The West is Turning To The East (Meditation)

Yip Kok Tho is a former eastern mystic, who grew up in Taoist family in Malaysia.  He became immersed in Zen Buddhism at the age of 18.  Twenty years later, at the age of 38, he learned about Jesus Christ and that changed his life.  Kok Tho is now a vibrant Seventh-day Adventist Christian living in Singapore.  He has a website exposing the dangers of eastern meditation and spiritual formation.  Yip Kok Tho will be in America during June of 2018.  If you would like to schedule him to speak, feel free to email him at koktho@yahoo.com.  He was interviewed recently by Gerry.

Yip Kok Tho will be in America during June of 2018.  If you would like to schedule him to speak, feel free to email him at koktho@yahoo.com

HELLO MY BROTHER, THANKS FOR GIVING US THIS INTERVIEW

You are most welcome.

WERE YOU RAISED IN A CHRISTIAN FAMILY?

I am Chinese and I grew up in a family in Malaysia that practiced Taoism whose central feature is the family altar for the veneration of the immortal souls of deceased ancestors.  Malaysia was a British colony and I grew up English-educated and regarded myself as progressive.  I paid scant regard to my family’s beliefs.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES IN EASTERN RELIGION

In 1967, at 18, I left for London to study accounting.  This was the era of the Flower People, the Beatles, mini-skirts and free love.  Eastern meditation---which in Malaysia was the stuff of antisocial hermits and recluses---was often practiced in isolation in caves, but now held centre-stage in London!  The Beatles and celebrities were doing Transcendental Meditation with Mahareshi.  I picked up a book on Zen (Japanese Buddhism) meditation and was set on my way. London repackaged and sold what the east failed to sell to me.  I meditated nearly 20 years until my baptism.

DO YOU HAVE A FAMILY? 

I have a wife and three children.

HOW DID YOU GET TO KNOW JESUS CHRIST WHILE IMMERSED IN BUDDHISM?

When I was 37, my wife attended a 3-day Seventh-day Adventist health program called NEWSTART which brought visible health benefits to my family of 3 young children.  6 months after changing to a vegan diet, medication for cough, cold and flu which were a permanent feature in our refrigerator were not needed anymore.  After NEWSTART, both my wife and I attended Bible studies with the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and three other denominations. She was baptized into Christ as an SDA but I held back.  At that time, even as I began to study the Bible, Zen’s contemplative practices of renunciation of materialism, detachment from the world and its stressors, meditative discovery of one’s Inner Reality, the enlightened True Self in peace and tranquility seemed compatible with the Bible.

WAS IT DIFFICULT TO GET FREE FROM MYSTICISM?

My “enlightened” Zen worldview deemed my wife’s baptism as an unnecessary ritual because Buddhism is pantheistic.  Supreme Reality is the Spirit (characterized as Energy, Essence, Consciousness, etc ) which pervades everything in the universe whereby “All is God” and consequently, the discovery of one’s in-born True Self in meditation is the ultimate discovery of the Supreme Reality already in-born within.  Christ and baptism is irrelevant.

6 months after her baptism, I heard a preacher speak for 3 days on the Cross of Calvary, on the power of Christ and Him crucified.   I recall vividly the instant on the third day when my Zen world view collapsed and disintegrated. The preacher asked, “whose hands deserved to be nailed?”.  He answered, “ours, but His hands were nailed”.  In that moment, after 3 days, I knew beyond doubt, both the strength of God’s love for me and the depravity of my sins.  My illusion of having possessed a True Self as integral with Supreme Reality was destroyed by the incomparable strength of God’s love Whose grace comforted me and gave me the courage to confront my sins.  Calvary stirred and set the momentum and pace of my desire for Christ’s sanctification.  I was baptized soon thereafter.

PRAISE THE LORD.  LET'S TALK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT PROGRESSIVE SPIRITUALITY.  WHAT IS CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER?

