No, it’s not even simply neo-Reformed. It is something that is ubiquitous among Christians in general these days…just look at the common “statements of faith” (every church has to have their own “apostles” creed, I guess…or is it the Nicene creed? …you know what, I just don’t care…this creed, that creed, none of them look to the individual first, and that is the crux of the problem)…so look at the statements of faith. Look at the mountain of verses they use to “prove” the “infallibility” of their doctrines. Each verse, stacked upon another, from an entirely different book of the Bible, from an entirely different author, neither occupying even the same generation, necessarily, as the other, fit together grotesquely, ripped away from their respective historical and applicable contexts as an infant is ripped from his mother’s arms, and bolted and welded and tortured into place, as if THAT is the sum of reason.
Oh yes…look at the impressive exercises that pass for intellectualism in Christianity these days. Oh yes, let’s pretend that that the more random verses we can pile on and pound and weld and force and push and shove into the gnarled and twisted sculpture of our “sound doctrine” means that eventually we can effectively obfuscate the real point so that no one can comprehend what the real point actually is.
And what is the real point?
Simple: To use intellectual sleight of hand in order to convince people that our subjective interpretive opinions of what the bible “says” is actually the “infallible truth” of the matter. Yes, let us pretend that we are able to mystically conjure up some divine “logic” that says that “All your good deeds are as filthy rags” is, other than mere trite semantics, the EXACT SAME THING as “You were once children of wrath”. So exactly the same thing, in fact, that they may be lifted, without the slightest bit of shame–nary a coy glance to the right or left–from the pages of the “inerrant” “Word”and put upon their own two legs so that they may roam too and fro from statement of faith to statement of faith, from pulpit to pulpit, “care group” to “care group”. (A startlingly ironical title, for those of you who have actually been expelled from SGM churches for not towing the partly line…you quickly find out how little they actually care about human beings. I haven’t heard from my “care group” leader since I was invited to get out over a year and a half ago. Not. Once.). They may run around without the corners of reason to bind them together…free, free to be whatever, whoever and wherever the divinely inspired Christian leaders of your altruistic local church need them to be. They, removed from the fetters of logic and critical analysis, reason, context, setting, or author’s perspective or intent, may play the part of mystic chameleon. A cloak of many colors, under which the masses may be compelled to this behavior or that in the name of “objective, biblically infallible truth”.
Have so many people at any other time fallen for so great an OBVIOUS trick as that of “biblical inerrancy”? I wrack and wrack my brain, but I find no other example.
I submit that virtually ALL of neo-Reformed despotism can be tied to this most impressive of mystic talents: to take a flagrant and rank twisting of metaphysical reason and dictate that many accept it without as much as a blink of protest. To dupe so many into slavishly agreeing to become that which is abstract; that which is merely a figment of man’s conscious and creative brain. To convince the masses of actual flesh and blood, numbering in the millions upon millions, that THAT figment, that wisp of man’s fantastical ability to quantify his surroundings, must accept that it is to that UNREAL idea they must conform. To almost hypnotically dictate so many people accept that the only path to TRUTH and righteousness is one that is utterly impossible for them to travel.
But it’s not hypnotism. It’s fear. Plain and simple. To disagree with your divinely appointed “authority” is to disagree with God. The logical conclusion of this farce is that, to you, these men ARE God. That is the functional truth they have successfully convinced you of. And, as an aside, once you declare that the words of Paul, or Peter, or Moses, or the writer of Hebrews are, in fact, God’s very words–which is precisely the core premise of the argument of biblical infallibility–it is only a very short hop, skip and jump to the idea that the words of your Pastor are also God’s very words (Sovereign Grace Ministries has already taught this very thing). Let me ask: Where is the objective plumb line? Who gets to decide which man is speaking or writing God’s very words and who isn’t? Do you know how the “canon” of scripture became the canon? And, if so, what in this criteria indicates that only God’s very words are to be included; and then, again, what becomes the objective plumb line for THAT? I would love be convinced that there can be one, but other than “only the words written that are in quotes and preceded by “God said” “, I’m not sure how you get from God, to Jesus, to Paul BECOMING Jesus/God, effectively in the Bible context, so that his words ARE God’s words. I think this is a gnostic premise that even Paul and the other apostles would recoil at.
