Google+ Followers

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Reputedly Conservative Churches Embrace 'Holy Yoga'



Reputedly Conservative Churches Embrace 'Holy Yoga'

By Dr. Paul M. Elliott, April 2, 2013


  "...have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness..."  Ephesians 5:8-11

Just when you may have thought things couldn't get worse in reputedly conservative churches, they do.


I have been counseling people - and advising them to leave - an Orthodox Presbyterian church where "Holy Yoga" is being taught as a sanctioned "wellness" program of the church. One of the mottoes of the program, we are told, is "Connect with Christ through Yoga." Despite protests from some in the congregation, the church elders are continuing this abomination, and we understand that the presbytery is simply looking the other way.

 Corpse Pose: Savasana,



This development only underscores the fact that when a denomination compromises the one true Gospel, deeper apostasies inevitably follow - often much sooner than anyone would have imagined, and in seemingly unthinkable directions.



"Holy Yoga" is a syncretistic mingling of Hinduism and Christianity. It is a latter-day manifestation of the same evil spirit that drove King Ahaz of ancient Judah. We find the sad record of his syncretism in 2 Kings chapter 16 and 2 Chronicles chapter 28. Ahaz saw and admired a great pagan altar in Damascus. So, he decided to have a copy of it made in Jerusalem and set up in the temple alongside the brazen altar of the one true and living God. Ahaz caused the Levitical priests to offer sacrifices upon it.


In no time at all, this "great new altar" supplanted God's ordained brazen altar, the only true place of sacrifice for sins. That altar was soon "re-purposed" for use as an altar of divination. In the course of time, Ahaz gave himself completely over to the worship of the Baals, even burning his own children in the pagan sacrificial fires, and leading the nation in practicing all sorts of abominations.

 


"Holy Yoga" or "Christian Yoga" is just such an abomination in our day. It is a part of the growing "contemplative spirituality" movement that mixes Eastern and Roman Catholic mysticism with de-contextualized snippets of the Bible to produce a feelings-based, man-centered religion of "inner peace" that ever so gently carries souls to the fires of Hell. Yet in our time, it is becoming an accepted and integral part of "wellness programs" and "spiritual formation programs" sponsored by reputedly conservative churches (among them Orthodox Presbyterians, Southern Baptists, and independent Evangelicals). This abomination has been lauded in magazines like Christianity Today.


Christians must flee such things. Once an individual Christian or a church sets up a God-forbidden "second altar" and seeks to approach God on such a basis, that forbidden thing will soon become the "dominant altar." The principle that the Apostle Paul sets forth in 1 Corinthians 6 regarding the evil of sexual immorality applies to spiritual immorality as well:

 Cobra  Pose: Savasana,



Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh." But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:15-17)


Christians do not need to "connect with Christ through Yoga." It is, spiritually, to be joined to a harlot. Shame on any man who calls himself a Gospel preacher who would sanction such a thing. Christians and churches must fellowship with and learn of their Lord through the means He has ordained:



Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)


The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.


Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:7-14)

God has, at times, used even defiant apostasy to stir the hearts of the slumbering who still know and love the truth of His Word. May it be so now. May our Lord use even this abomination in reputedly conservative churches, to stir people and churches who know the truth and seek to remain loyal to Christ, so they may renounce the counterfeit authority of churches like the OPC and "come out from among them" in true holiness (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).

Is There "Christian" Yoga?
by Roger Oakland



June 16, 2009

"Yes to Yoga: Can a Christian breathe air that has been offered to idols?"1 The title caught my attention in a Christianity Today article. The author begins:
"It's 7:45 p.m. on a weekday and for the first time today, I consciously slow down my breathing. I send the air deep down into my belly, letting it rise and fall like a wave.

"In ... Out ... Along with a group of 30 people ... I use the unhurried cadences of the air filling and leaving my lungs to lull my muscles and joints into daring postures....

"Finally--my favorite pose that comes at the end of each workout--a corpse, during which I lay down and relax every muscle.2

Now, you may be asking the question, why would Christianity Today publish an article promoting Eastern religion? Yet, the author of the article claims to be an evangelical born-again Christian. She says yoga draws her closer to Jesus. In her own words:

"[Y]oga has never had any negative influence on me, and it doesn't trigger any harmful religious impulses. Just the opposite is true. The three hours a week I spend doing yoga ... draw[s] me closer to Christ."3

The woman sees yoga as a way to connect with the Holy Spirit, and the breathe in, breathe out repetition is essential:

"Holy Spirit in. Anything that's not from God out. Come Holy Spirit. Renew my mind. In. Out."4

Christian yoga practitioners often claim they cannot be deceived, even though they know what yoga is and where it comes from. The author of the article states:

"Now, my enthusiasm for yoga doesn't mean I'm in denial about its Hindu roots.... I know that hard-core yogis believe that yoga is more than exercise or a relaxation technique. To them, it's a religious ritual. But the Hindu gods don't make it onto my mat. Yoga purists don't lead classes at mainstream American gyms."5

In other words, it's OK to do yoga if you only do it halfway. But the problem is, you cannot disobey God just halfway--and the demons know it. So what would Jesus say? Can a Christian incorporate Hindu spiritual practices in order to get closer to the Jesus of the Bible? I have a strong suspicion the "Hindu gods" have an agenda to introduce unsuspecting yoga practitioners to a different Jesus.


A most insightful article on this topic comes from a surprising source. The article, titled "There is No Christian Yoga," is written by Yogi Baba Prem, a Hindu Yogi, a Vedavisharada trained in the traditional gurukural system. Listen to what he has to say about Christian yoga:

"It was quite astonishing to see on the flyer "Christian Yoga! This Thursday night...." I could feel the wheels spinning in my brain. "Christian Yoga," I thought. Now while Christians can practice yoga, I am not aware of any Christian teachings about yoga. Yoga is not a Judeo/Christian word! ... It is a Hindu word, or more correctly a Sanskrit word from the Vedic civilization. So how did we get "Christian Yoga"?...


"Hinduism should reclaim its full heritage and not allow other groups to rename its sacred teachings under their banner, especially when they have no history of those teaching within their own system. If they wish to "borrow" and say this comes from our brothers and sisters in Hinduism, then that is another thing.... Hinduism should guard against its sacred traditions becoming distorted and taken away."6

This Hindu yogi resents Christians grabbing Hinduism's spiritual practice and calling it Christian. His resentment is understandable. How would we feel if there was suddenly a new craze called Hindu communion. We'd say, "Communion is about Jesus Christ. It can't possibly be called Hindu." How tragic that a Hindu guru sees the problem, but Christian leaders don't. In 2006, the same year this article came out, Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher, published a book titled Yoga for Christians. And incredibly enough, many ministries and Christian organizations are selling the book in their bookstores!

From Faith Undone, chapter 6, "When East Meets West" - for more on Yoga and its Hindu roots, read Out of India)

Notes:
1. Agnieszka Tennant, "Yes to Yoga" (Christianity Today, May 2005, http://www.christianity today.com/ct/2005/120/42.0.html).
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Yogi Baba Prem, Vedavisharada, CYI, C.ay, C.va, "There is No Christian Yoga" (October 2006, http://yogibabaprem.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/10/there-is-no-christian-yoga.htm