Double Belonging / Christian Buddhism

Christian BuddhismDouble Belonging or Christian Buddhism

One of the most dangerous and skewed peculiarities of the Emergent Church is its mistaken view of suffering. Though they may disagree with this statement and argue that their understanding of suffering is firmly based on what the Bible says about it, careful examination shows that their opinion of suffering is rooted in Buddhism or more precisely in Christian Buddhism.

Romans 14:8 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

“If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord.”

The modernized version of Romans 14:8 sounds like this:

“If we live, we live to the Lord AND Buddha, and if we die, we die to the Lord AND Buddha. So then, whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord AND Buddha”

Christian Buddhism?

“Double belonging,” an alternative term for Christian Buddhism or any other syncretized spirituality is gaining an alarming footing in the church today, especially under the auspices of the postmodern demigod known as “ecumenism.” In Rose Drew’s PhD Thesis “An exploration of Buddhist Christian dual belonging (2009, Glasgow University), she writes:


Today it is no longer unheard of in the West for individuals to identify themselves as being both Buddhist and Christian. But how is this possible when, for example, God is so central to Christianity yet absent from Buddhism; when Christians have faith in Jesus Christ while Buddhists take refuge in the Buddha; when Christians hope for heaven and Buddhists hope for nirvana; and when Buddhists and Christians engage in different practices?

Are those who identify themselves as belonging to both traditions profoundly irrational, religiously schizophrenic, or perhaps just spiritually superficial? Or is it possible to somehow reconcile the thought and practice of Buddhism and Christianity in such a way that one can be deeply committed to both?

And if it is possible, will the influence of Buddhist Christians on each of these traditions be something to be regretted or celebrated? Although John Cobb wondered 30 years ago, ‘Can a Christian be a Buddhist Too?’ (1978), it is really only in the last decade that the question of multireligious identity has begun to receive academic attention and, until now, there has been no in-depth study of dual belonging. This thesis is such a study. It explores Buddhist Christian dual belonging, engaging the theological issues, and drawing on interviews with reflective individuals in the vanguard of this important and growing phenomenon.

Here is a link to a short slideshow explaining the phenomenon called “Double Belonging.” Also read this interview with Paul F. Knitter, author of Without Buddha I Could Not Be a Christian,” Please note that Karl Rahner was Knitter’s teacher.[1] Paul Knitter candidly admits that he endorses “Double Belonging.” There are, however, others who do not admit it so easily in public. These are the ones Jesus called the “generation of vipers.”

A Hidden or Clandestine Double Belonging, Christian Buddhism

In the past couple of years, I have written extensively to expose Stephan Joubert’s and his Emergent buddies, Johan Geyser’s and Trevor Hudson’s heresies. One of my main concerns was to prove that they have clandestinely been dabbling in the “Double Belonging” phenomenon without openly making a public statement that they were following an idolatrous hybridized spirituality. The closest to a public statement, affirming that “Double Belonging” was part and parcel of their agenda, was that of Stephan Joubert who said the following.

“And he (Rob Bell) says you should engage the culture. You should go and listen to the Buddhists. So, go listen to what those guys are saying. Then Christians faint, because they do not listen properly to what Rob Bell is saying. He is not saying become like them, but go and read their stuff. Then you will understand why they are so important. They may also have truth. Truth (of which Jesus Christ is the essence) is not only found in Christianity. You can find truth in Judaism. You can find truth in atheism. You can find truth by whoever. God’s general revelation is a bit wider, but you say ‘Jesus is Lord’. That is what you are aiming at with such a movement.”[2]

Since then, Stephan Joubert has tried to play down his above statement with the excuse that he said this a long time ago. I suppose one could have given him the benefit of the doubt if his Eastern mystic propensities had not once again surfaced on his site as recently as 4 December 2015 in the form of an article written by the Editor of the Christian magazine “LIG”, Francine van Niekerk, which she titled, “Hardship that makes light.”

Hannah Hurnard

Francine van Niekerk, Editor of the Christian magazine LIG

Francine van Niekerk, Editor of the Christian magazine LIG

She pays tribute to Hannah Hurnard (1905-90) a 20th-century Christian author, best known for her allegorical novel, Hinds’ Feet on High Places.  It tells the story of a young crippled woman, Much Afraid, who also suffered from a very unsightly blemish of a crooked mouth which greatly disfigured both her facial expressions and speech. However, this was not the greatest and most fearful dilemma in her life. Her Family of Fearing who lived in the Valley of Humiliation and hated the Chief Shepherd tried to dissuade her to follow him and rather to marry her cousin Craven Fear. They threatened to force her if she refused to do this of her own free will.

