Stephan Joubert’s JOY and Yet
“JUIG,” the Afrikaans edition of “JOY” published an interview with Stephan Joubert in May this year in which he reflects on his faith. JUIG/JOY is a South African Christian magazine which is based on “True life, True people and True Christianity” and a slogan taken from Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John 17: “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). AND YET, Stephan Joubert said the following inappropriate thing about the Bible on his blog “E-church Radically” some time ago:
“Leonard Sweet, world-renowned futurist, theologian, author, speaker and the guru of those who seek God’s plans in new, meaningful ways, including myself, refuses to use the term retraite or retreat. He’ll immediately tell you that Christians never retreat. We advance. Therefore, the gatherings that he hosts at his island and mountain homes are called advances!
Christians shouldn’t turn back to the Bible or the church. Then we’re heading in the wrong direction. We move forward to God. We advance” (Emphasis added).
Brian McLaren said exactly the same thing during his visit to South Africa in 2009 when he was invited to be one of the keynote speakers at the Amahoro Conference from 8 to 12 June.
I’d like to suggest that we need a new quest because one of the things that needs to be changed is the assumption that the Christian faith is primarily something that’s handed to us from the past. I’d like to suggest that the journey of following Jesus is primarily something that is given to us from the future; it’s an invitation to move into the future. It’s God out ahead of us saying, move toward the future I have for you. It’s God inviting us towards God’s own way, and inviting us in God’s path. Now we do this always remembering the past but God doesn’t simply live in the past. God is with us in the present and beckons us into a good future, and of course we have to think of this in terms of Africa. (Emphasis added).
AND YET Stephan Joubert and his good buddy, Leonard Sweet,
beg to tell us that they no longer want to be associated with Brian McLaren’s and his brand of the Emerging Church. Stephan Joubert wrote:
For the record – it’s interesting that well-known leaders, who originally used the term “emerging,” people like Erwin McManus and Dan Kimball, are no longer taking part in any so-called emerging conversations at all. In turn, Leonard Sweet, who created the term “emergent” distanced himself from this topic in a debate with McLaren and Jones in the magazine RELEVANT (21 Julie (sic)/Aug. 2006). His unambiguous words were: “Count me out!” I agree. In fact, I want to confirm the following about the “emerging church” with Leonard Sweet (See his article: “Answering my Critics – A Response”) (Read the full articles and here) (Emphasis added).
AND YET, despite their refusal to engage Brian McLaren in a conversation about the Emerging Church,
they are still happily journeying with him on the very same contemplative pilgrimage to meet up with the Lord who is beckoning them from and into a bright future. Perhaps this is merely another one of their contemplative silence/separation gimmicks to lead people (including JOY) up the garden path. They no longer converse with McLaren on the Emerging Church and ever so gently sever themselves from him while they are still journeying on the same path with him. I myself would, of course, advise anyone who had been set free from the Emergent Church and its re-interpreted Bible never to return. However, this is obviously not what Stephan Joubert has in mind, i.e. that people shouldn’t return to the Emerging Church after they had been set free from it by the grace of God. Why would Stephan Joubert and Leonard Sweet do that when they themselves have turned their backs on the Emergent Church? – At least, that’s what they are saying. If Joubert is not referring to the Emergent Church, to whom is he referring when he advises Christians not to return to the Bible or the church? Well, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that he is specifically referring to the fundamentalists who revere the Word of God as the only infallible spiritual book in existence and also firmly stand on its infallibility, and particularly also take very seriously all the end time prophecies that unequivocally predict that the world is on the brink of its greatest trial (Matthew 24:21). Contrastingly, the Emergent Church is living in a never-ending insomniac state of wishful thinking in their self-made fool’s paradise, making them believe that Jesus is beckoning them from the future to follow Him into a beautiful rosy-cozy realm of peace and prosperity called the here-and-now Kingdom of God. It inadvertently reminds you of Paul’s warning in 1 Thessalonians 5:3: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” They are actually preparing the way for the Antichrist and his demonic kingdom on earth like a bunch of John the Baptists while they are wading as in shallow water on their never-ending pilgrimage and quest for new truths. The link I gave on my blog to Stephan Joubert’s extremely offensive remark that Christians shouldn’t return to the Bible or the church has since been removed and replaced with the following notice:
Not Found, Error 404
The page you are looking for no longer exists. Perhaps you can return back to the site’s homepage and see if you can find what you are looking for. Or, you can try finding it with the information below.
AND YET Stephan Joubert responded as follows to the question
“Do you believe in the infallibility of the Word of God (the Bible)?
The Bible is the only Book I have ever read whose Author is personally present with me every moment. The Bible is God’s only official Story; it is His Scriptural Will and His unique Voice. The Bible is my whole life. It is the Bread of my Life on which I build my faith.
The word “infallible” means “faultless,” “above suspicion,” “undeniable truth,” “pure,” “eternally unchangeable.” Hence, God, Himself says:
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)
The Psalmist says, and I quote from the KJV:
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)
AND YET Stephan actually didn’t answer the question.
He merely said what the Bible meant to him personally without describing it from God’s eternal and infallible perspectives. He failed to do so because he deliberately steered away from the word “infallible.” Infallibility is a concept that is not tolerated in the everyday paradoxical language of the Emergent Church. It reeks too much of someone who revels in exerting power and control over others. It is too paternalistic, too hierarchically orientated, and too bossy. Nonetheless, let’s for a while sit at the feet of one of Stephan’s biggest buddies, Nelus Niemandt whose ground-breaking book on the Emergent Church, “Nuwe Drome vir Nuwe Werklikhede” (“New Dreams for New Realities”) has swayed Stephan’s head. Kerkbode Online reported as follows on Nelus Niemandt’s article “Church is Pilgrims on a Journey – Niemandt:”
Prof. Niemandt distinguished between the classical approach to being church that focuses strongly on the hierarchical exertion of power and control and the missional churches that have abandoned power in favour of the empowerment of other people. He compared it to the Google search engine. People are, as it were, empowered by “sending them away.” A Google church sends its people into the world. It exists in behalf of God’s movement in the world and not in behalf of itself. Prof. Niemandt says missional churches represent a paradigm shift.” A paradigm shift changes the underlying way of understanding and the unspoken assumptions of the church. It is a new game with new rules.” (Thomas Kuhn coined the term “paradigm shift” to describe “a distinctly new way of thinking” which entailed accepting new truths. When “the new paradigm gains ascendance” and “a critical number of thinkers have accepted the new idea, a collective paradigm shift has occurred.”) He also referred to missional leadership. “Missional leaders are leaders who have a passion for Jesus’ Great Commission. It is a participatory kind of leadership that moves away from control to creative freedom and inclusive consensus. Missional leadership is concerned about the change of people and institutions under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in order to become part of God’s mission in the world through relationships.” Prof Niemandt said it is due to the new understanding of the church as participators in God’s mission that takes our focus away from the church as a building where church happens. The focus shifts to the awareness of a God who crosses boundaries to the world and its people and invite them – like pilgrims – to join in on the pilgrimage. Today’s people are rather attracted to the idea that life is a pilgrimage. There is an upsurge in people who are on some kind of pilgrimage, Prof Niemandt said. (Emphasis added)
So intense is the Emerging Church’s aversion to the fundamentalist view of the infallibility of God’s Word that they violate their own missional credo, especially with regard to their “Season of Listening” again and again. Their “Season of Listening” is based on a one-way “talk-and-listen” principle – they do the talking and you listen. Nonetheless, when you dare to talk (especially from the authoritative and infallible Word of God and quote to them Bible verses) they label you a “Bible Bully.” Jean Oosthuizen and the editing staff of Kerkbode’s Facebook recently summarily and permanently banned me because I embedded a short video of Jannie Pelser’s blasphemous sermon “Good Friday, for whom . . .?” in which he plainly and unashamedly said the following:
“I dare you to show me where Jesus’ command was that people should make certain they are going to heaven. Show me one place where Jesus commanded us to make certain that people are going to heaven. Our duty is to go and tell people that heaven has already come to the earth and is breaking through into this world. And your, my, and our calling is to establish God’s approaching glory on earth and not to focus peoples’ eyes on a pie in the sky when you die while the world around is going lost in every day’s crises to make a living. It’s a wrong view of the Gospel. (“Kruiskyk TV,” 29 April 2012) (Emphasis added).
Jannie, would you mind telling us what the Gospel is all about because we’ve never heard it before?
