Tag Archives: apostolic

The “Toronto Blessing” and the Kundalini Awakening

This 2002 dissertation is publicly accessible and, for those who wonder about the NAR and its relation to the “Toronto Blessing,” is essential reading:

THE TORONTO BLESSING: AN EXPRESSION OF CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY IN THE CHARISMATIC MOVEMENT?

Note the question mark at the end of the title.

Here’s part of the abstract (emphasis added):

Although Charismatics claim that the Toronto Blessing has a sound biblical foundation, no evidence to support this claim has been found. However, striking similarities are found between the manifestations of the Toronto Blessing and the techniques used in the ‘Kundalini awakening’ for the transference of energy. Finally, the major findings of this study support the conclusion that the Toronto Blessing is largely the result of psychological techniques. The possibility of Godly (sic) intervention is not totally excluded, but caution is urged, so as to be aware of extraneous factors that create similar manifestations. While it is agreed that the Toronto Blessing can be seen as an expression of spirituality in a broad sense, nevertheless it cannot be viewed as an expression of Christian spirituality in the Charismatic Movement.

For those unfamiliar with the “Kundalini Awakening,” it’s not something good, at least if one is thinking in any Christian sense. As one site that endorses the idea says, “Kundalini is often described as a dormant serpent energy coiled up at the base of the spine. . . . [continuing with a quotation]: ‘It is said that the serpent is Shakti, a goddess that is legendary for having created all that is. One of two protagonists in a sort of “big bang” origin story, inspired by her longing to be one with Lord Shiva, the other protagonist’.”

You get the idea. Read the rest of the link for more of that sort of thing. Read the dissertation for the “striking similarities” between this quite pagan approach to spirituality and the “Toronto Blessing.”

The above document, as noted, is a doctoral dissertation. For something a lot shorter, though not reviewed by peer scholars, there’s this:

KUNDALINI ENERGY: Yoga’s Power, Influence, and Occult Phenomena in the Church

I’ve long thought (and occasionally said) that what passes for Holy Spirit empowerment in lots of charismatic churches and contexts isn’t. I’ve been into paranormal research long enough to know that the same sorts of things (“slain in the Spirit”; ecstatic tongues, altered states of consciousness that produce visions – see this list of Kundalini effects) can be found in occult religions and practices, the product of either self-inducement, drugs, or evil spirits. Self inducement through various “spiritual” (meditative) disciplines or trauma (physical or psychological) seems like the most prominent category. In any event, we’re not talking about gifts of the Spirit.

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Naked Bible Podcast Episode 180: Continuing the NAR Discussion with Dr. Michael L. Brown

This episode continues our discussion of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) from the previous episode. Our guest on this episode is Dr. Michael L. Brown, biblical scholar and host of the well-known radio show, Line of Fire. Dr. Brown has long been part of the charismatic wing of Christianity and has ministered in a wide variety of capacities in that context. He has also been a persistent internal critic of the abuses and fringe behaviors within the charismatic movement. In this episode Dr. Brown relates his own experience with the NAR as an infrequent point of discussion within charismatic circles. He therefore doubts its validity as a movement, though the general influence of charismatic ministry has had great impact despite clear abuses in doctrine and practice.

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Naked Bible Podcast Episode 179: Interview with Holly Pivec: What is the New Apostolic Reformation?

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) seems to quite clearly justify labeling it a movement or denomination. Millions of people around the world are part of its network of churches. However, many NAR leaders and advocates deny that it’s a denomination or movement. Many Christians who are attracted by NAR teachings and practices have no idea that something called the NAR even exists. For those aware of its influence and presence within Christianity, the NAR has branded itself as representing the return of authoritative apostles and prophets to the modern church, complete with miracles such as healing and raising the dead. On this episode, we talk to Holly Pivec, and authority on the NAR, to learn what it is, what its defining characteristics are, and how we should think about its teachings.

The episode is now live.

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