Posts Tagged ‘Reiki’

Reiki, Holistic Healing, Demonolgy

Concerns about Reiki

Christian Reiki parts 1, 2, and 3

Reiki, Gnosticism and Jesus

Satan Cast Out book review

Two books on demonolgy

Charlotte Mason on Reiki

High Cost of Holistic Healing: part 1, part 2, and part 3

Thoughts of Charlotte Mason which Relate to Reiki

Dear Reader,

I suppose it is just a matter of me thinking about something so much that I begin to see it everywhere. How else can I explain that the passage I read for a Charlotte Mason blog carnival seems to relate to the arguments I have been making against Reiki? Surely, Charlotte knew nothing of Reiki itself, and yet I find her making some of the points I have been trying to make.

One such point is that we must not scorn the small, ordinary miracles God gives us. There is much attraction in spiritual gifts and the idea that I can do some sort of miraculous healing. But God most often works through the ordinary means He has given us. And there is great spiritual value in being able to perceive Him working in these small ways. here is how Charlotte puts it:

“Children should be brought up, too, to perceive that a miracle is not less a miracle because it occurs so constantly and regularly that we call it a law; that sap rises in a tree, that a boy is born with his uncle’s eyes, that an answer that we can perceive comes to our serious prayers; these things are not the less miracles because they happen frequently or invariably, and because we have ceased to wonder about them. No doubt so did the people of Jerusalem when our Lord performed many miracles in their streets.” (“The Way of Reason” from Towards a Philosophy of Education, p.148)

The second point, from this same chapter of Charlotte’s, is that we do not always need to be freed from our discomforts. Reiki claims to do good by providing a sense of peace and perhaps a feeling of closeness to the divine. But my point has been that such feelings cam lead us astray b giving us a false sense of peace and that God does not always will to provide us with relief and comfort in life. Charlotte says:

“Again, if we wish children to keep clear of all the religious clamours in the air, we must help them to understand what religion is––[What Religion Is, by Bernard Bosanquet, D.C.L.]

“Will religion guarantee me my private and personal happiness? To this on the whole I think we must answer, No; and if we approach it with a view to such happiness, then most certainly and absolutely No.”

Here is a final and emphatic answer to the quasi religious offers which are being clamourously pressed upon hesitating souls. Ease of body is offered to these, relief of mind, reparation of loss, even of the final loss when those they love pass away. We may call upon mediums, converse through table-rappings, be healed by faith,––faith, that is, in the power of a Healer who manipulates us. Sin is not for us, nor sorrow for sin. We may live in continual odious self-complacency, remote from the anxious struggling souls about us, because, forsooth, there is no sin, sorrow, anxiety or pain, if we will that these things shall not be. That is to say, religion will “guarantee me my private and personal happiness,” will make me immune from every distress and misery of life; and this happy immunity is all a matter within the power of my own will; the person that matters in my religion is myself only. The office of religion for me in such a case is to remove all uneasiness, bodily and spiritual, and to float me into a Nirvana of undisturbed self-complacency. But we must answer with Professor Bosanquet, “absolutely NO.” True religion will not do this for me because the final form of the religion that will do these things is idolatry, self-worship, with no intention beyond self.”

To go on with our quotation,––

“Well, but if not that then what? We esteem the thing as good and great, but if it simply does nothing for us, how is it to be anything to us? But the answer was the answer to the question and it might be that to a question sounding but slightly different, a very different answer would be returned. We might ask, for instance, ‘does it make my life more worth living?’ And the answer to this might be,––’It is the only thing that makes life worth living at all.'”

In a word, “I want, am made for and must have a God.”” (pp.149-150)

Charlotte may not have known Reiki, but it seems people were into “table-rapping” and the like in her day, and she too saw that these things often provide a sense of false complacency. All of which makes me think that there really is nothing new under the sun.

Nebby

Satan Cast Out: Book Review and More on Reiki

Dear Reader,

Are you sick of this topic yet? I know I keep saying this is the last post, but I have read a wonderful book on demonology and it has helped further clarify my thoughts on the subject of Reiki (see earlier posts here, here, here and here) and the possible influence of demons.

The book is Satan Cast Out by Frederick S. Leahy. There is another book on demonology that I have begun to read and in contrast with that one I can say that Leahy’s volume does a wonderful job of explaining the role of Satan in our world as presented in the Bible. It is actually a very encouraging book for Christians to read. It is not overly long and I enjoyed Leahy’s style as well. It is not the simplest writing and one who has not much familiarity with the Bible and Christian doctrine might find it hard going.

There were also a number of passages which relate to my own thoughts on Reiki and how Christians should approach it (or not). For my previous posts on Reiki see here, here, here, here, and here.

For instance, practitioners of Christian Reiki often say that they heal through channeling the power of angels. Here is what Leahy says about the role of angels:

“Their intervention is occasional and exceptional, and only as they are expressly commanded by God. In no sense do angels come between us and God. Like the miracles, angelic appearances usually mark God’s entrance upon fresh epochs and unfoldings of His redemptive purpose.” (p.19)

In other words, we should not look for the activity of angels on a regular basis here and now. Furthermore, he says that “the forces of darkness frequently pose as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:14)” (p.90; see also p. 122).

One big argument for Reiki is “If it does good (i.e. healing people and making them feel close to God), how can it be bad?” Leahy says,

“The nature of a demon is that he succeeds in disguising the demonic side of himself and gives an impression of acting for the general good, so that you do not question his qualities.” (p.54)

And regarding healing specifically:

“Missionary accounts show that this particular phenomenon is by no means rare; and neither, for that matter, is the healing of the sick by means of demonic agencies.” (p.80)

There is a clear answer to Reiki here: healings are no proof of goodness; even the demons heal people when it serves their greater purposes. Leahy warns against just this sort of argument when he says that one must nit allow “one’s doctrine to be determined by phenomena” (p.166).

