A Voice in the

site navigation

free newsletter

" Carnal Weapons? "
    "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down strongholds" (2Co10:4)

    "..for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your devotion, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One to whom you show reverence without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: ... So Paul DEPARTED FROM THEIR MIDST. However, some men joined him and believed..." (Ac17:23,33-34)

Back in 1998 we had a commentary "Physical Fitness & New Age Spirituality" [link] which, in amongst other things, also addressed, among other things, the Martial Arts.

A couple months ago a regular subscriber wrote to question whether it was right for a Christian to get back into Martial Arts to finish his studies towards his black belt. And in connection with a follow-up to that we briefly addressed the yin/yang; which if you read the above link, is related to Tae-Bo where they claim to have the "truth...from within" (yin); and of course their extreme physical workout is external (yang), empowered by the dragon (addressed in the Q/As). We concluded that, considering the spiritual/demonic origins and underpinnings, that a Christian would not embrace the martial arts.

Here is the Q/A with its follow-up:

    Q/A:Christians and Martial Arts?

    I had a question about signing back up to karate? I use to do martial arts back in the day; for about 8 years. I am at this time a black belt candidate. I only need to pass my black belt test and I will be able to get my black belt. I was thinking about rejoining Tae Kwon Do to help get it shape. I do like martial arts but realize that martial arts has a lot of bad un-Christian things about it. I wanted to know if a Christian could participate in martial arts if I did not practice in those non-Christian things. Like meditations and yoga and etc... I mainly want to sign back up to get my black belt and also mainly help get me back in shape. I also like sparring and I could do this again to help me get better at self defense.

    All I can tell you is from my own experience 30 years ago. My ex (unequal yoke) and I thought it would be cool to take karate as a combination exercise/self-defense betterment for ourselves. So we found this place, and went to 'observe' one evening. It all looked OK until the class came to its conclusion for the evening, where they all lined up, faced this picture on the wall, bowed and clapped.

    Having grown up in Japan I recognized the bow/clap as something I had seen regularly that people would do at the temples and/or shrines. If they tossed their offering into the well, they would bow and clap. If they worshipped at the little shrines along-side the road, or wherever, they'd place the little rice cake at the shrine and would bow and clap.

      "...they have been consecrated from the east, and are fortunetellers like the Philistines, and they CLAP HANDS IN WORSHIP with children of foreigners." (Is2:6b)

    I don't remember if it was that same evening, or we went back to visit....but I asked the teacher about that, and he (a westerner/American) said it was merely "showing respect" to the "Sensei" who had devised the course of study that they were using.

    But again, having grown up in the culture...."showing respect" only requires -bowing-. The lower-in-station bows lower to one higher-in-station, who doesn't bow as lowly. (You know...like O'Bama was doing to all these heads-of-state after he took office) But showing respect does NOT include -clapping-. You know, like Abraham "bowed" on the occasion of Sarah's death and purchase of the burial cave. (Ge23:7,12) It doesn't say that he clapped....only, he bowed...which was the eastern protocol for respect. ...much as we 'shake hands' when meeting people and making business deals, etc.

    Now, when we get to the crowning of Joash, it says that they "clapped their hands" and proclaimed "long live the king" (2Ki11:12) But by then, paganism had so overcome their mentalities. There was a regional worldly mentality that the king was like 'deity'. You know... just like the 'church' can't get the pagan "christ/mass" out of its mentality; so they have "christ/mass" services to celebrate the birth of Christ.

    Of course now, as a kid I was never in situations to be in the presence of royalty or anything like that. But after the war, there was still the carry-over of showing undue respect to Americans (the conquerers), in the rural areas where we were mainly...but even in that I never saw (to my recollection) any clapping where it was person-on-person, that wasn't also a bowing to 'deity'.

    Of course, I have not studied into karate, like yoga and such other things, where BY DEFINITION "yoga" -is- Hindu religion. I don't know if there is such a component to karate.

    However, "Martial arts" as I understand it -includes- many different things, including karate. And from what I see depicted, for martial arts there -is- a 'religious' component. If you've ever watched Star Trek, you have seen Warf, Dax, and others do their martial arts exercises....and in those case there definitely -is- a "spirituality" of the eastern religions that they were promoting. They didn't want the God of the Bible, but they promoted the (as Isaiah says) -consecrations- "from the east".

    So...if you get your 'belt', does that label you, before others from the art, as one who has received of this 'eastern' spirit?

    I don't know -the- answer for 'you'. But these are the questions I would be searching out.