Then he writes (Freddie Schoeman / 1 March 2011 in “Kruisgewys”): Jesus did not come to save peoples’ souls. [Then Jannie Pelser confirms it] “Jesus did not come to save peoples’ souls. Jesus came to establish God’s rule on earth. His death on the cross and his resurrection represent the absolute and final victory of God’s loving power over all the violence in this world.” (“Kruiskyk TV,” 29 April 2012).
shifting churches are leaders with a passion for Jesus’ Great Commission. Poppycock! Is their passion so paradigmatically shifting that the Father’s mission of his Son to the world has also changed from “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11) to “For the Son of man did not come to save peoples’ souls” (Pelser 18:11; also see Rant & Dal Community Church chapter 18 and verse 11). This Paradigm shift reminds one with intense disgust and loathing of the “paras” in Revelation 16:13 (“paras” is an etymological derivation of “paddas,” the Afrikaans word for “frogs” and is a wordplay on “para-digm” shift). “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs (“paras”) come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.” (Today’s false prophets can smile so charmingly and persuasively lead people up the garden path, especially women (2 Timotheus 4:3; 3:6).
Stephan Joubert falls in the same one-way talk and listening category. He too has permanently banned me from his websites “E-kerk” and “E-church” because I dared to reprimand him from the infallible Word of God about certain things he had said in the past. His co-workers unknowingly and apparently without his permission allowed me to become a member but when he realized who it was, the guy with the blog “Watch and Pray,” he summarily put an end to my fleeting membership. Speaking of abandoning power and control (aka Nelus Niemandt); if there is something that reeks of power and control then it is the humble emergents like Stephan Joubert, Nelus Niemandt and last but not the least, Jean Oosthuizen*, who summarily blocks you on their sites when you quote to them verses from the Word of God. They remind me of the scoundrels who stopped their ears and refused to listen to Stephen when he delivered one of his best sermons. It was especially the part where he said: “Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51) that infuriated the Jewish rabble and made them pick up stones and stone him to death. AND YET Stephan Joubert gives the false impression that he does not want to play the game of an eye for an eye like all the others. On the question “Why do you think are people of the opinion that you are part of the Emergent Church movement?” he cunningly responded as follows:
“I choose not to quote people by their name [because] then I play the game of an eye for an eye with them. A couple of years ago I said somewhere: ‘Truth can be found in all religions.’ This phrase has been taken out of context as if I was comparing it with the unique salvation of Jesus Christ. What I actually meant was that general truths, such as the fact that marriage is holy or that murder and theft are forbidden, are actually good points of departure for discussions between Christians and non-Christians.” (Emphasis added). [Thomas says: And I thought that the cross was the best point of departure for discussions between Christians and non-Christians. Wasn’t it Brother Paul who said: “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”? (1 Corinthians 2:2)]
This is simply the ramblings of a person who is not manly enough to take responsibility for the things he had said in the past. “This phrase is taken out of context” is merely the same old hackneyed excuse and sounds exactly like the rotten excuse “I have been quoted out of context.”
Stephan Joubert should know that when Christians talk about the TRUTH they always refer to two specific entities – Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God and his Word (Psalm 119:160; John 17:17). The Word of God is the only book that clearly spells out God’s sovereign will in regard to man’s relationship with Him and people amongst each other (also in marriage).
AND YET Stephan Joubert, like a true chameleon, ventures to convince JOY and its readers that he said “Truth can be found in all religions” because truths such as the fact that marriage is holy or that murder and theft are good springboards to launch discussions between Christians and non-Christians. I would like to reiterate our friend Jannie Pelser by saying: “I dare Stephan Joubert to explain to Muslims from the Quran that holy matrimony is a general point of departure for a fruitful discussion between Christians and Muslims. In the Yusuf Ali translation of Surah 4:34 under the title “Surah 4. An Nisa (Women). In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful” says the following:
As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (Emphasis added).
It is clear that the word “lightly” was added later to soften the punishment Muslim men are permitted to give their wives. Nonetheless, these beatings were apparently not so merciful and lightly when Islam was still in its infancy. There’s a well-known incident which all the Muslim historicists recall (refer to Imam-al-Nawawi: Riyad al-Salihin, “The Orchards of Righteous Men.” P. 107-108)
“Umar Ibn al-Khattab came to Muhammad saying, ‘Women have dared to disobey husbands.’ He allowed their husbands to scourge them. Many women approached Muhammad complaining against their husbands because Muhammad received a verse for the Qur’an which commands their husbands to scourge them.” (As quoted in “Beyond the Veil, Unmasking Islam” by Abd El Schafi, Pioneer Book Company 2001) (Emphasis added).
In the Kash-shaf (The Revealer) by al-Zamakhshari (Vo, 1: p. 525), we read the following shocking revelation.
On the authority of Muhammad (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him), he said: ‘Hang up your scourge in a place where your wife (or wives) can see it.‘ (As quoted in “Beyond the Veil, Unmasking Islam” by Abd El Schafi, Pioneer Book Company 2001) (Emphasis added)
On page 11 the Jalalan says:
God preferred men over women, and the reason for the bestowing on this verse (4:34) is a well-known episode which says that a man from the helpers beat his wife, whose name was habiba, the daughter of Zayd. Her father took her to the apostle of God (to complain). Muhammad said: ‘Let us punish him.’ But God sent down this verse 4:34. The woman returned home without having her husband punished. Muhammad said: ‘I intended to do something (that is, to punish the man), but God willed otherwise, and what God wills is better.'” (As quoted in “Beyond the Veil, Unmasking Islam” by Abd El Schafi, Pioneer Book Company 2001) (Emphasis added)
Our old friend Stephan Joubert is most welcome to use holy matrimony as a point of departure for discussion between Christians and Muslims because the BIBLE, as he suggests (or is it his own new EMERGENT BIBLE translation), says exactly the same things. The Lord Jesus, the apostles and later Paul of Tarsus taught men to beat their disobedient wives with a whip or scourge because that is the most holy thing to do. Therefore their teaching on holy matrimony may be used to find common ground between Christians and Muslims because both parties love their women so much that they are allowed to scourge them or refuse to sleep with them when they are disobedient to their loving husbands. Eish! that’s what I call Quranic Christian Truth because truth can also be found in Islam. Hooray for Stephan Joubert who is arguably our most brilliant living ecumenicist in the entire world.
I do not count it worthy to consider Joubert’s insipid remark that the embargo on murder is a common point of departure for fruitful discussions between Christians and other religions, especially when one takes into account that about 2,985 people were murdered during the 911 attack on the World Trade Centre in America whilst the terrorists shouted with “holy” abandonment: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is greater; Allah is the greatest”). Perhaps Stephan Joubert may even want to tell Muslims that the God of the Bible and Allah are one and the same person despite the slight difference, of course, that the One has a Son and the other does not. Perhaps he could also tell them that this semblance (Son or no Son) is the best and most holy tangent point between Christianity and Islam. It boggles my mind that a respected Christian magazine like JOY allows itself to be led up the garden path so easily. Wake up JOY and stop being so JOY-ous over the lies that are dished up to you.
Stephan Joubert is also most welcome to encourage fruitful dialogue between Christians and Buddhist with his notion that holy matrimony is a common point of contact between the two. The only snag is that Buddhists do not regard marriage as a sacrament like the Christians do; for them it is merely a secular affair. Should Joubert seek a point of contact for dialogue with Buddhists, it would be wise for him to offer them pittance because in their ten commandments (Pali: dasasila or Samanerasikkha) they are forbidden to beg for or to receive money. That makes it rather difficult for the Emergent Church to do any kind of humanitarian work among Buddhists.
Whenever Christians are exhorted to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints (Jude 1:3), they are by no means taking revenge or playing an eye for an eye little game. There is too much at stake to do foolish and thoughtless things like that, especially when so many sheep and lambs of the Lord are being led astray by the abominable doctrines of the Emergent Church, such as contemplative meditation and mysticism. During a break away session of a contemplative conference held on 14 and 15 September 2010 at the Mosaiek Church in Fairland, Johannesburg, Stephan Joubert openly took sides with Theo Geyser who complacently said that mysticism is much older than Christianity. To substantiate his statement Theo Geyser quoted Karl Rahner who said: “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all,” which, of course, undermines Jesus Christ’s promise in Matthew 16:18 that He alone is capable of building, caring for, and safely keeping his church, and not every Tom, Dick and Harry who pull mystical little tricks out of a hat. The mystically orientated Christian, Stephan Joubert, who agreed with Theo Geyser in typical rhythmically silent contemplative fashion, also answered my question surrounding the inexplicability of God in deep mystical silence. He ignored me like one would a curse. He speciously even then refused to play the eye for an eye little game.
