Emergent Mysticism (5)
Emergent Mysticism: A biblical appraisal of the Mosaic Church Congress – Johannesburg (4-5 Sept. 2009) – Part 5
Session 3: Being a radical pilgrim and prophet – Stephan Joubert (Continued)
To summarize what Stephan Joubert has said so far the following points which are probably the main elements of his presentation may be highlighted:
1. The mystical or contemplative approach to the making or grooming of Christ-followers is to teach people from every religious persuasion how to follow the Sage from heaven by convincing them that this Sage never linked onto the purity or priestly story (no one is excluded by being labeled saved or unsaved, in or out, clean or unclean, us and them, holy and unholy) but onto the wisdom story (particularly in the book of Proverbs which deals with the practical day to day living realities).
The demarcation or dividing line between holy and unholy, clean and unclean, and saved and unsaved must be eradicated at all cost because it implies judgment, division, separateness and un-connectedness.
In Matthew Fox’s book called he writes that we are in fact confronted with two churches: one expressed by the image of the Punitive Father, personified by a rigidly hierarchical church structure, repression of the feminine, . . . and the other expressed by the feminine figure of Wisdom, personified by a Mother/Father God of justice and compassion. It is time for Christians to choose whom it will follow: an angry exclusionary god or the loving open path of wisdom (Emphasis added).
2. By detaching Jesus from the priestly or purity story (the who is in and who is out, who is pure and who is impure, who is clean and who is unclean, us and them, and who is saved and who is not paradigm) his mission as the Saviour of the world (reconciling impure, defiled and lost sinners to his infinitely holy Father through the cleansing power of his shed blood) is grossly compromised while his mission as the Sage (or Sophia) from heaven and wisdom teacher is enhanced.
In this context, the assurance of salvation is no longer the ultimate goal but a pilgrimage in which his followers are taught how to enter into and live in the rhythms of God. Even the examples Stephan Joubert used, i.e. Zacchaeus in a tree and the repentant criminal who was crucified alongside Jesus, was not to call attention to Jesus Christ’s salvific work on the cross but how He personally learned to come into the rhythms of his Father.
Stephan Joubert chants in the rhythms of the mystic Emergent Church:
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 . . .
Jesus never said to the repentant rogue who was crucified alongside Him, “I’ve got all the time in the world for you.” That’s an infamous lie. He said “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” That’s pure and simple salvation, something Jesus was supposedly not linked onto.
If Jesus had all the time in the world for him, even to the extent that He was willing to postpone his death, the repentant criminal would probably not have been in Paradise with Jesus that very day. None of them would have been in Paradise that very day if Jesus had all the time in the world for the repentant criminal.
Jesus did NOT have all the time in the world because He had to die at the precise moment when Israel, according to Exodus 12:6 killed the Passover lamb between 3:00 and 6:00 PM on the fourteenth of Nissan that year. Read this excellent article written by the TBC crew in December 1992 here.
Stephan Joubert makes it sound as though Jesus came into this world to learn how to walk and live in the rhythms of his Father and to teach his disciples how to do it as well.
Yes, he briefly mentions his death on the cross but only as a passing thought to substantiate his “rhythm”- paradigm. What are the rhythms of God supposed to be? Apart from the fact that the words “rhythm” and “rhythms” never once appear in the Word of God, Stephan Joubert uses it to express the Emergent Church’s emphasis on service rather than salvation.
I have already briefly mentioned the two cultists and theosophists, Madame Blavatsky’s and Alice Bailey’s claim that service to mankind and sacrificial living are the means by which anyone can become a follower of Christ and enter into the Kingdom of God.
Bearing in mind that Stephan Joubert believes that truth can be found in all religions, it comes as no surprise that he borrowed his rhythm paradigm form Buddhism. Here’s what he says about Buddhism.
He (Rob Bell) says you must engage the culture. I must listen to the Buddhists. You must hear what those guys have to say. Then Christians get a big fright because they do not hear clearly what Rob Bell says. He does not say, become like them; he says, read their stuff, find out why they are so important.
They too might have truth. Truth is not only in Christianity. Truth can be found in Judaism. You can find truth in atheism. You can find truth in whosoever. God’s general revelation is a little wider, but you say Jesus is Lord.
We must find new ways. We must give form to new ways. We must find new partners. We must listen when the biggest growing spirituality in the world is presently not Christianity. And then we musk ask, why not? Why does Buddhism grow the fastest? Why do they have what we don’t have?
Why does the American Neurological Society, when 40 000 of the world’s neurologists come together, invite the Dalai Lama to address them? Why do they get the Dalai Lama, the head of the Buddhists? – Stephan Joubert in a sermon he gave at the Kemptonkruin DRC on 1st March 2009.
And here is what Buddhism, in particular Nicheren Buddhism, says about the importance of “rhythms” in your spiritual; life:
SGI members perform a morning and evening practice known as gongyo, which consists of chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo and reciting portions of the Lotus Sutra. The duration of any particular chanting session is up to each individual. This regular morning and evening ritual is the basis of daily practice, a time when one can reflect on priorities in life and connect with the deeper rhythms of life.
Nichiren Buddhism teaches that the workings of the universe are an expression of a single principle or Law, expressed as Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo enables all people to perceive this Law in their own lives and to bring themselves into rhythm with it. And by putting their lives in harmony with this Law, people can unlock their hidden potential and achieve harmony with their environment. (Source)
3. The wisdom story (which is a life-long pilgrimage) is in essence a mind-changing (metanoia – a movement beyond reason) pilgrimage, first of all to realize that nothing is unholy (everything is holy), thus making the act of judging obsolete.
4. The premise that everything is holy (aka Trevor Hudson’s contemplatively transfigured Transfiguration that Jesus is in everything and everything is in Jesus) is arguably the most potent unifying building block in the entire history of mankind.
Ignore Johan Geyser’s advice to “stop thinking” for a while and just think for one moment what the consequences are of the belief that everything is holy. Yes! yes! you’ve hit the nail on its head. It means that no-one is excluded from the Kingdom of God.
5. Ultimately the Sage from heaven taught and practiced an all inclusive and holy Oneness Wisdom. Consequently, embarrassing verses such as the following are conveniently torn out of the Bible or they are pinned on the lapels of the fundamentalists who refuse to engage the complexities of life.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?
For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate [be holy], says the Lord. And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.
And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me, Says the Lord Almighty. (Emphasis added).
One of the first requirements for anyone to be called a son or a daughter of God (a follower of Christ) is to be separated from unhallowed or unclean things which include, particularly, false teachings and doctrines. You cannot be yoked to Jesus (be His follower) and simultaneously be unequally yoked to unbelievers and their belief systems. Barnes in his commentary writes:
They were to have no part with them in their heathenism, unbelief, and idolatry, and infidelity; they were not to be united with them in any way or sense where it would necessarily be understood that they were partakers with them in those things.