All derivatives of eastern meditation bring the mind through practices which dissociates brain function causing neural phenomena which opens the mind to false spiritual suggestions when discernment and differentiation between sin and righteousness is blurred.  Buddhism’s concept of karma which is the account of good vs evil deeds, even when heavily burdened with evil, does not admit the concept of sin and hence requires no Savior.  The high point of Buddhist meditation is “liberation” from karma,  reincarnation and polar opposites, when the differentiation between good/evil and life/death ceases.  On the other hand, authentic Biblical meditation as in Psalms 19 brought David to trust and love God absolutely to the extent that he became transparent to God that he may know his “secret faults” and “presumptuous sins”.

DOES THIS FALSE SPIRITUALITY LEAD PEOPLE TO THE OCCULT?

The occult is a crude form of spiritualism whose danger is easily apparent.  However, the most dangerous form of spiritualism appears natural and beneficial.  For example, pantheistic Zen Buddhism offers meditation not only as the way of peace and tranquility, but the means of union with the Universal Spirit where every person without exception and everything is ONE.  

'Adventist' Yoga at Camelback SDA Church, Arizona

In Hinduism, the “immortal soul” is presented as one’s in-born Inner Divine from God. Consequently, their meditative effort is directed for the discovery of their Inner Divinity.  A clear example of this belief is found in the Hindu greeting “namaste” which means “I honor the divine in you”.  One’s Inner Divine is presumed as existent from birth.  Thus, the purpose of Yoga meditation is to free oneself from all thoughts so that the mind silenced from all distraction may discover one’s Inner Divine which was originally and already in union with God.  This is true even in "Christian Yoga."

The deception of the “immortal soul” which is embedded within Christianity is now used for the same purpose of union with God.  Catholic priest Richard Rohr, who was associated with Richard Foster and Renovare is a Franciscan monk and is the leading proponent of contemplative Christianity in combination with eastern meditation for the unity of all religion. He said in his Daily Meditation of 5th May 2017: “At the beginning, for both Jesus and us, the soul is already one with God. Just as Jesus is the Son of God, we also are sons or daughters of God from conception.  Jesus’ unique and inclusive “sonship” declares us as “co-heirs” and “adopted children” in Paul’s theology (Romans 8:14-17).  Yet this divine conception is hidden from all of us until we discover ( Rohr means in contemplation) it, as I believe Jesus had to do, too.  He is not “initiated” until he does”.

Pantheism is so dangerous that EGW repudiated the pantheistic alpha heresy initiated by Dr Kellogg, defeating it in 1903.  She stated:

“Satan commenced his deception in Eden.  He said to Eve, “Ye shall not surely die.”  This was Satan’s first lesson upon the immortality of the soul, and he has carried on this deception from that time to the present, and will carry it on until the captivity of God’s children shall be turned.” {EW 218.1}.  

Additionally EGW warned:

Satan has long been preparing for his final effort to deceive the world. The foundation of his work was laid by the assurance given to Eve in Eden: “Ye shall not surely die.” “In the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4, 5. Little by little he has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time…. {GC 561.2}.

Now, years after Eden, we see immortal soul heresies in virtually all religion, culture, philosophy, education, art, martial arts, exercises, therapy, wellness and transformation movements, etc, having extended its reach both into the realms of religion and the secular.

SOME ADVENTISTS ARE ADOPTING THESE MYSTICAL PRACTICES THROUGH THE EMERGENT CHURCH MOVEMENT.  WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THAT?

25 Years after my baptism, I became aware that eastern meditative practices---packaged as Christian contemplation---was making significant inroads into Christianity.  A wealthy and very conservative Christian friend resident in the US was promoting Richard Foster and Renovare to me.  Foster in his book Celebration of Discipline (1998 ed., p. 22) stated “meditation Is a good way to obtain a consistent alpha brain wave pattern.”  In his book Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home (NY: HarperCollins, 1992), p. 155 he promoted” silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer.”  It is well known that eastern meditation delves into silence and eastern meditation generates more alpha and theta sleep waves in the brain.  A very conservative Christian organization in South East Asia (SEA) translated Renovare’s Spiritual Formation Workbook into four SEA languages and used it in those countries.  Renovare was founded by Foster to help people to intentionally pursue spiritual formation.

