– The Mosaïek Church in Fairlands, Johannesburg and the Moreleta Park Dutch Reformed Church in Pretoria are rapidly becoming veritable lift-off pads for all kinds of strange fire to be unleashed on the unsuspecting South African ecclesiastics. In 2010, when they hosted Tony Campolo as guest speaker, I wrote a comment on my blog “Waak en Bid/Watch and Pray” (May 4th 2010) warning them that Mr. Campolo, is a Universalist par excellence who believes that Jesus Christ is mystically present in all people even though they may not know it. Like Brian McLaren who believes that Christianity and Islam are compatible, Tony Campolo is of the opinion that mysticism (the core doctrine of the Emerging Church) is the catalyst between Christianity and Islam. Tony says:
“We cannot allow our theologies to separate us” (speaking on the relations between Muslims and Christians).
“It seems to me that when we listen to the Muslim mystics as they talk about Jesus and their love for Jesus, I must say, it’s a lot closer to New Testament Christianity than a lot of the Christians that I hear. In other words if we are looking for common ground, can we find it in mystical spirituality, even if we cannot theologically agree, can we pray together in such a way that we connect with a God that transcends our theological differences?” (Tony Campolo, EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne).
Not a single one of the nine serving pastors of the MPDRC bothered to respond to any of my e-mails. And now, in this year of our Lord 2013, none other than Leonard Sweet who is one of the most influential leaders in the Emerging Church appeared as their guest speaker.
Multitudes of Christians, among them many ex-Muslims who’ve been saved by the grace of God, are brutally persecuted and slaughtered by Islamists and Tony Campolo says Muslims love Jesus? Really? Nonetheless, we shouldn’t be too surprised because the Emergent fraternity boldly proclaim on public forums and on the internet that they are crazy in love with Jesus Christ.”
In our crazy post-modern age anyone (even Muslims) love Jesus while they merrily continue to hate and kill Christians. The internet is brimming with blog articles and YouTube videos teaching people how to love Jesus whilst they continue to hate the church (body of Christ). At closer inspection, this little maxim sounds exactly like: “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service [because they are allegedly crazy in love with Jesus].” (John 16:2)
Please make a mental note of the phrase “put you out of the synagogues” because that’s exactly what they are doing out of their crazy love for Jesus Christ. The only difference is that their synagogues are called conferences, seminaries, blogs, websites, Facebook Groups, and contemplative retraits (retreats).
Let us now draw the curtains on the next scene of our play called “Crazy in Love With Jesus” to understand more fully what the Emergent Church fraternity mean when they claim to be crazy in love with Jesus. To remind ourselves what Jesus Himself said about loving Him we first need to consult our Bibles.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. (John 15:10)
Some of Jesus Christ’s more pertinent commands are:-
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, . . . (Matthew 5:44)
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. (1 John 4:20-21)
That’s not so difficult to understand, is it? Jesus simply said that if you are crazy in love with Him then you should be just as crazy in love with your brothers and sisters in Christ and even your worst enemies. Are the Emergent Church fraternity crazy in love with their brothers and sister and their worst enemies? I really don’t think so.
Having had an unfortunate experience with the Mosaïek Church some years ago, when they denied me access to their DVD’s after I had already paid for them (I have since received a “crazy in love with Jesus” refund from them), see here: (The Emergent-100%-Money-Back-Guaranteed-Church) I never even bothered to register for any of Sweet’s lectures in South Africa because I knew they wouldn’t grant me permission to attend their conferences. In fact, I know of someone else who registered and paid to attend Leonard Sweet’s lecture on May 28 at the Mosaïek Church in Fairlands and was precipitously refused entrance and bellicosely asked to leave their premises. At first they did a dirty little rotten egg dance informing him that they never received his registration. Shortly thereafter someone pulled the exact amount he had paid for his registration from his pocket, handed it to him and said: “Sir, here’s your money back, please take it and leave.”
You don’t have tot be a rocket scientist to know what really happened. There are only two possible scenarios. The one is that the gentleman whom they barred from their premises was lying and did not register and pay his dues or they were lying and promptly paid him back his money because they suddenly realized in what awkward predicament they had dumped themselves. I personally think it was the latter scenario because the Mosaïek Church sent the gentleman an e-mail well in advance, confirming that they had received his registration money and that he was welcome to attend their Sweet conference. Behold how potently addictive a crazy love for Jesus can be. Like clockwork, the conspirators got together and in a spirit of “crazy in love of Jesus” decided to deceitfully devise a plan to get rid of one of the members of the body of Christ.
