Conflict on Wartburg Watch: A Rough Brush with the Primacy of Consciousness Doctrine of “Trinity” (Response to commenter Patrice)

Frequent and highly intelligent, interesting, and refreshing commenter on TheWartburgWatch.com blog, Patrice, wrote a very kind reply to my last post here.  Her comment was not in reference to the post, but instead was a soothing and encouraging word concerning an exceedingly unpleasant experience yours truly had over there yesterday when I (foolishly?) attempted to point out the metaphysical impossibility of the “doctrine” of the Trinity (see the thread under TWWs post “The Stockdale Paradox: We know the end of the story”).  My response to Patrice is below:

Patrice,

Thank you for your support and your kind words.  Your voice is a very refreshing one; one willing to challenge long-held assumptions, based upon your own personal experience.

You have experienced the “logical” conclusion of contradictory doctrines first hand.  In this way, you and I are kindred spirits.  Our mutually abusive fathers, as well as my time in SGM.  These experiences are painful…but they are eye-opening.  You can ignore contradiction; you can pretend that if we were all just “nice” Calvinists like Wade Burleson everything would be all Christian kumbaya and koinonia and all that.  But you cannot ignore the pain; and you cannot ignore the pain as a rational indication that something is seriously wrong.  You are not held captive by a rank fear that somehow deciding that a doctrine, whether in the bible or not, cannot be true if it contradicts God and man’s metaphysical nature according to all we know must be true for us and God to actually exist.

You may not think so, but this puts you light years ahead in your thinking from most people on the “survivor blogs”.  Even Dee and Deb and Wade.  For all of their raging and just vitriol at all the abuse which occurs in American Christianity, they still concede the very doctrines which drives the destruction.  This is why Wade and Dee and Deb and Kris and Guy and a hundred other bloggers are simply not a credible threat to neo-Calvinism.  They are not taken seriously, and their comments are summarily deleted from neo-Cal blogs.  It has nothing to do with them being a “threat”, but everything to do with the fact that the neo-Calvinists do not want to cloud the purity of the doctrine with the implicit hypocrisy of those who “ride the fence”.  Ultimately Mark Dever, and Driscoll, and Piper, and Mahaney and Mohler and the rest KNOW (if they know them at all) that Dee and Deb and Wade will, when it comes down to brass tacks, concede the VERY determinism which puts man at the mercy of the destructive, violent, abstract collective called the “local church”.  They don’t need them coming around and confusing people when ultimately, there is no need.  THAT’S why they delete the comments.  Because the comments are irrelevant.

I know I’m venting…and I am.  But you must understand that ultimately I don’t care about Wartburg Watch so much…I went there because a lot of people read there, and they REALLY need to hear someone challenging the doctrinal assumptions at the root, because the doctrine is the boot on their necks.  Otherwise, I can tell you, nothing will ultimately change.  Sooner or later, Dee and Deb and Wade will once again succumb to the weight of their own devotion to Primacy of Conscious (the idea that real TRUTH is found beyond man’s reason…which means, it really can’t be known) and the cycle will begin again.

As for me leaving TWW…

Well, I think that’s a foregone conclusion at this point.  My goal is to challenge the Primacy of Consciousness paradigm at every turn (which is why I go after the “golden calf” of trinitarianism, and total depravity, and church discipline, and biblical inerrancy…because at the root these are really merely appeals to “well…truth is a mystery, who can understand God’s ways?”), because it is abusive and hates humanity.

Dee has made it clear that my opinions will no longer be tolerated, and so there is little point in me commenting anymore.  Dee is utterly devoted to reformed orthodox interpretations of the faith, and because I have dared to call out Wade on his reformed beliefs; I pissed her off…so, she no longer hides her devotion anymore.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist for me to get the message.  And what is the message? You know it well:

“Don’t you dare challenge the doctrine.”

I’ve heard it before.  It is the hallmark of the very abusive churches TWW pretends to challenge.  That’s why I said the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I appreciate your advice regarding tone.  It is good advice, except the problem is not my tone.  If you look at my posts, I haven’t in months made a personal attack.  My posts ALL have only to do with denying the Primacy of Consciousness assumptions in reformed doctrine.