Triggered by these shocking observations, I began to research the subject. 

One of the best online resources is Lighthouse Trails.  The site is probably the best resource against contemplative spirituality and spiritual formation.  Some Adventist individuals and institutions involved in this form of spirituality are on record there, much to our shame and discomfort.

WE USED TO VIEW SECULARISM AS THE BIG ENEMY OF CHRISTIANITY.  IT LOOKS LIKE SECULARISM IS ON THE RUN TODAY, BEING SWALLOWED UP BY PAGAN SPIRITUALITY.

Progressive spirituality is seductive to the secular in that they can now acquire a soft spirituality that is not religious.  The atheists in meditation can now discover an Inner Self which is suggested as another self, a “spiritual self” which is enlightened, yet beyond and apart from the realms of any religion.

As I survey eastern meditation, western derivatives of eastern meditation and false Christian meditation, I see a common denominator.  The east meditates to discover their Inner Divinity. Scientists meditate to activate “God Consciousness within the brain.”  Christians meditate to discover the “Spirit within” which seems well and good if the Christian is converted and the Holy Spirit does reside within.  However, converted or unconverted, nominal or not, “Christian contemplation” is offered freely as the sure method for union with God.  All the above terms suggest “divinity.”  Hence the “immortal soul” is emerging as the far reaching powerful unifying factor of all humanity.

Sister White warns;

“If God is an essence pervading all nature, then He dwells in all men; and in order to attain holiness, man has only to develop the power that is within him. {CCh 322.8}.

Pantheism’s all pervasive spiritual Essence that “All is God” or “Everything is God” is maturing in panentheistic contemplative Christianity on the basis that “God’s (as Deity/Person ) Spirit is in every person” through the “immortal soul” the in-born intermediary of God in every man.  On 17th Nov 2014, in Rohr’s Daily Meditation, he quotes the mystic, Julian of Norwich, “Greatly are we to rejoice that God dwells in our souls, and more greatly are we to rejoice that our soul dwells in God.  Our soul is created to be God’s dwelling place, and the dwelling of our soul is God.”  Rohr then adds “This we might now call inter-being, or life as participation” which Rohr attributes to the soul immortal.

The immortal soul is now posited within every person by leading contemplatives as a spark or flame of Yahweh, Love Himself and God’s very self.  Satan’s seductive lie of the immortal soul is the foundation and strength on which is built a platform of love for the unity of all people and religion.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS THAT MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY COMES INTO A PERSON'S LIFE?

It comes in through choices.  Spiritualism that comes into our life by personal choice can be subsequently rejected by choice.  What is most fearful is when spiritualism becomes systemic as the order of the day.  This situation is Biblically prophesied.  Of spiritualism associated with the immortal soul, EGW stated that it has the power to draw even the kings of the earth to the battle against God. “Says the prophet:

“I saw three unclean spirits like frogs; ... they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13, 14”;  DD 23.3).

This possibility became exceedingly clear when Pope Francis addressed US Congress in Sept 2015 when he emphasized to Congress

“Yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the figure of Moses.….unity by means of just legislation….Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being…..Moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work….you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face….I would like to mention four of these Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.” 

Of Merton, Pope Francis added that Merton had the “fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of Thomas Merton”

Merton is a Catholic, Cistercian monk whose works are “required reading” in most spiritual formation curriculum, being the founder of a form meditation known as Contemplative Prayer which centers on the immortal soul.  In his book, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Merton writes:

“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us…..”

During a conference on contemplative prayer, the question was put to Thomas Merton: “How can we best help people to attain union with God?” His answer was very clear: We must tell them that they are already united with God.  “Contemplative prayer is nothing other than ‘coming into consciousness’ of what is already there" (source). 

