WHAT IS INCARNATIONAL SPIRITUALITY?
Lesslie Newbigin offers one of the best definitions of incarnational spirituality. The following is an excerpt from “Assessing Missional Orientation: Observing Biblical Community, Incarnational Service, Bold and Humble Witness, and Reproduction of Disciples in The Light of an Awareness of the Holy Spirit” by Tim Volkman.
Newbigin pictures the church as God’s embassy in a specific place: “It will be a community that does not live for itself but is deeply involved in the concerns of its neighborhood.
It will be the church for the specific place where it lives, not the church for those who wish to be members of it” (1)
Each local congregation is an outpost of God’s kingdom and is to be a place from which the good news overflows in good action. Guder et al. state, “The Church represents the reign of God by its deeds as servants to God’s passion for the world’s life” (2)
In the same vein, Storey comments that service is not merely a Christian duty but a part of worship, “The Church that fails to serve the needs of people on weekdays can bring no Sunday worship to its King . . .
The truly Christian Church preaches from a platform of sacrificial service to the needy of die earth.” (3) A kingdom of God mentality and heart will cause the church to love its community, and all people within its community.
This love will be expressed in practical service, concern, involvement, and care, with no strings attached, as the Church realizes that service is a reflection of the self-giving, others-centered triune God.
This kingdom mind-set and community involvement leads the Church to see ministry as much broader than church work. In practical terms, a missional church might seek to involve as many, or more, people to be serving out in the community as those serving inside the church walls.
No distinction is made between kingdom business and Church business. All activity that flows from the Church and from individual Christians has potential kingdom significance.
As a missional church engages the world with compassion, justice, and service, these encounters with the world become signs that the kingdom of God is now present in the world and is on its way in the future.
These acts bring wholeness and dignity to the world and thereby provide a taste of the kingdom, and these “signs” invite people to listen when the gospel is proclaimed. (Emphasis added).
Have you noticed the paradigm shift from proclaiming the Gospel to humanitarian work? These acts (of incarnational community service and compassion) supposedly bring wholeness and dignity to a broken world and not so much the forgiveness of sin through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Indeed, the Gospel must be made more palatable as a means to invite people to listen (and not necessarily to repent and believe the Gospel) to what we have to say when we proclaim a Social Gospel. Stephan Joubert articulated this particular paradigm shift as follows.
It [the Emergent Church] involves people who have a passion to say [that] the world and its culture in our generation need to be won back to Christ. And therefore I am not going to criticise their culture but I’m going to engage it.
Therefore, I’m not going to take on their spirituality and postulate my truths. I’m going to listen to what they have to say because I can prove [to them] the truth ad infinitum as I did in the 1960’s, and I can debate with a Buddhist or a Hindu and sit there with them and say “here is my truth, here are my stuff.”
But now as an Emerging Church guy I will say [to them], let us listen. I’m not going to try and change you but you also have the right to hear how I feel and I’m not going to make any excuses for who I am. I’m not going to force my religion down your throat.
The Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa launched a “Season of Listening” project in 2010 to bridge the emotional, generational economical, prejudicial, cultural, and spiritual boundaries in society.
However, at the very outset, during their inaugural ceremony at the theological faculty, University of Pretoria (a veritable synagogue of Satan), they showed that they wanted to go far beyond their stated missional purpose when they invited an atheist, Prof. George Claassen to deliver the keynote speech.
Prof. George Claassen, the science editor of Die Burger, a daily Afrikaans newspaper in the Cape, is an outspoken enemy of the cross of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:18).
He aggressively promotes the Darwinian atheist, Richard Dawkins and the sceptic, Michael Shirmer and believes that religion is a mental virus. Yet, not one of the several hundred ministers, theologians, academics, students and visitors in attendance, including Prof. Cornél du Toit and Prof. Danie Veldsman repudiated him.
Lesslie Newbigin states:
The church is the bearer to all the nations of a gospel that announces the kingdom, the reign, and the sovereignty of God.
It calls men and women to repent of their false loyalty to other powers, to become believers in the one true sovereignty, and so to become corporately a sign, instrument, and foretaste of that sovereignty of the one true and living God over all nature, all nations, and all human lives.
It is not meant to call men and women out of the world into a safe religious enclave but to call them out in order to send them back as agents of God’s kingship. (4)
Like all loyal Calvinists who believe in the election and salvation of only a select few, Newbigin could not articulate repentance as Jesus and his disciples enunciated it, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15).
He could only say: “repent of your false loyalty to other powers.” Why? Because only the elect are given the gift of faith to believe the Gospel, according to TULIP. However, Newbegin very deftly used the word “chosen” to fit into his missional and Kingdom-now agenda.
In his book, The Open Season, he wrote:
If a footnote to the story [of Noah] is allowed, we may take it from another story of a storm at sea, recorded in Acts 27. From the point of view of the story of salvation, it is Paul who is at the center of the story’s interest.
The rest of the ship’s company scarcely interests us. It is Paul who must carry the word of God to Rome. Yet at the height of the storm an angel says to Paul: “Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and lo, God has granted you all those who sail with you” (Acts 27:24).
God’s purpose of blessing has its focus, at the moment, on Paul; but its scope includes all who travel with him.
The Bible, then, is covered with God’s purpose of blessing for all the nations. It is concerned with the completion of God’s purpose in the creation of the world and of man within the world.
It is not — to put it crudely — concerned with offering a way of escape for the redeemed soul out of history, but with the action of God to bring history to its true end.
The Old Testament therefore is full of visions of a restored humanity living in peace and happiness within a renewed creation.
These visions are not of an otherworldly bliss, but of earthly happiness and prosperity (Pss. 82 and 144), of wise and just government, of a renewed nature in which kindness has replaced the law of the jungle (Isaiah 1:1-9).
But this universal purpose of blessing is not to be effected by means of a universal revelation to all humanity.
There is, as we have seen, a process of selection: a few are chosen to be the bearers of the purpose; they are chosen, not for themselves, but the sake of all. (5) (Emphasis added).
Elective salvation, as Newbigin, saw it, is not universal (God’s will is not that all should be saved because not all are elected or predestined unto salvation).
However, God’s general blessing is for all the nations and only the elect have been chosen to assist God in the completion of his purpose which is to bring history to its true end.
Newbigin’s theology of election seems to have little to do, if anything, with individual salvation, except that the elect are chosen to carry the message of salvation [temporal blessings] to others. In “The Gospel in a Pluralist Society” He writes,
We have to take as our starting point, and as the controlling reality for all our thinking on this as on every theological topic, what God has actually done in Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus Christ that, as Paul says, we are elect from the foundation of the world…
The risen Jesus did not appear to everyone. He did not appear (as is often foolishly asserted) to the believers; there were no believers before he appeared to them. He appeared, as the Scripture makes clear, to those who had been chosen beforehand as witnesses.
They are chosen not for themselves, not to be the exclusive beneficiaries of God’s saving work, but to be the bearers of the secret of his saving work for the sake of all.
They are chosen to go and bear fruit. To be chosen, to be elect, therefore does not mean that the elect are the saved and the rest are the lost.
To be elect in Christ Jesus, and there is no other election, means to be incorporated into his mission to the world, to be the bearer of God’s saving purpose for his whole world, to be the sign and the agent and the first fruit of his blessed kingdom which is for all.
According to Newbigin, the elect are chosen to be the bearers of the message of the Kingdom which is for all. His salvific theology fits more into Rob Bell’s Gospel than that of Jesus Christ.
Indeed, the postmodern missionary model has shifted from a personal salvific experience to a communal, transformational and reconciliatory missional paradigm which finds its niche in the emergent church’s view of the Kingdom of God — an all-inclusive universalistic Kingdom which is perhaps defined best by Rob Bell’s statement “a giant resurrection rescue” in one of his Nooma videos on YouTube.
The gospel is the good news that God hasn’t given up on the world, that the tomb is empty and that a giant resurrection rescue is underway and that you and I can be a part of it.
And so yes, this has a deeply personal dimension to it. Jesus is saving me. He’s saving me from my sins, from my mistakes, from my pride, from my indifference to the suffering of the world around me, from my cynicism and despair.
The brokenness I see in the world around me is true of my own soul, and so he’s rescuing me, moment by moment, day by day, because God wants to put it all back together—you, me, the whole world. And so he starts deep inside each of us with our awareness that we need help, that we need saving, that we need rescuing.
And then he begins to show us step by step what it looks like to put flesh and blood on this gospel. Because we all fall short, and that’s the beautiful part.
Broken, flawed, vulnerable people like you and me are invited to be the hands and feet of a Jesus who loves us exactly as we are and yet loves us way too much to let us stay that way.
I believe. I believe because I see. I see the resurrection all around me. If people only had your life and they were asked the question, “Has Jesus risen from the dead?,” how would they answer? Has he?
May you be a “yes” to the question, “Has Jesus risen from the dead?” And may you come to see, may you understand, that you are the good news. You are the gospel. (Emphasis added).
Gone are the days when words from the Word of God were used to proclaim the Gospel. Now, your deeds of compassion, generosity and philanthropy are the building stones of the Gospel.
In short: God is busy rebuilding his Kingdom on earth step by step and little by little, and you (your hands and feet, your compassion, your love, and your generosity) are the Gospel. Newbigin said exactly the same thing in a different way.
He said: You are the elect. Go into all the world and show people that the Kingdom of God is already here.
In their book, Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures, Eddy Gibbs and Ryan K. Bolger, put it like this:
Emerging leaders represent a spectrum of thought on the topic of evangelizing, but no matter whether they are to the right or to the left, they all regard evangelism in terms of an open-ended conversation and an embodied way of life as distinct from a result-geared confrontation.
This stance reflects their own negative experiences and also a keen sensitivity toward the kind of people among whom they minister. Johnny Sertin (Bartonka, Bournemouth, U.K.) agrees.
“You say the gospel by living it. Changing worship might be interesting, but the focus must be the incarnation. I won’t live or die for a worship meeting, but I would give my life for living incarnationally, and ultimately Christianity is about what you would live and die for.” (Emphasis added). (6)
This is why Stephan Joubert could say with emergent conviction:
“Remember: every person that you serve turns into an immediate friend of Jesus. Go one step further: see him or her as Jesus in disguise.
Wow! Who needs the Gospel of God when our incarnational friends can change the enemies of God into friends of Jesus in the twinkling of an eye by merely serving them?
These guys are willing to die for a toothless gospel in the place of the true Gospel which they say is a “result-geared confrontation,” meaning of course that you don’t tell others that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.
There is nothing new about this. A demon, called Djwal Kuhl said it decades ago. The incarnational brethren are doing exactly what the demon Djwal Kuhl told Alice Bailey to do.
Note carefully the words “a universal and recurring (ongoing) resurrection,” “the rebuilding which humanity (and not God Himself) must undertake,” and her scornful reference to Christ Jesus at the right hand of God, awaiting his Father’s timing to return to earth and to establish his Kingdom who “portrays a picture of a waiting, quiescent (inactive) Christ, living in some vague and far away heaven, ‘resting on his laurels’ and practically doing nothing very much until such time as the sons of men of every race and creed acclaim Him as Savior.”
An Easter Message
Easter Day 1945
On this day, we recall to our minds the fact of Resurrection – a universal and eternally recurring resurrection. I would like to talk with you anent the Christ, about His work as head of the Hierarchy, and about the rebuilding which humanity must undertake and which the Hierarchy is seeking to impulse at this time.
A great period of reconstruction is planned. Here are the two words around which I wish to create my theme: Resurrection and Reconstruction.
It will be a reconstruction implemented by Those Who know the meaning of resurrection, and it will involve a resurrection of humanity through the medium of its intelligentsia and men and women of goodwill.
These two groups (the Hierarchy and Humanity) will need to be brought into a closer rapport, and this is entirely possible if the followers of the Christ realize their opportunity and shoulder their responsibilities.
I would point out that when I use the phrase “followers of the Christ” I refer to all those who love their fellowmen, irrespective of creed or religion. Only upon this basic premise can a hopeful future be founded.
I do not care whether or not those who read my words accept the occult teaching of a spiritual and planetary Hierarchy over which the Christ presides, or whether they think in terms of Christ and His disciples.
The essential recognition for which I plead is that this great group of spiritual Individuals, Who receive so general a recognition throughout the world and in all the great religions, should be regarded as active.
The Christian view of the Christ is built upon that which He enacted for us two thousand years ago and through which He symbolically indicated to us the way which all aspirants must go.
It portrays a picture of a waiting, quiescent Christ, living in some vague and far away heaven, “resting on His laurels” and practically doing nothing very much until such time as the sons of men of every race and creed acclaim Him as Savior; this they must do both as individuals and as representing the organized Christian Church.
It is a picture of a listening, observing Christ, animated by pity and compassion, but Who has done all He could and now waits for us to do our part; it is also a picture of One Who waits to see what humanity, as a whole, will accept theologically.
In the mind of the narrow, fundamentalist theologian, Christ is seen as presiding over a peaceful place called Heaven, into which the elect are welcomed; He is also seen as consigning all who remain aware of their own spiritual integrity and responsibility, who refuse to be gathered into organized churches or who go idly or wickedly through life, to some vague place of eternal punishment.
To this vast multitude (probably the majority) His love and compassion apparently do not reach, and His heart remains untouched. It appears that He cares not whether they suffer eternally or attain complete annihilation.
This surely cannot be so. None of these pictures is accurate or adequate; they are not true in any sense of the word. . . Resurrection is the clue to the world of meaning, and is the fundamental theme of all the world religions – past, present and the future.
Resurrection of the spirit in man, in all forms in all kingdoms, is the objective of the entire evolutionary process and this involves liberation from materialism and selfishness.
[Thomas says: Stephan Joubert encourages church clergy to sell their churches and to give the money to the poor].
In that resurrection, evolution and death are only preparatory and familiar stages.
The note and message sounded by the Christ when last on Earth was resurrection, but so morbid has been mankind and so enveloped in glamor and illusion, that His death has been permitted to sidestep understanding; consequently, for centuries, the emphasis has been laid upon death, and only on Easter Day or in the cemeteries is the resurrection acclaimed.
This must change. It is not helpful to a progressive understanding of the eternal verities to have this condition perpetuated. The Hierarchy is today dedicated to bringing about this change and thus altering the approach of mankind to the world of the unseen and to the spiritual realities. (Emphasis added). (7)
Consequently the incarnational brethren must of a necessity take a dim view of biblical eschatology because it does not fit into their agenda of a Kingdom-now theology.
Therefore, it is quite obvious why Newbigin took a swipe at the Pre-Trib Rapture when he said, “It is not — to put it crudely — concerned with offering a way of escape for the redeemed soul out of history.”
This is the typical attitude of the Kingdom-now/Dominionist/Incarnational disciples who have no regard for biblical eschatology. Rick Warren, who calls Pope Francis “our beloved Pope” has no regard for biblical eschatology either. He stated:
When the disciples wanted to talk about prophecy, Jesus quickly switched the conversation to evangelism. He wanted them to concentrate on their mission in the world. He said in essence, “The details of my return are none of your business. What is your business is the mission I have given you. Focus on that!” (PDL, p. 285) (8)
Their agenda is one of universalism in the sense that all mankind will eventually benefit from a new earth and all its relevant blessings “but this universal purpose of blessing is not to be affected by means of a universal revelation [of eternal salvation] to all humanity,” as Lesslie Newbigin said.
To give his view biblical impetus, Newbigin refers to Acts 27 where the story of salvation proper is limited to Paul in the stormy sea but where the general blessing of temporal safety is extended to those who were sailing with him.
The allegory is obvious. I wonder what Newbigin made of the parable in Matthew 22:1-14, especially where Jesus says to the wedding guest who had no wedding garment, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?”
A.W. Tozer summed up the grievous dangers of incarnational spirituality perfectly when he said:
The new cross encourages a new and entirely different evangelistic approach. The evangelist does not demand abnegation of the old life before a new life can be received.
He preaches not contrasts but similarities. He seeks to key into public interest by showing that Christianity makes no unpleasant demands; rather, it offers the same thing the world does, only on a higher level.
Whatever the sin-mad world happens to be clamouring after at the moment is cleverly shown to be the very thing the gospel offers, only the religious product is better.
That [kind of] evangelism which draws friendly parallels between the ways of God and the ways of men is false to the Bible and cruel to the souls of its hearers.
The faith of Christ does not parallel the world, it intersects it. In coming to Christ we do not bring our old life up onto a higher plane; we leave it at the cross. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die.
We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world.
We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education.
We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. (9) (Emphasis added).
These are some of the buzz-words the incarnational disciples use to circumvent the ultimatum to which Tozer referred.
- Sacrificial living
- Coram Deo
- Taking possession
- Everything is holy
- Divine spark
- Global Leadership (DNA)
- Namaste (Acknowledging the God within everyone)
INCARNATIONAL SPIRITUALITY: BAD MIXTURES AND BADLY YOKED RELATIONSHIPS
God hates mixtures. OK! but what do bad mixtures have in common with “incarnational spirituality”? To set the tone, we should perhaps begin by looking at what God says about bad mixtures and badly yoked relationships in Scripture.
You shall not plough with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear cloth of wool and linen mixed together. (Deuteronomy 22:10-11).
You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material. (Leviticus 19:19).
Taken at face value these Old Testament commandments may seem to be obsolete in a generation who now lives in the aftermath of the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ.
Why should it be applicable to us when we are told that Jesus Christ has fulfilled the entire Law in our behalf and that we are no longer under the Law but under grace? (Romans 6:14-15).
Nowadays we may throw a quick perplexed glance at someone who dares to tell us, “Take off your warm woolly jersey because it is a sin to wear it with your linen shirt.”
Except for poorer countries where oxen and donkeys are an everyday commodity, their use in modern Western countries are completely obsolete.
Henceforth the command to refrain from yoking an ox and a donkey to plow a field is no longer in vogue.
However, could it be that these archaic commands may still have some kind of spiritual meaning for us and if so, what are these spiritual truths they convey?
The term “yoke” obviously has a profound spiritual meaning in the Bible, especially when we take into account what Jesus once said about yoking.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Christians are familiar with the animals three of the synoptic Gospels use to portray Jesus.
- In Matthew we see the Messiah-King (the lion).
- In Mark we see Jehovah’s Servant (the ox). (Please bear this in mind when we discuss “incarnational spirituality” together with “servant leadership” in more detail later on).
- In Luke we see the Son of Man (the man).
- In John we see the Son of God (the eagle).
Whereas an ox is an ideal allegory to portray selfless service, patience and longsuffering, a donkey or an ass epitomizes stiffneckedness and stubbornness. In fact, it portrays the heart of an unbeliever who needs to be redeemed.
Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. (Exodus 13:13).
The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. (Exodus 34:20).
Oxen, like sheep, were clean animals and permitted to be sacrificed on the altar for Israel’s sins. Donkeys were unclean animals and could not be offered. They needed to be redeemed in order to be cleansed of their defilement or killed if they were not redeemed. (Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 6:23).
As you may have noticed this Old Testament command relates to mankind’s corporate rebellion, stubbornness and disobedience, consequently defiling and disqualifying itself as a self-offering (sacrificial) atonement to God. A clean, pure and sinless substitute had to be sacrificed in mankind’s place.
Every true Christian and follower of Jesus Christ knows it. Nonetheless, a growing number of Christians are deliberately or inadvertently working in tandem with unbelievers of other faiths to establish the Kingdom of God on earth which they have dubbed INCARNATIONAL SPIRITUALITY.
They do not mind to be unequally yoked with unbelievers to transform the communities of the world. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
INCARNATIONAL SPIRITUALITY: UNIQUELY CHRISTIAN OR AN INERRELIGIOUS/INTERFAITH PHENOMENON?
Let’s be honest and admit that Christians are the most gullible creatures on the face of the earth. All you need to do is to use the right biblical terminology like incarnation, literal and bodily resurrection, Kingdom of God, missional etc. and you immediately have them eating out of your hand.
No wonder Satan is causing havoc among Christians. Most Christians do not discern and realize that Satan is at his most dangerous when he presents himself as an angel of light and inspires his disciples to use and abuse biblical terminology for the advancement of his own kingdom of darkness that looks and sounds like the Kingdom of God. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
If there is one thing we need to know in order to understand the missional paradigm most churches have opted for, it is, as Paul once said, to know the devices of the devil. (2 Corinthians 2:11). Satan is a masterful imitator.
His lies are imitations of the truth and he is continually inspiring his disciples in the Emergent Church to redefine, refurbish and change the meaning of biblical words and terms.
Before we venture to wade any deeper into the waters of incarnational spirituality, I must first explain the reason why I decided to write this article. I have always been rather sceptical about some of the new trends missionaries have adopted to advance the Kingdom of God on earth.
In one of my close working relationships with a missionary to Thailand many years ago, I realized how unobtrusively Satan works to inculcate missionaries’ minds with his destructive ideas.
In one of her monthly newsletters she wrote how deeply impressed she was with a book she had read by Stephen Covey, entitled, “The Seven Habits of Highly effective People.” Well, so what, you may say. Stephen Covey is a Christian. Really?
The fact is – aside from being a Mormon – that much of Stephen Covey’s ideas on leadership are steeped in Eastern Mysticism. He once said in an interview:
When I am in India I always use the “Namaste” greeting, saluting the God within you. I really do believe that we are all children of God, and I often acknowledge that God is the source of the principles and the emperor of all the credit and glory.
I say to those who are not of this belief, “That’s fine, I respect you as well, I just want you to know that personally I believe that the source of all the principles that give your life its integrity, and its power and its meaning, all of them link up to the Divine.” (10) (Emphasis added).
Covey’s incarnational/missional/panentheistic mindset shines through in many of his writings but one of the most shocking things he said, was that Mahatma Ghandi was his spiritual and missional hero.