The emergents have no qualms whatsoever when their brothers and sisters mix and mingle with unbelievers and even participate in their idolatrous practices. Brian McLaren, one of the leading figureheads in the Emerging Church unashamedly participated in the Islamic Ramadan Festival “as a God-honouring expression of peace, fellowship, and neighbourliness.”
I have since not read any of his emergent co-followers of Christ censure him on their blogs and websites. In fact many of them still promote his books and literature.
How to change your view
From the priestly (holy and unholy) or cultic story to the story of following Jesus in the rhythms of wisdom and to become disciples in the presence of the sage:
Stephan Joubert proclaims that the following things would happen when you change your story.
A. WE WOULD GET A NEW AWARENESS AND A NEW KNOWLEDGE.
The very first thing that is so important to enter into metanoia, according to Joubert, “is a new awareness of Jesus and of what He stands for in order to become a full-time pilgrim and a prophet to others, to the religious people in particular.”
It is obvious that Stephan Joubert is not particularly happy about God’s revelation of Himself in his eternally immutable and infallible Word and therefore we need to get a new awareness and knowledge of Him. Should we be surprised?
I really don’t think so, bearing in mind that the emerging cadre of coffee drinkers and conversationalists who are on an endless pilgrimage in search of wisdom and the truth, do not regard the Bible as an accurate, absolute authoritative closed canon but merely as an open-ended book to be experienced.
Sound biblical doctrine no longer determines sound and wholesome living but each individual’s personal experience in his or her attempt to emulate Jesus by tending to the needs of the innocent, the helpless and the poor.
Their disdain for biblical doctrine in Matthew 6:1-3 in favour of their humanitarian work shows on their websites where they publicly splash their good works. But then again, you may probably ignore the warning in Matthew 6:1-3 when the Bible is no longer a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path (Psalm 119:105).
Indeed, the emergent pilgrimage is a path of darkness and uncertainty because they have shunned the only source that can teach them how to follow the True Way. The new awareness and new knowledge Stephan Joubert and his emergent buddies have opted for is not new and neither is it an uncharted path.
It is merely a revival of the old wisdom of the Gnostics who believed that Jesus of Nazareth is an embodiment of a supreme being who was incarnated to bring gnosis (wisdom and knowledge) to the earth.  Stephan Joubert continues to say that you need four things to become a pilgrim and a prophet, i.e. a new NOUS (MIND), KARDIA (HEART), PSUCHE (INNER BEING OR SOUL) and a new SOMA (BODY).
I fully agree that anyone who has not of yet received a new mind, heart and soul desperately needs to receive all those things, but they aren’t needed to become a pilgrim and a prophet. They are all needed, with the exception of a new body which will only be given to the redeemed at their resurrection, in order to be saved from the righteous judgments of God.
Paul’s description of the new creature (creation) in 2 Corinthians 5:17 applies here when he says “Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” He further explains the consequences of being IN Christ in Romans 8:1: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
It is being IN Christ and not the experience of following the Sage from heaven that makes you a new creation with a new mind, heart and soul because being IN Christ is the only way to escape God’s righteous judgments.
The only divine requirement to receive a whole new life and to become an entirely new creation with a new mind, heart and soul is to be IN Christ which in turn is the only way of entering into the new way of living because Jesus is the ONLY DOOR or STRAIT GATE that leads repentant sinners onto the ONLY WAY to heaven which is very narrow (Matthew 7:13-24).
Stephan Joubert never once makes it clear that repentance and faith toward Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross is the only way to be grafted into Him so as to receive a new mind, heart and soul. As a matter of fact, he derogatively refers to the new birth as a mere “transaction” you make with God. Here’s what he said:
Paul says in Philippians 2 we need a nous, the mind of Christ. We need the new heart, the kardia. We need a new heart. We need a new psuche. A new inner person, a new soul, if you want.
And we need a new soma, the Greek word for body, a new body. This is wholeness. This is a new awareness that following Jesus and becoming a disciple of the Sage from heaven, the Son of God who is the Sage who tells us to come into this new way of living.
It will mean that I will have to become a new person with a new head, with a new heart and a new body. Otherwise I won’t be able to follow Him. I mean, it is just going to, I am just going to fall back on religion 101 that most people do. I am just going to make the transaction with God. I am going to give my life to Jesus and go on with my own life. This is the story of religion.
But when you start thinking of Proverbs and you say there is only one life and it is this life and God is active in this life and that is about becoming wise by giving your life to the new Rabbi, to the new wisdom Teacher from heaven, to Jesus and by letting Him touch your eyes, so that the darkness in you can go away, which is wisdom language, and you can see through His eyes and hear what He hears and sense what He is sensing and feel what He is feeling and experience what He is experiencing, everything changes.
It is not a cerebral thing. You move from cerebral to celebration, if you want to move, but religion moves from north to south, from your mind to your heart, but it moves south from your heart to your hands, your feet, your whole body. Your whole body becomes a living metaphor. (Emphasis added).
I want to talk to you a little about the mind of Christ which Stephan Joubert seems to endorse as one of the cardinal principles in a Christian’s life, and of course it should be just that. While I’m doing this you will need to read it in conjunction with Joubert’s eisegesis in regard to childlikeness later on.
As you may have noticed he refers to Philippians 2:5 “Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]” Here the Greek word “Phroneo” is used and not the word “nous” as Joubert tried to make you believe.
The word phroneo has the meaning of being like-minded, to be of the same opinion or to be harmonious in mind and action in regard to what you think of yourself; to be modest and not to let your opinion of yourself exceed the bounds of modesty. Hence, it involves an attitude that determines your actions toward others which may be in humility or the opposite, in haughtiness.
The “phroneo” of Jesus in this sense was that He did not come to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28). The phrase “the mind of Christ” appears once in the New Testament, i.e. in 1 Corinthians 2:16, where the word “nous” is used.
Whereas the word phroneo denotes more of an attitude, the word nous refers to the faculty of the mind itself: the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining; the intellectual faculty, the understanding; reason in the narrower sense as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil.
In fact, in complete contrast to Stephan Joubert’s notion that “it is not a cerebral thing,” it has everything to do with rationality and analytical thinking (which just blows away Johan Geyser’s silly notion that we should stop thinking).
You may recall that Stephan Joubert at one stage in his his presentation vociferously spoke out against a Pharisaic attitude of always judging people as opposed to a follower of the Sage from heaven (Jesus Christ) who ceases to judge others because he becomes aware that everything is holy (nothing and no one is excluded).
Ironically, the mind of Christ to which Paul refers in 1 Corinthians 2:16 involves a mind that judges all things, i.e. discerns very acutely between things that are from God and those things that do not come from Him, between holy and unholy and especially between sound biblical and erroneous doctrines. Let’s take a look at the verse in its proper context.
1 Corinthians 2:14-16 But the natural, nonspiritual man does not accept or welcome or admit into his heart the gifts and teachings and revelations of the Spirit of God, for they are folly (meaningless nonsense) to him; and he is incapable of knowing them [of progressively recognizing, understanding, and becoming better acquainted with them] because they are spiritually discerned and estimated and appreciated.
