I have commented previously on the labyrinth. it is clearly one of the most visually obvious practices that are being embraced by the emergent church movement. And now, of course, by Nazarene universities (see Trevecca Nazarene University) and Nazarene churches (see example video from a Nazarene church’s annual District report). Here is a commentary on this pagan practice being embraced by Nazarenes and many other denominations. It should leave you asking a few questions: why is this happening in a holiness denomination? Why is there such an abysmal lack of discernment amongst Nazarenes? If this is good, why then don’t we just start announcing it at the next District or General Assembly as a standard practice of the Nazarene church? Have you thought of that?
(from Steve Muse at Eastern Regional Watch)
A Walk to Life or a Walk to Death?
By Steve Muse
Is it a coincidence that within the last 20 years an ancient practice that had been abandoned by the “Church” has once again been introduced within its very walls that is impacting thousands? Why now is it being welcomed with open arms with such great enthusiasm by an unsuspecting church populace? This is another of many deceptions that have risen up within the body of Christ to bring delusion upon those who do not love the truth of God’s word. What affect will this ancient practice have upon we the believers in Christ?
I am reminded of a sci-fi movie I had seen recently where the main characters discovered a device that has been buried in a field for centuries and once it had been unearthed, the quest to find its purpose began in earnest. Many experiments were done to determine what this device was all about and once they thought that its purpose was known it was decided that one or more of the group would take the risk and use the device hoping to unveil its secrets.
At first everything goes well, many new and wonderful things are revealed, opening up an unending source of knowledge for its users. After coming to fully trust this device with many using it to gain knowledge and enlightenment, strange things are beginning to occur around those who were brave enough to have taken this journey themselves….but then the obvious.
As with most movie plots such as this one, it is very predictable as to the eventual outcome. What they had originally thought about this device, hoping that it was a good thing for all and would enlighten the people who used it, the device was created for evil purposes, thus capturing the users in a world of darkness and confusion, eventually leading to their destruction.
Across the country and throughout the nations a practice is being revived within the church, which has been dormant for centuries. In effect, an ancient tool has been “unearthed” or re-discovered and people have begun to experiment in the practice of walking the labyrinth. This is a practice that seems to bring a sense of spiritual well being for those participating in it but in reality it has trapped and is snaring many in darkness because of the labyrinth’s Occult origins.
According to Peter Corbett, in his article ‘Pathfinders, Walking Medieval Labyrinths in a Modern World,’ “labyrinths predate Christianity by over a millennium. The most famous labyrinth from ancient times was the Cretan one, the supposed lair of the mythological Minotaur, which Theseus slew with the aid of Ariadne and her spool of thread. Turf labyrinths still exist in England, Germany and Scandinavia, and are thought to be linked with local feminine deities and fertility rituals. The adoption of labyrinths into the Christian Church is not very well documented, but they were used traditionally as a site of pilgrimage. Early Christians took a vow to visit the Holy City of Jerusalem at some point in their lives. During the Middle Ages, as the Crusades made travel to Palestine unsafe, other means were needed to honor that sacred commitment. Labyrinths were adopted by the Roman Church to offer the congregation a way of fulfilling their sacred vows. Christians made their pilgrimages to the cathedral cities of Chartres, Rheims or Amiens, completing their physical and spiritual journeys in the cathedral labyrinths.
Even though the labyrinth is a Western concept, it shares some similarities with Asian monastic and spiritual practices. The patterns of the labyrinth are similar in design and conception to the mandalas of South Asian Buddhism, which are physical representations of the spiritual realm designed to aid in meditation. Labyrinths blend their visual symbolism with the process of walking, which is similar to the Japanese Zen practice of kinhin, literally “walking meditation,” where all of the attention is focused on the process of each step, one foot in front of the other, and the breath is controlled and regulated. Both of these techniques are used in Buddhist meditation, which combines the elements of calming and insight into the single goal of samadhi, or “awareness.””
It was recently, in the early 90’s, when Jean Houston, one of the leading New Age teachers (www.jeanhouston.org), introduced the Christian world again to the use of this practice for seeking spiritual enlightenment through walking the labyrinth. Jean Houston has been able to gain access within the “church” because of her doctorate in the Philosophy of Religion even with her apparent New Age Occultic teachings.
In one of her seminars in January, 1991, Jean Houston introduced the experience to the Reverend Lauren Artress. In 1992, the Reverend Lauren Artress brought the labyrinth to Grace Cathedral in an effort to bring people back to their center and allow them to experience “Spirit” for themselves. (www.gracecathedral.org/labyrinth/ and www.Veriditas.net)
Most of the practicing New Age occult world has known and still does, that the introduction of the labyrinth prayer walk is a victory for their cause, bringing the unsuspecting Christians into agreement with the overall plan of the Aquarian Age, where those participating in this practice could be captured or ensnared into the ways of Satan. (‘The Labyrinth: The Occult Has Truly Gone Mainstream’ can be found at http://www.cephas-library.com/na/new_age_labyrinth.html )
After researching the many websites on today’s use of the labyrinth, most agree that the labyrinth is a tool or device created to bring one into a higher spiritual realm through the use of meditation whether your are a practicing Zen Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, a New Age Occultist, a Satanist, an atheist or even a “Christian.” My question now as it was at the beginning of this article is what is this labyrinth all about and how will it affect the believer in Christ?
