We recently received a scathing letter from a Holy Yoga instructor who took us to task for our position against the practice of “Christian yoga.” She believes that because a man in her class asked her to help him accept Jesus as his savior, this proves that God is working in her classes. Is this true? Yes! But not for the reasons she thinks . . .
Unfortunately for this Christian yoga instructor, the fact that a man accepted Christ in a Holy Yoga class has little or nothing to do with Holy Yoga. What it proves is that the Lord has the power to convert a willing heart regardless of where it might be at the time.
My own life proves this point. I was converted while reading a book based on the New Age principle known as the “prosperity gospel.” Does that mean the prosperity gospel is good? Of course not! We all know this philosophy is fundamentally flawed.
A similar example can be found in the many people who claim to have found their way to Jesus by reading the book, God Calling, even though it contains messages gleaned through a particular form of an occult art known as “automatic writing” that was specifically condemned by the Vatican. Does this mean that automatic writing is okay with the Lord? Of course not.
What these examples teach is how the ends can never be used to justify the means (see Catechism No. 1756). We are not permitted to participate in something illicit (be it a pagan practice or an occult art) in order to bring about a good end.
Some might argue that yoga doesn’t fit into this category because if one is only doing the exercises, then it’s no longer considered to be pagan worship. This is where Christian yoga becomes even more problematic than “yoga as exercise”. While many believe they can participate in forms of yoga that have stripped of all spiritual content, what Christian yoga enthusiasts are doing is injecting spiritual content back into the practice and thinking they have somehow “baptized” the pagan content that underlies it.
Not so, at least not according to the Lord. In Deuteronomy 12:31 He specifically warns the faithful not to worship Him the way the pagans do, a warning the faithful have been taking to heart since the beginning of God’s Revelation to His people. Unfortunately, our instructor does not seem to respect that point-of-view and chided us as if anyone who disagrees with the blending of Christianity and yoga is a dolt deserving of a somewhat less-than-courteous email.
However, according to Scripture, it is her opinion, not ours, that is the true outlier. From the earliest days of our history, the faithful have been opposed to incorporating pagan practices into the worship of Yahweh, many of whom were willing to die rather than even appear to be doing this. (See Maccabees 3:18-31). Ours is hardly a fanatical stance. In fact, it has been quite the norm since the earliest Biblical writings.
Therefore, instead of reacting with vitriol, Romans 14 advises that if a Christian is scandalized by a particular practice, even if we disagree with them, we are not to be a stumbling block to our brother by forcing our opinion on them. By doing so, our conduct is “no longer in accord with love.” (Romans 14:15).
Our instructor also warned us about the devil who she claimed was just stirring up controversy. She’s right about that. He loves to divide, but he also loves to deceive. Any deliverance minister will tell you that the devil is more than willing to give away a few sapphires in order to keep the diamond. In other words, he’s quite willing to live with one man’s conversion if it can convince so many other Christians to take up a pagan practice. Beware of ever trying to outsmart the devil!
By writing this blog, I delivered on my promise to the instructor to use the many fine points she raised in her email to provide a valuable teaching to our blog audience.
May the good Lord bless us all with clear discernment and an abundance of the Spirit’s gift of understanding.
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