This commentary was originally published a little less than a year ago on February 24, 2008 by Raiders News Network (RNN), but it is still applicable to today.
In fact, it's even more relevant today than ever before! I felt it was a good time to introduce it here given the two commentaries I published earlier today.
On a side note, I like how the Lord has been reminding me of these things given my recent struggles about certain things I cannot explain.
Meditate On This: A Christian Response To New Age Spirituality
By Jeffrey K. Radt
Published February 24, 2008
So this is what happens when the flock is left unguarded?
It hasn’t happened overnight, but slowly and surely this nation has succumbed to the perils of false religions gaining a foothold in mainstream society.
Due to their widespread acceptance, I’d venture to guess that many of us are oblivious to what’s been happening right under our noses.
I for one have had enough! This is especially true now that I’ve learned about some "well-meaning" types who have preyed on the emotions of a family member following the death of her husband.
If we Christians can’t stand for truth even if it runs the risk of public ridicule and humiliation then should we really call ourselves Christians?
So much for following the command to be "watchmen" or the "salt and light of the earth." Give the devil and inch and he’ll become your ruler.
There seems to be a growing trend these days involving unbiblical practices such as mysticism and eastern practices being introduced into local churches under the guise of Christian self-awareness and spiritual healing.
Worse is the fact that many so-called Christians are beginning to fall for these blasphemous and dangerous teachings with open arms and in record numbers.
These spiritual growth programs have grown in popularity because they give so freely what so many people seek from their religion and faith in the 21st century - - a feel good, seeker sensitive message and experience.
I hate to ruin the party, but there is absolutely nothing "Christian" about these teachings. Take yoga for instance. News With Views columnist Marsha West pulls no punches when she boldly asks, "Are Christians who practice yoga going against the Bible?"
She continues by stating, "Many won't like the answer, but here it is anyway: The Bible says, ‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds but rather expose them.’ Exposing evil keeps Christians from being ‘polluted by the world.’ And yes, yoga is evil."
Yoga is being marketed to churches with the assurance of creating stress reduction, developing self-confidence, and improving concentration. It is also marketed to business and industry, athletes, senior citizens, students, teens and adolescents.
Because of our fast paced lifestyle, who wouldn't want to reduce stress? This is precisely why yoga classes have become so popular. Now here's the main reason Christians should avoid yoga.
Christian apologists John Ankerberg and John Weldon maintain that, "The basic premise of yoga theory is the fundamental unity of all existence: God, man, and all of creation are ultimately one divine reality."
Many proponents teach that practicing yoga can help draw the individual closer to God, improve spirituality, create self-awareness and, blasphemy of all blasphemies, help devotees find divinity within oneself.
I hope by now there are warning bells going off in your head.
Occult and Cult Expert, Caryl Matrisciana, gives the reason God forbids His people to partake in pagan practices. She says, "While the word 'Yoga' isn't mentioned in the Bible, the idea of 'yoking' oneself to pagan gods and concepts is forbidden as is adulating self's desire above God's will."
Surely, many Christians will argue that they only do the stretching and relaxation exercises. And since they don't embrace all that "divinity within" stuff Hindu's believe in, what's all the fuss about?
They simply cannot wrap their minds around the idea that yoga cannot be separated from its Hindu roots. Let’s look at that again. Yoga has Hindu roots, not Christian roots.
To be fair, I shouldn’t pick on just yoga. I mean, after all, there are so many other examples of spiritual deception; of philosophies and teachings that are vying for our limited attention.
Maybe you’ve read the news about Oprah’s plans for her XM Satellite Radio Show this year. In case you missed it, here’s what you have to look forward to.
As reported by RNN, "Oprah & Friends" began offering a year-long course on the New Age teachings of "A Course in Miracles." A lesson a day throughout the year will completely cover the 365 lessons from the "A Course in Miracles Workbook."
For example, Lesson #29 asks you to go through your day affirming that "God is in everything I see." Lesson #61 tells each person to repeat the affirmation "I am the light of the world." Lesson #70 teaches the student to say and believe "My salvation comes from me."
Are those warning bells and whistles going off again? I pray to God that they are.
For those of us who can’t stomach Oprah, don’t worry because Satan’s henchmen the New Agers have thought of us too. Waiting rooms across the country are turning into "meditating" rooms as part of the "Don’t Wait—Meditate" campaign of the Meditation Challenge.
