Stephan Joubert: The New Positive Confessionist
Like so many Emergent Christians, Stephan Joubert has become so desperately besotted with all the most recent studies on all kinds of silly stuff that he has forgotten what the Bible teaches, or shall I rather say, he deliberately shuns what the Bible teaches. In one of his recent posts on his blog ekerk (echurch) he wholeheartedly endorses the research a team of neurologists have been doing on the use of the word “no” and the alleged destructive effect it has on the brain. He writes;
A team of neuroscientists have done research on the effect language has on the brain. They discovered that stress causative hormones and neurotransmitters are immediately released when people hear the word “no.” It not only damages your head; these researchers found that when the word “no” is used along with negative facial expressions it activates stress chemicals in the brain of your audience. The more negative language you use the more anxiety and irritation you cause in your listeners. The fact however is that negatively loaded words cause the first volley of damage in your own innermost being before it harms others. You are the first victim of your harsh language, not other people. You drink the first drop of language poison every time when your language concoctions are negative, destructive and fear driven.
Many Christians, especially those who call themselves ‘radical followers of Jesus’ who want want the dust of Jesus’ feet to fall on them, are increasingly trying to explain spiritual related matters in terms of visible and tangible matter or substance – like the brain. The brain itself cannot emanate thoughts and actions. It is merely the physical mechanism that translates and transmits non-physical sentiments (love, hope, compassion, anger, resentment, pity, anxiety, etc.), which arise in the non-physical soul, to the body and to others. By doing this, they are deliberately attributing bad and destructive behavioral actions and experiences to chemical reactions in the brain in response to external stimuli in stead of to the inherent corruption and sinfulness of man’s heart (soul and spirit). (Jeremiah 17:9).
Dave Hunt says in his book Occult invasion (pp. 54-55),
Thoughts were presumed to originate in the brain as the result of chemical and electrical processes. Nothing nonphysical could exist. Contrary to common sense, man was the prisoner of whatever his brain cells (for purely mechanistic reasons) “thought.” This incredible “fact” of science was taught throughout the academic world.
The great hope was that the laws of physics and chemistry, applied to the brain, would explain human personality. That would allow psychiatrists to manipulate the brain like a mechanic does an engine. Thus all inappropriate behavior could be eliminated. There would be no more wars or crime and this world would become a rhapsody of kindness, pleasure, and prosperity, the Eden no one had believed in.
It was impossible, however, to suppress the evidence that, instead of producing thought, brain activity is a result of thought. Inasmuch as thoughts originate independently of the brain, they must exist outside the physical dimension. That fact is self-evident on the basis of the many thoughts for which there is no physical counterpart nor any physical stimulus: truth, justice, holiness, perfection, God, ad infinitum. Indeed, consciousness itself exists outside the realm of science. Michael Polanyi argued:
The most striking feature of our own existence is our sentience [consciousness]. The laws of physics and chemistry include no conception of sentience, and any system wholly determined by these [physical laws] must be insentient [i.e. without consciousness].
It may be to the interests of science to turn a blind eye on this central fact of the universe, but it is certainly not in the interest of truth.
No matter how “intelligent” a computer may be, it can only do what it has been programmed to do. Nor can the brain, though far more complex than any computer, think on its own. If thought were the result of neural activity in the brain, we would all be helplessly dragged along by chemical/electrical processes determining our thoughts and even our morals and emotions. No rational person can accept that hypothesis because we demonstrate our power of choice, and thus control of our brain cells, countless times each day. There is a “ghost” in the machine. The human soul and spirit do the thinking and use the brain to communicate these thoughts to the body and through the body to others. (Emphasis added).
It comes as no surprise why Stephan Joubert is so brain-drained besotted with the brain research by scholars who have a special affinity for Buddhism and Eastern mysticism. He has always maintained that truth may be found in other religions, and indeed, very little research is necessary to conclude why Buddhism in particular inspired him to make such a statement. In fact, the Dalai Lama who plays a major role in the enhancement and advancement of brain research, could be the brain behind Stephan Joubert’s article which he calls “The most dangerous word in your vocabulary.”
