Christian Yoga?

Christian Yoga?

Q.    I find much benefit in practising Yoga, despite Christian critics decrying it. Can it not be made acceptable if one kept one’s mind focussed on the Lord?

A.    This subject crops up regularly which suggests it has a strong appeal to many sincere people. We believe this is a deception used by Satan to draw people away from the Lord. Interestingly, your question comes at a time when we have just received the article appended below, and mention that we support the views expressed in it.

Christian Yoga? A debate is raging over whether yoga can be Christianised. Winnie Young, a Roman Catholic who founded a national yoga institute and authored Yoga for the Christian, claims that Christians don’t have to accept Hindu beliefs to benefit by it.

Some Hindus beg to differ. AshwnTrikamjee, head of the South African Hindu MahaSabha, said, “I don’t understand how anyone can teach yoga from a Christian background” (“Hindu Leaders Slam Yoga for Christians,” The Sunday Times, March 29, 2008). Kamal Maharaj, editor of a Hindu newspaper, agrees. He says that the yoga practitioner must “come out of the box” in regard to deity and not believe that there is only one “personal creator.”

In fact, these Hindus are correct. Professing Christians, who are using yoga and contemplative techniques similar to yoga, which seek to reach a thoughtless meditative state, are deceived. Yoga means union, and it is the attempt to achieve union with God by reaching a mindless alternative state of consciousness through mantras.

Centring prayer, very popular among evangelicals, involves quieting the mind and emptying it of conscious thoughts with the objective of entering into a non-verbal experiential communion with God in the centre of one’s being – nothing more or less than thinly disguised Hindu yoga. It has no biblical basis whatsoever.

When the Bible speaks of being still and quiet before God, it is referring to trusting in Him, submitting to Him, waiting upon Him. Prayer in the Bible is always conscious verbal communication with God. This is the type of praying that Jesus taught (Matthew 6:9-13) and Paul practiced (Romans 1:8-10).

It is instructive that Winnie Young is a Roman Catholic. It is Catholics that have been at the forefront of the contemplative movement, and they have borrowed deeply from Eastern religions for their techniques. Examples are Thomas Merton, Basil Pennington, Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, James Finley, William Shannon, John Michael Talbot, William Johnston, and Thomas Keating. Merton, who heads the field in influence, actually became a Buddhist.

Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen – Jer 10:2. See also Ps 106:34-36.

Bible Prophecy News 12 Apr 2008