When asked “Who is one of your personal heroes” he promptly answered:
Mahatma Gandhi. Let me read you his personal mission statement:
“Let the first act of every morning be to make the following resolve for the day:
- I shall not fear anyone on Earth.
- I shall fear only God.
- I shall not bear ill will toward anyone.
- I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
- I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.” (11)
To what truth was Ghandi referring? It could not have been the Bible of which Jesus Christ once said, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17).
The prerequisite for being sanctified through God’s Word which is ultimately the only truth, is salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Ghandi said:
What, then, does Jesus mean to me? To me, he was one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had. To his believers, he was God’s only begotten Son.
Could the fact that I do or do not accept this belief make Jesus have any more or less influence in my life? Is all the grandeur of his teaching and of his doctrine to be forbidden to me? I cannot believe so. (12)
Ghandi’s statement of faith regarding Jesus Christ, if you will, is perhaps the best summary of what incarnational spirituality in its deepest essence means.
In his estimate your acceptance or rejection of the truth that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God neither qualifies you for nor disqualifies you from the benefits of the doctrines of “one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had.”
Ghandi obviously did not have Jesus Christ’s doctrine of eternal redemption in mind and neither did he echo Peter’s words “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” when he said this, but he explicitly referred to those doctrines expressed in Christ’s words “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31), “Love thy neighbour as thyself” (Matthew 19:19), and “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
In fact, the incarnational protagonists emphasize these particular doctrines to the detriment of the one doctrine Jesus Christ’s incarnation emphatically emboldens and that is, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
As we’ve already seen, the terms “sacrificial living” and “incarnational spirituality” are used interchangeably. Sacrificial giving and living are presumably necessary components to advance the Kingdom of God on earth here and now.
Its primary purpose, as the incarnational disciples would like to tell us, is to heal a broken world and to bring to fruition God’s dream for the world.
Not even Jesus Christ, the One and only Person who knew what it meant to live sacrificially and lived it to its full capacity, was able to advance the Kingdom of God by living sacrificially in his own time.
Why? – Simply because the Jewish nation refused to accept his message of reconciliation, repentance and salvation.
When He presented the Kingdom of God to the Jews – an earthly dominion promised to Israel and not the church – its immediate establishment was contingent on repentance and a firm belief in his Gospel. (Mark 1:15). This could not happen then, and was postponed because the Jews rejected their Messiah.
Incarnational spirituality augments whatever man thinks he must do to uplift and enhance world cultures in the spirit of Jesus Christ’s incarnational and sacrificial mission to the earth (in service and suffering), and diminishes the main purpose of Christ’s incarnation which was to die on the cross and to save mankind from its hell-bound cultures, the very thing Incarnational Spirituality deems to incorporate in the Kingdom of God. (1 John 5:19).
In fact, John 3:16 has already been “incarnated” into something with a completely new meaning. In his booklet Incarnational Spiritually, the New Ager, American spiritual philosopher and self-described “practical mystic” David Spangler wrote:
While there may be many reasons why a soul extends itself into this world, at the heart is simply one reason. Love.
For we so love the world, that we are willing to give ourselves to it, become part of it, live and work and radiate within it.
And that love is a fundamental part of the power and energy that erupts into being through our incarnational act, becoming part of our inner resources of spiritual energy. It is “gold” that backs up and gives value to the “currency” in our incarnational bank vault.
It isn’t just that I have this vault of spiritual energies sitting in my bank; I open that vault through that love that can honor and empower not just my incarnation (though that is important) but all incarnations.
I take on the willingness to be a source of blessing, and the vault of blessing opens up to me.
In practical terms, this means that I recognize that I, as an incarnate, physical, material, individualized, personalized human being, am capable of being a source of spiritual energy and blessing.
Spiritual energy and blessing does not only come from transpersonal, non-physical, numinous, higher levels. It is part of my everyday capacities here and now. It is part of my personhood. It is part of my body. It is part of my incarnation.
Incarnational Spirituality is partly about bringing spiritual energy into our everyday lives.
But that is only a part, and not the main part. In a sense, this is really a by-product of the main thrust of Incarnational Spirituality.
The central point is that the process of incarnation itself—the process of being a specific, particular, unique, individual, physical and personal human being—can generate spiritual energy.
We don’t have to “go” anywhere else to have spiritual capacities here and now as physical beings. We don’t have to become something special to gain the capacity to bless, to love, to empower, to support, and to bring light into the world. (13) (Emphasis added)
And should you think Spangler’s blasphemous metamorphoses of John 3:16 is merely the brainchild of a New Age kook, you are deceived because “Christians” in the mystic Emergent fold are doing exactly the same. Stephan Joubert once said:
The church was not directly within Jesus’ scope. He came to announce Cod’s kingdom Cod’s new world where Shalom, heavenly peace, reigns.
The church is the most important sign of God’s kingdom, but church is not a goal in itself. The church always stands in service of the kingdom. It is subordinated to the kingdom.
According to Jesus, access to the kingdom of Cod happens through metanoia, or the way we translate it ’’repentance’* (Mark 1:15). Today, repentance is often downscaled to moral behaviour adjustments.
However, to Jesus metanoia is not a moral course alteration that leads to two different worlds – one home to sinners, and another one way over there where the holy ones congregate.
Metanoia means think and live radically different – every day, everywhere, and amongst everyone – in the light of God’s new reign that has already come.
Don’t get me wrong — I believe John 14:6 with my whole heart: Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He is the only One! But I also know that people who don’t believe this will probably never be convinced if I keep on providing them with unintelligible answers to even stranger questions.
Their question to me/us would probably be something like: “Show me the money! Show me in your own life what it menas (sic) to follow Jesus, then we could probably have a conversation!
”It’s not so much our beliefs [belief that Jesus is the only Way, Truth and Life], but our integrity in terms of following Jesus in the smallest details of our lives through service, sacrifice, humility and generosity that will provide intelligible answers to the right questions here in our day.” (14)
Both David Spangler and Stephan Joubert, and indeed the entire Emergent fraternity, rely on the inner spiritual energies of mankind – service, sacrifice, humility and generosity – to bless the world and ultimately usher in the Kingdom of God on earth.
The eternal spiritual truth that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life has become just an optional periphery and is no longer a necessity to bless the world (Galatians 3:13-14) because we all allegedly have these spiritual energies embedded in our innermost being.
We only need to be aware of them and, tap into them, mostly through spiritual practices like contemplative prayer, silence and solitude, and incarnate them into politics, science, education and the arts. This again is the epitome of Incarnational Spirituality.
Like Mahatma Ghandi who said you don’t have to believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God in order to benefit from the doctrines of “one of the greatest teachers humanity has ever had,” New Agers and Emergent followers of Jesus Christ alike rely on their own spiritual resources to make a difference in the world and to plant God’s banner of SHALOM on Mount Zion or, as many church leaders say, to “realize God’s Dream for the world.”
Please note carefully that Spangler’s assertion “We don’t have to become something special to gain the capacity to bless, to love, to empower, to support, and to bring light into the world” is no different from Stephan Joubert’s despicable statement, “Today, repentance is often downscaled to moral behaviour adjustments.
However, to Jesus metanoia is not a moral course alteration that leads to two different worlds – one home to sinners, and another one way over there where the holy ones congregate [the ones who have become something special].
Metanoia means [to] think and live radically different – every day, everywhere, and amongst everyone – in the light of God’s new reign that has already come.”