She despondently cried out “What shall I do?” to which the Chief Shepherd answered and said that he would make her crippled feet like hind’s feet and lead her out of the Valley of Fear and Humiliation to high places and ultimately to the lower slopes on the other side of the mountains and the river where his Father’s Kingdom, the Realm of Love was situated.

However, there was another condition she had to meet. She also had to take with her two fellow travellers the shepherd had chosen for her. They would help her to reach the high places and eventually her destination. To her astonishment the shepherd did not introduce her to Faith, (Hebrews 11:6) Love or even Peace but to Suffering and Sorrow.

Nevertheless, Much Afraid advanced to the high places and gradually her feet became like that of an agile and swift hind. Only then, when she reached the high places, did she realize what role suffering and sorrow played in this journey to God’s Kingdom.

What a lovely little story but is it biblical? To answer this question, we need to test Hannah Hurnard and her books in the light of God’s Word. There are three places in Scripture where the allegory of hinds’ feet is used to depict fearlessness, strength, sure-footedness, beauty and speed – 2 Samuel 22:34; Psalm 18:33 and Habakkuk 3:19. In the latter verse the prophet exalts God for enabling him to walk upright and fearlessly through trials and tribulations. In the first two mentioned passages, King David praises God for making his feet like hinds’ feet in his endless flight from his enemies and King Saul who sought to kill him. Never once in all these passages is the Kingdom of God mentioned.

Hurnard’s Gospel of Self-Redemption

Why would Hannah Hurnard want to associate hinds’ feet mentioned in the aforementioned passages with God’s Kingdom whilst the Bible never intended to do so? To answer the question, we need to look at her Christology. What kind of Jesus did Hurnard believe in?

First of all, she believed in a Jesus who taught us to save ourselves – by suffering. In her 1981 book, Eagles’ Wings to the Higher Places, (Harper & Row), she suggests that human suffering atones for sin (pp. 121-122), which really makes man his own savior. “All suffering is atoning,” she says.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that already in one of her earliest books “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” she promulgates self-redemption. In fact, she explicitly teaches that it is not faith that permits you to enter the Kingdom of God but suffering and sorrow. Stephan Joubert espouses the same sentiment. He says:

Metanoia is the process by which you enter the kingdom. Jesus asks for a deep shift in world view . . .  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 a great cost. You are to give up an understanding of life that has been in place for a long time.[3] (Emphasis added).

The “process” he refers to is another word for “journey” and the “great cost” another way of saying that this journey involves much suffering and sorrow. It is on this level of sorrow and suffering to achieve one’s ultimate goal in life where the twain – Christianity and Buddhism – meet in a smorgasbord of “Christian Buddhism.”

Allow me to explain. Contemplative Spirituality which has its roots in Eastern mysticism cannot grow to maturity in the lives of contemplative pilgrims when their minds are preoccupied with mundane things like money, possessions and pleasure. For them the achievement of the higher consciousness (the “Atman”or “the true self” in Hinduism and Buddhism) rests entirely on your detachment or separation from those things.

BuddhaSiddhārtha Gautama Buddha’s spiritual pilgrimage is a perfect example. His father who allegedly was King Suddhodana and the leader of the Shakya clan wanted to shield his son from the religious beliefs prevalent in their time and especially the knowledge of human suffering. Despite all his efforts he could not prevent his son from an eventual encounter with both religion and suffering.

When he turned 16, his father reputedly arranged his marriage to a cousin of the same age named YaÅ›odharā (Pāli: Yasodharā). According to the traditional account, she gave birth to a son, named Rahula. Siddhartha is then said to have spent 29 years as a prince in Kapilavastu. Although his father ensured that Siddhartha was provided with everything he could want or need, Buddhist scriptures say that the future Buddha felt that material wealth was not life’s ultimate goal. (Wikipedia).

At the age of 29, Siddhartha abandoned his palace, his wife and his son on a quest to find the truth about suffering. He later teamed up with five companions with whom he decided to live an austere life of asceticism.

They believed they could reach enlightenment through deprivation of worldly goods, including food and through acts of self-mortification. Before I continue, I would like to say something about self-mortification.

Self-mortification is entirely a biblical doctrine but please do take care because there are many demoniacal counterfeits in our midst. When Jesus commanded his disciples to take up their cross daily, He meant for them to die continually to their corrupt “self.” (Luke 9:23).

This has nothing to do with the Buddhist concept of the false self that needs to be mortified so that you may find your true self (“Enlightenment,” “Nirvana,” “Higher Consciousness, “divinity”). It simply means that you should relinquish every vestige of the “self” to Christ’s cross so that the life of His Spirit may have full sway in your life.

The un-crucified “self” quenches the Spirit of God and hampers his work of sanctification in the lives of Jesus’ followers. It is not something you can achieve through physical means such as the denial of sustenance and the practice of certain so-called spiritual disciplines such as meditation, contemplative prayer or centering prayer.

