit of the Spirit, if you’re hearing anything, and you’re not getting love, joy, more love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, more gentleness, then you should check yourself. Not Check, check the message too. But check the message in yourself. Because there’s something that it is producing. If it’s producing works, in fear based righteousness, and condemnation, and guilt, there’s now therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. So, you know, those energies? And I would I there’s kind of this big, overarching thing that just drives me nuts. And that is this, this supposed to be the gospel. And it’s supposed to be the gospel means news that is too good to be true. And so when we approach treats people on the street corners, and they roll their eyes, we’re doing it wrong. Like, they’re there shouldn’t that should be so incredibly easy. The burden should be so easy, and so light, that it should be. Oh, wait, that’s all I gotta do. But that’s all it is. Well, yeah, I kind of already live that way. Yeah, you do, don’t you, because you are made in His image and likeness, because you are forgiven, you are loved. And all the only thing about recognizing it has nothing to do with pleasing Him, He’s already pleased, and has everything to do with realizing all that other bullcrap that you’ve been fed all the guilt, and all the and all the shame and all of the you’re not good enough stuff. This is so easy, that that stuff should be the what falls away. And, and so inside of church, if you’re leaving a church service, or you’re done reading a book, and you just get you got you walked away with something you need to work on. Sometime it’s appropriate. Sometimes it’s not. Yes, sometimes sometimes it’s righteousness. Sometimes it’s works. But you have to judge that for yourself. And you have to understand the muscles of freedom. Because chances are that you primarily understand the muscles of workspace righteousness, the muscles of fear, and find somebody in your life that you see as being more free than you, and let them influence you. And grow in your freedom. Because you know, and it starts with small, but all things are permissible, and the more freedom that you can feel when you leave a place. And when you hear someone speak, that is the fruit that you should measure, I believe.

Cody Johnston 48:17
I love that I just want to put my finger on that for a second kind of like a practical example of this. You hear people have I’m going on a a media fast, I’m only listening to worship music, right? I was a worship pastor for years and years, like I’ve done that for 10 years of my life. And I’m only 25. So that should kind of sum up like, worship music can be the most depressing crap to me, because being blind, worship, music can be so depressing and wear me out. There are times that it has given me something. And I needed to hear the certain message for the certain song there’s times whenever she was in the hospital, there was one specific song that I had to keep on repeating it was what breathe life into that situation and gave me the confidence I needed to, to continue to pray healing over my wife to continue to speak that To be continued to speak positivity into the situation, instead of letting my fear overtake me. But for the most part, I get more life out of instrumental music, I get more life out of so many other things, I get more life in my own private studies than I do from church services. And I think that if we get rid of this stigma of Well, there’s three ways or four ways you can you can receive this message like, oh, if there’s only a few specific ways that you can bear those fruits, and I love, love, love what you said, and I just want to really bring that to the surface of you measure those fruits in yourself, not in others, because really, when you start measuring fruits and other people in essence, it’s it’s comparison. It’s it’s just, it’s a comparison to them to what they’re doing. It begins really it just it tears you down even more because you’re judging yourself based on someone else’s merit. And that becomes works just like you said, and even more so to me is it’s gossip. You know, right. And I love I’m just gonna plug this in here because it’s one of my like, favorite little things that I coined so like, I take credit for this. But like, in working in a church atmosphere, it was funny how much we taught against gossip, because when church members talk, it’s gossip. Well, whenever church leaders talk is tending the flock, right. And so it’s just it’s it’s a common thing. Churches is bad. It’s bad with gossip. It’s bad with talking negatively about these people who are trying to build up its way.

Elaine Johnston 50:33
other churches. Yeah, other Christians.

Cody Johnston 50:36
That’s a whole other thing, right? But whenever you take your focus off of what they’re doing, or not doing or how they’re doing, and quit tearing them apart for all their little things, and focus on where my fruit right now, if we would all start doing that, think of the fruit we would actually bear. Think of the joy, the peace, the life, you know, the patience, the kindness, the goodness, the gentle, meek spirit, we would have think of what, like maybe Christianity would be taken more seriously, in this day and age, you know what I mean? Right? Maybe we wouldn’t have Christians out there scared to death of calling themselves Christians.

