Philosophies of Man

Spiritual Confusion in the Church

Centering prayers… contemplation… labyrinths… these are the current ‘buzz words’ in various churches.

I have been noticing the increase of mysticism in Christianity, the merging of eastern spiritual techniques with Christian prayer.  It seems to be particularly growing in some of the American churches, but is surely here in the UK as well.  As someone who has often gone to spirituality festivals, reaching out to those looking for spiritual answers, I see the hidden dangers of opening oneself to unknown spiritual experiences.  When Christians decide to copy or borrow Buddhist or Hindu techniques, we are in effect saying that Jesus is not enough, that the Holy Bible is not enough, that the Holy Spirit’s guidance is not enough, that meditating on God’s promises and giving thanks is not satisfactory.

To give an example… one day I was sitting using my laptop and had a certain Christian radio station playing.  The presenter at that point was leading a session which sounded like it would be a time of Biblical meditation and prayer.  I was dismayed to hear this person lead the hearers into ‘breath prayers’ (see this link):- 
and this:centering-prayer

In a nutshell, it is about emptying the mind through using deep breathing exercises with a repetitive word or phrase (or no word, just breathing).  As you will see from the links above, this is borrowing from practices such as yoga.  Saying the name ‘Jesus’ 10 times with deep breathing is not how we are taught to pray from God’s Word.  This is spiritual confusion!
Controlled breathing is very important in Yoga:- Breath_Yoga.htm
The ancient yogis and modern practitioners know that special breathing exercises can slow down the brain waves and open you to an altered state of consciousness.  For the Christian, this would mean opening the mind to whatever may be wanting to come in.  We are taught in God’s word to meditate on specific things, not blank out our minds to bring an altered state of consciousness. 

” I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways”     

Psalm 119:15
We are encouraged to think about what God’s word says about Him, to use our thoughts to worship Him. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong to be quiet and still before the Lord.  I sometimes feel the need to be quiet before God.  It’s beneficial to slow down our many thoughts, to be sensitive to God’s Presence and His guidance, however, NOT to engage in techniques which bring about a mystical state that invites a ‘different’ spirit into our thoughts which would lead to confusion.
‘Christian Yoga’
A church leader in Minnesota, USA, is the Founder of ‘Yogadevotion’ which is a Christianised form of yoga.  This yoga-teaching female Pastor believes that she experiences a greater sense of God’s Presence through practicing yoga:-  Yet how could the Lord Jesus Christ be truly encountered in a practice that is from Hinduism?  Is Hinduism compatible with Biblical Christianity?
We are commanded in God’s Word:  
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”        Ephesians 5 v11
Yet the onslaught of satan to bring confusion to the church is happening! 
For the use of the ancient labyrinth in churches, see this link:-
I want to make clear that I firmly believe our Christian life should involve experiencing God’s Presence and having a sense of His closeness and love, yet it must be in His way, not copying the world’s ways and techniques.  I became a born-again Christian in a Pentecostal church and I believe our Christian life should be spiritually dynamic, not ‘rigid religious’.  We should seek to be filled with the Spirit of God and express His spiritual gifts in ministry.  God is a living God who speaks and wants to lead us!  However, it seems an increasing number of Christians (or those who say they are Christians) are using borrowed pagan techniques to try to get spiritual experiences, which opens us to deception and confusion.  I believe that sometimes the Church has suppressed the work of the Holy Spirit and has brought new believers into a dry, legalistic form of Christianity which tells us that we should not seek to ‘experience’ God.  When life’s challenges come up, sometimes the Church seems to lack the answers, even though we have the answer in Christ! This has led some to become bored or disillusioned with the Church, wondering why God seems not to show up!  So when those disillusioned seekers or weak believers encounter other forms of spirituality that seem to enhance spiritual experience, they sometimes take a hold of it.
Saints of God, we need to keep ourselves in the whole armour of God, as stated in Ephesians chapter 6.  We need to be strong in the Lord, meditating on and studying His Word and continually abiding in the True Vine, our Lord Jesus Christ – John’s Gospel chapter 15.  We need to pray for the whole Body of Christ.
Peace and blessings.

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