Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MacArthur vs. Pagitt on Christian Yoga



What do you think? Can Christians practice yoga without violating their faith?

27 comments:

Matt said...

Hrm... our lay leader last year is a yoga instructor....

Dan Trabue said...

Depends... Are these supposed yoga-practicing "Christians" spitting on the cross and killing their neighbors whilst doing their yoga?

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, my first answer was brash and not serious. Now that I've listened prayerfully and sincerely to the video, I'm prepared to answer your question: What do I think?

I think John MacArthur is a nut.

MY question is: Can Christians listen to MacArthur without violating their faith...or sacrificing their reason?

Dale Tedder said...

Calling someone you disagree with (especially someone who has given his life for the proclamation of the gospel) a nut probably isn't the most charitable way to disagree with that person.

Regarding Dan's last question...yes.

Thanks for the video John.

Dan Trabue said...

Okay, my second answer was brash and not serious. What do I think?

I think John MacArthur is wrong on this and is part of the larger problem in church of finding goofy little "sins" to worry about and ignoring more serious issues.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith."

Unless yoga participants are actively chanting "All hail non-god entities whom we worship!", going on the air to waste time talking about it before a national audience is just plain goofy and embarrassing to me, as a member of the Church.

John said...

Dan is correct that yoga is a very inconsequential issue when Christians are engaging in far greater sins. MacArthur may be correct that yoga can cause spiritual harm, but only as much as Christmas trees (pagan) cause spiritual harm.

Nathan Mattox said...

Word up Dan. John McArthur said something like this in the interview: "Christianity is filling your mind with Biblical truths." It is this kind of perspective that is damaging to the faith. The Shema (which Jesus kind of liked) said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength." (The New Testament adds mind). But, needless to say, Christianity isn't a "brain game" it isn't just about saluting doctrines and bowing down to almighty "truths." What are the "truths" that MacArthur is filling his mind with? Doug Pagitt did a good job of commanding the debate, too bad they ended on MacArthur's nonsense. If yoga is the way people are getting their bodies into worship, then hooray yoga. If you think Christianity hasn't borrowed from other religions from the start (Acts 17:28), then you need to look a little more closely.
I practiced yoga for awhile and it is great exercise. I felt rejuvenated after doing it. There is no "worshipping Hindu gods," or whatever. I’m sure you could find a yoga practice that offers that, but most in this country don't. Also, with the stupid reference to the dictionary definition of yoga, that is because yoga is the Hindu word for discipline, or pathway. It is a term that refers to the many paths to God within Hinduism. Adherents of Bhakti Yoga (the largest segment of Hinduism) find God through the expression of devotion to a god as a "face of Brahman." Brahman (nominative brahma ब्रह्म) is the concept of the supreme spirit found in Hinduism. Brahman is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this universe. Sound familiar? Did you read that Acts passage? You also have Jnana Yoga (the discipline of intellectual worship), karma yoga is the discipline of action, raja yoga is the discipline of meditation, and hatha yoga is the discipline of body and breath, which we commonly call yoga. The broadcaster, being ignorant of eastern religions, looked up the wrong word to find the definition of what he was talking about. John MacArthur was speaking about something he proudly stated he had never participated in. Why do people buy into such drivel? The paths of yoga are profound and worth looking into. Maybe, as Christians, we'll learn something.

Anonymous said...

Here is a short video entitled
Can a Christian Practice Yoga?
It may add some insight for you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQXAYioSQ9I

Anonymous said...

Check out the letter to John MacArthur on the home page of this web site http://www.christianresearchservice.com/

Dan Trabue said...

Oh, great. Bud Press from the Christian Research Institute is criticizing MacArthur for not speaking out strongly enough against Yoga.

In the linked article above, Press says:

Yoga is a cult of self-worship, and self-worship is idolatry, of which God commands the believer to avoid (1 Corinthians 10:14; 1 John 5:21)...

John, Yoga within the body of Christ is at epidemic proportions, and has infiltrated churches, bookstores, colleges, and universities across the nation. I pray you will prayerfully consider the above and set the record straight immediately and publicly.


What do I think?

I think Bud Press is a nut, too.