For a while, I “toned it down”.  I chose to believe that it really did have to do with my presentation. I understood that my sarcasm or my bluntness was off-putting…and it was, and Dee and Deb were right to ask me to pull the reigns.  But then I noticed that people like “Daisy” were able to assault me and my character with impunity without so much as a peep from Dee.  And then yesterday when Dee took the mask of “love” off and did the same thing, clearly distorting my comments for the sake of insult, the truth hit me smack in the faith.

It isn’t that they want me to “be nicer” or “tone it down”.  No, they want me to say that “I could be wrong”.  Or that the people I disagree with “have a point, too”.

But I won’t do that because I’m not wrong.  The rage against me has to do with the fact that I DON’T have to concede they have a point.  Because they don’t.  The idea that God is three AND one is impossible.  It is not only literally impossible, it utterly denies God’s infinite absolute; an absolute which by definition cannot be numbered, regardless of what humans “see” or what “the bible says”.  And the bible never says “trinity”, and it only says “three” when it says “and these three are one”.  Which brings us squarely back to the disagreement in the first place…which isn’t really a disagreement. It is a logically and metaphysically IMPOSSIBLE doctrine.  And I’m a liar if I say it isn’t.  And I won’t do that.

Three are One is a METAPHYSICAL statement.  It is not a LITERAL numerical interpretation of God.  That is what “Daisy” is saying, and that is simply wrong.

At any rate, the point is that TWW is no longer a place where I can safely and without abuse promote a truly anti-Calvinist message.  Dee and Deb are all about “getting along” which is why they have partnered up with a Calvinist Pastor.  But getting along must always find a root cohesion of premises and beliefs.  And I deny every doctrinal assumption that is reformed, pretty much, as mysticism and Platonism.  And I’m not familiar with the “creeds” that Dee has decided are inerrant, but I’m pretty sure I deny them, too.

I have no interest in agreeing with ideas that I know are false.  And I will not say they are not false when I know for a fact that this does nothing except further Calvinism’s worship of death and its abject hatred of humanity.

Anyway, thanks, Patrice.  You are a marvelous and wonderful and GOOD person.  God loves you very much, and know this…you and your human body are sacred and affirmed by God.

-Argo

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28 thoughts on “Conflict on Wartburg Watch: A Rough Brush with the Primacy of Consciousness Doctrine of “Trinity” (Response to commenter Patrice)

  1. The Trinity makes less sense in Calvinism than in “normal” Christianity. The Calvinist Trinity is outright Marcionism being covered over by the term “Trinity.” You have Marcion’s Evil God (the Father) and Marcion’s Better God (the Son) and the Better God (the Son) kicks the Evil God’s (the Father’s) butt, and then the Neutral Third God (the Holy Ghost) sides with the winner. It should be easy to disprove the Calvinist Trinity since it is of necessity a fractured “Trinity” hence the “nity” (unity) part really is missing. The doctrine of Penal Substitution requires this fracturing.

    You need a mean nasty God who would rather damn himself to hell than forgive the tiniest of sins, and then you need a super nice God who wants to forgive everyone. So the super nice God offers himself as the sacrifice to appease the uber mean God. That’s all Penal Substitution amounts to. And in order to make it work, two Gods are required. This is why it was Marcion’s atonement model. And Calvinism, by keeping that model, forces itself to bust up the Trinity into a Trio of Gods. But, of course, the next question is, how can you have Christianity without Penal Atonement? There’s a headache.

  2. I suspect that the confessions that Dee and Deb are referring to are the Westminster Confessions. For most evangelicals, when challenged on their Calvinist doctrine Westminster is the hedge they introduce as THE doctrinal plumb line. This lets them pretend that they really aren’t the same as those dastardly Calvinists … they are uh… different. And if that doesn’t get them off the hook they will decide to adopt a little bit of John Wesley and a little bit of Charles Finney to satisfy the conundrums in the Reformed template.

    As an aside, a Confession of orthodoxy is only important if the church is merged with civil power. You better say the right thing or the church will make Jim Crow look like an invitation to social solidarity. )snicker(

    So all those people pounding the lectern for doctrinal purity based on a confession from the 16th century might pause and consider the history of those beloved confessions. The Anglican church made some of the catholic political purging look tame.