“You say that you cannot explain God. May I ask: Is God Holy? (In compliance with the contemplative art of “silence” or “stillness” Stephan remained silent); Is God merciful? (Complete silence); Is God righteous? (Complete silence); Is God just? (Once again, complete silence); Is God loving-kindness? Is God love? (Stephan’s silence reached a climactic crescendo). I waited a moment for him to answer and then decided to answer my own question on his behalf. If your answer is “yes” to each of my questions then you have managed to explain God. These are all attributes He revealed to us throughout the history of mankind. In fact, these few attributes alone contain the magnanimous elements of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His awesome holiness presents you with an opportunity to tell people that sinful and lost sinners cannot possibly enter into the presence of God because of his awesome holiness and that they need to repent.
This brings me to another “AND YET” of Stephan Joubert.
He gave the following cute answer to the question: “Do you see the Holy Spirit as being a part of the Godhead? Explain the role of the Spirit in the lives of Christians.”
The Spirit is the third Person of the Trinity. He changes his church into living temples of God. He is the First fruit of God who makes certain that the rest of the harvest becomes our inheritance at the Second Advent. The Spirit sanctifies us and lives the life of Jesus through us. He makes us a part of the church; the Spirit also leads me, as a believer, from day to day in the truth. He picks me up when I stumble. He pleads for me with the Father.
Well said, but how does his statement “the Spirit also leads me, as a believer, from day to day in the truth” rhyme with his deeply offensive remark that Christians should not return to the Bible (which was inspired by the Holy Spirit) or to the church (for whom Jesus prayed: “Sanctify them in thy Truth, thy Word is the Truth”) because it ostensibly leads us into the wrong direction. It is precisely this mixed bag of truths and untruths that mislead so horribly God’s sheep and lambs. AND YET Stephan Joubert wants to convince us, and rightly so, that the Holy Spirit changes his church into temples of God. No one can argue with that, but the Bible also teaches that anyone who dares to corrupt God’s holy temple with false doctrines will be destroyed (1 Corinthians 3:17). Joubert ought to decide for himself whether the Emerging Church with all its false prophets (Leonard Sweet, Rob Bell, Dan Kimball, Brian McLaren, Ron Martoia, Johan Geyser, Theo Geyser, Trevor Hudson et al in the Emergent Church) are misleading the sheep and lambs of God (Matthew 24:4).
Speaking of Ron Martoia – Stephan Joubert lied when he said that he hadn’t been in contact with Ron Martoia for the last three years. They were together on the same “Emerging Church” platform at the “Emerging Church” Mosaiek Church” during their “Emerging Church” Mosaiek Conversations 2010 (14 and 15 September). It is scarcely one year and nine months ago. He also appeared with Ron Martoia less than one year ago (July 2011) when Ron Martoia amicably referred to Joubert as his good friend (Read). How on earth can you believe all the other things Stephan Joubert said in JOY when he so easily lied about his contact with Ron Martoia? How does his credo “the Spirit also leads me, as a believer, from day to day in the truth” and his evangelical discussions with people in other religions because there are allegedly truth in all religions rhyme with his following statement:
“It [the Emergent Church] deals with people who have a passion to say: ‘We want to win the world for Jesus in our generation; to regain the culture.'” And therefore I am not going to criticize their culture, but I am going to engage it. Therefore I am not going to tackle other guys’ spirituality and postulate my own truths. I am going to listen what they say, because I can prove my truth ad infinitum, as I used to do in the 1960’s, and debate a Buddhist or a Hindu. [then] I would sit there and say ‘Here are my truths, here are my stuff.’ Now, in the Emergent Church, I will say: ‘Let us listen . . . I don’t want to try and change you but you have the right to hear what I believe and I’m not going to make any excuses. I am not going to force my faith down your throat. (Emphasis added).
I would like us to focus our attention for a while on Joubert’s words: “Therefore I am not going to tackle other guys’ spirituality and postulate my own truths” and “ I am not going to force my faith down your throat.” In the first instance, God’s truth as He reveals it to us in his Word is not a postulate whatsoever. It is not something Christians postulate. Any dictionary will tell you a postulate is something you cannot prove. Postulates are merely assumptions that do not require any proof that your assertions are true, especially in an argument. Jesus never suggested in the very slightest that God’s truths are merely unproven postulates. He said with absolute authority and conviction: “YOUR WORD IS TRUTH” and away with the rest who believe that there is also truths in other religions. Joubert probably used a different approach in his dialogue with people of other religions in an attempt to prove to them ad infinitum that his truth was the only truth without achieving any durable results. In this respect he agrees with Ron Martoia who said:
Despite decades of tweaking evangelistic methods, there is little evidence that many Christians are experiencing true life change, Ron Martoia told church leaders on Jan. 29. Perhaps . . . that failure is because Christians in the Western world have been prone to think of salvation as a “point-of-sale” transaction that focuses on getting to heaven instead of appreciating that Jesus came to fulfil the Old Testament promise of shalom, a concept that suggests wholeness, wellness, and peace. Preaching about forgiveness from sin becomes increasingly ineffective in a postmodern world where a sense of guilt and obligation is less often operative. In contemporary American culture, one can no longer assume that people identify themselves as sinners in need of grace.“People may not think of themselves as sinners going to hell, but they seek wholeness and recognize they’re not there,”he said. (Read the entire article here.) (Emphasis added)
It seems that Joubert has abandoned his 1960 approach to adopt a rather more palatable postulating conversational style. Hence his statement “I am not going to force my faith down your throat.” What does he mean by this? He simply means that he no longer unflinchingly stands on the word of God when he tries to convince others about his faith because, he says, if you do this you are shoving your faith down others’ throats. This is a false view of evangelism as Scriptures describe it; God forces no one. Salvation rests on the free-will of people to take and drink the Living Water Jesus Christ freely offers to whomsoever wills out of his merciful hands (Revelation 22:17). He never has and never will force peoples’ mouths open to pour his Living Water down their throats. To say “I am not going to force my faith down your throat“ is a despicable, derogatory and contemptuous way to speak about God’s Word, especially when we bear in mind that Jesus commanded his followers to go into the whole the world and to make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to observe everything He taught us. (Matthew 28:19-20). Stephan Joubert refuses to confront unbelievers with Jesus’ and the apostles and Paul’s warning to repent and believe the Gospel. Admittedly, like all the rest of the Emergent Church’s fraternity, he often uses the word “metanoia” (repent). However, like Ron Martoia and Theo Geyser, he has stripped the word of its true and original meaning. AND YET, like a true chameleon, he sings a completely different tune in “JUIG” (“JOY”).
JUIG: “Do you believe that one needs to be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God, as John 3:3 says?”
JOUBERT: Whether I call it born again, repentance, turning around or giving my heart to the Lord, the fact is, if I do not discard the old man, crucify it, bury it or die to myself in some or oher way, I am dead in God’s eyes, even though I breath.
Dying to one self has nothing to do with repentance. It has no bearing whatsoever on unbelievers becoming believers at the moment they repent but only on believers who have already been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13). God does not expect anyone to discard the old man, bury it or to die to themselves in some or other way before He allows them to enter his kingdom. This amounts to something you have to do before you can enter God’s Kingdom which is not biblical. Faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross is the only prerequisite to be transferred into the Kingdom of God. Anyhow, what does a newly born babe in Christ know or understand about the dying to self? Paul was already a mature Christian and a prolific preacher before he realized that nothing good dwelt in his flesh and that however hard he tried to do the good and the right things, he always failed. At last, in a moment of dire despondency, he cried out: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). And then the glorious answer comes in the next verse: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25). In Galatians 2 he gets down to the nitty-gritty of the deliverance from the body of this death when he declares: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20). The victory over the old man and its nature does not come through an effort to die to it in some or other way; the victory is a fait accompli through Jesus Christ and his victory on the cross of Calvary and all that is needed now is for his disciples to reckon that they are indeed dead to sin and the old man. “For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:10-11). It is on this basis that Paul could say: “. . . in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37). Dying to self is a lifelong process for the believer who daily needs to deny himself, take up his cross (die to the ego) and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34). However, this is not what Stephan Joubert has in mind. If you’ve listened closely to his words ” . . . if I do not discard the old man, crucify it, bury it or die to myself in some or other way, I am dead in God’s eyes, even though I breath” you may have noticed that he suggests that there are several other ways or more than one particular way to die to oneself. That’s just pure blasphemy because his “in some or other way” denies that there is only one way of dying to oneself and that is through Christ’s cross. Stephan Joubert’s view of dying to oneself ties in with the Emergent Church’s distorted view, which in turn is influenced by the Theosophist (New Ager), Alice Bailey who wrote:
It is through supreme service and sacrifice that we become followers of Christ and earn the right to enter into His kingdom, because we do not enter alone.” (Alice Bailey, From Bethlehem to Calvary-Our Immediate Goal, Chapter Five – The Fourth Initiation).
