A Prescription for Reason: Complete cure of the affliction of “biblical inerrancy” in a single dose

Unfortunately, there are still many out there–even among those who agree that the tyranny of Calvinism creeps on the horizon like armies of Mordor, seeking to replace truth and light with a love of death and the bloodletting of moral relativism and lawlessness (antinomian-ism)–yes, still among these there are many out there who won’t concede that reason alone should be the death of Platonist insanity; of paradoxical notions of “truth”; of irreconcilable metaphysical matters; of spiritually nebulous matters.

And as this blog trudges on, I realize that the majority of my time is spent defending my ideas to my philosophical compadres, ironically, who understandably believe on some level that you can only fight fire with fire…that the mysticism of Baal can only be destroyed with a “Christian” mysticism (of sorts) of their own.

I don’t fault them for this.  It is perfectly understandable.  After all, we are speaking of spiritual things–of METAphysical things.  And it has been common knowledge since the Pythagoreans laid down the twin tablets of philosophy and mathematics, that existential truth must of course be beyond a reasonable explanation of events and ideas that the senses observe and vet.

And one paradox deserves another.  An eye-for-eye and a tooth-for-tooth; an anthropomorphic abstraction for an anthropomorphic abstraction.

This has always been the way, after all, among good Christian philosophers.  Our God is a mystery…o man, who can know His ways?  Truly, Argo, you are a fool to think you can ever get to the bottom of truth using nothing but ideas which do not wind up in the painted corner of paradox.

Well, truth be told…I abandoned spiritual-ism almost immediately after realizing that the problem with Sovereign Grace Ministries was not the dudes running the metaphysical fun-house, but the doctrine.  I realized that the destruction of humanity in favor of ideas which at their root are contradictory (whether you want to call this contradiction “paradox” or not, it still means one thing:  [shrug] Who can say?) is the real source of the violence.  I realized that it didn’t matter how altruistic it all sounded, or if a nice guy like Wade Burelson was preaching the insanity or if a duplicitous shaman like CJ Mahaney was doing it, it all boiled down to the exact same presumption:

Man cannot know truth.

And therefore:

Man cannot define “self”.

And therefore:

Man cannot OWN self.

And therefore:

Someone else must define and own him FOR him.

If man cannot reconcile the very root of HOW and WHY he is here, then quite simply, man is not man.  For man can know NO truth because the reference point–the singularity/the point locale–for all knowledge is a giant black hole where reason and consistency of ideas is smashed into a dark oblivion where only “God” resides.

And from then on, it is only a matter of who is willing to be the bigger asshole.  Who is wiling to take the idea of “man is not really man” to the logical conclusion.  Who is willing to do the most violence to compel human beings to “truth”, to the real paradox?  Who is willing to send the greatest number of children through the fires of Moloch in service to worshiping the real Primary Consciousness.

It took me almost no time at all between being in Sovereign Grace Ministries and leaving to understand that all appeals to paradoxical versions of truth was mysticism, period.  That there is only one kind of TRUTH:  Reasonable.  Truth which resides in a place that man is fully capable of grasping and reconciling based on what he observes with his senses.  Beyond that, there is no truth.  There is not even “faith”, because faith based on ideas that cannot be known as true is not faith, it is madness.  I submit that NO person in the Bible ever believed God on paradoxical “faith”.  The “doctrine of paradox” like the “doctrine of the Trinity”, the “doctrine of Original Sin”, the “doctrine of Church Discipline”, the “doctrine of Complimentariansm”, does not exist in the Bible.  There is no rational reason to decide that faith must equal paradox.  God never demands faith based on contradictory ideas.  And God, Himself never declares that the key to understanding the “mystery of God” is to declare that you cannot understand.  No…what does God ask?  That we continue to seek, to knock, and to look for WISDOM.

So I ask you, would God offer us the well of wisdom if he knew that at the bottom was the spiritual poison of “paradox”?  Would God promise the good gift of wisdom to His children if He understood that beyond the frilly wrapper and bow was emptiness?  Was a “truth” that at best could only slip through man’s fingers?

Paradox.

The word doesn’t exist in scripture.  But like good little Platonists we continue to return to the well of wisdom which is perpetually dry.  So we simply imagine the water and call it truth.

People, this is insane.

Come…says the man of God.  Let us REASON together.

