“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1Timothy 6: 9-10).

While traveling in third world nations, I have observed secular success books, which I knew to contain new age, mind science teaching, being sold alongside Christian success books in Christian bookstores. When I inquired as to why they were selling these secular books the book seller replied, “These authors teach Christian principles.”

Several years before this, two men who worked one of the large Fortune 500 companies in our area had shared with me a business training seminar to which their company had sent them. They were excited about the seminar because they thought the instructors were Christian since they had quoted a number of biblical scriptures and had even quoted the words of Jesus while presenting the seminar. But these instructors were not Christian; they were members of one of the new age, human potential organizations, which combine and synthesize many different religious and philosophical views into their business success teachings. 

The final event that caused me to include this chapter in Business by the Spirit occurred when a Christian friend of mine excitedly related to me an event that had occurred in a recent sales training meeting sponsored by his multilevel marketing company. The sales trainer had been teaching the class that they could harness the power of the mind to increase and consummate their sales. In order to demonstrate this power, he had my friend sit in a chair in front of the class; he directed the other students to concentrate their thoughts on elevating him off the chair. My friend was quite excited as he related this story, because he had actually been lifted off the chair by what he considered to be the “combined power of the group’s minds.” Unfortunately my friend, even though he was a Christian, did not recognize that he had just been levitated out of the chair by a demonic occult power, a power that is often called upon by those involved in cultic religions.

It is important to recognize that not all secular success motivation teaching (SSMT) is secular; some of these success teachers have borrowed occult techniques and teachings from the metaphysical and mind science religions, and have repackaged them under the New Age Human Potential Movement.

“The New Age movement is a loosely structured network of individuals and organizations who share a vision of a new age of enlightenment and harmony (the “Age of Aquarius”) and who subscribe to a common “world view.” According to Ron Rhodes an editor with the Christian Research Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina, some New Age human potential seminars, such as Lifespring, est, and The Forum “teach attendees that “you are your own god” and “you can create your own reality.” He reports that “Sometimes these seminars seek to induce an altered state of consciousness in attendees to lead them to question their former understanding of reality.” (1)

In spite of these questionable practices, many Fortune 500 companies have been eager to use the New Age seminars because “they promise increased productivity, better employee relations, more creativity among workers, and—bottom line—more sales.”(1)

The new age practitioners feel at home with the Judeo-Christian Bible and freely quote principles from the Bible and the words of Jesus, but they mix these teachings with the teachings of Buddhism, Hinduism, other religious doctrines, including the principals taught by some occult mystics. Often the immature Christian attending one of these seminars mistakes these human potential teachers for Christians because they teach some biblical principles. But the new age movement is syncretistic, combining many different practices and beliefs in religion and philosophy in an effort to gain compromise and unity. One of the first indicators that these teachers are not Christian is when you hear them refer to “the subconscious mind.”

These secular success teachers often refer to a mysterious “universal intelligence” from which the subconscious mind may channel the energy and knowledge of the universe, in order to transmute one’s desires into their physical equivalent. One SSMT states, “You are surrounded by a universal mind that contains all the intelligent ideas and knowledge that ever existed or that ever will exist.” These SSMT teach their pupils that the secret to the ages, the key to health, happiness and prosperity can be theirs if they only learn to tap into this universal intelligence. Various SSMT call it by different names: Napoleon Hill, an early twentieth century SSMT, referred to it as “Infinite Intelligence”; Ralph Waldo Emerson called it “The Oversoul”; Madame Blavastsky a Russian occult practitioner who founded the Theosophy Society in 1875, called it “The Secret Doctrine”; Carl Jung, the Swiss psychoanalyst who was once an associate of Sigmund Freud’s, called it the “Supra-conscious Mind.” This doctrine has also been called by a number of similar names. Beware of such teachings; this “universal intelligence” by any name is simply a secular title for a principality of Satan’s kingdom whose assignment it is to woo men away from the truth of the living God by helping them to become rich.

To the worldly Christian this “universal intelligence” sounds a lot like the Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent God of the Bible; except that it makes no moral judgment and requires no moral commitment. I began reading these secular motivation books long before I became a Christian, and because of my lack of biblical knowledge, I like some of the readers of this book assumed that “universal intelligence” was the Christian God. Fortunately I did not become heavily involved in these cultic philosophies, or I may never have recognized the truth and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. 

