21 September 2007

Biblical Propositions, Yoga Positions, and Contextualizing the Christian Message for People Who Work at CNN

by Phil Johnson

oug Pagitt's recent performance on CNN was documented last week by several bloggers, including Nathan Busenitz, Fred Butler, Shawn Anthony, and Doug Groothuis.

Groothuis had actually been invited to join a four-person panel on CNN but turned it down. Someone else must have declined, too, because in the end, the CNN segment featured only two guests. They pitted Pagitt against my pastor, John MacArthur, on the question of whether yoga is something Christians should practice or churches should sponsor.

John MacArthur, of course, believes in the authority of Scripture and the exclusivity of Christ. He said yoga as a spiritual discipline is fundamentally in conflict with authentic Christianity; and that Christians ought to seek spiritual wholeness through the truth of the Bible alone—not in ascetic practices borrowed from the sacraments and soteriology of Hindu mysticism. ("You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"—John 8:32. The Bible is able to make us "complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work"—2 Timothy 3:17.)

And as if that weren't enough, the CNN host's reading of the dictionary definition of yoga ought to have settled the whole question.

But I was too busy to post about anything last week, and by the time I got my project done, the Great CNN Yoga Showdown was already old news.

I should mention that several Emergent-friendly bloggers also highlighted the exchange, and their comments are unusually revealing.

None is more revealing, however, than Doug Pagitt's own cynical podcast, made immediately after the CNN event—before Pagitt even left the building (HT: David "Hip Hop" Shannon).

Click here to listen to Doug Pagitt.

Todd Friel played portions of that podcast, interspersed with his own comments, on Wednesday's first hour of Way of the Master Radio. (Click on the poster below to hear the six-minute segment from WoTM Radio where Todd replied to Pagitt's remarks.)

Or click here to listen to Todd Friel.

I needn't say much more than Todd did about the Pagitt post-interview joint. Todd's analysis was spot on, except for one small but significant detail: the woman Pagitt was talking to in that podcast was not a member of his church but a woman who works for the studio CNN uses in Minneapolis. She gave no indication that she even professed to be a believer. Pagitt's sneering disdain for the sufficiency of Scripture needs to be evaluated in that context.

Now, given the typical Emergent approach to "contextualizing" the Christian message, I'd love to write Pagitt's insulting remarks off as merely a clumsy attempt to be "missional" and thereby connect with a CNN employee. After all, CNN hasn't exactly distinguished itself as a Christian-friendly organization, so someone might argue that Pagitt's display of hubris was merely an attempt to speak the language of that corporate culture.

Problem is, I don't think Pagitt was merely posturing for that woman's sake. I think he really does think yoga is more effective than the truth of Scripture as a remedy for the root causes of stress. Yoga positions, good; Bible propositions, blecch.

As a matter of fact, I think such a low view of Scripture is as much a staple in the Emergent culture as it is at CNN. It's just that with all the Emergents' fondness for double-talk, ambiguity, and equivocation, one doesn't usually get to hear it expressed with such straightforward transparency.

Phil's signature


Douglas said...

Is Doug Pagitt a Christian? He is a scoffer and mocker. How can a Christian be a scoffer and mocker?

Yoga is occultic. In other words, it is demonic. Many mock what I have just said. Even many professing Christians mock what I have just said.

Three sources to back up what I say:

1. My word. I used to practice yoga, I know where it leads and it leads into darkness and eventually, will lead unrepentant ones into the lake of fire for eternity.

2. Ankerberg Theological Research Institute - Yoga

3. Pastornet Australia - Yoga: Responses

Yoga is occultic and demonic and so are the Martial Arts. I studied and trained in both for several years after getting out of prison and before I became a Christian. I was fully immersed in them as a way of life. I know that there are professing Christians out there that say Yoga and Martial Arts are ok and actually practice them and they teach Yoga and or the Martial Arts to others, but I humbly and respectfully say, they are deceived and are blind to the black nature behind them both. The spiritial aspects of Yoga and Martial Arts cannot be separated from the physical, by man. Even a strong Christian, that is supposedly only doing the physical exercises of Yoga or Martial Arts, will be influenced by the demonic realm, in one way or another, without even realizing it. I can tell people this truth but it is only God that can show them. I realize one of the contributers on this blog practices Karate and I say he is deceived. Unless he has since renounced his involvement with Karate? Fred Zaspel practices Karate and he is deceived too in this matter. How can professing Reformed Christians be so deceived to the demonic nature behind the Martial Arts? I suppose all Christians can be deceived in certain things for a season during their sojourn upon this earth. I pray that God uses the articles in the links to open the eyes of peoples understanding.

Martial Arts: Responses (Don't practice)

Ask Ray Comfort if I am telling you the truth. He knows me from when we used to live in Christchurch prior to him moving to America and me moving to Australia. Ray was the assistant pastor at the New Brighton Christian Center where we fellowshipped, the church was right across the road from the beach. At times we could hear the roar of the waves crashing during worship. Thrilling! Awesome (fearful & dreadful).

God bless John MacArthur for boldly proclaiming the truth. If Mr. MacArthur keeps his shield of faith up, at all times, he will quench all those fiery darts from the enemy, even through people like Pagitt and God knows who else. Doug Pagitt needs to truly repent of his wickedness. It seems Doug Pagitt has not emerged out of the green pond of despond yet.

Jim Bublitz said...

The really disturbing and revealing part of that shorter clip is Pagitt's apology FOR John MacArthur.

Thanks for writing about this Phil. Looking forward to your Truth War posts coming up.

John Haller said...

Pagitt wrote a book called Body Prayer which Publishers Weekly described as follows:

From Publishers Weekly
Pagitt (Preaching Re-Imagined) and Prill provide ideas and specific guidelines for praying using the body—i.e., praying for strength with your hands crossed over your chest or for healing with your palms out, facing up—with a goal of "help[ing] you connect with God at every level of your life—body, mind, and spirit." The 30 short sections of the book provide instructions for specific prayer postures, each with some introductory comments, a prayer, instructions, and room for journaling. Each posture is illustrated with a full-page drawing (which, unfortunately, does not always exactly match the written instructions). Though Christian, the book is informed by an almost New Age sensibility; many of the prayers sound more like self-focused meditations than requests for something from God, and often skirt around the issues they're supposed to address, for example, the prayer for healing: "The power and love of God/ Keeps us from falling/ Washes us clean/ And places us in the kingdom as pure beings." Scripture references are included in the notes but not in the text itself. Some conservative evangelicals will likely be uncomfortable with the book, while those in the emergent church may welcome new physical approaches to prayer.

When a secular review of your book notes the syncretism at play, there is a problem.

Keith B said...

Phil thanks for the post on the CNN interview. I missed it and would have not known about it unless you had posted on it. I will have to go back and take the time to go to the segments in the links. But I am sure they are priceless.
I have been teaching a class on the Sufficiency of Scripture. Pagitt's position (no pun intended)will be a great example of the antitheses of this great truth.
Thanks again.

FX Turk said...

I particularly liked Pagitt's "I have no idea what Jesus would think about ..." defense of his views.

Now, with ear to the ECM blogosphere, I listen for the complaints that Mr. Pagitt has made a false step ...

[places had to ear, as the Grinch toward Hooville]

donsands said...

My doctor was giving me a check-up, and he went through his short teaching on dealing with stress. He referenced the Eastern religions how they can help us have peace in our lives.

I told him he was probably right. They probably do work. But it's temporal, and the peace of Christianity is eternal. I let my doctor know that Jesus is the Prince of peace, and not only that, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one can come to the Father except through Him.
He said where did Jesus say that?

I said John 14:6. When you get home today check it out in your Bible.
That was a couple years ago, and he still likes his Eastern religion. But I pray for him.

I don't see the problem with Karate, yoga and such, unless it replaces the truth of what the Bible says about peace and contentment.
If these things are used for exercise, as Pastor John said, then it should be a problem.

But then again, it may be best to stay clear.

Patrick Eaks said...

Phil Wrote:
{Pagitt's sneering disdain for the sufficiency of Scripture needs to be evaluated in that context.}

All you have to do is have a friendly email exchange with those in the emergent "church" to see the truth of this statement.

Also, I have been to an old blog of Padgitt's and they have pictures of an emergent group doing what they call "yoga worship" out in the woods. How can someone worship doing yoga, unless they are worshipping a false god? 2Cor. 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

Thanks for your post Phil, and for the new poster!

FX Turk said...

Before the piling-on begins, Dr. MacArthur said something in this video which, I think, all players sort of stepped over. He made it clear that what's at stake here is not the question of whether exercise is good for you: what's at stake here is whether the total package of yoga -- the emptying out of the mind, seeking a cessation of thought and an experience of blissful union with the Supreme Brahman, or eternal union with Vishnu, working through the motions (literally) to achieve union with a nameless god, or whichever eastern incarnation of this practice one demonstrates and confesses -- has any standing in devotion to Christ.

His point is that if you want to exercise, good on you -- there are ways of exercising which do not include pagan practices. Choose one of those.