    And of course a confession as a measure of orthodoxy is merely a primacy of consciousness argument. i.e. that an intellectual tradition of OTHER PEOPLE’S conclusions has the first mortgage on subsequent generations men’s minds.

    There is no more disastrous standard that to say that men must pay homage to dead men’s ideas. If this really is man’s ethical intellectual standard we in the modern age are obligated believe in a flat earth and that the sun revolves around the earth. Remember, the church held both of these concepts as “orthodox” decree upheld by council and creed and enforced by threat of death.

  3. Without civil power, in a small congregation, they can preach directly at you or against you in every sermon if you don’t agree with the creed/confession. And once they get wise to the fact that you’re reading the Old Testament rather than listening to them during the sermon, they can begin to scream in their sermons so you can’t read. And they can slander you across the fellowship if you hold any kind of position like pastor, preacher, music minister, whatever, and seek to destroy your position. The non-Calvinist church I was raised in did all this type of stuff if you disagreed with their unwritten creed–the screaming in their sermons to prevent me from reading the Bible rather than listening to them is what ultimately made me leave. But the Calvinists add something more: if you leave their church and go to a different one, they keep stalking you and telling you they’re putting you under “church discipline,” ultimately forcing you to spend money on a lawyer and getting a restraining order.

  4. I left you a comment at the Wartburg Watch blog but don’t know if they will publish it or not (it was sent to moderation queue).

    (This is my second try at leaving this post on your blog. I apologize if it repeats, but I am having problems logging into Word Press.)

    Here is a copy of what I said at Wartburg Watch (I will try to format the text here, but I don’t know if this blog allows HTML and such):

    Huh. I read Argo’s post, where she (I assume Argo is female, apologies if not) said,

    “But then I noticed that people like “Daisy” were able to assault me and my character with impunity”

    How exactly did I do that? I would like specific examples.

    All I did was disagree with some of her [Argo’s] points about the Trinity, and mention in a round about way I (and others) were not so much put off by her disagreeing with the doctrine of the Trinity but by the attitude that only she is and can be correct, and the rest of us are duped or ignorant.

    I am not a Calvinist, nor am I Reformed, but even during all the years I was a devout Christian, I was a Trinitarian.

    (I have been with one toe in the pond of agnosticism these last few years.)

    I don’t understand Argo’s view that only Reformed/Calvinists are Trinitarians (because non Reformed/Calvinists are also Trinitarians), and I don’t see what is so threatening about Trinitarianism, or how being a Trinitarian leads to spiritual abuse.

    She said at her blog,
    It is good advice, except the problem is not my tone.

    No, for me, it was definitely tone. If she doesn’t want to believe in an eternal single God who is three persons, that’s pretty much fine by me.

    She said,
    Three are One is a METAPHYSICAL statement. It is not a LITERAL numerical interpretation of God. That is what “Daisy” is saying, and that is simply wrong.

    I was saying there is one Being (God) who consists of three persons (as revealed in Scripture: Father, Son, Spirit – the Son is not the same person as the Father, but both are equally God).

    I still don’t get the “metaphysical” remark, which she keeps bringing up.

  5. James,

    Yes…thank you for that. That was awesome. And you are right, it is exactly the kind of “trinity” we find in neo Calvinist theology.

    I also noticed, that as is true with the rest of Calvinist orthodoxy, man is of no consequence to the overall equation. That is, whether the father is right or the son is right in their judgement of man (that he either deserves mercy or damnation) is made moot by the fact that there is NO discussion of the matter. Does man really deserve mercy or does he really deserve damnation? In either case, one or the other, father or son, is a hypocrite. For in the Calvinist construct, mercy is merely the unjust interruption of man’s deserved destruction; and damnation is merely unjust interruption of man’s deserved mercy.

    What man ACTUALLY deserves because of something HE, himself does or does not do, rooted in an inherent and self-derived morality which is rooted in the proper and efficacious reasoning of what constitutes value (“good”), is irrelevant.

  6. John,

    I’m not sure what they think about the Westminsteresessss. I think they are referring to the Nicene Creed, or the Apostle’s Creed, or something I heard and said once when I was a nascent little Lutheran who mocked people who were too new to have memorized the 2.5 hymns we sang and the liturgy.

