I have been going round and round with self-proclaimed Calvinsts on the Wartburg Watch. One of which is–or…er might be?– Wade Burleson, the E-pastor for Wartburg’s E-church. I qualify this with a “might be?” because I have yet to pin Wade down…his ability to subterfuge language is amazing. He knows all the subtle ways to nuance his argument so that his doctrines are difficult to define objectively. On one hand, he claims he believes in free will, but then on the other hand seems to defend the idea of God needing to compel that will to act…which of course is NOT free will. The point is that I do not want to call Wade a “Calvinist” in the strict sense, but his ideas are definitely of Calvin, most apparent, the idea of Pervasive Depravity. He and some other posters on Wartburg enjoy lauding the observable manifestations of “good” and “grace” they see in their churches, for following the very doctrines which I have shown to be wholly antithetical to human life. Also, doctrines that I believe are categorically evil.
The following was my response to the idea of perceived “good” trumping the logical conclusions of the doctrine, and the metaphysical assumptions the doctrine lays as its indefatigable foundation. I have added some notes in italics for clarification:
Why Calvinists MUST Reject Calvinism, Regardless of Any “Good” or “Grace” They Perceive
For years and years I felt just like JeffS (one of the self-described Calvinist posters on Wartburg). I had heard some of the objections, but I easily brushed them aside because of all the “grace” I experienced and saw in the church. Then I saw how quickly the very same doctrines of “grace” could be used to scourge those who intended to question the “divinely appointed leadership”. Then the ugly side of Calvinism roared to the surface, and I realized from then on that doctrine was EVERYTHING. All actions are rooted in assumptions. And the more I studied and thought the more I realized that the MEN leading the church had not changed. The doctrines they believed had not changed. It was merely that the circumstances were such that only the “good” side of Calvinism was apparent (and because of my own evil decision to only see what I wanted to see). It was only when people in the church began to demand justice based on their OWN observations and convictions, rooted in the belief that they held some inherent self-worth that demanded it when I saw how, according to the same doctrine that had been preached for years, this could not possibly be true. Man has NO right to demand justice from appointed “elders in the stead”.
So, someone is wrong here. Me or Wade. Anon 1 (a highly thoughtful and very intelligent commenter who also rejects the Calvinist construct) or Jeff S. The doctrine says what it says, so someone is not understanding it properly.
I submit that what we EXPERIENCE is irrelevant. It is the assumptions that drive the teachings, the actions, that matters.
So, either Calvinist doctrine leads where it leads, and is rooted in metaphysical beliefs about man that are what they are, or it does not. And IF the doctrines are antithetical to human life, then we are obligated to reject them. What we experience is beside the point! Perceived “good” is beside the point! Objective good is all that matters! If the doctrine is evil, then how can we EVER stand before God and make excuses for why we “did not want to change”. If we say “because I felt, or I experienced”…we have made a mockery of morality. We have insulted God. We have decided that WE are in a position to declare what ideas are good and what ideas are evil based purely on our subjective experiential opinions. We have traded reason for madness.
And God will call you a hypocrite for violating you OWN doctrinal beliefs.