So, we are going to do that now.  We are going to dismantle the false and irrelevant idea of “biblical inerrancy”, not by some vast appeal to this book of the Bible or that, or this verse, or our mysticism as being more “rational” than their mysticism. We are not going to appeal to the Greek, or the Hebrew, or the Early Church writings, or the Heidelberg Catechism; nor are we going to point to historical applications of tyranny and violence and death as proof that false ideas meant to solidify the power of a Kantian authority, like biblical inerrancy, prove that these ideas are decidedly NOT in keeping with Christ’s command to love.  We won’t use our personal experience with a reformed/Calvinist despot  who cared  more for his ability to compel and control and take, take, take for the sake of “sound doctrine” than for actually saving souls.  If you want that, there are about fifty blog sites I can give you a road map to that specialize in that brand of resistance.

I don’t and won’t take this tactic on this blog.  This blog uses a different tool:  reason.  Logic.  We destroy destructive ideas by showing that at the  heart of them ALL is contradiction, by one label or another.  That at the singularity of them all is the fact that they cannot, nor ever will be found to actually appeal to LOGIC as the source of their truth. That what they only ever do at the end of the day is appeal to the idea of “man cannot understand” as the root of understanding.

The Achilles heal of all destructive and evil doctrines is NOT the Bible, as so many “biblicists” are fond of saying ( hey…I have a great idea:  let’s fight one subjective interpretation of the scriptures with another subjective interpretation of the scriptures…and it never occurs to them that they concede the whole damn argument before they even wake up in the morning; it is maddening).  No, it is logic and reason.

All ideas are found having or wanting for truth based on reason alone, even “Christian” ones.

So let’s take a minute to look at “inerrancy”; that king gremlin of all nonsensical “Christian” platitudes.  That secret weapon of despotism:  the idea that if WE are those “gifted” to know truth, and WE can say the bible is indeed “inerrant”, then our power is by definition unlimited.  WE have the keys to hermetical TRUTH, which is beyond you, mere manWe (or I) get to define it; and once defined, it must be followed, and we have a mandate to FORCE you to follow it by any means necessary.  Why?  Because the Bible says it (what we/I decide “it” is), and so it is inerrant.  Fall on your knees, lay person.  Fall on your needs or eat the fire of the Righteous Burning Stake of Purification.

Oh…yes, Is it any WONDER why so many Protestants have spent so many years hammering the idea of “inerrancy”?  Think of the power!  There is none greater than that of he who gets not only to define TRUTH but to declare it unassailable by any means in the universe.

You can go take a moment to go throw up.  I’ll wait.

Hummm….deee……hummm…..(smoke break)…..hummm deee….(oh look, another web site about abuse in the church; and what’s this…oh, yes, the doctrine is still just fine)….hummmm…deee…oh my, is Oprah gaining?

Are you back?  Good.  Hope you feel better.

I’ve got something for your sickness.  A dose of reason.  Take this, and you are cured for life.  It’s easy.  One little spoonful, as sweet as honey.  Drink it in and know the freedom of reason.  Because the freedom of reason is the ability to LOVE.  It is the antidote for hate and death and and bloodshed and tyranny.  Here’s a bottle.  Use as needed.  Use liberally.

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Those of you who read here regularly I think will have heard this argument against biblical inerrancy before, but nonetheless it bears repeating.

“Inerrancy” as you will notice, or “infallibility” is NEVER qualified when it is presented as the bedrock for scriptural integrity.  There is a good reason for this.  Do you know what it is?  It’s not hard to spot if you just think about it.

Right.  You have it.

“Inerrancy/infallibility” is an absolute.  It is infinite in its implication.  It can have no qualification because a qualification imposes a limitation upon inerrancy.  And limited inerrancy by definition is not inerrant.  

Once limited, inerrancy becomes a contradiction in terms.  Inerrancy cannot be contextualized without destroying the very concept itself.  As soon as you say inerrancy is only inerrant within a certain limited frame of reference, inerrancy stops being a rational concept all together.  It is, then, by definition, no longer inerrant.  Because inerrancy cannot be BOTH inerrant and errant at the SAME time.  It cannot be logically said to ONLY apply here, but not here.  For this makes inerrancy a dimensional construct; and this implies limitations.  If inerrancy is bound at the corners by its own existential limitations, then it is not by definition inerrant.  It is wholly errant IN ANY OUTSIDE-OF-ITSELF CONTEXT.  Out of the context of itself, it cannot possibly be inerrant. 

