A megachurch pastor in Missouri is taking a strong stand against yoga in the Christian community, something that has become increasingly controversial over the past couple of years. John Lindell, head pastor of a 10,000-person Assemblies of God church in the Ozarks, spoke out against the practice in a sermon titled “Pursuing the Paranormal” in October.
For more information on the recent sermon, “Haunted: Pursuing the Paranormal” follow the link: https://t.co/Ka1JBxguxk
Watch the sermon| Haunted: Pursuing the Paranormal / https://t.co/CqqqH7jmcW#jrclife
— James River Church (@jamesriver) November 13, 2018
The Christian Post reported that Lindell addressed his congregation by warning them of the “demonic influences” that yoga brings into a believer’s mind, heart and soul. He warned of the Eastern mysticism that is found in yoga, connecting the practice to paganism, witchery, sorcery and astrology.
Lindell pointed out that part of the reason he decided to discuss the topic of yoga in the first place was partially due to society’s growing obsession with the paranormal, and how this has allowed yoga to work itself into the everyday lives of many Christians.
“I am doing this because it seems that our culture is becoming increasingly obsessed with all things paranormal,” Lindell said. “According to a Gallup poll, three in four Americans believe in the paranormal and in a recent Pew poll, 40 percent of Christians believe in psychics, 29 percent of Christians believe in reincarnation and 26 percent of Christians believe in astrology. … The entertainment industry has taken note by responding to a plethora of video games, television shows and movies.”
“It seems the paranormal has become the new normal,” he continued. “It’s not just haunted houses and witches at Halloween but it has worked its way into everyday life through things like Eastern mysticism and Mother Earth practices and philosophies.”
Lindell further argued that “Hinduism is demonic,” stressing why Christians should stay away from the practice in the first place.
He stressed that because Hinduism, at its root, is demonic, “yoga poses were created with demonic intent, to open you up to demonic power.”
“To say the positions of yoga are no more than exercise are tantamount to saying water baptism is just aqua aerobics,” he said.
Not only has yoga become a mainstream, and often a glorified practice, in mainstream culture, but it has also become widely accepted in Christian circles. He pointed out that this acceptance is a sign of the “post-Christian” culture we live in.
“That alone really for me is an indication of how far our society has drifted into a post-Christian culture,” he said. “Earlier, it would have been a given that yoga is a form of Eastern mysticism that Christians should absolutely avoid but that is no longer the case. Yoga it seems is everywhere. For example, if you go to the local [YMCA] and you click on the ‘Healthy Living’ link, you will find no less than 31 references to yoga.”
Many Christians would argue that you can separate yoga from its Hindu roots, but Lindell argued that this is impossible. The James River Church website even lists resources for members to further understand what is fundamentally wrong with yoga.
The page quotes Professor Aseem Shukla, a prominent Hindu academic, explaining the spiritual underpinnings of yoga:
Nearly 20 million people in the United States gather together routinely, fold their hands and utter the Hindu greeting of Namaste — the Divine in me bows to the same Divine in you. Then they close their eyes and focus their minds with chants of “Om,” the Hindu representation of the first and eternal vibration of creation. Arrayed in linear patterns, they stretch, bend, contort and control their respirations as a mentor calls out names of Hindu divinity linked to various postures: Natarajaasana (Lord Shiva) or Hanumanasana (Lord Hanuman) among many others. They chant their assigned “mantra of the month,” taken as they are from lines directly from the Vedas, Hinduism’s holiest scripture. Welcome to the practice of yoga in today’s western world.
Lindell argued in his sermon that no matter what individuals do during yoga, the physical practice of Yoga cannot be separated from its “Hindu roots.”
“Participating at any level is potentiative [sic] the opening of your life, your home, your situation to the demonic,” he warned.
Lindell also broke down the three main components of yoga: “consciousness for the purpose of experiencing peace, energy and divine presence.”
“Every single body position has a meaning,” Lindell said. “Let me say this, yoga positions were not designed by your local fitness instructor. They were designed and they were created with demonic intent to open you open you up to demonic power. Because Hinduism is demonic.”
“Every false religion is demonic. Hinduism is not a mild, gentile, pacifist religion. Anybody who says that has not visited India,” Lindell added. “Neither is Buddhism. We may have a sanitized view of it in our Western culture but it is not pacifist. It is demonic. It is idol worship.”
He also went into detail on a simple, innocent-seeming yoga pose: sun salutations. What most people don’t know is that sun salutations were actually created to worship the sun god Surya. So each time you complete a sun salutation, you are giving credit to the sun god.
“That is what all of those are doing. You are welcoming the sun god,” Lindell said.
Lindell also took time to explain the “sexual connotations” that come from the lotus position, another popular yoga pose.
“Some may say that is not what it means to me,” he said. “Well, when you participate in yoga, that is what it means. To say that the positions of yoga are just exercise are tantamount to saying water baptisms is just aqua aerobics.”
“Yoga is diametrically opposed to Christianity,” Lindell warned. “Meditation in yoga brings a person to a consciousness of nothing around them, an awareness of nothing around them. It lowers the mind gate that God has established for a spiritual preservation spiritually speaking for a person.”
Lindell is not the only influential Christian who has denounced yoga as fundamentally un-Christian.
As Faithwire has reported in the past, conservative blogger Matt Walsh has come out strongly against the practice.
John Piper, theologian and founder of Desiring God stated that yoga is “antithetical to a Christian understanding of God and the way he works in the world.”
Al Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, has also taken a staunch stand against the practice.
“The embrace of yoga is a symptom of our postmodern spiritual confusion, and, to our shame, this confusion reaches into the church,” Mohler wrote in a 2010 op-ed. “Christians who practice yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with, a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a ‘post-Christian, spiritually polyglot’ reality. Should any Christian willingly risk that?”
(H/T: The Christian Post)