Reiki make a big deal of the fact that anyone can do it because it is really the spiritual power behind the person that heals. The practitioner is just a conduit. But Leahy points out that God does not negate people’s individuality; demons do:

“Certainly [the Holy Spirit’s] indwelling is in sharp contrast to demon possession in that His gracious presence and influence enhance the human personality . . . whereas demon-possession unmans its subject, reducing him to a hollow, shameful travesty of what man was meant to be.” (p.104)

Leahy’s book also helped me better understand the difference between demon possession as we often see it in the Bible (think a man foaming at the mouth that Jesus heals) and what may be going on n Reiki. He introduces (to me; I am sure it is not a new idea) the idea of voluntary versus involuntary possession. The latter is what we often think of, the person who has lost control because the demon is now in charge. But in voluntary possession, the person asks the demon in and works with the demon. They need not and indeed probably do not, seem to be out of control or raving lunatics in any way. Voluntary possession is also called having a familiar spirit, a practice which is clearly condemned in  the Bible. This sounds a lot more like what is happening with those who practice Reiki though there is still the possibility that those who undergo Reiki would be affected by evil spirits involuntarily. Furthermore, it is in voluntary possession that we often see the demons healing people “sometimes with phenomenal results” (p.128).

I had said in an earlier post that the fact that those doing Reiki ask spirits in worries me very much. In involuntary possession, one need not ask the spirits in, but in voluntary possession it seems like this is often how it begins. Leahy says,

“It is only when the person willingly seeks to become an agent of the demon, as in spiritism and magic, that the spirit may be termed ‘familiar.’In such cases there is full cooperation between the demon and the agent. We must, therefore, distinguish between voluntary possession and involuntary possession.” (p.88)

And later on the subject of asking demons in:

“The oft expressed view that spirits cannot possess a person without invitation is clearly contradicted by the Biblical evidence. This is not to deny that any form of invitation is exceedingly dangerous.” (p.94)

In conclusion, I would highly recommend Leahy’s book for anyone who has cause to look further into these issues. In my particular case, being confronted with Reiki, I was struck by just how much his observations and descriptions of demon activity seemed to describe Reiki specifically even though it was presumably a practice unknown to him personally. Leahy also provides an answer to one major argument proposed by practitioners of Reiki, that Reiki cannot be bad if it does good. Leahy shows that this is not the case and that demons often deceive people by seeming to do miraculous and good things, healings specifically, while their ultimate goal is still to oppose God and His people.

Nebby

Reiki, Gnosticism, and Jesus

Dear Reader,

This time I really think this is my last post on Reiki (see previous ones here, here, here and here). There are just a few more claims on ChristianReiki.org that I want to address. Really it is one long passage from the article entitles “Similarities between the Healing of Jesus and Reiki” by William Lee Rand:

“The fact that Jesus had secret teachings he gave only to those who he had given healing power is clearly indicated in Matthew 13:10-11 and Mark 4:10-12 & 34. Secret knowledge is also part of the Reiki teachings in that the symbols as well as the process of doing attunements are traditionally kept secret and only made available to those who take a Reiki class.

It is not known whether Jesus was born with the ability to heal through touch or if this was something he acquired. His activities between age twelve and thirty are not mentioned in the Bible. It has been suggested by several researchers that during this time Jesus traveled to the East and was schooled in many of the mystical teachings of India, Tibet and China. If this is so, it is possible that Jesus was initiated into a healing technique, during this time.

On the other hand, it is possible that Jesus was taught directly by God or the Holy Spirit or simply had these abilities from birth. There is some good information indicating that the healing methods of Jesus were preserved by the Church of the East and passed on by it’s missionaries who traveled along the Silk Road and other trade routes to India, Tibet and China. It is possible that this information on healing could have been incorporated into the religious teachings of the East and therefore could have been the original source of the Reiki techniques that were used by Dr. Usui.

The early followers of Jesus’ teachings were made up of several groups including the Docetists, the Marcionites, the Ebionites, the Thomasines, the Carpocratians and the Gnostics. The Gnostics and some of the other groups practiced laying on of hands and professed to have a secret knowledge that had been passed on to them by Jesus and his disciples. They were united by their core beliefs which included: a personal experience of Jesus or the “kingdom of heaven within,” their freedom and lack of rules, guidelines or creeds and their reliance on inspiration and inner guidance. Their existence is attested to by the Gnostic gospels which are part of the Nag Hammadi Library which was discovered in Egypt in 1945. The fact that Jesus had additional teachings not recorded in the Bible is attested to in a letter written in the second century AD by the early Church father, Clement of Alexandria. In Clement’s letter, he spoke of a secret gospel of Mark which was based on the normal canonical one but with additions for special followers of Jesus, referred to as “those who were being perfected” and “those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.”

When Christianity became organized after the second century, its teachings were centered around faith and the official teachings of the church, rather than healing or “good works” and inner guidance as practiced by the Gnostics. At this time, those promoting the organization of the church began subduing and banishing those Gnostics and others who would not conform to the authority of the newly developing Church. In addition they tried to destroy the Gnostic gospels. With the elimination of the Gnostics and the establishment of the Official Christian Church, the practice of laying on hands by lay Christians was mostly forgotten.

Jesus possessed great confidence in his ability and was able to heal in an instantaneous way with spectacular results. It is clear that he had perfected many skills and used them in conjunction to get the results he created. Clearly the Bible indicates that he did healing by laying on hands and also indicated that we could do the same. The teachings of Jesus, as well as the example he set are a great inspiration for us.”

There is a lot in here to unpack and I am not sure I am going to get to it all. All the stuff about Jesus possibly going to place like China and Tibet is pure speculation with no evidence behind it. You notice Mr. Rand says “its has been suggested by several researchers” but there is no indication of who these people are or what their qualifications are. I doubt that they are serious New Testament scholars.  The indication from the biblical texts is rather that Jesus grew up, lived, and worked in Nazareth in Galilee. The people there apparently knew him, recognized him as a Galilean, and were quite surprised when he began his ministry among them.

Mr. Rand also speaks of Jesus perfecting his skills at healing. As I discussed in my most recent post on this, such language shows a false understanding of who Jesus is. He is not merely a human who learned certain skills. He was and is God. He did not have to learn to heal. Nor did he have a “method” that he could pass along.

There is also much made of supposed secret knowledge which Christ passed on to his disciples. Once again, the interpretive technique of Reiki’s proponents seems to be “look, something vaguely similar to Reiki; that gives Reiki legitimacy.” But Mr. Rand is not actually saying that the knowledge Jesus gave his disciples is Reiki because based on the context, he can’t. The “secret” knowledge that Matthew and Mark mention is simply the interpretation of the parable of the sower which is secret not because it is unavailable to others but because they fail to understand it at the time. For that matter, the disciples also do not understand it until Jesus explains.