    After sending off this answer, I looked up at the website how the topic had been covered in the past. Here is the link: "Physical Fitness & New Age Spirituality "

    There was an ad on TV some years ago advertising the Martial Arts locally. They would depict a black-clad and white-clad individual facing off over an arched bridge, doing some karate/judo-like moves, and the one in white 'beat' the one in black...and they would close the ad with words something like, if I remember correctly, "release the power....temple kung-fu" Of course, does not "temple" indicate a 'religious' component.

    Standing in the grocery store line today, the female ahead of me had the Japanese (hiragana) character "ka" tattooed on the back of her neck. I asked what "ka" stands for. She replied (it's been all day, now, I forget exactly) "strength" or "power". Her personality seemed like the sort that might be into martial arts. For her it was obviously more than just 'exercise' (if that's what it was). It was her (self-perceived) essence.


    Within the past week I happened upon a Q/A session on one of the local SDA channels. While there is much that is wrong with their theology, they often do say some astute things. The question of the moment was Martial Arts.

    The fellow giving the answer seemed to have researched a bit. While we suggested an occult connection, this fellow defined it better. That martial arts includes embracing the yin/yang. According to the dictionary, yin/yang is the female/male balance. The fellow giving the answer said internal/external. Apparently the martial arts spend time in 'meditation'... that's the (internal) yin. And when they do their combat maneuvers, that's the (external) yang... and the yang receives its power from the dragon. Anybody who has seen even a little of oriental culture and art knows their proliferation of the dragon/serpent.

      Re 12:9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who leads the whole world astray;
      Re 20:2 And he laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

    So... should a Christian participate?

    If you're a Christian, reading this, you should now know the answer.

    This is also like that other thing we have addressed, of which I was reminded just now in browsing the Spokane "Catalyst" Business magazine that comes to my shop... somebody in it mentioned about Yoga and yin/yang, as the complete package. Some "christians" propose to participate in the "non-Hindu" aspects of Yoga. That's like buying hamburger and eating the "non-meat" parts. Or for a Kosher person to not eat pork, but eating ham. Ham, unless specified as being "turkey" ham, -is- pork. Yoga, by definition, -is- Hindu. And now with this further information, it appears that martial arts -is- eastern religion. Like I quoted in the original commentary several years ago, from the TV commercial: "Release the Awesome Power of the Mind -- TEMPLE Kung Fu"

One subscriber replies to this followup:
    "I can testify to the truthfulness of what you have written about martial arts because I was once (actually, in the past year) a praticioner of Taekwondo. A few years ago I became quite interested in the martial arts and finaly joined a taekwondo club. I also bought books about other martial arts and became somewhat familiar with a few of the other styles of martial arts. I owned one book about Aikido in which the authors, for the first half of the book, explained the reasons for why the techniques of Aikido were designed the way they were. It was because of various eastern spiritual beliefs such as soft/hard ki (the... flow/roll in and out of each others attacks in a very yin yang manner) and trying to find ones 'center'. The entire system is based on the demonic. Practicioners of Aikido will often have a very spiritual attitude towards the marial art and seem buddhist-monk-like.

    "Last year, after I began to realize how spiritual Taekwondo was while practicing forms in my basement as I prepared for a test, I quit. In the Taekwondo manual that my club gave to me about the history of Taekwondo and the organization that my club was a part of, were explanations of the inspiration for why the forms and the way of practicing them were designed the way they were. [vw:there was a link to an online video where he points out: notice the man's hands at the begining, it symbolises lifting up a log in budhist temple to ring the temple bell. Also, when the man yells or kyaps, he is releasing his ki from inside of his abdomen:] Again, they were based upon the occult yin and yang beliefs (the manual actually contained a description of the 'orgins' of the yin and yang before time began and a detailed chart explaining the symbolism of each form, which according to the book was based on the occultic book 1 Ching) Yes, forms (or poomsae) are designed to be spiritual, and at times I could sense it, which finally led to my quitting the club. Now, my club was truly not that spiritual as some are, but even so, I knew that I had to quit. What you write is the truth." [vw: edited a bit]

A day or so later another subscriber had sent the Q/A to a friend, who replied to it, and the subscriber in turn sent me the Word.doc file. It's over four pages, so I will summarize the basic gist. The subscriber is a -minister- and a martial "artist", as is the one who wrote the .doc file:

The one tells the other that there is 'Always going to be "opposition" to the "new ministry" they do as Martial "artists".' Those who are "shallow" (like yours truly and this ministry) have not "heard". (But he does not explain what this is that we "have not heard") We (shallow ones) are looking through the wrong end of the telescope and see God as being "small". Martial arts ministry is like being missionaries to another culture: with its dress, architecture, food, music, etc. A different culture does not equate with being "satanic". And that people like myself should contact those in the Martial Arts "ministries" to find out what's really going on...and stop proclaiming about what we don't know what we're talking about.

