by Ray Yungen
If you have ever wondered why New Age authors and their teachings are creeping past many Christians, then maybe the definition of creeping might help. The term means: slowly advancing at a speed that is not really apparent until you look back over a long time period. For instance, creeping inflation is not noticed in the short term, but when one looks back over twenty to thirty years, it is shocking. A meal that cost two dollars in 1970 now may cost eight dollars—however, the increase moved so slowly that the impact was diminished.
This same kind of movement has happened within our society and has gradually become mainstream. What was once seen as flaky is normal today—even useful. This trend is impacting evangelical Christianity at only a slightly lesser degree than secular society. The reason for the slight variance is that many, perhaps most, Christians have not yet grasped, or come to terms with, the practical mystic approach that New Age proponents have already incorporated into the secular world, as well as Christendom.
A mystical pragmatism is growing particularly fast through various New Age healing techniques. One such procedure is called Reiki (pronounced ray-key), a Japanese word that translates to Universal Life Energy or God energy. It has also been referred to as the radiance technique. Reiki is an ancient Tibetan Buddhist healing system, rediscovered by a Japanese man in the 1800s, that only recently has come to the West.
The Reiki technique consists of placing the hands on the recipient and then activating the energy to flow through the practitioner and into the recipient. One practitioner describes the experience in the following way:
When doing it, I become a channel through which this force, this juice of the universe, comes pouring from my palms into the body of the person I am touching, sometimes lightly, almost imperceptibly, sometimes in famished sucking drafts. I get it even as I’m giving it. It surrounds the two of us, patient and practitioner.1
What is this “juice of the universe?” The answer is an important one, given by a renowned Reiki master who explains:
A Reiki attunement is an initiation into a sacred metaphysical order that has been present on earth for thousands of years . . . By becoming part of this group, you will also be receiving help from the Reiki guides and other spiritual beings who are also working toward these goals.2
While this is not widely advertised, Reiki practitioners depend on this “spirit guide” connection as an integral aspect of Reiki. In fact, it is the very foundation and energy behind Reiki. One Reiki master who has enrolled hundreds of other masters spoke of her interaction with the spirit guides:
For me, the Reiki guides make themselves the most felt while attunements are being passed. They stand behind me and direct the whole process, and I assume they also do this for every Reiki Master. When I pass attunements, I feel their presence strongly and constantly. Sometimes I can see them.3
A Christian’s initial response to this information might be, “So what? I don’t travel in those circles, so it does not concern me.” This nonchalant viewpoint would be valid except for the fact that Reiki is currently growing to enormous proportions and in some very influential circles. (It may even be in your local hospitals, schools, and youth organizations.) It is essential to know that many nurses, counselors, and especially massage therapists use Reiki as a supplement to their work. It is often promoted as a complementary service.
Even more significant are the numbers involved in this practice. Examine the following figures to catch just a glimpse of the growing popularity of Reiki. In 1998, there were approximately 33,000 Reiki listings on the Internet. Today that number, on some search engines, constitutes over 22,000,000 listings. In just ten years, that number has increased almost 700 fold! As I said in the first chapter of this book, there are now over one million Reiki practitioners in the U.S. One Reiki master delightfully noted this surge of interest when he stated:
Over the years, there has been a shift in the belief system of the general public, allowing for greater acceptance of alternative medicine. As a result, we are seeing a growing interest in Reiki from the public at large. People from all backgrounds are coming for treatments and taking classes.4
One very revealing statistic involves Louisville, Kentucky, where 102 people were initiated into Reiki in just a single weekend.5 This denotes a large number of people are drawn to Reiki in the Bible belt, traditionally a conservative part of America.
It is important to understand the way in which Reiki is presented to the public at large. Despite its underlying metaphysical foundation, when one reads the literature put out by Reiki practitioners it is not at all apparent. One Reiki master who runs a day spa repeatedly uses words like comfort and nurture in her brochure. Reiki is something that will give you pleasure. Another woman who is a professional counselor tells her potential clients that Reiki will give them deep relaxation and reduce pain. Again and again these same themes emerge from promotional literature on Reiki—relaxation, well-being, reduce illness, reduce stress, balance your mind, etc. How can one say that Reiki is bad when it claims to help people?
The reason for this level of acceptance is easy to understand. Most people, many Christians included, believe if something is spiritually positive then it is of God. A pastor friend of mine recounted a situation in which a Christian, who had some physical problems, turned to Reiki for comfort. When this pastor advised the man that Reiki fundamentally opposed the Christian faith he became furious and responded with the following defense, “How can you say this is bad when it helped me?” That is why I titled a chapter in my book “Discernment.” To discern is to “try the spirits” (1 John 4:1). If something is of God it will conform to the very cornerstone of God’s plan to show His grace through Christ Jesus and Him alone (Ephesians 2:7). Reiki, as I defined earlier, is based on the occult view of God.
