A Missouri pastor, while saying yoga poses were “created with demonic intent to open you up to demonic power,” also called Hinduism “demonic” during a sermon.
Speaking at the James River Church in Ozark, Missouri, Oct. 28, Pastor John Lindell urged Christians to stop practicing yoga during a sermon titled, “Haunted: Pursuing the Paranormal.”
In the paranormal-themed sermon, he warned congregants about the spiritual dangers of fortune-telling; Wicca, a form of paganism; and finally, yoga, according to Springfield News-Leader.
“That, to me, is an indication of how far our society has drifted into a post-Christian culture. Earlier, it would have been a given that yoga was inherently a form of eastern mysticism that Christians should absolutely avoid, but that is no longer the case,” he said during the sermon.
Yoga is everywhere now, he said, pointing to the local YMCA’s class schedule as an example.
Commenting on the various yoga poses, he told the attendees of the megachurch, which, according to Springfield News-Leader, had a congregation of about 10,500 people in 2016, that “they were designed, they were created with demonic intent, to open you up to demonic power because Hinduism is demonic.”
Hinduism is not a mild, gentle, pacifist religion, he went on to add. “Anybody who says that has not visited India,” he said.
Lindell said the sun salutation in yoga is meant to greet Surya, the Hindu sun god. “To say the positions of yoga are no more than exercise are tantamount to saying water baptism is just aqua aerobics,” he remarked.
During meditation, he said, people clear their minds, but that is “spiritually dangerous.”
“The sacred symbol Om, which is considered to be the primal voice of God, it’s not the true God. It’s a demon,” he claimed.
He continued: “Yoga is diametrically opposed to Christianity...Christians should stay away from yoga because of its demonic roots…you cannot separate yoga from its Hindu roots.”
Local yoga instructors are now speaking out against the sermon, adding that there has been a drop in attendance at their yoga classes since the sermon was delivered.
“Yoga transcends religion,” said Reggie Harris, who said five years of yoga has transformed his life, according to Springfield News-Leader. “Yoga brings people together in a heart of unity and love. You’re teaching people to hate something that may help them physically, emotionally, spiritually.”
“It hurt,” Heather Worthy told the publication, adding that only one person, out of four, showed up at her class after the sermon. “It could have been a coincidence, but it’s interesting.”
The sermon was “quite ludicrous,” she added.
Worthy, who survived a car accident in 2013 but which left her with mobility issues and chronic pain in her back, told the publication that what made the biggest difference in her health was daily yoga.
Worthy urged others to “find your truth.”
“This is our sole source of livelihood,” local yoga studio owner Stephanie Wubbena told Springfield News-Leader. “One yoga studio lost over 10 members the Monday after the sermon.”
Wubbena also made a rebuttal video to the sermon. It can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPorkR8k6-8&feature=share
In response to a News-Leader request for comment, James River Church provided a written statement.
“As a church our heart is to provide people with Biblical insight and teaching that will strengthen their faith and their daily walk with God,” the statement read, adding that the church would “encourage anyone” who wants to know what was said in Pastor John’s sermon, to watch it online.
Watch the sermon in its entirety here: