The Unholiness of Renovaré’s “Holiness without Steroids”

Eugene Peterson - renovaré holiness
Eugene H. Peterson

The Unholiness of Renovaré’s “Holiness”
Stephan-Joubert -renovaré

Adherents to the Emergent Church have an uncanny ability to tell their congregates what to do without explaining to them what they really have in mind.

They have the knack to use biblical terminology very skillfully and expertly but often fail to elucidate the biblical meaning of the words they hit to and fro like a little ping-pong ball.

“Holiness” is one of these words. I encountered this strange phenomena in one of Stephan Joubert’s regular contributions on e-church under the title “No Steroids for Holiness.” (now deleted).

Although it may be a very clever post-modernist title it reeks of heresy from the very outset, especially when one takes into account who it was who coined the witty little maxim. But allow me to use Stephan’s own words:

You can’t cheat your way to holiness. Or can you? Presently, I am at the Renovaré Conference in St Antonio, Texas where the theme is: “The Jesus Way.” Yesterday evening I listened to one of my spiritual heroes, Eugene Peterson. In his fine presentation he stressed that there are no spiritual steroids for holiness. You have to live a holy life, one day at a time.

Have you noticed the little ink spots in Stephan’s description of holiness?

Stephan Joubert would be doing a much more honorable thing by staying at home with his wife than prancing around in jet planes from one heretical conference to another. Where does he get the money from? His e-church and e-kerk sites must be making a helluva lot of dough.

What is Renovaré?

Here are a few facts about Renovaré.

Richard Foster - renovaré
Richard Foster

Renovare (spiritual renewal) is a movement within the Emergent Church that was started in 1988 by Richard Foster, a Quaker theologian.

The Quaker’s theology is based on the belief that everyone (believers and unbelievers) have an “inner light” which can lead them to truth while they wait and listen to its subjective leading, particularly with the assistance of contemplative practices such as “the silence” and “centering prayer.”

On page 157 of “The Dictionary of the Esoteric, 3000 entries on the Mystical and Occult Traditions” the author, Nevill Drury, defines the “inner light” thus:

Inner Light: In mysticism and occultism, the light of God within. The experience of the “inner light” is equated with cosmic consciousness and represents a profound level of mystical attainment. Sometimes the expression is used to indicate that every person is potentially divine, and contains the spark of Godhead. This view, sometimes characterized as the microcosm within the macrocosm, reflects the Hermetic axiom: “As above, so below” – God is in us, we are in God.

The German theologian, philosopher and mystic, Meister Eckhart, wrote:

Meister Eckhart - renovaré

“As thou art in church or cell, that same frame of mind carry out into the world, into its turmoil and its fitfulness.”

Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a Divine Center, a speaking Voice, to which we may continuously return.

Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives, warming us with intimations of an astounding destiny, calling us home unto Itself.

Yielding to these persuasions, gladly committing ourselves in body and soul, utterly and completely, to the Light Within, is the beginning of true life. It is a dynamic center, a creative Life that presses to birth within us.

It is a Light Within which illumines the face of God and casts new shadows and new glories upon the face of men. It is a seed stirring to life if we do not choke it. It is the Shekinah of the soul, the Presence in the midst. Here is the Slumbering Christ, stirring to be awakened, to become the soul we clothe in earthly form and action. And He is within us all. (Emphasis added)

Paul Lacout, in “Quaker Faith and Practice,” described the “light” as a “silence which is active” causing the Inner Light to “glow.”

Their complete reliance on the leading of the inner light has just about ousted the objectivity of God’s Word and its clear-cut doctrines.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Stephan Joubert pledges not to return to the Bible and the church but to advance forward to God (the inner light that guides all of mankind into the Truth).

Christians shouldn’t turn back to the Bible or the church. Then we’re heading in the wrong direction. We move forward to God. We advance” (Emphasis added). – See more here.