I think that nuts are infiltrating the body of Christ at epidemic proportions.

I think that it is self-worshipful to assume you have the wherewithal to speak for others' and that self-worship is idolatry, yada, yada, yada.

That's what I think.

Just another nut's opinion.

Anonymous said...

Dan Trabue:

I may be a "nut," but I am not a fool. In the future, please quote me properly.

Perhaps spending time reading the gospel of Jesus Christ, as opposed to watching the "gospel" of Monty Python, would serve you well.

Sincerely in Christ,
Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service
www.christianresearchservice.com
Jude 3

Dan Trabue said...

Those are direct quotes, brother Bud. How did I quote you incorrectly?

And, for the record, I have been studying the Bible for all of my 44 years - and in earnest since I was saved 34 years ago. I don't know that I can study it any more than I've been alive.

You gotta problem with Monty Python? Blasphemy!!

But that's just one Christian nut's opinion.

I'm speaking a bit tongue-in-cheek in all this. I have no problems at all with being concerned that the church doesn't lose her way, that we be wary of being influenced by the culture around us.

But, I see a MUCH (tremendously and infinitely much) greater danger of the church being blinded by corruption, by greed, by the allures of wealth, comfort, nationalism, militarism and consumerism - by all of these sorts of dangers warned of so consistently throughout the Bible - than I do of folk who choose to exercise by twisting themselves up in knots.

I don't, by the way, do yoga. I do walk a lot, though, which was advocated by Gandhi who was, as you know, a Hindu of sorts. But that doesn't mean that I embrace Hinduism.

As Paul noted in his letter to the Phillipians:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Truth is Truth. And if a Hindi or Muslim speaks truth, they speak God's Truth, for there is only one kind of truth. To acknowledge that does not mean that we validate everything about a given faith system. It just means we are acknowledging that which is right, pure, love and admirable as being from God, as is the case.

And, for the record, calling you a "nut" is not necessarily a bad thing, in my book. The world could use some more folk being nutty for Christ. It's just that we should do it in a positive way - walking in Jesus' steps in all that foolishness. Not in holding the church up for ridicule by attacking something as benign as Yoga.

So, apologies for the nut comment. It was brash and not serious.

No apologies though, for holding this concern about yoga up for ridicule. 'tis a bit silly.

On the upside, I think it's cool that an organization such as yours is stopping in at places such as this. Way to be out there!
======
"Now go away or I shall taunt you a second time!"

-Monty Python

Stresspenguin said...

The same could be asked of any other Asian martial art--hard of soft. Are we talking about pragmatic Americanized yoga, tai chi, kung fu, etc.? Or are we talking about native forms which are intricately tied into the indigenous religious belief systems of the regions of the origin?

I just realized that whenever you ask a question on your blog, John, I tend comment with a slew of further questions.

Anonymous said...

nathan mattox:

nathan wrote: "If yoga is the way people are getting their bodies into worship, then hooray yoga."

If this were true, what about a "hooray" for Christian Astrology? Christian Kabbalah? Christian New Age? Christian Psychic? Christian Shamanism? Christian Reincarnation? Christian Tai Chi? Christian Wicca? Christian Witchcraft? Christian Zen Buddhism? Christian Mormonism? and Christian Jehovah's Witnesses?

All of these are valid forms of "worship" only because people say they are valid. But the God of the Bible says just the opposite.

nathan wrote: "If you think Christianity hasn't borrowed from other religions from the start (Acts 17:28), then you need to look a little more closely."

When Acts 17 is read in context, we find an entirely different story. The Apostle Paul was preaching to pagans, who worshipped man-made false gods. Paul calls their worship "ignorance" (verse 23). Therefore, Paul "borrowed" nothing, but quoted from their poets. And, in Acts 17:34, we find that some of the men Paul witnessed to became believers.

nathan wrote: "I practiced yoga for awhile and it is great exercise. I felt rejuvenated after doing it. There is no 'worshipping Hindu gods,' or whatever. I’m sure you could find a yoga practice that offers that, but most in this country don't."