That point has to be dealt with by anyone who wants to say, "I just do it for the work-out". It's like teens who buy rap music "for the beats" -- get them a well-produced Christian rap CD (there are maybe two or three) and play that rather than a CD expounding the nature of [proprietors of the sexual trade] and [the women sold in sexual trade] and [vulgar term of male comeraderie] and [vulgar term for female companion], and you'll find out quickly that the words do matter -- and they want none of that knock-off stuff.

art said...

Phil:"I think he really does think yoga is more effective than the truth of Scripture as a remedy for the root causes of stress."

Just out of curiosity, does Doug ever say this?

FX Turk said...


Listen to the audio clip from Doug Pagitt's podcast which Phil posted.

Mike Riccardi said...

One thing I never got about MacArthur's statements on CNN was how he said if you're a strong Christian doing yoga probably won't destroy your faith (maybe he didn't say destroy, but it was something like that: harm, affect, etc.). Then he went on to say, "But why would you want to do that, etc."

So my question is: If we're coming out against yoga as a physical exercise inextricably linked with its spiritual (pagan) foundations, why does Pastor MacArthur entertain the notion of a strong Christian who does yoga?

BTW, I did read Frank's caveat about John not saying that exercise is bad. I didn't understand him to be saying that either.

Chad A. Moore said...

Yeah, Phil is right on this. If you listen to the clip Pagitt obviously appears to believe that yoga is more helpful in relieving stress than reading the Bible. At least he does NOTHING to say otherwise or defend the Bible.

His exact words are in fact this: “Its so weird to hear people say stuff like that..." And in manifest mockery of MacArthur he says, “Seriously, if you want to relieve stress, go to the word of God, oh my goodness.” To which the lady there say, “Yeahh...”

Drew said...

I don't practice yoga, nor do I have any particular desire to, but I really don't see what the big deal is here. Do you really think that one of God's elect will slip and accidentally start worshipping a false God by going to a Yoga class? I don't know who this makes worse, that Christian or his/her God!

And I heard somewhere that the word of God is like a fire. There are some scriptures that do help me rest in the comfort of God, but there are other ones that stress me out.

DJP said...

Wow. Not very Psalm 1:1 of him.

g said...

I have never done Yoga, but I have done martial arts mainly for both exercise and practical self-defense. So don't throw the baby out with the bath water on this one. There was nothing spiritual in it for me.

As far as professing to be a Christian and having a low view of Scripture... how can that be? I cannot comprehend this trend from the perspective of genuine saving faith... but I can when thinking upon when I professed to be a believer but was merely on a roller coaster ride of self-sustained, me-centered religion.


Mike Riccardi said...

Drew, allow me this following parallel with your statement: I don't practice yoga, nor do I have any particular desire to, but I really don't see what the big deal is here. Do you really think that one of God's elect will slip and accidentally start worshipping a false God by going to a Yoga class? I don't know who this makes worse, that Christian or his/her God!

"I don't have sex with my girlfriend, and even though I love her and find her attractive, I have no particular desire to defraud her and dishonor God by doing so. But I don't see what the big deal is here. Do you really think that one of God's elect will slip and accidentally fall into lust and even physical sin by laying down on a bed together alone in a room watching a movie? I don't know who this makes worse, that Christian or his/her God!"

Is there a command that says, "Thou shalt not lay on beds alone with girlfriends"? No, not technically. But that doesn't absolve it from being a terrible idea. Why in the world would anyone wanna do that? (Also see Dan's gun analogy from his dating post a while back.)

And I heard somewhere that the word of God is like a fire. There are some scriptures that do help me rest in the comfort of God, but there are other ones that stress me out.

For the word of God is indeed sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart (Heb 4:12). Our God is indeed a consuming fire (Heb 12:29). So how can we find comfort here? What's ironic is that the writer of Hebrews is using those very verses to introduce the idea that we should be bold, confident, and steadfast in our assurance.

Why? "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe." The idea is that because we're God's, we can rest in His sovereignty and worship Him in awe and reverence because GOD is for US!

In fact, that's what that whole end section of Romans 8 is about. Who can bring a charge against God's elect? Who can separate us from the love of Christ? NOTHING!

Now, if that doesn't relieve some stress -- more than that, if it doesn't make everything in this life look insignificant -- you've got bigger problems than stress, my friend.

donsands said...

"I really don't see what the big deal is here."

The big deal is the way Doug Pagitt demeans the Holy Scriptures.

He could be a false teacher that Jesus warned us about. And that's a huge deal.

The Lord said that these false teachers would come and if it were possible, they would deceive even the chosen of God.
Satan is a lot cleverer then we think, I think.

DJP said...

Just read a portion of Proverbs that seems germane to the little conversation to which you link, Phil:

Whoever says to the wicked, "You are in the right," will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations, 25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.
(Proverbs 24:24-25)

Mike Riccardi said...

“Seriously, if you want to relieve stress, go to the word of God, oh my goodness.”

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:8-9)

"The Word of God? Peace? Oh my goodness..."

Princes persecute me without cause, But my heart stands in awe of Your words. I rejoice at Your word, As one who finds great spoil. I hate and despise falsehood, But I love Your law. Seven times a day I praise You, Because of Your righteous ordinances. Those who love Your law have great peace, And nothing causes them to stumble. I hope for Your salvation, O LORD, And do Your commandments. My soul keeps Your testimonies, And I love them exceedingly. I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, For all my ways are before You. (Ps 119:161-168)

"Come on, psalmist! You're missing out! You go to the word of God when these princes persecute you without cause? Dude, you should do some yoga! That'll really take care of ya!"

Seriously, what do these guys become pastors (I use the term extremely loosely) for?

Solameanie said...

John MacArthur did an outstanding job on this interview, especially given that he didn't get as much airtime as Pagitt. I have heard that the CNN host (the guy) is a believer, but I can't confirm that. I think Pagitt basically hoisted himself on his own petard.

Groothuis has been on my radio program in the past. I am surprised he turned down the opportunity here. As things turned out, John did just fine on his own, but I am sure he would have appreciated some moral support.

Carla Rolfe said...

Just wondering... considering the source, and the movement, is anyone really all that surprised to read this, and listen to Pagitt's comments?

I know I'm not. It's what we (us notorious, horrendous awful "watchbloggers") have been saying for the last few years or so.

Welcome to the ECM. Gack.

candy said...

Proponents of New Age practices are thrilled Christians are doing yoga.

Known New Age leaders have been promoting syncretism of Christianity and New Age practices for a long time. Because many Christians do not have a good foundation in the Word of God, they do not see the harm in a "few exercises". Discernment is at stake here.

I was into New Age practices long ago in the old hippie days. I know a mile off when this stuff starts popping up in Christian circles. Needless to say, I am dismayed that there is so little alarm towards yoga. Sure, it seems harmless to do a few exercises, but the exercises themselves are the tricklings of the stream that will widen as other practices come in the door that are related to New Age. We know that many practices have already been assimilated in various Christian groups. I wish people would do a little research into the agenda of New Age leaders to infiltrate the Church.

David A. Carlson said...

Don Sands said

"I really don't see what the big deal is here."

The big deal is the way Doug Pagitt demeans the Holy Scriptures.

He could be a false teacher that Jesus warned us about. And that's a huge deal.

The Lord said that these false teachers would come and if it were possible, they would deceive even the chosen of God.
Satan is a lot cleverer then we think, I think.

Actually he goes far further.

He denies the sufficiency of scripture. If you deny the sufficiency of scripture, you deny the faith.

By his words, he describes himself as someone who is not a christian.

Now that isnt very pomo of me.

DJP said...

He denies the sufficiency of scripture

Not just denied, but mocked — and to an unbeliever.

Some "conversation."

BTW, Dan Kimball (if you're here) — what's your take on the "conversation" Pagitt had with the unbeliever?

(Genuine question, not meant to bait. I think it may help us define terms.)

Al said...

A few things…

First of all that audio is the kind of thing one ‘discovers’ and posts to point out another’s errors (and to shame them into repentance). Mr. Pagitt’s is actually proud of this bit of interaction? Odd.

Also, there was a splice in the audio:

Lady: And you didn’t sound crazy either…
DP: (laughter) Hmmm thanks.
Lady: Like that other guy.

Lady: …but then you get to watch it again.

I would be interesting to hear the whole tape.

Lastly, Mr. Pagitt had this woman’s attention, he had entered her thought sphere, they had a relationship. Here comes the gospel, right? RIGHT? Perhaps that was what was cut out in the splice.

For all the EC guys out there… Never has humility sounded so “layered.” For the record, this is why there are “mean,” “offensive” posters out there.

Al sends

Rileysowner said...

I find Pagitt's interaction with the woman from CNN near the end rather interesting as well:

Woman: You were great.
Pagitt: Thanks.
Woman: And you didn't sound crazy either.
Pagitt: (Laughs heartily.) Thanks.
Woman: Like that other guy.

Daryl said...

Satan is subtle isn't he? Pagitt says yoga has had no deterimental spiritual effects on him...and then he discounts God's word and apologizes for D.r McArthur's stand on Scripture.