This assessment of Reiki is beyond question. Every Reiki book I have ever seen is chock full of pronouncements that back up the point I am trying to make. In The Everything Reiki Book, the following clears up any doubt about Reiki’s incompatibility with Christianity:
During the Reiki attunement process, the avenue that is opened within the body to allow Reiki to flow through also opens up the psychic communication centers. This is why many Reiki practitioners report having verbalized channeled communications with the spirit world.6
What is even more disturbing is that the Reiki channeler may not even have control over this “energy” as the following comment shows:
Nurses and massage therapists who have been attuned to Reiki may never disclose when Reiki starts flowing from their palms as they handle their patients. Reiki will naturally “kick in” when it is needed and will continue to flow for as long as the recipient is subconsciously open to receiving it.7
Another such method is Therapeutic Touch. Like Reiki, it is based on the occultic chakra system, portrayed as the seven energy centers in the body aligned with spiritual forces. The seventh chakra identifies with the God-in-all view. Therapeutic Touch is widely practiced by nurses in clinics and hospitals. It is seen as a helpful and healing adjunct to nursing care.
If the connection between Reiki healing and other metaphysical practices can be seen, then we more fully understand why the following quote is one of the most powerful statements as to the true nature of contemplative prayer. A Reiki master in the course of promoting the acceptance of this method relayed:
Anyone familiar with the work of . . . or the thought of . . . [she then listed a string of notable New Age writers with Thomas Merton right in the center of them] will find compatibility and resonance with the theory and practices of Reiki.8
Reiki comes from Buddhism, and as one Merton scholar wrote, “The God he [Merton] knew in prayer was the same experience that Buddhists describe in their enlightenment.”9
This is why it is so important to understand the connection between the writings of Richard Foster and Brennan Manning with Merton. Promotion indicates attachment, and attachment indicates common ground. Something is terribly wrong when a Reiki master and two of the most influential figures in the evangelical church today both point to the same man as an example of their spiritual path. (To read more about Reiki and energy healing, read “The Truth About Energy Healing” by Ray Yungen.)
1. “Healing Hands” (New Woman Magazine, March, 1986), p. 78.
2. William Rand, Reiki: The Healing Touch (Southfield, MI: Vision Pub.,1991), p. 48.
3. Diane Stein, Essential Reiki (Berkley, CA: Crossing Press, 1995), p. 107.
4. William Lee Rand, “Reiki, A New Direction” (Reiki News, Spring 1998, http://www.reiki.org/reikinews/reikinewdir.html,, p. 4.
5. Reiki News, Winter, 1998, p. 5.
6. Phylameana lila Desy, The Everything Reiki Book (Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2004), p. 144.
7. Ibid., p. 270.
8. Janeanne Narrin, One Degree Beyond: A Reiki Journey into Energy Medicine (Seattle, WA: Little White Buffalo, 1998), p.xviii.
9. Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free (New York, NY: Continuum Publishing , 1996), p. 76.
Letter to the Editor: Please Update Note on Calvary Chapel’s Earlier Statement on Emerging and Purpose Driven
Dear Lighthouse Trails:
First of all, thank you for the continue steadfastness and faithfulness to God’s Word while being under a lot of pressure to conform in these the last of the last days. I have been blessed time and time again by the articles, as well as the other resources available through Lighthouse Trails.
This morning I read the article-http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/resistersdieorleave.htm. It was such an encouragement since I have recently gone through this at a local Christian school. Regardless, the Lord has used it for my good and I’m sure His glory. Anyway, at the end of the article it mentions in a special note the Calvary boycott of Purpose Driven and emergent focused materials as resources.
The question I have is would it possible, since that is no longer the case, to edit the special note section or add an addendum to it. I chose to post the article on FB this morning, but was hesitant because of the note at the end. Sadly, as you know better than most, many Calvarys have recently openly begun aligning themselves with Rick Warren’s and other emergent leaders’ message and materials. I’ll be adding a comment under my FB explaining the change since 2006, however in an attempt to be as current and clear as possible, I wonder if editing the note in the article might be wise.
Again, thanks for your time and continued stand on the Word. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13
In Christ alone,
Richard (not real name)
Thank you for your note. We decided your advise was good so have added an updated note just under the 2006 (which we now dated).
Our Note (from 2006): Recently the Calvary Chapel movement (founded by Chuck Smith, Sr.) made a bold declaration when they decided to reject the emerging and contemplative prayer movements and to discontinue their support and use of all Purpose Driven materials. Many applaud this bold and sacrificial action. See our Special Report.
