Jul 31, 2011

The Power of God’s Word


Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Romans 8:15-17

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out. “Abba. Farther”

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

And if children, then heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Romans 8:26-28

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.


Jul 30, 2011



Praise the Lord.........


Is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda the antichrist?


Is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda the antichrist?

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To put it bluntly, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a heretic.

 He is a false messiah who claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ.

 He refers to himself as "Jesus Christ Man." He is a native Puerto Rican who claims that in 1973, through a vision he received, Jesus Christ "integrated with him." In 1998, he claimed that he was the reincarnation of the apostle Paul.

 In 2005, he officially claimed he was Christ.

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Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda's following has all of the classic signs of a cult.

 There is the claim to extra-biblical authority by way of the vision of Christ "integrating" with him.

There is the fact that Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is the sole, undisputed leader of his movement, and as such he exerts total authority over his church and ministry.

 There is the teaching of exclusive doctrine such as the non-existence of the devil, hell and sin, the futility of prayer, and the irrelevancy of God's moral code (i.e., the Ten Commandments).

He exploits his people financially, living a lavish lifestyle well beyond his reported means based on the generosity of his followers. Finally, there is a defective Christology.

He claims he is greater than Jesus Christ and that his teachings supersede those of Christ.

 He even refers to himself as the Antichrist and sports a "666" tattoo on his forearm, claiming that since He is Christ, worship of Jesus Christ is invalid. His followers are now also receiving 666 tattoos to declare their allegiance to him.

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The Bible predicts that there will be people coming in the last days claiming to be Christ.

In Matthew 24:5, Jesus tells His disciples "see that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray."

One of the signs that the end times are indeed approaching is the rise of false messiahs-people claiming to be the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Yet how did Jesus himself describe His return to earth?

Again in Matthew 24, Jesus gave very specific signs that need to occur before His return. In vv. 3-14, Jesus describes the "birth pains"-signs that will indicate that His return is near. He uses the imagery of a woman giving birth.

Right before delivering the child, the woman will experience labour pains, which begin slow and mild and become more rapid and more painful as the time of birth approaches.

The "birth pains" Jesus describes are these:

1)    the rise of false messiahs; 2) wars and rumours of wars; 3) famines and natural disasters; 4) increased persecution of the true church of Jesus Christ; 5) general apostasy as people turn from true Christianity to false religions being peddled by false prophets; 6) finally, increased lawlessness.

While these things are already happening, when the end is approaching, these things will increase both in intensity and frequency as never before.

The next thing that happens will be the desecration of the temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15).

 Once the temple is desecrated, there will be "great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be" (Matthew 24:21). Theologians call this the period of the Great Tribulation where God will pour His wrath on unrepentant mankind. It will also mark the rise of the final anti-Christ, the man of lawlessness spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4.

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Now mark this, Jesus says "immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:29-30.

The return of Jesus to this earth will be preceded by great and terrible cosmic activity, and then His arrival will be witnessed by all.

This will be no "stealth return" to earth. Jesus says it again when He says,

"For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man"(Matthew 24:27), thereby attesting to the fact that no one will mistake His return to earth.

Does the biblical description of the Second Coming have anything in common with Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda?

 If Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is truly the return of Christ to this earth, when did all of these cosmic events take place? When was the temple in Jerusalem rebuilt so that it could be desecrated? Where is this return of Jesus on the "clouds of heaven"?

 According to the biblical account, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is simply one more, among many, false messiahs.

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Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda's doctrines include the following.

He claims there is no sin and that the law is irrelevant.

 He gets this teaching from misinterpreting passages such as Romans 6:2, Romans 7:6 and Romans 8:2.

 Yet these passages don't teach that there is no sin and that the law is irrelevant.

 Rather they teach that the power of the law and the power of sin were broken when Jesus Christ died on the cross and that by placing our faith in Him (the true Jesus), we are set free from the penalty of the law.

The apostle John said that "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). Romans 7:15-24 is a testament that even the apostle Paul (whose teachings Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda believes are the only teachings which ought to be taught) struggled with sin in his life.

