The Importance of Origins
A few weeks ago, I was invited to write a tribute piece for a special person who had recently passed away who had played a pivotal role in the establishment of a Christian school I have been a part of, worked in and served for many years. It was a honour to do so. But to write this tribute well and with the accuracy it deserved, I needed to source the origins of such a feat and those who were eyewitnesses to this pioneering work. I believed the knowledge of the origins of the school and those who helped to bring it to fruition needed to be shared with the current stakeholders in the community and those who have benefited from their association within it. I received written thanks from one person; his son. His son had seen and experienced first hand the countless sacrifices, endless hard work, endurance and vigilance needed by his father to bring his vision to reality. And the sad fact is, many are oblivious to the work of pioneers in any facet of society, the ones who went first, chartered the unknown, ventured into places no other feet had trodden -all for a cause, whose very nature is spurring them forward to do so.
Strangely enough, my desire to study Hebrew-the original language of the Old Testament has piqued my interest more than ever before and I am eager to learn the purest origins of the scriptures I love, aware that a depth exists in the Hebrew that in my vernacular is missing.
Added to this is my love and support for the ministry work of Creation Ministries International, that exists to bring the truth of the origins of the earth and the authority of the Bible and offers credible, scientific answers that affirm the reliability of the Bible in order to bring the salvation message to all.
I'm also a bit of a history nerd and particularly the history surrounding the world wars, but even more importantly, the history of the Christian Church from Pentecost to the Reformation. At the moment, I am reading a three book series about the origins of Christianity. I would highly recommend the work of Leigh Churchill-
The Blood of Martyrs
The Birth of Europe
The Age of Knights, Friars, Popes and Reformers
I mention all of this by way of an introduction to the strong belief I hold about the immense importance of origins. By having a knowledge of the origins of anything or anyone can bring clarity, understanding and wisdom and can greatly assist in helping to avoid error and sin. A knowledge of origins can also greatly assist organisations to remain true to the core values and beliefs of their forefathers and those who pioneered their now much easier path.
Let me give some examples of where Christians need to exercise discernment and be aware of the origins of seemingly harmless practices and beliefs.
There are many Christians who practice Yoga. This is a serious mistake and shows either a complete ignorance of its origins or blatant disobedience to God's word and ways. The origins of yoga were never intended for physical exercise but for worship of the false gods of the Hindus coupled with the New Age satanic practice of mind emptying which has concerning consequences. The lord of yoga is actually called Shiva- the destroyer. (sounds like a name for Satan if you ask me!) Yoga means- yoke and by practising it ,a person yokes themselves to that 'god'. The poses are meant to be offerings to the Hindu 'gods'. Christians who practice yoga should stop immediately, repent and turn to other means of stretching and toning such as Pilates. (The origins of Pilates stem from Classical Ballet)
New Age Spirituality.
Yoga has been called the 'missionary arm' of New Age Spirituality. Many Christians who lack discernment have been drawn into the New Age via Yoga and Tai Chi. However there is a huge list of other dangerous practices and beliefs under the banner of the New Age religion. I'll name some of the more subtle ones below that Christians practice. (I recommend an ex New Ager, now born again Christian- Doreen Virtue on YouTube who presents a biblical worldview on New Age Spirituality if you are interested in this topic and wish to gain more insight).
Affirmations that do not mention God.
Positive affirmations are the chants of the New Age movement. Statements like "I am a wonderful person", "I am worth it" etc are self glorifying and hollow. We are nothing without God's saving grace. But the New Age originates in the 'we are little gods' core belief. However there is only one God. And none of us are Him. Not by a long shot! Instead, we should affirm what the Bible tells us about ourselves post salvation and only ascribe greatness and glory to the true God.
"There is no one else beside Him" (Deut. 4:35)
"See now, that I am He and there is no god with me." (Deut. 32:39)
This should be obvious. Yet, I continue to come across Christians who are fascinated by this. The supposed interpretations of the heavens is a form of divination and God forbids it. These practices are also described as sorcery. (Read Daniel 1 and 2, Deut. 4 &18, Isaiah 47)
These novels are not innocent fantasy. And this literature most certainly should not be compared to the likes of Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy. J.K Rowling herself makes no secret of the fact that the origins of her books from the research, the planning stages and the final content were taken from occultic practices and Wicca (Witchcraft). Current and former witches affirm the fact there are real spells throughout the books. Ex witches attest to the fact that Harry Potter books are from the devil and is his way of glorifying himself and deceiving people into believing they/he are/is harmless.
"Be alert and of sober mind for the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
This practice leads to an altered state of consciousness where the mind is susceptible to outside suggestion. The only person we want modifying our behaviours is the Lord.
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world and not according to Christ." (Col. 2:8)
Law of Attraction and Manifesting
This is the belief that your thoughts can manipulate and control your circumstances. Unfortunately we see this in many a so called Christian church and amongst Christians who have been hoodwinked by the prosperity false gospel which purports we can speak or think into being whatever we want. (Health, wealth, prosperity). Manifesting is similar. If we are positive enough, anything is possible. No. That is reserved for God's resume, not ours.
Nope. Not from God.
"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain.." (Psalm 127:1)
Meditating without God.
We are commanded in scripture to meditate on God's words and on Him "to be transformed by the renewing of our mind" (Romans 12:2a) not to 'empty our minds'. Why? What else could fill it? Demons. Demons who will be happy to give you false messages, half-truths and full blown lies.
This one would happen to be at the top of many a clueless Christian's vocabulary and is, unfortunately, a growing practice not only amongst adults but also in children and teenagers. Mindfulness is a humans way to calm the mind and bring peace -through their own efforts. The only real peace can be found in the Prince of Peace and can only be maintained through an authentic relationship with Him. Humans are fallen, fallible beings and can only be set free through the power of the Holy Spirit's work within. True Christians have "the mind of Christ". (1 Cor. 2:16) Let's act like Christ and model the life He exhibited while on this earth. (Read the four gospels) Ask yourself- 'What might biblical mindfulness look like?'
This is just offensive. O=Oh M=My G=God. Read the third commandment.
"You shall not take the Lord's name in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." (Deut.5:11)
If you call yourself a Christian, stop. saying. it. Or writing it.
(See also Law of Attraction).This one is necessary to mention again. Doreen Virtue provides a sound explanation:
'This practice takes Bible verses out of context from their true meaning and twists them to promise earthly success, worldly riches, material gain and your best life now. There is no focus on salvation, repentance, the gospel, what Jesus did for us on the cross or the importance of preparing for eternity. Beware of 'pastors' that make the Bible sound like a magic genie that will grant wishes. The Bible does not promise wealth or grant wishes. God promises to help us with our needs, but not with our wants.'
(If any of my readers are interested in a list of the false teachers of the prosperity gospel, I can provide it for you if you send me a private message)
I have seen pastors dedicate precious sermon time on this rubbish, promote those who have published work on the subject on their church's websites and encouraged their congregations to purchase the expensive test for themselves. Where is their wisdom and discernment? Pastors owe it to their flock to at least do their research before presenting something disguised as good to those assigned to their care.
The origins of the Enneagram are unclear however the earliest findings is that the Enneagram stem from occultists. One such occultist (one who delves into the supernatural, magic, mysticism), Ichazo claims the 9 personality types were given to him by the Archangel Metraton (???) while high on a drug called mescaline. Good start. (insert one of my eye rolls here) Sounds like a scene from a Transformers movie (!!)
We should be concerned about using a 'tool' that was developed by someone who claims it was handed to him in a vision from what sounds very similar to a demon and instead look to the scriptures for a true description of our identity. Perhaps we should just stop thinking too much about ourselves in the first place. We are too self absorbed to begin with.
Kevin DeYoung says,
"(It )has been from it's inception infused with spiritual significance. And therein lies the danger."
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's precious possession that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." ( 1 Peter 2:9)
Why have I written this blog about the importance of origins? I have a few reasons. The Bible is clear in warning us about deception, false teaching and false prophecies and ungodly attitudes, behaviours and practices. The Apostle Paul used the Bereans as a good example for us to follow. They were the inhabitants of Berea (now Northern Greece) and were known for examining and judging the scriptures and conducting their own research, "searching the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11)
Christians need to be discerning like the Bereans, not to blindly follow any new teaching, fad or what seems to be popular at the time and to "test all things; holding fast to what is true." (1 Thess. 5:21) along with "abstaining from all forms of evil" ( 1 Thess. 5:22) because "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Cor. 11:14)
Let's be alert and vigilant and be willing to warn others in love of the dangers of practices that dishonour God and harm us.