In the words of…er, some country singer in the 70’s (80’s?), “I was country when country wasn’t cool”. All I mean to say is, trust me…I have been on all the rides. I have heard the sermons and I have seen these ideas implemented with grenade-like, uh…precision. I know of what I speak. The “local church” bears very little resemblance to the libertarian democracy neo-Calvinist flag-pin-wearers swear was actually mentioned first in a Jonathon Edwards sermon. This is a Christian nation, after all…and by this of course, they mean reformed protestant (not those Catholic pigs)…and by this of course they mean Calvinist; and by this they mean Lutheran; and by this they mean Augustinian. And he was Catholic.
What were they saying about those Catholic, sex-deprived, collar-wearing pigs again?
And as for Calvin? Trust me, he was a commie before commie was cool. In Geneva, you didn’t get a say; you didn’t get to be on the pastoral search committee; you didn’t get to disagree; you didn’t get to read books or listen to teachers who weren’t approved by the leadership; you didn’t get to skip church; you didn’t get to criticize the boring, perfunctory, repetitive and banal worship music. Let’s just say you didn’t get to urinate without the disapproving eye of your spiritual elder bearing down upon your private parts; gauging the, er…measure of your commitment to the ecclesiastical autocracy. Of course, this practice lent somewhat of an ironic tone to the idea of pastoral “covering”.
And those wonderful freedom-loving puritans? Um…exactly how many cogregants were burned or banished for having the temerity to disagree with the “church”? For daring to appeal to a “representative” form of government?
So much for this being a Christian nation. A Christian nation is precisely what the Founding Fathers were hoping to avoid.
13. “Everyone has a gift for ministry. Every one should be serving in a ministry”: Using your “gift” for ministry (my gift happens to be nap-taking; but they don’t have that committee, so I’m still looking) is the obligatory outward sign of your devotion to the collective and the Marxist Calvinist mentality. Nothing says “I’m utterly committed to hating myself and putting on the spirit of the groupthink” quite like doing a bunch of chores for free and for an elder board with a massive case of entitlement in the middle of the week after you’ve already laid pavement in 98 degree heat for ten hours that day; or fought with sixty ungrateful wretches at the customer service counter at Acme Electronics. Ah yes, the joys of exercising your gift for ministry. “Anyone and everyone has has a gift” simply means that there is a lot of stuff that needs doing and we, the elders, don’t think we should have to pay for it.
That seems fair. I’ll give ten percent of my salary before taxes to the leadership and then scrub the toilets also…on my one day off (because you can’t count Sunday; honestly, the day is half over by the time you get home, which sucks…whatever happened to in and out in an hour?). Oh please, where do I sign?
Well, if nothing else, watching seventeen leaky-nosed three-year-olds for two and half hours on one of only two days off certainly is torturous enough to prove that you are entirely conciliatory towards the idea of total depravity. If you punish yourself with these mindless hours of boot licking in between your 60 hour work week, just maybe they’ll notice that you are at least trying.
“How dare you! For even your trying is sin! You were steeped in sin from birth!”
“And no. We didn’t notice. You are only “doing what is required”.”
At least in mother Russia you just had to shut your mouth and burn down whatever building or books they pointed to. And you got a gun. You didn’t have to wash cars for free or man the coffee table at the “marriage retreat” on a perfectly good Saturday in the name of “ministry”.
At any rate, as long as you are not compelled to do it, ministry work is of course not necessarily a bad thing. Once it becomes a measure of how good a Christian you are, realize that you have been replaced with some one else’s theoretical, subjective idea of what you should be, and think, and believe, and do. And this is destructive.
14. ‘Let’s put away our false humility”: I love how the church leadership thinks they can just tell by looking what is true humility and what is false humility. It makes me laugh to think of the irony which is found in a mindset so arrogant. I mean, CJ Mahaney had those guys snowed for decades, and Calvinist pastors still have the gall to get up there and warn about sniffing out your wicked false humility.
What they mean by “false humility” is really only one thing: the belief that you are actually a person of your own. False humility is hallmarked by the notion of self-realization; that you own your mind, your volition, your body and time and property.
15. “Remember, it’s all about Christ”: Translation? It’s all about the collective. If the Senior Pastor says this, what he means (because this is what is explicit in his theology) is: “It’s all about me.”
16. “Let’s commit to no longer tolerating sin”: Who is someone who “tolerates sin” according to the governmental structure of the reformed autocracy? Someone guilty of the capital crime of tolerating sin is someone who refuses-against the explicit command of the collective authority–to banish or destroy those who either question or reject the collectivist assumptions, beliefs, and objectives.
17. “Church should not be a “comfort zone””: This means that fear of personal destruction and ruin at the hands of the church autocracy is the primary means of achieving mass compliance.
18. “We need to agree on the essentials”: Whatever presuppositions/interpretations/opinions/ideas the church autocracy decides are essential, are the “essentials” to which we all need to agree. No matter how capricious, irrational, transient or fleeting these “essentials” may be, make no mistake, you will agree to them. Disagreement is tantamount to mortal sin, and invites church discipline. It is metaphysically identical to rejecting God’s very eternal and resolute Will.
Generally speaking, however, the “essentials” to which your senior neo-Calvinist pastor is referring to is the categorical and fawning devotion to his doctrinal assumptions.
Aaaaaaand finally, my personal favorite…
19. “The infallible Scriptures”: The supreme bulwark of the ecclesiastical autocracy’s authority of FORCE, PUNISHMENT, and VIOLENT REPRISAL…not to mention their subjective doctrinal assumptions, opinions, and interpretations, which is rooted in the intellectually questionable and integrity-challenged practice of biblical proof-texting.
Being the very physical embodiment of a purely theoretical absolute–“infallibility”, the bible is metaphysically the fourth Person in the “Trinity”; and the autocratic governors alone have the proper and enlightened understanding of its holy meanings and dictates. This seals their authority and their divine mandate of force with the resounding pound of a nine-pound railroad hammer. If you will not listen to them, surely you are not foolish enough–insolent enough–to reject God’s perfect and inerrant Word, and invite the inevitable personal destruction thereof?
Of course not. Who would?
Because I deny their premises at the root; from before the the very first brief pause just prior to the first drawn breath. And so should you. Deny what they say; deny what they do; deny their mandate; deny their instruction and their commands; deny their position and their authority over you. Deny the Marxism implicit in their theology.
And save yourself.