I gotta say, I really appreciate how D.r McArthur so easily delivers the gospel to the viewers while answering the questions.

Is this whole thing not instructive of the EC?

Mike Riccardi said...

Pagitt's interaction with the CNN lady reminds me of something Piper said at Resolved last year. It was about the prosperity gospel being no gospel, but is easily generalizable because the emerging church is no church.

"The prosperity gospel is no Gospel because what it does is offer to people what they want as natural people! You don’t have to be born again to want to be wealthy, and therefore you don’t have to be converted to be saved by the prosperity gospel! When you appeal to people to come to Christ on the basis of what they already want, 1 Corinthians 2 makes no sense: “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit; they are foolishness to him.” Therefore if you offer to people what they do not consider foolishness in the natural man, you’re not preaching the Gospel!"

Seems like the unsaved CNN lady identified a lot with Doug Pagitt. Another one, shortly after in the same message:

"The salt of the earth are people that are so satisfied with their reward in heaven, namely God, that they joyfully endure pain in the service of Jesus. Because the world is simply not going to be impressed with a church that is motivated by what they’re motivated by. I mean come on. This is not rocket science. A church that is motivated by money is just like the world!"

I pray that those who call themselves evangelicals would receive the wisdom of that statement. Why is it virtuous to be accepted by the world if the world, being merely natural, cannot accept the things of the Spirit? Along with Piper I exclaim, "Come on! This is not rocket science!"

Doug Pagitt said...

Wow. Wow. Wow.

This is really something.

Daryl said...

Is there a defensible position here Doug? Can a pastor denigrate Scripture so easily without repercussion? Or have we misunderstood something?

Al said...

Mr. Pagitt... Did you confront the lady in her calling Dr. MacArthur crazy? Did you give her the gospel? You thought it good to post the one-sided conversation at the beginning of the tape was there a reason you cut out the part between "like that other guy" and "... but then you get to watch it again?"

Just curious.

al sends

terriergal said...


And Pagitt thinks WE who hold to the sufficiency of scripture are smarmy and insulting? How condescending can they get? "Oh I apologize for them."

Huh? Wow... talk about double standard! But then, nothing in the Emergent world has to be consistent. that's the beauty of it... I guess. [:-0

Habitans in Sicco said...

Apparently Mr. Pagitt's mode switch is permanently set to sneering indifference.

Stefan Ewing said...

Douglas (the very first commenter): Thank you for your testimony. I had a co-worker years (before I was saved), who was a cradle Catholic but had been heavily influenced by occultism. He was deeply into the kabbalah, long before Madonna made it a household term. The adversary's inroad into him had been through kundalini yoga, which (granted) is not exactly the same as the mainstream yoga that is widely practiced—but he alluded a few times (without getting into specifics) to the horrible energy that can be unleashed in kundalini, and how once awakened, that access the "kundalini energy" has into a person can never be suppressed.

Stefan Ewing said...

I think we have just seen a masterful example of drive-by commenting!

David Rudd said...

i listened to the podcast which excerpted doug's podcast and was disturbed.

i didn't like the seemingly mocking tone in doug's voice when he questioned "going to the Scripture to relieve stress".

i was also disturbed with the way he talked about Dr. MacArthur. I felt it was irresponsible of him to "apologize" for him.

Then I listened to the whole of Doug's podcast. There he gives more context for the clips I had heard. he explained that he did not desire to reflect poorly on Pastor MacArthur. i'll take him at his word that those were his honest intentions.

realistically, i think if asked, doug would say that he does believe the Scriptures are a great place to go if you are stressed. i think he would also say that there are other places one might go for stress-relief (i.e. "pound it out in the racquetball court"... i know, i know racquetball and yoga are different animals and the tone in his voice was inappropriate). at least, i'll believe that about him until i hear differently... just as i'll believe dr. macarthur's views are deeper and wider than what were expressed on the interview.

that said, i found the whole tv interview to be extremely unhelpful. I don't think either MacArthur or Pagitt were able to unpack their thought, and any issue reduced to soundbites is ripe for misinterpretation particularly from those holding heavy presuppositions.

i think both men have taken undo criticism as a result of this.

Al said...

I just went to Doug Pagitt's website and listened to the MP3 again. On the second listen I do not know if there was a splice after the lady made fun of J.M. or not. I apologize to Mr. Pagitt for insinuating duplicity on his part.

al sends

Daryl said...

David Rudd,

I think Mr. Pagitt's drive by post and apparent refusal to defend the interview here is instructive of his real position. I'm not sure, based on previous comments from Doug attacking preaching and now attacking both Dr. McArthur to an unbeliever and attacking Scripture, how you can assume that he thinks the Scripture would be helpful at all, for anything.

I wish Mr. Pagitt would have the courage of his convictions and come defend himself here.

I also found it interesting that on his own blog he refuses to allow comments on the video.

David Rudd said...


I'm not sure, based on previous comments from Doug attacking preaching and now attacking both Dr. McArthur to an unbeliever and attacking Scripture, how you can assume that he thinks the Scripture would be helpful at all, for anything.

i certainly understand why you would think this.

i also am well aware that doug does not hold the same view of Scripture that I do. and i would argue that my view holds Scripture with a deeper reverance than his (though i think he would disagree). and i hope he'll change that.


that doesn't mean he doesn't find Scripture helpful for anything.

if you're strong on "Scripture Alone" both in belief and practice, then there is a lot of room between you and the view that "Scripture is Not Useful" (which it sounds is where you're placing Doug).

It's probably fair to say Doug falls somewhere in between. (probably a lot closer to you than you think).

i'm also going to guess that Doug doesn't feel compelled to come here and justify himself because he doesn't expect he would get a truly open hearing...? (although by "driving by", he likely opened himself for criticism)

Habitans in Sicco said...

David Rudd:

Your willingness to explain away Mr. Pagitt's insolence by an appeal to "context" contrasts pretty starkly with your earlier campaign to condemn every hint of "harshness" in the PyroManiacs' criticisms of pomo errors.

I listened to Pagitt's full podcast, too, and trust me: the larger context doesn't change anything. His claim that he's not trying to be rude to MacArthur is patently a lie.

And your instant defense of that kind of thing after you have repeatedly condemned virtually every critique of the ECM posted here over the past six months makes me think you aren't being completely honest, either.

Mike Riccardi said...

And piggybacking off that... on what basis do we accept that someone has a high view of Scripture? Is it by them saying, "I have a high view of Scripture," or is it by observing how they treat Scripture in practical situations (e.g., preaching, teaching, evangelizing, CNN interviews)?

You don't get to blatantly mock the sufficiency of Scripture along with a man who stands up for that sufficiency and then come back and say, "I meant no disrespect. I really love the Word."

Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil. -- 1 John 3:7-8a

philness said...

Funny how there's no ambiguity in this one. You just can't obscure something this simple. It really just comes down to this. Either Doug knew he was being untruthful which would be the liars position, or he did not know he was being untruthful which would be the lost person's position. Oh, and the last position would be simply to admit he was wrong.

David Rudd said...


please re-read my first comment. i clearly pointed out the things i was disappointed in, and didn't say the other podcast changed that.

i only said, that if doug says that was his intent, i'll take him at his word.

that doesn't mean i now approve of or agree with the things i said i was disappointed in.

as i said before, i think the whole encounter has done far more bad than good, and has not been useful for any true discussion. it has served to do nothing more than polarize further already polarize people... that's a shame.

i'm sorry if i came off as "taking a side", that certainly wasn't my intent... i'm far too inflexible to even think about Yoga.

And your instant defense of that kind of thing after you have repeatedly condemned virtually every critique of the ECM posted here over the past six months makes me think you aren't being completely honest, either.

point of clarification:
- i didn't instantly defend anything. i went and followed Phil's links to the podcasts, listened, formulated my opinions, played 9 holes of golf (shot a 41), then posted (but really never defended).
- i've never "condemned" any critiques of the "ECM". i've consistently appealed for a better tone... and this is a great example of a place where doug's tone was not helpful. i was only pointing out that later he commented that his intent was not to attack Dr. MacArthur. we can judge whether or not he did, but we should believe him when he says his intent was not to. (i think we would agree that we all often do things and realize later that our actions brought about results we didn't originally intend...)
- you can feel free to question my motives. they are what they are.

Strong Tower said...

"Satan is subtle isn't he? Pagitt says yoga has had no deterimental spiritual effects on him...and then he discounts God's word and apologizes for D.r McArthur's stand on Scripture."

This is rich! The man said, looking in the mirror, "You're not me, uhuh, nope, nope, nope, I'm me, not either, am too, nuhuh....

Pagitt is ttigap spelled backwards. Now, doesn't that just free ya! Once you've separated your mind from your botty it's easy to talk back to yourself. But, then who's there left to care?

Mike Riccardi said...

i'm sorry if i came off as "taking a side", that certainly wasn't my intent... i'm far too inflexible to even think about Yoga.

There are ALL SORTS of PoMo irony in those couple sentences. No shot at David... I just thought it was hysterical.

