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The Dutch Reformed Church’s [Accelerated] Downward Spiral into Apostasy

Posted by Tom Lessing on May 17, 2009

Someone recently asked me “How is it possible that anyone who once proclaimed a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ can apostatize from the truth and begin to follow another Jesus, and yet still believe that they are following the real Jesus?” In hindsight I knew my answer was rather flimsy at the time and I felt like kicking my own rear-end for not having provided a better reason for our postmodern malady of chronic apostasy. I must admit I felt much better when I realized that when Paul grappled with the phenomenon of apostasy he could only express his astonishment at the serious and very dangerous defection from sound biblical doctrine in the church at Galatia without giving any sound reasons. The most amazing thing about their apostasy was that it happened so quickly. It accelerated at an alarming rate since Paul’s last missionary journey to Galatia and very soon after the false teachers began to infiltrate the church with their menacing heresies. It indicates that when doctrinal error is allowed to continue unabated and is not immediately nipped in the bud it will quickly spread like a cancerous tumour, spreading rapidly from body cell to body cell until the entire body is infected and eventually killed (2 Timothy 2:13-19). Incidentally, rev. Attie Nel of the DR Church Bergsig delivered a sermon on this passage but instead of warning his congregants against the manifold false teachers of our time, he singled out the “whistle-blowers” as the whipping-boys and cancer carriers and advised his congregants to rather surf the site http://bible.org if they needed solid biblical mentors or teachers to guide them on their spiritual journey. He said:

N.T. Wright “Today there are three persons who’ve had a very significant influence on my life: N.T. Wright, SCOT McKNIGHT and Eugene Peterson. In South Africa: Stephan Joubert and Jan van der Watt, and even Adrio König. Everyone of us should have a teacher or two in our lives, preferably more than one [and] say: ‘I am eager to learn from you.’ However, people learn in different ways. Some learn through reading; others though listening; yet others learn though talking, discussion. I do not like to talk because I am a slow thinker, but I’m an avid reader and listener. Now, I’m going to give you a website’s name where all three of these things occur. There’s a lot of reading-matter, very good reading-matter and conservative theologians; they publish daily on that site and there is also sermons you may listen to, and there’s a place where you can chat with others. The address is very simple, www.bible.org. Pop in there; you can also make those persons your teachers.”

Toward the end of his sermon rev. Nel says:

“Make God the first love, the only love in your life. Having said that, one wonders, ‘but how do I live it?’ And one of the persons I heard speaking about this, this week, he said ‘Just love Jesus.’ That’s all. Only love the Lord. If you love the Lord and if you love Him more than anything else everything falls into place. Its so easy. Its so easy. Its not an emotion. I do not choose to feel something. I choose to be something. How does it feel to love your wife? I don’t know . . . All I know is that I would do nothing to hurt her. How does it feel to love your wife? I don’t know . . . I do not know what it feels like. All I know is that when I keep my children in safety, that is what my wife wants of me . . . ‘Just love Jesus’”

These are indeed precious words but unfortunately precious words do not always paint the full picture. Jesus Christ also wants rev. Attie Nel and all the other pastors in the Dutch Reformed Church family to keep God’s children safely, just as his wife wants him to keep their kids in safety. Didn’t  Jesus say that our love for Him will be mirrored in the way we feed and keep his sheep and lambs? (John 21: 15-17). To love Jesus is therefore much more than a mere pious wish to “just love Jesus.” In fact, Scripture never says that we should “just love Jesus.” Love for God finds its highest expression in the way you handle and practice His Word (doctrines) (John 14:21, 21; 2 John 9) and also in the way you feed and keep his children. In the first place, to keep God’s children safely means to preserve and feed them within the constrains and parameters of His Word so that they may grow spiritually and to protect them against the unscrupulous attacks of false teachers. Are our pastors doing that? No, say I, because they are delivering up the sheep and the lambs to teachers who are saying and doing things contrary to our Great Teacher, Jesus Christ. They are leading the sheep and especially the lambs along ways that seem right but the ends thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).

N.T. Wright, one of rev. Attie Nel’s influential teachers, is a bishop in The Church of England who are confusing Christians with his book “What Saint Paul Really Said.” He is also one of the co-writers of a book that is causing an uproar in the church, called “Stricken By God, Nonviolent Identification & the Victory of Christ edited by Brad Jersak en Michael Hardin. Several distinguished leaders in the Emergent Church, amongst them Brian McLaren, have endorsed it with gusto. Bishop Wright is an highly esteemed person in the Emergent Church. On page 119 of his book “What Saint Paul Really Said” he wrote the following on the doctrine of justification.