All this is then linked to Gnosticism. In case you don’t know, Gnosticism was a heresy (actually not just Christian there were also Gnostic schools of thought in Judaism and other religions) which spurned the material world and the body and elevated the spiritual. This could play out in two ways. On one hand, it might lead to licentiousness if one believed that since the body doesn’t matter we can do whatever we like with it. More often, however, it leads to an extreme asceticism as one spurns the physical world in favor of the spiritual. There are also many more aspects of Gnosticism. For example, since the physical world is evil, they believed the supreme God who is good could not have created it and therefore they posit a lesser god who is basically a bumbling fool and created our world. They also did not believe that Jesus was really man, because if the body is evil, why would God stoop to take it on? His humanity was only an illusion.

Frankly, other than their desire to see secret knowledge passed on somehow, I don’t see why Gnosticism appeals to practitioners of Reiki. As healers, they are very focused on the body and they even make a big deal of using a physical means, their hands, to accomplish it. But Gnosticism rejects the physical world. I think a real Gnostic would say that if your body is suffering it does not matter since the physical world is all evil anyway and one should rise above it. These are people who often sought out suffering through extreme physical rigor; they did not seek relief from it.

And then there is the matter of how this supposedly secret knowledge is handled today. If Reiki is a form of secret knowledge passed down through the millenia from Jesus on, how do its proponents handle that knowledge today? They say that anyone can learn it by simply signing up, paying, and taking a weekend seminar. Gnostics were Gnostics because they wanted to feel special and think that they had knowledge not everyone could get. If Reiki is that knowledge, it is now being sold to anyone who wants it. One of the chief selling points of Reiki is that anyone can do it with only a little training.

And then there is the whole issue of money. Why must I pay for a seminar to learn Reiki? If this is secret knowledge passed down from Jesus, how can money be charged for it? Do you know who else tried to buy the power to do miracles and to heal? Simon Magnus, the magician in Acts 8. He was severely rebuked by Peter for this and of course was not able to buy such power. Legend has it that he went on to be the founder of Christian Gnosticism. Interesting connection, huh? The power by which Jesus and his followers healed was the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts shows us that one cannot buy this power, nor can one acquire it through a weekend seminar.

The short story here is what Mr. Rand says himself — groups such as the Gnostics, whom he wishes to connect Reiki to, base their beliefs on “a personal experience of Jesus or the ‘kingdom of heaven within,’ their freedom and lack of rules, guidelines or creeds and their reliance on inspiration and inner guidance.” In other words, their beliefs, and those of Reiki’s modern proponents as well, are based upon their own feelings. They do not rely upon or accept any external standard of what is right and wrong. They do not defer to the absolute standard found in the Word of God. They do not care about the historic creeds of the church and who they say Jesus is.

I asked many posts ago “Can there be Christian Reiki?” The answer is here: no, not if by Christian we mean that it is in line with the Bible or adheres to the historic creeds of the church and who they say Jesus is. They may call themselves Christian but if you are considering getting involved in Reiki you should know that what they present as “Christian” Reiki is not in line with the beliefs of orthodox Christianity.

Nebby

Christian Reiki (Part 3!)

Dear Reader,

This is my fourth post on Reiki and my third on Christian Reiki specifically. In the first post, I discussed Reiki in general, ignoring for the moment the Christianized varieties of it. In the second, I touched on two somewhat peripheral issues, Reiki in worship and the use of spirit guides, and in the most recent, I laid out the reasons I think Reiki is not really very much like the healing and laying on of hands which happens in the Bible and is rather dangerous for Christians to be involved in.

But I would like to wrap up this series by asking one more question: If Reiki does good, how can it be bad?

The main arguments for Christian Reiki seem to fall in two camps. The first looks at things that happen in the Bible and basically says “Reiki is similar to such-and-such so it is okay too.” These are the arguments I looked at in part two of this series.

But the second set of arguments looks at the results of Reiki and argues for it based on its (alleged) positive outcomes. This is based largely on Matthew 7:

‘ “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.'” (Matt. 7:15-20; ESV)

The argument here is that Reiki bears good fruit and therefore is good and from God.

In order to analyze this argument, I think we must first ask if the passage is being properly applied. If Reiki does good, is this enough to justify it? Secondly, we must ask if Reiki really does good or not.

In its immediate context, Jesus is in this passage giving some criteria for recognizing false prophets. I don’t see that this necessarily applies to Reiki. Are its practitioners claiming to be prophets? Not that I have heard thus far. We may still ask if the criteria holds true in a broader environment. Is doing good as sign that one is good? Scripture must interpret Scripture and in this case, I think that we have evidence from elsewhere in the Bible that what seems good on the surface does not always betray good beneath. Things are often turned upside down in God’s world. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery but he told them that though they meant it for evil, God meant it for good. (This is of course a case of God using man’s evil for His good which is the opposite of what we are talking about here.) In the book of Isaiah God calls the Persian King Cyrus His servant (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). He does not mean that Cyrus worshipped Him; there is no evidence of this; but that He in His providence had Cyrus do good for the Israelites (allowing them to return from exile).

I think it is true on one level that good trees produce good fruit, but I also think we must view things from God’s more long-term perspective. Often what seems good to us here and now will prove itself false in the end. It is very similar to the question of why the wicked seem to prosper in this life. Proverbs in particular seems to promise long life and blessings and prosperity to those who are godly and pursue wisdom. And yet Ecclesiastes is all about man’s struggle with the reality of his world: that the wicked seem to prosper while the good perish. The psalmists also often struggled with this reality that does not seem to fit the promises. But the answer they always come to is to persevere in godliness and to trust one’s Creator because God will work it all out in the end so that His promises come true.

I hope I do not seem to drift too far off topic here My point is that I think this statement about the trees and the fruit is similar. Things often for a time do not seem to work out as promised but we must trust that in the end, in God’s time, we will see that they do.

Indeed, the very next paragraph in Matthew 7 seems to imply that there are some who will appear to be doing God’s work who will not be accepted into His kingdom:

““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matt. 7:21-23; ESV)

These people apparently did mighty works like prophesying and casting out demons (and perhaps healing??) and yet they are not counted among God’s people. So I do not think that we can automatically conclude that because something appears good that the person or practice behind it is good.