Well done Johan Geyser; well done Stephan Joubert; well done Leonard Sweet; well done Mosaïek Church. You are beginning to show your true colours more and more and I can assure you that you are positively NOT crazy in love with Jesus. If you’d been you would have obeyed the one you claim to love and who commands you to love your brethren and even your worst enemies. Nonetheless, your attitude proves that 2 Corinthians 2:15-17 is not just a little poem written by a deluded poet: “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. (2 Corinthians 2:15-17)
Imagine for one moment, here we are living and loving each other like crazy in the democratic Republic of South Africa and yet there are those who call themselves Christians who have no qualms to feign a crazy love for Jesus and everyone else and yet hate freedom of association and freedom of speech. They evidently don’t agree with brother Paul who encouraged his audiences to be good Bereans and to test everything he preached in the light of Scripture. Zero tolerance of sound biblical criticism and discernment forces the Mosaïek Church and their affiliates to conduct their conferences and meetings behind closed doors and in secret. Only the ones who eat out of their hands and endorse their heresies are allowed to attend their conferences. I doubt very strongly whether Jesus Christ Himself would be welcome at any of their meetings because He was an avid supporter of open public meetings where anyone was granted permission to attend and listen to what He had to say. When you proclaim the truth you are not ashamed to have everyone listening to you (Romans 1:16) but when you have something to hide you clandestinely get rid of everyone who opposes your heresies.
Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. (John 18:20)
You Are What You Think
The Bible says that as a man thinks, so is he in his heart. (Proverbs 23:7). Who is Leonard Sweet? What is going on in that little head of his? Wikipedia says this of Leonard Sweet:
Leonard I. Sweet is an American theologian, church historian, pastor, and author. Sweet currently serves as the E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism at Drew Theological School at Drew University, in Madison, New Jersey; and a Visiting Distinguished Professor at George Fox University in Portland, Oregon. Sweet is a leading figure in the emerging church movement (though he has publicly disagreed with some of the positions taken by other leaders in the movement, such as his friend Brian McLaren) and is a major figure in discussions about Christianity’s transition to postmodernity. Sweet is also an advocate of contextualizing Christianity into digital culture. He is regularly voted one of the most influential Christian leaders in America. Sweet is ordained in the United Methodist denomination.
To know what Sweet thinks we must listen to what he says. One of his most unbiblical statements ever to be made by a theologian, church historian, pastor and author, is the one Sweet made on Twitter on May 12, 2010
Want to find God? Look into the face . . . of the next person you meet.
OK, so now we have sinners who radiate “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of God’s person” (Hebrews 1:3) so that Sweet is able to say to today’s post modern Philips “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever looks into the face of the next person he meets has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father”? (John 14:9)
The Bible painstakingly encourages everyone to seek God with all their heart because He Himself will make sure they find Him if they seek Him in this way (Jeremiah 29:12). Sadly, most people do not find Him because they do not find the strait gate and the narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14) and even more woefully sad is the fact that so-called theologians like Sweet are telling people to search for God in all the wrong places. If God is to be found in the face of the next person you meet, why did Leonard Sweet, Stephan Joubert, Johan Geyser and Mynard van Pletzen repulse with scorn and hatred the God who is also found in the face of the person they forbade to attend Sweet’s conversation at the Mosaic Church on May 28, 2013? Had anyone hoped to find God in their angry, fuming and irritated faces, they would have been dismally disappointed.
Don’t make the mistake to think that Leonard Sweet is a misguided nincompoop who knows not whence he is going. He is a brilliant change agent and strategist who knows the Gospel of Jesus Christ but also knows how to subtly alter it and to implement it to his own end and that of the Emergent Church. And what, you may ask, is that end? His primary purpose, as well as that of Stephan Joubert (his most ardent follower) and the Emergent Church as a whole, is to deconstruct the church and its more than 2000 year old missionary thrust to all the nations of the world. Mission no longer brings Christ to the nations so that they may be saved and learn to become His disciples. Now the aim is to bring people to an awareness that Christ is already there (in them). They only need to be nudged a little bit so that they may become aware that Christ is already living, moving and breathing in them.