....words to that effect....

I found it interesting that the original Q/A was about "should Christians -participate-" in the martial arts? Which is what we answered. But this "minister" immediately jumped into "straw man" mode, condemning our "condemnation" of their "ministry". Well... we didn't condemn their "ministry", because "ministry" was not even addressed. However, since "ministry" has now been brought up by them, even if as a straw man, let's address it, shall we, and get into the topic of this article; light a match to the straw, and see what remains. (1Co3:13)

For those who say that "culture isn't demonic" let us be reminded of a 1999 study we did on "Bali and the pagan church" [link] Tourists go to visit, and the 'natives' do their cultural (pagan) dances. Tourists look at Bali's "art". Well, Bali doesn't have "art". Their artists/crafsmen who create the images do so as an act of 'worship' to their deities. What westerners call "art", is actually pagan demonic icons. They are objects of worship. Idols.

I've mentioned in the past from my experiences in professional music; I sang professionally with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Tudor Singers of Montreal, and in joint concerts whatever choir I was in also joined efforts with the Elmer Eisler Singers of Toronto; and some of the bigger productions in Montreal were conducted by Charles Dutoit and the Montreal Symphony. (I give this brief history from the late 70s early 80s, not to brag, but in presenting my 'credentials' for those who might insist I 'don't know what I'm talking about')

The staple of choral music is a high percentage catholic. You don't sing choral music very much before there is the performance of a Mass. And in case anybody balks at what the mass is, it is in worship of the sun. (See "Mary" and catholic sun worship. [link] Scroll down about 4 pages and notice all the icons to the sun. Notice the little 'flames' around the perimeter of the 'host' wafer)

A good many concerts in Montreal were in the area cathedrals (cathedral acoustics are great for choral singing), and so during free time I wandered around a bit, looking at all the statues. After a couple times doing that, it dawned on me that this "art" was in reality -IDOLS-. Every bit as much as Bali's carved icons.

So then, moving to the 'culture' of India and the east, we performed a work "Hymns from the Rig Veda" by Gustav Holst. While they had one selection, "Who is he? How shall we name him when we offer sacrifice?" which sounds a lot like Paul's "to the unknown god" What were they sacrificing? "...to thee a child we bring..." !!! "CULTURE"?

As a Christian should I have been doing professional music? In a pops concert in Vancouver, from Porgy and Bess, "It ain't necessarily so...the things that y'r li'ble to read in the Bible, it ain't necessarily so". I was still in my time of apostasy back then. I would -NOT- do it today!!!

During the final year we lived in Japan my dad did something which, in looking back on it now as an adult, I'm thinking he should have done years prior. I was ten, and there was never any discussion of what he did, nor why. As an adult, now, I know 'why' I would have done it. The mission owned a Japanese house that we lived in. It was traditional with the straw mat floors, paper sliding doors, etc. We took our shoes off when entering. According to the culture and laws of the land, my dad drove on the left side of the road. We (culturally) 'bowed' when meeting people and ate Japanese food with chopstix, and I would be sent on errands to buy tofu from the local store, where they dip the loaf out of the big vat and put it in your pan you take along for the purpose. I still remember the discomfort when coming to America, and I was motioned to enter the house first (without seeing somebody else do it and lead the way) feeling VERY AWKWARD leaving my shoes 'on' in the house. (Culturally, I -was- "Japanese")

In Japan, as I grew up, one thing I saw -everywhere-. Until I was old enough to know better, it was...just..."Japan". Culture. My "home". Everywhere you turn there were these stone statues and lanterns. And there was one in our front yard. It was there all the years, the whole time we were in Japan, living in that house. But one night (like Gideon destroying his father's idols to Baal in the dark of night?? Jdg6:25-27) my dad knocked over the image, and put its various pieces (it was made of sections that were stacked on top of each other) into the car and hauled them to several, various, separate remote places and buried them under the ground. (I remember it...those stones were quite heavy, and the car (48 Chevy) slung down pretty low, nearly bottoming out, with the load)

Until then, based on everything I had grown up seeing, that stone structure was "decoration". And if I wasn't a Christian, seeing Japan as a 'culture', the structures would be, merely, "the orient". But God said...

