If you have been a genuine Christian for awhile, you know that taking a stand for the Lord Jesus will invoke the ire of unbelievers. In our times, many unbelievers think they are entitled to impose their will on us as if the body of Christ is supposed to be subject to the whims of a perishing, unstable world. This is what the congregation of St. Michael and All Angels Church in Bristol, England is experiencing.
The congregation had allowed a yoga class to meet in its building about 9 years ago. Then several congregants learned the true spiritual meaning behind yoga and apparently the Holy Spirit must have convicted them for the decision to allow yoga–which is essentially the worship of the false gods of Hinduism–to take place in their building. So the church got together recently and voted that the yoga classes would have to stop. So they informed the instructor she and her 30 students would have until the end of February to find different facilities.
The church’s Anglican Diocese, the Diocese of Bristol, released a statement of support for the congregation’s decision, acknowledging that “Decisions on who can lease church buildings lie entirely within the remit of the relevant parochial church council (PCC) in each case.” The church said it came to the decision because ‘The primary purpose of these buildings is the worship of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
‘Yoga means the union of “mind, body and spirit”. By definition, therefore, Yoga is a spiritual activity whose roots are not Christ centred.
‘We are confident we have acted legally and have waived the last nine months of Naomi’s fees, amounting to nearly £1,000.’
The Naomi mentioned is Naomi Hayama, the yoga instructor. She laments the decision because none of the church members actually went to her class to see what they were doing and she insists her class is merely for physical exercise. She has started a petition to pressure the church to change its mind, but St. Michael’s congregants insist their mind is made up on the issue.
Nevertheless, others in the community have expressed their disagreement with the church. One person stated, “This is such a tragedy. Isn’t it time for understanding and tolerance? In terms of alternative spirituality it seems to me there are many paths to God not one only and most people attending a yoga class will go for the physical exercise and well-being. Saddest of all that an offer to observe a class was declined.”
Another detractor said, “It is ridiculous! Yoga is yoga, it has nothing to do with religion! Let them continue to have their yoga lessons in your church. Why would you drive people away from God’s home??”
It seems to me if the naysayers were concerned about understanding and tolerance, then they would have respect for and accept the decisions of people to exercise their religion on their own property as they see fit when it is in the confines of upholding human rights and just laws. I thank God when believers like the ones at St. Michael’s listen to the Spirit of God when he convicts them of their errors and then they honor him by moving quickly to reverse the errors. I pray they will stand firm and not bow to the pressure of unbelievers who want them to behave like the world.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:19
Diocese backs church over turning away yoga class, Christian Institute, February 11, 2015.
Church bans ‘un-Christian’ yoga class from using its hall because of activity’s links with ‘alternative spiritualities’, Daily Mail, February 10, 2015
Church accused of lacking flexibility after it bans yoga class for being too ‘spiritual’, London Telegraph, February 9, 2015.