And then we may also ask what the good Reiki claims to do is. It does not claim to heal specific diseases. It is designed to complement other forms of healing by promoting stress reduction and relaxation. “Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing” (“What is Reiki?” from Reiki.org). In Christian Reiki specifically, it is claimed that one’s relationship with God is affected. From ChristianReiki.org, I find the following anecdotal evidence:

“My Christian clients have reported intense experiences of the Holy
Spirit revealing God’s presence and Love during their Reiki sessions.” (“Christian Reiki” by Judith White)

“Personally, I have found that Reiki greatly benefits my prayer life in the peace that I have myself and in the confidence I have in the Lord to hear my prayers for others. Something about the fact that I cannot control Reiki and make it do what I want it to do for a person has deepened my ability to ‘let go and let God’. Less and less do I tell God what I think He should do and how He should do it. More and more I simply take a person or situation before Him in prayer and trust that He knows far better than I what is best.” (“Christian Reiki” by Judith White)

“Some clients report feeling Jesus’ presence and the touch of his hands; others tell about being held and embraced in love. There are accounts from others of diminished physical pain, tumors shrinking, surgeries postponed or not needed at all. Emotional growth and healing of relationships as well as spiritual changes are common place! People come to understand more deeply that their God loves them and separation from God is not truth.” (“Reiki and the Teachings and Values of Jesus” by Marita Aicher-Swartz)

It is interesting to me that Christian Reiki here claims to actually heal disease whereas it seems that secular Reiki (for lack of a better designation) does not. I don’t know quite what to make of that aspect of it.

But at any rate the most broadly made claim for Christian Reiki is that it provides s sense of closeness to God. It is very hard to evaluate another’s spiritual experience and I hesitate to do so, but let me make some general observations:

I quoted Jeremiah 8 last time in which the prophet criticizes the priests who say “peace, peace” when there is no peace (this passage also appears in Jer. 6). So too we must be very wary of giving people a false sense of peace when there is no peace. The true peace that all of us need is to be reconciled to God through the forgiveness of our sins. This is something only Jesus could do and only He can give. Which is not to say giving people physical relief is bad. But it is not the only or the most important thing. And I am concerned that Reiki may give people a feeling of closeness to the divine without giving them the real restoration they need, in which case they are really worse off than before because they are not in a position to see their need of God clearly.

All of which is to say I suppose that I don’t doubt the feelings that these people who have done or had Reiki done to them have. I believe they have the feelings they say. But our feelings like the rest of our human natures are fallen and capable of being easily led astray (see this post on reason being led astray too). We always need to judge ourselves and our experiences by the Word of God.

Another reason I tend to think that the things people experience through Reiki are not genuine is that the picture of Jesus that Reiki’s proponents give does not seem to me to be accurate or well-rounded. That is, the Jesus they describe is different in certain key ways from the Jesus I know and whom I believe to be shown in the Bible. He is a healing Jesus, but there is little talk of Him being a saving Jesus. There is lots of talk about following His example, but little mention of the things he has done for us that we are forever incapable of doing for ourselves.

One example of this, in my opinion, wrong understanding of who Jesus is is here:

“Where did his values come from? I believe they spring from a deep understanding of his Oneness with God, being a “beloved Son” which was the focal point of his entire life. His was a realization and embodiment of a God who was close, personal, and intimately present within human beings.”  (“Reiki and the Teachings and Values of Jesus” by Marita Aicher-Swartz)

The author claims in this article to be Roman Catholic, or at least heavily influenced by the Catholic church, but this is not the Catholic understanding of who Jesus is. He is not an embodiment of God. He is God.

In another article, it says:

“It is not known whether Jesus was born with the ability to heal through touch or if this was something he acquired. His activities between age twelve and thirty are not mentioned in the Bible. It has been suggested by several researchers that during this time Jesus traveled to the East and was schooled in many of the mystical teachings of India, Tibet and China. If this is so, it is possible that Jesus was initiated into a healing technique, during this time.

On the other hand, it is possible that Jesus was taught directly by God or the Holy Spirit or simply had these abilities from birth.” (William Lee Rand, “Similarities between the Healing of Jesus and Reiki,” from ChristianReiki.org)

This is again not a biblical understanding of who Jesus is. Jesus did not learn to heal nor was he taught by God or the Holy Spirit. Orthodox Christianity states that Jesus was and is One with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.

I could go on with many more examples but let me just say that if the articles on ChristianReiki.org are any indication, the practitioners of Reiki do not hold to orthodox views of who Jesus is. He is God. He is not just a good example to us though he certainly is that. He is much more. He is the only way to the Father.

Which brings me to one last quote which I think sums up the picture I get of Reiki’s good as its Christian practitioners see it:

“In the words on one student ‘Reiki brings you closer to God.'” (John Curtin, “Reiki Strengthens Connection to God” from ChristianReiki.org)

What is wrong with this? Surely closer to God is good and is what we all strive for? Yes, it is. But we are also told that there is only one way to God, through the death and resurrection of his Son. Reiki cannot save and if it provides a sense of peace where there is no real salvation, it puts souls in jeopardy and its practitioners should be very wary as they may be calling the wrath of God down upon themselves. Are there things which provide peace? Yes, they are the sacraments given us in the Bible, baptism and the Lord’s supper, as well as the Word of God itself (read and preached) and prayer. These are the means God has given us both to draw closer to Him and to find peace.

I think I have one more post in me which will touch on Reiki but it is again on more peripheral subjects. So as a conclusion to this series, let me say that I do not see any clear, definitive connections between Reiki and any of the practices we see in the Bible. There are surface similarities but I think Reiki’s proponents have not delved deeply enough to ask if these are really the same thing. It is not enough to justify a practice to say “look, it is vaguely similar to something we see in God’s Word.” And there is much on the opposite side to make us wary and to caution us that if we pursue Reiki we are entering into very dangerous ground. I do not think it is responsible of Christian people to do so. They put their very souls, and those of others, in jeopardy.