But the spiritual man tries [judges] all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discerns all things], yet is himself to be put on trial and judged by no one [he can read the meaning of everything, but no one can properly discern or appraise or get an insight into him].
For who has known or understood the mind (the counsels and purposes) of the Lord so as to guide and instruct Him and give Him knowledge? But we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart. (Emphasis added).
It is not the spiritually mature man but the infantile minded man that is forever being tossed to and fro by every wind of false doctrine (Ephesians 4:14). Stephan Joubert’s rendition of the meaning of nous is completely wrong and misleading and so also is his definition of childlikeness, as I will prove to you a little later in this comment. But first let”s look at another very strange and unbiblical thing Stephan Joubert said.
This is wholeness. This is the new awareness that following Jesus and becoming a disciple of the Sage from heaven, the Son of God who is the Sage, who tells us to come into this new way of living will mean that I will have to become a new person with a new head, with a new heart and a new body. Otherwise I won’t be able to follow Him.
I have already mentioned that a repentant sinner becomes a completely new creation (with a new mind, heart and soul) when he or she is grafted IN Christ Jesus at their new birth (2 Corinthians 5:17). The reception of a new mind, heart and soul through repentance and faith toward Jesus Christ and his finished work on the cross guarantees your destination in heaven and not the way you follow Him.
Your “phroneo” (frame of mind or attitude) to the cross of Jesus Christ determines how you follow Him. How do we follow Him? Let’s look at a few things He himself said that are necessary to be his disciple or follower.
Luke 14:26-27 If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters – [yes] and even his own life also – he cannot be My disciple.
Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. (Emphasis added).
Many interpret the taking up of the cross to be the hardships, tribulations. maladies, infirmities and persecutions Christians often encounter. The cross was an instrument of execution and death and it is in this sense that Jesus used it in Matthew 16. Every vestige of the old life which surfaces in the self such as self-will, self-sufficiency, self-independence, self-aggrandisement, self-worth, self-love etc. must be crucified (handed over to the cross for mortification so that the life of Christ may manifest itself in the saint’s life. If we refrain from doing this, we cannot be his disciples. Stephan Joubert continued to say:
And the disciples saw this. Jesus was not about: “Oh, guys. I feel sorry for you. I’ll pray for you.” His body intertwined or sensed and experienced. So when He saw the crowd without food, Mark chapter 14, He stopped and He felt pain. His body cringed. He felt pain. When He saw His good friend Lazarus die, He cried. He felt intense pain. When that little group of disciples came back in Luke 10 and they were overjoyed with the crowds turning to God, Jesus’ heart jumped up for joy. His body felt the internal movings of the Spirit. This is what it is all about.
Stephan Joubert seems to know more and is more concerned about Jesus’ bodily and corporeal experiences when He saw people going hungry than his deep inner spiritual experiences when He saw the crowds going about their lives without a shepherd (Matthew 9:36).
Most people if not all cringe with pain and sorrow when they have lost a dearly beloved family member or friend but there are very little who feel pain when they see so many people on their way to hell. Isn’t it obvious that Jesus who became a human being in all aspects except sin should feel pain, compassion and sorrow when He saw people going hungry?
Surely that is a fact so glaringly obvious that you hardly need to mention it, but Stephan makes a big issue of it. And yet Jesus also once turned around to the multitudes who followed Him because He had given them something to eat and said with much compassion and endearment: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his [own] father and mother in the sense of indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with his attitude toward God] and [likewise] his wife and children and brothers and sisters – [yes] and even his own life also – he cannot be My disciple.
Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after (follow) Me cannot be My disciple.” Could it be hat Jesus was more concerned about people having to be his true disciples than having a belly bulging with bread and fish? Could it be that He did not cry for his deceased friend, Lazarus, but over the unbelief of the Jews who attended his funeral?
Why would He cry for Lazarus when He knew beforehand that He was going to raise him from the dead? Is the resurrection something to cry over? Why would he deliberately delay his journey to Bethany after He had heard of Lazarus’ illness and then wait another two days before setting out? Wouldn’t it have been more feasible to have gone there immediately and just heal Lazarus as He had done so often?
Martha, the activist (aka Johan Geyser’s personality profile of her) realized this when she said: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” In fact, Jesus was glad when Lazarus died. Listen to his own words in John 11:15 “And for your sake I am glad that I was not there; it will help you to believe (to trust and rely on Me). However, let us go to him.”
Wow! what a mind-blowing wisdom story! Jesus lets one of his best friends remain unattended in his illness and lets him die to help his disciples believe in Him. It was not his body that cringed with pain when his friend Lazarus died (what a load of nonsense), but his heart that overflowed with joy because He knew He was going to strengthen his disciples faith in Him.
His heart similarly overflowed with joy when the seventy disciples returned from their evangelistic outreach and told Him that even the demons were subject to his wonderful Name.
Stephan Joubert piously refers to this episode in Luke 10 which blows away like chaff in the wind his abhorrent notion that Jesus never linked onto the purity story, including the story of who is saved and who is not. Contrary to Joubert’s belief, Luke 10 proves without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus’ whole spirit, soul and body intertwined, sensed and experience with joy the salvation of lost souls when He said:
“Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are enrolled in heaven. (Emphasis added).
B. WE WOULD GET A NEW CHILDLIKENESS
Its just so amazing how Stephan Joubert contradicts the Bible again and again without any compunction whatsoever. The following is just another one of his childlike, incoherent explanations which underscores Johan Geyser’s cute little naivetÃ© pronouncement that we ought to stop thinking.
As far as I know, and I know there will be many exceptions, but on a high level of abstraction, most world religions will always tell you wisdom is only to be found amongst the elderly. Sages are always older people, except in Christianity or at least in the way of Jesus. Wisdom is to be found where?
With the little ones, with the children, with the lambs, with the small ones. Humph. And we’re so . . . I mean we hear this time and time again, but if you don’t get metanoia. You just say: “Yes, yes, I know this.” But you go on with your big stuff.
And with your power games and with your religion, just fitting [attaching] this on. But it is not fitting [attaching] this onto a cultic view of the world of a clean – unclean, holy – unholy, in – out, us – them, binary sort of, like an approach. It’s like an open approach where it is not your responsibility to judge, to know, to understand, to have answers, to know the propositions, to be professors, to be clergy, to be spiritual leaders, to be executive senior pastors, to be . . . to have all these titles. It is to have a childlikeness in you, to grow smaller to become children.
Jesus never said we should believe like children. He said we should become children.
No! Wisdom is not to be found in the mouths of little siblings or children. In fact, Paul said:
1 Corinthians 13: 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
Paul says when he was a little toddler his understanding was feeble and imperfect and that he had a very narrow view of things because he knew so very little as a kid. He fixed his mind on things that were of little value. As a child he acquired knowledge which vanished or sunk in the superior intelligence of riper years. He was affected as a child.