If someone were to hand you an Ouija Board telling you that it had been thoroughly redeemed and that other Christians were successfully using this board to bring them to a greater experience of God, would you also begin to entertain the thought of using this well known Occult method to seek God? Would you then use this Occult device, knowing full well that this is a tool or rather a gateway and portal to bring you into communication with “higher” spiritual entities (demons and familiar spirits). The labyrinth is much the same as the Ouija Board in its intent and purpose, to open one up to the influences of the demons of darkness, to supposedly gain wisdom and knowledge of the mysteries of life. Then why even begin to experiment or experience the sacred walk of the labyrinth?
In Deuteronomy 12:1-14 and again in Exodus 34:10-17, God commands us clearly not to participate in anything that has ever been used in pagan ritual for worship or for any other use, for that matter. The labyrinth has been from the very beginning a demonic temple, a Kundalini energy source, a tool of divination, a gateway and a portal to communicating with other spirits and was incorporated into the Roman Catholic experience at a time when there was little understanding of the Bible and little or no discernment.
Throughout the ancient history of the labyrinth divination was used to find the proper location based on many Occultic spiritual factors. Dowsers (those who use divining rods) and geomancers (diviners) were used then (and are still used today) to locate the earth energy center point for many of these labyrinths and then the cathedrals were constructed around the labyrinth. If one will study the use of these spiritual gateways (the same function as the Ouija Board) throughout history, very little emphasis was given to its use within the church. As the church gained a better understanding of the word of God, the practice was discontinued. (Research in Geomancy, White Paper, 1990-1994, Jeremy Harte)
People are drawn to the labyrinth by the subtle seductions of the spirit world trying to convince us that anyone can get to know “God” through some kind of spiritual experience. If this were the case then we have all been duped as Christians. If I knew that I could have a “God” experience just by walking the labyrinth then all that God did through the sacrifice that Jesus gave on the cross is really unnecessary to bring us into relationship with the Father, I just have to have an “experience” and all will be well.
Many believe that the labyrinth is the beginning of a “spiritual journey” opening up relationships with the ancient masters who will in turn offer the knowledge and wisdom of the ages to all who will take the first step or “the initiation” to enlightenment. Most Christians know or should know that the ancient masters are really “familiar spirits” or seducing demons and the initiation is a bonding with the powers of hell itself. Is this really a walk to life or a deception that will lure us onto a path to death?
Carl Teichrib describes “the initiation” in his article ‘Lucifer Rising: Occult Initiation,’ “Within the world of the New Age and the occult, initiation is the principle key used in advancing the student of mysticism along the path of occult learning. Practically all esoteric societies employ initiation. Freemasonry, Rosicrucian orders, hermetic societies, spin-off Masonic bodies such as the Shriners, Eastern Star, and the Order of DeMolay, all use initiation as a means of bringing candidates into their organization. Once inside the group, the society uses initiation as a way of advancing members into higher degrees of “illumination.” Within each of these rites, mystical concepts are passed down by means of symbol, myth, and legend woven throughout the initiation experience. The candidate, for the most part, does not understand its significance or meaning. Only as one climbs the ladder of ritual and esoteric work does the member comprehend what the initiations really entail.”
Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministries, gives us additional insight from his article ‘The Initiation': “For one to be part of the world servers in the New Age, they must first have an initiation. This does not come necessarily from joining a specific group, but by ones own spiritual experience. The common denominator for those who are enlightened is the experience of light. It does not matter how one receives it. Whether it comes by meditation, or a spirit guide or from their Astral traveling, as long as they have experienced it.”
As we walk the labyrinth we are in some cases knowingly or as with most people we are unknowingly entering into a covenant agreement with the demonic being initiated just by using the labyrinth as one innocently uses an Ouija Board thinking they are just playing a game. We become joined with the powers of darkness and we put ourselves at the mercy of the spirits who will lead us to destruction.
In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and 7:1 we read:
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
“For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, ‘I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.’ Therefore, ‘COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,’ says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,’ says the Lord Almighty.
“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
We as Christians have become like moths attracted to the flame, continually seduced to ever so slowly draw nearer and nearer until we finally are burned up in a flash. We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to “prove all things” or “examine everything carefully” and to hold onto those things which are good. We are also told in 1 John 4 “believe not every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God.”
Why would you even take the chance that you might be taking a walk leading to death?
Originally written by Steve Muse
August, 2004 – Eastern Regional Watch