"The goal of the Meditation Challenge is to help 100,000 people develop the habit of meditation," says author/speaker/meditation facilitator Lisa Hepner of Peaceful Earth, LLC.
Because what is a life lived without experiencing a true connection to self and the world around us, right? We need to unleash our inner self and realize that we are god. Give me a break!
Last, but not least, we have Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) or, what I refer to as the deception that’s trying to make a stronghold in my family.
Unlike yoga and Oprah, this is probably one of the few new "enlightened" movements you haven’t heard of - - yet.
As stated on The International Center for Reiki Training’s website:
"Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
"The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy."
"A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and well-being."
Where do I begin?
Let’s start with its origins. Reiki is a "Japanese technique" probably with connections to Buddhism if I had to guess. Even if I’m wrong in that assumption, that still certainly rules it out as a Christian practice.
The main goal of Reiki is to promote and foster physical healing by teaching a person how to interact with "an unseen life force energy." Definitely no mention of a "life force energy" in the Bible. The website goes on to explain:
"While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it.
"While Reiki is not a religion, it is still important to live and act in a way that promotes harmony with others. Dr. Mikao Usui, the founder of the Reiki system of natural healing, recommended that one practice certain simple ethical ideals to promote peace and harmony, which are nearly universal across all cultures."
Maybe I’m missing something, but how do Reiki proponents reconcile the fact that even though they are clear that they do not want to be thought of as a "religion" their process "comes from God."
Wait, I understand completely. This is pure genius and perfect for the times we live in! If a New World Order and One-World Political, Religious, Financial system is the goal of Satan in these end-times, what better way to bring people of multiple faiths together in peace and harmony then under the banner of universality or under the belief that "Reiki is a system of natural healing that can bring you closer to God - - no matter who your God is - - because it comes from God."
Practitioners are not asked to change any religious or spiritual beliefs they may have. They are free to continue believing anything they choose and are encouraged to make their own decisions concerning the nature of their religious practices.
I was going to continue with my analysis until I came upon this next line:
"During a meditation several years after developing Reiki, Dr. Usui decided to add the Reiki Ideals to the practice of Reiki."
It’s time to draw a line and stand for truth.
As with all things that are evil and not from the God of the Bible, there will always be a shred of truth - - just enough - - mixed with deception to make a person think that what they are allowing into their lives is beneficial.
It does not matter if a person who promotes this teaching says they are a Christian and that they believe in Jesus. These are the same people who, in the next breath, will tell you that "there’s so much more to life and this existence that we just don’t understand."
Sure, they might make some pseudo-Christian claims, but whenever anyone says these types of things what they are really saying is that the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures aren't enough, but they have access to the REAL, secret, and true knowledge.
Any sensible Christian realizes right away that this is dead wrong. It is core to our entire faith (and spiritual experience) that there are no "secrets" that are not accessible to the simplest child of God by the Holy Spirit.
These people may claim or seem to possess the ability of healing and will often speak about that, but the healing is not associated with the Holy Spirit, that I can tell, but is rather due to the power which they have through their own efforts as a Reiki Master.
This is spiritual deception in its most vile form. Have you noticed that at the root of each of these examples is their reliance on meditation?
This should always be a buzz word for all Christians to stop in their tracks and reassess what they’re getting themselves into.
Thanks again to Marsha West’s piece for touching upon this critical element that instantly nullifies the credibility of any presumed Christian theology.
"What harm is there in achieving a higher state of consciousness through meditation?" queries Douglas Groothuis in his article "Dangerous Meditations."
His answer should give those who practice yoga cause for concern:
"Eastern mystics claim that divine realities are utterly beyond words, thought, and personality. In order to find 'enlightenment,' one must extinguish one's critical capacities -- something the Bible never calls us to do (Rom. 12:1-2). In fact, suspending our critical capacities through meditation opens the soul to deception and even to spiritual bondage.
"The biblical worldview is completely at odds with the pantheistic concepts driving Eastern meditation. We are not one with an impersonal absolute being that is called 'God.' Rather, we are estranged from the true personal God because of our 'true moral guilt,' as Francis Schaeffer says.
"No amount of chanting, breathing, visualizing, or physical contortions will melt away the sin that separates us from the Lord of the cosmos—however 'peaceful' these practices may feel. Moreover, Paul warns that 'Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light' (2 Cor. 11:14). 'Pleasant' experiences may be portals to peril. Even yoga teachers warn that yoga may open one up to spiritual and physical maladies."