He was thrown into a transport of joy or grief on the slightest occasions, which manly reason taught him to despise. He thought, argued, reasoned in a weak and inconclusive manner. His thoughts, and plans, and argumentations were puerile, which in his later mature years he saw to be short-sighted and erroneous.
Ah! but then enters Stephan Joubert who favours a mind that remains in an infantile, undeveloped state because therein, according to his thinking, lies real wisdom. You must get the knew metanoia which will teach you how to surf your brainwaves beyond reason, far beyond the realm of cerebral, infantile nothingness straight into the presence and the rhythms of the Sage from heaven.
If wisdom was to be found in the mouths of siblings, Paul would not have warned in Ephesians 4:14 that Christians should henceforth no more be children who are easily tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine. Does this contradict what Jesus taught in Matthew 18:2, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven?”
Certainly not. Stephan Joubert conveniently omits Jesus’ words “unless you are converted” when he asserts that Jesus never said we should believe like children. It proves Stephan Joubert’s ignorance of the absolute necessity to be saved (converted) in order to enter into the Kingdom of God. A true biblical metanoia conversion has everything to do with believing (trusting) like a child because that alone leads to becoming like a child. What does it mean to become like children? Paul gives us the answer in 1 Corinthians 14: 20
Brethren, do not be children [immature] in your thinking; continue to be babes in [matters of] evil, but in your minds be mature [men].
The English and Afrikaans translations do no justice to the true meaning of this Bible passage because they use the same word throughout, namely “children” and “kinders” while the Greek uses two different words for children – “paidion” (a more advanced or mature child) and “nepiazo” (a baby in arms).
The passage should read as follows “Brethren, do not be children (“paidion”) in your thinking; continue to be babes (“nepiazo”) in [matters of] evil, but in your minds be mature [men]. A baby never sins and is completely free from ambition, pride, malice and haughtiness.
Our moral disposition should be like that of babes in arms but we should be spiritually mature in our minds. God’s will for the body of Christ is to grow to the fullness of Jesus Christ’s maturity.
His intention was the perfecting and the full equipping of the saints (His consecrated people), [that they should do] the work of ministering toward building up Christ’s body (the church). [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God; that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood – completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection – the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him. (Ephesians 4:12,13)
Our esteemed modern-day followers of Christ say: “It’s like an open approach where it is not your responsibility to judge, to know, to understand, to have answers, . . .” Paul says we must “attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God; that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood.
Who is the liar here? Stephan Joubert or Paul of Tarsus who received the Gospel directly from Jesus Christ? Those of you who are interested may read an article on spiritual maturity I wrote some years ago here. One of the main traits of immaturity is, as I like to call it, erratic mind gymnastics where you chop and change your mind according to the ebb and flow of your feelings.
Earlier in his presentation Stephan Joubert said that “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, anointed etc., Bible studies, talks, seminars, books, you name them. But Jesus was not into that. He had the rhythms of God in his life.”
Surely, if you want to come into the rhythms of God and emulate Jesus in those things which He did not get into, then you too must stop getting into the things He never got into. And yet Stephan Joubert regularly told his audience about all the quotes, studies and books (especially those by Ron Martoia), precisely those things Jesus never got into, that impacted his life.
The other day I read an interesting quote. A guy said most children enter school as question marks and they leave school with all the answers. I’ve told this before, but the other day I read a study that stated that the average child under the age of ten asks 125 questions a day.
The average adult asks 6 questions a day. So the difference between the average adult and the average child is 119 questions a day. If you read the aphorisms of Jesus, you will only find 15 imperatives. You will find Jesus asking at least 67 good questions to people. He would always answer questions with questions. This is what childlikeness means. (Emphasis added).
Allow me to ask Stephan Joubert a few questions considering that it is childlike to ask questions:Don’t you think it is rather naive to compare the questions Jesus asked with that of a child and then come to the conclusion that this is what childlikeness means – to ask questions?
Don’t you know that children ask questions because they are very inquisitive and are forever seeking the right answers? Jesus never asked rhetorical questions because He was childlike and consequently always answered questions with questions and neither did He ask questions because He, like a child, did not know the answers and was seeking for all the right answers.
He asked rhetorical questions to provoke his audiences to correct cerebral thinking, contrary to Johan Gesyer’s silly notion that we should stop thinking. In many instances He asked questions to expose his enemies’ wrongful attacks on his personage. Consider the following questions that were asked during his conversation with the Scribes.
Luke 20:1-8 ONE DAY as Jesus was instructing the people in the temple [porches] and preaching the good news (the Gospel), the chief priests and the scribes came up with the elders (members of the Sanhedrin) And said to Him, Tell us by what [sort of] authority You are doing these things? Or who is it who gave You this authority?
He replied to them, I will also ask you a question. Now answer Me: Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? And they argued and discussed [it] and reasoned together with themselves, saying, If we reply, From heaven, He will say, Why then did you not believe him?
But if we answer, From men, all the people will stone us to death, for they are long since firmly convinced that John was a prophet. So they replied that they did not know from where it came. Then Jesus said to them, Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Wow! Fancy that! The highly educated chief priests and scribes began to reason together when Jesus asked them a simple question. I can only imagine what Johan Geyser and Stephan Joubert would have said if they’d been there that day: No! Its wrong to reason together. Stop thinking! It is too cerebral and un-childlike.
Ask him another question and if need be another one and another one and another one until you’ve asked him 125 questions because THAT is the sign of true childlikeness. If that doesn’t work sit down (just sit) and be quiet because silence is the first language of God. He will then answer your questions in silence. Fickleness, inconsistency, vacillation and changeability are unquestionably signs of severe childishness. Jesus points this out in Luke 7 when He says:
Luke 7:31-25 To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children who sit in the market place and call to one another, and they say, We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep. For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, He has a demon! The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.
This is precisely what the key speakers a the Mosaic Congress were guilty of – fickleness, contradictions and changeability. Johan Geyser told his audience to stop thinking; Trevor Hudson asked his audience what they thought represented the spiritual journey at best. He is therefore pro-thinker, while Stephan Joubert encouraged his audience to use their imagination which of course indubitably involves the process of thinking.
No! says Ron Martoia, the Desert Fathers believed that imagination was the playground of the devil. Whose game are we supposed to play? Hudson’s and Joubert’s wedding game that celebrates the art of thinking or Geyser’s “stop-thinking-stop-understanding-just-sit-and-just-be-dirge” or the Desert Fathers’ “playground of the devil?”
Apparently the assurance of knowing and understanding things and the divine gift of presenting people with the right answers is akin to swearing in the emergents’ vocabulary. Stephan Joubert related one of his and his family’s dark nights of the soul experiences when they visited New Zealand and lost virtually all their possessions.
During that time they experienced the presence, closeness and the love of God like never before but as soon as they returned to South Africa and was caught up in the usual run of the mill lifestyle again, he lost his joy.
