Remember, for the collectivist mentality, there is no TRUTH apart from the group…or, more specifically the small autocratic and wholly self-appointed leadership “team” which rules categorically and unequivocally the collective as a whole. The true authority, however, almost always resides within the auspices of a single person: the dictator, whose ideas and opinions are beyond reproach or question.
And this single person, for the local church, is of course the Senior Pastor. He is and remains fully in charge. As the pope of the congregation, he is the central and root embodiment of the collective. There may be some measure of “elder accountability”, or congregational input, but these are paid merely lip service (and not even that in some of the more unabashedly dictatorial local churches), but in a truly neo-Calvinist/neo-Reformed church, there is no one above him. He is the senior mystic; the chief of the diviners. Beyond him, there is no one who can claim a greater “grace to perceive”. This of course is implicit in the gnostic doctrine of Calvinism, and is precisely why Brent Detwiler and all of the former SGM churches (and pretty much any reformed Christian) who have left the group or are leaving the group are rank hypocrites unless they utterly renounce the doctrine they once espoused. In reality, all of their protestations are farcical and a standing on ceremony for the sake of job security at best. For they MUST, after decades of slavish devotion to the man, understand that there can be NO condemnation of CJ according to their very theology, because there can be NO greater man between him and God. This is a fact you must accept if you concede the premises which under gird reformed theology. Particularly Calvinism.
But back to Marxism, and our list:
8. “We need a transformational approach to life”: This new “transformational” approach to life is a new metaphysical construct which excludes the individual YOU. You–somehow; for this cannot really be explain rationally according to their metaphysics–sacrifice yourself, your body, mind and property for the sake of the collective. In practical terms, this may include doing a lot of mandatory (ministry) work for free, or offering your professional products to the church without any compensation or at a significant discount–an obligatory position you must assume. You may find yourself paying for food for group meetings, driving people around in your car at your expense, working as a “caregroup” leader, which entails several hours of prep, not to mention the two hours of meeting in your home, Or just “gifting” 10%–and really, much more than that if you are a “mature” Christian–to God; which means the local church. Before taxes, preferably. All of this is your duty, you obligation, and, they tell you, your “joy”. Because it is a joy to serve God. And God is your local church; for there is no actual metaphysical distinction.
These kinds of autocratic expectations…this “transformed approach”, is tyrannical, abusive, and destructive to human beings because a single person cannot ever rationally nor practically exist as an abstract, absolute idea like the “collective”.
9. “Without Jesus, you can do nothing, because He is the vine.”: This false interpretation of the vine/branches analogy says that you are only real to God if you replace your mind with the mind of the collective. Which, again, is ultimately the mind of the head pastor. Incidentally, nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say you can do “nothing” apart from Him. His point is that salvation comes through faith in Christ. Obviously, you don’t need divine help to read a menu, or cash a check, or blow your nose. Now, this may seem like I’m exaggerating, but I’m not the one in front of a Plexiglass podium with a glass of water and crocodile tears proclaiming broad and unqualified statements like “you can do NOTHING without Jesus”. In English, “nothing” means “nothing”. So if you say it, you must explain it. But they never do. This is because they like to leave themselves room to back out of taking responsibility for the fallout that so often occurs as a result of their evil message. They need to reserve the “well, I never really said that” card for the lawyers. That way, if someone takes “God is in control” to mean that they can rape a three year old and rest the sleep of the guiltless because they know that it was “God’s will”, and “all is worked out for good” because He is “sovereign” and nothing happens that “He doesn’t allow’, they can tell the lawyers “Only a crazy person would believe we actually meant that.” The only problem is, according to their doctrinal assumptions, this is exactly what they meant. But they can’t admit that to the civil authorities, who do not (yet) accept their world-view.
10. “Every sin is rooted in pride”: Besides the fact that this is simply untrue…that there are sins that are not rooted in pride (like gluttony, or love of money…the meaning of pride for these sins must be finely parsed; the argument circular, and they are experts at this), this really means that every sin is rooted in the individual’s denial of the collectivist mindset. If you disagree with the leadership in any way for any reason your are “sinning” and it is because you are “proud”. I’d say we’ve all heard this line of bullshit at least once in our Christian lives. But of course the reason is easy to understand once you understand their utter devotion to totalitarianism. IF every sin is rooted in pride, then every sin is rooted in YOU. Get it? Convenient, huh? You can never have a good point, or be right, or have truth, because you are the root of EVIL. Nothing good comes from you ever, because YOU are the root of every sin; and this means that there is no functional metaphysical difference between you and sin. This is why you must adhere to the collective. Only the collective can be good (somehow). If it’s just you, then it is sin. Ergo, good luck convincing CJ Mahaney or his Puritanical pals that you are ever right.