But isn’t that what one of the most illustrious missionaries of all time said?
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. (Acts 17:27-29)
Yep, that’s exactly what Paul wrote but he never said that missional followers of Christ should merely nudge people into an awareness that Christ is already living and moving in them. He says in the very next verse: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” (Acts 17:30). With these few words Paul completely debunks Universalism, a basic tenet of the Emergent Church. Sorry, what was that you just said? Did you say universalism is not one of the basic beliefs of the Emergent fraternity. Well, how about changing the meaning of the following quotes so that they may say something differently from what the Emergents wanted to convey to us.
“A staggering number of people have been taught that a select few Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better…. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.”
“Of all the billions of people who have ever lived, will only a select number ‘make it to a better place’ and every single other person suffer in torment and punishment forever? Is this acceptable to God?…Does God punish people for thousands of years with infinite, eternal torment for things they did in their few finite years of life? This doesn’t just raise disturbing questions about God; it raises questions about the beliefs themselves…If there are only a select few who go to heaven, which is more terrifying to fathom: the billions who burn forever or of the few who escaped this fate?… What kind of faith is that? Or, more important: what kind of God is that?” (Rob Bell, “Love Wins,” Preface, pp. 2, 3)
“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) (Stephan Joubert, Echurch) (Thomas note: Please keep the word “serve” in mind when you read the rest of the article under the heading “Dirty Hands And A Clean Heart.”)
“One of the most startling discoveries of my life was the realization that the Jesus that I love, the Jesus who died for me on Calvary, that Jesus, is waiting, mystically and wonderfully, in every person I meet. I find Jesus everywhere.” (Tony Campolo in an address at Prestatyn in the UK, 1988) . . . “I do not mean that others represent Jesus for us. I mean that Jesus actually is present in each other person.” . . . and “That a new humanity will be brought forth from this Christ consciousness in each person.” (Tony Campolo, A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 192 and 65.)
“There is a rhythm to life. We find it in the ocean tides, in the rising and setting of the sun, in the beating of our hearts. And there is a rhythm of God—a rhythm that encompasses life, both the life we can readily see and the unseen life of the spirit. The rhythm of God beckons us, guides us, and dwells in us.”
When we discover the rhythm of God, we find the heart of God, the dreams of God, the will of God. As those who are created in the image of God, we are endowed with this rhythm. We can find it, step into it, and live in it. This is the kingdom of God—to live in sync with the rhythm of God. (Doug Pagitt and Kathryn Prill in the book “Body Prayer.” p. 127)
The same thing happens in Jericho in Luke 19 when He finds Zacchaeus up in the tree. He stops and He says like old Satchmo would say: “I’ve got all the time in the world.” He just stops. “Got all the time in the world.” I think the same thing happens in Luke 23. When Jesus carries the weight of all our problems on the cross and He is ready to die and God is at the point of switching off the sun. And Jesus, and this guy next to him says to him: “Lord, have mercy on me. Think, think, would you just give me a thought when You enter the kingdom of God?” And Jesus stops everything and He says: “I’ve got all the time in the world for you.” Its as if My death can wait a little. So Jesus came into this rhythm and the disciples learned the rhythms . . . (Stephan Joubert, “Being a Radical Pilgrim and Prophet,” Mosaic Congress held at the Mosaïek Church in Fairlands, Johannesburg on 4 and 5 September, 209) (Thomas note: The rhythms of God [His life-force] allegedly dwells in everyone and only needs to be awakened through acts of service and contemplative practices)
I am calling the New Light apologetic. It is already present in bits and pieces, here and there in this discipline and that discipline, in this denomination and that denomination, in this thinker and that thinker. The New Light apologetic represents a Christian alternative to the largely Old Light “New Age” movement.
“The emergence of this New Light apologetic is a harbinger and hope that anew, age-old world is aborning in the church, even that the church may now be on the edge of another awakening. Amidst all the cliffhanging circumstances and conditions of the church, the Spirit is at work. All around there is evidence that the church is learning to dance to a new rhythm, to adapt the metaphor of Harvard Business School professor/economist Rosabeth Moss Kanter. The New Light movement is characterized by bizarre, sometimes anxious alliances of a ragbag assortment of preachers, theologians, pastors, professors, artists, scientists, business leaders, and scholars. What ties their creative piracy together is a radical faith commitment that is willing to dance to a new rhythm.” (Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic, 7)
“Quantum spirituality bonds us to all creation as well as to other members of the human family. New Light pastors are what Arthur Peacocke calls “priests of creation”70–earth ministers who can relate the realm of nature to God, who can help nurture a brother-sister relationship with the living organism called Planet Earth. This entails a radical doctrine of embodiment of God in the very substance of creation.