In the book “THE LIGHT OF THE SOUL, Its Science and Effect, A PARAPHRASE OF THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI WITH COMMENTARY BY ALICE A. BAILEY” the “inner light” (also known as the “inner ear”) plays a major role in man’s so-called enlightenment unto an awareness of his inner godhood. In the preamble to the book the following quote from “The Voice of the Silence” sets the tone of what Stephan Joubert and his emergent buddies are really into.

“Before the soul can see, the harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.

Before the soul can hear, the image (Man) has to become as deaf to roarings as to whispers, to cries of bellowing elephants as to the silvery buzzing of the golden firefly.

Before the soul can comprehend and may remember, she must unto the silent speaker be united, just as the form to which the clay is modeled is first united with the potter’s mind.

For then the soul will hear, and will remember. And then to the inner ear will speak the voice of the silence.”

No wonder the emergents love to call “silence” the first language of God. It proves yet again that their movement is nothing new but merely the emergence of an old occult belief system which the demon (spirit guide), Djwal Khul, whispered into Alice Bailey’s inner ear.

Probably the most prominent comment Alice Bailey made in the book is the following.

The goal of meditation is the ability to contact the divine inner self, and through the contact, to come to a realization of the unity of that self with all selves and the All-Self . . . not just theoretically, but as a fact in nature.

From “The Light of the Soul.”

She simply says the main purpose of meditation is to help the initiates contact their inner light and to develop the powers of the intuition and higher mind through meditation. It suggests that we are living beings bequeathed with a spark of mind by our Creator – a spark of that great mental fire, which is the animating principle of every human being.

To Tamper or not to Tamper

Inner light of Freemasonry - renovaré

In the “House of the Temple,” Home of The Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction, Washington D.C., USA, there are bronze friezes located on the top of the Atrium. A candle lights the darkness with the inscription Lux Inens Nos Agit” which means “The inner light leads us on.”

As soon as you begin to tamper with biblical doctrine heresy becomes your way and not – as the Renovaré brotherhood claims – “The Jesus Way.”

The Quakers’ assertion that believers and unbelievers have an “inner light” substantiates their equally heretic belief in Universalism.

George Fox and Robert Barclay as well as other respected leaders in the Quaker movement hold to the lie that all people are already saved from sin or will eventually be saved from it, the reason being that the Light is within everyone and therefore nobody will ever be cast into hell.

Then there are those within the Quaker movement, such as the Quaker Universalist Group who believe that it is unnecessary to have any faith in Jesus Christ.

People of other faiths or no faith at all have no need of salvation because they already have Light within them. Calvinism has a similar pet heresy. Although they do not believe that all men will eventually be saved, thanks to Calvin’s doctrine concerning the reprobates, they too proclaim that all the elect will be saved without them having to believe as a precondition for salvation. Saving faith, they say, is given as a gift after the elect had been infused with the inner Light of God by the Holy Spirit (monergism as opposed to synergism).

In an interview Robert Schuller (a Freemason) had with Billy Graham (also a Freemason) on May 31, 1997 on Robert Schuller’s “Hour of Power,” Billy Graham’s true colors were exposed.

Schuller: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity?

Graham: I think that everybody that loves Christ or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the body of Christ and that’s what God is doing today. He’s calling people out of the world for His Name, whether they come from the Muslim world, the Buddhist world or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the Name of Jesus, but they know in their heart that they need something that they don’t have and they turn to the only light that they have and I think that they are saved. They’re going to be with us in heaven.

Schuller: I’m so thrilled to hear you say that. There’s a wideness in God’s mercy. (DTW comment: Allow me to remind you what God says about the wide or broad way – Matthew 7:13).

Graham: There is, there definitely is. (Emphasis added)

Schuller also once said:

“We know the things the major faiths can agree on. We try to focus on those without offending those with different viewpoints, or without compromising the integrity of my own Christian commitment” (USA Today, March 23, 1989.)

“It’s time for Protestants to go to the shepherd [Pope]. Schuller has stated “if he came back in 100 years and found his descendants Muslims, it wouldn’t bother him….” (Robert Schuller, comments on the Papal visit, LA, 1987)

“The Christ Spirit dwells in every human being, whether the person knows it or not.” (Robert Schuller, Possibilities Magazine, Summer 1986, pg.12).