But since we have (and MUST) as human beings, in order to practically apply a concept, anthropomorphized the inerrancy idea (like we do with any abstraction…and this is the foundation of why it is so hard for people to separate what is abstract from what is actual, and why so many people disagree with me, LOL), it can be observed in only context.  But the problem is that in context, it cannot be inerrant.  And more than that, it can ONLY be errant.  An idea which is given life as a “thing”, can only be revealed in context…but since in order for it to be wholly what it proclaims to be, it must be INFINITE…and thus, in context, it cannot be integrally itself (what it takes for it to be infinite), and so it cannot possibly be true in context, because in a context, again, it is not, by definition, infinite.  It is bound by the limitations of the context. Therefore, in context, which again is where it must be revealed for man to observe it, it cannot be itself.  And if it cannot be itself, then man can never say that it actually is the infinite concept he declares it is. 

Confused?  Yeah…I never said it was easy.

Inerrancy, like time and space, can only make sense as an absolute truth if it is seen as an infinite abstraction (note:  “infinite abstraction” is redundant; for all abstractions are infinite by definition)…utterly removed from the context of the physical reality of those things where it is applied.  But, apart from those things–apart from context–it can have no relevant meaning at all.  In other words, the idea of inerrancy must be completely removed from the context of any THING else in order for it to be, in fact, inerrancy. Once contextualized, it is limited, but inerrancy cannot by definition be limited.  Because what is limited inerrancy?  The very concept has no meaning.  Limited inerrancy?  It is a complete contradiction in terms. 

So, if you say the BIBLE is inerrant, you have contextualized “inerrancy”.  You have limited an infinite abstract concept to a THING, and therefore, you have qualified what inerrancy means,and thus destroyed the concept utterly.  “Impossible to err” cannot actually be qualified because what you are saying via the qualification is that in this context it cannot err, but in another it CAN err.  And an inerrancy which can be said to be capable of erring is not, by definition, inerrancy. 

But some will say…Argo, this is confusing.  It is real simple.  Inerrancy is not inerrant, the bible is inerrant.

No, no, no! If I were to take my bible to a construction site, and no other tools, and attempt to build an ice skating rink with nothing but my bible, how would that work out?

It wouldn’t.  Why?  Because in that context, the bible is ERRANT.  It is wanting.  It offers no help. It cannot be used to hammer nails, or to install drywall, or to lay ice.  So, how, pray tell, can the bible be both inerrant and errant at the same time? 

The answer is:  it cannot.

It can only be “inerrant” in a certain context.  But…that won’t work, because as soon as you qualify “inerrancy” it is no longer inerrant by definition.  You have “limited inerrancy”.

And what is “limited inerrancy”?  It is nothing more than “errancy”.  An inerrant bible is fully capable of erring in a certain context.  Therefore, it cannot possibly be inerrant.

The reality is that the bible’s truth can only be revealed contextually.  Take it out of context, and it is no longer “true”.  This is why IT cannot be ITSELF inerrant, but the bible’s efficacious application can only be observed IN CONTEXT. 

What context?

MAN’S context.

MAN is the plumb line for how errant or inerrant the bible is.  The bible cannot possibly be its OWN plumb line, because, as I said, in a certain context, such as at the construction site, it will FAIL in its efficacy.  

That is those who claim “biblical inerrancy” never qualify that statement.  Because they cannot.  It is why the bible , to them, is “inerrant”, period.  Now some will say, “inerrant in the original writings”, but that scarcely matters.  That is not really a qualification of inerrancy, it is a lame attempt to add an air of rationality to what is a wholly ridiculous idea, nothing more.

The truth is that only man can be the plumb line for what is true.  Not even God can be “inerrant” because how God is applied in man’s context will reveal to man how “inerrant” He is.  God can only be revealed as true if man can observe this truth as being, actually, efficacious to the only thing which can have real, objective value:  man’s SELF.

This is exactly why “inerrancy” never appears in scripture.  It is a totally irrelevant concept, indefatigably meaningless.  Glittering in its ridiculousness.  The reason I decry ANY “truth” which man cannot reconcile is because anything that is TRUE outside of MAN’S context cannot really be true because there is no way to observe its truth.  And if we cannot observe it is true, then there is no way to acknowledge if it is true or not.  And further and again, truth must be measured against what is the only thing of objective value, which is :  man.  Man’s physical SELF is the root of truth.  Any idea which does not reconcile to the context of man’s life, then, cannot possibly be true.