At any rate, this idea of religious leaders functioning as “God in the stead” is a threat and deception that has shown itself to be an almost foolproof way to assure mass compliance for thousands of years. Substitute whatever religion you like, they have all seen their fair share of this simple formula. And obviously Christianity is no different. Agree with the “authority which speaks for God” or go to hell.
The moral of this story is: Never underestimate the power of mystic despots to instill fear. You see, I have come to the conclusion that people do not debate me on biblical inerrancy and other “orthodox” doctrines because they have a better argument. They do not debate me because they are terrified that they may have to concede me the point. And this, subconsciously or consciously, means hell for them. Or at the very least, God’s punishment. And this is a fear that is as much a part of them as their own eyes. They would no sooner agree with my argument, no matter how rational or consistent, than they would sear their eyelids shut with a glue gun. That, dear reader, is fear. Fear, I submit, is the ONLY emotion capable of cajoling so many otherwise rational people to shutting their ears and eyes to a world full of human destruction implemented at the hands and in the name of their very own religious assumptions.
People don’t want to think not because they cannot, but because they believe that God hates thinking…because to think means that conclusions can be reached that might be mutually exclusive to what they already believe by “faith”. Thinking can only get in the way of their salvation, which God is already reluctant to give. Oh, sure, they have no problem crying out against rank and obvious injustice, hypocritical ideas used in service to human abuse. But turn these doctrines against them–that is, the doctrines by which they judge these rank abusers–and see how quickly the run from you. Shine the light, and they cover their eyes. In the end, they are no better than the abusers. But twisting tried and true doctrinal abominations to serve their own subjective sense of judgement…this is FEAR, not faith.
Try to show them their own hypocrisy, and some will stop responding to your comments on their blogs. Some will leave a baiting and heavily opinionated post on your blog, which, in any rational world demands an opportunity to respond, and end it with “I do not wish to debate this any further”. Still others will declare that “this topic is unimportant to me”; or “my paradox (contradictory doctrine) leads to truth, but theirs clearly does not“.
So much fear. So much abuse. The two sides of the same coin. And so what have we left?
One or two voices, maybe three or four at the most, crying out from the blank, dimensionless world of the internet? One, maybe two courageous thinkers speaking to a handful of folks in a tiny church upstate somewhere while gnostic overlords sell their destructive wares and pitch their heresy to arenas full of thousands of young/restless/reformed sycophants because the speakers are “orthodox” (i.e. Categorically affirm the gospel book of the Westminster Confessions, which is no more than a brilliant example of a reformed propaganda piece…you think they mean CATHOLIC “orthodoxy”? Don’t make me laugh.). Because they quote a bunch of dead white Europeans in stove pipe hats or leggings, and this passes for theological brilliance?
To what end?
A black hole of Christian zombie minds. An empty well that reaches to the depths of the earth. Truly it is discouraging. And as you can tell, I am discouraged tonight.
People see human beings being abused and destroyed. But they think that change means they can no longer be Christians. And this is what they sleep with every night. How can they continue to believe if THIS is what passes for TRUTH in their religion? Can it be merely fear? Is that the root of their faith; is THAT what they equate their own election to? Their pure, white, cold-yet-burning fear?
Total depravity is a wicked, evil lie. We should all say it. But we won’t. We KNOW that when a human being is reduced to a pithy abstraction, then ANY horror can be perpetrated on them to a given “divine” end. But still, we won’t say it.
The idea of biblical inerrancy is a wicked lie. Say it.
But we won’t. Because we think that somehow, if someone else just “taught it right”, it would be proven true. And somehow, poof! the logically impossible would become utterly and empirically possible. Poof! Something which can never be true in this world or the next magically becomes true.
But you we won”t say it because, after all…
“All things are possible with God.”