Stephan Joubert cradles a similar view in his emergent heart.

“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, E-church) – See more here.

According to Stephan Joubert “servitude” miraculously turns enemies of God into friends of God, even to the extent where you begin to realize that the enemies of the cross are actually little Jesuses in disguise. If this doesn’t make you angry then you don’t know how serious it is to blaspheme God and his Word. This is what God says:

Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9b)   He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 3:36

So, these little Jesuses in disguise who do not have the Spirit of Christ and on whom God’s wrath rests are saved just because Stephan Joubert serves them? Get thee behind me Satan.

Jesus Christ served many people and even gave his life on a cursed cross to save them but most of them did not immediately and miraculously turn into his friends because they were already his alter ego in disguise. What utter and reprehensible nonsense!

Billy Graham’s view of the light which Muslims, Buddhists or any other person of whatsoever religious persuasion allegedly have within themselves, coincides to the letter with Richard Foster’s statement: “It (inner light) is a dynamic center, a creative Life that presses to birth within us” and Freemasonry.

In the sixth chapter of “The Lost Keys of Freemasonry” by Manly P Hall under the title “The Qualifications of a True Mason” we read the following:

The true Mason is not creed-bound. He realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as Mason his religion must be universal: Christ, Buddha or Mohammed, the name means little, for he recognizes only the light and not the bearer.

He worships at every shrine, bows before every altar, whether in temple, mosque or cathedral, realizing with his truer understanding the oneness of all spiritual truth.

All true Masons know that they only are heathen who, having great ideals, do not live up to them. They know that all religions are but one story told in divers ways for peoples whose ideals differ but whose great purpose is in harmony with Masonic ideals.

North, east, south and west stretch the diversities of human thought, and while the ideals of man apparently differ, when all is said and the crystallization of form with its false concepts is swept away, one basic truth remains: all existing things are Temple Builders, laboring for a single end.

No true Mason can be narrow, for his Lodge is the divine expression of all broadness. There is no place for little minds in a great work. (Emphasis added).

A true Christian will never acknowledge this light to be the light of Jesus Christ. It is in stead the light of the deceiver, that old dragon whose name is Satan (Lucifer), who is able to transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

Besides Eugene Petersen of the Renovare movement who Stephan Joubert honours as one of his spiritual heroes, he also greatly reveres Leonard Sweet. Although we cannot find anyone guilty by association, it is not difficult to see that Leonard Sweet has had a major role in the forging of Stephan Joubert’s spirituality. This is what Leonard Sweet says about the inner light.

A surprisingly central feature of all the world’s religions is the language of light in communicating the divine and symbolizing the union of the human with the divine: Muhammed’s light-filled cave, Moses’ burning bush, Paul’s blinding light, Fox’s “inner light,” Krishna’s Lord of Light, Böhme’s light-filled cobbler shop, Plotinus’ fire experiences, Bodhisattvas with the flow of Kundalini’s fire erupting from their fontanelles, and so on. Light is the common thread that ties together near-death experiences as they occur in various cultures.

Leonard Sweet, Quantum Spirituality, pg. 146

Another good friend and fellow-traveller of Stephan Joubert is Trevor Hudson with whom he regularly appears as speaker at the Mosaïek Church in Fairland, Johannesburg. Trevor Hudson said this of the “light” at a Mosaic Congress held at the Mosaic Church in Fairland, Johannesburg (4-5 Sept. 2009).

Trevor Hudson
Trevor Hudson

I’m wandering how many of you really are drawn to this sense of interior transformation, becoming the light of the world? . . . How many of you feel that the spiritual journey is really about giving yourself, pouring your life out? . . .

Please bear in mind, I am not suggesting that Trevor Hudson or Stephan Joubert are practicing Freemasons. I am merely pointing out the fact that their view of the “light” is very similar to that of the Masons. To underscore my notion, I need to refer you to a site on Freemasonry that describes for us what Freemasons believe and what they do.