The bible’s truth is revealed in MAN.  It does not get to be inerrant apart from this context.  And because the bible must be contextualized in order to be true, it cannot possibly be inerrant.

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34 thoughts on “A Prescription for Reason: Complete cure of the affliction of “biblical inerrancy” in a single dose

  1. Wow. Out freaking standing. One of your best articles yet.

    Concise, illuminating and eviscerating. My kind of theology.

    >snicker<

  2. “Once limited, inerrancy becomes a contradiction in terms. Inerrancy cannot be contextualized without destroying the very concept itself. As soon as you say inerrancy is only inerrant within a certain limited frame of reference, inerrancy stops being a rational concept all together. It is, then, by definition, no longer inerrant.”

    Years ago, when I was trying to figure out inerrancy, I went to read “the Chicago statement” in inerrancy and came to the conclusion you state above. They contextualized it and destroyed the very meaning of the word! Biblical inerrancy does not mean real “inerrancy” as in free from error! Just the fact they are translations makes the entire concept moot! It is Orwellian.

  3. A religion about “orthodoxy” and never-ending hell needs, absolutely requires, an infallible and inerrant source text of orthodox dogmatics that unless you believe you will burn in hell for all eternity for ever and ever and ever in eternal never ending conscious torment. Because that’s the definition of “orthodoxy.”

    But a religion about right living doesn’t need an infallible nor inerrant source text, especially if it lacks a never-ending torment. Right living is largely common sense. If the document is not perfect, its not a real problem. And if hell is not never-ending, its not as freakout worthy.

    Psalm 37:20 “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.”

    Who shall? “The wicked.” What shall they do? “They shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.”

    So according to Psalm 37:20, “the wicked” (not just unbeleivers in some orthodox dogmatics, but the positively immoral) shall “consume; into smoke shall they consume away” (i.e. burn into non-existence, not burn eternally in never-ending conscious torment).

    Anyone who believes that verse won’t be freaking out on inerrancy. But anyone who believes Protestant tradition will be. This verse is sort of the death blow to Calvinism in its own right. It proves errancy, since so much of the New Testament is in direction contradiction to it by teaching that its the category of “unbeliever” rather than “wicked” that will be damned, and it proves Protestant and Catholic tradition both to be fallible and errant for asserting that damnation = never-ending torment. (And it can do all that without necessarily even having to be inerrant itself.)

  4. Well you’ve always got the KJVOs who say the KJV is inerrant and the Hebrew and Greek texts are all wrong. And then they spend all their time trying to find the inerrant KJV, because the ones Zondervan puts out have been changed and are of the devil, so they tell each other “come to my website where you can download and print off the REAL original inerrant 1611 KJV!” (“Just make sure to ignore the typos I may have inadvertently put in it when I was typing it.”)

  5. Paul is getting flack today from a spiritual abuse blog troller, on his 1/8/13 post, of all posts. Check it out.

    http://paulspassingthoughts.com/2013/01/08/christian-husbands-and-fathers-will-be-held-accountable-for-leading-their-families-in-calvinisms-false-gospel/

    He’s also said this @ Julie Anne:
    Submission is an act towards God fleshed out towards the husband. And Jesus had very high social position. He read from the Scriptures and was called Rabbi. And He had wrath as well. He made a whip and ransacked money tables in the temple. Big deals here with the Biblical content…

    The 9Marks post on JA’s site & the support she got from Paul et you must have hit a nerve….

  6. A Mom,

    Thanks for the scoop…I will go check this out.

    Paul is a threat to them. Make no mistake. They don’t care about anyone except themselves and their power. They hate him because his quest for truth threatens their money train.

    The love of God is far from them.

  7. Just so you know Argo, I don’t hate Paul and, I have no money train to be threatened. My problem is that he is a lying prophet. If he would merely tell the truth about our views, I would have no problem with him. I have confronted him time after time with the differences between what he claims we believe and our actual teachings and he continues deliberately to misrepresent our views. For example, “progressive justification” is precisely the opposite of what we believe, yet he continues to beat the same old drum. It has nothing to do with authority or control. It is simply a matter of setting the record straight.

    Regarding your post here, your issue is not with inerrancy but with canonicity. Once you have decided Paul [the apostle] gets it wrong, you have dismissed a huge part of the New Testament Scriptures. Peter has to be rejected since he placed Paul’s writings on the level of “the other Scriptures.” If he was wrong about that, how can we trust anything else he wrote? John has to be rejected since his writings agreed with both of these men and with Jesus. The bottom line is, if any of the NT revelation is unreliable, it all becomes suspect? We can’t really trust any of it. We must then be left to trust Argo who, in his mind-numbing arrogance, is the self-proclaimed authority on such matters. After all, reason, so-called, trumps revelation every time.

