This is part 2 of a series on Reiki, why Christians shouldn’t do it, and why it is a dangerous spiritual practice. There is a list of numbered links at the end of this article, which are also referenced throughout the post.
This post has come from a combination of observation, research, personal experience, prayer, and soul-searching. I know the struggle of being a Christian and doing Reiki because I have gone through it. Christians usually turn to Reiki because they have a God-given desire to heal others and a compassion for those who are sick and hurting, but they find little room in the church for this gifting. Before I elaborate, please note that when I speak of the church, I am referring to a portion of the church that maintains certain attitudes that quench the Holy Spirit, not to the church as a whole, by any means.
Dr. Randy Clark, founder of Global Awakening, talked about reasons that healing is lacking in the church during a workshop at a healing conference in 2005 (link 6 in the reference list). One of these reasons is the false doctrine that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were only meant to prove the credibility of Jesus and the apostles. This doctrine is called cessationism, and its promoters believe that the gifts of the Spirit are no longer given or needed now that the church has been established and the scriptures have been written. Another reason for the lack of healing in the church is the influence of materialism, which is reductionistic because it simplifies human beings and the rest of the world to their physical forms, omitting or minimizing a spiritual reality (see links 1, 4, & 6). Despite the fundamental doctrine of Christianity that a spiritual reality exists, the paradigm of materialism has had a part in shaping the church’s disbelief in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The belief that all miracles have natural explanations and the tendency to interpret Biblical accounts of miracles metaphorically rather than literally are characteristics of liberalism. The church (particularly Catholicism) has also taken an elitist stance on who are qualified to be healers (see link 6). Yet another reason for the lack of healing in the church is that many people feel hurt that someone important to them did not receive healing or that they themselves have not received healing, and thus they come to believe that it is not God’s will to heal.
Below is a list of several additional reasons why Christians might turn to Reiki:
1: They have not developed the discernment to differentiate between the Divine and the demonic. The Bible states that Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). Many Christians who pursue Reiki have only had seemingly positive experiences with it and thus do not recognize that the energy that they channel and the spirits that they communicate with are disguised as benevolent. Many Christians experience cognitive dissonance and existential conflict in attempting to reconcile Reiki with their faith, so they pray for answers and receive synchronistic confirmation, the real source of which they do not recognize.
2: Reiki is sometimes taught in churches or by independent Christian Reiki practitioners. Although Christians who practice Reiki are well-meaning, they become examples for other Christians who desire gifts of healing. Thus, Christians may turn to Reiki because they were ill-advised by other Christians whom they look up to as role models and whose discernment they trust. It is important for Christians to take responsibility for their own discernment.
3: Furthermore, many Christians who practice Reiki may not be aware of healers who represent Christianity as an institution because of their experience of the marginalization of healing in the church. Not knowing about prominent Christian healers could be one factor that contributes to Christians seeking role models from healing traditions outside of the faith.
4: As mentioned in the first post in this series, the first tale told in America about Dr. Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki, was that he was a Christian minister. The story goes that he was a teacher at a Christian school and that one of his students challenged him to find out how Jesus healed. So he searched Christianity and other religions until he finally found his answer in a spiritual experience on a mountain while fasting. Other than the part about his “enlightenment” on the mountain, this story was fabricated, most likely to make Reiki a more acceptable practice in the West due to the political climate of the day between America and Japan. In reality, Dr. Usui was a Buddhist, and he did not teach at a Christian school (see link 3). Still, the tale that Dr. Usui was a Christian is passed on to this day, and many Christians who are drawn to Reiki either believe it because they have not heard the real story or because it fits with their faith.
5: Many Christians who are chaplains, psychotherapists, massage therapists, and other mental health and medical professionals use Reiki because it is covered by some insurance companies. Insurance coverage is an advantage because therapists receive reimbursement for services and patients can better afford services (see links 2 & 5).
6: Therapists should use treatments that are culturally appropriate. Therefore, Christian therapists who would like to provide healing treatment for clients of diverse belief systems might choose Reiki because of its supposed spiritual universality (see link 5).
7: Some Christians turn to Reiki because they likely do not understand the authority and power that they already possess in Christ as believers to heal (Mark 16:17-18; Matthew 10:1; Luke 9:1). If they believed that the gift of healing comes solely from the grace of God and the power and authority bestowed by Jesus Christ, then they would not believe that they need to undergo an activation ritual in order to receive the ability to heal. Christians who pursue Reiki do not fully understand that they do not have to do anything to earn, acquire, or attain the gifts of God, not even a ritual, because God’s favor is unmerited and His gifts are free (Colossians 1:12; Ephesians 4:7-8; Romans 12:6). All we have to do as Christians is ask our Heavenly Father in prayer and believe that we will receive because He is a God of His word (1 Corinthians 14:1; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 4:16; Mark 11:24; Matthew 7:7-8; Philippians 4:6-7).
8: Some Christians may believe that they do not have the gift of healing or the authority to heal because they have tried praying for others and did not see results. Thus, they may find Reiki appealing because of the signs it tends to offer, such as hot, cool, and tingling sensations in the hands or verifiable information about others received psychically. Such Christians are making the common error of walking by sight rather than by faith, as the Bible says (see 2 Corinthians 5:7). In other words, they are basing their faith on experiential evidence rather than on the truth of who God is and who we are in Christ. Of course, signs and wonders increase our faith, and are integral to the kingdom of God. However, our faith must be founded in the Giver rather than in the gifts, and in the Truth rather than in proof.
9: Some Christians may misinterpret nothing happening when they pray for healing as a sign that they are unworthy of God’s gifts, or they may feel discouraged from trying to pray for healing in the first place because of core feelings of inherent unworthiness. They may or may not be aware of this thought process consciously. Somewhere deep down they know this is a lie, but they can’t shake it off. Thus, they may pursue Reiki with its impartation ritual and spiritual signs in hopes of finding disproof of their perceived spiritual unworthiness. It may be easy to fall into feelings of unworthiness, but remember that those feelings come from the enemy. Our worth is found in the Father of lights, not the father of lies.
10: Many Christians have been taught that healing requires faith and/or that they are to blame for not being healed because of their faithlessness. Wounded, they may find hope in Reiki because it offers the possibility that faith is not required for healing to flow. Though the Bible is clear that Christians are called to have faith (E.G. Matthew 17:14-21; Romans 14:23), there are also scriptural examples of healings that took place without the faith of those being healed (E.G. John 11:38-44; Luke 17:11-19, 22:50-51). Whether we have faith or not, God is always faithful.
11: Many Christians may trust in Reiki as a safe practice because they believe that Satan does not and cannot heal people. They are right in that Satan would not heal if he could because this would sabotage his agenda (see Mathew 12:22-37). However, Satan can alleviate symptoms, thus creating an illusion of healing, so that people will be deceived and worship him instead of God (see 2 Kings 1).
12: Reiki may be more accessible than Christian healing to some minorities. For example, the church often regards people in need of healing (such as people with medical conditions or disabilities) as recipients of ministry rather than as ministers of God. Thus, there may be fewer opportunities and less encouragement for these people to serve with gifts of healing. Reiki would be appealing to such people, therefore, because it is inclusive in that regard.
As a last note, I recommend the following books:
Healing Energy: Whose Energy is it? By Randy Clark and Susan Thompson
Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Jack Deere
The Essential Guide to Healing by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark
To proceed to part 3 of this series, click here:
To go back to part 1, click here:
2: Our Vision – Christian Healing Certification
3: Mikao Usui, Reiki Founder
5: Reiki, Questions and Answers
6: Workshop 4 (Healing Conference 2005) Randy Clark