UPDATED NOTE ( 2014): Unfortunately, over the past 8 years since the above “Special Note” was posted, there have been many Calvary Chapel churches that have not heeded the 2006 warnings by the now-late Chuck Smith, Sr. but have rather accepted, promoted, and even embraced emerging/contemplative and/or Purpose Driven beliefs.
Many people try to separate the exercises of Yoga from its spiritual element. The secular, intellectual West has long assumed it can divorce yogic practice from its spiritual aspects simply by ignoring or redefining them.
Similarly, the Western church has come to assume it may safely Christianize Yoga, which it once viewed as a heathen import from the East and taboo for Christians. Yoga is now accepted as benign, and a wave of spiritually-based aerobic workout alternatives packaged in Christian terminology has washed over the Western world. These combine Yoga movements, postures, breathing concentration, and repetitive prayer with Christian themes, music, prayers, and worship, or biblical verses and names.
What’s more, Eastern meditation in general has been given a new “look.” For example, Thomas Keating, in his book, Open Mind, Open Heart, renames Eastern meditation techniques as “centering,” “contemplative prayer,” and “transformed into Christ.”1 To add to this fusion between the East and the West, leading Christian publishers are releasing numerous books and videos on Yoga for Christians.
As a result of this changing attitude toward Yoga and Eastern mysticism, a growing number of Christian churches are offering programs for both the community and their own members that “blend” Christianity and mystical practices such as Yoga.
Time magazine featured an article titled “Stretching for Jesus,” which reported on the controversy over “Christian Yoga.” It featured Cindy Senarighi, a Lutheran pastor and the founder of “Yoga Devotion.” Senarighi teaches Yoga in her Lutheran church in Minnesota. According to Time, such classes are part of a “fast-growing movement that seeks to retool the 5,000-year-old practice of Yoga to fit Christ’s teachings.”2
Although Senarighi receives opposition to her teaching from both fundamental Hindus and fundamental Christians, she says there is “a huge, wide group of people right down the middle who understand Yoga in a different way than either of those groups do.”3 She explains:
They understand the Western practice of Yoga, the physical use, the physical practice of Yoga, being not only good for them physically, but emotionally, and as I said, spiritually–being able to be in prayer and meditation.4
Senarighi believes that if Christian words are used as the mantras (which Yoga meditation requires), or the intent in using Yoga is to reach Jesus, then it is perfectly all right to combine Yoga and Christianity. She says:
One of the ways that I encourage my students to bring their Yoga practice and a Christian spiritual practice together, is to think about a favorite Bible verse or Scripture, or any Christian mantra such as the word “Jesus” or “amen,” and connect that with their body and their mind and their spirit in practice.4
Another Yoga teacher mentioned in the Time magazine article is Susan Bordenkircher, a Methodist from Alabama and the author of Yoga for Christians, a book published by Thomas Nelson (one of the largest Christian publishers). Bordenkircher discovered Yoga in 2002:
“I knew right away I was getting something out of it spiritually and physically, but it felt uncomfortable in that format,” she says. So Bordenkircher prepared a vinyasa, or series of postures, with a biblical bent. Meditations focus on Jesus. She calls the sun salutation, a series of poses honoring the Hindu sun god, a “warm-up flow” instead.5
The Time article reveals that “Yoga purists” (Hindus) are bothered by the idea of “Christian Yoga,” saying that “Hinduism is not like a recipe ingredient that can be extracted from Yoga.”6 At the Hindu University of America in Orlando, Florida, a professor of Yoga philosophy and meditation states, “Yoga is Hinduism.”7
Yoga has entered the Christian church through the notion that it is all right to adapt the Hindu practice of Yoga by using Christian terms and concepts; as long as only the exercises are practiced without meditation, Yoga is safe. Neither notion could be further from the truth. Former Hindu guru Rabi Maharaj, in his autobiography Death of a Guru, states, “No part of Yoga can be separated from the philosophy behind it.”8 Hinduism is totally incompatible with genuine, biblical Christianity–the two cannot be absorbed into one. There simply cannot be any such thing as “Christian Yoga.” (To learn more about “Christian Yoga and the New Age movement, read Out of India by Caryl Matrisciana)
1. Thomas Keating, Open Mind, Open Heart (New York, NY: The Continuum International Publishing Group, Inc., 1986, 1992, 2006); these terms are used throughout Keating’s book.
2. Lisa Takeuchi Cullen/Mahtomedi, “Stretching for Jesus” (Time magazine, August 29, 2005).
3. Yoga Uncoiled: from east to west (Menifee, CA: Caryl Productions, 2007).
6. “Stretching for Jesus,” op. cit.