Contrary to popular belief, Yoga and its postures ARE specifically designed to worship the Hindu gods. To prove this point, permit me to recommend the following book and article:

"Yoga and The Body of Christ" by Dave Hunt

http://www.christianresearchservice.com/SBCYoga.htm ("Southern Baptist 'Kids' Bowing To Yoga").

nathan wrote: "The paths of yoga are profound and worth looking into. Maybe, as Christians, we'll learn something."

Being a Christian includes trusting in Jesus Christ and relying on God's holy word as the final authority. While the Bible doesn't mention the word "Yoga," it does warn the believer to stay completely away from pagan practices and those who promote them:

"For You have abandoned Your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled with influences from the east, and they are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they strike bargains with the children of foreigners" (Isaiah 2:6).

"But they mingled with the nations and learned their practices, and served their idols, which became a snare to them" (Psalm 106:35-36).

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Colossians 2:8).

Yoga (and other forms of the New Age Movement), is designed to draw the believer away from the real Jesus Christ into the web of the counterfeit (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

Nathan, while I love you in Christ, you are misleading innocent Christians and causing them to stumble. Jesus Christ delivered a sober warning to those who cause the innocent to stumble:

"It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble" (Luke 17:1-2).

In Christian love,
Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service
www.christianresearchservice.com
Jude 3

Dan Trabue said...

But brother Bud, could it not be YOU that is misleading folk, causing them to stumble? From where I stand, that would seem to be the case.

It seems to me that we must differentiate between cultural and other influences that would tend to draw folk away from God - "Christian" militarism, "Christian" consumerism, for examples - and keep way clear of those things... and other influences that are part of being in this diverse world that don't draw folk away from God - and I have seen nor read anything to suggest that Yoga does this - and not make ourselves fools for being afraid of walking or exercise or meditation because some in other faith traditions also do them.

So, again, I agree fully - let's be wary of that which can draw us away from Christian teachings, BUT let's not embarass ourselves by seeing paganism behind every burning bush.

Anonymous said...

Dan Trabue:

Dan wrote: "Those are direct quotes, brother Bud. How did I quote you incorrectly?"

When I wrote, "please quote me properly," I was referring to my Letter to John MacArthur and his stating:

"Well that would depend on how the yoga is conducted. If it’s just purely exercise, and you’re a strong Christian, it probably wouldn’t have any impact on your faith."

While MacArthur DID speak out against Yoga, his statement caused confusion and controversy. I should have been more specific.

And, I took no offense at your calling me a "nut." But since you mentioned it, I guess I am a "nut" for Jesus Christ, so to say. I love Him with all my heart and soul, and can't wait to see Him and fall at His feet and worship Him, and be with Him forever.

So, no apologies necessary.

Dan wrote: "Truth is Truth. And if a Hindi or Muslim speaks truth, they speak God's Truth, for there is only one kind of truth. To acknowledge that does not mean that we validate everything about a given faith system. It just means we are acknowledging that which is right, pure, love and admirable as being from God, as is the case."

This sounds like the "All truth is God's truth" argument, which advocates tolerance for non-Christian religions and seeking common ground with religions such as Hinduism and the Muslim belief. It also advocates playing nicer than God.

But God's word says there is only one God:

"You are My witnesses, declares the LORD, and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD, and there is no savior besides Me. It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; So you are My witnesses, declares the LORD, and I am God" (Isaiah 43:10-12).

God plainly says that Christianity is exclusive to all non-Christian religions:

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Ephesians 4:4-5).

In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

And to understand God's truths as revealed in the Scriptures, one must be born again (John chapter 3), and have the ability to discern good from evil:

"But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1 Corinthians 2:14).

"But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).

"Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Corinthians 1:20)

Therefore, God's word destroys the "All truth is God's truth" argument.

Does this mean that Christians can fully understand EVERYTHING about God? No, of course not. However, what God has revealed we can understand through a daily, dedicated study of His word:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15).

And, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20).

Sincerely in Christ,
Bud Press

Dan Trabue said...

Therefore, God's word destroys the "All truth is God's truth" argument.

? How so?

You offered up some verses suggesting that there's one God and that we can know God. With which I agree heartily.

But it still remains that the only Truth out there is God's Truth, which is what I stated. I feel certain you agree, right?