"’Justification’ in the first century was not about how someone might establish a relationship with God.  It was about God’s eschatological definition, both future and present, of who was, in fact, a member of his people."

With this concoction readers are expected to rethink the concept of justification. According to Wright “justification” cannot be interpreted in terms of God’s imputed righteousness of His Son to save sinners, but merely as an expression or locution (metaphor) of God’s covenant faithfulness in vindicating Israel in the face of the nations. No wonder Paul lamented:

Galatians 1:6-7 I am surprised and astonished that you are so quickly turning renegade and deserting Him Who invited and called you by the grace (unmerited favor) of Christ (the Messiah) [and that you are transferring your allegiance] to a different [even an opposition] gospel. Not that there is [or could be] any other [genuine Gospel], but there are [obviously] some who are troubling and disturbing and bewildering you with a different kind of teaching which they offer as a gospel] and want to pervert and distort the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah) [into something which it absolutely is not].

The apostle John was equally astonished when he was shown the apocalyptic MYSTERY BABYLON, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH and the woman who was drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus (Revelation 17:6). In fact, the very same word “thaumazo { thou-mad’-zo}” is used in both these passages. Unfortunately astonishment (amazement, bewilderment and shock) have been replaced by admiration and appreciation, even to the extent that the once disallowed and disavowed doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church are being assimilated in Protestant circles with accelerated zeal and wonderment. Those who fail to notice the globally orchestrated and unrelenting efforts of some of the most revered spiritual leaders in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches to reverse the Reformation need to surf the internet for only a few hours to see how far they have progressed to eradicate the divide between the two. During my research on the internet I happened to stumble on a site entitled PBS that seems to be on the forefront of providing international news and views via their television stations and internet content. They claim to reach more than 65 million people every week and invite their viewers and listeners to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. I was particularly interested in their page called RELIGION AND ETHICS and its cover story “Protestant Mary” which appeared on December 17, 2004. Kim Lawton, Managing Editor/Correspondent and award winning reporter, producer, writer and editor who has worked in broadcast media and print for nearly 20 years covering religion, ethics, and culture, interviewed several well-known clergy and academics. She introduced Prof. Timothy George, Southern Baptist and dean of the evangelical Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, as one of a growing number of theologians and writers urging evangelicals and other Protestants to stop ignoring Mary. She also interviewed Professor BEVERLY ROBERTS GAVENTA (Princeton Theological Seminary) who is calling for a new Protestant examination of Mary.

So even in order to understand fully what those Gospels are about, which is so much what Protestants prize, we have to pay more attention to her. We can’t just bring her out for Christmas Eve and put her back away on the 26th.

Mother Mary Why do we need to pay more attention to Mary when she hardly or ever contributed to the advancement or illumination of the Gospel? That task was given to the twelve apostles of whom Jesus once said: “Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” We dare not show any partiality when Christ himself singled out every person who does the will of His Father in heaven to be his brother and sister and mother. Mary who presented herself to God so that He may accomplish His will in regard to the incarnation of God the Son, was indeed blessed but so are the poor in spirit, they that mourn over their sins, the meek, the hungry who thirst after the righteousness of God, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. No one can deny that Mary was a blessed chosen vessel of God, for had He not done so our blessed Lord and Saviour could never have partaken of flesh and blood so that our sins and transgressions could be judged in His torn and bloodied body on the cross. The virgin vessel was blessed but no more than every man, woman and child who do the will of His Father in heaven. As soon as we place Mary on a pedestal to single her out for special attention above all the others whom Jesus Christ referred to as his brothers and sisters and mothers, we are dangerously close to the Mariology of Roman Catholicism. Mariology in the Roman Catholic tradition is not just about bringing Mary out of Christmas Eve and examining her position for a better and fuller understanding of the Gospels. The ultimate goal of Mariology is to proclaim Mary Co-redemptrix with Jesus Christ. The following definition of the word “Co-redemptrix” appears on Wikipedia.

