Appealing To Your Spiritual Gifts: The Heavy Guns of Neo-Reformed/Neo-Calvinist Marxist Propoganda

We hear this phrase a lot, and I’m not quite sure whether or not it’s actually in the bible.  Annnnd….knowing the neo-Calvinist “leadership” the way I do, I’d be surprised if it is.  Funny how all of these doctrinal revelations that they are so privy to (unlike the rest of us mindless animals beneath the stage) and which the bible speaks so “plainly” or “clearly” of are simply not to be found in scripture.  In fact, I’m not sure a single one of Calvin’s Five Points appears anywhere in the whole of it. Let me check.

Hmmm…nope.  Definitely not.

Anyway, the other day, there I am minding my business, sitting in my church, which until recently was quite a nice church…now, I say recently because about three months ago they hired a stark-raving Calvinist to “lead” us so that we can “make local church planting a priority” (where have I heard THAT before…oh, yeah…SGM; well, I will be planting my ass nowhere except on the couch if anyone asks).  Yes, it seems as though you can take a boy out of the neo-reformed juggernaut but you can’t take the neo-reformed juggernaut out of Christianity these days.  Sigh.  So, once again, the dog (me, it seems) has “returned to its vomit”.  So, until we find another non-Calvinist-church-but-will-likely-become-Calvinist-five-minutes-after-I-get-there-because-Calvinism-is-breeding-like-the-aliens-from-“Aliens“, there I am, sitting in the church on a Sunday morning minding my own business when this not-entirely-rational voice proclaims from somewhere up front, behind a podium, somewhere in some part of the church I don’t bother paying much attention to anymore, I heard, yet again, for the one-millionth time in my banal neo-Calvinist slog that what God wants (which, of course, any good Calvinist autocrat can tell you at any given moment; trust me…just ask!) is for us to make yet another umpteenth “commitment to Christ”.

Now, most of us don’t have a problem with committing to Christ.  We are all about that.  What we—or at least I—have a problem with is when some guy that I don’t even really know but I’m pretty sure I out-think throws out something like this without feeling the least bit compelled to offer even the slightest bit of qualification.  I’m assuming he is not merely speaking about salvation, because this is a room full of believers here.  Sure, we are TOTALLY DEPRAVED believers, half of which are really going to hell obviously…but still, we are believers.  Even the ones for whom salvation is nothing more than “ignorance is bliss”.  The “damned saved” as I call them.

No, no.  As usual, this is of course another new commitment; nothing to do with salvation (what does in Calvin’s theology, really?).  For if there is one thing I know it’s that as soon as a Calvinist pastor lands a new job he’s going to want the whole damn church committing to pretty much everything in the world.  It’s called job security.  Tell people to shut up and commit, stop looking for excuses and other churches because you’re not sure if you like this new guy or not and get back to the business of BELONGING to the CHURCH.

Instantly my ears perked up because I cannot resist betting with myself when the opportunity arises; and this is because I always win.  It’s almost getting too easy.

So I bet myself this time that not only will he not qualify the nature of this “commitment” he is dangling and that we are supposed to make (in writing…which came at the end of the sermon, of course!) but also that the sermon which follows will involve some heavy appeal to self-denial in favor of yet another unqualified and poorly defined remonstrance against the “world”, with a large does of guilt, and some nebulous and half-hearted nod towards “I’m no different; God expects the same from us all” (lie), and some serious and hyperspecific ideology focusing on the “good of the many depraved asses outweigh the good of one depraved ass…namely YOU”, and then some vague and flimsy “applications” that really don’t seem to speak to anyone in any particular way.