It is no surprise that Stephan Joubert’s and David Spangler’s minds are so closely interlinked or shall I rather say, integrated. Leonard Sweet, Joubert’s most influential guru, salutes Daivid Spangler as one of his most esteemed New Light Leaders in his book “Quantum Spirituality.”
Another missionary whom I have known for many years recently sent me an e-mail to update me on her
itinerary for August this year. Among their activities was a Prayer Week End from 21 to 22 August with Shai and Elreze Mulder as their keynote speakers.
They preside over the Back to the Bible Training College in Baberton, South Africa and are the parents of Ferdie Mulder who was expelled from the Faculty of Theology at the University of Pretoria some years ago.
Ferdie is presently PhD promovendi, lecturer and assistant for Prof. Jan van der Watt at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, Holland.
I surfed the Internet to establish whether the Radboud University’s curriculum included incarnational spiritualty. Fully aware that Radboud’s foundational and dominant spirituality is Roman Catholicism I wasn’t too surprised to find that incarnational spirituality was indeed a major subject matter of the Radboud University.
Incarnational Spirituality is to a very large degree the brain child of the Roman Catholic Church, of which Mother Teresa in particular became its most famous protégé. One of her well-known statements is:
“There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic.
We believe our work should be our example to people. We have among us 475 souls – 30 families are Catholics and the rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs—all different religions. But they all come to our prayers.” (15)
This is Incarnational Spirituality at its very best. You really don’t need to “repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1:15).
What you do need is to attune yourself to Jesus Christ’s teaching on love, compassion respect, suffering, and longsuffering to establish his Kingdom on earth and to make a better place of this world.
In the preface to his book Incarnational Humanism – A Philosophy of Culture for the Church in the World, Jens Zimmermann articulates the Roman approach to Incarnational Spirituality as follows.
This book calls for a distinctly Christian philosophy of culture that speaks to the current crisis of reason and identity in Western civilization caused by the loss of its Christian roots. A number of theologians, philosophers and even politicians have agreed with Pope Benedict XVI’s claim that we must recover these roots in order to understand the Western legacy of reason, freedom, human dignity and democracy.
In developing this Christian philosophy of culture, however, Incarnational Humanism seeks not to invent something new but rather to retrieve an ancient Christian humanism for our time in response to the general demand for a common humanity beyond religious, denominational and secular divides.
Contrary to the current postmodern and pluralist (even relativist) conviction that any particular belief with universal aspirations—let alone religious ones—inevitably leads to oppression and violence, Incarnational Humanism asserts that orthodox Christology provides the most promising source for a common vision of a truly humane society.
As the church fathers in both the Eastern and Western traditions have pointed out, the becoming human of the divine Logos first established the idea of a common humanity.
For them, the evangel, the good news, was that Christ had recapitulated humanity by affirming, judging and redeeming it through incarnation, death and resurrection in order to restore humanity to its ultimate purpose of communion with God.
The church father Irenaeus of Lyon (death c. 202) was the first theologian to take up and develop the apostle Paul’s conviction that in Christ all of creation had been gathered, reconciled with God and made new (Eph 1:10). . . .
[T]he church fathers grasped fully the import of the incarnation and its recapitulation of humanity for a unifying and glorious vision of what it means to be human.
The first theologians of the church were intoxicated with the wonder of the incarnation, and began to unfold what the faith’s deepest mystery—that God had become a human being while in no way diminishing his utter transcendence of creation—meant for our understanding of humanity and of the church’s relation to the world.
Based on the incarnation and the consequent development of Trinitarian theology, Christianity prepared the way for modern conceptions of freedom, personhood, solidarity and social compassion. (16) (Emphasis added).
In their book, Theology and Religious Studies in Higher Education, Global Perspectives” Darlene L. Bird and Simon G. Smith, have included the contributions of several reputed scholars and academia.
Among them is Stephan van Erp, Senior Researcher and Assistant Professor for Systematic Theology at the Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He is Chief Editor of ET-Studies, the New Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology.
His research concerns Fundamental Theology and Constructive Theology, in particular the doctrines of God and Revelation. In chapter 4, pages 56 and 70, under the heading “Theology as the Past and Future of Religious Studies – An Incarnational Approach” he – together with Erik Bergman – wrote:
Our thesis is that theology should be an integral part of religious studies, in as far as religious communities are embodiments of theologies. At the same time, religious studies should be ‘succeeded’ by theology, in as far as theology studies the embodied practices of faith in the world.
In this sense, theology is the future of religious studies, because it reasons about the engagements with the world, of which not only religion but religious studies also are an expression.
This is an important contribution theology could make to contemporary post-Christian, multi-cultural and multi-religious society.
It would not have to be a form of religious colonialism or imperialism of reality, because a theology in the world, as any other academic discipline, is part of the university, and therefore of the broader cultural, societal and political debates about who we are, where we are, where we should be going and what truth could guide us there. . . .
Within this situation, we would like to propose an incarnational theology, which is a theology sub ratione dei that transcends and succeeds the emic/etic-distinction between theology and religious studies. . . .
We have been trying to articulate theology’s role in the world. First, we have described the current situation of theology in the Netherlands and pointed at the problems that occur when theology is all too strictly divided from religious studies.
To remedy these, we have proposed an incarnational theology, which sees the world in which it is itself involved and in which people have tried and continue trying to survive and realize a good life sub ratione dei.
We have illustrated this theological proposal with an example from a research project on the interface of theology and the medical sciences. We have explained what it means to find and rediscover theology in medicine. (17) (Emphasis added).
Contemporary missional churches and seminaries often refer to the biblical view of doing missionary work as a “form of religious colonialism or imperialism.” Admittedly, the Gospel was often abused to accomplish imperialist ambitions. Edward Andrews writes:
Historians have traditionally looked at Christian missionaries in one of two ways. The first church historians to catalogue missionary history provided hagiographic descriptions of their trials, successes, and sometimes even martyrdom.
Missionaries were thus visible saints, exemplars of ideal piety in a sea of persistent savagery. However, by the middle of the twentieth century, an era marked by civil rights movements, anti-colonialism, and growing secularization, missionaries were viewed quite differently.
Instead of godly martyrs, historians now described missionaries as arrogant and rapacious imperialists. Christianity became not a saving grace but a monolithic and aggressive force that missionaries imposed upon defiant natives.
Indeed, missionaries were now understood as important agents in the ever-expanding nation-state, or “ideological shock troops for colonial invasion whose zealotry blinded them.” (18)
The following quote is attributed to Desmond Tutu
When the missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible and we had the land. They said “let us close our eyes and pray.” When we opened them, we had the Bible, and they had the land.
Whether he said it or not, is not the point. It expresses the growing sentiment among missional churches to adopt the incarnational concept of mission to infuse all walks of life — politics, education, arts, medicine, science etc. — with Christian ethics, because “Incarnational Humanism asserts that orthodox Christology provides the most promising source for a common vision of a truly humane society.”
Contemporary missionaries who follow the incarnational and missional model have redefined the word “mission” to mean something totally different from the biblical definition.
Their mission is not to proclaim the unadulterated Gospel of God but to improve society and to make the world a tangible society (Kingdom of God) here and now.
Hugh Halter and Matt Smay wrote a book they entitled The Tangible Kingdom: Creating Incarnational Community, in which they encourage church leaders to steer their sinking boats back into the past when the church in the Book of Acts — as they call it — spread like a virus in the ancient world.
Have they forgotten that the church in Acts was heavily persecuted and that those who entered into the Kingdom of God through faith and conversion were few in numbers? (Matthew 7:13-14).