Furthermore, the law, far from being irrelevant, is a necessary part of God's moral code.

Paul says in Romans 7:7 that he would have not known what coveting was had not the law said, "You shall not covet." The law points out our sin and leads us to Christ. True, the law is powerless when it comes to obtaining righteousness before God, but it is not irrelevant.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda also claims there is no hell.

Yet Jesus taught more about hell than He did heaven. The reality of hell is all throughout the New Testament. He claims there is no devil, yet Peter-after the resurrection of Jesus-says that Satan goes about like a "roaring lion" (1 Peter 5:8).

 Finally, regarding Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda's view of the futility of prayer, how can we regard prayer as futile when Jesus not only taught about it (Matthew 6:9-15; Luke 11:1-13; 18:1-8), but practiced it all throughout His ministry.

 Similarly, the Apostle Paul opens every one of his letters with prayer and thanksgiving, and frequently asked for his readers to pray for him.

 Far from being futile, prayer is vital to the Christian life.

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a false messiah and a heretic. He claims to be the second coming of Jesus Christ despite the preponderance of biblical evidence that belies his claim of divinity.

http://webs.wofford.edu/mathewsondb/cultsSects/Growing/Jose%20Luis%20De%20Jesus%20Miranda_files/antichrist2.png http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTS6B6EgBnfbDeaayTVitDG_39Tsyq2PB3ZX4p8H6WGeoRRGXfD

 His teachings are heretical in the sense that, far from leading people into a life of greater holiness and righteousness, seem more likely to lead people to a life of licentiousness and debauchery (no sin + no law + no hell = no consequences for my actions).

 Finally, look at the life of the man.

 He is a former drug addict and convict. Now, anyone can be saved from their sin and become a Christian, but would Jesus Christ "integrate" Himself with one such as this?

How about his lifestyle?

He lives well beyond his means off of the "generosity" of his followers. Would Jesus do that?

Jesus lived the life of a peasant with "no place to lay His head" (Matthew 8:20)-He took advantage of no one. The Bible tells us to"beware of false prophets." Concerning them we "will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15-16).

Judge Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda by his fruit and it becomes abundantly clear that he is not "Jesus Christ Man."

With that in mind, the next question arises-is Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda the antichrist?

 While it is possible that Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is the antichrist predicted in Scripture, and the recent "666" tattoo lends credence to this possibility-it is unlikely that Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is the antichrist.

 The antichrist will be a world leader, a Satanically-empowered dictator, a man that enraptures people with his very presence.
                            
                              Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is not such a man at least not yet.


Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is nothing more than a charismatic cult leader, a charlatan, a wolf in sheep's clothing, and simply yet another in a long line of false prophets and false messiahs.

 He is an antichrist, not THE antichrist.

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Vijay benedict live (Recorded)

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A Night time Prayer ... Interrupted By God


A Night time Prayer ... Interrupted By God
 
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My Dear Father in Heaven...
 
* YES?
 
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
 
* But you called Me.
 
Called You? I didn't call You. I'm praying...
 
My Dear Father in Heaven...
 
* There, you did it again.
 
Did what?
 
* Called me. You said, "My Dear Father in Heaven." Here I am. What's on your mind?
 
But I didn't mean anything by it. I was just, You know, saying my prayers for the night.
 
I always say my prayers. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting my duty done.
 
* Oh. All Right. Go on.
 
I'm thankful for my many blessings... http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSrU9uB1cEXZFJopes-k2W2w-Nd71yS121XOR4pFkRMMKV9pH1N
 
* Hold it. How thankful?
 
What?
 
* How thankful are you for your "Many blessings?"
 
I'm... well... I don't know. How should I know? It's just part of the prayer. Everyone always said that I should express my thanks.
 
* Oh well. You're welcome. Go ahead...
 
Go ahead?
 
* With the prayer.
 
Oh yeah. Let's see... bless the poor and the sick and the needy and the afflicted... http://www.topsyfoundation.org.uk/assets/images/MarthaHands_280.jpg
 
* Do you really mean that?
 