Austin Fletcher 51:12
I love how the very end of Jesus’s ministry, the very end of his time on Earth, at least recorded is kind of that little nugget of when he’s talking to Peter. And Peter asks about john, and in Jesus, like, What’s it to you if I want him to live forever? Like that? What is his journey have anything to do with you? It’s one of the very last things that happened. And it’s like this little nod to like realizing like, yes, for the next 2000 years, you’re going to really kind of struggle with judging each other, and trying to measure yourself against each other. And that’s not how this works.

Cody Johnston 51:46
Yeah. That’s really good.

Elaine Johnston 51:48
So what’s been the most freeing thing that you’ve learned on your spiritual journey through all of all, it’s what we talked about

Austin Fletcher 51:56
the most freeing thing. I mean, again, if any thing is true, there’s a way in which it is true. But I would say, just truly, truly sinking into all things are permissible, man, the judgment just falls away. And it really does become a significantly more intelligent conversation about well, let’s talk about premarital sex. Let’s talk about homosexuality. Let’s talk about drug use or alcoholism. Let’s talk about about any thing, you know, I mean, we have so mixed spirituality with politics these days. And, you know, it is very easy to look at political positions as being morally right and wrong or spiritually, heaven. And hell, I mean, if you can just drop those barriers of religion. Yeah, all things permissible. So let’s have a conversation about this political thing. And I can, because what it is, is you realize how subtle your fear of new thought or new ideas is, because you think that there’s this list of things that aren’t permitted. You think this there’s this magical lyst out there, that is always moving, because life has told you it’s never the same. Or use the example of, you know, maybe Spirits working on me to be generous, and Spirits working on you to be frugal, or wise with your money. And we’re both walking by a homeless man. And I’m usually really stingy and you’re, you’re a bleeding heart. Right Spirit tells me to give him 10 bucks and tells you not to give them 10 bucks, I ignore spirit, you ignore spirit, you give him 10 bucks, I don’t the homeless man, God has $10. And from the outside, it looks like everything’s fine. God wanted him to have $10. And yet, the reality is it was an utter failure. So we know that it’s not about a list that it is about a relationship that it is about that moment by moment leading, and that what’s good for me today may not be good for me tomorrow, what’s the right decision today may not be the right decision tomorrow. And that scares the shit out of people, because they can’t control you. And as a matter of fact, you can’t control yourself, when you live like the wind, those were born of spirit or light, the wind. And we really like predictability, we really like control. And we really like to have that list, you find eventually, once you remove the bars off of other people, the hardest person to remove the bars off of is yourself. Because you have your domestication process of what you were taught, right? You know, I mean, there are subjects that the world is pushing into the Christians are having conniption fits about and yet all things are permissible. And so that is one of those is kind of a mantra in my head, not because I’m looking for permission to go do stupid stuff. But because I’m realizing it’s not about finding permission from any cosmic, no judge, all judgments been given unto Christ. And he judges no man. Right? So that’s, that is the major source of my freedom is that little mantra. All things are permissible. And know if you look at my life, I’m not living this extravagantly a moral life, I am very much still the external, I’m very much still Christian in a lot of ways. But the heart position of it is, is as free as I’ve ever been.

Cody Johnston 55:08
Well, and I think and I don’t ever intend to put words in your mouth. But I think just kind of what I’m receiving from this is whenever you live in a way where you’re no longer and you said something control, and and you talked about how controlling yourself. And I think a lot of times we don’t view is self control, we think of self control in the sense of Oh, yeah, you know, self control, that’s a good thing. That’s, you know, it’s fruit. But it’s not self control in the sense of being your own dictate. Because a lot of times when we take on all this control, we eliminate any room for God, right? we eliminate the room for the Holy Spirit, say, Hey, this is what I want to view. This is what I’m doing. And it’s self control is really giving ourselves over to, like you said to the wind to the Spirit, in essence, and, and you say all things are permissible, but in in my mind, and the way I receive it is when you’re giving yourself over to the permissive ability for God to do anything in your life. That doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to be immoral. What it’s actually justifying is that you’re giving God that freedom to work fully