Freemasonry teaches high moral ethical standards and family values. [Thomas says: Read here]. Masons come from all religious beliefs (Catholic, Jewish, Protestant, etc.) which are based on the belief in one God [Thomas says: James 2:19].  They are men bonded by friendship and brotherly love in service to mankind.

Freemasonry does not pretend to take the place of religion not serve as a substitute for the religious beliefs of its members. It teaches monotheism. It teaches the Golden Rule. It seeks to make good men better through its belief in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.

The Freemasons of America [and elsewhere] contribute more than two million dollars every day to charitable causes which they, alone, have established.  These services to mankind represent and unparalleled example of the humanitarian commitment and concern of this unique and honorable Fraternity.

key - renovaré

Freemasonry is:

  1. Kindness in the home
  2. Honesty in business [Doesn’t this remind you of Graham Power’s and Dion Forster’s “Unashamedly ethical” and “‘Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling‘” ventures?]
  3. Courtesy in society
  4. Fairness in work
  5. Pity and concern for the unfortunate
  6. Resistance toward evil
  7. Help for the weak
  8. Forgiveness for the penitent
  9. Love for one another

And above all

  1. Reverence and love for God. (The question is “which God?” – the God as every individual sees and conceives Him?) (Emphasis added).

Symbolism plays a huge role in Freemasonry. They know that a single symbol is more powerful than a thousand words. In his book “The Secret Power of Masonic Symbols” Robert Lomas describes a symbol as follows:

A symbol is a pictorial device that evokes a concept in its entirety. It bypasses the intellect and talks straight to the heart. Our intellect analyzes, but our heart synthesizes. So a symbol evokes understanding without needing to convey verbal information.

The first Freemasons were stoneworkers, employed to carve symbols of religious power into public places of worship. They recognized the power of symbols and realized that symbols were able to influence people’s thoughts and actions.

They studied the ancient symbols and learned how they had influenced the development of human thought.

Karl Jung believed that our unconscious psyche, which interacts with symbols, plays an important role in the development of the human mind.

He did not put forward any theory of how symbols work, but he showed that archetypal symbols have an enormous impact on an individual, shaping his or her emotions, ethical and mental outlook, and relationships with others and affecting his or her whole destiny. Von Franz, one of Jung’s students, sums up this idea:

The archetypes, or archetypal symbols, act as creative or destructive forces in our mind: creative when they inspire new ideas, destructive when these same ideas stiffen into conscious prejudices that inhibit further discoveries.

To Jung, his concepts were … heuristic hypotheses that might help us to explore the vast new area of reality opened up by the discovery…. If all men have common inherited patterns of emotional and mental behavior [which Jung called the archetypes or archetypal symbols], it is only to be expected that we shall find their products [the results of acting under the influence of these shared archetypal symbols] in practically every field of human activity.

In the light of the above description of a symbol, let’s try to unravel what the above picture of a key and light shining through the key hole means. Could it be that it depicts the fullness of light on the other side of the door and that only the Masonic Key is able to unlock the door to initiates to bask themselves in that light?

Alice Bailey, Director of the House of Theosophy in the early part of this century, writes,

“The Masonic Movement … will meet the need of those who can, and should, wield power. It is the custodian of the law; it is the home of the Mysteries and the seat of initiation. It holds in its symbolism the ritual of Deity, and the way of salvation is pictorially preserved in its work. The methods of Deity are demonstrated in its Temples and under the All-seeing Eye the work can go forward.

It is a far more occult organisation than can be realised and is intended to be the training school for the coming advanced occultists ... in Masonry you have the three paths leading to initiation.