Well, sure I mean it.
 
* What are you doing about it?
 
Doing? Who, me? Nothing. I guess. I just think that it would be kind of nice if You got control of things down here like You have up there, so people don't have to suffer so.
 
* Have I got control of you?
 
Well I go to church, I pay my tithing, I don't...
 
* That isn't what I asked you. What about your temper? http://www.masjids.in/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/39191-bad_temper-196x300.jpg You have a problem there, and your friends and family suffer.
 
 And then there's the way you spend your money... http://www.moneymanagementideas.com/img/manage-money.jpg all on yourself.
 
 And how about the kinds of books you read?
 
Stop picking on me. I'm just as good as some of the rest of those I see every Sunday at church.
 
* Excuse Me. I thought you were praying for me to bless the needy. If that is going to happen, I'll have to have help from the ones who are 
praying for it... like you.
 
All right. I guess that I have a few hang-ups, now that You mention it. I could probably mention some others.
 
* So could I.
 
Look, Father. I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than usual. Bless the missionaries to be led to the doors of the honest in heart.
 
* You mean people like Ralph?
 
Ralph?
 
* Yes, the guy around the corner.
 
"That" Ralph... but he smokes and drinks and never goes to church. http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSQUWww2t8G_UVBBF9Wz4z_ZZDkHjsFuk3a9wbe1uP_NiDwaVWDwQ
 
* Have you ever looked in his heart lately?
 
Of course not. How can...
 
* I have. I looked. And it's one of those honest hearts you were just praying about.
 
O.K. then, get the missionaries over there. Do you think I like having a non-member for a neighbour?
 
* Aren't you supposed to be a missionary? I thought I made that pretty clear.
 
Hey, wait a minute. What is this? Criticize "me" day? 
 
Here I am, doing my duty, keeping your commandments to pray. And all of a sudden you break in and start reminding me of all my problems.
 
* Well, you called Me. And here I am. Keep on praying. I'm interested in this next part. You haven't changed the order around have you? Go on...
 
I don't want to.
 
* Why not?
 
I know what You'll say.
 
* Try Me and see.
 
Please forgive me of all my sins... and help me to forgive others.
 
* What about Bill?
 
See. I knew it. I knew you'd bring him up. Listen Lord, he told lies about me, and I got fired. All my co-workers think I'm a first class creep, and I didn't do anything. I'm going to get even with him!
 
* But your prayers. What about your prayers?
 
I didn't mean it.
 
* Well, at least you're honest. I guess you enjoy carrying that load of bitterness around, don't you?
 
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No, I don't. But I'll feel better as soon as I get even.
 
* Do you want to know a secret?
 
What secret?
 
* You won't feel better. You'll feel worse. Listen to me. You forgive Bill and I'll forgive you.
 
But Lord, I can't forgive Bill.
 
* Then I cannot forgive you.
 
No matter what?
 
* No matter what. But you're not through with your prayer yet. Go on.
 
Oh all right... please help me to control my feelings and not yield  to temptations.
 
* Good. Good. I'll do just that. But you stop putting yourself in all those places where you can be tempted.
 
http://www.theartisticinsanity.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/tempted.jpg
 
What do you mean by that?
 
* Quit hanging around the magazine racks and spending so much time in front of the tube. Some of that stuff is going to get to you sooner or later. You'll find yourself involved in some terrible things before long... and don't use me for an escape hatch either.
 
An escape hatch? I don't understand.
 
* Sure you do. You've done it lots of times -- you find yourself in a crisis situation, then you come running to me. "Lord, help me out of this mess and I promise I'll never do it again." 
 
It's amazing how the quality and intensity of your prayers improve when you are in trouble.
 
 Do you remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?
 
Well I don't think... Oh... yeah... like the time Mom's visiting  teacher saw me coming out of that movie about... Oh brother...
 
* Do you remember your prayer? 
 
I do. "Oh God. Don't let her tell my mother where I've been. I promise I'll go to nothing but "G" rated movies from now on. She didn't tell your mother, but you didn't keep 
your promise. Did you?
 