It is rather silly to think that we can achieve what God alone can do. In fact, this very notion that man is able to do what God alone is capable of doing, is the very essence and core of idolatry. Indeed, Contemplative Spirituality and its various spiritual practices form the bedrock, the foundation of the Emergent Church’s idolatry.

When Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha and his companions realized that their severe deprivation of food quite naturally leads to death (the Buddha’s consumption of a leaf or a nut per day nearly caused his death), they resorted to the Buddhist Middle Way, a path that allowed them to lead a more moderate way of self-mortification. Wikipedia notes:

Following this incident, Gautama was famously seated under a pipal tree – now known as the Bodhi tree – in Bodh Gaya, India, when he vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. . .

According to Buddhism, at the time of his awakening he realized complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. These discoveries became known as the “Four Noble Truths,” which are at the heart of Buddhist teaching.

Through mastery of these truths, a state of supreme liberation, or Nirvana, is believed to be possible for anyone. The Buddha described Nirvāna as the perfect peace of a mind that’s free from ignorance, greed, hatred and other afflictive states, or “defilements” (kilesas). Nirvana is also regarded as the “end of the world,” in that no personal identity or boundaries of the mind remain. In such a state, a being is said to possess the Ten Characteristics, belonging to every Buddha. ((Emphasis added).

God’s Way of Entering His Kingdom

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” It is through His sorrows, suffering and victory over sin and death that those who believe on Him enter his Father’s Kingdom and NOT by means their own sorrow and suffering. Buddhists believe they enter “Nirvana” (their concept of heaven) through sorrow and suffering. So-called Christians who adhere to this principle of sorrow and suffering are not saved. It is through faith and faith alone that a repentant sinner immediately gains entrance into God’s Kingdom.

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Col 1:12-14)

There is no need to embark on a journey of sorrow and suffering to reach the high places and ultimately the Kingdom of God.

Metanoia (repentance) is not a PROCESS by which you enter the kingdom, as Stephan Joubert believes? And neither does it involve a deep shift in WORLD-VIEW, as Stephan Joubert says? It was hardly a process when the publican cried out “Be merciful to me a sinner” and God immediately declared him justified. He was translated into God’s Kingdom the moment he was justified. Neither did the publican have to undergo a deep shift in world-view before he entered the Kingdom of God.

The only deep shift he experienced was from being lost to being saved when he realized that he was a lost sinner and needed to be pardoned by a merciful God. It was hardly a process when Paul received his sight in the house of Ananias and at whose behest he ceased to delay and immediately called upon the Name of the Lord for his salvation  (Acts 22:16).

At that very moment he was translated into the Kingdom of God. There was absolutely no process or a deep shift of world-view involved in the salvation of either of these two persons.

The only reason why God allows his saints to suffer affliction and sorrow is for the sake of his Son and his Gospel and not for things we do that deserve affliction and suffering. (1 Peter 3:14 & 17) Paul wrote:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

Hurnard’s Gospel of Universalism

In her 1994 biographical book “Standing on High Places: The Story of Hannah Hurnard and Hinds’ Feet on High Places” Isabel Anders discloses some shocking facts about Hannah Hurnard’s Christology. On pages 154-155 she writes:

“The view that she strongly sets forth is one of universalism, or a belief that all will be saved in the end. This was an understanding that caused Hannah to reconsider all of her early evangelical zeal, as well as look with new eyes at the meaning of life and death. She shows, through fictional narrative, how she entered a new stage of belief that is troublesome to many readers of her later books, especially those holding to an orthodox Christian faith.”

In her book, “Eagles’ Wings to the Higher Places,” (Harper & Row, 1981), she brazenly proclaims that the love of God will ultimately deliver all men from hell. The higher truth was allegedly given to her fictional character, Aletheia, by a person who identified himself as Jesus. (Matthew 24:24)

“Then like great waves and billows the homesick longing for the Higher Places broke over Aletheia’s soul. She felt like an orphan child again, even up here on Mountain Top City, just as she had felt when she was first led down to the school in the Low Places. To the depths of her soul she knew that she could live here no longer where there were no Higher Places in sight. No, it was not sorrow for the hopeless plight of the poor people in the dark places which caused her grief; it was anguish at the thought of the hopelessness of the only message which she had to give them. Lost forever with no hope if they rejected it! Cast off by the God who had brought them into existence, if they rejected His call now. All her unacknowledged doubts and questions arose again concerning a God who called Himself Love and who brought myriads of souls into existence without being able to prevent them from condemning themselves to an eternity of hopeless darkness and suffering, lost to Him forever. How could He possibly love them, if He let this happen to them? How could He possibly be good, if He brought them into an existence where it was possible for them to separate themselves from His love and joy and goodness forever?” (pp. 21-22)