Co-Redemptrix in Roman Catholic Mariology refers to the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the redemption process. It is a separate concept from Mediatrix. The concept of Co-redemptrix refers to an indirect or unequal but important participation by the Blessed Virgin Mary in redemption. She gave free consent to give life to the redeemer, to share his life, to suffer with him under the cross and to sacrifice him for the sake of the redemption of humankind. Co-Redemptrix has not been formally defined as a dogma, although petitions for declaring it (along with Mediatrix) a dogma have been submitted to the pope by various Cardinals and bishops. It would become a fifth Marian dogma if approved by the Holy See.

Millions of Roman Catholics have signed and submitted a petition to the Pope, pleading with him to declare Mary Co-redemptrix, Mediatix and Advocate for all Christians. On April 9, 1997 the late Pope John Paul II referred to the role of Mary in the crucifixion during an audience as follows:

Mary … co-operated during the event itself and in the role of mother; thus her co-operation embraces the whole of Christ’s saving work. She alone was associated in this way with the redemptive sacrifice that merited the salvation of all mankind. In union with Christ and in submission to him, she collaborated in obtaining the grace of salvation for all humanity…In God’s plan, Mary is the ‘woman’ (cf. John 2:4; John 19:26), the New Eve, united to the New Adam in restoring humanity to its original dignity. Her cooperation with her Son continues for all time in the universal motherhood which she enjoys in the order of grace. Trusting in this maternal cooperation, let us turn to Mary, imploring her help in all our needs. (Emphasis added)

The ominous reality about the growing world-wide appeal to proclaim Mary the Co-redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate for all Christians is that it has taken on an increasingly supernatural dimension with the many Marian apparitions throughout the world. In many of these Marian apparitions she claims to be the Mediatrix, Advocate, Saviour (Ark of peace) and ever-present, titles which belong to Christ alone. Her most alarming claim is that she is the Co-Redemptrix or Co-redeemer of the world. The following quotes are directly from the lips of the “Mary” many people have seen in her apparitions throughout the world.

I stand here as the Co-redemptix and Advocate. Everything should be concentrated on that. Repeat after me: The new dogma will be the dogma of the Co-Redemptrix. Until I’m acknowledged, there with the most holy Trinity, has willed me to be, I will not be able to exercise my power fully in the eternal work of co-redemption and in the universal mediation of graces.”

She claims to have suffered with Christ for the sins of the world.

I love you even if you are far away from me and my son. I ask you not to allow my heart to shed tears of blood because of the souls who are being lost through sin.

For a long time I have suffered for you. If I don’t want my son to abandon you, I am forced to pray to him myself without ceasing. You pay no heed. However much you would do, you can never recompense the pain I have taken for you.

I boldly assert that his suffering became my suffering because his heart was mine. And just as Adam and Eve sold the world for an apple, so in a certain sense my son and I redeemed the world with one heart.

I am she who is related to the divine Trinity. I am the virgin of Revelation.

My children, I am the Door of heaven and a help on earth.

She encourages her children to venerate her statues.

As mother I want to tell you that I am here with you represented by the statues you have here. Each of my statues is a sign of a presence of mine and reminds you of your heavenly mother. Therefore, it must be honored and put in places of greater veneration. You should look with love at every image of your heavenly mother.

She also encourages her followers to build shrines and temples to her honour

I ardently desire a temple built for me here where I can show and offer all my love, compassion, help and protection, for I am your merciful mother.

In 1999 in Amsterdam she was not only hailed as the Co-Redemptrix but also for the first time as The Lady of all Nations. In one of her apparitions she said the following-

When the dogma, the last dogma in Mary’s history has been proclaimed, the Lady of Nations will give peace, true peace to the world. The nations, however, must say my prayer in union with the church. They must know that the Lady of all nations has come as Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix and Advocate.

The Marian apparition now claims that she is not only Mary the mother of God but also Lady of all the Nations and as soon as the Pope declares her to be the Co-Redeemer with Christ she will usher in a new era of peace.

Speak about the mother of the Eucharist because the mother of the Eucharist closes history. All the messages come from God and everywhere that I am appearing I am speaking about the same things. Because of the triumph of the Eucharist, the mother wants all the churches to be reunited so that there will be only one church for all the people (Emphasis added).