You see, rule number one for Calvinist sermons:  It’s all about getting the ideology across; the rest is just canned whipped cream. And once thats done, you, the congregant, are expected to come to the pastor (or the “care group” leader, who has already been to the pastor, and vetted for doctrinal loyalty) for answers on just what the hell it is supposed to look like for you.  The problem is that when the “collective” is front and center of every sermon, it is hard for individuals to know exactly what to do with the information.  And this, I submit, is why there is so much psychological torment in neo-Calvinist congregations.  People feel guilty for not knowing.  They feel guilty for being “selfish” and “prideful” which is clearly the problem; otherwise, they’d already understand what to do…goes the inner monologue.  After all the pastor shouldn’t be expected to have to spell it out for them.  He’s got better things to do, like “covering” this other guy over here, you selfish jerk; and thinking up a funny and trite story with which to start the next sermon, preferably involving sports so he can sound masculine and manly, because that is what Christianity is supposed to be and feel like (the physical stature of most senior pastors notwithstanding) and because nothing says manly like men in tight clothes or brightly-colored shorts playing games while a million drunk idiots hyperventilate and vomit in the stands.

So, your ignorance on how to apply a concept which is totally exclusive to your individual frame of reference makes you, the poor slob, wallow in self-abasing, self-loathing emotional chastisement.  And when you finally gather up the nerve to ask a “leader”, you are either ridiculed or pitied/patronized for not having “sound doctrine”.

And then you are promptly told to go join the Urinal-Cake Cleaning Committee until a spot opens up in the two to four-year-old Sunday school class.  Which will likely be next Sunday. And if you know anyone else willing to help out in that class, call them as soon as you can. Because, damn it, we always need help in the children’s ministry…especially the reeeeally little ones.

You know what?  After you clean the urinal cakes, why don’t you just hop on over to children’s ministry.  I’m sure they need the help right now.  Do this, and you’ll be raking leaves and sweating your ass off cutting grass on your day off in no time, brother.  After that, you get to set up chairs at six a.m. on Sunday mornings.  The sky’s the limit when you properly hate yourself.  Oh, you’d be surprised how many jobs the adequately self-loathing get to do for the church.

Well, it turns out I won my own bet, as usual.  Two for two.  And what followed was yet another overt appeal to Marxism as the way to do church “right”.  “Your gifts for me and mine for yours”, went the refrain.  Yeah…seriously.  And so, again, I started writing in my little notebook that I always keep with me.  Taking, er…”notes”, on the pastor’s sermon, like any good little reformation boy would.  After all, when God stands in front of you and dictates, you write it all down verbatim.  That’s how we got the bible, remember?.

And this is the fruit of my labor.  The source material was so good, my hand started to cramp keeping up.

I must say that, so far, the research in my little Calvinist part of the world is going just swimmingly.

Please stay tuned for part two!

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6 thoughts on “Appealing To Your Spiritual Gifts: The Heavy Guns of Neo-Reformed/Neo-Calvinist Marxist Propoganda

  1. “And this, I submit, is why there is so much psychological torment in neo-Calvinist congregations. People feel guilty for not knowing. They feel guilty for being “selfish” and “prideful” which is clearly the problem; otherwise, they’d already understand what to do…goes the inner monologue. ”

    Oh how this is true. And if you think about it, this is exactly how certain types keep folks off balance and in chaos. And we know when people are constantly off balance and in chaos, you can control them.

    I mean, they cannot get past it and live life as redeemed people with the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    I am sorry about new pastor but it should be good source material if you can stand it long enough. You know I agree with you about church shopping as here they go Cal in no time. Or if the pastor is not Cal the Youth minister is and they have this faux unity that is scary. Sort of like the “unity” of the Soviet Union and America during WW2. :o)

    You also said this:

    “You see, rule number one for Calvinist sermons: It’s all about getting the ideology across; the rest is just canned whipped cream”

    Aha! Yes, I am picking up on this quite a bit. It all starts with Sovereignty. I am starting to think there is a secret little red book out there for YRR guys. It is all about how to insert Sovereignty into every single conversation and every answer to a question. How to mention it 50x in one 20 minute sermon no matter the context because Sovereignty IS the context. Then the plebes have the word firmly embedded in their brain as they have never once disagreed with it, have they? Then, you can move on to that being the answer to all evil, good, etc.

    There was a big bruhaha in the SBC over the new curriculum (cradle to gravea) in the SBC from Lifeway called The Gospel Project. It was written by Calvinist (4-5 pters) and the advisory group reads like a Calvinist conference speaker line up…most NOT SBC, ironically.