As yet they are not used, and one of the things that will eventuate – when the new universal religion has sway and the nature of esotericism is understood – will be the utilization of the banded esoteric organism, the Masonic organism and the Church organism as initiating centers. These three groups converge as their inner sanctuaries are approached. There is no dissociation between the One Universal Church, the sacred inner Lodge of all true Masons, and the inner-most circles of the esoteric societies. (Pages 511, 513)

Okey Dokey, it is pretty obvious that the “light” of Trevor Hudson, Stephan Joubert, Graham Power and Dion Forster and of the Freemasons is not the biblical “light” which refers to Jesus Christ as the “Great Light” of the world (John 8:12; 9:5) and all true followers of Christ , who are lights of the world, because they, by their instructions and examples, show what God requires, what is the condition of man, what is the way of duty, peace, and happiness – and what is the way that leads to heaven.

As you may have seen from the above quote from Trevor Hudson’s presentation at the Mosaiek Church on the “light” (which seems to be more in harmony  with Graham Power’s” Freemasonish” unashamedly ethical project), he associates the “light” with doing good works and not with preaching the Gospel to the lost so that they may be saved.

In his endorsement for “Transform Your Work Life: Turn Your Ordinary Day into an Extraordinary Calling,” written by Graham Power and Dion Forster, Trevor Hudson writes as follows:

At long last we have a book that affirms our daily workplace as a primary place for us to live out our faith [Oh yeah, what happened to the Bible since the miracle  of Graham Power and Dion Forster appeared on the scene?]. Few people are better placed and more equipped to show us the way than Dion Forster and Graham Power. I pray that this book will enable many individuals the world over to see their work as a means of dignity, love and provision, both for themselves and their neighbour. – Rev Trevor Hudson, South African Pastor and Author

Have you noticed Trevor Hudson never once says “I pray that this book will enable many individuals the world over to see their work as a means to preach the Gospel and reach as many lost souls for Christ as possible”? No, the light they speak of is a “do-good-light” with an intent to change the world ethically and morally. Graham Power’s recent visit to the Pope and the G20 summit in Australia affirms their goals to transform the world morally and ethically and NOT spiritually while they deliberately trample under their feet Paul’s warning in Ephesians.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Ephesians 5:6-13

The light of God in his Word exposes the inner light of Freemasonry and Trevor Hudson and his buddies as being false, demonic and a hell-deserving lies.

Furthermore, you may have noticed Trevor Hudson eulogizing Dion Forster who allegedly is far better equipped to show us the way than Jesus Christ Himself. Dion Forster’s path cannot be summarized any better than this:

In Dion Forster’s  book,  “An uncommon spiritual path – the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity” the editorial review of his book, says:

“It would seem that for many Christians, and particularly for persons who have left the Church, conventional Christianity does not provide enough to sustain their spiritual lives. [ Thomas says: Ah so, now 2 Peter 1:3 is a lie]. This book charts an uncommon spiritual path by examining the non-dual spirituality of Henri le Saux (Swami Abhishiktananda), a French Benedictine monk in India. His approach is challenging, courageous, and even unsettling in some instances. However, his deep commitment to finding Christ is an inspiration.” – Mobipocket

Abhishiktananda was the name taken by the French Benedictine monk Henri le Saux, whose religious experience in India led him to become a bridge between Hindu and Christian spirituality.

Born in Saint Briac, Brittany on August 30, 1910, he seemed destined for a religious life and entered ‘minor seminary’ at the age of 11, becoming a Benedictine novice in 1930. He left France for India in the summer of 1948, never to return to France despite his affection for his homeland.

He became immersed in the atmosphere of India, in particular the Hindu perspective of Advaita. He founded an ashram and religious community, Shantivanam, in 1950 and became Swami Abhishiktananda.

In his latter years though, he found himself very drawn to religious experience within solitude, spending much time in the hermit caves at Arunachala. But at no point did he disavow his Christianity, [Thomas says: REALLY?] and he celebrated Mass until virtually the end of his life. [Thomas says: And celebrating the Mass until the end of your life makes you a pristine and loyal Chjristian?]. He died on December 7, 1973 at Indore nursing home, weakened by a myocardial infarction that summer, after several years in which he had lived virtually as a hermit. (Emphasis added).