  8. Randy

    “After all, reason, so-called, trumps revelation every time.”

    Reading the sarcasm in there, I must say I had a guffawing laugh over that one. Oh yes, as if revelation cannot POSSIBLY be vetted by human reason. Reason and revelation are ultimately exclusive…and this is why you and your ilk terrify me. At the end of the day, you NEVER have to prove WHY your ideas are better. They are just better because you say they are. Because, by some mystic divine enlightenment, you somehow, hypocritically beyond your own depravity, get to define truth for the rest of humanity without ever having to defend it.

    I appeal to reason because reason is the only way man can ever know TRUTH. If revelation falls outside of reason, then revelation has nothing to do with man.

    But here is where you entire argument with me comes crashing to the floor in the face of my “mind numbing” arrogance…which, arrogance is irrelevant. My idea crushes yours because you cannot respond to it without conceding that I am right.

    You ready to lose? Here you go:

    The wickedly ironic thing is that REASON is the only way you can claim to believe anything. Why do you believe revelation, even if it isn’t reasonable (logically reconcilable)? Because you REASONABLY assume that God has truth and you don’t. But your acceptance of that fact is wholly rooted in this: it makes SENSE to you to believe that. Meaning, you still use YOU OWN version of reason to decide whether this thing (be it “revelation” or whatever thing you accept or reject) is true or not. You can never appeal to some greater “understanding”; reason is the very way you vet ALL you believe. If you appeal to some kind of “divine enlightenment”, it is still axiomatic that you must DECIDE to agree. And if it is YOU deciding, then YOU must have a plumb line for measuring it veracity.

    But even worse for you, is that to answer my argument you must, again concede I AM RIGHT. Because by responding, you must FIRST concede that YOU get to decide on what basis…by what REASON you will agree or disagree.

    And this is why you are a hypocrite and you will have much to answer to God for. You are a hypocrite who capriciously and viciously condemns others for doing that which YOU yourself do. And even in the face of my utterly logical argument you will reject the idea that human reason is the ONLY source of truth for ANYONE, Christian or not, and thus all revelation must be REASONABLE revelation. Because that is your heart…the heart of a Pharisee.

  9. Argo,

    Randy AKA “sometimes eligido” is not objective, he requires “revelation”. Randy defines revelation as: boot any sort of thinking, common sense, wisdom or reason out the door. Magic is so much better.

    Calvin taught wicked babies were destined to hell if they died unless they were infant (paedo) baptized. He gave parents assurance if their infants were baptized at church. Calvin also taught predestination election. God chooses.

    So Calvin taught works alone salvation (the work of parents to baptize their infants) as well as election, no one can choose for themselves.

    Randy, like Calvin, is comfy with utter contradictions. He writes the word hypocrisy with the disappearing ink called “revelation”.

  10. You are exactly right.

    And I want to do a post on this, but make no mistake. They use REASON, and lie and call it “revelation”. But the truth is that all is done via reasoning, and the reason is either life affirming or death affirming. There is no other option. They choose death. And that is why they will have much to be concerned about on the last day.

  11. A Mom,

    I will try to take a look at those links. I haven’t had a chance yet…was out of town over the weekend. What are they about?

  12. A Mom,

    You are exactly right. On one hand, they laud “revelation” as being the pinnacle of TRUTH. And yet, the revelation is always to who? To someONE. So that someone has to be “special” in order to discern revelation by some other means than his/her human context. And what is human context? It always boils down to reason. There is a REASON why man accepts or rejects revelation, and man is THE plumb line for this reason…that is, HE decides what he will believe. This is why I say that reason is axiomatic. There must be a reason man decides to believe what he believes…and this must be from himself. If it is not from man, then man cannot accept any revelation because he has no means to receive it. If reason doesn’t guide him, then he is not himself. God offers revelation, but there is no one to receive it because man, by their definition, possesses no capacity to either accept it or reject it. If YOU can’t believe the revelation, then how can it possibly be revelation!

    The very argument is an assault on God and man. These people will have MUCH to answer for on the day of judgement. I would worry if I were them. They have no meaning to anything they do or believe. They strip man of his humanity and God of his deity. They mock every living thing. And this cannot be Christian.