And how, does she propose, should the followers of Christ achieve this sacrificial way of living? She provides the answer by writing:
The aim should be the development of the habit of meditation all the day long, and the living in the higher consciousness till that consciousness is so stable that the lower mind, desire, and the physical elementals, become so atrophied and starved through lack of nourishment, that the threefold lower nature becomes simply the means whereby the Ego (soul) contacts the world for purposes of helping the race. (1-145). (Emphasis added) (Source)
Stephan Joubert echoes Alice Baily when he says:
It’s not so much our beliefs, but our integrity in terms of following Jesus in the smallest details of our lives through service, sacrifice, humility and generosity that will provide intelligible answers to the right questions here in our day. (Emphasis added).
The Emergent Church has just about refashioned every single doctrine in the Bible, to the extent that it has taken on a complete new meaning. As we’ve seen from the above, even Jesus’ command to repent and thereafter to daily die to the old nature, has been changed to mean that the false self (a Buddhist term) should be atrophied (starved or wasted away) so that the true self may blossom forth to help and to serve humanity. This all sounds so beautifully Christ-like but it is one of the most deadliest deceptions imaginable.
Stephan Joubert continued to respond as follows to the question: “Do you believe that one needs to be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God, as John 3:3 says?”
“If I do not hear Jesus’ life-giving words “Your sins are forgiven” in some or other way when I stand before Him as a beggar beseeching Him for mercy, then my religion is worthless. However, I know that anyone who is in Christ is from head to toe a brand new person. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:16 that we as believers are new creations. It is there, at the feet of Jesus, where new life begins exclusively.”
Stephan Joubert’s answer to the question: “Do you believe that one needs to be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God, as John 3:3 says?” sounds so solidly like the real McCoy AND YET in true enigmatic fashion he has on occasions said something totally different about the word “metanoia.” On page 8 of the brochure that was in the Mosaiek Church at their Mosaiek Concress on 4 and 5 September 2005 he quoted from Thomas Moore’s book “Writing in the Sand. Jesus and the Soul of ther Gospels.”
Metanoia is the process by which you enter the kingdom. Jesus asks for a deep shift in worldview . . . One of the most difficult things to do is to change the way you imagine your place in life. Nothing is more challenging. On the other hand, once this takes place, nothing could be more vitalizing. Truly, it’s as if you are born a second time. Your eyes open to a different world . . . Metanoia comes at great cost. You are to give up an understanding of life that has been in place for a long time (Emphasis added).
“Metanoia” (repentance) comes with great cost? Really? In the Bible narrative of “metanoia” the repentant sinner loses his/her lost status and receives eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. What kind of great cost is involved in that for the repentant sinner? It is a free gift God bestows on anyone who is willing to come to Christ for his/her salvation (Acts 2:21). Repentance (“metanoia”) involves the change of your mind and way of thinking through the preaching of the unadulterated Word of God, to the degree that you wholeheartedly become willing to turn your back on the object of your trust which you have cherished for so many years (i.e. trust in yourself and your self righteous deeds which is but idolatry). It must go hand in hand with faith and a wholehearted submission to the new object of your trust (outside of yourself). Therefore, to believe the Good News is to put our trust in Jesus the Messiah (Anointed of God) as the only Door that grants you entrance into God’s Kingdom. It can happen in a moment of time as it had been the case with Paul of Tarsus. He called on the Name of the Lord and was instantly saved. It is not a process you have to go through as Thomas Moore and Stephan Joubert suggest. But before I get into their myopic process of “metanoia,” I would like us to open the curtain on Thomas’ Moore’s spirituality a little wider.
Thomas Moore is an American writer of popular spiritual books including the New York Times best seller, Care of the Soul (1992). He is a psychotherapist influenced by the writings of Carl Jung and James Hillman. Carl Jung’s interest in the occult led many to believe that he was a mystic. He believed that life has a spiritual goal that lies beyond materialism and its worldly gaols. To achieve this higher gaol one has to discover, foster and develop your innate potential by going on a spiritual journey of transformation (hence the idea that “metanoia” is a process). His studies of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Gnosticism, Taoism and many other traditions inspired him to come to the conclusion that this transformation lies at the mystical heart of every religion. It is a well-known fact hat many if not all the adherents to the Emerging Church now believe that mysticism is the magical tangent point between Christianity and all the other religions. Is this the reason why Stephan Joubert could so brazenly say that there is truth in all religions? Carl Jung believed it to be a journey to meet the “self” and at the same time to meet the “Divine.”
James Hillman (April 12, 1926 – October 27, 2011) was an American psychologist. He studied at, and then guided studies for, the C.G. Jung Institute in Zurich, founded a movement toward archetypal psychology and retired into private practice, writing and traveling to lecture, until his death at his home in Connecticut on October 27, 2011. (Wikipedia). These are the men on whose spirituality and psycho-heresies Thomas Moore and Stephan Joubert base their own views of the metanoic process which ultimately grants you entrance into the Kingdom of God. On his site THOMAS MOORE, careforthesoul, I found the following description of his book “Writing in the Sand:” “A book on the Gospels for either Christians or non-Christians and especially conceived for those who have lost touch with Gospel spirituality. This is a radically new approach to the meaning of the Jesus Kingdom.” His radical new approach to the meaning of the Jesus Kingdom is not so new after all. Paganists, occultists, New Agers and what nots have all outdone him on the meaning of the Kingdom of God long before he had even thought of it. One of Oprah Winfry’s favourite quotes from Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” is: “A new heaven and a new earth are arising within you at this moment … What did Jesus tell his disciples? ‘Heaven is right here in the midst of you'” (p. 308-309).
“Metanoia” (repentance) does not take place in isolation of God’s Gospel (Good News). AND YET Stephan Joubert advises people not to return to the Bible or the church. Repentance and faith are inextricably and irreversibly bound together in a single package. It takes place in a single moment and not by means of a process and at great cost. Ron Martoia (Stephan Joubert’s buddy whom he hasn’t seen, as he says, in the last three years, says something similar:
“Helping others identify and get in touch with the image of God in them is more of a process than a one-time transaction. And seeing the gospel through imago Dei calls for an apologetic that begins relationally, not just rationally.” (Emphasis added)
The “one-time transaction,” as Ron Martoia dubbed it, apparently refers to Romans 10:13 and 1 John 1: 8 and 9. The call upon God for mercy and forgiveness of sins for your salvation is a one-time experience because everyone who in faith calls on Jesus Christ for their salvation (as Scriptures have said -John 7:38), are immediately born again and in a single moment transferred from the kingdom of darkness and the devil into the Kingdom of the Son of his love (Colossians 1:13). It is utter nonsense that the Lord has initiated a process (or pilgrimage) for people to enter into the Kingdom of God. The so-called process goes hand in hand with disciplines such as contemplative meditation, Centering Prayer, Lectio Divina, Labyrinths, stillness, the Eucharist and even Yoga to make you aware and bring you in touch with the god (“Imago Dei”) that, according to the Emerging fraternity, is already present in every human being. The Emerging Church has, as in the case of all the other biblical doctrines, given a new meaning to the “Imago Dei.” To them it is not enough to say that man was made in the image of God, but that every individual has a “divine spark” in his innermost being, even though he or she may still be unaware of it. Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemane Abbey in Trappist, Kentucky, (1915-1968), wrote
Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed … I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other. But this cannot be seen, only believed and “understood” by a peculiar gift.
Again, that expression, le point vierge, (I cannot translate it) comes in here. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written is us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billion points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely . . . I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere. (Thomas Merton, Conjectures Of A Guilty Bystander, 153, emphasis added)
This is why Stephan Joubert could say with emergent conviction:
“Remember: every person that you serve turns into an immediate friend of Jesus. Go one step further: see him or her as Jesus in disguise – (Emphasis added) (.” (Watch video)
One would have expected someone so illustrious as Stephan Joubert to be at least a little more original. Nonetheless, he says exactly what Mother Teresa once said. In reference to the Hindus and Moslems she cared for, she said:
Whenever I meet someone in need, it’s really Jesus in his most distressing disguise.
