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— Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, from “The Subtle Body - Should Christians Practice Yoga?”

Mohler

I happened upon this blog post by Dr. Mohler after reading this Seattle Times article by Janet Tu in which Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church, followed up on on the Evangelical leader’s statements with this comment:

“Should Christians stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots? Totally. Yoga is demonic. If you just sign up for a little yoga class, you’re signing up for a little demon class.”

Richard Mouw recently told Krista that the antichrist has changed over his lifetime: from the pope to communism to Stalin and now Islam. These articles are worth a read if you’re interested in learning about some conservative Christians’ views on how cultural trends may be diluting their faith. Perhaps yoga is one of those antichrists?


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57 Comments

I'm actually wondering if all of you commenting read the same quote by Al Mohler that I did. I don't know who Mark Driscoll is, but Mohler said nothing crazy about the anti-christ or demons. He made a fairly lucid comment about yoga and Christianity being inconsistent with one another. I'm an evangelical, and I'm not sure he's wrong. Many of you are making comments based on a loose affiliation you had with Christianity in the past, or what you imagined Jesus was really "all about." That's quite a different thing from Mohler's perspective: born again, Biblically based. Does he have to agree with you? Is he allowed his opinion?

Phil. 2:5 - "have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus". When you look at the early Church Fathers, the notion of deification/divinization/theosis is orthodox teaching....Irenaeus says, "God became man, so man could become God." From the Church Fathers to the great mystics of the Middle Ages - John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, Francis of Assisi, to our modern time..with Father Thomas Keating among others...we are called to a higher conscisousness...to put on the mind of Christ. How many Christians do not see this or get this reveals their lcak of understanding of the depth of our tradition and that it calls for a transformation equal to the Hindu cliam of realizing our union with God.

Absolutely, Wfhaardt. Now explain to me how that relates. The discussion is about yoga in the Christian's life. The scriptures are absolutely full of instruction on how to acheive the mind of Christ... yoga isn't found there. Paul would be mystified at such a suggestion, and wonder what faith we were discussing.

The Church Fathers include Gregory Palamas, whose conception of "hesychastic" prayer was very physical and oriented toward breathing a particular way. Christian prayer at the very least should include silence and meditation, without one's mind racing all over the cosmos. I'm not sure that yoga is the way to pursue it, but it is difficult for me as an Orthodox Christian to listen to someone like Seane Corn and identify her attitude inconsistent with Christianity. In many ways, she is closer to Orthodox Christianity than Dr. Mohler and "Bible Christians" seem to be.

Wow. I think this man has profoundly misunderstood what yoga is. And maybe it's not entirely his fault. Many many many yoga teachers in this country do not even understand what yoga is truly about, which is connecting with the divine that is within and all around us, whatever that might be for you. Yoga is just another pathway toward connecting with Christ (or Allah or the Tao or whatever un-named spirit you experience within) you and it does not dictate what to believe about God, but rather how to experience God within yourself, which if I'm correct is also what Christianity seeks to do - to connect with God and live in a way that is in line with divine action. What better way to live with divine action than to identify the divinity within yourself, imbed it, and live through it in every single moment!

As a devout Catholic, 20 year student of non-denominational bibles studies and now student of theology toward my Masters....I am still humored by man's ability to build walls where there could be bridges. I practice yoga along with running marathons and participating in triathlons enjoying all the ways I can mentally and physically use the body/temple/gifts God gave me and enjoy his world and people....I meet people everywhere, everyday who are clearly at a different place in their journey to heaven or hell and a different level of faith development. When I participate in yoga and hear the teacher instruct me to the divinity of myself and honoring the spirit within....I don't think of the devil or myself, but rather the Holy Spirit within me and the Trinity of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit working in His world and His people and me. I trust in His plan to reach me through His children whether they are Buddists, Muslims, Jews, Baptists, Evangelicals, Hindu's and even Athiests...they are all His and He knows them/ Whether they know Him when they come face to face with Him will depend on whether they listened to him in all his glory or whether they only lived for themselves...Psalm 118:8 "Better to take refuge in the Lord, than to put one's trust in mortals." Jesus is the way the truth and the life....but he ALWAYS points us to His Father and offers us grace through His Holy Spirit....for those who cannot hear or open their minds to Jesus, there is still God and the Holy Spirit trying to shepherd them home. The devil and sin are anything we use to separate us from the love of God. God made us all. He created diversity. He has a plan. Don't shut out the possibilities of how He reaches, touches and brings His children home.

We should focus on practicing our faith in the way God wants us to. Faithfulness is composed of believing, trusting and praising Him. We will never be strayed if we just follow His words. So no matter what other people will say about the things you have learned right, your heart has the answer to it and you will never go wrong if you follow His teachings.

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