No Lord, I didn't. I'm sorry.
 
* So am I. Go ahead and finish your prayer.
 
Wait a minute. I want to ask you a question. Do you always listen to my prayers?
 
* Every word. Every time.
 
Then how come you never talked back to me before?
 
* How many chances have you given me? There's not enough time between your "Amens" and your head hitting the pillow for me to draw a breath. How am I supposed to give an answer?
 
You could, if you really wanted to.
 
* No. I could if *you* really wanted Me to. Child, I always want to.
 
Father, I am sorry. Will you forgive me?
 
* I already have. And thanks for letting me interrupt. I get lonely to talk to you sometimes. Goodnight. I love you.
 
Good night, and I love You too.
 
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Jul 19, 2011

YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THE BATTLE

YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THE BATTLE

by David Wilkerson
[May 19, 1931 - April 27, 2011]

Numerous Christians, including pastors, have told me they are continually harassed by former sins. They say, “Brother Dave, if you only knew what I once did, how I sinned, you would understand why I’m so down. My sin still hangs over my head, and I battle constant guilt over it. I believe the Lord has forgiven me, that his blood is sufficient to cover my iniquity, but I don’t have the peace that comes from that knowledge.”

Others tell me, “I believe I’m forgiven, but my mind is continually bombarded with hellish thoughts. It can happen anywhere, even in church, and it makes me feel so unclean. I have a hard time believing I am pure in God’s sight.

These believers forget that Satan also tempted Jesus with awful, ugly thoughts during his wilderness testing. Today, the devil sends little foxes into your life to make you think you’re hopeless, that God is mad at you. They inject thoughts into your mind meant to destroy your faith in the power of Christ’s blood over you.

Dear saint, you are not to listen to those mental invasions. You have to cut them off, crying, “Holy Spirit, I know you’re beside me. Help me!”

All who take up the cross and fight the good fight of faith are in a constant battle. We all face evil thoughts—thoughts that come because of our past, or because of a sense of rejection, or simply because we live in wicked, sensual times. Yet when we apply Christ’s blood to these roots of doubt, it reaches into every cell of our being, including our minds, and thoroughly cleanses us.
And that brings freedom and true rejoicing.

You are not alone in your struggle. He has sent you the Holy Spirit, who knows how to deal with the enemy and free you from all bondage. He is the still, small voice that will guide you and empower you through all your battles.

Pray with me: “Holy Spirit, I want to grow in spiritual fruitfulness. I want to be rid of all hypocrisy, and I want gentleness, patience and love. I know you still love me, in spite of my lack of these things. So, stand by me and help me. Amen.”

Jul 16, 2011

Confused about Practising Yoga..Is it Biblical?..

A Christian who was practising yoga writes the below concern and please find the Pastor’s reply as well.

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Email Strait begins.........

I read your email response to the question "Is it OK for a Christian to train in martial arts?" and have a question of my own on a related subject.

For several years I have had fairly severe back problems, and was advised by a physiotherapist friend (who is a Christian), to consider taking up Yoga as it might help. My father expressed concerns about this, as he felt that it was a direct path to eastern religions.

For the same reason I was never allowed to train in martial arts when I was a teenager. Several other friends of mine also feel that Yoga is decidedly 'non-kosher.'

My own view is the same as that expressed in your article--that martial arts and the like do contain dangerous elements for the Christian, as they are linked to eastern philosophies.

However, I feel that it is possible to participate in such activities, as long as one uses them for physical training rather than for a spiritual purpose, and remains aware of the possible dangers.

With this in mind, I have been attending Yoga classes for the past few months, and my back has never been better!

 It is a blessed relief to me to be able to move painlessly for once!!

(At 24, I'm a little young to consider putting up with back problems for long!). I have been attending Iyengar yoga classes, which, so far, have not involved any spiritual content. The 'meditation', consists of lying down at the end of the class and feeling relaxed. I often use it as quiet time to meditate on Jesus!!