Confused Aletheia continues:

“Oh, cried Aletheia’s heart in an agony of despair. Oh, how terrible and hopeless to be a God who loves goodness and cannot save His own creatures from preferring evil. If he did not call Himself a God of Love it would be different. A devil might create living souls capable of tormenting themselves forever. Oh, what agony to love the souls brought into existence enough to go to the cross in a last supreme effort to save them and not be able to do so. To proclaim, ‘I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Myself,’ and to be unable to do it! To find that the Devil is stronger than Goodness and could gloatingly and triumphantly succeed in damning at least ninety percent of God’s creatures, leaving only a pitiful ten or even smaller percent to respond to His love – a handful of souls for Him to rejoice over for ever and ever, while all the others were tormented in hell. Oh, what hopelessly bitter Bad News this was. How could she ever believe in and trust such a God again?” (ibid., pp. 22-23, italic in original).

Then, one called The Good Shepherd comes to her:

“He took her hand, saying gently, ‘God is an infinite ocean of Love and Goodness. In Him there is no wrath at all. What men call His wrath and judgment is the inexorable determination of the love of the skilled surgeon to heal the sickness and suffering of a beloved son, no matter at what cost to Himself and to the son, so that no trace of anything that can hurt or harm the beloved one remains. I will lead you to a place where you will behold the higher truth which will solve completely all your sorrowful questioning'” (ibid., pg. 28).

The answer to her questioning is that it is all going to turn out right for everyone in the end:

“‘He is the Saviour of all men!’ (1 Tim. 4:10). The words burst forth in passionate triumph from the lips of Aletheia. ‘Oh, how blind I have been! He is lifted up and nailed to the cross with us. As Jesus revealed when He hung between the two thieves and murderers, He will “draw all men unto Him.” “As in Adam (poor fallen Mankind) all die, so in Christ, the Second Adam, shall all men be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). Oh, what a victory! The only victory truly worthy of the Great God and Creator Who “did not make anything in vain but in the end restores all things unto Himself” (Acts 3:21). Oh, it is the Best News possible, the only possible News, if we are truly to love and trust Him fully'” (ibid., pp. 35-36, italic in original).

Like Rob Bell, the author of Love Wins, Hannah Hurnard has universalized the word “all” claiming that Christ has and will redeem all of mankind, regardless of whether they have his Spirit or not (Romans 8:9). There are those who believe that God’s universal redemption includes even the devil and his angels. Only those who are related to the Second Adam (Jesus Christ) by spiritual birth, will escape the horrors of hell. Jesus would never have said the following to the Pharisees if all mankind (including those who reject Him and his cross) were eventually going to be saved.

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)

In Hurnard’s “garden of Eden” man only fell from “God consciousness.” So Hell turns out to be only a place like Purgatory where its fires purge man of his fall from “God consciousness” to a new awareness of his deity.

Hurnard’s and Joubert’s Feminine Spirituality

It is no surprise that Hurnard used the fictional character Aletheia in her book. Aletheia- (al-e-the-a) is a Greek word translated as unclosedness, unconcealedness, disclosure or truth. The literal meaning is “the state of not being hidden; the state of being evident” and it also implies sincerity, as well as factuality or reality.

The prefix signifies negation; the suffix alludes to “that which is hidden or forgotten.” Truth to the Greek mind was in the eye of the beholder and not in the object perceived. In Greek mythology Aletheia is the goddess of Truth. Her counterpart in Roman mythology was Veritas.

In her use of the name Aletheia, Hurnard wanted to convey the idea that the doctrine of universal redemption of mankind was unveiled or disclosed to her by the Greek goddess, Aletheia, despite the fact that she claimed it was the Chief Shepherd who made this higher truth known to her.  Hurnard’s shepherd can never be identified with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, who preached more on hell than anything else.

Although Stephan Joubert would deny that he is a Universalist, his views on Jesus’ relationship to the book of Leviticus and Him being the “Sophia” (Wisdom of God) seem to confirm any suspicion that he is. It is a well-known fact that the Emergent Church has a great affinity for feminine spirituality and hence their bountiful use of the name “Sophia,” the Greek goddess of wisdom, when they refer to Jesus being the Wisdom of God.

Mary Kassian a member of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and the founder of Girls Gone Wise has a thought provoking critique of The Shack written from a woman’s perspective. Said Kassian:

The Shack contains terribly wrong concepts about God. Plain and simple. If you think it doesn’t, then you’re well on your way to accepting the image of the Christa on the cross. In a few years, you’ll be hanging her up in your church. I don’t think I’m overstating the case. In my book I’ve carefully documented the way it happened in mainline churches. The arguments used to justify their feminist Christa are the same ones the Shack uses to justify its feminized version of God. In essence, there’s no difference between the artistic image of a feminized Jesus (a.k.a. “Sophia”) hanging on a cross and the artistic image of a feminized Aunt Jemima Papa god in a book. If the latter doesn’t offend you, then the former really shouldn’t. (Emphasis added).