Apologizing for taking a side, yet being certain that wasn't his intent.

Then saying he's far too inflexible (referring to yoga), but in reality being too flexible as shown by not wanting to take a side...

I dunno... I found it funny...

Daryl said...


You said:

"...i think the whole encounter has done far more bad than good, and has not been useful for any true discussion. it has served to do nothing more than polarize further already polarize people... that's a shame."

How is it a shame to clarify the difference between Bible believing Christians and those who mock them?

I agree that harm has come, but the harm is in the view of Christianity presented to the nation at large and the CNN lady in particular by someone who is in the process of abandoning everything the gospel stands for. That is the harm.

The polarization you mention is the good thing, as identifying false teaching as false teaching has historically always strengthed the true church.

Habitans in Sicco said...

David Rudd:

This isn't about yoga. It's about the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

And if you can watch a man scoff and ridicule and laugh out loud at the sufficiency of Scripture in the presence of an unbeliever the way Pagitt did--and then decide to "take his word" for it because he claimed beforehand that he meant no disrespect, what moral authority do you have to criticize anyone?

David Rudd said...


if everyone on one side of this issue is "Christian" and everyone on the other side is "False Teacher", then you are correct, the polarization is a good thing.

if not, it is a shame.


i saw the humor in the flexible thing as soon as i typed it as well... i really am okay being "certain" about things. despite attempts to paint me otherwise, i am far more "modern" than "post". but you're right, there's a funny irony in those words!

philness said...

Oh, and in case you were wondering. The Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt I'm wearing in no way says I participate in the martial arts. Well, on second thought I do allow my neighbor to throw me around from time to time, exhibiting his Judo techniques on me.

David Rudd said...

i guess i'm confused by your ire.

i am critiquing doug here. i am saying that his comments were unhelpful, and that his "apology" for Dr. MacArthur was inappropriate. i am saying that i was disappointed that he did that.

i am saying that his view of Scripture is insufficient.


i am also saying that if he later says he didn't intend to be rude, then i believe him.

in which case, i'm saying, "i think doug was rude, but it wasn't a premeditated attack."

regarding my "moral authority"? i guess you can do with that what you please.

Anonymous said...

Any opinions on when those who practice yoga cry "hypocrite" when those who oppose have a Christmas tree?

This seems to be a popular defense:

"I practice yoga...so what! You have a Christmas tree".

philness said...


Simple. One does not get possessed by Christmas tree.

Matt Waymeyer said...

I can't speak for others, but we use a Christmas tree to decorate the house, not to become spiritually whole.

LeeC said...

Christmas trees don't ask me to venerate pagan gods and goddesses with my mind and body (serious yoga) or sit and open my mind in a focus on myself (casual yoga). A Christmas tree is a decoration. Now the little Roman victory goddess many people call an angel and put up on top bothers me. :-)

I do practice martial arts, and they can be seperated from Eastern mysticism. Yoga, without Eastern mysticism cannot exist.

Go look up "Praise Moves" sometime for a very good look at Yoga from a former teacher. Praise Moves can seem a little corny, but no more so than Yoga would be without it's social veneer.

DJP said...

We use our Christmas tree to decorate our home, bring a nice fragrance, and talk about Christ.

thank you for loving Jesus said...

Yoga? Yoga may be the least of Doug Pagitt's "contextualized" practices. Research other views and programs promoted by Emergent thought offered at their Summer Institute http://emergent-us.typepad.com/institute. Take a minute and scroll down through the class offerings and note that the true gospel message of Jesus Christ needs to be shared with the world, because these folks are serious about spreading their version of "transforming spirituality."

Solameanie said...

Euell Gibbons used to eat Christmas trees. He assumed room temperature shortly afterward.

Now, as to this kind of dialogue being somehow bad. The Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians that divisions were necessary so that those who were approved would stand out. Quite frankly, if someone shows up at church hawking Yoga, the Kama Sutra, divine nectar or John Lennon's "Mind Games," I think a little division would be proper, don't you?

I am waiting for the next round of complaints about how mean we all are for dissing a pastor's loving care of his flock.

One more aside. I am a bit surprised that Doug would allow himself to be photographed in a haystack. I thought the Emergents were more into lattes or wine and brie.

Unknown said...

FWIW, I find putting up a Christmas tree stress inducing, not relieving.

But, I do find them pretty and the real ones smell good...Christmas trees that is, not emerging Christians:-)

Stefan Ewing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stefan Ewing said...

When I was growing up, some folks I knew called them "Hannukah bushes," but we called our green bottle-brush-and-broomstick monstrosity a "Christmas tree." [In hindsight, our idol could have been the high school lab assistant.... ;)]

Unknown said...

So at what point do you start to use the label "cult"? We don't seem to have a problem with doing it in the past with those that call themselves "Christians" but deny the very doctrines that makes one, so why should these guys get special treatment after ALL that we have heard from the movement already?

donsands said...

"I do practice martial arts, and they can be seperated from Eastern mysticism. Yoga, without Eastern mysticism cannot exist."

Why can't yoga be seperated? Suppose someone says they are simply using the stretching exercises, and that it helps loosen their body and muscles, sort of like "Jack La Lane".

I've had some good input on this, but I'm still not settled.
Carla gave me some good input on Campi's blog, where he had the MacArthur vs. Pagitt video as well.

"By his words, he describes himself as someone who is not a christian." -david

You may be right, but I'm not saying Doug Pagitt is a false teacher, I don't know enough about the man.

HOWEVER, he certainly could be. There ARE false teachers, and Satan does comes as an angel of light.
He tries to be a sweet aroma, but it's a clever smoke screen, and a smiling facade, which his ministers do the same.
If the New Testament had to deal with false teachers in a great way, how much greater is it in our day.

I don't understand why the EC doesn't get this portion of God's Word, since there is an abundance of Scriptural truth on false teachings, and teachers within the Church.
It baffles me.

Phil Johnson said...

Thanks for the feedback on yoga and Christmas trees, but from here on out, let's try to keep this thread a little more focused. I'm not one-tenth as concerned about anyone's yea or nay on Christmas trees or karate as I am about the principles that are at stake: the authority, sufficiency and exclusivity of biblical truth.

For the record, the topic of this post is not even yoga or martial arts, but the Postmodern/Emergent attitude toward Christian leaders who believe in and defend sola scriptura, and the Emergents' obvious contempt for that principle.

Daryl said...


Defining a movement as a cult generally refers more to the way in which they control their members rather than what they believe.

the postmortem said...

How shocking, to hear a pastor mocking another pastor who proposes the idea of turning to God's word in order to relieve stress!

God bless MacArthur for receiving ridicule for his love of Christ.

Daryl said...

I'd echo that Phil,

The interview really laid out the difference between Dr. McArthur's view of Scripture vs. Doug Pagitt's. Doug was subtle, I could have missed his downplaying of Scripture had Dr. McArthur been so clear.

For my money the conversation after the interview on CNN is far more damaging than the interview itself.

Stefan Ewing said...

Phil, thanks and sorry for my part in keeping things off-topic.

The only true stress relief I know comes from knowing that whatever setbacks we endure in this life will be alleviated in the next, and that God means it all for good.

LeeC said...

By definition martial arts is simply the art of being martial. :-)

My main form of study since 84 has been Western Martial arts studying grappeling, and weapons techniques as laid out by the 14th and 15th century German masters of the Leichtenaur school. An Eastern school may use much mysticism, but that does not change how a body moves and interacts with others and can be removed.

As for Yoga here is some information I lifted liberally from the "Praise Moves" website from my past experience with yoga this seems to pretty much sum it up:

TIME magazine featured a quote from Subhas Tiwari, a professor of yoga philosophy and meditation at the Hindu University of America in Orlando, Fla.: "Yoga is Hinduism."

In an article dated May 14, 2006, Darryl E. Owens of the Orlando Sentinel quoted Sannyasin Arumugaswami, managing editor of Hinduism Today. Arumugaswami said Hinduism is the soul of yoga “based as it is on Hindu Scripture and developed by Hindu sages. Yoga opens up new and more refined states of mind, and to understand them one needs to believe in and understand the Hindu way of looking at God. ...

In an article entitled “An Open Letter to Evangelicals” from the January 1991 issue of Hinduism Today, Swami Sivasiva Palani writes, “A small army of yoga missionaries – hatha, raja, siddha and kundalini – beautifully trained in the last 10 years, is about to set upon the western world. They may not call themselves Hindu, but Hindus know where yoga came from and where it goes.”

In the West, the term “yogi” is used to refer to anyone who practices yoga. However, in the Bhagavad-Gita, the god Krishna says that the true yogi is one who has surrendered himself “fully unto me.”

According to Swami Vishnudevananda, one of yoga’s most influential leaders, hatha yoga “prescribes physical methods to begin … so that the student can manipulate the mind more easily as he advances, attaining communication with one's higher self.” It seems the student is being manipulated as well. Yoga’s “least religious” form, hatha yoga, influences one’s spiritual life as unmistakably as any one of the dozens of other yoga techniques. Hatha yoga is actually seen as the stepping stone to raja yoga (the form said to involve “psycho-physical meditation techniques to attain an experience of the truth and ultimate liberation from the cycles of death and rebirth, or moksha”).

