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Friday, 8 March 2013

holy trinity church leicester: breathe - a picture of a deeper relationship with jesus or occult deception?

A critique of BREATHE

The Bible says that the breath of the Almighty gives life (Genesis 2:7; Job 33:4). The word for the Holy Spirit is Hebrew: ruach or Greek: pneuma. meaning literally breath, wind or spirit. Whenever this word is used it always refers to an action of God e.g. there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind (Acts 2:1-11).

The Bible references given on the Holy Trinity Website confirm that the breath of God accomplishes many things. (Paragraphs in bold text below are from Holy Trinity's website: http://www.holytrinityleicester.org)

Genesis 2:7: in the creation story God breathed the breath of life into the man and he came to life. The Hebrew word for 'breath' is the same word for 'spirit': ruach. God breathes His life giving Spirit into us.

Ezekiel 37: Ezekiel sees a valley of bones representing the state of God's people. God says to him" Prophesy to the breath; and say to it, 'Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" And as he does he sees the bones come together and come alive as people. Let's pray for God to do this for us as his people.
  • Prophesy to the breath was a specific instruction to Ezekiel for Israel - he was in fact speaking out God's will. We have specific instructions from Jesus Christ to go out and preach the gospel to all flesh (Mark 6:15; Acts 16:10; Romans 1:15 etc.) The emphasis is on speaking God's word not breathing.
John 20:21: after the resurrection Jesus appears to his disciples and says, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And then he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit". As Jesus sends us out in mission we need to be breathing in his Spirit.
  • God says that we already have the Holy Spirit if we are true Christians - there is no need to breathe in His Spirit (Acts 2:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:8). If we feel we lack anything from the Lord we need to ask (Matthew 7:7; Luke 11:9,13).
1 Tim 3:16: "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." As we desire God to breathe his life into us this will involve us opening our lives to his life-giving word.
  • The metaphor that Jesus Christ used was drink: "but those who drink of the water that I will give them will never be thirsty. The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life." (John 4:14) Water is a picture of God's word; the word drink has been replaced by breathe. See also Ephesians 5:26. We already have God's life in us if we are true Christians we cannot increase that life by breathing. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.(Romans 12:2)
Breathing helps us to understand how dependent we are on God's Spirit.
  • Understanding comes from meditating on God's word and praying - the Bible says nothing at all about breathing as an aid to understanding. God accomplishes things through His Holy Spirit, not by any action of ours. My child, if you accept my words and treasure up my commandments within you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; If you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures— then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:1-5) Paul wrote to Timothy:Think over what I say, for the Lord will grant you understanding in everything. (2 Timothy 2:7) See also Colossians 1:9.
Rhythm: each day we breathe about 20,000 times and the rhythm of inhaling and exhaling is the most elemental rhythm of our lives. This pattern of breathing can help us understand how a regular pattern of time with God provides a framework to our lives within which we can allow God to lead and strengthen us throughout each day. The rhythm of receiving from God, breathing in His Spirit, and then giving out as we live and serve in the power of the Spirit is what we are each called to.
  • Several assumptions are being made in the above statement. Rhythm is associated with mantras and eastern religions it is not found in the Bible.
What is concerning about the above is that the emphasis is on our breathing, something never mentioned in the Bible as an aid to either gaining life through the Holy Spirit, understanding or as an aid to evangelism. Breathing has absolutely nothing in common with the Holy Spirit's creative power found in creation or the new birth. The Greek word is theópneustos (from theós, "God" and pnéō, "breathe out"). This action is always performed by God - the recipient does not receive it by breathing.