    "And you shall tear down their altars, break their sacred pillars, and burn their groves with fire; you shall chop down the graven images of their gods and destroy their names out of that place." (De12:3)
Let's start talking in the direction of the straw men. Away from alleged mere "culture", to "ministry". When my ex (unequal yoke) and I moved to Spokane 25 years ago, we both rode our own motorcycles. She got a job working at one of the local motorcycle dealers. And in our moving around we subscribed to a motorcycle magazine geared to touring, and there were the regular articles about "motorcycle ministry". There would be reports about rallies held here and there, also featuring this 'evangelist' or that one who would ride his bike to the rallies, and they would "worship" and he would "preach". So, here we are in Spokane, and thought it was about time to look up a local chapter of something dealing with "christian motorcyclists". We find such a group, and are invited to a supper they were having at a local restaurant. Let's review: These are 1) Christians of a 2) Motorcycle club. So... we get there... and my wife and I were the -ONLY- ones who actually -rode- our bikes to the restaurant. And during the meeting they were making plans for this meeting and that rally to which they were going to (ready for this?) -CAR-POOL-. And during the course of the supper/meeting, there was NO worship, preaching or Bible study. So, in WHAT SENSE were they "christian"? In WHAT SENSE was it even a "motorcycle" club? And if these two premises are thus, in what sense was any "ministry" going on through them?

We have also addressed a comment by a choir director of a Bible college, that they seek to maintain "cultural sensitivity" in their music [link] and the concert I attended contained: hula dancing by a girl on an elevated platform, the choir danced shaking everything in sight (including the girls...you get the picture), the music was a cross of regae/rock styles, they performed a version of the catholic mass, etc.

Paul asks...

    "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? -LET-IT-NOT-BE-!" (Ro6:1-2a)
Do we 'reach' the lost of the Carribean regions with their own music? That which goes along with immorality and voodoo, do we minister with immorality and voodoo?
    "But sexual perversion and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints" (Eph5:3)
True, but (to play devil's advocate here) if we establish a "hookers ministry" it's appropriate for the ministering girls to dress with barely-there, service johns, and call it ministry? Right? Ted Haggard participated in Celebrity "Wife Swap". Was he "ministering"?


Hezekiah and Josiah went around in rampages, knocking down idols and pagan groves. Of Hezekiah it was said...

    "He trusted in Jehovah the God of Israel, so that after him was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he clung to Jehovah; he did not turn aside from following after Him, but kept His commandments, which Jehovah had commanded Moses." (2Ki18:5-6)
Of Josiah...
    "And before him there was no king like him, who turned to Jehovah with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses; nor after him has any arisen like him." (2Ki23:25)
Do we participate in the rituals of eastern meditation and worship, do we embrace the "art" in print and statues, do we embrace the yin of spirituality and fellowship with demons, do we perform the music that glorifies the sun, moon and stars (De4:19) and sacrifice of infants (Le18:21) and call it "church"? Do we go into the places that do these things, participate with them and allege it to be "ministry" unto God Most High?
    "Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know; and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered to do all those abominations?" (Jer7:9-10)
We have a generation today that Isaiah spoke to...
    "For You have forsaken Your people, the house of Jacob, because they have been consecrated from the east, and are fortunetellers like the Philistines, and they clap hands in worship with children of foreigners." (Is2:6)
They complain that we "don't know what we're talking about"; that we should investigate MORE DEEPLY...
    "Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the DEPTHS OF SATAN, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come. And he who overcomes, and keeps My works unto the end, to him I will give authority over the nations" (Re2:24-26)
Not to mention: the ones who are -in- the martial arts and familiar with it, give the information that it contains the yin/yang, yoga, meditation, eastern religious aspects, and for that reason are asking the questions and telling of their own conviction...if somebody doesn't "know what they're talking about", is it not them? I'm merely taking what they describe the arts to be, and giving the Scriptural perspective on it.
    "take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise. You shall not do so unto Jehovah your God; for everything that is an abomination to Jehovah which He has hated, they have done unto their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire unto their gods. Whatever I am commanding you, take heed to do it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it." (De12:30-32)
People who use things of the world as -tools- for ministry? If God doesn't want His people -doing- them in the first place, is He pleased when we claim we are 'serving' Him with them?
    "And if you offer the blind in sacrifice, is it not evil? And if you offer the lame and the sick, is it not evil? Bring it now to your governor. Will he be pleased with you or receive you favorably? says Jehovah of Hosts." (Mal1:8)
When Saul disobeyed and did not slaughter every living being of the Amalekites, his excuse to Samuel is...
    "But the people took of the plunder...TO SACRIFICE UNTO JEHOVAH YOUR GOD.." (1Sa15:21)
And what does Samuel retort back?
    "Has Jehovah as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in to obey the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry." (vs22-23)
You see... a Christian does NOT NEED to know -everything- about evil and paganism. All he needs is to know -that- it is evil.