You may have begun to wonder why I am telling you these things and how they tie in with the Dutch Reformed Church’s downward spiral into apostasy. Not only has the emerging mystical spirituality (contemplative prayer, centering prayer, lectio divina, lectio continua, enneagrams, labyrinths, solitude, the silence, meditation, breath prayers, the Jesus prayer, contemplative retreats, twelve cross stations, Jesus candles, icons, Ignatian contemplation, the Desert fathers etc.) taken the church by storm, it is beginning to show its true colours and purpose which is to bring Protestants back into the Roman Catholic fold.

Prof Beverly Gaventa The Faculty of Theology at the University of Stellenbosch and Communitas will be hosting a three-day conference on the theme “What can we learn from the book of Acts about being a Missional Church?” from 18-20 May 2009. The conference will launch research groups that will work on seven themes in the Book of Acts over a period of three years. The project aims at bringing together two major discussions within the context of theology and church practice. Proff. BEVERLY GAVENTA (Princeton Theological Seminary) who I have already briefly introduced to you as a promulgator for a new Protestant examination of Mary and SCOT McKNIGHT (North Park University, Chicago) will be the main speakers at the conference. Like Prof. Gaventa, McKnight urges Protestant churches to honour Mary. The following excerpt appeared in one of the site Lighthouse Trials Research’s newsletters:

In emerging church leader, Scot McKnight’s book, The Real Mary: Why Evangelical Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus, McKnight says thatScot McKnight Protestant Christians are the only Christians who do not honor Mary. He recommends that Protestant churches all practice an "Honor Mary Day" (p. 144), saying she "leads us to a Jesus who brings redemption … To listen to Mary is to hear the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection as a mega-event whereby God established a new kind of power, a new kind of family, and a new kind of kingdom" (p. 145). McKnight describes this great event as a time when the world will come together and worship Mary (Emphasis added).

McKnight who is already having a great impact on the emerging church is also passionately promoting the Eucharistic Jesus in Protestant circles. He says that "the Eucharist profoundly enables the grace of God to be received with all its glories and blessings."(Scot McKnight, Turning to Jesus, (Louisville, KY: Westminister John Knox Press, 2002 edition, p. 7).

It is evident that the Dutch Reformed Church’s three-day conference on the theme “What can we learn from the Book of Acts about being a Missional Church” is nothing but a well-disguised effort to promote the Roman Catholic Church’s New Evangelization programme. Many young Dutch Reformed Church clergy are progressively opting for a missionary strategy to establish the Kingdom of God on earth and are urging people to become followers of Jesus. The Jesus they are following is slowly but surely morphing into the Eucharist Jesus who is repeatedly sacrificed on the altars of Roman Catholic cathedrals throughout the world. For more information on this subject read here.

Jeremiah 44:15-25 Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, and all the women who stood by – a great assembly – even all the people who dwelt in Pathros in the land of Egypt, answered Jeremiah: As for the word that you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not listen to or obey you. But we will certainly perform every word of the vows we have made: to burn incense to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her as we have done – we and our fathers, our kings and our princes – in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; for then we had plenty of food and were well off and prosperous and saw no evil. But since we stopped burning incense to the queen of heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked everything and have been consumed by the sword and by famine. [And the wives said] When we burned incense to the queen of heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes [in the shape of a star] to represent and honor her and pour out drink offerings to her without [the knowledge and approval of] our husbands? Then Jeremiah said to all the people – to the men and to the women and to all the people who had given him that answer – The incense that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem – you and your fathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land – did not the Lord [earnestly] remember [your idolatrous wickedness] and did it not come into His mind? The Lord could no longer endure the evil of your doings and the abominations which you have committed; because of them therefore has your land become a desolation and an [astonishing] waste and a curse, without inhabitants, as it is this day. Because you have burned incense [to idols] and because you have sinned against the Lord and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord or walked in His law and in His statutes and in His testimonies, therefore this evil has fallen upon you, as it is this day. Moreover, Jeremiah said to all the people, including all the women, Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who are in the land of Egypt, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: You and your wives have both declared with your mouths and fulfilled it with your hands, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed to burn incense to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her. [Surely] then confirm your vows and [surely] perform your vows! [If you will defy all My warnings to you, then, by all means, go ahead!] (Emphasis added).