In his presentation “Being a Radical Pilgrim and prophet” which he delivered at the Mosaiêk Congress held at the Mosaiek Kerk in Fairland, Johannesburg on 4-5 September 2009, Stephan Joubert said the following which underscores his notion that everything is already holy and therefore there is no need to make a distinction between the saved and the unsaved.

Sophia - Feminine Jesus

The Sophia – Feminine Jesus crucified

Yes, they [the Israelites] did use the story of the Exodus. They had their feasts, their three annual feasts that were organized around these stories. They would use some of the implications of those stories, but the story that won in the end, in Israel, was the priestly story.

If you were born and raised an Israelite, you knew about holy – unholy, clean – unclean, pure – impure, in – out, us – them. This is the priestly story. It is all about purity. It is all about who is in and who is out. . . .

And now suddenly Jesus comes and you have the four dominant stories of Israel. You have the creation story. You have the exodus. You have the priestly story and the wisdom story.

And interestingly enough, Jesus is not a reformer. He is not a reformer trying to reform some of the stories. Jesus does not link onto, particularly, the purity story, never at all. Jesus, if I might, may put it like this, Jesus links onto the, to wisdom.

And if you understand this, it will change the entire understanding of Jesus. Jesus takes the fourth story of Israel, the story that did not win, the story that belonged to the upper classes: the story of wisdom. (SOPHIA).

To summarize what Stephan Joubert said the following points which are probably the main elements of his presentation, may be highlighted:

  1. The mystical or contemplative approach to the making or grooming of Christ-followers is to teach people from every religious persuasion how to follow the Sage (or Sophia) from heaven by convincing them that this Sage never linked onto the purity or priestly story (no one is excluded by being labelled “saved or unsaved,” “in or out,” “clean or unclean,” “us and them,” “holy and unholy”) but onto the wisdom story (particularly in the book of Proverbs which deals with the practical day to day living realities). The demarcation or dividing line between holy and unholy, clean and unclean, and saved and unsaved must be eradicated at all cost because it implies judgment, division, separateness and un-connectedness. In Matthew Fox’s book called “A New Reformation!” he writes that we are in fact confronted with two churches: one expressed by the image of the Punitive Father, personified by a rigidly hierarchical church structure, repression of the feminine, . . . and the other expressed by the feminine figure of Wisdom, (Sophia) personified by a Mother/Father God of justice and compassion. It is time for Christians to choose whom it will follow: an angry exclusionary god or the loving open path of wisdom (Emphasis added).
  2. By detaching Jesus from the priestly or purity story (the “who is in and who is out,” “who is pure and who is impure,” “who is clean and who is unclean,” “us and them.,” and “who is saved and who is not” story) his mission as the Saviour of the world (reconciling impure, defiled and lost sinners to his infinitely holy Father through the cleansing power of his shed blood) is grossly compromised while his mission as the Sage (or Sophia) from heaven and wisdom teacher is enhanced. In this context, the assurance of salvation is no longer the ultimate goal but a pilgrimage that teaches is followers how to enter into and live in the rhythms of God.

Stephan Joubert’s assertion that Jesus never linked onto the purity story in Leviticus is blasphemous to say the least. Leviticus in the Old Testament is the counterpart or shadow of the “Leviticus” in the New Testament – Hebrews – and to say that Jesus never linked onto the Old Testament Leviticus is tantamount to saying that He also never linked onto Hebrews. If so, He would be denying his own redemptive work on the cross.

Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God; (Hebrews 10:5-12)

Hurnard’s Gospel of Reincarnation

Hannah Hurnard’s philosophy – and it is nothing else than a manmade philosophy – that humankind needs to suffer sorrow and hardship in the The School of Earth Experiences (Publisher: The J. W. Nunn Co., Ltd.; First Edition 1957) to be reunited and increasingly more deeply united to God is not based on biblical truth but on the Eastern mystic philosophy of reincarnation. In fact, she even goes so far to say that in John 9

“The Lord, in the clearest possible way, confirmed His own belief in the Old Testament teaching concerning the necessity for human souls to visit the earth’s school more than once.  Jesus did accept the current belief concerning reincarnation and said that congenital and hereditary diseases are connected with experiences and behaviors in an earlier lifetime.”

This is undoubtedly based on the Eastern concept of bad Karma that can only be rectified by reincarnation. I found the following definition on a site which to me seems to be the best concise definition of Karma.

The Law of Karma

Karma is a Buddhist term which comes from Sanskrit and relates to fate and action. You alone are responsible for your actions.