Some of my friends at church appear to think that just getting into a position may lead directly to demon possession.

 I feel that perhaps Yoga has been given a bad press, as it appears to me that the exercises themselves are rather separate from transcendental meditation and the like, which obviously go totally against what the bible teaches.

Have I just been fortunate in finding a class that is not compromising my faith, or am I compromising myself without even realising it?

 Obviously I don't wish to open myself to any spirits other than the Holy Spirit!

I would value any insight you might have on this topic.

Pastor’s Reply.........

Hi ______,

Thanks so much for writing!

You ask a very important question about a very controversial subject. Indeed, you offer an interesting case study to which I want to reply rather carefully.

Let me first say that I am truly sorry to hear of your back problems. Since you have apparently found some genuine relief of these problems through the practice of yoga, what I have to say may be a little difficult to "digest."

So if you're ready. . .

Until very recently, I would have entirely agreed with your own evaluation of yoga.

I would have made precisely the same distinction which you made between the physical postures and breathing exercises of yoga (on the one hand) and the non-Christian philosophical and religious ideas (on the other).

 I still think this can often be a helpful and valid distinction in other areas (e.g. much of the martial arts), but I'm afraid I've become rather sceptical about its applicability to yoga.

Please let me explain why.

The physical postures and breathing exercises in yoga are inseparably bound up with the philosophical and religious ideas.

 I realize this may initially sound absurd, but please hear me out.

http://www.holistichealingindia.com/im_src/yoga.gif

The discipline of yoga is, as a general rule, firmly grounded within a pantheistic worldview.

Pantheism teaches that everything which exists is part of a unitary, all-encompassing divine reality.

In short, pantheism teaches that all is "God."

 But in pantheism, "God" is not a personal being distinct from the world; rather "God" IS the world and the world IS "God."

But why is this important?

According to the pantheistic philosophy of yoga, each one of us is also part of this all-encompassing divine reality known as "God" or Brahman.

As Brad Scott, a former practitioner of yoga, has written in a recent article,

."..all creation to the Yoga-Vedantin is comprised of the substance of Brahman. Hence, yogis are pantheists... Brahman created the universe out of Itself, as a spider spins out a web"

("Exercise or Religious Practice? Yoga: What the Teacher Never Taught You in That Hatha Yoga Class." The Watchman Expositor: Vol. 18, No. 2, 2001, p. 7).

And since "God," or Brahman, is ultimately something non-physical, what we imagine to be our physical bodies are (according to yoga philosophy) merely just a crude layer of mind.

The physical postures and breathing exercises of yoga are actually intended to help move the mind in the direction of altered states of consciousness.

 The ultimate goal of yoga is "union" with "God" or occult enlightenment.

Please allow me to support these statements with some authoritative quotations.

On the Watchman Expositor website there is a brief overview of yoga at http://www.watchman.org/na/yoga.htm. The author of this piece quotes from Swami Vishnudevananda, well known authority of Yoga, in his book, The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga, as follows:

."..the aim of all yoga practice is to achieve truth wherein the individual soul identifies itself with the supreme soul of God."

http://www.theislandspa.com.au/wp-content/gallery/new-images/yoga3931.jpg 

He also quotes from Swami Sivananda Radha, in a book on Hatha Yoga, as follows:

When most people in the West think of yoga, they think of yoga as a form of exercise. Too often... there are yoga teachers who teach asanas without an understanding of their real nature and purpose.

Asanas are a devotional practice which like all spiritual practices, bring us to an understanding of the truth.... Beyond this there also lies a mystical or spiritual meaning.

Each asana creates a certain meditative state of mind, (p.xv; emphasis mine).

And again, from the same source:

Hatha Yoga plays an important part in the development of the human being... the body working in harmony with the mind, to bring the seeker into closer contact with the Higher Self, (Ibid, p.xvii).

Indeed, it is for this reason that the Yogi authority Gopi Krishna writes:

"All the systems of yoga...are designed to bring about those psychosomatic changes in the body which are essential for the metamorphosis of consciousness"

(Quoted in John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs, Harvest House Publishers, 1996, p. 596).