Mantra meditation is unbiblical.
Christians who engage in mysticism (i.e. any form of meditation) can open themselves up to demonic oppression. On the other hand, unbelievers can be, and some actually are, demon possessed.
Don’t believe me? That’s fine because it’s not my opinion. I’m just telling you what God has to say as given to us through Scripture in the Holy Bible.
According to the Bible's teaching on spirits, the "contact" and "dialogue" is with none other than demons. So what's being touted here is occultic channeling/mediumistic practices that are forbidden by God! (Leviticus 19:31, Leviticus 20:6, Deuteronomy 18:10-11, 1 Chronicles 10:13, Jeremiah 27:9-10, Acts 16:16-24, and Revelation 22:15).
If you’re a self-professing Christian, once you choose to involve yourself in mysticism, where are the boundaries?
It's wonderful to "feel" closer to God, especially if you're going through a rough time of it. However, engaging in meditation is just plain wrong!
As I've pointed out, God opposes any involvement in mysticism - - He even calls it evil. And by the way, Christians should be very weary of trusting their "feelings" and "experiences." Can you really trust your emotions?
Christians are called to obedience. Meaning, they must keep God's commandments whether they like it or not. The reward in keeping His commandments is that you can know that you know Him.
"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams" (1 Sam 15:22).
I challenge anyone to research this subject and reach your own conclusions if you don’t believe my analysis here, but the Bible is very clear.
Sadly, many have taken the time to do so and yet when the research is documented and presented in such a way so that their church can clearly see why the practices they are implementing are dangerous and unbiblical those objections fall on deaf ears.
In many cases, these same individuals are warned about having a "bad attitude" and they are encouraged to look the other way. This story is all too common. Why does it continue to happen?
Most evangelical churches have elders and these elders are responsible for the Lord’s flock. People who have witnessed their churches being infiltrated by unbiblical teachings and practices have revealed a serious problem in our evangelical movement: elders who do not think that what is being taught and practiced in their church is important enough to judge biblically.
This is eternally serious. In many cases, these elders consider their primary job to be - - support the senior pastor and his reputation at all costs. Their secondary job - - watch over the financial well being of the church as a corporation. Their tertiary job - - make sure no one rocks the boat.
Thus, in these elders’ interpretation of their job description, the problem in the church becomes those concerned members who care about the integrity of the gospel message.
It’s no wonder our nation is in the kind of shape it’s in if the collective hearts and minds of our congregations are left unprotected against these new belief systems.
Why are these deceptive practices becoming more and more popular by the day? I think the best reason might be that they all seem to offer new answers to the spiritual questions that the spiritually hungry masses have.
We’re all spiritual beings with the same innate desires. One of the most common is our desire to understand the meaning of life or the "Why am I here?" answer.
The aforementioned philosophies represent a practical, rational, logical, and truthful approach to spirituality (or so many would believe). Perhaps the answer is much simpler than that.
One thing’s for sure, none of them contain any form of condemnation, but offer love and acceptance to all without any talk of "sin," "repentance," and possibility of "eternal damnation."
Most importantly, they seem to have all the answers! They offer what seems like a practical approach to cultivating a relationship with divinity. They offer a systematic approach and an abstract approach to meet the varying temperaments of the spirituality hungry.
Perhaps the reason why so many Christians are being led to the spiritual slaughter is because they have all grown tired of a book filled with what they see as only judgment, inflexibility, and condemnation as they believe it is no longer fulfilling the needs of the masses or even the leaders of their church.
Besides, when churches offer these new methodologies as "seminars" and "classes" it allows the "Christian" to secretly practice such things as New Age Spirituality without having to renounce their Christian tradition.
The fact of the matter is that the Bible is the literal, inerrant Word of God. Either you believe that to be an undisputed fact or you cannot call yourself a Christian. There’s just no getting around it.
You cannot pick-and-choose the parts of the Bible you wish to be true and ignore the ones that you don’t like because they make you feel uncomfortable or convict you of some sin in your life. It’s either all true or it’s all false, but you have to decide for yourself.
Thus, only the most progressives and liberal Christians will disagree with this piece and bend it and twist it and shape it into their postmodern worldview.
Pray that the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to them before it’s too late. If you have to, do your part to bend-over-backwards to make them see the light.
Should A Christian Be Involved With Yoga?
Meditate On This: A Christian Response To New Age Spirituality
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