I remember a few years ago when my family and I, we went to New Zealand. And it was a very difficult time of our life. And it was like the dark night of the soul experience. And we lost nearly all our earthly possessions and it was very expensive when we came back.
But one thing we realized was [tha tis was] a time of our lives when my family and I experienced the closeness and the love of God in ways that we have never dreamed of. And we were very aware of God’s presence and we came back and I started preaching again, back on the circuit. . . . One day I realized the joy is gone.
I have the answers again. People will phone me [and] . . . say: “Tell us the answer.” And I would gladly do it. . . . I said [to a Church congregation]: “Perhaps we’ve lost the mystery of God, the being amazed, the joy of walking with the Rabbi Jesus.
Walking so close to Him, as Shane Claiborne says, that the dust of the Rabbi falls on my feet, that I feel the dust and that I see His heart when His heart bleeds for the poor and when He rejoices when God’s Spirit is moving somewhere and just experiencing the joy of the moment, being aware to what God is doing in the real life. When I break a piece of bread, when I pray for someone, when I just sit with somebody and seeing God in ordinary life.”
Walking so close to the Rabbi that his dust falls on your feet relates to caring for the poor and destitute like Mother Theresa and not to preach the unadulterated Gospel of salvation (Jesus was not into that, according to Stephan Joubert) because if you do you superciliously propose to have all the answers, and of course those who have all the answers are the fundamentalists who refuse to engage with the complexities of life, as Stephan Joubert said so succinctly.
But before we get into that I must remind my readers that knowing and understanding all the right answers is not a fundamentalist phenomenon but a purely biblical requirement. First of all, did Jesus Christ, whom Stephan Joubert claims to follow as the Sage from heaven and whose dust falls on his feet, not say: “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come” (John 16:13).
Did He not also say: “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. (John 15:9-11).
To love God is to keep his commandments and these commandments are the very same his disciples are commanded to teach others when they make disciples of the nations (Matthew 28:19-20). As with true love so too is joy interlocked with the keeping of his commandments.
King David learned this when he transgressed God’s law with Bathsheba and had to plead with God to restore the joy of his salvation which he had lost when he committed adultery and murder (Psalm 51:12). And yet Stephan Joubert in his childlike wisdom who carries the dust of the Rabbi on his feet says the very opposite:
Most fundamentalists, they are naive, because they refuse to engage with the complexities of life. You need to engage with complexity, with chaos, otherwise you are just running away. . . .
Because we don’t engage with complexity and with the real South Africa that we are in right now. But if you come to terms with that, that you don’t have all the answers and that I am not called to explain God, only to love Him, only to follow him. And I am a full time pilgrim.
Well, then I am in the rhythm. And then it is the second naivetÃ©, where I swam through the river of complexity, and I am on the other side and I know how complex life is and I know how difficult it is to answer. And I know I don’t know. I don’t need to give the answers. Just follow Jesus, the Rabbi.
You find his footprints, His fingerprints everywhere. And I need a new imagination. It’s wonderful. In all the books that I have read over the past few weeks and months to prepare for this, I noticed in some of the new books, some are quoted in that particular handout: imagination. We have given up on imagination.
God says: You will experience his joy when you know the answers to the complexities of life from his commandments and ordinances, and also when you teach others to observe all that He commanded us (Matthew 28:20).
Jesus once said: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19).
Stephan Joubert says: No! that’s a lie. When you come to terms with the complexities and chaos of life; when you have swum through these complexities and arrive on the other side and thence really begin to know how complex life is and how difficult it is to answer, and you know that you do not know, then you start to realize that you don’t need to give answers. Just follow Jesus the Rabbi.
His footprints and fingerprints are everywhere. Imagine Peter and the other disciples having said on the Day of Pentecost when they were asked “Brethren, what shall we do?”
Sorry chaps, we don’t have the answers. In fact, we don’t even need to give you the answer to your question. Just follow Jesus, the Rabbi and it won’t be long before you feel his dust on your feet. Follow the Sage from heaven in the rhythms of God and you will automatically become disciples in the presence of the Sage.
Do you think 3000 lost souls would have been saved that day or would they miraculously have been transformed into non-fundamentalist engagers of the complexities and chaos in life who felt the dust off the Rabbi on their feet?
The emergents just love to talk about the complexities and chaos of life and how they, unlike the fundamentalists who refuse to engage these complexities, valiantly and gallantly swim right through those complexities but they never seem to know what proliferates these complexities or rather they know but refuse to admit it. Let us now consult our only reliable source to find out what causes the complexities of life.
Isaiah 57:20-21 But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.
The chaotic complexities of life are the result of a life void of any peace; it is a life full of shipwrecks because most peoples’ lives are like a turbulent and tossing sea. The peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7) which God alone can grant through faith and repentance toward Jesus Christ eludes them because they refuse to accept God’s wisdom and power, which is the cross of Christ, to calm their stormy seas.
Even those who live in affluent luxuries are restless, unhappy, miserable, sorrowful and often feel dejected. Why? Because God said the wicked (those who turn their backs on Him) will have no peace. Stephan Joubert says we are not called to explain God but only to love Him. No! that’s sheer nonsense. In fact, we are called to know God and his Son (their unique attributes) because it is the knowledge of Him and his Son that constitutes true salvation.
No one needs to explain God because He has already revealed Himself to us in His Word and through his only Son whom He sent as a propitiation for our sins. The shed blood of his innocent and blameless Son on the cross has revealed to us his awesome holiness, his magnanimous love and his fearful righteous judgments.
Add to these his attributes of long suffering, his eagerness to forgive repentant sinners, his caring heart, unfailing faithfulness and goodness, then you already have several characteristics on your fingertips to explain the magnanimity of God.
But, as soon as you ignore or shun these attributes like Stephan Joubert who proclaims outright that Jesus Christ never linked onto the purity or holy story (who is saved and who is not, who is clean and who is unclean, who is in and who is out) then you obviously will have no words to explain the attributes of God.
How can you explain God when you reject God’s revelation of Himself in his Word? The only thing you can do then is to feign humility and say: “We are not called to explain God but only to love Him and follow Him.” Nice words. Nice words, indeed, but they mean nothing. Only a true biblically grounded love for God that is embedded in his command to obey his commandments enables his children to overcome the severe chaotic complexities of life.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
C. WE NEED A NEW IMAGINATION
Mankind’s imagination certainly does not have a very good track record in the Bible. The word “imagination” appears about fourteen times in the Old and the New Testaments and in all instances it is used in combination with evil and an evil heart, the reason being that man’s imagination has always been evil from the very beginning and his heart has always been deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.
Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
And then again Stephan Joubert makes his brilliant curtain raising entrance by saying the very opposite of what God teaches in his Word.
Do you believe this and this and this? Then you are in. If you don’t believe this and this – nobody cares about your life. So we steal people’s imagination in church of all places. But the second childlike naivetÃ© will bring you back to adore God, to where you love God. Have you noticed how seldom we preach about loving God?