When a church, their leaders, their countrymen and their country refuse to listen to and heed God’s warnings in His Word, He leaves them to their own devices and allows them to fall even deeper into their self-inflicted, apostatized and idolatrous lifestyles. Like Israel of old they too have their pious reasons for their disobedience. Our country has been in the grip of crime and violence for a very long time and despite the many warnings from various corners throughout the country, church leaders, and especially our younger generation church clergy, have unremittingly and obstinately followed their own “new-hearty” and “labyrinthy” ways to bring peace to our land. They too say “we and our fathers, our kings and our princes – in all the cities of South Africa – will bring peace, prosperity and happiness through our own efforts and methods. We have tried the old ways but it didn’t work. Let us therefore rethink the Gospel; let us listen to the followers of other religious persuasions and work in union and in harmony with them to save our beloved country.” God  says to them “Surely, then confirm your new vows to usher in My Kingdom on earth with your abominable ways; honour the queen of heaven as my people have done in olden times. If you will defy all My warnings to you, then, by all means, go ahead! But!  remember what I have said through my apostle Paul:

1 Corinthians 10:9-12 We should not tempt the Lord [try His patience, become a trial to Him, critically appraise Him, and exploit His goodness] as some of them did – and were killed by poisonous serpents; Nor discontentedly complain as some of them did – and were put out of the way entirely by the destroyer (death). Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).

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The Dutch Reformed Church’s Downward Spiral into Apostasy

Posted by Tom Lessing on April 20, 2009

Isaiah 2:6 Surely [Lord] You have rejected and forsaken your people, the house of Jacob, because they are filled [with customs] from the east and with soothsayers [who foretell] like the Philistines; also they strike hands and make pledges and agreements with the children of aliens. (Emphasis added)

Several high profile Dutch Reformed clergy as well as other well-known professors and doctors have openly and publically proclaimed that Christianity does not have the exclusive rights to spiritual truths and that Christians may learn from Eastern religions and even the New Age Movement. Professor Stephan Joubert of e-church fame, said on March 1, 2009 in a sermon at the Kemptonkruin Dutch Reformed Church:

“He [Rob Bell] says you must engage the culture. You must listen to the Buddhists. You must listen to what they have to say. It startles Christians because they do not clearly hear what Rob Bell is saying. He does not say: become like them. He says: read their stuff; find out why they are so important. They too may have truth. Truth is not only in Christianity. You find truth in Judaism. You can find truth in atheism. You can find truth wherever. God’s general truth is a little wider, but you say ‘Jesus is Lord.’”

Prof. Stephan Joubert is deceived and he is deceiving many if not all of his congregants in the e-church. Does the emerging mantra “Jesus is Lord” which was used ever so profusely in the charismatic movement have magical qualities, giving one a free pass to say and do whatever one likes without having to fear God’s righteous judgments? Has he never read Matthew 7:22, 23?

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

Rev. Jannie Pelser of the Rant and Dal Community Church and presenter of the programme “Brandpunt” on Radio Pulpit  is equally deceived. He said on Friday, 3 April  2009 in his programme.

“Is God’s revelation and work not bigger than Christianity? Could there not be elements . . . could we not learn from one another, regardless of the fact that it may even be the New Age. But when I think in terms of the contemplative [spirituality] . . . a being still before God, an openness to God. Is it not a rewarding moment?

My commentary here has since sparked off a debate between me and Rev. Guillaume Smit of the Brackenfell West Dutch Reformed Church in the Cape who feels that Christians may participate in Eastern religious activities such as yoga, karate, tae kwon do and other meditation techniques without compunction or fear that they may be getting involved in idolatry. He wrote as follows here.

This is why a Christian could, in principle, have the freedom to participate in eastern sport such as tae kwon do, karate or judo, provided the instructor only teaches the sport and not any form of eastern philosophy along with the sport. And since this is a point of contention for more conservative (sic) Christians, a Christian could also participate in meditation techniques that enable him/her to relax and get focused on worship or studying Scripture, provided this isn’t part of practices that is closely associated with eastern religions. Obviously, it makes sense to argue that participating in new age practices such as astrology or spiritism falls outside the scope of this principle, as these practices are also closely associated with the occult.