    I got a hold of a childrens SS book, a teen SS book and a adult senior SS book. This is it’s first run and it was promoted like the second coming. It was a total comprehensive guide to truth. Guess what the subtle focus is? You guessed it. Sovereignty. And who can argue with that? Certainly not all those free will folks who have NO clue they are being quietly and slowly guided toward a Calvinist view of reading scripture. It really is insidious. Even the free will pastors are falling for it.

    Thank goodness for voices like you and John Immel. It seems everyone wants to get along and any real discussion on this is framed by the Reformed crowd as an “attack”. But I think this public discussion is very healthy.

    After all, They are putting God’s character is on trial.

  2. Lydia,

    Your comments are so welcome here; you are so insightful. To be honest, it gives me hope that there are people out there you can so quickly and succinctly see through the lies and the carefully nuanced messages.

    As for the new church…frankly, I won’t be able to stand it much longer. I really can’t explain how upset I am. This was a wonderful church when we joined; there were two men who had been preaching who were great (even though there were some things being taught which I did not concede…but with me, this is likely not going to be unusual wherever we end up going), but they were rejected in favor of the person we have now. I knew right away he was going to be problematic for the direction of the church; he does not disguise his “sound doctrine” well, I can assure you.

    The two men who were preaching have left the church; with my full blessings. And I’m looking for a way out now. It is hard because the kids have made some close friends and it rips my heart out to see their faces when I mention “different churches”. This is harder than leaving SGM was, and we’ve only been there about a year. It grieves me to cause pain to my girls, but then again I am responsible for making sure they grow up understanding that they are by no means commanded to abdicate their lives in favor of some complementarian neo-Cal. THAT thought is even worse. I want them to accept that they live in a country where they are free to live life abundantly, and that will NEVER happen if neo-Cal tyranny is the bulwark of their world-view.

    John Immel is a great metaphysician. I too appreciate him. His influence in the world can only make it freer and better.

  3. Argo,
    Thank you for writing. It means more than I could ever put words to. Your words about Calvinism always make perfect sense to me.
    And wow, I so support your decision to not compromise your daughters with comp pastors.
    My girls never heard that they were ‘less than’ in any way. I had protected them from that. However, I had compromised with our pastor being comp. He also was listening more and more to the Calvinist/hierarchal authors also, although he never dared ‘yet’ to preach that way at church.
    My daughter was 24 when she first heard any hierarchy doctrine. She had been an avid scripture reader and had never read the submit passages the way comps teach it. She had been in YWAM and never heard it. She was already a strong woman with lots of confidence. She first heard this hierarchy nonsense during her and her fiancé’s pre marriage meetings with our pastor. She came to me in tears afterwards, she could hardly speak through her sobs, crying “mom, what is he talking about?” Even though she and her husband rejected his counsel, something died in her that day four years ago.

  4. Argo,
    Thank you for writing. It means more than I could ever put words to. Your words about Calvinism always make perfect sense to me.
    And wow, I so support your decision to not compromise your daughters with comp pastors.
    My girls never heard that they were ‘less than’ in any way. I had protected them from that. However, I had compromised with our pastor being comp. He also was listening more and more to the Calvinist/hierarchal authors also, although he never dared ‘yet’ to preach that way at church.
    My daughter was 24 when she first heard any hierarchy doctrine. She had been an avid scripture reader and had never read the submit passages the way comps teach it. She had been in YWAM and never heard it. She was already a strong woman with lots of confidence. She first heard this hierarchy nonsense during her and her fiancé’s pre marriage meetings with our pastor. She came to me in tears afterwards, she could hardly speak through her sobs, crying “mom, what is he talking about?” Even though she and her husband rejected his counsel, something died in her that day four years ago.

  5. Patti,

    Thanks for visiting! And thank you for your kind words.