And finally, John Ankerberg and John Weldon quote from Judith Lasater's article, "Yoga: An Ancient Technique for Restoring Health":

"One basic assumption of Yoga Sutras [a standard yoga text] is that the body and mind are part of one continuum of [divine] existence, the mind merely being more subtle than the body...It is believed that as the body and mind are brought into balance and health, the individual will be able to perceive his true [divine] nature" (597).

As you are probably already aware, the term "yoga" simply means "union."

And, as previously stated, the ultimate goal of yoga is "union" with "God," one's Higher Self, or Brahman.

All the different "limbs" or stages of yoga, including the physical postures (asana) and breathing exercises (pranayama), are specially designed to prepare the practitioner for union with "God" and occult enlightenment.

In this regard, Ankerberg and Weldon also cite Feuerstein and Miller, two authorities on yoga, who contend that the postures of yoga (asana), as well as the breathing exercises (pranayama), are more than just physical exercises--they are psychosomatic (mind/body) exercises:

."..the control of the vital energy (prana) by way of breathing, like also asana, is not merely a physical exercise, but is accompanied by certain psycho mental phenomena. In other words, all techniques falling under the heading of asana and pranayama...are psychosomatic exercises.

This point, unfortunately, is little understood by Western practitioners..." (600).

Interestingly, Brad Scott, the former yoga practitioner mentioned previously, who (by the way) studied yoga for seven years underSwami Shraddhananda of the Ramakrishna Order, provided me with a web address for The Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco which you may want to take a look at.


 The state-accredited two year certificate program one can earn at this institute requires not only studies in anatomy and physiology, but in yoga philosophy as well. You may be interested in reading the following course descriptions taken from the website:


Philosophy
Yoga Sutras
2 units (required)

A study of classical yoga philosophy based upon a reading of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. The aims, methods, and powers of yoga, as well as the nature of liberation, will be investigated.

Bhagavad Gita
2 units (required)

The Gita, as a practical handbook for yoga, will be studied and related to daily life. The different branches of yoga described in the Gita will be discussed and placed in context with other major Indian scriptures.

Physiology of Yoga
1 unit (Elective Course)

Yoga is a vitalistic science that views all of existence as supported by a force called prana. Yoga physiology describes how this vital force pervades and animates the physical body. This course will lay the groundwork to help one begin to view themselves and the world around them from this vitalistic perspective.

It's important to keep in mind that this force called "prana," which supports all of existence, is ultimately the same force as "God."

Thus, one does not escape pantheism even in a class on yoga physiology!

As Ankerberg and Weldon write, ."..prana, God, and occult energy are all one and the same. The one who practices yogic breathing (pranayama) is by definition attempting to manipulate occult ('divine') energy" (602).

Again, in another section on the website, concerning the Iyengar approach to Hatha Yoga, we read the following:

"Yoga as taught by B.K.S. Iyengar emphasizes the integration of body, mind and spirit. The Iyengar approach to yoga is firmly based on the traditional eight limbs of yoga as expounded by Patanjali in his classic treatise, The Yoga Sutras. Iyengar yoga emphasizes the development of strength, stamina, flexibility and balance, as well as concentration (Dharana) and meditation (Dhyana)."

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But what are these eight "limbs" on which the Iyengar approach is firmly based?

John Ankerberg and John Weldon point out that the eight limbs of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are

"defined within the context of a basic Hindu worldview (reincarnation, karma, and moksha, or liberation) and intended to support and reinforce Hindu beliefs." (601).

 They go on to describe these eight limbs as follows:

Yama (self-control, restraint, devotion to the gods [e.g., Krishna] or the final impersonal God [e.g., Brahman]

 Niyama (religious duties....)

 Asana (proper postures for yoga practices; these represent the first stage in the isolation of consciousness...)