Yoga claims physical and mental disciplines bring about union with God. According to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (once associated with the Beatles), meditation “brings us more ability for achieving something through right means, and very easily a sinner comes out of the field of sin and becomes a virtuous man.”

“The term Hatha Yoga has been commonly used to describe the practice of asana (postures). The syllable 'ha' denotes the pranic (vital) force governing the physical body and 'tha' denotes the chitta (mental) force thus making Hatha Yoga a catalyst to an awakening of the two energies that govern our lives. More correctly the techniques described in Hatha Yoga harmonize and purify the body systems and focus the mind in preparation for more advanced chakra and kundalini practices.

“Let us see the meaning of word Hatha, it is made up of Ha + Tha. "Ha" means Ida nadi, (moon principle) or left nostril and "tha" means Pingala Nadi (sun principle) or right nostril. Nadi means psychic passage of energy which can be compared with nerves in physical body. Hatha means balance of Ida and Pingala Nadis, or balancing of mental energy of Ida and Vital energy of Pingala Nadi. Ida Nadi can be compared with Parasympathetic Nervous system and Pingala nadi can be compared with Sympathetic Nervous System. So Hatha Yoga practices results in balancing the entire nervous system. The basic purpose of Hatha Yoga is to purify the Ida and Pingala Nadis and then uniting these 2 forces with the third Psychic Nadi Sushumna, which carries Kundalini at Ajna Chakra (eyebrow center).”

- Yogacharya Vishwas Mandlik, Vice Chancellor of Yoga at Vidya Gurukul (Yoga University).

LeeC said...

Sorry Phil. Feel free to delete the above or I can.
I felt the yoga issue was relevant, but only insofar as turning to pagan practices to gain peace over the teaching of the Prince of peace.

Daryl said...

I'm curious about Doug's unwillingness to defend his post-interview comments. I've been looking around and have noticed that's he's left pointless drive-by comments on various other blogs and answered no questions.

I've left a question on his blog as well, so far, no answer.

I expect it's because there IS no legitimate answer to running down Scripture.

Unknown said...

daryl said:

"Defining a movement as a cult generally refers more to the way in which they control their members rather than what they believe."

How does a group control its members other than defining what they believe? Mormons claim the name "Christian", but they deny Biblical truth. How is that any different than some of these guys calling themselves "Christian", but approving of things like a practice that makes one "focus on self" or saying that "we can't really be sure about what the Bible says about homosexuality"? It was hard to determine something like this when they were still being ambiguous about what they belive, but now that they're coming out more, defining these guys might not be like nailing jello to a wall after all.

wordsmith said...

Unbelievable - that someone who calls himself a Christian could be so full of condescension and mockery towards another who vouches for the sufficiency of Scripture. I suppose that is a stellar example of emergent "tolerance."

Is Mr. Pagitt really a pastor? God have mercy on his flock!

donsands said...

"As for Yoga here is some information" leec

Thanks. I'm dealing with some Chistians who are in to "yogi", and it's needful for me to understand.

Savage Baptist said...

Ordinarily, I wouldn't put a link to one of my own posts up here, and I realize that it may well be deleted, perfectly in keeping with the Pyro guys' prerogatives, but this particular post, which is in a constant process of upgrade, and which deals specifically with Christian concerns with martial arts, may be helpful to some.

I know next to nothing about yoga and will stay outta that one, but I think I have a pretty good grasp of the history and philosophy (such as it is) of martial arts. If you find it useful, great.

Anonymous said...

Don said:

Is this the practice of being "smarter than the average bear"... =)

LeeC said...

So what exactly are the Scriptures good for by Pagitt's stance?

donsands said...

"Now, given the typical Emergent approach to "contextualizing""

There is a good contextualizing, correct?
I would love any thoughts on this.

Sorry about the rabbit path with Yoga & Yogi. Sorry for the Boo Boo.

Sharon said...

Doug Pagitt will have much to answer when he stands before the Lord to answer for his actions and words.

He may end up hanging his head in shame and condemnation as Christ exclaims, "Depart from Me, I never knew you!"

Anonymous said...

Pagitt is guilty of the same judgmentalism that he accuses the Bible-believing Christians of. His utter disdain for the Word as our foundation is disturbing, but not surprising.

Solameanie said...

giI think one of the most frustrating things is that when you make a strong stance on the authority of Scripture, they accuse you of making an idol out of the Bible. Subtlety indeed.

Solameanie said...

Sorry about that. Blogger is acting weird today. It chopped off the first part of my post, but you get the gist. I wish it was possible to edit one's posted comments without having to delete and repost.

Kay said...

You know, when I was a youngster and wanted to be accepted by the cool kids, I'd try and look superior to the people who were my genuine friends, and act up for cool kids.

It didn't make the cool kids think I was cool like them, it made them think what a spineless turncoat I was. It also made my genuine friends tell me I was making a complete idiot of myself. And I'd carry on fronting up for a while because I knew I'd embarrassed myself, but I didn't know how to hold my hands up and say 'I was wrong'.

Now that's a story about being stupid and treacherous to childhood friends. Mr Pagitt seems to be behaving in the same way about fellow Christians, and more importantly, the Word of God.

I think the only possible response that isn't going to make him out to be just like a petulant teen who has been caught out sneering at his friends, is for him to step up and apologize, not to indulge in drive-by snark, which is just making the pit he has dug for himself bigger.

steve said...

I had to wait till lunch hour to listen to Pagitt's comments so my wife, Becky, could interpret the audio for me.

She didn't need to interpret Pagitt's arrogant sneer regarding Scripture, however. That came through loud and clear.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sharon. You used to word "might" to cover the fact that you just condemned a brother to hell. I don't think Jesus would approved of that.

Anonymous said...

Correction, since editing isn't allowed:

Wow, Sharon. You used to word "may" to cover the fact that you just condemned a brother to hell. I don't think Jesus would approve of that.

Chris Latch said...


Congratulations! You've just became the 9,932,428th person to misuse Matthew 7:1.

Chris Latch said...

Correction, since editing isn't allowed:


Congratulations! You've just became the 9,932,428th person to misuse Matthew 7:1.

Sharon said...

Randy: My point is . . . I'm not sure he is even a "brother" in the Lord. Not only does he elevate a demonic Hindu practice above the Word of God, but he slanders one of the Lord's annointed servants. Would you characterize these actions as "fruits of righteousness?"

Unknown said...

Here is a video for you, Randy:


We are supposed to judge, but judge righteously.

Jesus Christ:

He that believes on him is not κρίνω (judged, separated, condemned): but he that believes not is κρίνω already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

(John 3:18)

Is someone that blatantly has disdain for Biblical truth a believer in the truth? It would be erroneous to say, "yes". If you do answer "yes", though, it couldn't be because you are using "righteous judgment". If someone doesn't believe in the truth, are they not judged already? According to Jesus, he is.

David A. Carlson said...

Tim, and others

Watch the vid, or read the transcript, then comment.

And yoga is really a secondary issue here

The issue, as Phil has pointed out,

"For the record, the topic of this post is not even yoga or martial arts, but the Postmodern/Emergent attitude toward Christian leaders who believe in and defend sola scriptura, and the Emergents' obvious contempt for that principle."

That is the real issue. Although I would put it as Pagitts contempt for the sufficiency of scripture.

(but I am too pomo to blame all emergents for Pagitts lack of faith)

Caleb Kolstad said...

Amen! Spot on words here Dr. Phil Johnson.


Patrick Eaks said...

Lane Chaplin said:
Is someone that blatantly has disdain for Biblical truth a believer in the truth? It would be erroneous to say, "yes".

Amen to that Lane! Just because people call themselves Christian does not mean that they are Christian. The true Church throughout the ages has always had to separate themselves from the false confessors. I believe Pink called them unregenerate church members. The visible church is made up of two groups of people, regenerate members and unregenerate members. Those who are regenerate will hold to the true doctrine and live a life of Holiness in the power of the Spirit.

James Joyce said...

Listened to Doug Pagitt's comments after the CNN show. Tragically sad, especially for all of of those people that he has pastoral influence over.

Keith B said...

For my understanding there is a good type of contextualizing. Maybe in another post I could show some more educated links on the subject. However, as I understand it: If seeking to understand a different culture is done to make the gospel clearer, so there is no misunderstanding of the nature of the gospel this is good. It is not meant to go around a cultural hangup to make the gospel more appealing but good contextualizing is meant set the truth in a way that is plain to the hearer. Maybe an example would be explaining to an Asian that they are a sinner. To many Asians (which my wife is Chinese) a sinner is understood in their culture as a law breaker or one who is against the good of the state. We would want to clear up the context of what a sinner is so they would not be unclear that we are all sinners in our actions, thoughts and attitudes against God.