Austin Fletcher 56:16
between Jesus and the Old Testament prophets and everything like Hosea, right, married to prostitute, right, that, that that’s totally immoral. That is that is, that is the definition of Neo death by, you know, penalty of death in Jewish history, or Jesus, you know, anywhere from this silly things like not washing their hands when they eat, or touching dead people, or, you know, the woman with the issue is the issue of blood, like all of these, you know, realize just how, quote unquote, if moral, they were the ones that actually did some stuff for God, the morality, even that I’m not that I am, certainly, this is a fine line, because there’s an energy to it, that people can hear me and say, Oh, you know, just us could do whatever. So I think there’s some natural consequences to a lot of stuff. But it’s not God coming down and judging you and saying, now that you just did that one thing. I can’t be in your presence, I can’t be in the presence of sin. Well, if that’s the case, then Jesus wasn’t God. So you need to check your beliefs on your check your logic on that one. You know, so, being in the presence of sin and all this stuff, it just, it irks me, the, the lack of thinking every time I think what you think about the devil, and, you know, I do kind of think he’s everywhere, but he’s not God, but he’s omnipresent and kind of can is all powerful, and God wins. But he hasn’t ever won yet, because we’re still finding the devil. So yeah, maybe the devil is more powerful. Like I was watching Good omens on Amazon.

Cody Johnston 57:58
yet we’re wanting to

Austin Fletcher 58:00
plus it’s one episode, where’s the angels? And they’re talking amongst themselves? And they were say, like, we haven’t won yet, but we do win in the end. Yeah. You’re like, that is kind of Christian technology. Like, you devil keeps winning. But eventually, right, like, Oh, come on.

Cody Johnston 58:18
Anyway, they’ve won the battle, but you haven’t won the war. Right? The devil knocked me down. But bless the Lord. Good is around the corner.

Austin Fletcher 58:27
Yeah, I think there was even a thing of like, because of the future and type thing like, and the devil kind of wins this time, too. But, but we eventually win someday. That the keep the keep going. It’s just the plan is inevitable. You just can’t understand that.

Cody Johnston 58:44
That’s good. So Austin, what is one question you’d like to leave in the minds of people trying to break out of their fear mentality? How powerful was the cross? Man?

Elaine Johnston 58:57
I got chills, honestly.

Good question.

Austin Fletcher 59:01
And it’s a belief thing. How powerful Do you believe it was? Because if it’s more powerful than Adam, then you’ve already won. If it’s less powerful, then you still got some work to do. I know that because I asked that for myself. And it changed my life.

Cody Johnston 59:16
That is some heavy stuff right there. So with that, Austin, where can people find your show get access to you? I know you have a community? Where can people get involved in New Age Christianity?

Austin Fletcher 59:31
Well, thank you. We’ve got Facebook community have a public page and we have a private group for interaction, New Age christianity.org is the website. And then the New Age Christian podcast is on all of your traditional podcast channels. You know, Stitcher, I Heart Radio, Spotify, iTunes, all that stuff. I know, we’ve talked about connecting more and more as well. So it’s a I’m looking forward to seeing our communities find each other and find a lot of, you know, there’s a little bit more of a new age flavor, I think on our side of the on our side of the fence, but we’re still a lot of former Christians who who just kind of come this far. So I’d say that’s probably 90% of us. So yeah, love to get to know you guys and your peeps looking forward to it.

Cody Johnston 1:00:18
Absolutely. And everyone listening, all of Austin’s links are in the show notes below where you can find everything he’s got going on. I’m a personal fan of the show. We’re iTunes neighbors. So if you look up new age Christianity, you’ll be in our neck of the woods. We’re different links to the chain. He’s a little further down the chain than we are. But we’re all on the same journey. And I think that this is just a mutually I love connections where it’s not just one sided. It’s a mutual thing where we can serve each other Yeah, serve each other and serve the people that are drawn to to both of us an offer something to give. So Austin, thank you so much for sharing. We have more stuff coming with in the future. And until then, we’ll talk soon, man.

Austin Fletcher 1:01:03
Alright, sounds good. Thanks, guys.

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•   How powerful to you, was the cross?

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Austin Fletcher

Austin Fletcher

Host of New Age Christianity
Austin is the creator of NewAgeChristianity.org and is the host of New Age Christianity, a podcast exploring faith as it is changing and understanding the fullness of the Spirit free from the burdens of religiosity.Visit New Age Christianity

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There is freedom that Christ came to give your from law. Freedom from law, rules and regulatory righteousness. - Austin Click To Tweet 
Jesus had a perfect message and yet one of the 12 apostles didn't listen. Judging fruit isn't about the speaker but about where you are at in your spiritual life. - Austin Click To Tweet 

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