Jesus never commanded his disciples to pander to the cultures of their time in an effort to incarnate or inculcate them with Christian values. Culture is primarily a manmade phenomenon and therefore a uniquely worldly or secular enterprise.
As such it is at enmity with God; it hates Him and his true disciples (John 15:18; 24-25). In fact, culture is Satan’s playpen (1 Johannes 5:19) and anyone who wants to become a citizen of God’s Kingdom must be completely translated out of the cultures of the world and into the Kingdom of his dear Son. (Colossians 1:13).
Please bear in mind I am not referring to culture in terms of what people wear and eat, how they build their homes, or how they rear their children. I am talking about those aspects of culture that determine and control peoples’ spirituality. For instance, the plea to legalize cannabis because Rastafarians use it in their Communion services.
WHY DO THEY CALL IT INCARNATIONAL SPIRITUALITY?
Why would anyone use the uniquely Christian term “incarnation” to describe a new kind of spirituality? Is it merely a new manmade fad and marketing tool or code to intentionally engage global cultures and to “incarnate” it with some kind of Christian veneer?
The real question we need to ask, is: Are the incarnational disciples discipling the nations as Christ commanded them or are they merely Christianizing the world to gradually and progressively usher in the Kingdom of God?
We shall see, as we go along, that although the protagonists of incarnational spirituality use the right Biblical and Christian terminology, they – some of them intentionally and others inadvertently – are assisting the spirit of Antichrist to usher in the devil’s kingdom of a false love, hope, compassion, peace, prosperity, unity, brotherhood and tolerance.
In fact, the spirit of Antichrist is gleefully cavorting to his hearts delight in just about every seminary, mission station and transformational movement on the planet. Here are the facts.
Eddy Gibbs and Ryan K. Bolger provide some insight into how the Emergent Church in particular has turned the focus away from the cross of Jesus Christ to the Kingdom-Now paradigm in their book “Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures.” On page 54 they write:
Rooted in the work of N. T. Wright, emerging churches embrace the gospel of the kingdom as revealed in
Mark 1:15-16. At the outset of the Gospel narrative, the good news was not that Jesus was to die on the cross to forgive sins but that God had returned and all were invited to participate with him in this new way of life, in this redemption of the world.
It is this gospel that the emerging church seeks to recover. As one leader confided privately, “We have totally reprogrammed ourselves to recognize the good news as a means to an end—that the kingdom of God is here.
We try to live into that reality and hope. We don’t dismiss the cross; it is still a central part. But the good news is not that he died but that the kingdom has come.” (Emphasis added).
Please note the phrase “We don’t dismiss the cross; it is stil a central part [“a” and not “the” as Paul of Tarsus asserted in 1 Corinthians 2:2). But the good news is not that he died but that the kingdom has come.” Jannie Pelser of the Rant en Dal Community Church echoed this blasphemy in a Good Friday sermon he delivered on 29th April 2012 when he said the following:
I challenge you to show me where Jesus commanded people to make sure they are going to heaven.
Show me a single instance where Jesus commanded us to make sure people are going to heaven?
Our assignment is to go and tell people that heaven has already arrived on earth and is gradually growing in this world.
And you and I, my, our calling is to manifest God’s approaching glory on earth and not to focus peoples’ eyes on a pie in the sky when you die whilst the world around us is perishing in its daily struggle to survive. It is a wrong understanding of the Gospel. . . .
Jesus did not come to save peoples’ souls. Jesus came to establish God’s dominion on earth. His death on the cross and his resurrection represent the decisive victory of God’s power of love over all the violence in this world. (Emphasis added).
Indeed, Satan has been given a place of honour in many church pulpits. The demon (Djwhal Khul) who inspired Alice Bailey to write her Theosophical anti-biblical books is the very same demon that has taken hold of Jannie Pelser’s mind because she said exactly the same things about the Kingdom of God as he.
“It is time that the church woke up to its true mission, which is to materialize the kingdom of God on earth, today, here and now.…
People are no longer interested in a possible heavenly state or a probable hell. [Jannie Pelser mockingly calls it focusing the eyes on “a pie in the sky when you die”).
They need to learn that the kingdom is here, and must express itself on earth . . . The way into that kingdom is the way that Christ trod. It involves the sacrifice of the personal self for the good of the world, and the service of humanity…” (19)
I am sure you must have noticed the seeds of Incarnational/Sacrificial living in the above quote as the demon (Djwhal Khul) conveyed it to Alice Bailey?
Stephan Joubert — probably one of the most dangerous false teachers in South Africa — has done more to advance the “Kingdom of God” in the country than anyone else.
However, like all the Emergent Church protagonists he leisurely distorts the Word of God. In the first of a series of four videos entitled “Satan exposed,” made at the so-called “Grow Café” venue of the Moreleta Park Dutch Reformed Church in Pretoria, he said the following:
Jesus came to the earth, and friends, make no mistake, He did not come to do battle with the devil. The devil is not that important. Jesus did not come to earth, as I read in a book the other day, to destroy the works of the devil.
The devil just did not have that stature in heaven so that the Lord had to deem it necessary to come here and to do battle with him.
“The devil,” said Martin Luther, “is like a wretched fly circling Jesus’ head the whole time.”
Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God. That’s what Jesus came to do, to proclaim his Father’s Kingdom; to win back for his Father the Kingdom that has declined into sin and death.
He did not come to fight the devil in the first place, and also not in the second place.
Wherever He encountered the devil standing in the way of the Kingdom, Jesus unceremoniously knocked him out of the way. Jesus brings the Kingdom of God – Mark 1:15, Matthew 4:17 – repent because the Kingdom of God is here.
If this does not kindle the fire of God’s holy anger in your heart, you should ask yourself whether you are truly saved. Every truly born-again child of God knows and believes with all his/her heart what 1 John 3:8 says,
He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
It is evident from the above passage that the devil’s primordial work is to sin and to incite all mankind to sin and rebel against God. He has been doing this since the beginning. If Jesus did not come to destroy this particular work of the devil on the cross, He would have been a dismal failure.
In fact, Joubert’s inordinate remarks dismiss the fact that Jesus Christ was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21); his remarks deny the fact that victory over sin and its originator (Satan) can and could only be accomplished through the blood of his cross.
Stephan Joubert’s affirmation that Jesus only needed to “nudge” (a word he learned from his buddy, Leonard Sweet) the devil with his finger and unceremoniously knock him out of the way wherever he stood in the way of the Kingdom, is superfluous and rather naïve.
Surely, God who is almighty, is more than able to knock the devil out of the way and to cast him into hell with a single word, whenever it pleases Him. We already know that or, at least, we should.
However, what Joubert seems to have forgotten, is that Jesus could not inaugurate his Kingdom on earth by just nudging the devil out of the way. That would have merely rid the world of the source of all sin and not the consequences of sin, which is the eternal separation of sinners from God.
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15).
Indeed, Joubert’s remarks deny the Gospel message of salvation. He will obviously repudiate these accusations and affirm that he believes that repentance is the key to God’s Kingdom. However, what does Joubert mean by repentance? Here is his rendition of repentance (“metenoia”).
“Today, repentance is often downscaled to moral behaviour adjustments.
However, to Jesus metanoia is not a moral course alteration that leads to two different worlds – one home to sinners, and another one way over there where the holy ones congregate.
Metanoia means [to] think and live radically different – every day, everywhere, and amongst everyone – in the light of God’s new reign that has already come.” (E mphasis added).