Could it be possible that Rev. Smit has ruled out the work of the Holy Spirit in worship and the studying of the Bible? Rev Guillaume’s statement that meditation techniques enable Christians to focus on worship and the studying of the Bible, is completely at variance with the teachings of Jesus. True worship, He said, is to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). God, Who is Spirit, cannot be worshipped in any other way than in spirit and in truth. This simply means that anyone’s spirit who hasn’t been quickened (made alive unto God) through repentance and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross cannot worship God because their spirit is still dead in sin and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1). Jesus made this point when he told the man, who first wanted to bury his dad after Jesus had commanded him to follow Him, to let the dead bury their dead (Luke 9:60). The second prerequisite for true worship is to worship God in truth, the truth as we find it in God’s Word ALONE. The Holy Spirit ALONE can enlighten the mind to understand the Scriptures. In fact, Jesus said the Holy Spirit would teach God’s children all things and bring to their remembrance the things whatsoever He taught His disciples. In his High Priestly prayer Jesus asked his Father to sanctify his disciples in his truth, emphasising the fact that his Word is truth. Both Stephan Joubert and Jannie Pelser as well as Guillaume Smit are in the dangerous position of denying and vilifying the fact that it is ONLY the Holy Spirit that guides us into ALL truth (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit works ONLY within the parameters of God’s revealed truth as we find it in His Word. As such there can be no beneficial truths whatsoever in other religions and philosophies, let alone the New Age movement. I fear that our churches and their congregants (the sheep and little lambs) are being led astray by their pastors and “dominees” into a maze or labyrinth of venomous reptiles from whence it is becoming increasingly difficult to escape. In little more than a quarter of a century the Dutch reformed Church has moved from a position where it was outspoken against Eastern religions and their practices to a position of tolerance and participation mainly through one of its most “respected” champions of so-called Christian meditation, Dr. Willem Nicol.

Below is a tract the Dutch Reformed Church distributed to warn its congregants against transcendental meditation. As you can see it was published in 1977, a mere 32 years ago which shows how rapidly the Dutch Reformed Church has spiralled into apostasy since that time.

transcendental-meditation-11 Transcendental Meditation 2

Transcendental Meditation 3 Transcendental Meditation 4

I would like to translate some key phrases in behalf of our English readers. On page 3 it reads as follows:

The initiation ceremony is clearly a religious ritual and no one is allowed to participate in TM without it. The pupil and teacher remove their shoes, enter the room with candles and incense and place an offering of a white handkerchief, fruit and flowers on the altar in front of a photo of Guru Dev, Maharishi’s master.

A song of prayer is sung during this event to glorify pagan gods.

The pupil then receives his own MANTRA, a word or sound of one or more syllables which is completely meaningless to the pupil. TM claims that every person on earth has his/her own mantra that uniquely suits them. They assert that the teacher fortuitously receives the pupil’s mantra from Maharishi and that the teacher has the knack to know his pupil so well after only a few minutes that he is able to present him with just the right one.

A heavy atmosphere of mysticism and superstition surrounds this mantra: this word and it alone enables the devotee to meditate. It may never be written down or disclosed to someone else. The reason for this is evident. No wonder some people have discovered that they have the same mantra.

The above ceremony is known as the “Puja” in which the photo of the Guru Dev is used as a representation of the Hindu deities, Brahman, Shiva and Vishnu. The MANTRA can also be the name of one of thousands of Hindu gods. Christianized meditation in which the name “Jesus” or a phrase such as “have mercy on me” are used as mantras are no less dangerous to one’s spiritual life than the above mentioned ceremony. Some may argue that Christianized meditation has no affiliation to the offerings in the “Puja” ceremony. The fact remains that the repetitive mumbling of the mantra, whatever it may be, produces altered states of consciousness and opens the devotee up to demonic entities. In any case the Word of God forbids Christians to use a vain repetition of words as the gentiles do who think they will be heard by much speaking (Matthew 6:7).

Rev. Smit’s provisos to “detoxify” any form of Eastern meditation from its inherent and inseparable religious overtones, so that the Christian may worship God and study His Word in a relaxed way, is preposterous. The Bible warns that we should have no spiritual union with idolaters and the unbelievers’ spiritualities.

2 Cor 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.

The flip side of this coin is, however, that if your body is not the temple of God through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God does not indwell you, you may probably participate in these idolatrous practices without compunction. By all means, continue to do so but remember that the wrath of God will remain on you until you repent of your ways. This applies to all the other disciplines Rev. Smit mentioned in his defence of these practices, i.e. tae kwon do, karate or judo. Karate has its roots in Zen Buddhism and its principles were handed down in great secrecy by word of mouth from Zen Master to Buddhist Monk. An Indian Buddhist priest named Bodhidharma in the 6th century A.D. in China, synthesized karate techniques and Yoga meditation in order to unite mind, spirit, and body. (Among the Chinese styles are kung fu or gung fu, wu shu, and pa kua. Tai kwan do and hapkido are among the Korean styles.) Karate is clearly not only a mental and moral exercise, but indeed, a spiritual experience. In each practice session there is a concerted effort to unite mind, spirit, and body just as Bodhidharma sought to do with Zen priests.