Nebby

Christian Reiki (Part 2)

Dear Reader,

This is my third post on the healing practice known as Reiki and my second on Christian Reiki specifically. I expect there to be one more after this as well. In my previous post, I discussed the use of Reiki in worship and the appeal of some Christians to angels as spiritual guides in Reiki. I am opposed to both these things. But they are also not essential parts of Reiki. Some Christian practitioners of Reiki also reject the use of spirit guides. So I would like to get back more to the core of Reiki and ask what the biblical text has to say about it. My main source in all this for what the opposition thinks is going to be Christianreiki.org. If there are other big sources about what Christian Reiki is, I just haven’t run across them. But if any one reading this know of others and thinks I am misrepresenting what Christians who do Reiki belive, I am happy to hear other opinions on what it is.

The Defense of Christian Reiki

Christian practitioners of Reiki make a couple of claims, that the references to  laying on of hands in the Bible justify Reiki and that Jesus Himself may have done Reiki and passed the knowledge of it on to His successors:

“Scripture clearly indicates that healing is something appropriate for Christians to be involved with. Christians who have a solid foundation in their faith know that God will always protect and guide them. Those Christians who practice Reiki do so within the guidance and protection of God secure in the belief that they have been guided to follow Jesus’ example to be a healer.” (Marcia Backos, “Should Christians Practice Reiki?” from ChristianReiki.org)

While I agree that healing is an appropriate thing for Christians to be involved in (very much s0!), Reiki is just one means of healing and we must still ask if Reiki itself is appropriate. The latter half of this quote makes me very nervous. Yes, if one is truly saved, God will ultimately always protect them. His people cannot be lost from His hand. But there is always the possibility that one is not really saved; Jesus says many who call “Lord, Lord” will perish. And He also does not promise that even those who are truly His will not fall into grievous sin (think David) and suffer the temporal consequences of that sin. We cannot say “I am a Christian and therefore if I choose to do X, it is the right thing to do and God will back me up.” It just doesn’t work that way.

But I don’t want to sell Christian Reiki short. They do refer to a lot of biblical passages:

‘As Christians seek ways to increase and strengthen their spiritual moments, many have adopted practices to develop the “Gifts of the Spirit.” In I Corinthians 12:4-12, Paul speaks of the gifts to including speaking wisdom and knowledge and the power to heal. Also Paul describes people within the church having roles as apostles, prophets, teachers, those who perform miracles, those who heal, those who direct others and those who speak in strange tongues (I Corinthians 12:28-31).

Because one of the spiritual gifts is healing, devoted Christians who take direction from the above scripture have looked into the laying on of hands and more recently, the practice of Reiki. In addition, many Christian seekers have found John 14:12 an important source of guidance as well as reassurance that becoming healers it is not only possible, but also something we as Christians should develop if we feel spiritually guided to do so: “I am telling you the truth: whoever believes in me will do what I do-yes, he will do even greater things because I am going to the Father” (TEV)

Within that quotation is both instruction and challenge. As Christians search for ways to follow more fully Jesus’ teachings and examples in order to draw closer to God, it is important to be aware of the examples Jesus set for us. Many of these focused on healing others (Matt: 14:14, Mark 3:10, Luke 4:38-39). And much of his healing was done by laying on hands. Here are a few examples: In Matthew 8:14-15, Jesus uses touch to heal Peter’s mother-in-law of a fever. In Mark 1:40-42 Jesus uses his hands to heal a man with leprosy. This is also mentioned in Luke 5:12-13. Matthew 20:29-34 describes how Jesus healed two blind men by touching their eyes and in Mark 8:22-25 Jesus uses his hands to heal another blind man. In Mark 7:32 35 he uses touch to heal a man who is deaf and can’t speak. In Luke 7:12-15, Jesus raises a dead man by touching his coffin and in Luke 8:49-55 Jesus uses touch to return a dead girl to life.’ (Marcia Backos, “Should Christians Practice Reiki?” from ChristianReiki.org)

If I am understanding correctly, the argument for Christian Reiki boils down to:

1. Healing is good and is a spiritual gift God gives to certain believers. We should seek out such gifts.

2. Laying on of hands is connected with healing in the Bible.

3. Reiki also heals through the use of hands.

4. Therefore it is okay, and even desirable,  for Christians to use their hands to heal through the practice of Reiki.

5. In doing so, they are more closely following the example of Jesus (which can only be good, right?).

The Spiritual Gift of Healing

Let us go through these one by one. The first has to do with healing in general. As I said above, I agree that healing is a noble calling. But let us keep in mind that there are many ways to heal. If one wishes as a Christian to pursue a career in healing, one has lots of options. Why Reiki and not becoming a doctor or a nurse or an acupuncturist or a homeopath or a chiropractor or a dentist or one of the many, many other options open to one? Reiki is not the only way to heal.

There is also the issue of spiritual gifts in general and how we view them today. My church is not big on spiritual gifts. It would say that the extraordinary gifts like tongues and prophecy ceased with the apostolic age. That is, that they were used by God when He was building His church and before His written Word was complete, but that He no longer ordinarily uses them. Personally, I would not say that they have necessarily ceased altogether. I do think one is more likely to see them in developing societies where the Bible is not yet available. And I do not want to say God cannot use these things here and now, but I do not think He ordinarily chooses to do so. And I think we need to not scorn the ordinary means God has given us — His Word read and preached, the sacraments — these things may often not seem grand enough for us but they are the means God has given us and they are very powerful. We should not scorn them. Neither should we scorn the “normal” means of healing. I believe all wisdom comes from God and He has set in place the laws of the physical universe. So when my daughter uses insulin, a discovery of western medicine, to stay alive every day and when my son was helped out of his two-year headache through acupuncture, a part of traditional Chinese medicine, I know that it is still God who heals them and that He has set up the mechanisms which the doctors and acupuncturists use to provide healing. My point being, let us not scorn the ordinary things. It is great to engage in healing, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily need awesome, impressive ways of doing it.  So I guess ultimately, I am not willing to say that God no longer gives the gift of healing, but at the same time I am very skeptical of those who pursue extraordinary spiritual gifts. I think God is often far more glorified when we seek to worship and serve Him through the ordinary means He has provided.