The author of BREATHE is an eisegete. Eisegesis is something which biblical scholars with any integrity take great care to avoid. In this instance a portion of biblical text has been introduced and the author’s highly subjective presuppositions, agendas, opinions and biases have been imposed into and onto the text to give a completely wrong interpretation. This interpretation would be completely unacceptable in any other discipline. Exegesis on the other hand is objective and draws out the meaning from a text in accordance with the context and discoverable meaning of its author.
It is clear that this teaching has not come from the Bible and this being the case we need to ask the question: Where does it come from? In fact breathing is one of the meditative techniques used by the Eastern religions and the New Age which are occultic. It is interesting how breathing is linked up to the Lord's Prayer at Holy Trinity - on the one hand Christ showed us how to pray but He never intended the Lord's prayer to be used as a mantra and He did not ever say that it should be accompanied by breathing techniques. Vain repetition is to be avoided as it is done by the heathen (Matthew 6:7). God hates the mixture (Deuteronomy 21:11). Truth and error are mutually exclusive in the Bible, we cannot mix the two together: A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough (Galatians 5:9).

When we are drawn into unbiblical practices that seem very spiritual we end up in deception and impurity (1 Thessalonians 2:3-5; 2 Peter 2:1). We must not accept such things uncritically because it is important to discern the vain reasonings of men against the truth of God (Romans 1:21). The danger is that our focus will be drawn away from Christocentric worship into pneumo-centric worship, but worse than that, that we will be drawn away from biblical truth into the worship of idols. There are readings but no real exegesis involved in Holy Trinity's BREATHE program. The Bible says: Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analysing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ) Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God's will in thought, purpose, and action) (2 Timothy 3:16 {Amplified Bible}). When there is a lack of exegesis there is absolutely no yardstick to measure between truth and error - this is very serious. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105) My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. (Hosea 4:6)

Contemplative prayer, centering prayer, meditative prayer, quiet prayer, breath prayers or contemplative breathing are all New Age meditation techniques, they are not biblical. Sincere people have argued that this technique helps them focus on God - our own hearts should not be the test of anything however - the Bible tells us: The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse— who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9).

Satan’s agenda is to somehow pervert and abolish truth and he is using these things as a Trojan horse as a way to bring unbiblical New Age practices into the church. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.(2 Corinthians 11:3) Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)

Breath is an essential element of Hindu Yogic practices, it is called ‘Prana’ or the ‘divine breath’. Prana is for Hinduism the divine breath of life infused throughout the universe, the cosmic breath with which humanity has become out of tune. Any breathing techniques are potentially dangerous and according to experts they can cause psychological damage and even insanity. Yoga is an occultic New Age concept which is completely alien to Christianity.

As the word for air, (Vāyu) or wind (Pavana) is one of the Panchamahābhuta or five great elements. The Sanskrit word 'Vāta' literally means "blown", 'Vāyu' "blower", and 'Prāna' "breathing" (viz. the breath of life, cf. the *an- in 'animate'). Hence, the primary referent of the word is the "deity of Life", who is sometimes for clarity referred to as "Mukhya-Vāyu" (the chief Vāyu) or "Mukhya Prāna" (the chief of Life). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayu

The Bible tells us that deception will increase and that there will be a falling away/departure/rebellion (the Greek word is Apostasia, English Apostasy; Strong’s number 646: a defection from truth) prior to the return of Christ: Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless oneis revealed, the one destined for destruction. (2 Thessalonians 2:3) Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will renounce the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons. (1 Timothy 4:1) The very first sin when Eve ate of the tree of good and evil was because it appeared to be good for food, it was a delight to the eyes and it was to be desired to make one wise. (Genesis 3:6) Just because something appears and looks good and someone tells us the benefits of it (Genesis 3:5) does not make it right. Our criteria for truth must be God’s Word. When we do something spiritual it should always be in line with God’s word and breathing techniques are definitely not there. Satan’s intention is to deceive everyone and – to lead astray even the elect, if possible. (Matthew 24:24) There are many antichrists here already (1 John 2:18), but when the Antichrist finally appears he will be so powerful it will be very difficult to discern his teachings from the real thing. If Christians do not engage in exegesis then the battle will be lost for many.

His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3) If God’s divine power has given us everything we need as above then it is reasonable to question why Holy Trinity are adding their own extra biblical ideas.

The Biblical model is:
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, beloved,whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:6-8)

Jesus Christ warned: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15,16)

The Apostle Paul: I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them. (Acts 20:29,30)

But wicked people and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:13)