Rev 18: 4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;

To end my commentary on this subject I would like to quote from Dr. Kurt Koch’s book “Occult ABC” to highlight the dangers of yoga.

Yoga chakras YOGAYoga of Jesus

The word yoga is derived from Sanskrit and is possibly the root underlying the Greek word “ioge,” shelter, and the Latin “jugum,” yoke. If these linguistic associations are anything to go by, to practice yoga is to put oneself under a yoke, or to seek shelter from a protective power.

It is impossible to present yoga fully in a short chapter. To begin with, there are many forms of Indian and Tibetan yoga, so many that it would take more than one large volume to list them all. It would take up too much space here even to describe one single form.

For a good introduction to yoga, Maurice Ray’s book Joga, ja oder nein? is recommended. This book describes Hatha Yoga and Raja (Royal) Yoga from the standpoint of the Christian faith. It is the best discussion of yoga from a Christian point of view known to me.

In this brief account I can only give a very limited part of the whole. I have used the following sources:

1. Pastoral counselling in the West and the East, especially in East Asia, where I have travelled extensively eight times.

2. Information given me by the Indian professor de Roy, who has studied the yoga practice in his country.

3. The definitive work by Mishra on Patanjali Yoga: The Textbook of Yoga Psychology. Several key sentences from Mishra’s work will introduce us to the spiritual atmosphere of yoga:

a. The higher ego of man is transcendent and immanent, without beginning and without end, it has no birth and no death.

b. Yoga means the synthesis of the physical and metaphysical universe.

c. Heaven and hell are only products of the human mind.

d. Behind magic, mysticism and also behind the occult the yoga system is present.

These four sentences show clearly that yoga and the Bible cannot be harmonized in the remotest way. The systems of the Far East and the Christian faith are irreconcilable opposites.

If we take a cross section of the most well-known forms of yoga, we can recognize four stages.

The first stage has the aim of helping the student of yoga to gain control of his consciousness and his body. This goal is achieved by means of mental and physical exercises.

The mental exercises include meditation, autogenic training, con­centration, and “koan,” a litany involving the continuous repetition of a mantra (secret word).

The physical exercises include breathing exercises and various bodily postures like the lotus position, the cobra position, and the headstand.

This first stage is thus psychosomatic in nature, producing unity of body and mind.

There are many Christians who believe that it is possible to par­ticipate in this first stage of yoga without harm. It is merely a matter of relaxation exercises. If only this were true! Counselling experience tells otherwise. This technique of relaxation and these “emptying exercises” so highly spoken of by the yogis lead to the inflowing of another spirit—other spirits. The students of yoga do not notice it.

Ex 266 G.C., a Christian teacher, told me that during an evan­gelistic campaign, a certain man and his daughter had wished to surrender their lives to Christ. But they found themselves unable to do so. Only after they had renounced their yoga exercises and repented of them did they succeed in coming through to Christ.

Ex 267 In Johannesburg, South Africa, I counselled a theology student. He was a young man who had been converted to Christ some years before. Hearing about a yoga course which had been announced in church, he applied to join. After a few months, he noticed a change in his spiritual life. His desire to read the Bible disappeared. He also became tired of prayer. I advised him very strongly to give up his yoga exercises at once and to renounce the whole thing.

The second stage of yoga involves the control of the unconscious mind. When a person has mastered the second stage, he can control and guide, for instance, his visceral nerves. I have met masters of the second stage who can perform astonishing feats.

Ex 268 In a Western university town, I met a theology student who practiced the second stage of yoga. He was able to increase or decrease his circulation of blood. Being inclined to be humorous, he used to entertain his fellow students by showing off his abilities. He could make one of his ears red and the other one white at the same time. He could also cause red spots to appear on his skin by suggestion.

I could only wonder what kind of gospel this young man will one day preach to his parishioners.