    Anyway…I understand that my take on the trinity is different. It is the NUMBER I cannot accept. I understand that on its face this also may smack a bit of the Primacy of Conscience interpretation of reality because I deny that numbers actually exist; I see them as merely another way man qualifies relative movement of other objects; which, as this movement is always relative, means that numbers are NOT constant. They are only constant in a particular theoretical construct which has a consensus of definition. The OBJECTS we observe are constant, and their existence is HOW numbers and everything else we abstract about them can be arrived at.

    This is not an appeal to the idea that TRUTH is beyond us, though it may look like it. It is an appeal to reason as the foundation of how man knows anything he knows. It is not that the senses are insufficient to measure their surroundings, that three isn’t really three. It is the recognition of logically contradictory assumptions directly related TO the efficacy of the senses. If we know that three is an abstract concept man uses to organize his world, we understand that we when say “three object”, that the only thing ACTUAL is the objects. Three is a way to communicate meaning effectively. Beyond man’s cognitive abstraction, three does not really exist…and this is easy to see because without man’s mind, three is a wholly irrelevant concept. What in the universe, including God, needs “three” to be an ACTUAL thing in the universe? Nothing. God doesn’t need three. God doesn’t need the universe. God is God, the universe the universe. Numbers go away as soon as man’s mind evaporates into ether.

    And so reason, that thing which allows man to know anything he knows, true or false or up or down, is the root of knowledge. Sense feeds information, reason organizes the information in ways that are effective for the promulgation of his life. And this information CANNOT then be reasonably contradictory because contradiction can never affirm life, it can only destroy it by declaring that man cannot ultimately know what is good or bad; what is of value to life and what is not. And if this is true, man is dead before God takes the breath to speak him into existence. And so the objective reason of man can and should routinely discern between what is actual, and what is abstract. As soon as the abstract becomes the actual, you get primacy of consciousness, and destruction inexorably follows. You get the death of TRUTH.

    And so, you cannot look at God, and make the reasonable declaration of his infinite absolute-ness and then in the same breath contradict yourself by saying “trinity”. Whatever you may sense, your REASON allows you to take the information and plug it into a rational construct and get an answer about TRUTH. I may “read” three “persons” in the bible. I may “see” “three” persons before me. But IF I concede that the rational conclusion of God is that he is absolute, we can quickly understand that what I see is NOT necessarily the proper description of what actually is. We can understand that an infinite absolute can manifest itself however it wants, with no regard for the limitations of space and time…and if we understand this, we can understand how we may observe “three” and yet know that God is not really three of anything at all, because three contradicts absolute.

    This is not unprecedented. The theory of relativity is rooted in the idea that what we observe is, well, relative. Meaning that truth can be known, but not merely as a result of “seeing”. Because what we see is only rooted in how an object acts relative to WHERE we are. The action of God as three is relative to our observation. But our reason dictates that He cannot, in fact, be three.

    This is the root of the disagreement. Obviously, its tedious…but it isn’t that hard to understand if people actually WANT to understand it.

  7. We were speaking about the Nicene and Apostles Creed, not the Westminster Confession. We state it on our blog. We are more than happy to tell you what we believe if you just ask.

  8. Daisy,

    You were very belligerent. I don’t need to tell you that. I’m happy to pull quotes, but it is perfunctory.

    We are going in circles here. You are not grasping my argument. I have posted yet one more explanation on this blog; but beyond that I don’t know what to tell you. I may be having trouble communicating my idea, but if you’re not grasping where I’m “coming from” I don’t know what else to say.

    Metaphysical means “how God can exist”. What is the nature of Him. His nature has an ACTUAL truth, and that is summed up in “I AM”. I AM precludes number, period. He who is absolute and infinite cannot be numbered. You may “read” three person; but what you observe doesn’t make God so. Three is an abstract number man uses to organize his surroundings. It’s okay to say, God appears as three, but to say He IS three is a false metaphysical statement. Why? Because ONE absolute object cannot be a finite amount; it cannot have a finite value. Infinite by definition CANNOT have a value of three.

    Therefore, Trinity is a false metaphysical description of God. And this is why it is not in the bible.

  9. I think a case can be made that the Apostle’s Creed is not only not Trinitarian, but even anti-Trinitarian.

    I believe in God,
    the Father almighty,
    Creator of heaven and earth.

    So the Father alone is God.

