With its weekly yoga class right on campus, in fact right in Munro Parlor, named after the first dean of the college, Eastern Nazarene College continues to commit serious error in identifying itself as a “Christian” school. I have written much in the past about my alma mater and its embrace of false teachers, its support of professors who promote evolution and open theism, its compromise with homosexual activism, and its ecumenicalism. The school is yet again reaching out into the world and bringing in not only what is a worldly practice, but a practice that teaches pagan spirituality, delves into dangerous use of mysticism, and leaves a Christian open to spiritual deception. Instead of following the biblical command to “be not conformed to the world”, the school continues to reject almost every sound biblical principle taught in Scripture.
The poster advertising the class shows the silhouette of a young female in the familiar Lotus pose used by those who practice Eastern meditation. It is a very common pose, and it also has a spiritual meaning, as does all other yoga poses. It is a frequently used pose for meditation and prayanama (breathing exercises). Breath is believed to be the purifying power in our bodies, and the objective of deep, slow breathing is meant to purify and energize our bodies, according to yoga tradition. But contrary to the arguments of many who have “Christianized” yoga, you cannot separate the physical from the spiritual aspects of this practice. It is pagan eastern mysticism, and its goal is not simply physical exercise, but to bring the yoga practitioner to the point of a deep spiritual experience and connection. But that kind of connection is not with the God of the Bible. (See Yoga Uncoiled by Caryl Matrisciana https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWI1ieDz_B4)
The word yoga means “union.” The goal is eventually to unite yourself with the infinite Brahman, which is the Hindu concept of God. That concept is expressed as the belief in “pantheism”, that everything is God. Because everything is God, therefore there is no difference between man and God. The origins of yoga are clearly anti-Christian, and its emphasis is on teaching a person to focus on one’s self rather than focusing on God.
So one of the goals of yoga is to teach you spirituality, or help you find your spirituality. It teaches that there is a divine light within each of us. All of the yoga postures represent a specific spiritual meaning, and although I will not go into details of these postures, you can research for yourself and find out that yoga is far more than physical exercise, and why it is to be avoided by all Christians.
Several years ago my wife and I met with the president of ENC, Dr. Corlis McGee, as well as the school chaplain and the provost. Although we had a cordial conversation with them, we were miles apart in our beliefs. It is certainly no surprise to me that yoga is now allowed on the campus. We had gone there to voice our objections to the scheduling of Tony Campolo to speak to the students at chapel services. Dr. Campolo is an advocate of contemplative mysticism, and he confirmed our concerns when he spoke the next month, unashamedly promoting mantra prayers (centering prayer) and occultic Celtic spirituality. As I looked around and noticed several pastors in attendance, I wondered whether any of them had any idea of the harm this man was potentially causing to students listening to him.
Lack of discernment in the Christian colleges today is no longer a rare thing, but a common occurrence. There is not one Nazarene Christian college, and very few other Christian colleges, that has not been affected in one way or another by these false teachings and the ecumenical philosophy that is plaguing these schools. It would be much better for a Christian student to attend a secular college, than to attend and support a Christian school today in name only.
While proclaiming faithfulness to the truth of Scripture, schools such as Eastern Nazarene College have become nothing but havens for compromise. ENC proudly proclaims the statement, attributed to Bertha Munro herself, that “There is no conflict between the best in education and the best in our Christian faith.” And in doing so, they have no problem allowing evolutionists to confuse the minds of their students, and allowing other doctrines of demons to be taught to the students. Instead of strengthening the students’ faith with the truth of Scripture, they promote the liberal mentality of “let them come to their own conclusions” by exposing them to all sorts of false teaching.
We are told by Paul in Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Yoga is a worldly practice that does not reflect the mind of God. Practicing Eastern pagan meditation is not part of God’s “perfect will.” The practicing of yoga will leave the Christian wide open to deception from satan. (Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8) Instead, all that we do, we should do for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
In a post from last October on his blog, Pastor Douglas Graham of Cedarville Church of the Nazarene states:
“Yoga is based on idolatry and worldly thinking. It often involves a Hindu chant and emptying the mind. As Christians we are to fill our mind with the Word of God.”
“As a Christian I’d rather not join with a false god (Brahma) or ideas steeped in idolatry in order to be whole. Even Hindus know that yoga is not a practice of Christianity. I’d rather place my faith in the Gospel of Christ than to put my body in weird positions. I’m not saying someone isn’t a Christian if they do yoga. I’m using Biblical discernment and I hope Christians would do the same.”
If yoga is truly okay for Christians, then why not also use Ouija boards, Tarot cards, Astrology signs and symbols? Like yoga, they all have a philosophy and idea behind them that makes it a problem for Christians to justify. Yet somehow yoga has passed the smell test at many “Christian” colleges and churches, and is now practiced by many undiscerning Christians, encouraged by pastors and other leaders who are also blind to the truth.
But such is the sad state of the “Christian” college today. Many Nazarenes, including myself, do not recommend that parents send their children to any Nazarene college at the moment, including attending the seminary, which also promotes contemplative spirituality and occultic Celtic “Christianity.” I sent an email to President McGee on March 27, asking her to explain why this is being allowed, and if the school is approving of this practice. I have not yet received a response.
I urge anyone who is concerned about this to write to Dr. McGee as well. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information and research:
Yoga Uncoiled by Caryl Matrisciana https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWI1ieDz_B4)