Yes, we say we must follow Him. We must obey Him. We must do as He asks, but to love God . . . It is very close . . . fall in love with a God that Jesus preached and follow[ed]. . . . And you need an imagination. You’ve got this wonderful mind. Use it. . . . But one of the sad things is that we don’t use our minds . . . . this wonderful brain that God put in here.
The other day I read this wonderful study done at UCLA, University of California in Los Angeles, where they said that the moment you have a so-called “Aha” experience, your brainwaves change. They can monitor this nowadays. But you have about 72 hours to implement that.
But you can only implement that if you follow Jesus. If you are caught up in a ritualistic sort of religion, the only thing you do is you go to a place. You find out whether it is right or wrong, in or out. Did the pastor preach what I wanted to hear or not? Then he is not okay. So I judge that. I sit on the pavilion. [as a spectator, not participant]. I make my little judgment and I go out or in.
And I do this the whole time the more I go to all these programs. But I never give my mind the time to be changed by God. No wonder Paul says in Ephesians 4 we need new minds, new imagination. God works in imagination. . . . (Emphasis added).
You need an imaginary world. Don’t you think that if you start reading the book of Revelation, not as the book of little prophecies that you can pick out with a little tweezers, but as the story that will open up your imagination, what will happen? We need imagination if we want to understand. Use it well. God gave it to you. (Emphasis added).
God works in imagination? Really! Obviously Stephan Joubert does not mean we should use our minds to think, discern, evaluate, ascertain and understand in order to distinguish between right and wrong, in and out, clean and unclean, holy and unholy, who is saved and who is not (to have the Aha-experience about these things) but to imagine a world without war, without poverty, without sickness, without division etc. etc. etc. – the Kingdom of God here and now that excludes no one no matter who they are and to what religion they belong. Aha! at last PEACE!!! It reminds one of the Beatles song “Imagine.”
Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today…
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…
You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
If you use your imagination just a teeny weenie bit you will see that God worked in the “Imagination” of the Beatles, provided of course you use your imagination the way Stephan Joubert advises you to do. In a book backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, the Rt. Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Croydon, argues that pop music writers can convey deep theological concepts in a way that is more accessible to the younger generation. . . .
“For many people the language of the Bible has become inaccessible and yet pop song writers can make a connection with people because their language is fresh,” he said. “They are able to open our imagination to a way of thinking about God that we’ve become deaf to in church language. . . . The Bible tells a great story, but it is not as accessible as it used to be for a generation that hasn’t been brought up with it.” Read more here. One of the sternest and most fearful warnings in the Bible is the one in the Book of Revelation which says:
Revelation 22:19 And if anyone cancels or takes away from the statements of the book of this prophecy [these predictions relating to Christ’s kingdom and its speedy triumph, together with the consolations and admonitions or warnings pertaining to them], God will cancel and take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the city of holiness (purity and hallowedness), which are described and promised in this book. (Emphasis added. Please note that Jesus Christ never linked onto the holy and purity story. Nah!! He is merely going to judge those who do not link onto the prophecies in this Book and take away their share in the city of purity and holiness).
Have you noticed how utterly disrespectful Stephan Joubert speaks of the little prophecies in the Book of Revelation which the fundamentalists pick out at random with their little tweezers? Once again Stephan Joubert finds himself in the same bed as Brian McLaren who writes disparagingly of biblical prophecy, using extremely incendiary language and distortions: “The Jesus of one reading of the Apocalypse brings us to a grim resignation: the world will get worse and worse, and finally this jihadist Jesus will return to use force, domination, violence, and even torture – the ultimate imperial tools – to vanquish evil and bring peace.” (Read here and here).
In fact, these prophecies are so little (insignificant) that Jesus Christ deemed it necessary to appear in person to John on the isle of Patmos and command him to write the things which he has seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter (1:19). As a matter of fact, these prophecies are so little (insignificant) that they are called the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him ( 1:1).
Indeed, these prophecies are so little (insignificant) that Jesus Christ conveyed a blessing on everyone who reads, hears and keeps the things that are written therein (1:3). Stephan Joubert’s plea that you read the Book of Revelation, not to familiarize yourself with the things which shall come but to open up your imagination, is just another way of encouraging you to add to and to take away from the prophecies written of therein. If you listen very carefully you will hear the hiss of the serpent who lied to Eve in the Garden of Eden.
D. WE NEED TO GET A SMALL VIEW OF OURSELVES
It is extremely difficult to trust someone who says one thing and does the very opposite of what he teaches. No wonder Jesus once said: “The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat [of authority]. So observe and practice all they tell you; but do not do what they do, for they preach, but do not practice” (Matthew 23:2-3).
It is impossible to have a small view of yourself when you belittle God’s Word and in particular his prophecies in the Book of Revelation. “For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being [by and for Me], says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands (Isaiah 66:2).
Humility (a low or small estimate of yourself) and a contrite spirit precedes a true respect for God and his Word. No respect for God and his Word equals no humility. It amounts to haughtiness. Please bear in mind what Stephan said about the Book of Revelation when you read his following remarks.
The third thing that I would say: we need a small view and I linked onto Saint Benedict’s, some of the stuff he wrote in the 6th century and I tried to put it into my own words. You need a small view.
You need to descend on the ladder of humility. Most people would like to do it the other way around. Going up the ladder of humility, some people would say. But when I read St Benedict on this, it was fascinating and I tried to put it into my own words.
1. Respect for God First thing that you need, he says, you start there, is to have respect for God: to love God, to see His hands and feet, to hear His voice, to experience His presence everywhere you go.
2. Surrendering to others’ opinions Secondly he says, in order to descend on the ladder, you need to surrender, at times, to the opinions of others. It is not your will only. You know when humility starts, he says, when you learn to submit.
And I don’t like this submissive thing in certain theologies, because it is like many church leaders use this just to get their own – to push through their own opinions and stuff like this. This is something else. True humility is to look up at every person and say: “He’s got a point. She’s got a point and I am going to listen. I am going to respect them.
I am going to treat them with the uttermost respect. It will make a huge difference when people start to get this.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment andrecreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good, not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
When Jesus said “I am meek and humble ( lowly in heart),” He did not mean that it is/was merely one of his attributes but that He IS the essence of meekness and humility in the very same way that He IS the essence love.
He IS the fountain of love, meekness and humility and as such He alone has the mandate, if you will, to teach others how to be meek and lowly in heart. No other human being can teach another human being how to be humble and lowly in heart.
Why not? Simply because true humility and lowliness of heart emanates from a heart that is perfectly pure and holy. His heart and his alone is free of any deceit while man’s heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). The second reason why He alone can teach you humility is because his yoke and HIS alone is easy and his burden is light.
No other man can claim a yoke that is easy and a burden that is light because every single man and women’s yoke is a yoke of sin. And yet Stephan Joubert declares that he linked onto Saint Benedict and his wisdom-orientated definition of humility and meekness.