    And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
    who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
    born of the Virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, died and was buried;
    he descended into hell;
    on the third day he rose again from the dead;
    he ascended into heaven,
    and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty;
    from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

    Although the creed clearly states belief in Jesus, it doesn’t call him God. He is listed separately.

    I believe in the Holy Spirit,
    the holy catholic Church,
    the communion of saints,
    the forgiveness of sins,
    the resurrection of the body,
    and life everlasting. Amen.

    The Holy Spirit is also believed in, but not called God, and is so unimportant to the creed-writers as to be listed with a string of other things that are clearly not God, like the church.

    The writers of this creed could even be Socinians.

    The Nicene creed, on the other hand, calls Jesus “very God of very God,” thus making it explicit that they believe Jesus is God. And on the Holy Spirit, the Nicene creed-writers say “And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life” which final phrase, I suppose, is there to indicate a belief that he is God.

    But all that Trinitarianism was missing from the Apostle’s Creed. It took a Pagan Emperor calling the Council of Nicea to Trinitize the creed.

  10. Patrice is full of “soothing and encouraging” words! 🙂

    “But you cannot ignore the pain; and you cannot ignore the pain as a rational indication that something is seriously wrong.”

    Argo, validating even to me. Thank you for wording it this way. Could not agree more about the doctrines driving the destruction.

    Anyway…interesting conversation.

  11. James Jordon,

    Your first comment is cracking me up, too, sadly.

    It is not hard to see that a few years back it was the Calvinists really promoting ESS. Of course that was to prop up their authoritarian chain of command on the earth to the Trinity. In that view, we had Jesus, the lesser god, eternally subordinate, sent to the Cross and reporting to God in eternity. The Holy Spirit was well, the Holy Spirit. I could never get them to tell me who He reported to in the chain of command Trinity. They finally stopped promoting it because it was not selling well.

    I tend to lean toward Christus Victor theory of Atonement. I was raised on the Ransom theory (which is similar) in the SBC. (Boy has that changed!)

    One of the ways I have noticed secret Calvinist pastors start out is to influence people in the pews with preaching the penal substitution theory without calling it that or explaining other views. Once you get them comfortable with that, it is even easier to get into total depravity. Considering their view of the Trinity, some have called it cosmic child abuse since they tend to view Jesus as a sort of lesser god.

    BTW: Great catch on the Apostles creed!

  12. Glad everyone got a kick out of it, although I didn’t intend it to be funny.

    The selling point of Penal Substition, I suppose, is its better as a tear-jerker. It can make you feel sorry for Jesus and produce that short-lived burst of devotion that may last into the foyer but probably not into the parking lot. “Jesus took my punishment (because I’m one of the elect).” Nevermind that it isn’t biblical, it hypes the emotions. Christus Victor, “Jesus died to destroy the works of the devil” doesn’t get the front row worked up and the old ladies bawling.

    And these days he didn’t go to the cross to take my punishment for doing evil — oh no — he went to take my punishment for doing good works. No good deed goes unpunished, right? Not with God! He must punish every good deed. His justice demands that he not let even one of the tiniest good deeds go. And so he did punish every good deed! He punished Jesus for my good deeds and for yours! (But only if you’re elect, of course.) Every drop of blood — not one was wasted — that’s why he died only for the elect, to make sure not one precious drop was wasted — each and every drop of blood was shed for one good deed. My good deeds sent Jesus to the cross! I crucified him — we all did, by doing good works. Man I would make a great Calvinist preacher.

    Its a miracle I got through this comment because my new W7 laptop has all kinds of crazy shortcuts that make the screen jump around

  13. I wasn’t familiar with a Nicene “confession” as such… I thought it was called the Nicene formulation. i.e. The father and Son and Spirit are of the same homousias. This of course has been catholic orthodoxy since after 325. But since it did produce a “creed” that is being used as the plumb line of biblical truth, my original point is still made.

    Creeds only have value as a plumb line of political orthodoxy . . . which the council of Nicea illustrated in spades. In the modern age political correctness is essentially the same social phenomena and we see how fully destructive it is as a measure of social authenticity.

    Of course the reason there was a fight over this particular word is because for the bulk of early church thought the “orthodox” position (from roughly 175 AD to 300AD) was that the Son proceeded from the father but they were not equal. I believe this was called the homoian camp.

