I was amazed to read this article by T.D. Jakes in the Washington Post.
It seems that for T.D. Jakes, yoga can be divorced from its Hindu roots, and the good bishop has a better definition for yoga than that which the Websters dictionary offers.
There is a difference between Christian meditation and yoga. In Christian meditation, you actively consider the Word of God. In yoga, you empty your mind in a process similar to self-hypnosis.
Processes which lead to a passive mind make a person very vulnerable to demonic influence.
I am concerned that here we have a Christian leader with a powerful platform obfuscating the meaning of words and virtually encouraging people to try out something that is powerfully connected to eastern mysticism.
He writes: “If you are embracing or practicing “New Age” eastern spirituality in search of finding an alternative to your current religion, then you have already left the practices and laws that previously governed your religion.”
What if you are embracing New Age eastern spirituality with no intention of replacing your current religion, is that supposed to be O.K.?
Maybe its like saying that masturbation is ok as long as you don’t do it in a spirit of lust.
What is practicing yoga exercises, breath control and contemplative techniques IS in itself a form of eastern spirituality? How can one practice it without seeking it?
Many experts say that you can’t separate these breathing exercises from the spirituality of Hinduism. Possibly because the exercises in themselves constitute an invitation to evil spirits. Remember that the word for “spirit” is the same as the word for “breath” in both Hebrew and Greek.
“For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, Because they are filled with eastern ways; They are soothsayers like the Philistines, And they are pleased with the children of foreigners. ” (Isaiah 2:6)
T.D. Jakes is not a trinitarian, he subscribes to modalism, which is a part of Oneness Pentecostal theology. Now he is saying that Yoga is O.K., as long as you practice it in a Christian way. It would have been a lot better if he had used terms which are biblical, and defined exactly what he meant, rather than seeking some kind of common ground with practitioners of eastern New Age spirituality.
This Jakes is a man who comes on Christian television all over, gets invited to Hillsong conferences as a featured speaker, and is looked to by many as a great Christian leader. I believe it was Time Magazine that suggested he might be something like another Billy Graham in the making (that in itself might not be such a great endorsement actually).
What we are seeing today is that it is not so much truth that is highly esteemed, but influence. I would say that influence is very dangerous if it is not used in the right way. It is more important to lead people into the right things than it is to lead many people. Much more important.
We are skating on thin ice friends.