Back in the 70s I used to have arguments with many who called themselves "christian", and was labelled by them, "judgmental", because I saw what God's Word says about holy living, and turning away from the world's ways...but they -WANTED- to live their carnal "lifestyles". So, naturally, if they are -living- a certain lifestyle, then what they claim to do in ministry and witness also embraces that same worldly carnal lifestyle. And lacking any other arguments that agree with the Bible, they come up with clever little expressions about "how big is your God?" If you look through a telescope the wrong way, your God is "little", but just -seeee- HOW BIG GOD IS when you embrace life all-inclusively in all its cultural aspects.

But what did Samuel say to Saul? Saul's disobedience was as WITCHCRAFT, and IDOLATRY.

    "But sexual perversion and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no prostitute, unclean person, nor covetous person, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one beguile you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them." (Eph5:3-7)
It's not that our view of God is "too small" and we must look through a telescope! (what a seemingly 'clever' little vaunted quip, against which there is supposedly no answer) It is that the rebellious apostate heart wants what it wants, and does not desire God's holiness. Balak took Balaam around here and there (Nu22-24): Look at Israel from this perspective and curse them for me. God blesses. Balak tries again, well what about from here. And Balaam was so lusting after the promised riches that he has the conversation with the donkey, and everything we know from that passage; and by the time the episode is over 24,000 of Israel died. (Nu25:9) Balaam loved the "wages of unrighteousness", and it is he to whom today's "false prophets" are likened. (2Pt2:1-16) And also the apostate church at Pergamos with stumbling blocks and "to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to prostitute themselves to sexual immorality." (Re2:14)

What did Jesus commission the new Church? Did He anywhere command Believers to minister to the heathen through martial arts, going on "wife swap" shows, babbling with witch-doctor like shaman jibber-jabber and facilitate people to become demon possessed (and call it being "spirit-filled"), riding motorcycles and call it "ministry", or you-fill-in-the-blank?

    "He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mt16:15)

    "And He said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins be preached in His name to all nations, beginning out of Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things." (Lk24:46-47)

Can the Christian go -to- a martial arts class to 'preach'? Can a person witness to a working girl? (Years ago at one electronics assembly job I had, my work station was next to such a person, and we did a -lot- of 'talking'. But I did not -hire- her 'services'! Like Jesus and the woman of Samaria Jn4) Can a person go into a catholic or mormon church to preach the gospel? What about a buddhist temple? OF COURSE! But notice, when Paul had finished preaching in the midst of all the pagan altars, he "DEPARTED FROM THEIR MIDST" He did not go to the local pagan temple and spar in the martial arts, learning to become better at it, and 'fellowship' with them. Jesus ate with tax collectors (sinners), but He did not make a career out of what they did. To the woman caught "in the very act" of adultery, Jesus did not go 'hang out' at her haunts, but exhorts, "GO and SIN NO MORE!" (Jn8:11)

What is our "warfare"? It is against "rulers, against authorities, against the world’s rulers of the DARKNESS OF THIS AGE, against SPIRITUAL WICKEDNESS in the heavenlies." (Eph6:12) In those preparations Paul says nothing of: martial arts (that's flesh and blood which the warfare is NOT against), motorcycles, golf, sewing bees, yoga, concerts, you-fill-in-the-blank. It is all about...

Truth, Righteousness, Gospel of Peace, Faith, Salvation and the Word of God. (vs14-17) How is one saved? By riding motorcycles?

    "So then faith (Salvation) is of hearing, and hearing through the Word of God." (Rom10:17)
And if the messenger faithfully preaches the Word, the rest is in God's hands, through the Holy Spirt. Without the Holy Spirit there is nothing.
    "...for without Me ye can do nothing." (Jn15:5kjv)

    "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." (Jn6:44)

    "And when (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" (Jn16:8)

So many 'soul-winners' try to do God's work -for- Him. We cannot save anybody. Only God's Word does that...
    "so shall My Word be, which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall succeed in that for which I have sent it." (Is55:11)
Return to: Articles