    And the reason the Apostles Creed does not have the same Trinitarian overtones as subsequent generation of orthodox decree is because Christology had not been developed by 150 AD. Polycarp and Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch had different intellectual challenges to address, so they had not set out to develop Christological doctrines.

    And of course the conclusion that the council of Nicea arrived at was not possible without the combination of Neo Platonism (via Plotinus 200 AD) and the Aristotelian concept of Homousias… (and some others that I can’t remember off the top of my head)
    But the real question that must be asked is: What the heck are Protestants doing appealing to catholic doctrine as the foundation of pure bible faith?

    If THAT catholic doctrine is true then what is the justification for objecting to the other facets of catholic doctrine? If the measure of bible truth are the creeds of the Catholic church then how can we pick and choose which creeds with which we decide to claim solidarity?

    And by the way, this is the exact same intellectual two step that Calvinists use when they decide to hedge their bets by defining TRUE Reformed doctrine by appealing to the Westminster Confessions while rejecting Calvin. They pick and choose which iteration of the prime consciousness they want to claim as THE consciousness.

    Of course this is the problem with Primacy of Consciousness as man’s rational plumb line. How does man offer a justification for defying the Prime Consciousness? Of course he cannot because by definition man’s rational judgment is subordinate to the collective. All that is left is for everyone to stand around calling each other heretic for failing to pay the highest homage to the prime consciousness. And that is the benevolent version of Christian conflict. With history as our measure we can be absolutely sure that Christians will eventually seize government power to enforce their creed. And such is the inevitable outcome of a Primacy of Consciousness universe: Man waging endless war to define who has the right to define the limits of what man can think.

  14. John, Your comment describes much of what I find problematic with going to old dead guys for orthodoxy. I am one of those ‘why’ people and I want to know the history surrounding how something came about. There is almost ALWAYS a nefarious agenda involved. Which is why I laugh hysterically when someone calls the KJV or the ESV the best/ most literal translation

    Now, keep in mind, I have read a ton of pastor blogs so as to keep up with thinking and they go round and round about this council or that council and why this is heresy and that isn’t. Then another scholar who is not a pastor will come in and tell them they have the Council of Orange wrong and that it really repudiated what they claim it affirmed….and so on.

    Now, If I were Wormwood and wanted to devise a diabolical plan to make sure Jesus Christ were directly out of the picture without one knowing it, I would invent a pseudo intellectual religion for everyone to argue over.

    That is ANOTHER reason I have a problem with creeds. Since they were politically motivated they were meant to marginalize groups who did not believe the same way. Now –how is it– that strategy was gleaned from Christ’s ministry on earth? And into the Dark Ages they marched even after those “creeds”.

    Because…that is when the oppression and blood really started to flow over it all.

    A few men deciding for all people within their grasp what is to be orthodox (even if it is true!) is not a good start to claiming one follows Christ and is filled with the Holy Spirit.

  15. “The selling point of Penal Substition, I suppose, is its better as a tear-jerker. It can make you feel sorry for Jesus and produce that short-lived burst of devotion that may last into the foyer but probably not into the parking lot. “Jesus took my punishment (because I’m one of the elect).” Nevermind that it isn’t biblical, it hypes the emotions.”

    Yep. I had one woman tell me last week it is the epitome of “grace” which we do not have enough of these days. I could tell she would not be receptive to much else in the parking lot at church so I just said, yes, grace for some but others were chosen for damnation with no choice in the matter. And left it at that. She did not appear to understand that at all.

    Mostly because when listening to Calvinists as she does, they tend to not to tell the logical result of….’the rest of the story”…. so most folks don’t think it through on their own and just proof text you to death. Besides, she was carrying a copy of the Gospel Project which is a new curriculum in the SBC written exclusively by Calvinists/Calminians, many of whom are not SBC. She does not know that though because I asked her if she knew who advised and wrote the curriculum. She thought it would be only SBC pastors/scholars. Nope.

    I am finding it sad folks believe what is given them in soundbites never thinking them through. Just get a title and they will believe it. I think we should make every church watch the Milgram experiment. :o)

    “Christus Victor, “Jesus died to destroy the works of the devil” doesn’t get the front row worked up and the old ladies bawling.”