Have you noticed the gigantic paradigm shift from personal sin to a global oneness or unity among all peoples in Stephan Joubert’s definition of repentance?
Metanoia should no longer be seen in the light of sin and rebellion against God and consequently of separation between believers and unbelievers, and unbelievers and God.
It should be seen in the light of God’s new reign that has already come.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry may joyfully enter into the Kingdom of God that is already here by merely having their minds attuned to the principles of this Kingdom, i.e. the worldwide transformation of cultures through service, generosity and if need be suffering in the cause of peace, unity and tolerance.
On page 8 of the brochure that was handed out at the Mosaic Congress held at the Mosaic Church in Fairland, Johannesburg from 4 to 5 September 2009, Stephan Joubert quoted Thomas Moore from his book “Writing in the sand. Jesus and the Soul in the Gospels” (Hay House 2009)
Metanoia is the process by which you enter the kingdom. [Thomas says: In Roman Catholicism metanoia is also a process that begins with baptismal regeneration, includes endeless Mass attendances, and ends in puragatory].
Jesus asks for a deep shift in worldview . . . One of the most difficult things to do is to change the way you imagine your place in life.
Nothing is more challenging. On the other hand, once this takes place, nothing could be more vitalizing. Truly, it’s as if you are born a second time.
Your eyes open to a different world . . . Metanoia comes at great cost. You are to give up an understanding of life that has been in place for a long time.
What is the process and the great cost at which the metanoia comes? In the emergent lingo it means but one thing — a sacrificial, poured out life, and service to the poor, the destitute and the downtrodden, and to engage the complexities and chaos of life.
A biblical metanoia, in contrast to that of the Emergent Church’s rendering, is not one of the most difficult things to do and neither does it involve the way you imagine your place in life.
The biblical metanoia is about knowing and understanding your place (position) in the sight of an awesomely holy God — the position of a lost sinner who desperately needs to be saved by the grace of God through his Son Jesus Christ.
It is not a deep shift in your worldview that constitutes a genuine metanoia but a profound shift in your view of yourself in the light of God’s Word.
Should you believe you can enter the kingdom of God through a process of living a sacrificial poured out life and service to the community with the intention of making a better place of our world or to change it, you are grossly misleading yourself.
In fact, your metanoia experience deceives you into believing that your altruistic service to mankind has redemptive healing qualities which in turn puffs up and makes you believe you are the cat’s whiskers.
Your selfless community work and “life generously” (aka Stephan Joubert) rallying cry may have a wholesome impact on peoples’ lives but it cannot reconcile them to God, especially when the Gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ is set aside for the sake of a poured out sacrificial/incarnational lifestyle.
Mother Theresa lived an excellent poured out sacrificial/incarnational lifestyle of service in Calcutta, India but it never benefitted the poor wretched people she took care of one bit, because she never preached and taught them the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Both Jannie Pelser and Stephan Joubert, and many other Emergent Church devotees, have been influenced by the demons who possessed and motivated Alice Bailey and Helena Blavatsky to write their Kingdom Now garbage.
“Christ’s major task was the establishing of God’s kingdom upon earth. He showed us the way in which humanity could enter that kingdom … the way is found in service to our fellow men …” (20)
“It is through supreme service and sacrifice that we become followers of Christ and earn the right to enter into His kingdom, because we do not enter alone.” (21)
“The need is for vision, wisdom and that wide tolerance which will see divinity on every hand and recognize the Christ in every human being.” (22)
“The true Church is the kingdom of God on earth … composed of all, regardless of race or creed, who live by the light within, who have discovered the fact of the mystical Christ in their hearts.” (23)
“ . . . Christian people are to recognize their place within a worldwide divine revelation and see Christ as representing all the faiths and taking His rightful place as World Teacher. He is the World Teacher and not a Christian teacher.… They may not call Him Christ, but they have their own name for Him and follow Him as truly and faithfully as their Western brethren.” (24) (Emphasis added).
What these superlatively wise scholars and sages conveniently forget, is that so much of the violence, suffering, disasters, disorder, confusion, death and mayhem in the world are all part of God’s judgments on a world gone totally crazy and a rebellious bunch of incarnational saints who think they can straigten out the chaos through their own inauguration of the Kingdom of God and their own sacrificial/incarnational service to the world while they trample under foot just about every doctrine of God.
Isaiah 26:9-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
My soul yearns for You [O Lord] in the night, yes, my spirit within me seeks You earnestly; for [only] when Your judgments are in the earth will the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God).
Though favor is shown to the wicked, yet they do not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness they deal perversely and refuse to see the majesty of the Lord.
Lord, Though Your hand is lifted high to strike, Lord, they do not see it. Let them see Your zeal for Your people and be ashamed; yes, let the fire reserved for Your enemies consume them. (Emphasis added)
The Lord’s hand is already lifted up to strike but these charlatans refuse to see and acknowledge it. Instead they prophesy falsely that the Kingdom of God is already here.
They are doing exactly what the false prophets in the Old Testament had been guilty of, and that is to proclaim peace when there was no peace.
They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 6:14-15; Jeremiah 8:11-12).
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3). (Emphasis added).
INCARNATIONAL BIRDS OF A FEATHER
The maxim “Birds of a feather flock together” is particularly apropos to describe likeminded teachers, preachers, pastors and missionaries who love to huddle together in “churches without walls.”
While doing my research on Incarnational Spirituality, I noticed that Stephan Joubert and Hein van Wyk are both deeply involved with “Kerksondermure” in Hendrik Verwoerd Drive, Pretoria.
On one of the sites of the Disciple Nations Alliance Hein van Wyk is introduced as follows:
Hein van Wyk is the DNA Global Leadership Team leader, also serving as part of several other kingdom-minded organizations including Samaritan Strategy Africa, Hope for Africa and Experience Mission.
Since 1996, he has facilitated kingdom development as it relates to leadership formation, collaboration initiatives, community upliftment, mission mobilization and strategic planning.
Hein lives with his wife, Helene, and their three children in Centurion, South Africa.
Hein is also very active in the training of missionaries in South Africa. He facilitated a 3-Day Biblical Worldview and Transformational Development Conference at the Back to the Bible Training College in Barberton, South Africa from 13-15 September 2011. Back to the Bible Training College is headed by Shai and Elreze Mulder.
Here now follows a Vimeo video Hein van Wyk made on Incarnational Spirituality.
What these guys are doing now in their leadership teams is merely an extension of what Rick Warren introduced to the church years ago. On his website pastors.com Warren wrote the following (no longer available).
“This is a time, which calls for a critical mass of transformational leaders who will commit to creating a synergy of energy within their circle of influence so new level of social, economic, organizational and spiritual success can be reached.
We have not, however, developed the leaders we need for this noble task. To reach such heights, we will need to un-tap the leadership potential of skillful leaders who are successfully directing various organizations and systems.
Some of these men and women, knowledgeable and committed, to their profession, will be the transformational leaders we need to create the needed synergy of energy.” (Emphasiss added)
In April of 2005, Rick Warren, speaking to 25,000 in attendance at Anaheim Stadium, encouraged his Purpose Driven supporters to partner with him to usher in the Kingdom of God on planet earth, right now. Quoting from his speech:
I stand before you confidently right now and say to you that God is going to use you to change the world. Some will say, “That’s impossible,” but I heard that line 25 years ago, and God took seven people and started Saddleback Church.