The idea that the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized of society are Jesus in disguise inspires the youth to believe that they meet Jesus in a mystical way when they render service to the poor. It is precisely this missional process or “journey” that allegedly grants the emerging pilgrim entrance into the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God has a single DOOR (the Lord Jesus Christ) that admits repentant sinners entrance into the Kingdom of God. It is not a missional process. How long must this process last and how do you know when your particular process has reached perfection or saturation so that you may enter his Kingdom? The process Thomas Moore speaks of in his book “Wrting in the Sand. Jesus and the Soul in the Gospels,” and which Stephan Joubert apparently agrees to, is nothing else than a total paradigm shift from the traditionally accepted evangelistic outreaches of the church to a more so-called dynamic and incarnational approach to evangelism amongst particularly the poor, oppressed and marginalized in order to improve and uplift their lifestyle. In essence this process is mainly about the doing of good works. What does this process that allegedly plunges one into the Kingdom of God look like? Stephan Joubert once again presents us with the answer when he says:
What does this process look like, the one that allegedly dumps you into the Kingdom of God? Once again Stephan Joubert provides the answer when he says:
“Don’t get me wrong – I believe John 14:6 with my whole heart: Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the only One! But I also know that people who don’t believe this will probably never be convinced if I keep on providing them with unintelligible answers to even stranger questions. Their question to me/us would probably be something like: “Show me the money! Show me in your own life what it menas (sic) to follow Jesus, then we could probably have a conversation!” It’s not so much our beliefs [such as our belief that Jesus is the only Way, Truth and Life], but our integrity in terms of following Jesus in the smallest details of our lives through service, sacrifice, humility and generosity that will provide intelligible answers to the right questions here in our day.”
Double-talk is probably one of the most dangerous and deceptive means the Emergent Church fraternity employ to advocate their lies. The above is a very good example. Stephan Joubert admits (or at least wants to leave you with the impression that he admits) that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.” AND YET his very next statement that it is our service, sacrifice, humility and generosity that does the trick, is a denial of his stated credo. The question we must ask is: How did Stephan Joubert come to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is the only Way, Truth and Life? Was it through the Word of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit or was he persuaded by the service, sacrifice, humility and generosity of a benefactor who gave him a dime? If biblical doctrines and the Holy Spirit cannot persuade people that Jesus is the only Way, Truth and Life, what makes Stephan Joubert think that his vain and useless little efforts of service, sacrifice, humility and generosity can achieve such a superlatively supernatural feat? A risky reflection on something as impossible as this does not proceed from a heart that is molded in humility but in blatant arrogance and a high-minded imagination. It says: “Sorry Jesus, but your teaching that you are the Way, Truth and Life may be the infallible truth but there is something more acceptable and seeker-friendly that may just do the trick to convince hard-hearted people of your unique claim that you are the only Way, Truth and Life, which is, and I say this in all humility, our service, sacrifice, humility and generosity. Haven’t you heard, Jesus, that one of our most revered and respected New Agers, Alice Bailey, said something very similar to my own wonderful awareness about service, sacrifice, humility and generosity? In fact, both of us have been inspired by the demon, Djwal Khul. Isn’t that just so kosher? We will incarnate this truth into society through our good deeds.” AND YET, Stephan Joubert responded completely differently to the question that determines a person’s eternal destination. In the interview with JOY he responded as follows to the question: “Do you believe that people need to be born-again in order to enter God’s Kingdom, as John 3:3 says?”
Whether I call it born again, repentance, turning around or giving my heart to the Lord, the fact is, if I do not discard the old man, crucify it, bury it or die to myself in some or other way, I am dead in God’s eyes, even though I breath.
It invariably reminds us of Paul’s words in Romans 1:18
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
The Emerging Church (of which Stephan Joubert is still a part, even though he denies it) knows exactly how to reach lost souls for the Lord. Jannie Pelser, for instance, knows perfectly well how repentant sinners get to heaven and even proves it by saying that he knows for certain that he is going to heaven. And yet he tells people: “Jesus did not come to save peoples’ souls.” They know the truth but withhold it from others because they supposedly have better ways to persuade people in our highly complex cultures that Jesus Christ is the only Way, Truth and Life. You are only required to do a little service here, to sacrifice yourself for others over there (especially the oppressed and the poor), to be humble at all times (don’t splash your good works like e-church) and to give a small pittance to everyone who asks you, and voila, the eyes of the stubborn hearted and the God and Bible haters will be opened so that they may see that Jesus is the only Way, Truth and Life. But Stephan, why must you go to all the trouble when the people you want to persuade through your service, sacrifice, humility and generosity are already Jesus in disguise? Surely, you don’t need to persuade them in such a wearisome way when they are automatically already Jesus in disguise? It’s rather silly to persuade Jesus (who is already present in everyone in a disguised way) that He is the only Way, Truth and Life. Perhaps you have already noticed why Stephan Joubert permanently ostracized me from his websites and blogs. Since my excommunication I have tried again and again to sign in on e-church but have been greeted with emerging hospitality. (Read)
AND YET, the irony of the whole matter is that Stephan Joubert with real Emerging Church hospitality banned a guy
who gladly quoted to him from the Bible because it is the only Book he has ever read, whose Author is personally present with him every moment, which is God’s only official story and is His Scriptural Will and His unique Voice, and because it is his whole life and the Bread of his Life on which he builds his faith. If the Bible is all these things to Stephan Joubert, then one would have expected him to be kind to persons who quoted to him from it. AND YET, he favoured Dries CronjÃ© whose articles are loaded with with New Age heresies to contribute to his former blog. Please read face of Dries CronjÃ© who openly promoted Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” appeared on Stephan Joubert’s revamped site not so long ago. (It seems to have been removed since the publishing of this article). Dries CronjÃ© uploaded a welcome message onto Stephan Joubert’s former site which has meanwhile also been removed. I can assure you that everyone is not welcome (Read ). Of special note is Stephan’s Joubert’s statement that the Bible is the Bread of Life on which he builds his faith. AND YET it is also notable that on several occasions on his e-church site he has blatantly made light of God’s Word. In one of his comments he said the following:. The
“We need to stand up for the truth.” People like saying that. However, “standing up” is equal to religious protest for some. It is to unmercifully [and tactlessly] tackle sin and injustice. Does that help? No! I would be able to quote a couple of studies that show how those “standing up for the truth” efforts of religious people have no real healing effect on society. It only serves to highlight the boundaries between “us” and “them.” It makes religious folks come across more judgmental than ever. But it does not embody Jesus’ words that we need to let our light shine before people in order for them to see our GOOD WORKS and glorify our heavenly Father [Matthew 5:16]).” (Emphasis added).
If it is tactless and merciless to stand up for the truth, then Christians should remove the following verse from the Bible.
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. (Jude 1:3)
This – in contrast to what Jesus teaches in Matthew 18:19 and Hebrews 4:12 – is what Stephan Joubert proclaims with aplomb on his e-church website, namely that anyone who stands on these truths has very little healing effect on society. Was Jesus lying when He said: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free?” (John 8:32). Surely the “you” to whom Jesus referred relates to all societies in the world and specifically denotes all those who believe/shall believe on Him. Is it possible that someone like Stephan Joubert who claims that the Bible is his “Bread of Life” on which He builds his faith can say something as incongruous as the following?
Someone told me about their pastor’s greatest sermon ever. It was not a bunch of new Biblical insights that he shared with them. Indeed, that sermon was actually a fiasco. Halfway through the sermon the pastor got stuck. He then admitted that he wasn’t prepared thoroughly. And then a spontaneous tale unfolded about the pastor’s hectic schedule due to pressure to keep everyone in the congregation happy. In tears he confessed that he didn’t even have time to become quiet at the feet of the Lord anymore. “That day our pastor touched more hearts than in any other sermon because he shared himself with us,” (Emphasis added) (Read)
THEREFORE, SINCE we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God [granting us favor, benefits, opportunities, and especially salvation], we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion.
Does it sound like someone who struggled to find direction in God’s way? Professor Joubert, an illumined specialist in the antique Greek language should know that it means to “faint.” In addition Paul did not suggest in the very slightest that the Word of God is merely a bunch of insights that tends to lead to disastorous situations.
