Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 15 No. 10 October 2013
Page 4

What Is the Christian View of Yoga?

Vinay DavidAnswer: For many Christians in the West who don’t understand the history behind it, yoga is simply a means of physical exercise, strengthening, and improving flexibility of the muscles. However, the philosophy behind yoga is much more than physically improving oneself. It is an ancient practice derived from India, believed to be the path to spiritual growth and enlightenment.

The word “yoga” means “union,” and the goal is to unite one’s transitory (temporary) self with the infinite Brahman, the Hindu concept of “God.” This “God” is not a literal being, but is an impersonal spiritual substance that is one with nature and the cosmos. This view is called “pantheism,” the belief that everything is God, and that reality consists only of the universe and nature. Because everything is God, the yoga philosophy makes no distinction between man and God.

Hatha yoga is the aspect of yoga that focuses on the physical body through special postures, breathing exercises and concentration or meditation. It is a means to prepare the body for the spiritual exercises with fewer obstacles in order to achieve enlightenment. The practice of yoga is based on the belief that man and God are one. It is little more than self-worship disguised as a high level of spirituality.

The question becomes, “Is it possible for a Christian to isolate the physical aspects of yoga as simply a method of exercise without incorporating the spirituality or philosophy behind it?” I don’t believe so. Yoga originated with a blatantly anti-Christian philosophy, and that philosophy has not changed. It teaches one to focus on oneself instead of on the one, true God. It encourages its participants to seek the answers to life’s difficult questions within their own consciences instead of in the Word of God. It also leaves one open to deception from God’s enemy, who searches for victims that he can turn away from God (1 Peter 5:8).

Whatever we do should be done for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31), and we would be wise to heed the words of the apostle Paul: “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8).

The Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ

Mark N. Posey

Mark N. PoseyIn 2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul describes the Gospel as “the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.” This is one of the most remarkable descriptions of the Gospel in the whole Bible. The Gospel is the good news that tells of the glory of Christ in Whom we can see God. It is the mighty and powerful message from God that penetrates to the deepest place in the soul. Notice how Paul described the glory of the Gospel in Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

Origin of the Gospel: “the gospel of Christ.”

The Gospel is the good news that Christ died for our sins, was entombed and has been raised from among the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-7). His resurrection distinguishes Him from all other spiritual leaders. Others have lived, taught and died. Jesus Christ, though, is the only One Who died for our sins, has been raised and now lives as the Savior of the world. The Bible records for us the redemption of God in Christ (Luke 1:68).

Operation of the Gospel: “the power of God.”

Religion is the story of what a sinful man tries to do for a Holy God; the Gospel is the story of what a holy God has done for sinful men. The phrase “power of God” occurs 12 times in the New Testament using the word dynamics (i.e., power) (Matthew 22:29; Mark 12:24; Luke 22:69; Acts 8:10; Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 24; 2:5; 2 Corinthians 6:7; 13:4; 2 Timothy 1:8; 1 Peter 1:5).

Outcome of the Gospel: “to salvation.”

If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. However, since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior (Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; John 1:29).

Outreach of the Gospel: “for everyone who believes.”

The Gospel is for all! Paul told Titus that “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people…” (2:11). Jesus died for “the whole world” (1 John 2:2); He died for your sins and mine! That’s amazing and wonderful! Thank God for His unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). This belief (faith) is living and active – an obedient faith.

Order of the Gospel: “for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

The salvation in Jesus began with Israel, but was always to be extended beyond Israel. It was first preached in Jerusalem, then to all Judea, Samaria and to the remotest parts of the earth. The Gospel is for all time and all people!

God’s grace reaches me and of that I am not ashamed!

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