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What about acupuncture? We get asked about this at times, and really aren't knowledgeable enough. Did not the Vatican express concerns about it, in its reflection on the New Age, called "Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life"?

In that document, issued jointly by two pontifical councils in 2003, was this passage that seemed to draw the link:

"There is a remarkable variety of approaches for promoting holistic health, some derived from ancient cultural traditions, whether religious or esoteric, others connected with the psychological theories developed in Esalen during the years 1960-1970. Advertising connected with New Age covers a wide range of practices as acupuncture, biofeedback, chiropractic, kinesiology, homeopathy, iridology, massage and various kinds of 'bodywork' (such as orgonomy, Feldenkrais, reflexology, Rolfing, polarity massage, therapeutic touch etc.), meditation and visualization, nutritional therapies, psychic healing, various kinds of herbal medicine, healing by crystals, metals, music or colors, reincarnation therapies and, finally, twelve-step programs and self-help groups. The source of healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in touch with our inner energy or cosmic energy."

Many Christians argue that it's a stretch to place therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic techniques with psychic or occult methods. They see it as simple manipulation of natural enemies, warning that too much is lumped under the heading "New Age" when it is away from normal or current understanding. They say the spirit operates the body and that acupuncture directs spiritual ("c'hi") pathways. There are good Catholics who say they have been helped -- profoundly -- or themselves are chiropractors.

"The origin of acupuncture is Chinese Taoism.," notes one Christian website supporting it. "Taoism is the philosophical system evolved by Lao-tzu and Chuang-tzu that advocates a life of complete simplicity, naturalness, and non-interference with the course of natural events in order to attain an existence in harmony with the tao, or life-force (ying-yang). While the underlying philosophy and worldview behind acupuncture is decidedly unbiblical, that does not necessarily mean the practice of acupuncture itself is against the teachings of the Bible. Many people have found acupuncture to provide relief from pain and other ailments when all other treatments have failed. The medical community is increasingly recognizing that in some instances, there are verifiable medical benefits from acupuncture. So, if the practice of acupuncture can be separated from the philosophy/worldview behind acupuncture, perhaps acupuncture is something a Christian can consider."

But most practitioners tap into the underlying belief in tao-ying-yang, and agreeing with the Vatican was famed non-denominational Christian deliverance expert Derek Prince, who in a book entitled They Shall Expel Demons wrote that: "Another occult practice that opens the door to demons is acupuncture. Some physicians and other medical personnel today justify its use on the ground that 'it works!' But an analysis of its occult background reveals that acupuncture will never ultimately promote the well-being of those who submit to it." He cited the following warning from a Chinese doctor who said:

"About eight years ago, at a retreat in Singapore, God spoke to me about the dangers of acupuncture and its link to the occult, especially its inseparable origin with traditional Chinese medicine. I immediately renounced my practice of acupuncture -- a skill I learned in Hong Kong and practiced successfully for five years.

"As soon as I came back home, I announced to my startled staff of doctors, nurses, and patients that acupuncture is dangerous and that I had renounced it and would not practice it anymore. I gathered all my machines, needles, books, diploma, and charts and made a great bonfire of them publicly. The total cost of these items was about $15,000 -- but the blessings after that were priceless because:

"1. My wife, who had suffered from chronic migraine and had acupuncture, done by me many times before, was immediately healed without medicine or prayer.

"2. My unexplained fear of darkness immediately vanished.

"3. My medical practice, instead of suffering a loss, received a double-fold increase in blessings.

"About three years ago we saw a very unusual case during a healing rally in Kuching, East Malaysia. A Christian lady came forward for prayer regarding her rheumatism. As soon as we started, the Lord gave a word of knowledge that she had submitted herself to acupuncture treatment in the past. She confirmed it, but each time she tried to renounce it, she was thrown onto the floor screaming in severe pain.

"We realized that she was being tormented by demons that had gained entry to her body through acupuncture. After we took authority over the demons and cast them out in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, she was delivered and totally healed. She then told us that each time she had tried to renounce acupuncture, invisible needles began to pierce her over the parts of her body where she had previously submitted herself for treatment.

"Let me end by relating a tragic case. The Christian brother who taught me acupuncture suffered from severe depression and committed suicide under mysterious circumstances. The world does not know the whole truth, because he had everything in life, but I think I know: He came under a curse and paid for it with his life."

For our discernment.

[resources: They Shall Expel Demons and Vatican document]


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