On the day before Pope Francis' address to US Congress, he addressed the United Nations after which singer Shakira sang John Lennon’s song “Imagine There’s No Heaven” in his honor.  The lyrics contain these words “Imagine there's no heaven ….. No hell below us…. And no religion too…. And the world will live as one.”  The Beatles did Transcendental Meditation with Mahareshi and the lyrics reveal that at the deep end of meditation, the mind ceases to differentiate heaven and hell and all other polar opposites such as life and death, good and evil, righteousness and sin, etc.  It is claimed that this is the enlightened unitive state of Universal Consciousness, wherein an all inclusive humanity is wrought in non-differentiating divine compassion.  

In Rohr’s 10th Aug 2017 Daily Meditation, he states that as the differentiating critical False Self ceases in meditation, the non-differentiating True Self is revealed:  

“God sees the Christ in you and cannot not love you.  That part of you—your True Self—has always loved God and has always said yes to God.  Contemplative prayer is recognizing yourself in God and letting God recognize God’s very self in you.  Now the circuit is complete, and the power called grace can flow freely."

Christian Contemplative prayer, as a derivative of eastern meditation is putting spiritualism on the world stage at the highest secular levels.  “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb 5:14).

SOME OF OUR PASTORS & ADMINISTRATORS ARE PURSUING DEGREES IN SPIRITUAL FORMATION.  WHY IS THIS SO POPULAR IN WESTERN ADVENTISM?

The elements of the word panentheism are “pan” (all ), “en” (within) and “theism” ( God) ie God is within every person.  Without the lie of the immortal soul, false contemplative Christianity based on the discovery of God within will have nothing to discover and nothing to meditate on.  Spiritual formation curriculum which include contemplative practices drawn from Christianity with a strong panentheistic bias is exceedingly seductive as it contains the strength and foundation of Satan’s lie.

Seventh-Day Adventists should already be immunized theologically against the deception of the immortal soul and additionally have been strengthen by the historical experience of defeating the pantheistic alpha heresy more than 100 years ago.  But, the final masterpiece of Satan’s deception is based on the presumption that in God’s wisdom and love, He has endowed every person with Himself, conceptualized as flame of Yahweh, spark of God, God’s image, God’s Holy Spirit, Inner Divine, True Self and Inner Self.  Only God is immortal and divine. That every person, however evil would still possess divinity is the insidious and seductive suggestion of Satan’s lie which in short says “sin and live”.  

ADVENTISM WAS DESIGNED FOR TRUE SPIRITUALITY.  COULD THAT BE WHY THE ENEMY IS ATTACKING OUR PEOPLE WITH SPIRITUAL DECEPTION?

In 1903, no sooner had Sister White defeated the pantheistic alpha heresy of Dr Kellogg, she warned of the further progression of heresies as a train ending with the omega heresy, which as it sweeps away the “whole Christian economy” outside of Seventh-Day Adventism, will also attempt to blunt the worldwide proclamation of Three Angels Message by coming within this church.  Trembling for us, she said, “These theories, followed to their logical conclusion, sweep away the whole Christian economy. They do away with the necessity for the atonement and make man his own savior…… {CCh 323.1

Whilst the Second (Wine of Babylon ) and Third Angels Message ( Sunday Law ) warns of the final consolidation of the power of evil, the First Angels Message proclaims God’s power through His imparted righteousness from outside of the human soul.  “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Prov 8:13). The more we love God, the more we will hate sin.   In the fear of God, we give glory to Him by our yielding to His sacrifice in that we take up our share in His death and in His resurrection.  The power of the Cross sets the momentum and pace of our desire for sanctification by which we have union with Christ to the glory of the Father. 

“For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11).

ANY CLOSING THOUGHTS?

There is no unity apart from sanctified unity and it is only through Christ that we are gathered into Himself.  For those so drawn unto Himself by faith, He gives the Sabbath as a sign of their sanctification.  For more information, feel free to visit my website.

[Yip Kok Tho will be in America during June of 2018.  If you would like to schedule him to speak, feel free to email him at koktho@yahoo.com]

 

Yip Kok Tho Website: Mind Your Brain

Yip Kok Tho

Website: Mind Your Brain