I need to stress once again, I am not suggesting that Trevor Hudson, Stephan Joubert, Angus Buchan or Dion Forster are Freemasons. I am merely showing that their unashamedly ethical adventures and their ecumenical excursions are akin to the Freemasons’ magna carte that the true Mason is not creed-bound and realizes with the divine illumination of his lodge that as Mason his religion must be universal.

Angus Buchan’s and Graham Power’s ecumenical leanings toward the Roman Catholic Church, Dion Forster’s idolatrous leanings toward Hinduism (through the teachings of Henri le Saux), Trevor Hudson’s infamous remarks that Christ is in all and all is in Christ, and Stephan Joubert’s equally blasphemous remarks that truth can be found in all religions, especially Buddhism, fit Freemasonry like a glove. Every single one has corrupted God’s Gospel in some way. What does the Word of God say about those who corrupt His Gospel?

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).


They know that all religions are but one story told in divers ways for peoples whose ideals differ but whose great purpose is in harmony with Masonic ideals. (“The Lost Keys of Freemasonry” by Manly P Hall under the title “The Qualifications of a True Mason.”

What does the Word of God teach us about the Light?

John 3:19-21 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (Emphasis added)

Isaiah 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Emphasis added)

Richard Foster, the author of the Renovare’s study Bible, endorses many Universalists and pantheists. Here are some of the revealing things these Universalists have said in their books:

“The Inner Light, the Inward Christ, is no mere doctrine, belonging peculiarly to a small religious fellowship, to be accepted or rejected as a mere belief. It is the living Center of Reference for all Christian souls and Christian groups – yes, and of non-Christian groups as well”. (Thomas Kelly: A Testament of Devotion).

“It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are …. If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are … I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth … This little point is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody. (Thomas Merton: Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander).

Asia, Zen, Islam, etc., all these things come together in my life. It would be madness for me to attempt to create a monastic life for myself by excluding all these. I would be less a monk. (Rob Baker & Gray Henry: Merton and Sufism). (Emphasis added throughout).

The common denominator between Thomas Merton’s brand of Christianity and other religions is mysticism.

Stephan Joubert’s spiritual excursion to the Renovare Conference in San Antonio, Texas is consequently no coincidence. He is merely strengthening his affiliation with his brothers and sisters who are extending a hand of brotherly affection to religions such as Buddhism, and affirming his agreement with Rob Bell who said that truth may also be found in other religions such as Buddhism.

When Merton could no longer resist the mystic appeal, he intended to turn his back on Christianity. Guess who advised him to remain a Christian? No! You’re wrong. It was not a concerned Christian but a Hindu swami named Dr. Bramachari.

He assured Merton that he could find the very same mysticism within the ranks of the Christian mystics. (Henri J M Nouwen: Contemplative Critic).

Dr. Bramachari seems to be far better informed than most Christians of Paul’s warning in 2 Corinthians and seems to know that Merton can do more damage within the ranks of Christianity if he remains there in stead of becoming a converted Buddhist or Hindu.

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

Thomas Merton affirmed that he could incorporate these mystical traditions into his own Christian tradition if he practiced tolerance of and an openness to Buddhism, Hinduism and other Asian mystical religions.

Richard Foster’s entire philosophy is based on Merton’s and others’ contemplative spirituality and their efforts to bridge the gap between Western and Far Eastern spiritualties.

Why would someone like Foster who claims to follow The Jesus Way endorse and follow Merton’s heresies? The underlying reason is to forge a new Christianity which gullibly utilizes Christian terminology, such as The Jesus Way and holiness, and gathers together every conceivable religious persuasion under a single umbrella called mysticism, simply because everyone has the Inner Light.

Roger Oakland asks a similar question in his book “Faith Undone.”