Every year or so the head of Tibetan Buddhism invites a group of scientists to his home in Dharamsala, in Northern India, to discuss their work and how Buddhism might contribute to it.
In 2004 the subject was neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change its structure and function in response to experience. The following are vignettes adapted from “Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain,” which describes this emerging area of science:
The Dalai Lama, who had watched a brain operation during a visit to an American medical school over a decade earlier, asked the surgeons a startling question: Can the mind shape brain matter? [Can you change or reshape your brain using mind over matter techniques?]
Over the years, he said, neuroscientists had explained to him that mental experiences reflect chemical and electrical changes in the brain. When electrical impulses zip through our visual cortex, for instance, we see; when neurochemicals course through the limbic system we feel.
But something had always bothered him about this explanation, the Dalai Lama said. Could it work the other way around? That is, in addition to the brain giving rise to thoughts and hopes and beliefs and emotions that add up to this thing we call the mind, maybe the mind also acts back on the brain to cause physical changes in the very matter that created it. If so, then pure thought would change the brain’s activity, its circuits or even its structure. (You can read the article here).
By the by, like all his emergent co-followers of Jesus Christ, Stephan Joubert loves to twist Jesus Christ’s words and to plagiarize the words of others, especially of unbelievers. He based his article entirely on a post published by Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg in “Psychology Today” (1 August 2012) which they call “The Most Dangerous Word in the World.” Naughty, naughty, Stephan. You could at least have given two of the most prominent brain researches some kind of credit. You actually do say in your article above that you mentioned them in your original article (Media24 on 4th June 2015). Check it out for yourself. He never mentioned their names – not even once.
Do you want to meet the kind of god Stephan Joubert and his buddies at ekerk worship? Well check out this video to meet the god Stephan Joubert worships together with Andrew Newberg, Mark Waldman, Caroline Leaf, Michelle Strydom and many others in South Africa.
Stephan Joubert morphing Jesus Christ
Or, is Stephan Joubert trying to morph Jesus Christ into the kind of God Mark Waldman and Andrew Newberg believe in by telling us that “Jesus never spoke negatively with those for whom He came to earth. He never wrote off sinners with sharp or harsh words or threatened them with fire and brimstone.” The following video by Brian Johnson “How God Changes Your Brain by Andrew Newberg MD & Mark Robert Waldman” demonstrates from whence Stephan Joubert gets his very dangerous“new positive confessionist” ideas.
About 7 minutes and 4 seconds into the video Brian Johnson says the following on the topic of “faith.”
The fifth one (faith) brings us back to more of the God conversation. So, spiritual practices [meditation, contemplative prayer, centering prayer, yoga, silence, solitude etc.] have been shown to boost your personal well-being, neurology and all that good stuff. Quick caveat: fundamentalists’ beliefs in the kinda harsh passages in the Bible, the Qur’an or whatever are negatively correlated. Those create negative issues in your well-being.
So we wanna have – and they [Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman] jokingly say the surgeon general [they mockingly speak of the God of the Bible in a fierce derogatory way] , should have warnings on certain passages in the Bible, warnings like ‘this particular passage is not good for your health’. So, we ought to focus on the benevolent God; not the merciless, ruthless kill-our-neighbors-who-don’t-agree-with-us approach. Right?
But the essence of what we want to get out of our faith is faith, and faith can be in the god of our choice or of our practice or in ourselves, in our own beliefs. So, having a sense that we have a positive future in store for us, faith in the quality of our lives, in whatever frame we arrive at that, is essential.
We [ought to] believe that our lives are getting better and better and better. We have faith, we have hope, we have optimism. Doubt is toxic. Not having belief in something good that’s about to happen or faith in the bigger picture is toxic. We want to cultivate our hope, our optimism, our faith, our self-efficacy, our self-confidence, our trust in ourselves in that what we believe is right for us. HUGE!