Now we have a new vision and a whole lot more people to start with. The great evangelist Dwight L. Moody said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him.”
I’m looking at a stadium full of people who are telling God they will do whatever it takes to establish God’s Kingdom ‘on earth as it is in heaven (Emphasis added).
They are not establishing God’s Kingdom on earth but their own kingdom headed by Antichrist who is already waiting in the wings of the world’s stage of politics and religion to take the world by storm with his incarnational spirituality of peace, love, compassion, generosity, philanthropic care for the poor etc.
And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (Daniel 8:25).
THE KINGDOM ON EARTH IS UNIQUELY JEWISH
Replacement Theology, the notion that the church has replaced Israel because the Jews rejected their Messiah, has done the Gospel immense harm.
I have always said that a faulty eschatology often leads to a faulty or twisted Gospel. And that’s precisely what the incarnational disciples have done.
They have shifted the emphasis from a God-centred, Holy Spirit inspired proclamation of the Gospel to a man-centred and carnally inspired gospel of sacrificial giving and living to transform the world by means of a so-called incarnational spirituality.
No wonder charlatans like Jannie Pelser and Stephan Joubert have said God dishonouring things like, “Jesus did not come to save peoples’ souls. Jesus came to establish God’s dominion on earth” and “Jesus did not come to earth, as I read in a book the other day, to destroy the works of the devil . . . Jesus came to bring the Kingdom of God.”
Some of the more orthodox incarnational disciples will never say it so brashly but they too have subtly shifted the emphasis from the Gospel to incarnational spirituality.
Dr. Bob Moffit, the Executive Director of the Harvest Foundation who also serves on the DNA Board of Directors and Global Leadership Team wrote in an article that appeared on their site “Disciple Nations Alliance – Equipping Churches, Transforming Communities, Discipling Nations,” the following:
In short: the evangelical/Pentecostal church from the period of its origin with the Great Awakenings has often, in practice if not by intention, misplaced the emphasis of Jesus’ Great Commission. We have emphasized evangelism rather than discipleship.
The call to sinners for repentance and subsequent salvation was Jesus’ passion. When Christians reflect this passion of Jesus, we use a word that is not in the Bible: evangelism.
Evangelism is defined as the preaching of the Christian Gospel or the practice of relaying information about a particular set of beliefs to others with the object of conversion (Wikipedia).
It is easy to see why many Christians regard evangelism as the priority calling/task that Scripture gives to the Church. It is interesting that Jesus doesn’t.
Instead He identifies the priority task of his followers as the making of disciples. Most often Jesus doesn’t connect the “gospel” to salvation but to the good news of the Kingdom which He defined as the will of God being done – Matt 6:10.
Why is this important? Because we are saved to flourish – to live now and in eternity as God originally designed.
However, sacrificial service done in the power of the Spirit is just as much a priority as the proclamation or verbal aspect of evangelism. When I look at the testimony of Jesus’ life, I don’t see a priority of one or the other.
There are many times when He sacrificially serves with no record of His delivering “evangelistic” content. Several examples include the following:
As I’ve mentioned earlier, the incarnational disciples’ use all the correct biblical terminology but for all the wrong reasons.
A Good example is Bob Moffit’s statement “Most often Jesus doesn’t connect the ‘gospel’ to salvation but to the good news of the Kingdom which He defined as the will of God being done – Matt 6:10.
Why is it important? Because we are saved to flourish – to live now and in eternity as God originally designed.”
Although his statement is more moderate and softer than that of Jannie Pelser and Stephan Joubert, he is saying exactly what they said in public.
This is simply not true because repentance and faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross (i.e. the Gospel) is the only prerequisite to gain entrance into his Kingdom. Therefore, whenever He spoke about the Kingdom of God on earth, He implicitly included the Gospel message of salvation.
At any rate, the message of the Kingdom of God on earth is uniquely Jewish and not something promised to the church (the Body of Christ). The Bride of Christ is supposed to look forward to, pray for and yearn for Jesus Christ’s soon return at the Rapture.
However, this topic (the Pre-Tribulation Rapture) has become a real swear word in Christian circles who boast that they are living sacrificially and incarnationally to advance God’s Kingdom on earth.
More and more Christians are rejecting the doctrine of an imminent Pre-Trib Rapture. I vividly recall an incident many years ago during a meeting of a group of Christians who called themselves Group 6:33 (based on Matthew 6:33).
When asked whether I believed in a Pre-Trib Rapture I joyfully answered, “of course I do, don’t you?” Most of them hardly greeted me when the meeting was adjourned.
I wrote an e-mail to Hein van Wyk requesting him to give me his opinion on the Pre-Trib. Rapture doctrine. To this day he hasn’t answered me. The fact is that the Kingdom-now adherents have very little regard for eschatology.
When Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” they did so because they knew the Kingdom of God on earth was ‘n promise given throughout the Old Testament to the Jews.
One of the most water-tight proofs that the Kingdom of God was promised to the Jews and not the church is the following passage from Scripture.
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God.
Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field.
Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.
Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
The LORD shall establish thee an holy people unto himself, as he hath sworn unto thee, if thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, and walk in his ways.
And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee.
And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee.
The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.
And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: (Deuteronomy 28:1-13).
Moreover, the disciples also realized that Christ alone is able to establish his Kingdom on earth and hence their emphatic statement “will YOU at this time restore . . .”
And then follows his command called the Great Commission, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8).
In spite of and in direct disobedience to Jesus’ words “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority” the incarnational dominionists are working tirelessly and trying to live and give sacrificially to usher in God’s Kingdom on earth “because,” as Bob Moffit puts it “we are saved to flourish – to live now and in eternity as God originally designed.”
Note carefully, we are not saved to escape God’s righteous wrath and judgments but to flourish on earth as He originally intended and designed for us in the Garden of Eden before the Fall.
The Bible says the very opposite. Instead it speaks of a great falling away, of a very small remnant being saved, of things waxing worse and worse, of children of God being beheaded, etc.. Why? Because the world and its cultures cannot receive the Spirit of God. (John 14:16-17).
Yet, the incarnational fraternity’s desire is to transform whole communities and eventually the entire world and even take possession of the Kingdom on earth, as we shall see Hein van Wyk likes to put it.
The word for “witness” is “martus” (martyr) which fits in perfectly with Jesus’ words “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18).
How do the incarnational disciples propose to transform a world that hates Jesus – by living incarnationally and sacrificially? There is nothing special about living sacrificially or incarnationally.
Even Gautama Buddha and Nelson Mandela are believed to have lived incarnationally and sacrificially. A New Age site says of Buddha.
He has continuously focused on teaching and demonstrating the principles of compassion as applied to many areas of human activity, especially healing and personal ascension for the individual.
His incarnational experiences here have prepared him well to serve as a coach and counsellor . . . perhaps a better name is a spiritual mentor . . . for those seeking energetic healing support.
The Eastern Mennonite University site describes Nelson Mandela’s incarnational lifestyle as follows:
Mandela and his ways have taken root in the collective psyche of South Africa and have changed much of the world’s psyche.
He embodied what it meant to live with integrity and with few regrets. Indeed, his leadership presence seemed to be encoded with the moral fiber that now guides conceptions of good governance and just polity at a global level.
Mandela transmitted his DNA to us. And herein lies the hope.
While Mandela rarely articulated his faith in public discourse, he has alluded to the critical influence of his Methodist missionary education, as well as to that of icons of nonviolent justice and reco