Instead of following Jesus who said that He alone can teach humility, he linked onto St Benedict who taught Joubert that the descent down the ladder of humility involved respect for God and a willingness to surrender to others’ opinions.
To make certain whether a respect for God and a willingness to surrender to others’ opinions are compatible we need to ask ourselves whether Jesus, the epitome and essence of humility and lowliness of heart, ever surrendered to others’ opinions in regard to the Christian faith.
The short answer is, NEVER! Jesus never surrendered or submitted to others’ opinions. If He had He would have compromised and jeopardized the message his Father sent Him to proclaim. St. Benedict’s link between two opposing incompatibilities proves how deceitful man’s heart really is which makes him a dreadful teacher and example IN meekness and humility.
Forget it, no one, not even Saint Benedict, can teach you meekness and humility because they are ARE forever linking things that are completely incompatible.
E. WE NEED TO KNOW THAT LIFE IS HOLY
In this portion of his presentation Stephan Joubert said some strange things that substantiate Paul’s indictment in 1 Timothy 4:1
But the [Holy] Spirit distinctly and expressly declares that in latter times some will turn away from the faith, giving attention to deluding and seducing spirits and doctrines that demons teach,
Now let’s listen again to Stephan Joubert:
Another thing that you need to know: Life is holy, life is holy. When you follow Jesus as the Sage, not as the religious professional, as the guy with all the rules for right and wrong, but as the Sage from heaven, Jesus will tell you. You will learn from Him: Life is holy. Every single person that you will cross paths with will be holy.
Every place you are will be holy. So this is the journey. The pilgrimage is not to go to holy places. Every morning you wake up, if, you’re on a pilgrimage. When you have coffee at Mug and Bean. Do that more [often]. That’s on a pilgrimage. I don’t know how this works, because wisdom literature never tells you how it works.
The other pictures tell you how it works. So if you want all the answers, go to the priestly story. The priest will tell you right or wrong. Go to your pastor, if he or she is still caught up in the priestly story. They know. They know what is sin and what not. . . . as a young pastor, when I was a pastor for three months.
One evening I told my wife: “I am going to resign.” I thought I would teach the people about God and about helping them cope with their lives and helping me cope with my life in the presence of God. And all they ask me: “Is this sin? Is that sin? Is this right? Is that wrong? Am I in? Am I out?” And one day, in pure desperation, when this guy came to me and said: “Is this sin?” I said: “How should I know?
You’re the expert.” So, I mean.” But the moment that you and I am not saying that there is no right or wrong. If you heard this, you heard me incorrectly I am saying if you follow Jesus and stay close on His heels and let His dust fall on your feet; you will know what’s right and wrong.
Of course you will. It is a relationship. . . In the religion thing, in the cultic thing, it’s about right and wrong. In the following Jesus it is about agape and love. And you can obey without loving, but you can never love without obeying.
Stephan Joubert’s notion that everything is holy is not a very good advertisement for places like Mug & Bean. Had the general public known that Mug & Bean is holy, according to Joubert, they would not in the very least support Mug & Bean. How do I know?
Well! Jesus who is awesomely holy once said that the world hates Him which of course means that if Mug & Bean exemplifies his holiness they too are candidates for the world’s hatred (John 15:18). Do you get my drift? Eureka! Stephan Joubert admits there is right and wrong. How does he know it? By merely following the Sage from heaven . . . by merely fostering a close relationship with Him?
The entire nation of Israel followed God into the wilderness but never knew the difference between right and wrong until HE spelled it out for them on two stone tablets with his own hand. Centuries later a man who really followed Jesus Christ, said:
Romans 7:12-13 The Law therefore is holy, and [each] commandment is holy and just and good. Did that which is good then prove fatal [bringing death] to me? Certainly not! It was sin, working death in me by using this good thing [as a weapon], in order that through the commandment sin might be shown up clearly to be sin, that the extreme malignity and immeasurable sinfulness of sin might plainly appear. (Emphasis added)
Paul admitted that it was the Law and not merely his following Jesus Christ in a close relationship with Him that taught him the difference between right and wrong; it was the holy LAW of God. The million dollar question is: How does Stephan Joubert discern between right and wrong?
How does he know it is wrong to kill others? How does he know it is wrong to steal others’ stuff? How does he know it is wrong to lust after and sleep with another man’s wife? Did he go to a pastor who is still caught up in the priestly story?
Hardly! Ah! but of course, he knows these things because there was a time when the most holy God led a man called Moses (whom He separated or hallowed in service to Himself) up a holy mountain to give to him ten holy commandments that distinguishes between right and wrong.
Furthermore, Stephan Joubert knows this because he learned it, not from the wisdom story in Proverbs, but from the redemption story in Exodus and Leviticus. So, by all accounts, not even Stephan Joubert can get away from or ignore the story of salvation and the priestly or holy story.
You can probably try to run from the most holy God but it is impossible to hide from Him in your “everything is holy” shrines. Contradictions! Contradictions! Contradictions! Elementary my dear Watson . . . Stephan Joubert’s wisdom story is fraught with contradictions. Let us pick them all out with a little tweezers.
- We must follow Jesus, not as the guy with all the rules for right and wrong, but as the Sage from heaven.
- Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there is no right or wrong. I am saying that if you follow Jesus and stay close on his heels you will intuitively know what’s right and wrong.
- The religion thing, the cultic, is about right and wrong.
- The following Jesus thing is about agapao and love.
Who is this Jesus Stephan Joubert and the Emergent Church is shoving down the throats of their congregants and every person who attends their congresses, conferences, seminars, Bible studies, sermons etc. etc. etc? It cannot be the Jesus of the Bible who is the fulfillment of all God’s rules (His Law) and who proclaimed that He had come to our world to testify against its evil ways (sorry Stephan, I should have said, its holiness) (John 7:7).
Who is this guy who does not have all the rules for right and wrong but who needs to be followed in any case so that you may know what is right and wrong? Huh? Huh? This guy obviously never tells you what is right and wrong because the wisdom literature never tells you how it works; he exhumes so much love and compassion that you will intuitively be aware and know what is right and wrong.
If so, why did God inspire men to write sixty six books to tell fallen man where they had gone wrong, how they had rebelled against Him and what the consequences are of their evil ways? Nah! don’t read your Bible, just follow this Jesus guy, the Sage from heaven; let his dust fall on your feet and you will instinctively, intuitively and religiously know what is right and wrong (not the cultic kind of religion, but the dusty kind of religion).
If this Jesus guy does not have all the rules for right and wrong, then he cannot possibly be the Jesus of the Bible who commanded his disciples (his followers) to teach the disciples they make from all the nations to observe (obey) everything He taught them (Matthew 28:20).
If you want to know what he commanded his disciples to observe read the “but I say unto you’s” in his Sermon on the Mount which is saturated with what is right and wrong. Stephan Joubert religiously and unfailingly declares that everything and everyone is holy, every single person you meet is holy and every place you visit is holy.