 Pranayama (the control and directing of the breath and the alleged divine energy within the human body [prana] to promote health and spiritual [occult] consciousness and evolution)

Pratyahara (sensory control or deprivation, i.e., withdrawal of the senses from attachment to external objects)

 Dharana (deeper concentration, or mind control)

Dhyana (deep contemplation from occult meditation)

Samadhi (occult enlightenment or "God [Brahman] realization" i.e., "union" of the "individual" with God).


In light of this, when we read on the IYISF website that "students at IYISF [Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco] are encouraged to refine both their knowledge of asanas (poses) and pranayama (breathing)....

The same precision of practice brings the serious student to the cutting edge of exploration in the field of mind-body interaction," we now have a better idea of what's being referred to.

Let me conclude this discussion with a brief word about "kundalini awakening."

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This much-sought-after experience could potentially open the one who has it to occult influences.

 As you may already know, Kundalini is sometimes thought of as a Hindu goddess believed to lie coiled as a serpent at the base of the spine.

Others, however, think of Kundalini simply as "coiled serpent power," without necessarily identifying this power with a Hindu goddess (Brad Scott, personal e-mail). Either way, however, one of the primary purposes of yoga practice is to arouse Kundalini so that she/it travels up the spine toward her lover, Shiva, who is said to reside in the brain.

Supposedly, as she/it travels up the spine she opens up the seven psychic centers (called chakras). Weldon and Ankerberg write:

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"When the crown or top chakra is reached, the union of Shiva/Shakti occurs, supposedly leading the practitioner to divine enlightenment and union with Brahman" (606).

This, of course, is identical with Patanjali's eighth limb, Samadhi (although Brad Scott informed me in a personal e-mail that "The Shiva-Shakti mythology...was superimposed on yoga after Patanjali's time").

Since the yoga authority Hans Rieker claims that

"Kundalini [is] the mainstay of ALL yoga practices," (Ankerberg/Weldon, 606, emphasis added) it is very important to point out that such an experience MAY place the practitioner under occult influences of a spiritual nature.

For the Christian, firsthand accounts of this experience sometimes sound as if some sort of demonic influence may be involved.

Mind you, I'm not saying that this is ALWAYS the case, but Weldon and Ankerberg write that many Hindu and Buddhist gurus,

"when describing their spirit, or 'energy,' possession," often link it directly to "kundalini activity" (606). They go on to cite a leading guru, Swami Muktananda, as confessing that he was violently shaken by a spirit during kundalini arousal:

"A great deity in the form of my guru has spread all through me as chiti [energy] and was shaking me....when I sat for meditation, my whole body shook violently, just as if I were possessed by a god or a bad spirit" (610).

Weldon and Ankerberg conclude with this observation:

"Because all yoga has the ability to arouse 'kundalini,' all yoga should be avoided" (610).

And for all of the reasons offered above, I cannot in good conscience recommend that a Christian practice yoga--even if they limit themselves only to the physical postures and breathing exercises.

 Having said this, I certainly hope you understand that I'm not trying to be insensitive to your particular situation. Indeed, I will grant that it's at least POSSIBLE that you could continue practicing yoga for many years without experiencing any of the destructive spiritual effects which such a practice could potentially have.

However, in the case of yoga, where it becomes quite difficult (if not impossible) to separate the non-Christian religious and philosophical ideas from the physical postures and breathing exercises, my own advice would be to very humbly recommend that you look for a different exercise program, one that would help relieve your back pain without potentially compromising your spiritual health as a Christian.

I hope this gives you some solid reasons for making an informed decision concerning ongoing yoga practice.

 I genuinely wish you all the best. If you would like more information, you may want to consider taking a look at Brad Scott's bookEmbraced by the Darkness: Exposing New Age Theology from the Inside Out (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1996).

Although I have not yet personally read this book, I found his article on Yoga in the Watchman Expositor (Vol. 18, No. 2, 2001) to be extremely helpful in understanding the vast doctrinal differences between the philosophy of yoga and biblical Christianity.

Another potentially valuable resource is John Weldon and John Ankerberg's, Encyclopedia of New Age Beliefs (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996).

Shalom,

Michael Gleghorn
Probe Ministries