Reiki and the Laying on of Hands

The second and third points, about the laying on of hands, go together. I cannot deny that Jesus often used His hands to heal people. It kinds of strikes me as an odd thing to say, actually. We humans do most things with our hands. Acupuncturists, chiropractors all use their hands. When I give my daughter insulin, I use my hands. I am hard pressed to think of a means of healing in which one does not use their hands. So I guess I don’t find the verses that show Jesus using His hands to heal as particularly indicative of anything.

Nor does it seem to me that the use of hands in Reiki is the same as what Jesus did. My understanding is that in Reiki the practitioner does not actually touch the patient; they only let their hands hover over various parts of the body. But Jesus was clearly hands-on in a very literal way. He touched people. That was actually a very important aspect of His healing because He touched His society’s untouchables.” So again I do not see that Jesus use of His hands is the same as the use of hands in Reiki. Given that people use their hands for so many things, I need a little more evidence of a clear connection than I have yet seen.

But to be thorough, I would like to look more closely at what “laying hand on” means in the Bible. There are so many individual examples that it is hard to list them all, but here are the main uses of this phrase that I found:

1. In the Old Testament, hands are laid on animals to be sacrificed.

2. Hands are laid on people who are being set apart for a certain office or ministry.

3. Witnesses lay hands on an accused man before he is stoned to death (see Lev. 24:14).

4. Hands are laid on for healing purposes.

5. People lay hands on each other in a violent way, i.e. they try to capture or arrest them.

6. One lays hands on another person he is blessing.

7. The Holy Spirit is conveyed through the laying on of hands.

There is no doubt that in the Bible something is transferred through the laying on of hands; this is seen in points 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 above. This transfer is not always a positive thing, of course. In the first case, it is the people’s sins which are transferred to the sacrificial animal.

But in four of the above uses, there is some positive transfer that happens through the laying on of hands. Issues of authority also come into play here. In numbers 2, 6, and 7, the party laying his hands on another person has some sort of God-given authority. It is the apostles, and I believe only the apostles, who can impart the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands in the book of Acts. And in a blessing, the greater, usually a father or father-figure, must bless the lesser. Similarly, when one is set apart for a certain office (kingship or priesthood in the Old Testament, eldership or deaconhood in the New), others who already have authority do the laying on of hands. This is in contrast to Reiki  which boasts that anyone can learn to do it after just a brief period of instruction. Nor do I see any indication that those teaching Reiki need have any standing or authority within the body of Christ.   And it is also pointed out that Reiki does not depend on the person doing it, but in the Bible what is happening depends very much on who is doing it.

But there is still point four, healing through the laying on of hands. I can see that there is a similarity to Reiki in which some sort of spiritual life-force is said to be at work through the hands, using the practitioner as a conduit.  I also think that this idea, that one is a conduit, is  different from what is happening in the Bible. I don’t think God ever uses people as conduits. Such a notion does not value the personhood of the individual. In Reiki, they say that it does not matter who does the Reiki because it is some spiritual power working through them. But I think in God’s world, the who matters very much. Even in the writing of the various biblical books, I do not think the authors were mere conduits. The result is 100% God’s Word and yet He, in His infinite wisdom, also manages to use the unique personalities of His authors. God is able to do such things so that while no word of Scripture is less than perfect or inspired, yet neither is it all just a dictation that the person wrote down without the full engagement of their own intelligence.

A more important aspect, I think, is that these things are meant to accompany the gospel message. They are not done in their own right but as proofs of the veracity of the message. They are to back up the preaching. While some do do Reiki as part of worship (addressed in my previous post) and I suppose in that context it may accompany the preaching of the Word, this is not how most Reiki is done. But healings and other miracles cannot point to the truth of God’s message unless they are an accompaniment to the presentation of the gospel.

Jesus and Reiki

While I think I have already at least partially addressed this in my discussion of the laying on of hands, Reiki does really emphasize its connection to Jesus so I want to spend a little more time on the issue.

Christians who practice Reiki see themselves following the example of Jesus. Apart from the specifics of the laying on of hands, which as I have said doesn’t seem to be quite the same to me, Jesus healed and they heal. They would say they are not only following His example but surpassing it as He tells His disciples they will in John 14:12 (see above quote).

We must, however, take this verse in the context of the rest of Scripture. Yes, the disciples will do miracles in Jesus’ name. But if we also read the rest of the passage, we must be convinced that if Reiki is done in any other name, then it is false (another reason to reject the use of spirit guides, even if they are called angels or saints). I would be interested to know how Christian practitioners view non-Christian Reiki. Do they reject it? Jesus is very clear in this chapter that He is the only way to the Father and that no one can know the Father who does not come to Him through Jesus.

It is also clear from this passage that the purpose of the works done in Jesus’ name, whatever they may be, it to further glorify the Father and the Son. This is perhaps subjective, but I do not get the impression as I read Christian Reiki.org that the glory of God is their goal. As I said in my discussion of spiritual gifts, any gifts or miracles God gives or does are designed to point back to Him. They are to give legitimacy to His Word (as Jesus also says in John 14, if you do not believe me, believe the works I do).  So if such miracles, whether Reiki or otherwise, are separated from the Word of God and from the call to follow Him, then they are at the very least not worth our time and at worst detrimental in that they steer us away from the path we should be on.

Now I have said before that there is not just one view of what Christian Reiki is and how it should be done. I find divergent opinions even on this one website as the various articles were written by different people, some Catholic, some Protestant, some who use Spirit guides, some who don’t. But overall, I would say that the picture given of Jesus does not ring true with the Jesus I know from the Bible. We find for instance, statements like this:

“One of the outstanding aspects of Jesus’ life was the miracles he worked.
. . . However, the most meaningful of his miracles were the healings he
performed.” (William Lee Rand, “Similarities between the Healing of Jesus and Reiki,” from ChristianReiki.org)

And in another article:

“From an examination of his life, I have gleaned the values and principles that shaped His ministry: the sacredness of all life, the need for forgiveness and compassion, the practice of kindness, the understanding that God is always with us, and an openness to and enjoyment of the presence of God within each person.” (Marita Aicher-Swartz, “Reiki and the Teachings and Values of Jesus,” from ChristianReiki.org)

Jesus did come to heal the world. But He makes clear that the primary healing that humanity needs is not physical but spiritual. Now to give Reki its due, it never promises that it alone will heal specific diseases. Rather it promises to realign one and to provide a sense of peace:

“Reiki is a method of stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. . . .  When your life energy is high, you’ll feel strong and confident, be more relaxed and centered and less likely to get sick.” (“What is Reiki?” from Christian Reiki.org)

But Jesus did not just give a sense of relaxation but forgiveness of sins. This is seen, for instance, in Matthew 9:1-3 in which Jesus does not immediately heal a paralytic’s body but first tells him that his sins are forgiven. The Pharisees rightly understood this as blasphemy because only God can forgive sins.

