Excerpts from

Yoga, Mysticism & Moody Bible Institute

From the Lighthouse Newsletter, September 17, 2007


Skip down to Emergent leader Doug Pagitt

Moody Bible Institute Responds to Lighthouse Trails

"...Moody's response states they agree that according to our definition of contemplative spirituality, it is wrong. Our definition states:

 "A belief system that uses ancient mystical practices to induce altered states of consciousness (the silence) and is rooted in mysticism and the occult but often wrapped in Christian terminology; the premise of contemplative spirituality is pantheistic (God is all) and panentheistic (God is in all)."

The email states that MBI does not endorse this type of spirituality. They say that although they use books by contemplative authors in their courses, it does not necessarily mean they adhere to the teachings of these authors. They say they are using these books to possibly discuss the errors of these books and authors. But this defense is contrary to evidence in their ministries and on their web sites that show they are promoting these authors and their teachings in a favorable fashion.

The following (in red) is an excerpt from our 2006 article titled "Moody Bible Institute - Whatever Happened?"

Midday Connection, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute, is featuring an author (and a guest on their show) who promotes contemplative spirituality, Keri Wyatt Kent. Wyatt Kent is a writer for Willow Creek Community Church and often speaks on spiritual formation. Her recent book, Listen: Finding God in the Story of Your Life (published by the emerging/contemplative promoting publisher, Jossey-Bass), teaches readers to "listen" to God through "spiritual practices," including the practice of silence. The author quotes extensively throughout the book both contemplatives and New Agers, including Henri Nouwen, M.Scott Peck, Sue Monk Kidd, Anne Lamott, Julia Cameron, Rick Warren, Richard Foster, Ruth Haley Barton, and Eugene Peterson.

When Midday Connection (MBI ministry) was recently asked about their obvious promotion of Wyatt Kent and of contemplative spirituality, they stated that they were committed to spiritual formation and named "solid guests" like Larry Crabb and Dallas Willard who were teaching people "spiritual disciplines." They said they were just "re-stating some old truths in new ways." ...

In 1987, Moody Monthly wrote an endorsement for Sue Monk Kidd's book, God's Joyful Surprise. In this book, one of Monk Kidd's earlier books, she unfolds her journey into contemplative spirituality, largely from reading Thomas Merton and other contemplative authors. Once a conservative Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher, today she promotes neo-paganism and goddess worship. ...

So the real question is, is the spirituality of "Christian" contemplatives (those named in this article) truly Christian, biblical spirituality, or is it no different than eastern spirituality that is taught in Hinduism and other religions which premise is based on pantheism (God is all) and panentheism (God is in all)? If the latter is true, then MBI and its students are heading for serious detriment....

North Carolina Baptist Convention welcomes Yoga Emergent Guru Doug Pagitt

The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina will be sponsoring a conference this fall featuring yoga proponent and emerging church leader Doug Pagitt. The Wired2Grow event will take place on October 16th in Burlington, North Carolina....

Pagitt is the pastor of Solomon's Porch in Minnesota where yoga classes are often held. In the December 3rd 2005 issue of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, it stated: "Christian yoga has been gaining a devout following, and Twin Cities pastor Doug Pagitt has endorsed the practice in his new book, Body Prayer: The Posture of Intimacy with God." A PBS news story (see video) on the emerging church featured Doug Pagitt. The video also showed yoga classes taking place at the 2005 Emergent Convention in which Pagitt was a speaker. In one segment of the video (25 second mark), there was an Egyptian god symbol above a sanctuary stage (25 second mark) of a church. Currently, on the Solomon Church website is advertised the Women's Yoga and Prayer class....

Pagitt, like most emerging church leaders, resonates with mysticism (such as yoga and contemplative prayer) and is sympathetic towards Catholicism. In Roger Oakland's book, Faith Undone, he quotes Pagitt. Pagitt states:

"During a recent Life Development Forum we offered a session on Christian practices. In one of the four weeks we introduced the act of making the sign of the cross on ourselves. This gesture has become a very powerful experience for me. It is rich with meaning and history and is such a simple way to proclaim and pray my faith with my body. I hold the fingers on my right hand in the shape of a cross, my index finger lying over the top of my outstretched thumb. I use the Eastern Orthodox pattern of touching first head, then heart, then right lung followed by left. Others in the group follow the Roman Catholic practice with left before right." (Faith Undone, p. 51) ....