Ex 271 The most enlightening experience I have had of this sort was in California. A young woman came to me for counselling. She told me that she had been a master of the second stage of yoga. In the course of her yoga exercises, she had actually chosen Jesus as her guru. Note this, not Jesus as her Savior and Redeemer, but only as her example, her great master. During her yoga exercises, she developed occult powers. She became unhappy about it, and tried to free herself. It was then that she first realized what a power yoga had over her. She began to seek Christ. Several of her friends prayed for her. After terrible struggles she became free. She wrote an account of her experi­ences entitled “From Yoga to Christ.” She gave me permission to publish it.

Yoga does not liberate; it enslaves. Yoga does not free; it binds. Yoga does not enlighten; it brings confusion. Yoga does not prepare the way for Christ, as Father J. M. Dechanet (Cahier du Val) claims, but makes people immune to redemption through Christ. Yoga does not open the door for the Holy Spirit, but for spiritist spirits.

The third stage of yoga is concerned with the mastery of the natural powers. I have found very few examples of this in the West, but very many in the East. It is the speciality of Tibetan yogis to combine magic and yoga. After three years of apprenticeship under a lama, who is the master of this art, the adept (apprentice) has to be able to produce energy in the form of heat in natural objects, such as melting ice by means of mental concentration.

I have still more frequently come across the converse of this, where yogis are able to produce heat and even flames. We find this among the fire worshippers, who also practice fire magic.

Ex 272 In Port Elizabeth, one of these fire masters, who had emigrated from India to South Africa, came to me for counselling. He made a confession and asked for my help. I showed him the way to Jesus. He was willing to accept Jesus as his Lord. I do not know if he has continued in the faith. Occultists often fall back into their old ways.

Those who are still in doubt as to whether stage one or two of yoga results in occult processes must admit that when it comes to stage three, yoga leads to the powers of the abyss.

At the fourth stage, the yogi gains the mastery of the dark arts. The Lamas of Tibet are particularly well known for this. I have collected very many examples of stage four yoga. In Kalimpong on the Tibetan border, I came into contact with many Tibetans. I have also received reports from former missionaries in Tibet. Especially enlightening was the confession of a man who has given me permission to publish his story.

Ex 273 My informant had studied yoga, magic and spiritism for ten years with the Lamas. He had heard of my lectures in Sydney and followed me on to Newcastle, Australia. He made a full confession and named his specific sins. He said, “What the Lamas teach is the cult of spirits, the cult of demons. Please help me to become free.” We had a long talk together. From this man I learned that the Tibetan yogis are masters of the trance, materialization, excursion of the soul, telekinesis, levitation, perfectly controlled telepathy, and all the arts of spiritism. At stage four, which I have met in this intensity only with Tibetans, Zombis, Alauts, Maccumbas, and voodooists, yoga can no longer, with the best will in the world, disguise its true character. Here yoga reaches its ultimate master — Satan, whose desire it is with his promises and his wiles to snatch people away into the abyss.

There is no need for further comment on the religious side of yoga. Yoga ends not only in self-redemption and atheism, but in the cult of demons. Those who undertake to take part in yoga exercises enter a force field by which they are unwittingly directed towards the origin of these powers. These are the powers of which Paul speaks in his epistles, (see Colossians 2:15). Christ has freed us from the spirits, demons, and powers. The chief of these powers is Lucifer, who is seeking to win back those he has lost. And what successes he has gained, for yoga has become the fashion in the West!

A quotation from a book published overseas confirms my own view. In the book “Satan kumpf um diese Welt,” by Lindsey and Carlson, we read, “Chris Pike (a son of Bishop Pike) told me in a personal interview that he previously practiced yoga and meditation. As a result he had become controlled by spirit beings which had nearly destroyed his life. He then renounced these powers in the name of Jesus, and today he is a witness to the transforming power of Jesus Christ. His life was completely changed.” (Effects of Occult Devices 261)

All Christians who are allowing themselves unsuspectingly to be led astray into yoga should take note of Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Kurt Koch: Occult ABC” Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, pp 256-261).

One of the strangest phenomena of our postmodern times is that many clergy actually practice the “ancient-future” philosophy of the emergent church. They cling to their traditional roots and simultaneously take hold of so-called new age practices in a wonderfully pyrotechnical display of emergent unification. This is not of God and will inevitably lead you into the miseries of the abyss . . . unless of course you repent and turn to Jesus Christ.

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