True peace comes only through a right relationship with God. Any such restoration is only possible through repentance and the forgiveness of one’s sins. And forgiveness of sins comes only through the work of Christ who was the perfect sacrifice, the only one capable of atoning for our sins.

Jesus’ healings were astounding. But the defenders of  Reiki seem to focus on them to the exclusion of His much more important work, His atonement for our sins through His death on the cross. I am also very wary of any practice which claims to provide peace or  a feeling of closeness with God without providing the real forgiveness and restoration that the human soul needs.

Conclusions

As I near the end of this article, I will admit that I don’t feel I have made an air-tight argument against Reiki. Of course, I also do not feel that the other side has made an air-tight argument for it. The Bible does not mention Reiki by name so neither of us is going to be able to point to one passage and say “here is the proof of my position.” Rather, we each bring forward arguments on our side in the hope that their combined evidence is overwhelming. For my part, here are the points I would like to emphasize for any Christians who may be considering (or already are) practicing Reiki:

1. The Bible does talk about healing and healing is good and is a sign of God’s kingdom. But there are lots of ways to heal. That does not mean they are all necessarily right or justifiable. We must still ask if Reki itself is biblical.

2. Reiki uses hands. The Bible talks a lot about healing through the laying on of hands. I am not convinced that these two are done in the same way nor that there is a significant connection made here. There are also many other ways to heal with one’s hands. The major differences I see are:

           a. Hands are not usually actually laid on in Reiki.

           b. The laying on of hands requires some sort of God-given, delegated authority in the

                Bible.

           c. I don’t believe God uses people as conduits.

           d. Healings in the Bible point to the legitimacy of the gospel message. I do not see

                  that Reiki is used in this way as an accompaniment ot the Word of God or with

                  the main goal of bringing glory to Him.

In addition, I think that there are also some very good reasons for Christians to avoid Reiki which are:

3. There is a danger of branching off into necromancy. Some may protest that this is not a part of proper Reiki and that is  no doubt true but my own experience is that one of the people I know who is engaged in Reiki is also engaged in trying to contact the dead. This is specifically forbidden by Scripture and is of such danger that we should be wary of anything that tends in that direction.

4. The use of spirit guides, even ones that are supposed to be good angels or saints, also is very dangerous. We may not be able to discern good spirits from evil ones. A proper angel is a messenger of God and only works at is bidding and never accepts glory or praise for himself. Contacting the saints really borders on necromancy for me too. Good dead people are still dead people. King Saul was condemned for contacting Samuel though the latter was a prophet and man of God.

5. A last reason I am very wary of Reiki is that is promises as sense of relaxation or fulfillment without addressing the real reason people need healing (their sin and consequent broken relationship with God) and the only way they can get it (forgiveness of sins bought by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus). While healing the body is a good thing, I am skeptical of a practice that seems to elevate it without pointing to the real need the human soul has. It reminds me of the leaders in Jeremiah’s day to whom the prophet said:

“They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 8:11; ESV)

Sometimes healing the body without healing the soul may be worse than doing nothing. Which will lead me nicely into the next post in this series in which I plan to discuss the question: How can Reiki be bad if it does good?

Until then,

Nebby

Can There Be Christian Reiki? (Part 1)

Dear Reader,

This is my second post on the alternative healing practice known as Reiki. In the first one, I discussed Reiki in general and why I believe it is very dangerous. The short version is that it opens one up to unknown spiritual powers which are probably evil.

But there are Christians who claim to do Reiki in a Christian way. As you might imagine, they would say the power behind what they do is the Holy Spirit, that it comes from God Himself. So the question I would like to ask now is: Is this possible? Can we redeem Reiki and make it Christian?

Personally, I don’t really see why we would want to. Though there seems to be some debate on the point, Reiki has its roots in Buddhism, or at least in Buddhist thought. There is nothing innately Christian here to reclaim. I think we would be far better to leave it alone altogether.

But since some Christians choose to try to incorporate Reiki into their lives and worship (yes, it becomes a part of public worship), I will address the issue. My main (silent) opponent in this discussion is going to be the website ChristianReiki.org. The front page of this site presents the stories of different Christians who have come to Reiki and why they were attracted to it or initially struggled with it. It urges us to engage in serious thought and prayer on the topic:

“Each new idea or change in our world challenges us to adjust to the new
knowledge and experience. Sometimes new knowledge has bearing on our religious values and beliefs. Those who take their spiritual lives seriously will often take time to gather information on the new subject, think about it and pray for guidance. After this process, a decision can be made about if or how those new thoughts or practices might be incorporated into their daily lives. This is a spiritually mature way to deal with things of this nature.”

(Marcia Backos, “Should Christians Practice Reiki?” from ChristianReiki.org)

While I agree with the basic premise that we must pray and use our intellect concerning such things, it is notable to me that one major tool of the Christian, that is comparing what we read with God’s infallible Word, is omitted here. As Christians, the Bible is our standard of all truth. While our feelings and our reasoning have all been affected by the Fall and may lead us astray, God’s Word is indisputable. So we must always come back to it, especially when judging things like this.

There are a lot of issues to discuss here. Part of the problem I find is that there is not one unified view of what Reiki involves. A good example of this would be the use of spirit guides. Some include them even in a Christian context; some don’t. I am going to take multiple posts to cover this topic. In this one, I will discuss the use of Reiki in public worship and the use of spirit guides. In the next one, I will look at how Reiki’s defenders interpret the Bible, and in the last I will get to the core of the matter and ask if something good can ever be bad.

Reiki in Worship

I would also like to at the outset reject the argument made in the following paragraph:

“Christian churches have a long tradition of adopting practices that enhance the spiritual life of its members based on examples of Jesus’ actions described in the Bible. Some churches use music and liturgy; others use silence and inspired prayer; some worship on Saturday (7th Day Adventists) and others on Sunday; some use dance and others sit throughout much of the service; some baptize by  emersion (sic) and others by sprinkling water on the head; some honor saints and seek their help while others seek angelic experiences. In Christian worship, the cross is used as a focus of worship complemented by candles, music, prayer beads, bells, incense, and other ritual items. These many and varied practices indicate the range of methods that different Christian groups incorporate to follow the teachings of the Bible and to come closer to God. While they are different, they all fall within the definition of Christianity.” (Marcia Backos, “Should Christians Practice Reiki?” from ChristianReiki.org)

The gist of this seems to be that Christianity has incorporated all sorts of things and that this is no different; that there is room in our worship for many different practices. To me, this only serves to highlight why we need some standards for worship. There are two main schools of thought on what is acceptable in worship: Either we allow everything the Bible does not expressly forbid (think idols and sacrificing one’s children) or else we allow only those things which Scripture says should be part of worship. The latter position is the Regulative Principle and the one to which my church adheres. Practically speaking, what you would notice about my church is that we sing only the Psalms and we do so a cappella. Though depending on what background you come from, you might notice the lack of candles and incense and other such things.

But my point here is that if we adhere to the Regulative Principle, it is easy. Not only is Reiki inappropriate in worship, so are most of the other things Backos mentions. If we take the more liberal stance, and allow anything the Bible doesn’t specifically forbid, we do have to struggle with Reiki and ask why it is inappropriate in worship. If we take Reiki in its most basic form, as healing without the use of spirit guides, then one may well ask why not in worship? Healing is something that was clearly done by the apostles though I see no evidence they did so as a part of worship. And in either case, we are left with the question of what about Reiki outside of public worship? Because even as a very uptight Reformed Presbyterian, there are lots of things we do outside of worship that we would not allow in worship (like Christmas trees).

Spirit Guides

The most disturbing part of Reiki to me is the use of spirit guides. I discussed this in my previous post on the topic. Basically, at a more advanced level, Reiki practitioners begin to ask spirits who are out there into themselves to do the Reiki through them. A significant part of this to me is that the spirits must be invited in. This sounds a lot like demon activity to me. It is very dangerous. There also seems to be some connection between Reiki and contacting the deceased. I know that my children’s art teacher who is now into Reiki also engages in this and I can see how when one once begins trying to make contact with spirits, it is not a big step to try to contact specific spirits.

Contacting the dead is specifically forbidden by scripture:

“And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa. 8:19; ESV; see also Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9-12)

Now I understand that this is not an integral part of Reiki. It is possible to practice Reiki without falling into necromancy and even without using spirit guides. But the fact that Reiki lends itself to these things should be a big warning to Christians that this may be the beginning of a slippery slope and is a very dangerous path to be on.

When Christians practicing Reiki use spirit guides, they call these guides angels:

“The idea of Reiki guides is not actually part of the original Reiki teaching,
but was added later by Western practitioners. Therefore, one doesn’t have to contact a spirit guide to use Reiki as Reiki energy comes directly from God and spirit guides are not necessary. However, it is possible as a Christian to use a similar concept when practicing Reiki. Keep in mind that Jesus, Mary and other Biblical figures received help from spiritual beings in the form of angels. Angels are spiritual beings that God has created to be his messengers and it is possible for Christian Reiki practitioners to make use of their help. God’s angels can help heal and also provide guidance. It is also possible to call on God directly and especially Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit to be present and provide healing energy directly from them, but sometimes God will send an angel to do this also. Remember, the entire book of Revelations was given to John by an angel – indicating the responsiblity God sometimes gives to angels to act as spiritual guides.” (“Frequently Asked Questions” from ChristianReiki.org)

There is a lot packed in here to deal with. Do I believe God had angels who do His bidding and have appeared to various people? Yes, absolutely. But I cannot think of a time in the Bible when people initiated that contact or asked the angels to come. Nor do angels possess or come into people in any way. In Reiki, the practitioner is a channel through which the spiritual power works. That is not how angels in the Bible work. I also cannot think of a single example in which an angel provided healing or was in any way active in the healing process. Generally in the Bible, angels come with messages from God. The above quote says they “provide  guidance” but the only example given is John in the book of Revelation. There are times angels say things like “don’t let the boy drink wine or cut his hair” (said to Samson’s parents), but I would  not take this as spiritual guidance, just an instruction from God that the angel is passing on. In fact, the word “angel” in Hebrew just means “messenger” and this is what they most frequently seem to be. The examples I can think of when they do God’s work in other ways, it is often negative. For instance, God’s angel flies over Egypt at the first Passover and kills all the first-borns among the Egyptians. In Daniel, an angel seems to be in the fiery furnace protecting Daniel’s friends. But never are they shown doing healing. And always their primary concern is to bring glory to God. They reject the worship of people and point them instead to the Lord.

But to return to John and Revelation, I am not sure I would call the angel a guide here either. He again delivers the Word of God which in my book makes him a messenger. Revelation begins:

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.” (Rev. 1:1; ESV)

The way I read this, the emphasis is on the fact that this message comes from God Himself and not on the work of the angel.

So my conclusion is that I do not see any evidence that angels in the Bible act in the way they do in Reiki. People do not make first contact as they do in Reiki; in the Bible, the angels come to the people at the command of God. They do not provide healing. They do not really provide guidance either; they only communicate the words of God. And they certainly never come into people or work through people in any way. Furthermore, there is the very real possibility of one inviting in, either deliberately or not, spirits which are not from the good side.

To anticipate part 2 of this series, I think the defenders of Reiki have taken some vague similarities between what they already do and what appears in the biblical text (the example here being the angel appearing to John) and have used them to justify what they do without really asking if these two are the same beyond surface similarities. It is sloppy biblical interpretation. In the argument over Reiki in worship, their main point seems to be “everything else is okay so why not Reiki too?” which is a fine argument if you accept the premise that most everything else is okay too. But it ignores the very real ideological issues surrounding how we worship. All they have done is convince me further that we really do need to have strict standards about what is allowed in worship, not because we are legalists but because God Himself shows many times in the Bible that He cares greatly about how He is worshipped and is offended when His worship is not as He proscribes.

Next time I will take the arguments that Jesus practiced Reiki and that Reiki is equivalent to the laying on of hands in the Bible.

Nebby