    No, and that is a good thing. Because we are responsible for what we do with that truth and we have been given the Holy Spirit to guide us in all things. But we ARE responsible.

    Calvinism is like the perfect religion for this socialized confused generation of young men and women. A generation who are pseudo intellectuals because they were basically educated on socialist principles. You can live in gray contradictions which means you are never really responsible because God is orchestrating it all so no matter what you do or say, it is God since you are elect.

    “And these days he didn’t go to the cross to take my punishment for doing evil — oh no — he went to take my punishment for doing good works. No good deed goes unpunished, right?”

    James, you are batting a thousand! That is Calvinism in a nutshell because neither your good deeds or sin have anything at all to do with you! It was all foreordained and orchestrated before the foundation of the world! I am not sure why we were created at all….WAIT…Piper knows…..it was so God could be Glorified by controlling every molecule. He orchestrated it so John Piper to tell us how it all works! :o)

  16. James, I went and read some of your blog. My first reaction was to try and put you in some theological box but I cannot find one to fit your size!!!! :o)

  17. Primacy of Consciousness

    The Primacy of Consciousness says that it is a “consciousness” that is the plumb line of existence which means it is the plumb line of reality. All reality is interpreted and understood by the dictates of this universal consciousness.

    So for example Plato said the consciousness is the FORMS casting its long shadow over this world of matter. Hegel said the consciousness is the State casting the collective mind (the state group think) over individuals within its borders. Marx said that the prime consciousness was shaped by socio-economic forces (that needed to be unlearned) Mohamed said that the prime consciousness is Allah and Augustine said that the Prime Consciousness is God. In the modern age the sub variation of this metaphysic is seen in the Neo Calvinist’s “Cross Story” vs “Glory Story” (Paul Dohse detailed this contrast in the most recent TANK conference.) The Cross Story is a primacy of consciousness hermeneutic: i.e reality is only understood from a Cross centered mind, which means that God demands that all reality be interpreted through the cross.

    Of course the million dollar question is WHOSE consciousness is the prime one? And here is where world history gets bloody because man MUST fight over is “Whose consciousness is the ruling conscious?”

    This of course cannot be answered because by definition Primacy of Consciousness means primacy of the subjective. It is a (singular) consciousness that is in charge of all reality . . . its meaning and purpose and causation. All other minds are necessarily competitors/interlopers on that consciousness.
    With this introduction you can more clearly see how Calvinists, or anyone appealing to historic councils and creeds as the definitive measure of truth, function in an argument. The root premise is the Primacy of Consciousness. The loose logic goes like this: God’s consciousness is the defining plumb line of reality, therefore whatever the council concluded (no matter HOW they arrived at that conclusion) MUST God’s intent. Alakazam poof THEIR mind is in agreement with God so how dare you disagree with ME. Don’t you know I’m representing God???!!!

    So the implicit equation is THEIR “bible” understanding is synonymous with God’s understanding. Their mind = god’s mind. Maybe they wouldn’t describe it so bluntly, but at the root of their presumption is that their thinking = God’s thinking.

    Of course this is the best get out of rational error free card. They are not seeking to find the TRUTH through reason and logic. They are merely paying homage to the defining consciousness. They do not recognize inconsistencies in their “thinking” because they are not rationalizing a systemic doctrine. They are absorbing the “emanations” (for lack of a better word) from the Prime Consciousness.

    So absorbing a council or creed as THE expression of Trinitarian doctrine is the easiest way to make sure they have their doctrine correct.

    Of course this is why Neo Calvinists and those committed to the Reformed Construct can, with a straight face preach mutually exclusive ideas. A conflict only means that the Prime Consciousness trumps Reason (Logic) and the inconsistency is merely punted into the great mystery of the universe.

    This is why they are so mystified by our criticisms. In their mind we are criticizing God. How could we dare be so brazen?

    Now of course, you can understand why this Metaphysical presumption causes all manner of disaster. Man has no way, within himself, to interact with reality let alone interact with other men. So he spends his existence in endless warfare to capture the reins of government for the express purpose of dictating the Prime Consciousness.