Many times and all too often when "contextualize" is used in missiological(sp?) circles it has a totally different idea. It used in place of syncretism, the combination of different systems of philosophical or religious belief and practice. Here a person my say that it is okay to pray to dead relatives because Jesus is our brother. Instead of clearing up the contextual confusion with the gospel it compounds it.

Hope this was helpful.

FX Turk said...

My response to Doug Pagitt would be:

"wow. wow. wow. wow."

Top that, dude.

donsands said...

"Hope this was helpful."
Thanks. Appreciate your wisdom.

I guess the question is how to contextualize in "Jerusalem and Samaria" in 2007-2008 ; for most of us that is.

Those God has sent "to the ends of the earth", may not have to struggle so much.

"wow. wow. wow. wow."

Top that, dude."

That hit my funny bone.

threegirldad said...

Doug Pagitt's comments call to mind something C.S. Lewis said in his last interview (conducted about six months before he died):

"What is your opinion of the kind of writing being done within the Christian church today?

A great deal of what is being published by writers in the religious tradition is a scandal and is actually turning people away from the church. The liberal writers who are continually accommodating and whittling down the truth of the Gospel are responsible. I cannot understand how a man can appear in print claiming to disbelieve everything that he presupposes when he puts on the surplice. I feel it is a form of prostitution."

Decision Magazine, September 1963

Matt said...

I believe that it's already been mentioned here, but I think that Jesus' words to the seven churches that He judges in Revelation 2 is telling (especially Ephesus, Thyatira, and Sardid).

You'll note that in Thyatira and Sardis, there is a group within the church that has apostacized. These aren't people throwing stones from the outside, but people within the church, claiming allegiance to Jesus, that are leading others astray. Jesus has words of commendation and encouragement for those true Christians within these bodies who do not tolerate error.

Phil, I've been "down and out" from the blogosphere most of the summer, so I would have completely missed this story had you not posted it here. Thank you.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Jared said...

I recently took a class at LSU on Eastern Philosophy and Education. I know, I know. Why in the world would I take this class? Anyway, it was a graduate level class that contained one or two confessing Buddhists, and five or six people who claimed to be Christian. It was funny to watch as those who categorized themselves as Christian became fascinated with and caught up in the lectures on meditation and yoga. The only real excitement during that semester was when I tried to explain that there are Christians who believe exactly what the Bible teaches and that there is no place for Eastern Religion in the Christian faith. All of those "Christians" who had whole-heartedly accepted with open minds the teachings of the Buddha were now closed minded and judgmental about my faith and certainty in the truth of scripture.

I think that it is despicable to hear a so-called man of God despise the very Truth of God's word as sufficient for all things and to hear him make fun of a man who boldly proclaims that Truth to a lost a dying world.

I am of one mind with those who see no value in the postmodern/emerging movement. If we cannot stand up and clearly define what is and is not Christianity by pointing to those who believe the Word and those who despise it, then we have seriously lost our way.

Thanks for the post, Phil. I had no idea this had even taken place.

dec said...

If somebody was creative, they could design a poster, something along the lines of:

UNITY: Oh, I apologize for those Reformers.
GOSPEL: Oh, I really really must apologize.

dec said...

After listening again, a couple more posters come to mind:

GOSPEL: That's why people don't go to church -or-
GOSPEL: Just so weird...

Anonymous said...


And my point is that it isn't your job to decide who is a brother.

FX Turk said...


I want you to think about something -- It was Doug Pagitt who agreed with his TV producer that what Dr. MacArthur was saying "keeps young people out of church".

What's the punishment for keeping young people out of church, I wonder? Or can't we tell what Jesus thought about that?

What Sharon said is a stern warning -- sobering stuff, not to be laughed off. She doesn't have the position to pass the final judgment, but it's wholly-Christian to warn others that such things don't bode well for the final judgment.

FX Turk said...

| I do an occasional yoga class
| at my gym. There has never
| been anything of any spiritual
| mention at. There is an
| instructor who takes us
| through different stretches
| and breathing exercises.

As I said, and as I think Dr. MacArthur said, there’s nothing wrong with body movements – exercise is fine and healthy. The questions are whether techniques like "emptying you mind" or vedic meditation are actual, active idolatry or not, and whether or not those techniques are a legitimate substitution for drawing nearer to God through the sole sufficiency of His word.

As Phil said, it’s a question of the sufficiency of Scripture – does it do what it alone is supposed to do, or not?

| While I am aware that some
| people get caught up in the
| spiritual side of yoga, I do
| think there are those who take
| up yoga as simply exercise.

The bending and the stretching is one thing – that’s not actually "yoga" any more that TaiBo is martial arts, is it? But when you advance to breathing exercises which are supposed to empty something out of you or fill you up with something else, what’s that all about?

That is, how does that relate to how we are supposed to live according to Scripture?

| Is this something that is
| wrong? Or is it something that
| some in the west have been
| able to adopt and use for
| nothing more than health?
| Food, in the past, had been
| offered to idols. Yet we can
| eat food. Just because
| something can be used in an
| evil and wicked way, do we as
| Christian have to totally
| abandon it?

I think there’s a pretty big gap between Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians and participation in a form of pagan worship – whether it’s "exercise" or not. We certainly don’t have to use things the way pagans would use them. But we are also not to worship idols – that’s the back side of Paul’s "don’t ask too many questions" direction to Corinth.

We are not to err on the side of liberty but on the side of being servants to all men in order that some might be saved. I can walk you through that section of 1 Cor if you are interested.

| I'm just asking the question
| and wondering what some of you
| might think.
| I'm looking forward to
| learning more and if need be,
| changing my mind on this
| matter.

Hope this helps.

Ken Silva said...

Jared said: "It was funny to watch as those who categorized themselves as Christian became fascinated with and caught up in the lectures on meditation and yoga. The only real excitement during that semester was when I tried to explain that there are Christians who believe exactly what the Bible teaches and that there is no place for Eastern Religion in the Christian faith."

"All of those 'Christians' who had whole-heartedly accepted with open minds the teachings of the Buddha were now closed minded and judgmental about my faith and certainty in the truth of scripture."

I just wanted to highlight the above because it is so insightful. This is exactly what is happening within new evangelicalism at large right now through the embrace of the so-called "Christian" mysticism.

This neo-Gnosticism has been a core doctrine of the emerging church from it's very inception. Remember it was Doug Pagitt who was asked to assemble the members of the Terra Nova project for Leadership Network in 1997.

And it really shouldn't surprise the wise that fascination with these powerful deceptions of eastern religions is precisely where this malignant mysticism always takes the practitioner. This is because it was originally derived from these very same eastern religions.

bob hyatt said...
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James Scott Bell said...

bob hyatt, when the Bible makes promises like peace, rest, quietness, contentment and so on for those who walk in His ways, is that stress relieving or inducing? Or should we just ignore those parts?

How is it a "low view" of Scripture to actually embrace those promises IN ADDITION to every other glorious aspect of the Word?

bob hyatt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bob hyatt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hayden said...


Pastor MacArthur would agree with your statement:

Kind of like... Got high blood pressure? Don't eat better exercise and take your meds! Read Scripture!

You do realize that he has benefitted from medical science. (Look at his history) You are setting up a false dichotomy with the above statement, by the way. High blood pressure is caused by a measured scientific increase. (true it can be hightened by stress, but is that the only cause) MUCH of our stress comes from, where? the heart? our liver? our mind? You can relieve stress in your muscles with Yoga but where does the stress originate? the mind! In order to deal with the root issue you have to "speak to the mind"! What better voice than Scripture?

The outrage is not about what Doug said on the program, it is his interaction AFTER the program. None of us would have ever known about his interaction AFTER if HE did not post it. That is the point. The dismissal of Doug about the power of Scripture and his seeming disdain for Dr. MacArthur.

I do not know Doug at all. Just what I have observed in his writings,and interviews. My impression is that he distains anything that is "too rigid" or "traditional" in his book. He does not seem to have much tolerance for those he disagrees with in the "traditional evangelical" camp, but seems to have all sorts of tolerance for postmodern ideals. If someone gets up and says "Thus sayeth the Lord" his question seems to be "says who?". I believe this is what Phil is trying to get at. Phil did not make Doug say anything, listen to his own words.

I remember all of the outcry over Phil's posters, where is it now as Doug disdains Dr. MacArthur? (crikets) To me this seems quite disingenuous (sp?).

Mike Riccardi said...

Bob Hyatt: Because It's Jesus who fulfills those promises- not the simply going to Scripture. Scripture doesn't save you, give you rest, peace and contentment- Jesus does.

The only way we can get to Jesus is through the Scripture. By saying that Scripture relieves stress, no one's advocating a "Read-the-Bible Quick Fix™." We're saying that the Bible is where you go to see Jesus and be changed. 2 Cor 3:18 -- But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. --

So we're changed when we see God's glory. And where is God's glory most decisively and purely revealed? In His infallible, inerrant, inspired revelation. The Bible. So we tell people to read the Bible, to see the glories of God in Christ, love His promises and trust them, and then watch how "Great peace have they who love Your Law, and nothing can make them stumble" (Ps. 119:165) comes true.

Mike Riccardi said...