Unless he, together with his emergent buddies, have repainted the word “holy” (aka Rob Bell’s velvity-elvis philosophy), the general meaning thereof in Scripture is used with reference to persons or things that have been separated or set apart for God and his service.
If this is true, which I believe it is, then the following persons and places are/were holy (separated unto God and his service according to Stephan Joubert): The mass murderer Hitler, his crazy Nazis and the Gestapo, Joseph Stalin and his killing fields, the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, murderers, pedophiles (with the exception of the priestly kind in Roman Catholicism who are definitely separated unto God and his service), prostitutes, brothels, pornography, all the various places of worship of whatever religion, atheism, evolution, Satanism, etc. etc. etc.
There is only one thing left to say: What a wholly holy catastrophe! Would the emergent fraternity allow their darling little angels and kids to have any part in the things I just mentioned? Well, they might just do so because everything is just sooooooo holy. But wait a second. There is something that is not holy.
Yes! the damnable fundamentalist Christians who are forever judging others and who refuse to engage the complexities of life. They are completely unholy. Away with them because they are contaminating everything that is holy with their judgmental attitude. Stephan Joubert ends his wisdom story which he learned by following the Sage from heaven as follows:
Theo told me the joke the other night when we were in In Via, like, you know the joke in Stellenbosch? How do you know that somebody studied at the University of Stellenbosch? You know the one? They told you. So, they will tell you. So, one of the students said: “How do you know that somebody is a Christian?”
They will judge you. And it was painful to me to hear this joke. They will judge you. Therefore religious people . . . Who killed Jesus? Religious people. Not the bad people. Not the bad guys that He hang out (sic) with. Religious people.
And I really thought there were no bad guys because everyone is holy. Huh? Huh? ((aka the Trevor Hudson way of telling a story). Please don’t remind the emergent fraternity of the following biblical principles because they will immediately label you a judgmental fundamentalist:
- The duty of every follower of Jesus to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 1:3).
- The duty of every follower of Jesus Christ to teach newly-born Christians to observe and obey his commandments (to distinguish between right and wrong, holy and unholy, clean and unclean, in and out) (Matthew 28:20)
- The duty of every follower of Jesus Christ to warn foolhardy and unrepentant sinners and also those who have fallen away from the faith of God’s impending judgment if they do not repent and turn from their evil ways (Ezekiel 33:8)
- The duty of every follower of Christ to study the Word of God so that they may be adroit teachers of His Word (2 Timothy 2:15).
Who killed Jesus? Of course yes: the judgmental religious fundamentalists. It is more difficult to convert them than non-Christians, as Stephan Joubert echoed Len Sweet’s Sagely wisdom:
Len Sweet says it is more difficult to convert Christians than non-Christians. It is more difficult to get people who already have the virus, the religious virus to get rid of it or the clergy mentality virus, to detox. Well, I tell myself I am in detox now. I am a recovering academic. And then I end by saying we need to understand God is everywhere.
Covert them to what? . . . to the detoxified religion of people like Leonard Sweet, Rob Bell, Rick Warren, Doug Pagitt, Tony Jones, Stephan Joubert, Ron Martoia, Theo Geyser, Trevor Hudson, Matthew Fox, Ken Wilbur, M. Scott Peck, Willis Harman, Morton Kelsey, Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating et al who distort and misrepresent the Gospel of Jesus Christ? The following excerpt from Roger Oakland’s book Faith Undone will give you a very good idea of what Stephan Joubert means by being detoxified from the religious virus:
In the Acknowledgments section of Sweet’s book, he details that his journey of faith [pilgrimage] was influenced by a myriad of individuals he calls “New Light leaders.” He writes: I have followed these “New Light leaders,” as I am calling them, from varying distances.
But it is largely because of their writings and lives that I have been compelled to join Abraham on the journey. They are my personal role models (in an earlier day one could get away with “heroes” of the true nature of the postmodern apologetic.
More than anyone else, they have been my teachers on how to translate, without compromising content, the gospel into the indigenous context of the postmodern vernacular. When Sweet says these “New Light” leaders have taught him how to translate “the gospel” without compromise, this certainly would sound like the right thing; however, it soon becomes apparent that many of Sweet’s “New Light” mentors who led him “into new light” have done Sweet a terrible disservice. His translation of the Christian faith has completely dismantled true biblical faith, as I will show you.
In the Preface of Quantum Spirituality, Sweet writes: The emergence of this New Light apologetic is a harbinger [forerunner] and hope that … the church may now be on the edge of another awakening…. 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. To understand what Sweet means by dancing to a “new rhythm,” it is necessary to look at this “ragbag assortment” of “New Light” leaders he refers to.
By his own admission, they have molded and persuaded him in spiritual matters. Thus, if we want to understand what Leonard Sweet believes, it is fair to say we need only look to what his teachers believe as he has given them such a dominant role in his life, saying, “more than anyone else, they have been my teachers.” You may be surprised to learn that Sweet’s three pages of acknowledgments of “New Light” teachers is a who’s who of the New Age movement.
While some names are lesser known, others are quite prolific, such as M. Scott Peck, Matthew Fox, Willis Harman, and Morton Kelsey. Ken Wilber is also named. It is hard to understand how proponents of New Age spirituality can help Sweet “translate, without compromising content, the gospel” message.
The Cosmic Christ Emerges
Sweet’s acknowledgment of Matthew Fox is very telling of Sweet’s spiritual proclivities. Fox, an Episcopal priest and long-time promoter of New Age spirituality, is the author of “The Coming of the Cosmic Christ,” in which Fox states:
I foresee a renaissance, a rebirth based on a spiritual initiative … This new birth will cut through all cultures and all religions and indeed will draw forth the wisdom common to all vital mystical traditions in a global religious awakening I call deep ecumenism.
The theme of Fox’s book is that the “Cosmic Christ” (as opposed to the historical person of Jesus Christ) resides in all humans. He teaches that Jesus was not the Christ but that he had this Christ-consciousness, and he was just one of many who did. Gandhi, Moses, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Buddha had it as well, Fox notes.
And so will the Antichrist Equally revealing is Sweet’s favorable mention of Ken Wilber and M. Scott Peck, both of whom share Fox’s views on spiritual matters. Who are you following? – Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God or a false Cosmic Christ (the so-called Sage from heaven) who never linked onto the priestly story of holiness but simultaneously tells you that everything is holy?
2 Corinthians 6: 17
So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor.
Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
 An Introduction to Gnosticism and The Nag Hammadi Library“. The Gnostic Society Library. Retrieved 2009-12-02.
 Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality: A Postmodern Apologetic (Dayton, OH: Whaleprints, First Edition, 1991), p. viii
 Ibid, p. 7
 Ibid, p. viii
 Ibid, p. viii-ix
 Ibid, p. ix
 Matthew Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ (San Francisco, CA: HarperCollins, 1988), p. 5.
 Ibid, p. 234-235