Question: Do you have any thoughts on all of this new age influence that seems to be seeping into the church? I am concerned about the growing potential for false teaching. Can you assure me that such is not the case on your website? And could you tell me how to pronounce "Ichthys"?
Response: Thanks for your inquiry. Let me take your last question first. "Ichthys" is a Greek word (meaning fish) so that there are two answers:
1) in our normal English rendering of this non-English word we say ICK - THEES (with the accent on the "ick" which sounds like stick, and the "thees" having a "th" like thin and a long "e" as in these).
2) the Greek is more like ICK-thous (the ou here being like the French "u" or German "u" with an Umlaut).
As to the issue of false teaching, let me assure you that I agree with your concerns about "new age" influences. I believe (and teach) that the whole purpose of our being here after salvation is spiritual growth and service to God (which is mostly to aid the growth of others and is in turn empowered and heightened by spiritual growth). Only through truth (found exclusively in the Bible) can this growth occur. To get closer to God, it takes a lot of seeking, hard work, really - a constant, methodical searching out of truth from the scriptures. This is why the spiritual gift of teaching has been given to the Church, but, of course, teachers have to be prepared. Good, proper Bible teaching ought to be based on the truth of God's word - not a loose connection with it - ought to be based upon a painstaking, exegetical, scholarly and methodical foundation of truth. The superficiality and non-biblical nature of all false teaching (including "new age" influences) is generally readily apparent. I think it fair to say that with even a brief perusal of the materials here at ICHTHYS it will soon become apparent that the proper methodology has been followed here - one needs only to examine the scriptures cited for each and ever principle taught. Some other contrasts between false teaching and this ministry include: False teachers are almost always looking to profit financially from their "ministries" ("the error of Balaam" in Jude 11), -ICHTHYS is a grace ministry, absolutely free (there isn't even any way for you to "give" to it financially).
False teachers are very much interested in "being in charge" and controlling the lives of others ("the rebellion of Korah" in Jude 11) - this ministry allows access to all materials in complete anonymity, preferring to allow the Word and Spirit of God to direct your ways.
False teachers want to substitute their own ways and opinions for what the Word of God has to say, to do things "their way" and react in violent jealousy when crossed ("the way of Cain" in Jude 11). The basis for all the teachings found here are given in detail with much scriptural support, so that the reader is left with his/her Bible, conscience, and the ministry of the Spirit to evaluate the truth without bullying or judging.
False teachers generally attempt to hide their credentials and associations - you will find my curriculum vitae on the website (please also see: About Ichthys).
False teachers inevitably direct people away from the Bible and away from Christ - the living Word (Jesus Christ) and the written word (the Bible) are my life, as can be gleaned from any of the studies available here (see in particular the special "Read your Bible: Protection against Cults).
I hope this helps to give you some guidance. Finding truth in the devil's world can be a very difficult proposition. Few churches or preachers these days are really seriously interested in devoting themselves to the Word of God, and, in fact, there are groups and organizations out there which are actively perverting it (as you suggest).
Please also have a look at the following links:
False Teachers, False Doctrines, and False Christians
The Insidious Nature of False Teaching
False Teaching in Satan's system of world rule
The rise of false teaching during the Tribulation
The Characteristics of antichrist's false religion
The persuasiveness of the tribulational false religion
How to select a pastor.
If you keep seeking Him, you will find Him and His truth.
Yours in Christ,