Why would someone who claims to be a Christian as Foster does, after reading and understanding Merton’s position on Eastern religion, promote his ideas? Foster knows the kind of prayer Merton stood for was different from biblical prayer. He admits that Merton’s prayer lined up with that of Zen masters and Buddhist monks. And yet he said, “Merton continues to inspire countless men and women.” (1)

Stephan Joubert is obviously one of the countless men and women who have been inspired to follow in the Jesus Way of spurious disciples such as Richard Foster, Eugene Peterson and Thomas Merton.

The Renovare (Renewal) Spiritual Formation Bible which was released in 2005 has impacted many people to strive for a renewal in the church. Besides Foster, editors included Dallas Willard, Walter Brueggemann, and Eugene Peterson.

What does the Renovaré Bible teach?

A great deal of the Old and the New Testament prophecies revolve around Israel, God’s chosen people. Dave Hunt wrote in the second part of “Israel and Prophetic Proof” in one of the editions of “The Berean Call” the following:

Israel is the major topic of Bible prophecy, mentioned more than 2900 times, nearly twice as many times as her Messiah. Without Israel there would be no Messiah and no salvation for anyone, Jew or Gentile.

And yet, the Renovaré fraternity deliberately ignore Bible prophecy and re-interpret key prophecies in Scripture without the slightest compunction.

In their zeal to make a better place of this world and to usher in the Kingdom of God by caring for the poor and downtrodden (which could be a good thing if they preached the unadulterated Gospel to them, which of course they don’t) they re-interpret or redefine Israel in terms of all the homeless in the world.

Jeremiah 31:7-14 is undoubtedly a prophecy relating to the final restoration of Israel to their own promised land. Not so, says the Renovare Study Bible; It is a promise to all the homeless and downtrodden people in the world.

The Gospel cannot possibly be the Good News when Israel is left out of the equation. Sever them from the Gospel then you also need to sever the Messiah from it, which is impossible because Jesus Himself once said ” . . . salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22).

The Renovare brotherhood, including Stephan Joubert, boast that they are following The Jesus Way and striving to live a life of holiness (without steroids, of course).

This is “holy” (or is it wholly) impossible when you dislodge Israel who gave us our Messiah from the prophecies. All the prophecies (and promises) in the Old and New Testament concerning Israel are all “yea and amen” in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20) and anyone who proclaims anything contrary to Christ’s prophecies relating to Israel are not following the Jesus Way but another way of another Jesus who is blazing the way and bludgeoning his followers to eternal destruction.

Who is the Renovaré Jesus?

Isaiah 9: 6-7 is one of the most magnanimous prophecies in the Old Testament predicting the advent of Jesus Christ.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

In their quest for holiness (without steroids, of course) and to prove that they are genuine followers of The Jesus Way, the Renovare brotherhood, spearheaded by Richard Foster and Eugene Petersen (one of Stephan Joubert’s spiritual heroes and the author of the abominable and unbiblical “The Message”) have deliberately denigrated the above prophecy pertaining to Jesus Christ as well as many other Old Testament prophecies that point to Him.

This is what they dare to do in spite of the stern warning in Revelation 22: 18 and 19.

Dallas Willard, one of the co-editors of the Renovare Bible, has this to say about the Jesus he follows.

The following is an excerpt of an article written by Dallas Willard, in which he hypothetically responds to a college girl who was raised a Christian but has now rejected the Christian faith and believes all paths lead to God.

“What Paul is clearly saying is that if anyone is worthy of being saved, they will be saved. At that point many Christians get very anxious, saying that absolutely no one is worthy of being saved. The implication of that is that a person can be almost totally good, but miss the message about Jesus, and be sent to hell. What kind of a God would do that? I am not going to stand in the way of anyone who God wants to save. I am not going to say “he can’t save them.” I am happy for God to save anyone he wants in any way he can. It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”-Dallas Willard, Apologetics in Action.

It is no longer God’s unmerited favour and grace that saves repentant sinners but their worthiness? Really?

In this very same article he says “It is possible for someone who does not know Jesus to be saved.”

Jesus said:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3).

THE RENOVARé SPIRITUAL FORMATION BIBLE: NEW REVISED STANDARD VERSION (NRSV) by Renovaré, Eugene H. Peterson (Editor), Walter Brueggemann (Editor), Dallas Willard (Editor).