It is the law of cause and effect, an unbreakable law of the cosmos. You deserve everything that happens to you, good or bad. You created your happiness and your misery. One day you will be in the same circumstances that you put someone else in.

Your actions create your future. What you are experiencing right now is what karma wants you to experience. Every feeling, every thought, has been prepared especially for you, so you can learn from your past.

The reason your fate is never truly set is because you have free will. Therefore, your future cannot already be written. That would not be fair. Life gives you chances. This is one of them.

You can’t escape from your past, but learning from it will change your future.

An incarnation therapist posted the following comment on the same site.

I am a reincarnation therapist and intuitive coach. The essential goal of the soul is to gain experiences and learn its lessons. All the situations and circumstances with certain people you agreed to create before you entered into this life. If we’ve missed some lessons in a former life – they will appear as a plus in this life. Like you inherited your eye color, you inherited the leftovers from traumatic events that have taken place in your family. (Emphasis added).

Children tend to carry one or both of their parents’ pain, disappointments, fears, hurts, sadness. The transmission usually happens when the child becomes aware of or witnesses his or her parents pain. As a child you unconsciously volunteer to carry the energy of the pain in order to support the parent through a difficult time. Even though you will not remember everything that has happened in your life so far. Life is more complex. The challenge is to realize you are not a victim. You have the power to change your life. All people are teachers helping us to learn our lessons . . . to come back to the state of unconditional love where we already come from. That’s why FORGIVENESS is very important. God bless you.

Hannah Hurnard asserted that belief in reincarnation can bring “comfort . . . to people who are suffering in crippled bodies” and to “the parents of congenitally diseased or crippled and handicapped children (pp. 25, 26).

Please take special cognizance of the emboldened sentence “All the situations and circumstances with certain people you agreed to create before you entered into life in the reincarnation therapist’s comment.” Here she emphasizes one of the most important and basic tenets of Buddhism – the preexistence of individuals before its human birth.

Here again Hannah Hurnard’s connection to Buddhism is evident because she too did not believe that God created man with a spirit, a soul and a body but as entities who have always pre-existed as spirit beings and who at will enters already existent bodies of humans and animals. This in turn led her to become a strict vegetarian. She refused conventional treatment for her cancer before her death and opened her home every Monday evening for those who came to hear her share her form of strict vegetarianism, reincarnation, necromancy and New Age thought. She did not promote vegetarianism for health reasons but because she believed God is also in animals and animal flesh.

In “Eagles’ Wings to the HIgher Places” her characters are portrayed as believers in the eastern mystical doctrine of pantheism (God as a universal force in everything). An angel (demon) says to Aletheia:

“‘See, the little “Son of Man” is born amongst them in order to show that he represents all the birds, beasts, and other living creatures – not just the fallen sons of men. His manger cradle is on the cross created by Mankind’s sins to show that whatsoever men do to each other they do to Him too; and whatever they do to the other living creatures – the birds, beasts, insects, and creeping things – they also do to Him. For He is the Divine Love and Life of God immanent in every living creature in the One Great Body of Creation. Now look, Aletheia, lover of the Truth. Look and behold the Truth'” (pp. 86-87).

Hannah Hurnard’s Jesus.

Hurnard’s Jesus is certainly not the Jesus of the Bible. (2 Corinthians 11:4). The most conclusive litmus test to determine whether someone’s view of Jesus Christ is biblical, is to ask him or her “whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).  Unlike Peter, under the inspiration of God the Father, who answered “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Hurnard, under the inspiration of a demonic entity, says: You are “an “angelic level of God consciousness” who rose to a “Son of God consciousness” which is where all mankind is headed anyway. (Hinds’ Feet on High Places, p. 124).

Hurnard and Joubert’s Suffering and Sorrow

Stephan Joubert giving cup of cold water

Stephan Joubert

Toward the end of her life many orthodox and biblically sound Christians who endorsed her earlier books began to criticize her and disenfranchise her public appearances. They simply refrained from inviting her as a speaker. She obviously saw this as part of her sorrow and suffering which she allegedly had to endure to reach high places or new levels of spiritual maturity.

Stephan Joubert seems to be experiencing the same kind of sorrows and suffering. In a recent article on his site (November 23, 2015), called “Are you perchance a Christian bleeder like me?” he laments the fact that when people criticize him in public whilst they do not know his heart, he bleeds on the inside.

What does he mean? Why does he serve his heart and “bleeding on the inside” on the same platter to those who criticize him? There are two possible reasons. The one reason is that if the people knew his heart, they would never criticize him and therefore he would have no need to bleed on the inside.

This seems highly unlikely because he candidly admits that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). In acknowledging that he does not know his own heart because it is so desperately deceitful and wicked, he admits that his critics do not know his heart as well.