THEREFORE, SINCE we do hold and engage in this ministry by the mercy of God [granting us favor, benefits, opportunities, and especially salvation], we do not get discouraged (spiritless and despondent with fear) or become faint with weariness and exhaustion. We have renounced disgraceful ways (secret thoughts, feelings, desires and underhandedness, the methods and arts that men hide through shame); we refuse to deal craftily (to practice trickery and cunning) or to adulterate or handle dishonestly the Word of God, but we state the truth openly (clearly and candidly). And so we commend ourselves in the sight and presence of God to every man’s conscience. [Please note Stephan: Paul was so sure that the biblical insights he preached had the power to change man’s mind so that he may repent and receive eternal life that he openly, publicly and without hesitation commended himself in the presence of God to every man’s conscience. it simply means that Paul was so sure that he was speaking the truth and nothing but the truth that every man’s conscience shall approve it – perhaps with the exception of your own. Does that sound like someone who struggled to gain direction in God’s path?]. But even if our Gospel (the glad tidings) also be hidden (obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God), it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing and obscured [only] to those who are spiritually dying and veiled [only] to those who are lost. For the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God. For what we preach is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves [merely] as your servants (slaves) for Jesus’ sake. [Please note Stephan: Paul never told others how busy he was to keep people happy, content and elated in their carnal desires and that he hardly had any time to prepare his sermons. If ever there was a man who was busy, it was Paul. He once wrote: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6) (Emphasis added)
If Jesus said we shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 28:3 and Luke 4:4a), then the Word of God should at least be the most important thing in our lives. Let’s remind ourselves once again for a brief moment how highly the apostle Peter deemed the Word of God when he delivered his Pentecostal Day sermon.
“Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, I must confess that owing to my heavy programme and the stress it causes I was unable to prepare a proper sermon. I was so busy keeping the rest of my fellow disciples happy that I could not find the time to sit in silence at the feet of my Lord. You probably know that I am deeply into the art of contemplative meditation and silence to keep in touch with my Lord but I did not even have the time to do that the past few weeks. [Peter bursts into tears]. Please forgive me for not having a bunch of new biblical insights to present to you. In fact, even if I had some new biblical insights to teach you it would only lead to a disaster.”
Suddenly a man, fighting his way through the heavy crowd and with tears streaming down his face walks right up to Peter and calls out with passionate gratitude: “Oh Peter, this is the most heartrending sermon I’ve ever heard from your lips because you have shared yourself, your heart and your whole being with us. Wow! thank you, thank you, thank you Peter. If anyone of us here were to ask you now what we should do to inherit eternal life it will only spoil your heartrending story. To say the truth, it will only end up in a disaster. You can be certain that I’ll be telling others about your story. Boo-hoo! Thank you once again, Peter. (On that day three thousand souls were NOT saved who eventually ended up in hell, a hell from which, as Rob Bell tells us, everyone will finally be released to go to heaven).
What should we construe from this other than that preachers should rather share the stories from their own life’s experiences with their congregations than a bunch of new biblical insights? These kinds of sermons usually end up in a disaster. AND YET Strephan Joubert skilfully manages to lead a Christian magazine like JOY and its readers up the garden path with nice sounding words like “The Bible is the only Book I have ever read whose Author is personally present with me every day. The Bible is God’s only official Story; it is his scriptural will and unique voice. The Bible is my whole life. It is the Bread of my life on which I build my faith.” AND YET it is by far not the end of the story. He delivered his piece de resistance during a conference at the Mosaiek Church in Fairland, Johannesburg where Ron Martoia was one of the key note speakers, when he demeaned the incarnate Word of God as follows:
I would like to start off with the stories that you would read in Israel. If you were part of the tradition of Israel, there would be four major stories that Israelites would listen to. They grew up with four basic stories. The first one would be the story of creation. You will read this in the well-known books by Ron Martoia or all the other big New Testament and Old Testament scholars, Marcus Borg and people like that. They knew that, when an Israelite grew up, the first story that they knew was the creation story.
The second story that any Israelite would know, would be the Exodus . . . . The third story would be the priestly story. And perhaps there would be a fourth one – the story that we would spend some time with today and on, namely the wisdom tradition.
Now it is important to understand this . . . because stories work like this: the stories that you internalize, especially when they become life metaphors will be the stories that guide your life. And though you might know certain stories, it does not necessarily mean that it influences your life or that you live your life according to certain stories. The Israelite definitely [did] not live according to the creation story.
Yes, they [the Israelites] did use th story of the Exodus. They had their feasts, their three annual feasts that were organized around these stories. They would use some of the implications of those stories, but the story that won in the end, in Israel, was the priestly story. If you were born and raised an Israelite, you knew about holy – unholy, clean – unclean, pure – impure, in – out, us – them. This is the priestly story. It is all about purity. It is all about who is in and who is out. . . .
And now suddenly Jesus comes and you have the four dominant stories of Israel. You have the creation story. You have the exodus. You have the priestly story and the wisdom story. And interestingly enough, Jesus is not a reformer. He is not a reformer trying to reform some of the stories. Jesus does not link onto, particularly, the purity story, never at all. Jesus, if I might, may put it like this, Jesus links onto the, to wisdom. And if you understand this, it will change the entire understanding of Jesus. Jesus takes the fourth story of Israel, the story that did not win, the story that belonged to the upper classes: the story of wisdom. (Emphasis added). ().
Like Leonard Sweet who allegedly has outgrown the Emergent Church and decided to move on, as he puts it, Joubert still finds himself standing in the shadow of the Emergent umbrella. His entire argument that Jesus never linked on to the purity story of Leviticus but the wisdom stories of Ecclesiastes, Job and Proverbs is not at all original. He is merely echoing Cynthia Bourgealt, an Episcopalian Priest whose teaching is immersed in contemplative practices such as Centering Prayer, Meditation, Lectio Divina, Chanting, Psalmody, welcoming and the Eucharist. Frederic and Mary Brussat reviews her book “The Wisdom Jesus” as follows:
Bourgeault discusses Jesus’s ideas about the kingdom of God, the path of metanoia, the Beatitudes, and the “hard teachings” from the Gospel of Thomas. She concludes that Jesus is “the first truly integral teacher to appear on the planet.” She also marvels at his path of self-emptying love and his Tantric mastery. In a section of the book titled “The Mysteries of Jesus,” the author celebrates his life as a sacrament – a spiritual force in its own right. Here she covers the incarnation, the passion, the crucifixion and its aftermath, and the great Easter fast. Bourgeault rejoices in the mystical body of Christ present in our daily lives. She concludes the book with five Christian Wisdom Practices (Centering Prayer Meditation, Lectio Divina, Chanting and Psalmody, Welcoming, and Eucharist). These practices deepen our encounter with Jesus as the wisdom teacher and enable us to walk the talk of transformation, love, hospitality, and compassion. (Emphasis added)
The principle of wisdom for them is therefore not a holy reverence for God (Proverbs 9:10), but humanly implemented practices that allegedly deepens and strengthens our encounter with Jesus, the Sage of Wisdom, and supposedly empowers us to experience in word and in deed the transformation, love, compassion and hospitality it purportedly instils. Whether Stephan Joubert practices contemplative meditation and other contemplative disciplines is an open question but that he has a big affinity for them all cannot be denied. The following quote comes from his book “Jesus, ‘n Radikale Sprong” (“Jesus, a Radical Leap,” p. 199-200) and proves without any doubt that his theology is still solidly steeped in the Emergent Church, although he denies is.
Lives filled with reflection and silent contemplation. Innovative faith communities are increasingly returning to the original roots of Christendom. Peoples’ deep need for a life changing spirituality in our hectic world is inspiring the rediscovery of precious disciplines from the early church in many places. Reflective, apophatic prayer, as well as the spiritual reading of the Word (Lectio Divina) is once again the order of the day. The revival of retraites, pilgrimages and visits to places of prayer and solitude is indicative of this worldwide quest in Christian circles for an innermost becoming part of the character of the Living God. The new journeys of many Christians are those big inner directed journeys. Now it concerns the journey of the soul on its way to bigger peace and rest at the feet of God. These quests are not only undertaken during the dark moments of the soul. No, it is also undertaken as part of peoples’ normal spiritual discipline(-s) of dedication to God. It means that the present interest in retraites is complemented with the daily practice of these principles. Many faith communities arrange special occasions such as silent services, daily communion and smaller gatherings in order to experience God’s presence, holiness and magnitude through spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude. Christian meditatio and refelction on the Word in this context serve as travel guides. Lectio Divina with its beautiful facets of oratio, contemplatio, lectio and meditatio aim to make the Word of God part of the believers metabolism so that it may be entrenched in their hearts and lives. Today’s new saints are those who in solitude find peace and quiet with God and manifest it in genuine ways. They are the silent voices of hope. Their own mysterious discoveries of God’s goodness is magnetic. They are the new signposts who help people to find meaning in their lives. They are endearing fellow travellers to God’s heart that leads people into new relationships with God. People like Willem Nicol, Trevor Hudson and Johan Geyser are telling examples of this spirituality.