So, if a Hindi states that we ought to love our neighbors, or even love our enemies, that Hindi is speaking God's Truth, yes?

Gandhi has said:

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.


These are all Truth, wouldn't you think? God's Truth? Should we eschew these teachings because they came from a peace-loving Hindu nut?

And, if a Christian uses some exercise and meditation forms used by Hindis, too, how does that take away from God's Truth or following in God's Way?

We need not fear agreeing with other religions on those points that the Others have correct. And we sure don't need to fear practicing Yoga - which for most US practitioners I'm relatively certain has NOTHING to do with Hinduism - merely because it is a method used by Hindus.

We ought to seek after whatsoever things are good, noble, true, etc. If they coincide with another religion, they remain good, noble and true. It's those practices (oppression, child sacrifice, genocide, etc) that are encouraged by those outside the Christian faith that we need to distance ourselves from.

I'm just not getting the reason behind distancing ourselves from good things just because they have a connection to another faith tradition. I don't think that is a biblical concept.

Anonymous said...

Dan Trabue:

Dan wrote: "But brother Bud, could it not be YOU that is misleading folk, causing them to stumble? From where I stand, that would seem to be the case."

Shall I thank you for answering for nathan mattox? Nevertheless, "misleading folk" and "causing them to stumble" suggests my being ignorant of Scripture and/or the proper application and interpretation thereof. While I have never claimed to be a Bible theologian, I allow the Scripture to speak for itself.

You are correct: "cultural and other influences" do "draw folk away from God." In many ways, that is what they are designed to do. But does this pertain to Yoga? You better believe it does.

Show me one Hindu guru who elevates Jesus Christ over-and-above his gods, and proclaims God's word, the Bible, over-and-above his teachings and writings and as his ultimate authority.

Please allow me to save you the time. There isn't one. While many Hindu gurus recognize Jesus Christ as "a good man" or "a great prophet" or "one god in a pantheon of gods," they flat-out deny that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. Of course, the same is true for all non-Christian religions.

The God of the Bible is exclusive to all other man-made gods. God's word is exclusive to all other man-made religious writings. Jesus Christ is exclusive to all of the counterfeits.

Dan wrote: "...let's be wary of that which can draw us away from Christian teachings, BUT let's not embarass ourselves by seeing paganism behind every burning bush."

I agree. I am not embarassed in the least, due to the fact that I have never seen "paganism behind every burning bush," or demons behind every tree.

However, demonic activity runs rampant throughout Hinduism. And what is the goal of Yoga? Self-realization:

"Honor your Self, Worship your Self, Meditate on your Self, God dwells within you as you" (Swami Muktananda, 1908-1982).

Within Hinduism, there is no need to worship the God of the Bible, because you, according to Hinduism, are "God."

Dan wrote: "...and other influences that are part of being in this diverse world that don't draw folk away from God - and I have seen nor read anything to suggest that Yoga does this"

Teaching and convincing a precious soul for whom Christ died for that he or she is "God" is overshadowed by a demonic influence that is designed to draw them away from the true God of the Bible.

"He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it" (Titus 1:9).

Now you know... ;)

Sincerely in Christ,
Bud Press

Anonymous said...

Dan Trabue:

Instead of confusing you with the facts, please allow me to put things in terms all of us can understand.

I, as others within the apologetics/cult-evangelism camp, have conducted extensive research on Benny Hinn, who I consider to be the most prolific false prophet and false teacher of our day.

Despite Hinn's heresies, false prophecies, and false healings, he is adored and even idolized by untold numbers of professing Christians worldwide.

Why? Why is it that despite the irrefutable documentation, do people go goo-goo and ga-ga over Benny Hinn and virtually trample themselves to be the first in line in his crusades?

God said it first:

"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron" (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

Although God's word is first and foremost, another thing to consider is the subtle conditioning process:

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

For years, many Christians have been conditioned to accept anything that comes down the pike--no matter how far-out or ridiculous. Part of that conditioning process is to lift-up, admire and adore false prophets, downplay their false prophecies with a grin and shrug, brush the false prophecies off as simple mistakes, then concentrate on "all of the good things" the false prophet does.

This is extremely dangerous territory for the Christian to be wandering around in. It opens the door wide open for the acceptance of all forms of deception, and shuts the door on Scriptural commands to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21); test the spirits (1 John 4:1); defend the faith (Jude 3), and proper interpretation of the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15).

Indeed, in and of itself, the term "Christian Yoga" should cause red flags of discernment, and be a term to be rejected immediately. This is why Christians must handle the word of God delicately and with the utmost respect, as opposed to relying on their feelings and emotions:

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).

The world is filled with a giant circus tent full of false prophets, false teachers, and con artists, all of whom--in some way, shape, or form--get their foot into the Christian church by using the name of God.

Of them, Jesus said we would know them by their "fruits." Of them, Jesus will say, "I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness" (Matthew chapter 7).

In summary, and to return to the original issue, John MacArthur was wrong in stating that if Yoga is used as "...just purely exercise, and you’re a strong Christian, it probably wouldn’t have any impact on your faith."

Was it a slip-of-the-tongue, is he simply confused, or is that what he really believes? Only John MacArthur can answer those questions. Whatever the case may be, God has already spoken, and has commanded Christians to:

"Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but expose them" (Ephesians 5:11).

I highly recommend Dave Hunt's book, "Yoga and The Body of Christ," and Caryl Matrisciana's DVD, "Yoga Uncoiled: from East to West".

Finally, I appreciate being given the opportunity to express my concerns and the truths of God's word on Locusts & Honey blog.

Sincerely in Christ,
Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service
www.christianresearchservice.com
Jude 3

Dan Trabue said...

And so I still wonder: Should we refuse to acknowledge Truth - God's Truth - even when it is spoken by an Other? Should we reject wisdom and beauty and grace if it is offered by a Hindu or a Muslim?

Shall we call that Truth and wisdom and grace "evil," merely because it comes from another faith tradition? Or does God's truth remain God's truth no matter who speaks it?

[and on a positive side, I'm aware of CRS work debunking Benny Hinn, who is much in need of debunking, and for that, I'm grateful. That Benny is a nut, too...and of the worst sort.]

Dan Trabue said...

My answer to my own question is, No, we ought not refuse to see beauty, goodness, grace and wisdom just because it has sprung forth from a non-Christian tradition. God forbid!

If we reject God's truth, well, then we're rejecting God's truth. And that would be wrong.

tom ream said...

Dan...thank for being (imho) a voice of reason in this discussion. I was looking on youtube at another video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQXAYioSQ9I

In this video, the speak makes a very good analogy to eucharist. He asks if every time someone sits down to a meal that includes bread and wine (whether they are Christian or not) are they partaking of the Eucharist? I hope the obvious answer for folks is 'No.' For those who profess faith in Christ, to gather at the Lord's table and partake of the same elements is to celebrate Christ real presence with us and to believe that in some way God is imparting His grace through the bread and wine. By the same token, for devote Hindu yoga practicioners, there is a religious component to yoga for them. For many people, it is an opportunity to engage in a low impact activity that has proven health benefits. I've had parishioners ask me about this and I tell them if there are seeking enlightenment, oneness with the universe or whatever it is that Hindus are seeking they are stepping outside the bounds of the Christian faith. If on the other hand they are looking to find some relief for their arthritic joints then have at it.

It troubles me as well that so much energy is put into the condemning of activities that by and large are benign. To me it seems to be the kind of thing that Jesus was referring to in Matthew 23:4 when he talked about, 'They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders.'

With so many real problems in this world that need addressed, I'd like to see the time and energy used in better ways than debating if Christians should be honoring God by taking care of the temple of their body with an exercise that just happened to have been developed in the East.

My two cents to the debate.

IN CHRIST

tom

John said...

As someone who has actually bowed down before Hindu idols (long before I was a Christian and it's a long, strange story involving a Hindu ex-girlfriend who was maddeningly passive-aggressive), I can tell you that I was unaware that at the same time that I kneeled before an idol of Shiva, that I was engaging in yoga.