How on earth can they know his heart when he does not know it himself? So what’s the point in lamenting other peoples’ ignorance of his heart when he himself does not know his heart?

The second possible reason is that although he often says so many outlandish things like Jesus did not come to destroy the works of the devil and truth can be found in Buddhism, Judaism and even atheism, and Jesus never linked on to the purity story in Leviticus, he wants his critics to realize his heart has always remained a bastion of truth and that they only need to learn what is in his heart to appreciate his steadfastness in biblical truth.

Having exposed the rank heresies Stephan Joubert and his fellow-writers shamelessly endorse in the article on Hannah Hurnard by Francine van Niekerk, it is very hard to believe that he is in earnest when he says he is open to criticism and prepared to listen to what others say about his teaching.

In fact, he is not – I repeat, he is not – prepared to speak to or even read the blogs of those who criticize his teaching. A Christian brother of mine repeatedly suggested that they arrange a get together to discuss the things he believes and proclaims. He is still waiting because Joubert refuses to meet with him.

Joubert skilfully combines his bad experiences with the work of the Holy Spirit and calls it His open heart surgery. It is painful, he says, but always necessary for one’s spiritual growth. Although it is true, it is certainly not the only reason why the Holy Spirit uses others to reprove, to correct and to instruct in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Consider the following, for instance.

Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. (James 5:19-20).

Perhaps one of Joubert’s most outlandish statements is that criticism is not the end of the world but often the proof that you are on the right road? Really? Please convince me that Francine van Niekerk’s eulogy of Hannah Hurnard is proof that Stephan Joubert and his fellow- writers are on the right track. What does God say?

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:8-10)

One of the main traits of false teachers is that they always experience genuine biblical criticism as a personal attack on them and their integrity. They will never seek out a quite little place and ponder the mere possibility that their critics may be right, admit their errors and seriously consider the necessity to change their course. (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Oh no, they see it as a sign that they are on the right track. (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).

When Peter did not walk uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel and Paul rebuked him before all the other disciples (Galatians 2:14; 1 Timothy 5:20), he did not curl himself up like a little porcupine, protrude his quills and cry out: “Woe is me, I am bleeding on the inside. How can Paul be so insensitive? If only he knew my heart he would never have said all those unkind things about me before the other disciples. Boo-hoo-hoo. Shame on you Paul, you should have shown a little more respect for a fellow disciple. Boo-hoo-hoo.”

It is sickening to see what so-called highly educated professors, doctors and other academic fundus and experts write on their Internet blogs and say in their public appearances. It matters very little to them how many precious souls they are leading astray and right into hell. They are more concerned about their deceitful and desperately wicked bleeding little hearts than God’s truth.

Double Belonging = Double-Mindedness

James 1:7-8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [including salvation] [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].

Psalm 119:113-115 Amplified Bible (AMP)


I hate those who are double-minded,
But I love and treasure Your law.
You are my hiding place and my shield;
I wait for Your word.
Leave me, you evildoers,
That I may keep the commandments of my God [honoring and obeying them].

1 Kings 18:21 Amplified Bible (AMP)

21 Elijah approached all the people and said, “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people [of Israel] did not answer him [so much as] a word.

2 Kings 17:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 They feared the Lord, yet served their own gods, following the custom of the nations from among whom they had been sent into exile.

1 Corinthians 10:1-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Avoid Israel’s Mistakes

10 For I do not want you to be unaware, believers, that our fathers were all under the cloud [in which God’s presence went before them] and they all passed [miraculously and safely] through the [Red] Sea; 2 And all [of them] were baptized into Moses [into his safekeeping as their leader] in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and all [of them] ate the same spiritual food; 4 and all [of them] drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not well-pleased with most of them, for they were scattered along the ground in the wilderness [because their lack of self-control led to disobedience which led to death].

6 Now these things [the warnings and admonitions] took place as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they did. 7 Do not be worshipers of handmade gods, as some of them were; just as it is written [in Scripture], “The people sat down to eat and drink [after sacrificing to the golden calf at Horeb], and stood up to play [indulging in immoral activities].” 8 We must not indulge in [nor tolerate] sexual immorality, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand [suddenly] fell [dead] in a single day! 9 We must not tempt the Lord [that is, test His patience, question His purpose or exploit His goodness], as some of them did-and they were killed by serpents. 10 And do not murmur [in unwarranted discontent], as some of them did-and were destroyed by the[ destroyer. 11 Now these things happened to them as an example and warning [to us]; they were written for our instruction [to admonish and equip us], upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

[1] During a break away session of a contemplative conference held on 14 and 15 September 2010 at the Mosaiek Church in Fairland, Johannesburg, Stephan Joubert openly took sides with Theo Geyser who complacently said that mysticism is much older than Christianity. To substantiate his statement Theo Geyser quoted Karl Rahner who said: “The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all,” which, of course, undermines Jesus Christ’s promise in Matthew 16:18 that He alone is capable of building, caring for, and safely keeping his church, and not every Tom, Dick and Harry who pull mystical little tricks out of a hat. The mystically orientated Christian, Stephan Joubert, who agreed with Theo Geyser in typical rhythmically silent contemplative fashion, also answered my question surrounding the inexplicability of God in deep mystical silence. He ignored me like one would a curse. He speciously even then refused to play the eye for an eye little game.

