Question: What is Christian Reiki? Is it biblical, mystical or eastern Buddhism?
Answer: Thanks for the question, because this is a topic that should be addressed and I’ll try to cover as much territory as possible in a few paragraphs. I will first describe what Reiki is, then explain what the Bible says on the topic. Before that, however, I should make it clear that the term “Christian Reiki” is an oxymoron or a contradiction in terms. The word “Christian” in this context means “of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings” according to Webster’s Dictionary. Reiki is not derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings and is therefore not “Christian,” but I’ll return to this point later.
Reiki, which is pronounced “ray-key” dates back to the mid-1800’s when a Buddhist monk named Mikao Usui claimed to “rediscover” it after three weeks of fasting. The word means “universal life-force energy” and its practitioners claim that this is the method used by Jesus Christ and Buddha to heal.
Students of Reiki go through three levels of training before reaching the master level. The first degree involves an initiation practice where the Reiki master opens channels for a life energy called Ki. The master sometimes calls on spirit guides and the student is given a set of special symbols to use later. Practitioners in the first degree only detect and move the Ki.
Second degree practitioners may learn to use the special symbols and to contact a spirit guide during a healing session. During this level, practitioners who use spirit guides learn to allow their spirit guide to completely control the healing session and are expected to devote their lives to the practice of Reiki.
Second degree and advanced level practitioners use their symbols by drawing them or visualizing them. They also learn to control the Ki over greater distances and by the advanced level they don’t have to be present for a healing session. Although many Reiki practitioners contact spirit guides, this appears to be a recent development with no history in the Japanese Reiki tradition. However, those who promote “Christian Reiki” recommend praying for healing power and guidance from angels such as the Archangel Michael or Gabriel. Some Reiki websites and lecturers recommend using “beings of light” or “Reiki spirit Guides” to help bring in clients as well, although they insist this is only a way to help more people and not to be used out of selfishness.
The Bible is very clear on this point: Believers should not “practice divination or soothsaying” and should “[g]ive no regard to mediums and familiar spirits” (Leviticus 19:26, 31). God says he will turn his face away from “the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits” and those who practice sorcery will “have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Leviticus 20:6; Revelation 21:8).
One part of the Reiki healing sessions that leads to confusion for some Christians is the practice of laying hands on (or above) the person to be healed. People report sensations of heat, cold or tingling. Christians need to understand that Jesus Christ, being God almighty in the flesh, was able to heal the sick, not with some universal life force but by the power of God. In fact, God is still capable of healing today. James 5:13-18 makes it clear how this works:
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess our trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
Clearly healing comes from God as an answer to prayer, not through a life force, spirit guides, or special symbols. We serve a sovereign and almighty God who knows what is best for us and provides healing according to His will.
Although Reiki may seem harmless and some of its practitioners call themselves Christians, do not be fooled. The Bible warns in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” It is important to understand that not everything that bears the name “Christian” is of God. “Christian” Reiki is incompatible with the Word of God and is therefore not of God.
God bless you!
Michael T. Panell
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