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (1974) identifies the difference between pantheism and pan-entheism: Pantheism is “the belief or theory that God and the universe are identical”; panentheism is “the belief that the Being of God includes and penetrates the whole universe, so that every part of it exists in Him, but. . . that His Being is more than, and is not exhausted by, the Universe.”77 New Light spirituality does more than settle for the created order, as many forms of New Age pantheism do. But a spirituality that is not in some way entheistic (whether pan– or trans-), that does not extend to the spirit-matter of the cosmos, is not Christian. A quantum spirituality can in no way define God out of existence (Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic, 124).
“New Light embodiment means to be “in connection” and “information” with other faiths….”, . . . . “One can be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ without denying the flickers of the sacred in followers of Yahweh, or Kali, or Krishna.” (Leonard Sweet, “Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic,” pp. 129-130) (Emphasis added throughout).
The above quotes from the lips of some of the most distinguished leaders in the Emergent Church prove without a shadow of doubt that they have disdainfully shunned sound and propositional biblical doctrines in behalf of New Age and New Light spirituality. Biblical atonement through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross has been usurped by the demoniac teaching of at-one-ment. Mankind as a whole is already literally part of God and therefore it is only necessary to be nudged into an understanding that they are all at-one-ment as children of God. Who needs the cross of Jesus Christ when all are already at-one-ment in God?
Dirty Hands And A Clean Heart
Narration (conversation and NOT the preaching of the Word of God) and metaphor play a huge role in the Emergent Church’s search for meaningful ways to convey the truth to a post modern world – so they say. Hence a new word “narraphor” was invented to do away with clinically sound statements in the Bible and to make way for storytelling embellished with metaphors. In a nutshell, it means that the propositional statements in the Bible no longer need to tell you how, for instance to lead a holy life. It is your own life’s story or journey, inspired by the Gospel story, that shapes the truth for you in a very personal way. Truth, therefore, is no longer a universally binding set of do’s and don’ts or a matter of discerning what is true and what is false. Your journey in defining the truth may differ from the next person’s journey in delineating the truth but both are true because paradoxes are acceptable – both are true. Brian McLaren summed it up as follows:
How do you know if something is true? . . . First you engage in spiritual practices like prayer, Bible reading, forgiveness and service. Then you see what happens; you remain open to experience. Finally you report your experience to others in the field of spirituality for their discernment, to see if they confirm your findings or not.” (Brian McClaren, “A Generous Orthodoxy,” p. 199)
Example. Sanctification and holiness, as all true Christians know, is not an option but a must to see God (Hebrews 12:14). Holiness is not sinlessness but separation from the world and its dainties to be used of God as He pleases (Romans 12:1-2). In spite of the many exhortations in the Bible to remain separate from the world (James 4:4), Leonard Sweet and his buddies audaciously have conjured up a brand new “narraphor of holiness.” Instead of viewing holiness as purity that separates the saint from the world they claim that true Christian holiness involves getting your hands dirty in service to the world. Dirty hands, they say, is the evidence of a clean (pure and holy) heart and the way to get your hands dirty is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus when he washed his disciples dirty feet.
Now, now, that’s not the way to rightly divide the truth of the word. Had Jesus washed his disciples feet because they were dirty, then Peter must have been dirty from head to toe because he asked Jesus to wash his entire body. Jesus did not wash his disciples feet because they were dirty and neither did He wash their feet because He wanted to teach his them how they could obtain a clean heart through by washing dirty feet. It was an object lesson to teach them that once they’ve been saved (cleansed by His blood), it was only necessary to confess your sins whenever you’ve sinned (1 John 2:1-2).
A Sad Travesty
The Emergent Church fraternity is quick to declare that God is in everyone but have no qualms to turn away, ostracize, cut off, and bar Christian who are indwelt by the Holy from their conferences. The Money-Back-Quartet, Stephan Joubert, Leonard Sweet Johan Geyser and Mynhardt van Pletzen have once again shown their true colours.