The most toxic and negative statement in the Bible, according to Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman which the “surgeon general” should hang a warning sign on, is of course John 14:6.
YES! When you are already in hell because you refused to acknowledge the very toxic truth that Jesus Christ is the only Way to God, you can cultivate all those practices Brain Johnson mentions in his video and visualize a bright future; YES, even in hell. Better still, is to cultivate Rob Bell’s non-toxic ideas in his book “LOVE WINS” which says that everyone will eventually go to heaven.
Let us now examine Stephan Joubert’s morphing Jesus.
POSITIVE CONFESSION QUENCHES THE FIRES OF HELL
What should we make of this supremely positive statement?
His language is water for any fire.
Stephan Joubert rightly says that Jesus loved to tell people He is the living water and the bread who came down from heaven. However, he never once tells his readers there are certain conditions to be met before the living water and bread can benefit them spiritually. In fact, man’s response to his statement can either have a deeply positive or profound negative effect on, not only a person’s brain but his entire life after death. Listen carefully to what Jesus actually said,
53Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:53-58)
Every single word in these verses is positive. Nonetheless, they also imply a profound negativity if people refuse to do as He says. If you do not eat his flesh and drink his blood (believe on Him as the Scriptures say) you cannot expect to receive eternal life which will ultimately have profound negative consequences for you – in hell.
After Jesus had given his followers a peace of his mind in telling them they could not have any part in Him if they refused to eat his flesh and drink his blood (believe on Him as the Scriptures say), He emphatically stated that there were some among them who did not believe (John 6:64). They promptly did one of the most negative things they could have done and that was to abandon Him and no longer walk with Him. He even asked his immediate disciples whether they too did not want to do the negative thing and go away as well. It was then when Peter made this amazingly wonderful and positive statement, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, . .” (John 6:68).
“NO!” (here again is that negative, pesky and very dangerous word), saith Stephan Joubert and his wise sages; Andrew Newberg and Mark Waldman, “we should not go to Jesus Christ who has the words of eternal life. We should consult our wonderful brain and rather meditate on positive things than on negative things like hell and eternal damnation. These things are toxic and must be banished from our brain.”
Joubert’s statement “His language is water for any fire” is probably the most outlandish ever made by homo sapiens, especially when you couple it with his statement “He never wrote off sinners with sharp words or threatened them with fire and brimstone.” If his language is water for any fire (including the fires of hell) he must at least have warned sinners once or twice in well-articulated language and words against the Lake of Fire. He could never have put out the fire of hell without ever saying a word of warning against it.
The expression to “write off someone” means among other things “to give up on someone as a dead loss, a waste of time or a hopeless case.” To establish whether Jesus never wrote off sinners, as Stephen Joubert likes to assert, we need to look at some Bible passages that state the opposite. Let us turn to the narrative about the rich man in Mark 10. Assuming that everyone who reads this article knows the gist of the narrative in Mark 10, it is enough to say that Jesus did not run after the rich man in an effort to convince him that his language (words) had already quenched the fires of hell and that it was OK with Him not to abandon the one thing – his riches – that prevented him from following Him. NO! (here’s that dangerous word again), Jesus wrote him off and gave up on him as a dead loss. In fact, He knew even before the foundation of the world that the rich man would choose his great riches in stead of following Him and eventually land up in hell. It is quite obvious that Jesus’ language (words) did not quench the fires of hell for the rich man.
Similarly, Jesus wrote off Judas Iscariot. Indeed, here again Jesus knew even before the foundation of the world that Judas Iscariot would never repent of his evil and receive Him as his Savior.
12And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
13And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13).
It is quite obvious that Jesus’ language did not quench the fires of hell for Judas Iscariot either.
Another very outlandish thing that came from Stephan Joubert’s “positive confessionist” lips is the following,
“He never wrote off sinners with sharp words or threatened them with fire and brimstone.”
Jesus never threatened sinners with the fires of hell but He did warn them of their impending destiny if they did not believe that He was the Christ sent by his Father to seek and to save lost sinners.
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24).
