23 September 2009

No Such Thing as "Christian" Yoga

It drives me crazy how, in our world today, we tack the word "Christian" onto something in order to make it "okay." This may very well soothe our consciences a bit, but I hardly think God is going to let it slide in the end. One of my biggest gripes is "Christian" yoga. It seems that churches are eager to put this on their calendars, but do they realize the danger behind it? Yoga is Hinduism. Period. No way around it. Let's think of it another way and put the word "Christian" in front of some other terms:
  • "Christian" Ouija board
  • "Christian" seance
  • "Christian" witchcraft
  • "Christian" idolatry
Hmm...it doesn't work, does it? Neither does "Christian" yoga. The article below was written by Nathan Jones of Lamb & Lion Ministries. He explains better than I:

A Message from Nathan E. Jones

As a Christian, would you...

1. worship the sun?
2. practice various ritual genuflects to idols?
3. seek to have your spirit leave your body in an attempt to gain mystical knowledge?
4. arouse the "Serpent Power" at the base of your spine to allow a new spirit to enter your brain?
5. merge with a demon to find your "god in us?"
6. writhe on the floor helpless in fear, uncontrollable laughing or weeping, intervals of ecstasy, tremors, spasms, and violent shaking?
7. dabble in the occult in seeking unearthly power?
8. believe that you are God and all is God?

"No way!" you'd easily exclaim. And yet, those are the very things one does when participating in the eastern occultic practice of Yoga.

Yoga is Hinduism

Now, I know what you might be thinking. "Occult? Oh, come on now! Aren't we overreacting just a little bit? Yoga is just exercise."

But, did you know that Yoga is one of the essential religious practices of Hinduism? As Subhas Tiwari, a professor of yoga philosophy and mediation at the Hindu University of America in Orlando, Florida stated in the September 5, 2005 issue of Time Magazine — "Yoga is Hinduism."

Hinduism is monotheistic, sort of. It recognizes one supreme deity known as Brahman, or "ultimate reality." Brahman is the universe and all it contains. Essentially, god is everything, and everything is god, a belief that is known as pantheism. To take the concept further, if everything is god, then that would include you and me. Unlike Christianity, Hinduism has no concept of a personal and knowable God, who is separate from His creation. To a Hindu, Brahman is simply all that exists.

Hinduism also has a polytheistic side. It includes aspects of worship of multiple deities that are all considered manifestations of the one "ultimate reality." In addition to the major incarnations of Brahman, forces of nature, animals, and humans can all be deified, giving Hindus a pantheon of 330 million gods and goddesses to worship.

And, in fact, Yoga is the major missionary arm of Hinduism and the New Age movement in North America.

"Christian" Yoga?

There are a surprising number of Hindu influences in our North American culture. Many of these go unchecked or even unnoticed by the Christian Church. Yoga for one has really caught on in the Christian community and many church calendars have become filled with Yoga classes. The spiritual effects, though, have been detrimental.

Christians will often say about Yoga, "Well, I don't practice the spiritual part of Yoga, I just do it for the exercise. It's the same as the Apostle Paul saying it's OK to eat food sacrificed to idols" (1 Cor. 8).

But, how many people who know of the New Age indoctrinations behind Yoga are standing outside watching Christians practicing it? What by our example are we telling the world?

In verses 9-11, Paul warns, "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge."

Not only does the Christian ruin the testimony of Christ to others, but as verse 12 states, "When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ."

The Christian Response

What should we do with Yoga, then? Verse 13 concludes, "Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall."

Yoga is not worth the workout if it puts your walk with Jesus in peril and ruins the chances of someone coming to Christ.

Because there is a proliferation of false teachers promoting false doctrines indicating we're living in the end times, Jesus is about to fulfill His promise to return (Matt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22). May He not arrive and find us stretching to a "sun salutation" in a Yoga class.

For a detailed look into the occultic practices of Yoga, read the article on The Christ in Prophecy Journal blog or on the Berean Watchmen Ministries' website.

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