Perhaps you have already noticed that the followers and practitioners of the antique contemplative disciplines all sing the same mantra whenever they defend and propagate their spirituality. As we’ve seen in Stephan Joubert’s book, “Jesus, ‘n Radikale Sprong” (“Jesus, a Radical Leap”) you cannot help spotting again and again in their articles, books and on the internet that the contemplative disciplines are allegedly a cure for our hectic world, as if that is the culprit that hinders us from enjoying God’s presence every day. It no longer is our sins that cause separation between us and God but the hectic life style we try to maintain everyday. And in order to rectify this you supposedly need to come into the so-called rhythms of God, especially with the aid of contemplative disciplines. According to the Emerging Church community it is precisely these spiritual practices of silence and solitude that makes God’s presence, holiness and magnitude real for you. God has given us only one discipline with which we are allowed to come into his presence.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
I ask you with tears in my navy blue eyes (not really) what Stephan Joubert means by “today’s new saints.” What about guys like myself and others, and even the twelve apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, who out of a holy reverence for God never dared to occupy themselves with disciplines such as Lectio Divina, silence, solitude, contemplative meditation, labyrinths, Centering Prayer etc. The twelve apostles and Paul never said something so unbiblical and dangerous as the following:
“There are people who on a daily basis experience what significance the Bible has for their spirit, . . . It is understandable that many of us do not enjoy the Bible any longer . . . especially the free spirits who are interested in meditation feel that the Bible is too restrictive.” Whatever your belief is, silence helps you to open yourself more to it (your faith convictions) and to be formed by them (Willem Nicol: “Gebed van die Hart” [Prayer of the Heart“], p. 12).
Non-Christians are also invited, especially the ones who are interested in meditation. Many religions experience the value of silence in different ways, and insofar it is good, it actually does come from God, so that our experiences should open paths to one another and to Him (Ibid, p. 14).
Perhaps we can now better understand why Stephan Joubert advises his fellow pilgrims in the Emergent Church not to return to the Bible. One of his modern day holy gurus taught him so. It boils down to the notion that the experience Christians and non-Christians have through silence and meditation, prepares the way for both to find one another and to open the doorway to God. Contrary to this, Paul very distinctly says that it is only the blood of Christ and nothing else that opened the way to God (Hebrews 19:10). Anything else being offered to us, other than the blood of Christ, as though it prepares and opens the way to God, is not only a foul polluted peace of dung but also blatant blasphemy.
Today’s saints like Willem Nicol who is “in” and not “out” with Stephan Joubert, does not believe, and says so very explicitly, that Jesus is not the only way to God the Father. The above quote from his book “Gebed van die Hart,” unquestionably proves that he no longer believes that Jesus is the unique and only Way to the Father and that everyone – Christian and non-Christian – can gain access to the Father through contemplative disciplines such as silence and solitude. Speaking of the twelve apostles, the Bible says that they were first-hand eyewitnesses to Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection therefore the first signposts who pointed to the only Person who is able to give new meaning to people’s lives. There is no such thing as new signposts with new agendas (steeped in contemplative spiritualties) who give new meaning to people’s lives. The Gospel, once delivered to us by the apostles, is sufficient to do this and therefore worthy of defence (Jude 1:3). Today’s so-called saints cannot possibly be regarded as saints because they have already strayed so far away from God’s Word and his Truth, even to the extent that they have become perfect candidates for Paul’s anathemas in Galatians 1:8 and 9. Willem Nicol, a new saint who scorns and casts God’s Word away from him like dung? REALLY?
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
Perhaps Stephan Joubert should start reading the Bible again like any normal Christian (without the “Lectio Divina” nonsense) so that he may learn that Christians aren’t holy because they practice one or another spiritual discipline but because they are declared holy, by faith, through the cleansing power of the blood of Christ. It is common knowledge amongst normal Bible readers (without the “Lection Divina” nonsense) that the purity story in the book of Leviticus enfolds against the backdrop of the animal sacrificial system and especially their shed blood. Of the almost 380 times the word “blood” is mentioned in the Bible, it occurs no less than 55 times in Leviticus, in others words, 15% of the total amount of verses in which the word “blood” appears. It is more than double than any other place in the Bible. This certainly ought to give us an indication of how important the purity story was for Jesus, particularly if we bear in mind that all the sacrifices in Leviticus pointed to His final and ultimate sacrifice for sin on the cross. The core message of the purity story in Leviticus is that the most holy God had ordained and willed before the foundation of the world that lost sinners should be saved by the shedding of an innocent victim’s blood.
And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)
AND YET, the honourable Prof. Stephan Joubert ventures to persuade us
that Jesus never linked onto the purity story in Leviticus but rather onto the wisdom story in Proverbs. Like many other Emergent Church followers who despise the blood of Christ, Joubert is very subtly speaking with contempt of the blood of Jesus because He ostensibly never linked onto the purity story (Leviticus) but onto the wisdom stories in Job, Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. In his book “The Great Omission” Dallas Willard says the following about the blood of Christ:
“The gospel of sin management produces vampire Christians who want Jesus for his blood and little else . . . At the heart of right-wing theology is the individual forgiveness of sins. On the left it is the removal of social or structural evils. The current gospel then becomes a gospel of sin management. Transformation of heart and character is no part of the redemptive message. Moment to moment human reality is not the arena of faith and eternal living. What right and left have in common is neither has a coherent framework of knowledge and practical direction adequate to personal transformation toward the abundance and the obedience emphasized in the New Testament.”
Brian McLaren parrots Willard on the blood of Christ in “theory of atonement”:
Dallas Willard also addresses this issue in “The Divine Conspiracy.” Atonement-centered understandings of the gospel, he says, create vampire Christians who want Jesus for his blood and little else. He calls us to move beyond a “gospel of sin management” – to the gospel of the kingdom of God. So, rather than focusing on an alternative theory of atonement, I’d suggest we ponder the meaning and mission of the kingdom of God.
To the question, “What is the most wonderful thing about Christianity, Stephan Joubert swiftly and comfortably answered as follows:
As soon as you grasp something about being eternally lost, you understand what the new life that Christ grants, really means. That God saved me for Christ’s sake when I rebelled against heaven, is too big for my mind. That God saved me and others who were dead in the rubbish of our own sins and that He calls us his children, is too big to understand. That God changed our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit so that we may call Him Father makes me excited about Christianity. We were all prisoners in die opposition’s death camps, but now we follow Jesus as our Lord. The knowledge, in accordance with Philip Yancey, that nothing I have ever done, am doing now or will do in the future, can cause God to love me me more or less. He loves me! That’s the climax!
AND YET, he also says that Jesus Christ never linked onto the purity story in Leviticus.
Here , in his own words, he denies that Jesus ever linkied onto the purity story in Leviticus.
Yes, they [the Israelites] did use the story of the Exodus. They had their feasts, their three annual feasts that were organized around these stories. They would use some of the implications of those stories, but the story that won in the end, in Israel, was the priestly story. If you were born and raised an Israelite, you knew about holy – unholy, clean – unclean, pure – impure, in – out, us – them. This is the priestly story. It is all about purity. It is all about who is in and who is out. . . . And now suddenly Jesus comes and you have the four dominant stories of Israel. You have the creation story. You have the exodus. You have the priestly story and the wisdom story. And interestingly enough, Jesus is not a reformer. He is not a reformer trying to reform some of the stories. Jesus does not link onto, particularly, the purity story, never at all. Jesus, if I might, may put it like this, Jesus links onto the, to wisdom. And if you understand this, it will change the entire understanding of Jesus. Jesus takes the fourth story of Israel, the story that did not win, the story that belonged to the upper classes: the story of wisdom. (Emphasis added) ()
Because the Emergent Church (of which Stephan Joubert is patently still a part, although he denes it) has deliberately erased the dividing line between holy and unholy, pure and impure, in and out, and us and them, they have created for themselves an imaginary kingdom where everything is holy. In this kingdom there is no such thing as two opposing or contradicting realities. Everything is paradoxically equal and therefore Jesus MUST of necessity be separated from the purity story in Leviticus, the singularly holy book in Scripture that makes no bones about the distinction between holy and unholy, pure and impure, us and them and in and out. No, saith Stephan Joubert, Jesus never linked onto the divisionary demarcation between two opposites but rather found his niche in the wisdom story of the book of Proverbs. This deep shift in your worldview allows for a paradigm shift from a judgmental to a non-judgmental mind-set and to achieve this you need to acknowledge that Jesus is in everything and everyone (which is nothing else that a panentheistic Jesus). The Apartheid and exclusivity syndrome represented by the in-out, pure-impure, us-them, saved-unsaved paradigm that is so typical of the archaic priestly story in Leviticus MUST make way for a “we-are-all-one” paradigm. Stephan, with pure emergent eloquence, worded it as follows:
So Jesus came into this rhythm and the disciples learned the rhythms and perhaps we are too fast, because we are so success driven. Our spirituality is about getting the things done and to put down the stuff and to raise the numbers and to get more people to attend our holy, etc., Bible studies, talks, seminars, books, you name them. But Jesus was not into that. He had the rhythms of God in his life.