One of the surest ways to gauge a person’s or a movement’s theology and beliefs, is to examine their view of eschatology.

  1. The Renovaré “scholars” have very little regard for the powerful Old Testament prophecies in regard to Jesus Christ. (pp. 22, 32, 1375, 1377-8, 1384, etc.).
  2. They unashamedly assert that the key prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7 in reference to the coming Messiah, who is “the mighty God, the everlasting Father,” refers to “human agents” ( p. 997).
  3. Their holiness (without steroids) declare that Isaiah’s prophecies are merely “tradition.” (pp. 982, 983),
  4. They want us to believe that much of that book was not written by Isaiah (there are “three authors.” pp. 982, 1068).
  5. One of their most glaring proofs that they are indeed following The Way of Jesus and running after holiness (without steroids) is their blunt denial that chapter 53 predicts Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (p. 984)! So please, if you have a burning desire to follow the Jesus Way, tear Isaiah 53 out your Bible.
  6. Renovaré describes the book of Isaiah as “poetic imagination,” “Isaiah imagines,” etc. The Renovaré “scholars” declare: “The prophets of Israel are not to be thought of primarily as “predictors of the future;” they were poets. (p. 1079). Through poetry, Jeremiah attempts “to make sense of the events of his day,” (p. 1080). This is not holiness without steroids but Blasphemy with steroids.
  7. Renovaré rejects the powerful prophecies of Daniel, including the proof of 9:24-26 that Jesus is the Christ. They never say a word about the image foretelling the four world kingdoms and revival of the fourth (Roman Empire) under ten heads (2:36-45) to be destroyed by the Messiah when He sets up His everlasting kingdom. Nor is there a word about the future apocalyptic significance of the four beasts of Daniel 7 coinciding with Revelation 13. The wrath of God poured out upon earth during the Great Tribulation (Renovaré avoids that term) are described as “natural disasters straight out of Exodus” (p. 2268). Yet even the magicians in Egypt told Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” (Ex 8:19).

Having seen Renovaré’s contempt for Bible prophecy, it comes as no surprise that a learned enemy of the nation of Israel and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Walter Brueggemann, is one of Renovaré’s chosen vessels to demean and degrade God and his prophecies.

How do you explain to an alleged brilliant mind like Brueggemann that the Middle East crisis is not the doing of Israel but of God Himself who said:

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

Zechariah 12:1-3

However, Brueggemann’s schema looks like this: Everything the Palestinians do is the result of what the Israelis do (in other words, it’s a tit for tat situation and therefore the Palestinians cannot be blamed for their atrocities), which in turn is the result of Jewish feelings of entitlement to the land, which in turn is rooted in Jewish theology with regards to their choseness.

So, what is holiness anyway?

Holiness, in a nutshell, is to be like your Creator and Saviour.

1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

In practice it means that God’s children should talk, think and act completely different from what our world system expects its citizens to do. It comes down to separateness, severance, apartness from the world system and everything it advocates and stands for. The idea of separateness is seen throughout the Bible. Let’s ponder the following verses from Scripture.

Mark 10: 34-36 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

If you proclaim to be a Christian who follows The Jesus Way you dare not associate with false teachers and preachers. Holiness also means to separate yourself from them. It is impossible to plead holiness (without steroids) while you associate with people whose false teachings God hates, to such an extent that He said through the mouth of his disciple, Paul:

Galatians 1: 8 and 9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Here are a few verses that warn us not to associate with false teachers and preachers.

2 John 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

2 Timothy 3:5-14 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.

But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (Emphasis added).

I have pleaded with Stephan Joubert many times before and I want to do so here again: Repent of your disastrous way which is clearly NOT The Jesus Way and definitely NOT the way of holiness. It is the way that leads to destruction. You are misleading many people in South Africa. Please stop playing with fire and repent!

1. Richard Foster, Devotional Classics, op. cit., p. 61.

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Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

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