For those of you who think we can divorce yoga from its spirituality... the yogis (the yoga gurus) don't think so.

The following is from a CT article called "Take a Pass on Yoga."

"But yoga has a history, a 'setting' of postures and language that pays homage to Hindu deities. While American instructors may water down that language, I think it's safe to say most are still using it. The word namaste is still used in many yoga classes, including Agnieszka's, and it's a term Hindus use when paying respect to their deities. Even when used between friends, the term still really means, 'I bow to the god within you.' [...] And most instructors — including, it seems, Agnieszka's — use traditional Sanskrit terms that have been translated into English, such as downward facing dog, corpse pose, and sun salutation. The last one, by the way, directly pays homage to the Hindu sun god—it isn't called a 'salute to the sun" for nothin'.'

"On the Internet, you'll find a jillion yoga instructors who offer definitions similar to this one found on yogabasics.com: 'Yoga is … aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit, and achieving a state of enlightenment or oneness with the universe. What is normally thought of as yoga in the West is really Hatha Yoga, one of the many paths of yoga. These different paths of yoga are simply different approaches and techniques that all lead to the same goal of unification and enlightenment.' The definition was written by the website's founder, who has instructed yoga for 16 years.

"As for American-style yoga being just exercise, the site goes on to say: 'More than just stretching, asanas [yoga postures] open the energy channels, chakras and psychic centers of the body. Asanas purify and strengthen the body and control and focus the mind.'

"These are not fringe views shared only by hardcore Hindu yogis. Rather, Agnieszka's view — that the Hindu spiritualism within American yoga has largely been extracted, making it purely exercise — seems to be in the minority. Kaiser Permanente, a major healthcare provider, says this about yoga on its website: 'Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years in India and is based on the idea that the mind and body are one. It is thought that yoga improves health by improving how you see the world, which calms the spirit and decreases stress.'"

Sharon said...

Randy: The most frightening thing would be to stand before God and be one of the "Lord, Lord" people described in Matthew 7.

That's why we are exhorted in 2 Peter 1:10 to "give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" and "if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1)

Of course, in the name of "do not offend" and/or "we can't be certain about truth" many will claim we cannot be "fruit inspectors" and thus have no right to warn.

They, too, will have much to explain to the Lord.

WARREN and TRACI Lotter ________________ said...

Bob Hyatt,

If you listen to the link Phil included, John McArthur specifically stated that we go to scripture and the gospel of Jesus.

And as the events of the last weeks have played out you have proved yet again that you are more eager to address criticism from without than error from within.

Mike Riccardi said...

Randy: And my point is that it isn't your job to decide who is a brother.

For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. -- 1Cor 5:3-5, 12-13

Phil Johnson said...

Bob Hyatt:

This is at least my second reminder to you: You forfeited the privilege of commenting here by repeated and deliberate rule violations.

If you want to rejoin the conversation here, you're going to have to do something more than snipe at us from a distance for two weeks and then show up here again when some topic really strikes your interest.

You seem to keep "forgetting" you've been banned.

I won't. I promise.

bob hyatt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sad, sad. You can just hear the "I want to be seen as trendy" in the tone of Pagitt's voice and discourse. His comment about "no offense to Dr MacArthur" is a sham. Rather than saying he apologizes for MacArthur, he should be apologizing to him.

Why don't people go to church? At least the CNN woman got that right - it's because the true Church is based on Truth that is, in her words, black & white. Unless you're prepared to deal with black & white, you want nothing to do with the real Church of the Real God. So you go to people like Pagitt who will set that aside and "contextualize" the Church into something that is more palatable, useful, therapeutic, whatever.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Echindod said...


I think your missing the connection between eating meat and paticipating in a 'yoga' class. I was glad to see that somebody else brought it up. Some of the gurus probebly don't want to divorce stretches from 'worship', but that doesn't necessarily mean they are equated.

Also, something that seems to be forgotten about the Christmas tree is that Trees can be sacred and a represtation of the deity (i.e. an idol). Worship of trees was common through out Europe: hence, the Christmas tree.

I thought your comments on this were very insightfull, when you talked about why you have a Christmass tree in your house (smells nice, decoration, talk to others about Christ, etc). Notice: all of the reasons given are divorced from the pagan roots of the Evergreen tree displayed in the Winter months. Pretty close to eating meat without asking questions.... Can we throw some stretching (and perhaps even regulated breathing*) into the mix to round things up a bit?

And just to make sure I stay on topic: I appreciated also the comment that the suffecency of scripture doesn't negate medical advances, like taking blood pressure medication. Pagitts comments are inexcusable, but as an evangelical I need to make sure that my statements about the sufficency of scripture are not overstatements.


* When I run (on the rare occasion), I focus a lot on my breathing. Partly to make sure I do it, but also partly to keep me focused and relaxed... It is no where near an emptying the mind to let in the goddess vishnu... but whatever.

Douglas said...

you say:

"* When I run (on the rare occasion), I focus a lot on my breathing. Partly to make sure I do it, but also partly to keep me focused and relaxed... It is no where near an emptying the mind to let in the goddess vishnu... but whatever."

When you run, and if you continually focus on nothing else but your breathing, you will eventually empty your mind of everything else, then whatever.

The blind cannot see the demonic spirit realm behind yoga, its invisible to the naked eye. Yoga in any form, physical or spiritial, is the worship of demons.

Going for a run around the block or park is not the same as yoga in any size, shape or form.

Douglas said...

Dan Paden,

I went to your blog and read what you say about martial arts and I can say with 100% certainty that you are blind to the occultic demonic realm behind martial arts. And martial arts means, literally: the art of war, the art of killing. That's not self-defense, that's killing. Yes, martial arts can be used for self-defense and thats what most blindly and ignorantly believe but that is not the ultimate aim of the martial arts, the aim of martial arts is to turn you into Bushido: the way of the warrior, a killing machine.

I could write a book exposing the errors in your post. Your post will deceive others that read it.

You are still deceived about the true nature of martial arts, many professing Christians are, I pray to God he opens your eyes to the real satanic nature of the martial arts before you die. And the spirit aspect of martial arts is not separated from the physical component by man, the spirits are hanging around the practitioner of the martial artist and follow the martial artist around, with them or in them, like the lord of the flies, like Beelzebub.

donsands said...

" ... contextualize" the Church into something that is more palatable, useful, therapeutic, whatever."

I'm still trying to seperate the good contexualizing from the bad. The Bad for the most part is quite obvious, such as trying to make a worship service fit what the world wants, instead of what God wants.

But the good is what i'm looking for.
The Gospel is an offense to the world, as it should be, and always shall be.
But should Church culture be an offense to those who are not Christians?

kelly jack said...

Forget Martial Arts. I legally carry a side arm.

Keith B said...


Here is an idea of good "contextualizing." A missionary goes to another country where the culture is very different than his own. Should he not avoid forcing his own cultural mores or cultural preferences onto his new field?
Should a minister in Africa be required to dress in a three piece suit because it is considered reverent and appropriate dress by some one in America or England? Or is there a biblical principle that applies to how we should dress and that may take a different form in different cultures? Many outward forms change yet the principle remains, such as modest and reverent dress.

Care should be taken that the mores and preferences a missionary accepts in the field are not out of line with biblical principles.

Also you can hear a number of speakers on the subject. Google "desiring God 2006". I liked David Wells.

Some of the others I have not listened to fully. Personally, I do not think sharing the gospel is that complicated. If contextualizing is not to enhance the clarity of the gospel or the outworking of biblical principles then it undermines the gospel and the sufficiency of the scriptures.

Before I used the word "contextualize" I would want to be able to define what i meant and would probably avoid using it altogether if I could not.

Anonymous said...

I guess "speaking the language of the people" includes slander and mockery behind the back of someone you claim is your brother. Yup, something's emergin alright, like a little horn...

Anonymous said...

Clarification, Pagitt=little horn; not the comment thread


Savage Baptist said...

I could write a book exposing the errors in your post.

Douglas, by all means, have at it. You may well be right about Yoga; I don't know enough about it to say. As for martial arts--well, I guess I'll have to wait for your book to come out to see why you think your personal experience is normative. But for the sake of those following these comments, I'll just say here that my experience differs considerably,nor have I ever met anyone whose experience parallels yours.

FX Turk said...


The funny thing about my comments in this thread is that they started off with the clear statement that there's nothing wrong with exercise. The question is whether or not yoga is merely exercise.

And to make that point clear, I also made the comparison between TaiBo and martial arts. One is exercise, and the other is deeply rooted in eastern mysticism. It would be laughable to find somebody who does TaiBo for 40 minutes 6 times a week and have them tell you that they are a master of Tae Kwon Do, wouldn't it?

There's nothing wrong with Tai Bo -- it's simply not Tae Kwon Do. And there'e nothing wrong with stretching -- that's simply not Yoga.

Here's a link to an australian site about yoga, and take a look at the illustrion there on the page. The first striking thing there is that there's not a thing in that diagram that the boys on my U8 soccer team don't do before practice -- and we're not doing yoga: we're doing stretches so nobody gets hurt.