And you only learn this when you are wise, when you walk with somebody. . . . it is like the whole life becomes a pilgrimage. You don’t have a pilgrimage when Easter is on the calendar. It is like the whole life is a pilgrimage where everyday becomes holy. Where every person that you meet becomes holy. Where every moment is holy. When time as such, when food as such, where people as such, where space as such become holy. And it changes your perspective, because the moment that I realize there is no unclean food, there is no unclean space, there is no unclean people per se and I treat them like that, things change.
But when you are a Pharisee and you know that that person is clean or unclean and I am clean. That space is unclean and I am clean. I mean you go around always judging people.
It makes me wonder why Jesus once told his disciples: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3). If, as Jesus said, they’d been made pure through the Word He had spoken to them, then it is obvious that previously they must have been unclean (impure). It also makes me wonder why Paul wrote the following exhortation if divisionary demarcations were wrong.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). (Emphasis added).
Jesus also said:
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matthew 7:6)
Stephan Joubert has become so wise that he even classifies Jesus and Paul as Pharisees because they explicitly made a distinction between pure and impure. Joubertjie himself said that only the Pharisees made a distinction between pure and impure, did he not? To the question “Is it correct to say that Rob Bell and Brian McLaren is part of the Emergent Church movement by virtue of the unorthodox and controversial things they say?”
It seems that Brian McLaren in his most recent publications is following the liberation theology route more and more. Rob Bell’s “Love Wins, in turn, has to my mind not done us a favor. They are not here to defend themselves but I would like to spend a day with Rob to test his exegeses. The theme Jesus addresses the third most times in his sermons is specifically the coming final judgment. It is not a metaphor for Jesus but a physical reality. I would also like to ask Bell why he consistently alludes to the fact that God’s love and eternal punishment are at odds with one another. God Himself defines the nature of his love. In this regard his punishment is his very last option. God’s great answer to eternal punishment is to send Jesus as the Answer here and now. God’s love says that eternal punishment is not applicable to everyone who confesses Christ.
AND YET Stephan Joubert cautiously tiptoes through the tulips
when he wrote the following about Rob Bell on his website “e-church.” On that occasion he did not want to say that Rob Bell’s view of an eternal punishment in hell was wrong. He was very careful not to offend anyone but now, all of a sudden, wants to talk to Rob Bell to test his exegeses. Did he not then understand Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” so that he must now personally speak to him before he can give an opinion?
The conversation about heaven and hell gained momentum a couple of months ago, especially in the USA, when the well-known preacher, writer and video maker, . . ., Rob Bell, wrote a book entitled “Love Wins.” The book wasn’t even published yet when the fat was already in the fire and sparked a conversation about whether he was a universalist, meaning that he believes in the salvation of all mankind after death. Now, interestingly enough, I think when I read the book, it has more to do with life on this side than with life on the other side. (Tom says: It is rather far-fetched to write a book on heaven and hell and then to focus only on life this side of the grave than on life on the other side after death. It is like writing a book on eagles and their magnificent power in flight and then to focus only on their nests. The wisdom preacher, Stephan Joubert, should at least know this). But it is evident that in America and perhaps also in South Africa peoples’ correct way of thinking is measured by what they believe about the other side and not so much about how they live and how they follow God on this side. [Tom says: May I remind Stephan Joubert that Jesus, whom he claims to follow, placed an exceptionally high priority on the other side, i.e. His personal abode in heaven. Not only did He die on a cursed tree to make it possible for all mankind to escape the jaws of hell and to be with Him in heaven for all eternity; He also expressed a profound desire for all his true followers to be with Him in heaven when He said: “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:1-3). It is His heart’s desire that His true disciples be with Him where He is. Indeed, His entire mission in heaven at the right hand of God is to prepare a place for His true followers in heaven].
I would like to stimulate Stephan Joubert’s wisdom frontal lobe in his brain by playing a short extract from an audio recording in which Rob Bell explicitly says that Jesus saves all people.
The guy is completely bonkers. No Christian (true Christian) has ever said or even suggested that the DOOR (Jesus Christ) is closed to people of other faiths. Has he never read Matthew 7:13-14?
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
They do not find the DOOR because, like the Emergent Church brotherhood, they want to enter the Kingdom of God in new and innovative ways. Jesus Christ said:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:7-9)
This DOOR is still open for anyone who wants to enter through it. However, the tragedy is that most people believe they can enter heaven by means of other innovative ways.
If Stephan Joubert wants to convince people that he is plausible when he says that he is no longer part of the Emergent Church then he should publicly repudiate Nelus Niemandt and his book “Nuwe Drome vir Nuwe Werklikhede” (“New Dreams for New Realities”) as well as his own book “Jesus, ‘n Radikale Sprong” (“Jesus, a Radical Leap”) that was awarded the Andrew Murray Prize. In his foreword to Nelus Niemandt’s book “Nuwe Drome vir Nuwe Werklikhede” he wrote the following:
My head is swayed. My experience of this book. Nelus Niemandt is one of the most influential thinkers and South African missional theologians in the beginning of millennium three. His insights in complex socio-religious issues are breathtaking, his humility contagious and his ability to link contemporary contexts and Biblical contexts in intelligible ways is without equal. This is why I could not wait to read this book. What an absolute gem. “Nuwe Drome vir Nuwe Werklikhede” is eye-opening material. It is loaded with world shattering words. Nelus’ understanding of “Christendom” and the threat it poses for the gospel, together with a penetrating profile of the post modernism and present church structures gave me hours of much satisfaction. Nelus does not only ask critical questions while he masterfully removes obsolete church masks around us. He speaks a language of hope by placing nine freshly new faith practices for emergent churches on our dinner table. Equally fascinating, eye opening and challenging is his insights in missional congregations in the last chapter of the book. “Nuwe Drome vir Nuwe Werklikhede” is without a doubt the most important book on the South African church scene the last couple of years. It shifts horizons and is contextual. it is well-thought through, sympathetic, expository, dangerous but always good medicine! At the same time this book offers fantastic resources for experimentation by level headed, co-thinking believers, with stylish visual applications and heartrending stories about emerging churches. “Nuwe Drome vir Nuwe Werklikhede” has swayed my head all over again. It is good, great and grandiose. Nelus succeeded to internalize the insights of the most influential contemporary thinkers in himself and to articulate it in fresh ways. In addition he has placed a couple of radical new insights on each one of our front stoeps. Read it . . . and dream together of the church of the Lord in the new realities we face. Stephan Joubert.
Stephan Joubert’s head has indeed been swayed, not away from the Emerging Church to follow another route or direction, but 360º merely to follow the same route he’s been trodding all along, and that is the journey together with Leronard Sweet, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Tony Jones, Dan Kimball, Nelus Niemandt, Johan Geyser, Theo Geyser, Trevor Hudson and the rest of the new saints in the Emerging Church who are leading many people astray.
*Jean Oostuizen is the moderator and owner of the website “Kletskerk” whom his employer, the Dutch Reformed Church” instructed to either resign or to shut down his website. The decision was made because many DRC members were disgruntled with his lenient approach to subscribers who unashamedly used strong language and openly blasphemed God and the Bible on his website. It was said that it clashed with the interest of his work as News Editor of “Kerkbode.” The irony is that Mr. Oosthuizen continues to allow blasphemous things to be said on Kerkbode’s Facebook. For instance, the belief in reincarnation which is one of the most blasphemous things that could be committed against God because it perverts the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, namely repentance and salvation through faith in Him and his Gospel, is consistently allowed to be propagated on Kerkbode’s Facebook. However, subscribers such as myself was summarily banned because I regularly quoted Bible verses to sustain my opinion. In the meantime Mr. Oosthuizen allows the anti-biblical ravings he permitted on his “Swetskerk” to continue on Kerkbode’s Facebook.