While many Christians think that yoga is ok if it is just practiced as a physical exercise omitting the spiritual aspects, even Hindu yoga masters say that you cannot separate the two. In one article titled "There is No Christian Yoga" by Hindu Yogi Baba Prem, Vedavisharada, CYI, C.ay, C.va, he states:

It was quite astonishing to see on the flyer 'Christian Yoga! This Thursday night....' I could feel the wheels spinning in my brain. 'Christian Yoga,' I thought. Now while Christians can practice yoga, I am not aware of any Christian teachings about yoga. Yoga is not a Judeo/Christian word! It is ... certainly not a part of protestant teachings. It is not found within the King James Version of the bible. It is a Hindu word, or more correctly a Sanskrit word from the Vedic civilization. So how did we get 'Christian Yoga'?

In an email Lighthouse Trails received from a professor at the Classical Yoga Hindu Academy, he stated:

Is Yoga a religion that denies Jesus Christ? Yes. Just as Christianity denies the Hindu MahaDevas such as Siva, Vishnu, Durga and Krishna, to name a few, Hinduism and its many Yogas have nothing to do with God and Jesus (though we do respect that others believe in this way). As Hindus who live the Yogic lifestyle, we appreciate when others understand that all of Yoga is all about the Hindu religion. Modern so-called 'yoga' is dishonest to Hindus and to all non-Hindus such as the Christians.

In a DVD titled Yoga Uncoiled by Caryl Productions, she explains that Yoga is not mere exercise. The postures themselves are specifically designed to worship the gods of Hinduism. For anyone who thinks that Yoga exercises (postures) are valid and safe, please get a copy of Dave Hunt's book, Yoga and the Body of Christ and Caryl Matrisciana's DVD. You will not only have a deeper understanding of the true nature of Yoga, but you will also see how dangerous it is to the spiritual welfare of the believer.

Unfortunately, Pagitt's role in the North Carolina Baptist event is not the only indication that the North Carolina organization is heading into the contemplative/emergent camp. In their
Spiritual Formation department, they include Marjorie Thompson's book Soul Feast. In a recent book review, Thompson is quoted from her book as saying:

Some Christians find that "mindfulness meditation," a traditional Buddhist practice, helps them live their Christian discipleship more faithfully.... The practice of contemplative prayer might give a Christian ground for constructive dialogue with a meditating Buddhist. (from Prologue of Soul Feast)...

BSCNC is also advertising the North Carolina Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation. A look at the retreat's brochure reveals influence by Catholic priest and mystic Thomas Merton, who said he wanted to be the best Buddhist he could be and who compared dropping LSD to practicing contemplative prayer...

Emergence 2007 Speaker Karen Ward on the Atonement

The Emergence 2007 conference, called a "unique weekend conversation," will take place October 19-20 in Austin, Texas. One of this year's speakers is Karen Ward, an emerging church leader. Ward is Abess of Apostles Church in Washington state and is one of the authors for a book called Listening to the Beliefs of the Emerging Churches. In Faith Undone, Roger Oakland discusses Ward and some things she says in this book (which will be featured at the Emergence 2007 event):

Emergent leader Karen Ward asks the question, "Is there an 'emerging' theology of the atonement?" She answers, "I think not." Calling it "the mystery we're in," she refers to the atonement as "at-one-ment," which occultist and New Age prophet Alice Bailey refers to as our (all humanity) oneness and equality with God. Ward explains her views:

We are being moved, as a community, beyond theories about atonement, to enter into atonement itself, or at-one-ment -- the new reality and new relationship of oneness with God which Christ incarnated (in life, cross, and resurrection) and into which we are all invited "for all time." (Faith Undone, p. 220)

To read the complete newsletter, click on http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/newsletter091707.htm

You can order For Many Shall Come in My Name & Faith Undone from Lighthouse Trails at www.lighthousetrails.com/formanyshallcome.htm

Other reports from www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com:

They Like Jesus, But Not the Church

Erwin McManus: "A Secret Behind The Secret"

The Secret: A New Era for Humankind