The second striking thing about that page is the plain expositiuon of the goal of yoga:

The physical techniques of Yoga are the stepping stones to meditation. According to Patanjali, Yoga is the cessation of the modifications of the mind.

It's not yoga to do stretches any more than it's yoga to take my daughter to gynmastics class. It's Yoga when you are practicing ritual body positioning for the purpose of emptying out the mind.

Calling exercise "yoga" is a little weird, if you ask me -- it's marketing gone completely wrong. If you want to call sitting "chris-cross applesauce" "yoga", it seems to me that you're doing what the guy who says he's got a black belt in Tai Bo is doing.

terriergal said...

Pagitt posted:

Wow. Wow. Wow.

This is really something.

Wow. That is really...deep.

terriergal said...

Douglas posted:
the aim of martial arts is to turn you into Bushido: the way of the warrior, a killing machine.

Isn't that what basic training is for too though?

I'm not so sure that's an 'immoral' thing to learn, in that case. In case you ever need it. Similar to taking a defensive pistol course and carrying a weapon. (Which some liberal Christians may think immoral... ahem we won't mention any names of any liberal 'christians' that may come to mind...coming to mind totally out of the blue of course...)

The military, I have hear, teach a combination of martial arts techniques for hand to hand combat training. Weapons require a bit of distance to be effective ... once that distance is closed, you're sunk if you don't know hand-to-hand techniques.

That being said, I have not involved myself in martial arts simply because of the spiritual component so I do understand the danger. (...and I'm too lazy... but that's another story.)

Is there any way to separate the fighting technique in martial arts from the spirituality that is taught along with them? Well, I think the armed forces have done so, or at least claim to have done so.

David A. Carlson said...

The meat - yoga analogy falls on its face

Early believers purchased meat that had been sacrifed as part of a religous ceremony - But they did not participate in the religous worship. They purchased it afterwords.

Yoga, by definition, you are participating in the religous worship.

Meat sacrificed to idols - eat away, but don't participate in the ceremony

Exercise away - but don't participate in the religous (yoga) ceremony

Unknown said...

I got this clip and added it to the end of the video. You can view it in it's entirety with Pagitt's comments here:


dec said...


Excellent job on the video!

Jonathan said...

I want to clarify something for a few of you . . .

Boxing and High School wrestling are technically speaking martial arts. If anyone finds something "mystical" about getting punched in the face or pinned by a guy wearing spandex . . .you're weird.

My point is that stating "all martial arts are occultic and demonic" is an invalid generalization. There is nothing mytsical, occultic, or demonic about getting punched in the face, kicked in the head, or thrown in the air and slammed on the ground. I speak from experience there.

If you attach some easter philosophical mumbo-jumbo to a kick in the head - then you have something demonic. But I can personally assure you, If I kick you in the head, or if you kick me in the head, the only thing happening is a transference of kinetic energy (kinetic energy is not demonic by the way). Everything in martial art - stripped of any mystiscism - is physiology, physics, and good health.

Doug Pagitt is wrong, on many levels, not the least of which is because he is mocking the notion of Sola Scriptura. If Jesus wanted us to know him better by sitting in the lotus position and contemplating our navels, he would have told us so, and he would have left us a list of which positions work best. Yoga is nothing more than a bunch of skinny guys from India, thinking they are going to reach enlightenment by sitting in a bunch of weird and unnatural positions (nothing special about the positions either, I have tried those - it just hurt).

The whole point here is that Pagitt is attacking the Bible, and the God ordained means of bringing our lives into conformity with Him. Studying Paul's teaching on anxiety in Philippians will relieve stress better, faster, and deeper than sitting in the barking dog position.

Phil Johnson said...

Thank you, Jonathan, for bringing the thread back on topic.

Richard Fairchild said...

Doug Pagitt never said anything wrong about Christ or Christianity in this interview. John MacArthur went off topic from whether yoga is OK for Christians. “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure…” (Titus 1:14,15a). There is nothing wrong with the exercise of yoga, and that is what this show was about. MacArthur said that the term “yoga” is bad. This is ridiculous. He also doubletalked: he said he supposed yoga was OK if you were a strong Christian and it was just exercise. This is the whole question of the interview, and he just answered it that it was OK, but then he said, “In the big picture, why would Christians want to borrow an expression from a false religion, etc.” The adjurement not to do yoga is a commandment from men, particularly here MacArthur, not from the Lord. Commandments from men turn from the truth; we are not to heed these particular things. MacArthur said, “That doesn’t sound anything like Christianity…” That’s because it isn’t! Everything is not Christianity! He could have as well said, “Push ups don’t sound anything like Christianity.” And then he starts talking about “if you want your life to be whole, accept the Lord, etc.;” this program is about yoga for people who are already Christians. I’m sorry, but he was totally off topic, and that is why he sounded like a kook; and he did sound like a kook, and that is the truth.

Douglas said...

Jonathan said...

I want to clarify something for a few of you . . .


you are not clarifying it about martial arts, you are mudding the waters. I also detect a mocking/scoffing/guffawing behind the back of your hand tone towards what I have had to say and by doing that it downplays the seriousness of what I have said.

Boxing and High School wrestling are technically speaking martial arts.

Boxing and High School wrestling are not martial arts. Boxing and High School wrestling are not teaching you how to kill your opponent. Though boxing does knock the boxers senseless at times and cause brain damage. Most professional boxers do end up a bit punch drunk if they do not retire early.

(kinetic energy is not demonic by the way).

I was training in the martial arts 30 odd years ago, maybe even before you were born, and I knew back then what kinetic energy is. No where have I suggested that kinetic energy is demonic. When I was in the bike gangs, kicking someone in the face while they are lying down on the ground was kinetic energy, no doubt helped along a tad by the demons that were inside me at the time. I was violent, one of the most violent bike gang members in Christchurch, New Zealand at the time. I showed no mercy or compassion. I was even pulled into the police station and told I was dangerous to society and warned if I didn't change my ways they would have to shoot me dead. By the grace of God alone, I am here today. Ask Ray Comfort what sort of guy I am. Maybe Phil Johnson could possibly get his son to do a background check on my criminal past from the New Zealand police and see what sort of man I was. Not boasting in my past but thanking God for saving me from the wrath to come.

Everything in martial art - stripped of any mystiscism - is physiology, physics, and good health.

The mysticism, the demonic, the occult, cannot be stripped from the martial arts, by man. Sure, there may be certain self-defense moves that can be taken and have been taken from martial arts, like basic blocks and punches and slaps or kicks to the groin or pokes to the eyes to disarm an attacker and get away from them, without the intention of killing them, but martial arts as a whole, is the art of war, the art of killing. Within martial arts, it is not the devolopment of kinetic energy that is the ultimate goal, though kinetic energy is trained and strenghtened, but it is the release of the Ki (Japanese) Chi (Chinese), power located in the physic nerve center approx. 2 1/2 inches below the navel. The same as the unleashing of the kundalini. The martial arts have their roots going way back into India, thousands of years ago.

I pray to God that this post is not deleted, because your post is misleading.

I pray to God, with fear and trembling, that God opens the eyes of all that read this thread, to the occult nature behind martial arts because it is only God that can. I can tell you the truth but ultimately only God can show you the truth of what I say.

FX Turk said...

All my "Iron Fist" comics notwithstanding, I agree with Jonathan's clarification that boxing is technically a "martial art", and that my previous statement is too broad.

I should have been more specific, and named the particularly-animistic Asian martial arts because the point is "gospel worldview" vs. "everything else".

Thanks for the correction.

Jonathan said...

I did not even realize Cent. had generalized, but . . . if he agrees with me now, then I won't even bother to respond to Douglas --

That is a cop out, I have to study today.

I would like to keep it going though by asking Douglas this:

Is Krav Maga a martial art?
How many of the 50,000+ martial arts in the world have you actually seen, studied, researched?

(Yes, there is sarcasm in that second question & Yes, I have counted all of them - one at a time.)

Jonathan said...


Any chance we could get a post on whether martial arts are sinful, so I don't get banned or my last post deleted?

Thank you sir,


Stefan Ewing said...

I'm sorry, but I don't see the need to mock this brother in Christ. It's pretty clear what Douglas means. If he were sounding a warning about Tarot cards, would we make fun of him by suggesting that we shouldn't even play Go Fish with regular playing cards, since both kinds of cards have a common origin?

Or to put it in yet other terms, if there were a redeemed believer here who had a background acting in blue movies, and he saw all the trappings of popular culture that feed bodily lust and lead to and foster that industry, and were sounding a warning about how even many purportedly "innocent" images in advertising or popular culture can lead ultimately down some pretty dark paths, wouldn't we listen to him and agree with what he says?

Phil Johnson said...

I'm closing this thread, since I've pointed out repeatedly that the various debates about martial arts are off topic, and those who are intent on pursuing that argument have not repected my pleas to stay on topic.

If someone seriously believes all forms of martial arts are inherently sinful, that's your right. This, however, (for the fourth or fifth time) is not the appropriate forum for making that argument.