The SSMT move naturally into these mind science and cultic religious philosophies because they think that man is a mental and physical being. Most of them are completely ignorant of the fact that they are in reality dealing with evil, occult spirits. They teach that if one develops a burning desire, and a definite purpose in their subconscious mind, that this universal intelligence will give them the power and the information required to make them successful in life. They suggest that it may come as inner voice, a chance encounter with other people, or by creative ideas which will help them fulfill their goals in life; it may also come through an unpredictable event which manifests in their life.

One SSMT pioneer, who developed his philosophy of success in the first part of the twentieth century, began to hold imaginary meetings with great men of the past in which he solicited their wisdom and advice. He reportedly found that these meetings became so real that he became fearful of their consequences and discontinued them for several months. These meetings were what we in the Christian world refer to as a séance involving familiar spirits (spirits who were familiar with the lives of men from the past) who pose as the spirits of men from the past. (King Saul disobeyed the Jewish law and sought a séance to inquire of a dead spirit in the final days of his life…1 Samuel 28:7-19) This SSMT claimed that the ability to access this universal intelligence was a major factor in the tremendous success enjoyed by hundreds of extremely wealthy men and women that he had interviewed over the years. 

The Bible states that the devil is the “god of this world.” It is his desire to monopolize the wealth of the world financial system to prevent it from being used to evangelize the world for God. Therefore it should come of no surprise that he will do everything possible to help worldly men and women to accumulate and hoard large amounts of wealth. The spirit of greed that motivates many of these worldly men and women to lust after wealth is the very spirit that often destroys them.

The SSMT principles have helped thousands, perhaps millions of individuals to achieve great financial success in nearly every area of our society. In many cases however, the very riches they gained have led them to engage in ungodly activities that have eventually destroyed their lives. On the other hand some wealthy men live reasonably moral lives and some even give large amounts of their wealth to charity, but if they die without accepting Jesus as their Savior, they sadly will spend eternity in hell, separated from the living God. It was this type of man that prompted Jesus to ask, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) 
In the parable of the unjust manager, Jesus equates the “love for money” with the service of Mammon. (Luke 16:9-13) (Mammon is generally considered to be the name of the demonic principality which dominates the world’s financial system.) Paul says that “the love of money” is a root of all kinds of evil,…” (1 Timothy 6:10). Notice that Paul did not say, “money is the root of all evil”; he said “the love of money.” Money must be handled carefully and used wisely in order that the desire for it doesn’t seduce us from true devotion to God. The Manufacturer’s Handbook says, “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).
In this closing paragraph of Part I, “Getting Started in the Spirit,” I would like to share a tragic story concerning the lives of seven successful and wealthy men; it is a story that has been told many times, but its tragic ending makes it deserving of telling it once again. “In 1923 a group of the world’s most successful financiers met at the Edgewater Beach Hotel in Chicago. Collectively these men controlled more wealth than there was in the United States Treasury…”
They included the following:

President of the New York Stock Exchange

President of the largest independent steel company in the U.S.A.

A member of the President’s Cabinet

President the Bank of International Settlements

The greatest wheat speculator in the U.S.A.

Head of the largest monopoly in the world

The “Great Baron of Wall Street”


All these men knew the “secret of success.” All were multi-millionaires. The policies they set in that meeting had an impact on the United States of America for many years in the future. But twenty-seven years later, their wealth had fled and had left them devastated.

Richard Whitney—president of the New York Stock Exchange served time in prison and died shortly after he was released.

Charles Schwab—president of United States Steel went bankrupt and lived on borrowed money the last five years of his life; he died penniless.

Albert Fall—member of the President’s Cabinet was pardoned from prison so that he could die at home.

Leon Fraser—president of the Bank of International Settlements committed suicide. 

Arthur Cutten—the greatest wheat speculator was a fugitive from justice and died in a foreign land.

Ivan Krueger—head of the greatest monopoly in the world committed suicide.

Jesse Livermore—the “Baron of Wall Street” committed suicide.


All of these men had risen to the top of their various professions. All knew the thrill of high achievement. But these men had made money and success their god, and the desire for riches had caused them to compromise their integrity. When their riches failed them, these once-powerful men were devastated, and they had nowhere to turn. You see, it is important to remember Jesus’ words: “…it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:23).
(1) New Age Movement, © 1995, by Ron Rhodes (Pg 7, 16, & 24)