pagitt and macarthur on yoga and christianity

john macarthur and doug pagitt were on cnn a couple days ago for a brief discussion of yoga and christianity. i’m sure any christian would find something in one of the perspectives to disagree with, since they have such diametrically opposed positions (at least as presented here).

i do find it interesting that macarther says, “the idea of christianity is to fill your mind with biblical truth….” this seems to reveal (and i realize this was a live interview, and i would have been stumbling all over my words if i’d been on it!) one of the subtle but dangerous shifts that evangelicalism has brought to christianity — that of worshipping scripture, rather than worshipping god in christ. paul encourages us to “have the mind of christ.” it’s a subtle, but important, distinction, i think. of course, we find jesus in scripture, and god is revealed in scripture, and interacting with scripture is part of the transformation of our minds (and lives). but the goal is to have the mind of christ, not a mind of biblical truth.

i do appreciate macarthur’s very first comments, however, in response to the question if yoga is dangerous for christians: “well, that would depend on how the yoga is conducted. if it’s just purely execise, and you’re a strong christian, it probably wouldn’t have any impact on your faith.”

anyhow. interesting stuff. in some ways, this seems like a tiny, superfluous issue. but it seems that as the gap between culture and christianity moves forward, and widens in many cases (and gets smaller in other cases), this, and other issues like this, are the things we need to wrestle with.

9 thoughts on “pagitt and macarthur on yoga and christianity”

  1. Doug & Joe — Thank you for validating my hostility toward jogging. Shouldn’t running around a track over & over be more accurately classified as punishment? Doug, I will be quoting you liberally on this topic in the future ;)

    Marko — Thanks for your insights into the deeper issues going on here. In our fervor to uphold orthodoxy and the Word of God, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that the great command is to love God and people completely. Certainly, the Bible is an essential component of that — after all, how else would we come to know Christ? But, as you pointed out, the Bible *helps* us to have the mind of Christ.

    It is sad, though, when for some Christians the litmus test of “true” faith is whether or not we use the same rhetoric about the Bible. While I agree with Macarthur that faith and the Word of God are essential to our wholeness, he creates a false dichotomy between our hearts/minds and our bodies. Our hearts & minds are transformed, but it happens in the context of our physical bodies, and we are called to love God with our entire being.

  2. Ditto on the jogging. The only reason to run is to a) escape from a hungry bear, or b) chase down an ice cream truck.

    I wonder if he was using biblical as just an adjective and a way to distinguish one kind of truth from another. People often talk about personal truth. Perhaps his emphasis on biblical truth was to point out that while many folks live according to personal truth, generated from themselves, Christians are to acknowlege and live by a truth that is outside of themselves. He seems to be focused on the distinction of the yoga practitioner focusing on themselves.

    I dunno. Just guessing here. Don’t know the guy. Can’t say for sure.

  3. Does this mean that Johnny Mac will not write a book called, “The Yoga according to Jesus”?

    Its too bad really, I think that it would sell and that thousands of christians could use it and the corresponding radio broadcasts as a way of determining whether of not their church and pastor are truly orthodox.

    Without such a book how are we to know what’s true…?

  4. i say i hate running, but to be honest i am running the columbus marathon in october. it is still from the pit though. love marathons. hate training.

  5. While i tend to agree more with pagitt, i think what john was saying has some validity. All things that we do should be tested from taking things from a different religion to spending $600 on a new phone.
    So while it is easy to say he is being legalistic i believe we often fail to use prayer, our relationship with Jesus, and scripture as a filter for our actions.

    Joe just as a side not i was three weeks from the chicago marathon when i tore my miniscus, northing like wasting nine months on training.

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