    By contrast the Primacy of Existence affirms that the plumb line of reality is existence. This of course requires that Man can perceptually grasp reality (the senses) and conceptually process reality (Reason via logic) to integrate his life successfully within his environment. This makes Reality objective and fully attainable by any man who chooses to engage his faculties.
    So when you challenge doctrinal inconsistencies from men like John MacArthur or Eli (or Randy) or the host of other Neo Calvinists based on Reason and logic you are quite literally talking a foreign language. When you demand that they respect the Law of Identity, the Law of the Excluded Middle, or the Law of Non-Contradiction you are demanding they subordinate the Prime consciousness.

    This is the reason all Trinitarian debates fail . . . because the fight is really over whose consciousness is the right one.

    The question to always keep in mind is . . .

    1. Is this a Primacy of Consciousness or a Primacy of Existence World?

  18. Argo, First-time commenter on your blog.

    I’ve read Wartburg Watch for a long time now. I like reading your comments there so much I commented there for the first time about an hour ago. My comment was about you. Hope you read it. Please continue. It’s helpful.

    Now, putting my “Mom hat” on. On the flip side. No more venting. Suck it up. You will get questions. Thinking is happening. You will get push-back. It’s worth it if you think you have worthwhile ideas that will help others to free themselves from oppression. I agree with your ideas on church discipline. Keep your purpose front and center, don’t get distracted.

    Your ideas are unusual. Be super polite. If you aren’t, your frustration will distract from your ideas. You want your ideas to be the focus, right?

    So, I don’t agree with everything or even understand everything you put forth. But your ideas need to be heard, discussed, and rejected or accepted=decided on. I’d like to chew some more on them, understand them better. Please keep commenting if you think your ideas are worthwhile.

    Now get back in there! 🙂

  19. I think I get it. Primacy of consciousness is subjective. It helps that I became quite familiar with Hegel a few years back in Academia. He was an idol to some of the scholarly set. His “dialectic” was nothing but another form of dualism.

    I found it interesting that Hegel was admired not only by Marx but the Fascists.

  20. One of the interesting things to me is sometimes I’ve run across people on the Internet who say that the “Ecumenical Creeds” meaning the so-called Apostle’s Creed and Nicene Creed (some people include the Athanasian Creed in that) are the sole standard of orthodoxy and as long as you believe those whatever other things you believe it doesn’t matter, you’re orthodox. (These would be liberals, of course, since to a conservative Prot you’ve got to embrace the Protestant creeds too.) To me, though, the creeds are deeply flawed and clearly not sufficient. What do they even talk about?

    (lydiasellerofpurple, this may be the clue of what box to put me in, or how to build a box to put me in) The creeds talk about metaphyiscs (belief in Father, Son, Holy Spirit and the relationship between them) and historical concerns (Jesus born of a virgin, crucified by Pilate) and ecclesiology (belief in the holy universal church, one baptism for remission of sins, return of Jesus to judge the world) — but there is no mention of morality. The creeds specify no morality. This is a big flaw to me. Sure, we may all believe in the Father Almighty maker of heaven and earth, and in his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ born of the virgin Mary and crucified by Pontius Pilate, who is coming again to judge the quick and the dead (by what standard, we know not since the creed is silent on that!), and we may believe in the Holy Ghost and the holy ‘catholic’ or universal church and the one baptism for remission of sins and the resurrection of the body — but maybe we disagree on whether murder, rape, homosexuality, stealing, etc. are wrong — do we have fellowship with each other? Not real fellowship. This is one major problem we had in the church I grew up in. The fellowship was based on a common belief in how to baptize and how to do the Lord’s Supper, but there were deep differences in moral culture, like some believing drinking alcohol is a sin, others saying its ok in moderation, others still saying basically that getting drunk is perfectly fine. We could pretend all we wanted that we had fellowship in Jesus because we agreed on the Trinity, on baptism, on the Lord’s Supper; yet we never hung out together; we couldn’t stand each other; our lives were too different on the moral level — fellowship was a lie. I think Christianity’s big mistake is removing the moral dimension from religion, and its very glaring in the “Ecumenical” creeds. So whatever box you put me in, morality is going to have to be a big part of it. I don’t see religion in the Gnostic terms of “this world sucks; just get me out of it; just give me a cult-leader to worship who promises escape from the world.” I demand a religion that provides some kind of wisdom for how to live properly in the world.

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