    I’m sorry to hear of the torment your daughter had to face at the hands of this kind of mysticism. Really, it is a terrible shame, and thank you, yes, I will do everything I can to protect my own girls from this kind of subjective teaching. Though they are only very young, I have already started to introduce the idea that “not all Christian’s think this way or that”. I have made it clear that they are equally human in all respects in the eyes of God; and that God’s intention for ALL humans is that they “have life more abundantly”. That abundant life can never occur within the confines of someone’s subjective idea of what constitutes a proper “role”. People were not created nor meant nor designed to fill abstract “laws” or “roles”, and that is why the fall was so egregious. People were designed to be fully THEMSELVES; not to redefine themselves according to what amounts to purely theoretical “standards”. Christ is truly “good news” precisely because He set people free from the bondage of absolute ideas that are mutually exclusive to THEIR INDIVIDUAL reality.

    This has been a difficult idea for me to get across; mostly people think I’m a heretic or that I’m for moral relativism. That is not the case; my point is that morality is always and inexorably bound in the fullness of the INDIVIDUAL human; meaning that violations of human freedom to own their bodies, minds, and property is THE crux of morality. LIFE is God’s purpose; and all the “Law” can do, or other theoretical absolutes,is enslave man to a wholly mutually exclusive reality. People are free to be who they are and do what they do without fear of condemnation from God as long as they do not violate the life of another or God or even their OWN body (why Paul commands us not to seek the company of prostitutes…it is a violation of our own self; which is as great a sin as a violation of another). Again, like God, man’s perfect morality was “himself” as a direct descendant of God; and he violated this when he sold his birthright for a false moral standard of “good and evil” which he could never, ever keep because it was utterly theoretical; exclusive to his own physical reality.

    This is not easy to explain, but the point is that NO human is bound to follow a law which is external to THEIR OWN WILL. There is NO condemnation for being who one is and who one choose to be, again as long as this does not violate the same “right” to life as another person.

    There are no “roles” for people any more. There is no moral “standard” outside of perfection in Christ that people who accept Christ must conform to (justified apart from the Law). There is no abstract construct which defines them. People are defined by themselves. Not the the cultures to which authors of scripture belonged, not the “sound doctrine” of the neo-Cals or anyone else for that matter, no political affiliation, not age, not color or race or sex, or what they like to wear or eat or how they color their hair..but THEY are GOOD. Period.

    Any other message always leads to exploitation and tyranny. It is the tyranny of absolutes. We would do best to realize that all reality and morality is driven by what is actually REAL. And what is real is HUMANITY.

  6. Argo, I am in a great church where we fight back the Calvin influx becasue we are at ground zero. We had done ok until recently when we hired a youth pastor (pastor does not make hiring decisions a committee of pew sitters do) who loves John Piper.

    We had a meeting before hiring anyone to discuss what we were looking for and YRR was brought up to avoid– thank goodness. But I think so many people are not up on whose who out there. I should ahve asked to be on the comittee but I am weaning myself off of a lot of church stuff these days.

    This is my daughters first year in youth. And she loves this church and has great relationships here with all ages. However, she is well versed on “Calvinism” and during his first night preaching to the youth she texted me he mentioned Piper as a great influence on his life. She knows. :o)

    So he and I have had long email exchanges. And quite frankly the church is not Calvinistic so I think he is careful. However, he is getting another degree at SBTS (he is from out of town) so I suspect he will become very indoctrinated soon. I warned him of that.

    So I watch carefully. Thing is, so far, I find his belliefs do not line up with practical application of what he believes. Isn’t that funny…sarcasm alert.

    What is really interesting is that since the Mahaney scandal he can hardly look me in the eye. I totally treat him with respect and never bring anything up in public. I have kept our interactions personal. I can tell you he was not expecting what he got back when he used some of the standard replies such as you don’t understand Calvinism, etc, etc. I also told him he was not being true to his mentor to stay in our church where women teach mixed groups and are deacons. He did not say anything to that except he does differ with Piper on some things. :o)

    Where I live we are probably going to have to go EO to get away from any Calvinism. It is everywhere. If I did not have children, I would forget the institution altogether.

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