11. “You must maintain your connection to the vine”: Of course, the Holy Spirit helps us with this; those in Christ do not fall away (unless they want to; a point of disagreement I have with some of my otherwise like-minded Christian friends), and, under metaphysically consistent circumstances, with proper adherence to the context of scripture, this is a fine thing to say. But in the neo-Calvinist autocracy by now we understand that the rational meaning of scripture is often not what they mean. What this means is that you must work very hard to maintain your complete devotion to the collective; to the ecclesiastical autocracy. The best way you can know whether you are properly “grafted” into your collection of overlords-in-the-stead is by gauging the amount of emotional/psychological/spiritual and even physical pain you are in. In Calvinist circles, pain is the ultimate plumb line for TRUTH. Why? Well, that’s an easy one. You see pain is the single greatest measure of self-denial. The more you hate yourself, the more you are anxious about your salvation, the more you are recognizing the most important doctrinal assumption in all of reformation AND Catholic theology: you are bad, bad, bad! You are totally depraved. And so the more you force yourself into a life within which it is impossible for you to conform–a collective, rooted in absolute theoretical constructs which are in no way consistent with physical and observational reality–the more personal destruction and anguish you will endure. This, of course, creates a quite obvious yardstick by which to measure your commitment to Christ. The more the pain, the better the Christian. And that is something which any old ignoramus can grasp.
12. “We recognize diversity in our church, of course.”: This appeal to “diversity” is a tricky one for them to navigate because I can assure you, the last thing any of these Calvinist oligarchs care about is diversity. Diversity of people is diversity of opinion, and that will get you a date with Calvin’s stake. No…no, no, diversity is the last thing they crave. Just try denying “original sin”, or mention you’d like to do some “expository” preaching on women preachers, or that you’d like to see a good old Arminian revival up in here sometime, and you’ll see the “love” for diversity come out in the form of a map to the door. Or worse. I mean, in my church, the new pastor had to be registered republican. So much for diversity. Even a libertarian is screwed out of that job.
So, yeah, its dicey. I mean, they use the whole Pauline notion that the entire body can’t be a foot or an eye…and they use it to say everyone is “different”. But first of all, that’s not what Paul is really saying (but since when do they care?), and second, it’s merely more subterfuge intended to make them look flexible and rational. Which, trust me, they are absolutely not. After a bit of thought about this, I realized that this whole false notion of accepting differences is really this: Diversity is simply the manifestation on an individual level of the denial of self in service to the collective. The purpose of diversity is merely to meet the various needs of the autocratic authority. After all, they need someone to do the church’s taxes for free, and not everyone can be an accountant, just like not everyone can be the guy who does the landscaping for free, or the guy who cleans the toilets and replaces the urinal cakes for free, or parks cars for free, or installs the sound system for free.
And how “diversity” is properly used in the local church is of course subject to the single-minded opinion of the church autocracy. Thus, the true Calvinist metaphysical definition of diversity is merely “oneness”. And the oneness is the Marxist collective.
Diversity can never be defined by differing ideas or assumptions or opinions from the leadership on pretty much any subject of depth. Diversity then is purely superficial in your local neo-Calvinist collective. Dress, talents, perhaps…but I would like to say NOT socioeconomic status. Those who are wealthy and/or famous or well-known in the community operate under a distinctively palpable separate standard from the rest of the bobbleheaded slobs in the congregation. I will never forget the two physicians in my SGM church who shot up to the front of the class in a matter of weeks, leading just about whatever ministry their little hearts desired. Those of us who had been jockeying for positions in those ministries for years didn’t say boo. Of course the leaders knew better, we told ourselves, with nary a thought of protest (much to our shame). Why, it was just coincidence that God seemed to “call” those to leadership “roles” who happened to have fat bank accounts. Merely divine inspiration…purely noble; purely humble.
But differences on anything any person would consider substantial are never tolerated. I was shown the door at my recent SGM monstrosity for daring to question the pastor’s devotion to CJ Mahaney. That was my consolation prize for fifteen years and a hundred thousand dollars to that group.
At any rate, the moral of the “we accept diversity” point is: beware of thought crimes. Diversity is not tolerated if it resides behind the eyes.
Please come back for part three!