Dan's been doing some good arguing in this thread and properly states that a good idea doesn't become a bad idea just because it's advocated by a nonChristian. Example: you like the U.S. Constitution? One of its principle authors was Thomas Jefferson, a nonChristian.

Bud Press is here! I am delighted to have such a leading personage on my humble blog -- even though I am reflexively distrustful of anyone who writes scornfully of Monty Python. Bud has argued that no Hindu guru elevates Christ, or expresses God's truth as it is in the Bible. True. But are the statements of Hindus inherently wrong because they are Hindu? Were the Gandhi quotes that Dan listed incorrect?

As for yoga, it is as Hindu as a Christmas tree is pagan, and just as spiritually dangerous.

Anonymous said...

John wrote:

"Bud Press is here! I am delighted to have such a leading personage on my humble blog -- even though I am reflexively distrustful of anyone who writes scornfully of Monty Python. Bud has argued that no Hindu guru elevates Christ, or expresses God's truth as it is in the Bible. True. But are the statements of Hindus inherently wrong because they are Hindu? Were the Gandhi quotes that Dan listed incorrect?"

Thank you, John. Although I am nothing and Jesus Christ is everything, I appreciate your giving me the opportunity to express my views.

And I am glad to learn you no longer participate in Yoga.

You asked, "But are the statements of Hindus inherently wrong because they are Hindu? Were the Gandhi quotes that Dan listed incorrect?"

Please permit me to begin with the following Scriptures:

"But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully" (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

"I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!" (Galatians 1:6-9).

With the Scriptures in mind, obviously, if a Hindu states that the Cascade mountains in Idaho are beautiful in the winter, who would disagree? Not me.

On the other hand, if a Hindu states that becoming one with Brahman and reaching nirvana to escape reincarnation is the best way to go, who would disagree? Me.

Who would disagree if a Hindu rejects Hinduism and its gods, receives Jesus Christ as Savior, and proclaims the God of the Bible? Again, not me. I would embrace him as a brother in Christ and fellowship with him. The same applies to a Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, Buddhist, etc.

So, "But are the statements of Hindus inherently wrong because they are Hindu?" It depends on the subject of discussion. If we are talking about the beauty of a mountain--no problem. But if we are talking about the differences between the Hindu gods and the God of the Bible, we are going to disagree.

To the Christian, God and Jesus means something entirely different than to the Hindu, Mormon, Jehovah's Witness, and Buddhist. And this is exactly what the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to point out to the church.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 11 and Galatians chapter 1, Paul warned of the false teachers that roam the landscape preaching a counterfeit "Jesus," which is always followed by a counterfeit "gospel" and "spirit."

And those who preach a counterfeit gospel are under a divine curse ("anathema," Galatians 1:6-9).

Therefore, those who promote beliefs that are contrary to Christianity are doomed to spend their eternity in hell, forever separated from God.

Sound harsh? Read what Jesus, Himself, said in Matthew 13:42; Matthew 25:41; and Revelation 20:15, which teaches,

"And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

Still sound harsh? Study Matthew chapter 23, where Jesus used the terms "serpents" and "brood of vipers" (NASB) to describe some of the hypocrites of His day.

Therefore, discussing the beauty of a mountain with a Hindu (or the late Mahatma Gandhi), would be one thing. But when the discussion turns to views, opinions, and personal beliefs about one's spiritual and eternal welfare, the God of the Bible has already spoken. This is serious business, and Christians need to take it serious.

Thanks, John. I hope this answers your questions.

In Christ,
Bud Press, Director
Christian Research Service
www.christianresearchservice.com
Jude 3

Anonymous said...

And speaking of Doug Pagitt, you may be interested in reading the following article:

"Emerging Church Leader, Doug Pagitt, Dropped from Southern Baptist Conference" at
http://www.christianresearchservice.com/SBCandDougPagitt.htm .

--Bud Press

Nathan Mattox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan Mattox said...

"The one thing that I resolved to use every possible means of preventing was a narrowness of spirit, a party zeal, a being straightened in our own bowels--that miserable bigotry that makes so many unready to believe that there is any work of God except among themselves."
~John Wesley, "A Plain Account of the People Called Methodists," in "Works," VIII, p. 257