[2] From a sermon delivered on 1 March 2009 at the Kemptonkruin Dutch Reformed Church

[3] A biblical appraisal of the Mosaic Church Congress –  Johannesburg (4-5 Sept. 2009) – Part 4, Session 3: Being a radical pilgrim and prophet – Stephan Joubert

See all articles on the Emergent Church

Please share:

Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

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

7 Responses

  1. Johan says:

    …….and in the light of all this you have now again explained,the professor still does not get it, still carries on, on the road that looks like it will end in life, but ends in death….what does he see, that we don”t?.How is it possible that people still do not understand? Honestly, this prof. has the gift to talk to people in such a way, that most do not question him, the expressions, cliché’s and everything that goes with how he presents is actually so convincing, it is quite something……scary , actually…..and people loved by God, is being misled and fed on half truths… their detriment!!!

  2. Hi Johan,

    I think the answer to your question “How is it possible that people still do not understand?” is here.

    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

    Most people just love their ears to be tickled with lies and deceit while they happily roller-coast into hell. These highly educated professors, doctors and academics think they are the cat’s whiskers when they proclaim their “sophia” (wisdom) to especially the women.

    Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning [and doing research on all kinds of silly things], and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Ti 3:5-7)

  3. SheepDog says:


    Stumbled upon your blog by researching the issues with Roger Oakland, left 2 comments over there about some new developments. The article about ‘not exposing Chuck Missler.’

    Nice blog!
    ( :

  4. Hi Sheepdog

    Thank you for commenting and yes thank you for those comments under the Roger Oakland article that is valuable information indeed.

  5. Tony Griffin says:

    Very good article. Very well written . I only have a few things that I disagree with that i would like to mention. Number one , the scriptures teach in James chapter 1 verses 2-4, “consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect results so that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.”

    2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “praise be to God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of compassion and the God of all comfort, comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

    Just one more verse . 1 Peter 5:10, “and the God of all grace, who CALLED (interesting word there, CALLED) you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

    These are just three verses . There are three verses that tell us why we suffer. I can give you 18 more. First of all we suffer so that when God comforts us because of that comfort we will in turn comfort others . Secondly we suffer so that God can make us strong and firm and steadfast as it says in first Peter. And thirdly we suffer to have the endurance to persevere in the faith. To show that we are genuine in our salvation. God allows suffering most of all to bring glory and honor to himself.

    Now having said that, I would like to compare that with what you said about suffering . You said, “the only reason why God allows his saints to suffer affliction and sorrow is for the sake of his son and his gospel and not for the things we do that deserve affliction and suffering.” First of all I think you would agree that God does chastise believers . And he allows his children affliction and suffering to draw him closer to himself and show them the error of their ways. But what concerns me is that what you said about why Christians suffer affliction. These three passages of Scripture that I just quoted give you the reasons for suffering . Your idea of suffering might be partially correct but is not fully biblically sound. All suffering is to bring glory and honor to the father. Also our trials, produce endurance and perseverance . And trials which is suffering gives us an opportunity to comfort others as God comforts us. Trials come due to advisement. I totally agree with you about Hannah Hernard. I just think your idea of suffering is not biblically sound and accurate. I could keep going to so much more details but suffice it to say I think I’ve made my point .

    And lastly, there is no allegory in Scripture. Let me repeat that the first thing a person learns in biblical hermeneutics is there is no allegory in Scripture. There is hyperbole and metaphor, but there is no allegory.

    Thank you for allowing me to respond. And may God bless you.

  6. There is a biblical kind of suffering and an unbiblical kind of suffering. Peter wrote:

    For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.(1 Pe 2:20).

    And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1 Pe 3:13-18)

    But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (1 Pe 4:15-16)

    Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1 Pe 4:19)

    I am sure you will agree that the kind of suffering Buddhism and the Emergent Church promulgate is not biblical and that was merely what I wanted to prove.

  7. Tony Griffin says:

    Tom, I totally agree with you. Very good article. Just as a sidenote, I used to go to an emergent church unfortunately because I thought I could have a ministry there. Was able to snatch a few out but any rate your articles correct Rob Bell’s a heretic and on his way to hell.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *