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Q&A: EVIL Yoga?

Q - I know Christians MUST stay away from idols of Buddha and other Hindu gods. I praise God for what you are doing, by warning liberal Pastors to hold firm their faith in Jesus, and it is wonderful that you are there giving these real warnings. However, while warning against the IDOLS is good, which includes a warning against Santa Claus, American Idol TV shows, Mormonism and etc., what about a missionary who wants to go to India, love them, see what is good in them, and convert them to Christ?
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A
- Many thanks for your inquiry. You quite wrongly say I think the word Yoga is "evil" and mention I "hate the word yoga as much as some Messianic Jews hate the words Theos and God" because of the language's connection to the pagan Greek religious culture. You further write, some Jews refuse to read the New Testament in Greek because of its pagan roots claiming the original NT should've been written in Hebrew or Aramaic.

Isn't it wonderful that our Loving Creator God's character is one of Grace that lovingly over rides legalism? Thankfully religious legalism has no place in God's economy! God looks on the heart of man and is more concerned that we respond in obedience to whatever language His Spirit speaks to us with. Language is not the issue, it's only a vehicle, and as you understand God created language (Gen 11). Also, God through His Holy Spirit, spoke in ALL languages to people from every nation present in Jerusalem at Pentecost, the birth of the Church (Acts 2:4-11). God used words to create the world and SAID, "let there be light", etc. (Gen 1). The Word IS God (John 1). God thinks His communication with us of such great value that He sent His Word to become flesh and dwell with us (John 1:14) and Jesus explained God through words in all His teachings (1 John 1:18).

As I hope you understand, words are the vehicle God uses to teach us which is His Spirit of Truth, which He communicated from old through His true prophets. Yet, in Scripture we're told there is false content or essence in words given by false teachings through false prophets who listen to lying spirits. Words have power and we must test, or try their source (1 John 4:1). True believers need to discern the source of words against Scripture and see whether their teaching comes from the God of Truth, Love, Grace, Mercy, or from doctrines of lying demons who speak delusion and deception. (1 Tim.4:1).

The word yoke is used in Scripture by Jesus Himself (Matt.11:29-30) who says His Yoke is easy. Yoke is a bar connected to a burden carrier, here Jesus invites us to "yoke" to Him in Whom our burdens are lifted. Other gods, deities, demons attempt to seduce us through their words in our thoughts to connect to them such as in the practise of YOGA to yoke with Brahman, the force of Eastern Mysticism. They don't have the power to give us the peace connected with Jesus. He gives a peace not as the world does, which apparently shows us the world gives a counterfeit peace which falls short. (John 14:27).

True believers in Jesus Christ, who know Him to be the Son of God, the Only Messiah, Who gives forgiveness of sins to those who repent, and offers eternal life through His work on the cross, are commanded not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (1.Cor. 6:14) who listen to other spirits whose agenda is to corrupt the simplicity of Christ and His Gospel (2 Cor. 11: 3-4).

However, Jesus commissioned us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt.28:19) using His spiritually powerful words to teach in His Spirit of Truth in His Words that bring the gospel of salvation and freedom. The Truth will set you free (John 8:32)

You commend me for helping liberal pastors. No, I seek to "hold fast the faithful word that I may be able by sound doctrine exhort and convince (Tit.1:9) ANY who have ears to hear and liberal pastors are probably not amongst those! Our work as true believers is to preach the word, sound doctrine, at all times and through it reprove, rebuke and exhort with longsuffering and patience (1 Tim.4:2), whether those we speak to practice yoga, homosexuality or any behavior that separates them from a Holy God, we must stand firm in His Word in the last days (2 Thes.2:15. Heb.1:1-3).

I was born in India and lived there for about my first twenty years. I've since returned to visit its rich culture and land. I have many Indian family and friends, some are Hindus, some Muslims, and some of other faiths. Some practice a different faith to mine, but whether I'm in India or any other part of the world, talking to people with words to encourage them to be attracted to our Creator God of Love, Mercy, Forgiveness and Grace is always in the forefront of my mind. To look for "good" as you say in any culture or person can be misleading when applied to the last commission Jesus gave us, to teach His Ways to all nations for the benefit of eternal life with Him.

FULL QUESTION - I have had a somewhat similar experience with the influences of Yoga on my faith in Jesus. For many years, I was turning to meditation and a few yoga postures for relaxation. However, my eyes began to open to the many Hindu and Buddhist idols that filled shopping malls, yoga studios and Hollywood films. I did not realize what was really going on! I then began to search the Bible for what God's Word has to say.

I found two things. First, many devout Israelites in the time of Jesus were cautious of all Greek religious terminology, but the "narrow road" that Jesus spoke about was not just for Jews to avoid idolatry, but it was also for them to love the Gentiles and be willing to do to save them. The entire New Testament is filled with Greek words, such as Theos, as in Theology, which means the study of God. 2000 years ago, Greek culture was invading Israel just as Hindu culture is invading America. Just as you say words like "yoga" are evil, the Jews said words like "Theos" are evil. In fact, there are Messianic Jews today who believe in Jesus, but hate the entire Greek New Testament, and claim the original should have been written in Hebrew or Aramaic! Just as you hate the word yoga, they hate the word Theos and God.

My question is obvious, where does a Christian draw the line? How do we both love India with a sincere desire to convert them and still be alert to the idolatry? What if a person in India notices that the word "yoke" in English comes from the same root that "yoga" comes from in Sanskrit? Is the word itself the enemy? In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit shared the Gospel to each person in their own language. God creates the language of India (Gen 11).

I know Christians MUST stay away from idols of buddha and other hindu gods. I praise God for what you are doing, by warning liberal Pastors to hold firm the their faith in Jesus, and it is wonderful that you are there giving these real warnings. However, while warning against the IDOLS is good, which includes a warning against Santa Claus, American Idol TV shows, Mormonism and etc., what about a missionary who wants to go to India, love them, see what is good in them, and convert them to Christ?


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