Posted by: rhenderson8110 | February 7, 2014

Christian Yoga? It’s A Stretch… Part 3

Okay, fine but what is the real harm to Christians of practicing yoga anyways? How can we know if God even cares?

After studying into this I have found that yoga is somewhat of a ‘gateway’ into more and more occult belief. But don’t take it from me. One of the early pioneers of Hatha Yoga, Richard Hittleman, stated, “that as yoga students practiced the physical positions, they would eventually be ready to investigate the spiritual component which is “the entire essence of the subject”’ (Yoga Journal, May/June 1993, p. 68).  In this final blog on this topic I’d like to go through 4 basic biblical truths that solidify the need for Christians to avoid practicing yoga.

1.You shall have no other gods before Me.
Yoga is a Hindu form of spiritual worship. Take a look; it’s there in the definition. Hinduism has over 300 gods and the different postures are posed to worship them. We are to be a people that do not worship in any way any other god. (Exodus 20:1-5) The Bible states repeatedly that there is One God (Isa 44:6-8, 45:5, 18, 21-22) Equally as prevalent in scripture is the condemnation of idolatry. “You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you.” Deut. 6:14 (Psa 96:4-5, 115:4-8) Typically in places where yoga is practiced you will find yourself surrounded by Buddha’s and a plethora of other Hindu and/or Christian deities. This is also not an environment a Christian should seek out.

I also want to point out the fact that the ‘god’ mentioned in yoga is not the same God that we worship… though many would have you believe they are one in the same. A basic tenant of Christianity is that there is one true God and no other. He is not the Universe or a collection of spirits and there is no god inside each of us. It is different entirely to believe that upon baptism God places a portion of his spirit in us. We are not gods. Rather we are fighting a corrupt human nature (Romans 8:7) inside us and attempting to submit it to God the Father and Jesus Christ with the help of the holy spirit. This can also be confused with God’s plan for us. We are called to be part of the God-family when Christ returns. However, we are not gods now and even when we are in the Kingdom of God the Father & Jesus Christ will have authority over us. We will be doing their will not doing whatever we’d like. We will not be sovereign. Hence the biblical teaching is quite different from that of Eastern religion/yoga.

2.Understanding Syncretism
4“Religious syncretism is probably the most dangerous thing we can involve ourselves in because we can rationalize its purpose.” It has been brought up to me that many themes in yoga are similar to themes in Christianity and are therefore congruent. i.e. the need to reconcile (commune) with God, biblical meditation, ‘be still and know that I am God’… etc. I am not denying that they are somewhat similar. In fact that is why I felt the need to write about it. What I am saying is that the scripture specifically tells us to ‘test the spirits.’(1John4:4) In the Garden of Eden there were 2 trees: the tree of good & evil and the tree of life. The ‘bad’ tree still has some good mixed in. I believe yoga falls into this category- there is some good mixed into a largely occultic practice.
We cannot take a Hindu practice designed to worship false gods, paste Christianity in front and call it godly. There is a relationship between yoga and religion. The problem is that it does not fit Christianity.

3.He Cares How You Worship Him
In John 4:24 it says that we are to ‘worship God in spirit and in truth.’ So, what is truth? ‘Sanctify them by your truth; Your Word is truth.’(John 17:17) So truth is what is in God’s Word- and nowhere else. And guess what? God has a TON to say about how He wants to be worshiped in His Word. It is a mistake to believe that we can worship God in any way that we choose. Let’s look at a few biblical examples to prove this:2

  • Exodus 20:2-6: The second commandment forbids not only worshiping anything other than the true God, but also worshiping God in a way he has not commanded, such as making an image.
  • Leviticus 10:1-3: Nadab and Abihu offered “strange fire” to God and he killed them. Why? For worshiping him in a way he had not prescribed.
  • 1 Samuel 15:22: God rejected Saul’s sacrifice because God had not authorized him to offer it.
  • Matthew 15:1-14: Jesus charged the Pharisees with ignoring and attacking God’s law because they added to it. He then described their actions as false, unacceptable worship.
  • John 4:20-26: In his encounter with the Samaritan woman, Jesus asserted that worship must be according to God’s revelation.
  • So you see, God does care how we worship Him. It should be our goal not to worship in the way that is most pleasing to us but rather in a way that glorifies and pleases God. I believe it is safe to say that yoga, a Hindu means to worship false gods, is not pleasing to the God of the bible.

    4.Guard Your Mind
    3”Yoga is one of the basic means of reaching this altered state of consciousness. And the altered state is the doorway to the occult. Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize Winner for his research on the brain, said the brain is ‘a machine that a ghost can operate.’ In a normal state of consciousness one’s own spirit ticks off the neurons in his brain and operates his body. We are spirits connected with a body. But in an altered state, reached under drugs, Yoga, hypnosis, visualization, this passive but alert state, the connection between the spirit and the brain, is loosened. That allows another spirit to interpose itself, to begin to tick off the neurons in the brain, and create an entire universe of illusion. You’ve then opened yourself up to the spiritual realm which God forbids for us to enter. It’s called sorcery. Those encouraged to use meditation, yoga, visualization, chakra energizing, Spirit guides could certainly take advantage of these open areas.”
    Do not be deceived. As I begin to wrap up I just want to say that I think Christians are sometimes accused of being fear-mongers- always afraid of what is ‘out there,’ trying to seduce them away from God. While I am not trying to scare anyone I do see much biblical precedence for guarding our minds and hearts from evil forces. (Pro.4:23, Pro. 7:25) We are commanded to be vigilant and alert and to defend ourselves. To do so is not something to be ashamed of. “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord… as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.” (Deut. 18:9-13) Christianity calls its followers not to fearfulness but rather to courage- even if what they stand by is not popular or appreciated. So I would encourage you to cling to God’s Word for guidance and stand proudly upon what God calls us to do. Don’t feel bad for guarding your mind; it is what God is calling you to do!

    2 Tim. 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of Godmay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.In other words, God’s Word fully equips us to do everything that He asks of us. There are many biblical, God-ordained ways to worship Him, commune with Him and find peace. As Christians we are equipped! We do not need to borrow from Eastern religion what the God of the Bible has already provided in abundance.

    Also, just so that you know I am going to do a study on what biblical mediation is and I will report back at a later date! Thanks for sticking with me through all 3 parts and I hope you gained as much out of it as I did!

    Sources:

    1. Yoga and the Body of Christ by Dave Hunt

    2. http://www.9marks.org/answers/true-or-false-god-only-cares-we-worship-him-not-how-we-worship-him

    3. http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/yoga.htm

    4. http://www.spiritual-research-network.com/yoga-and-christianity.html

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