The phrase “die in your sins” simply means that they were lost and the word “lost” means they were on their way to hell unless they repented.
Stephan who often speaks on the book of Revelation in his public addresses knows that Jesus Christ personally inspired John on the island of Patmos to write down everything He told him.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. (Revelation 1:10-11).
It clearly asserts that everything written down in the book of Revelation, including the revelation about the Lake of Fiire, is not the random thoughts or ramblings of a mere human being but the prophecies of God Himself. I can assure you that He made no bones about the Lake of Fire and who are going to be cast into it when He returns to judge the world.
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20).
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Revelation 20:10).
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15).
Is Stephan Joubert lying?
It is obvious that Stephan Joubert is lying when he says “Jesus never spoke negatively with those for whom He came to earth. He never wrote off sinners with sharp or harsh words or threatened them with fire and brimstone.” If the lake of fire and brimstone in the Book of Revelation is a hazardous threat to humankind, and indeed it is, then Jesus did actually threaten them. Think of it this way. If Stephan Joubert warned his children that they would be punished if they should disobey him or their mother, was it a warning or a threat? He may have thought it was not a threat but his kids would surely have interpreted his warning as a threat.
As for Stephan’s claim that Jesus never uttered a harsh word, what would he say of these passages?
And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32).
But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 16:23).
You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
When Peter rebuked Jesus for saying that He was to be crucified, Jesus turned and said to him “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Oops, Jesus how dare you use such harsh words against one of your beloved disciples.
If Jesus is God, and I’m sure Stephan Joubert would agree that He is, then God gave Moses the Ten Commandments which are the most negative set of rules there are. However, let us play a little game, something Stephan Joubert loves to do from time to time, and change the Ten Commandments into something more positive by only using the word “YES” in stead of “NO.” Stephan also encourages his followers to ask questions. So, let’s use the Ten Commandments as a Q&A exercise.
|Jesus, may we have other gods beside you?||YES, of course you may. As Stepan Joubert, one of my most ardent followers said, I never say no. I always say Yes!, Yes! I’m an optimist, not a disillusionist.|
|May we make graven images and bow ourselves before them?||YES, of course you may. I am a very tolerant God with not an inkling of holy jealousy in my heart. So, go ahead and worship whoever and whatever you wish. Stephan, my blue-eyed Yes/No brain specialist, is quite correct in saying that everything is holy. Well, then idols and idolatry are also very holy.|
|May we take your Name in vain?||YES, of course you may. My Name is just a common as yours. I was not given a Name above any other. Paul was lying when he wrote that I was highly exalted and given a Name above every name (Philippians 2:9).|
|May we treat our mothers and fathers like dirt?||YES, of course you may. Honoring your fathers and mothers so that you may live long is old fashioned. Go for it, treat them like dirt.|
|May we kill.||Yes, there’s nothing wrong in murdering your fellowmen. John Calvin did it, so why can’t you?|
|May we commit adultery.||Yes, of course you may. I am no spoiler who wants to rob you of a little fun.|
|May we steal?||Yes, of course you may. There’s nothing wrong in taking what belongs to others.|
|May we bear false witness against our neighbors?||Yes, of course you may. Not only may you bear false witness against your neighbors; you may also bear false witness against Me as Stephan Joubert has been doing so lovingly against Me.|
|May we covet our neighbors belongings and their wives and husbands etc.?||Why ask? Yes, of course you may. Stephan is quite correct in saying everything is holy.|
So, as you can see, Stephan worships a God who never says no. He won’t even say no to those who hate Him, malign Him, misrepresent Him, curse Him, do not believe on Him, persecute Him, mock Him and deride Him. He will say to them, Yes, my little creatures, enter into my glorious kingdom for it is your destiny, your place of eternal rest, peace, happiness and joy. YES!!! Don’t let your brilliant little brains tell you otherwise because I do not want to detox your brains with the word NO.
I said it before and I will say it again. Stephan Joubert is the most dangerous false teacher in South Africa. Beware if him.