9. Rabi Maharaj, Death of a Guru (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1984 edition)
By Heather Clark
Christian News Network
Homeschooling is growing at a record rate in North Carolina, according to reports.
Over 10,000 more students are being homeschooled than just two years ago, with enrollment figures surpassing that of private schools. The News & Observer reports that the North Carolina Division of Non-Public Education estimates that there are 98,172 homeschooled students in North Carolina, compared to 95,768 students enrolled in private schools.
While the majority of students attend public school—1.5 million—there is still a marked departure from the system, as there were just 2,300 homeschooled students in the state 25 years ago.
“If you’re dissatisfied with public education, you really have two routes,” Kevin McClain, president of North Carolinians for Home Education, told the outlet. “You can send your child to a private school, which is really expensive, or you can homeschool. The economy means that, for many people, you homeschool.” Click here to continue reading.
DANGEROUS ILLUSIONS . . . has such a tender, romantic heart . . . a sweet-murder-mystery-romance with a tangible love for the young people who are its target audience. It expresses love to a jaded, over-stimulated generation who must know that heroes and God-fearing, loving people still exist in the modern world despite the dark and violent images of MTV and Marvel comics. It is a barn-burner of suspense, hard to put down . . . and despite the accurate portrayal of sinister forces and very wicked people, it lacks the cynical hopeless misery of the media world our young-adults grow up in. It is the tender loving heart of God in the authors that shines through. I teared-up at the ending while reading in a restaurant. Appealing to both genders, the warm tapestry of appropriate Scriptures, Biblical names, symbols, images and characters warm the reader amidst the tension of events. It fills the book with a message that will arm today’s Christian youth against the ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’, false prophets and Hollywood show-people who permeate their young lives within the church. Well-developed atmosphere, mystery, characters, theology, heresy, apostasy and clarity are woven into an absolutely lovely tapestry with “THE LOVE OF GOD” as its central image. It is a new item in the library of Christian literature that (by God’s magnificent grace and Word) can save young Christian lives from the Age of Apostasy in which we live.—ROGER NEILL
by Dr. J. Vernon McGee
But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. (Proverbs 4:18, 19)
There are two ways that are set in contrast. One is the way in which the righteous go. There is another way, the way the lawless go. It is a way of darkness. It reminds us of the broad way that our Lord described, which I believe has been misunderstood.
I can remember when I was a boy that we would be taught about the broad way and the narrow way. Now if they had asked me which way I wanted to go, I would have said immediately, “I think you could have a lot more fun on the broad way.” Unfortunately, I think that is the impression most often given. However, that is not accurate at all. The picture is altogether different.
The broad way is a wide one today. That is where the mob is. The crowd is having a “vanity fair” down that way all the time. The carnival is going on. Down there is the place where they indulge the flesh, and they call it the way of liberty. We hear today that we are living in a new age in which we can do as we please. That is certainly a broad way – that is, at the entrance. But notice that this broad way gets narrower and narrower and narrower. The way of the lawless is the dark way. “The way of the wicked is as darkness.” There are the bright lights at the entrance, but down a little farther there are no lights. The people don’t even know what they are stumbling over. That is the broad way that the Lord Jesus described. It is just like going in at the big end of a funnel and then finding that it gets narrower and narrower until finally it ends in destruction.
In contrast, the narrow way is very narrow at the entrance. The Lord Jesus said, “… I am the way …” (John 14:6, italics mine). It is so narrow that it is limited to one Person: Christ. No one can come to the Father but through Him. You just can’t find a way any narrower than that. Peter said, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). The entrance is narrow, but after the entrance the way gets wider and wider, leading to an abundant life here and on into the light of heaven itself. My friend, we need to enter into the narrow end of the funnel, and that end is labeled, The Lord Jesus Christ.
By Garrett Haley
Christian News Network
LONDON – In an attempt to crack down on religious ‘extremism,’ Britain’s Education Secretary has announced that any schools that teach creation will be stripped of government funding.
Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary of Great Britain, delivered a statement to Parliament late last month, in which she condemned the spread of religious views within British schools. Citing a recently-released report, Morgan particularly emphasized the danger of radical Islamic beliefs infiltrating Britain’s classrooms.
“There has been no evidence of direct radicalisation or violent extremism,” Morgan stated. “But there is a clear account in the report of people in positions of influence in these schools, with a restricted and narrow interpretation of their faith, who have not promoted fundamental British values and who have failed to challenge the extremist views of others.”
The report mentioned by Morgan also denounces the teaching of creation in public schools, suggesting that anti-evolution beliefs are comparable to radical Islam. One section of the report claims that creation beliefs equate to “teaching belief as fact.” Click here to continue reading.