    I don’t know what these Calvinists are, but Christian, I cannot possibly find a rational argument for.

    They are peddlers of pagan mysticism. They are worshipers of death.

  13. Randy said: “Just so you know Argo, I don’t hate Paul and, I have no money train to be threatened. My problem is that he is a lying prophet. If he would merely tell the truth about our views, I would have no problem with him. I have confronted him time after time with the differences between what he claims we believe and our actual teachings and he continues deliberately to misrepresent our views.”

    As I commented in another post I’m confused by the equation between fear and money. Unless—as A Mom pointed out—you mean to imply that there are leaders who ARE motivated by money, and they happen to preach a doctrine sufficiently close to what Paul Dohse challenges and so they ARE losing money, sufficiently such that they are afraid of his arguments? If that isn’t it then, I am confused by the equation: no fear = no money.

    . . .
    . . .
    . . .

    Anyway the other thing that caught my attention was your assertion that Paul is a “lying Prophet.” To my knowledge Paul Doseh has never claimed prophetic office but maybe that is irrelevant to your criticism.

    I am not totally familiar with your doctrinal statement but I thought you were a dispensationalist. Am I wrong to understand that dispensationalists believe that there are no apostles and prophets? If that is true, how then can we have false ones? A lying prophet would on some level require that there is a truth telling prophet.

    Or do you really mean to use “lying Prophet” in the highest sense of “Biblical” pejorative. Do you really mean to say that Paul Dohse is the embodiment of evil that is so often condemned in scripture and it is then your altruistic duty to condemn the heretic?

    Well, if that is the case, then I am further confused. See here is the thing. Let us pretend that you are a Calvinist in name only. That whatever the particulars of John Calvin’s specific doctrine might be, you have arrived at theological positions independent of Calvin’s teaching. Let’s use your example of Progressive Sanctification. Paul Doshe is condemning Progressive Sanctification you insist that you reject Progressive sanctification. So doesn’t that mean you agree with Paul’s understanding of Sanctification? Is there a third doctrine of sanctification option that I’m unaware of?

    So what then is the conflict? How can Paul Doseh be “False” if he ultimately is teaching what you are teaching? Let’s assume that he misunderstands what Calvin and Luther actually taught [which he doesn’t] and it is the selfsame doctrine of sanctification which you insist you believe which would mean it is the same doctrine of sanctification that Paul is holding up as the truth. The only point of disagreement then would be over the generalization of what “Calvinist” actually means??
    So in your mind the real problem is: disagreement with Calvin then makes Paul Dohse a false prophet?

    Things that make me go hummm….

  14. Hi John,

    Regarding the “money train” comment; that was mine. I made mention of something to that effect over on Paul’s blog in response to something…I can’t quite remember now. I said something about Paul threatening the money train of the neo Calvinist movement which is generally the one thing that gets a response out of some of these despots (though not all, of course).

  15. Argo… ok fair enough. That is where the comment originated from. But the answer still seems curious to me. I guess that means he is conceding that there is a money train for some people who are being affected by Paul Dohse’s comments?

  16. What Paul Dohse teaches is just traditional Baptist teaching from what I can tell. Justification by faith alone + OSAS, ignoring the question of the ins and outs of election. That’s the way its always been done in the Baptist churches prior to the Calvinist takeovers. And obviously its appealing, much moreso than the New Rome that is Calvinism, where the elders control everybody and yank their chains around. But traditional Baptists are afraid to stick with what they know because they have them super-bullies telling them unless they accept arbitrary election based on Romans 9 they aren’t real inerrantists, and they desperately want to be thought of as inerrantists: that’s how Calvinists get their hooks in people. And once you convince someone of inerrancy, the next step is “because the Bible is inerrant, its too hard for you to comprehend, so pay me to teach it to you.” Because obviously, an inerrant book requires an inerrant interpreter! Really everyone who argues that the Bible is inerrant isn’t arguing that at all, but they are arguing that they are inerrant. If the Book is inerrant, its Commentator must also be, and thus opens a high-paying 4 or 5 figure salary position for a cemetery trained sophist. But if the people were content to have faith a “basic jist” gospel, and didn’t care about inerrancy, they could hire any slackjawed yokel with a 5th grade education who can stumble through the Bible, and it would be good enough. And that, quite frankly, is how things used to be done in American, and they actually seemed to work better for the churches.

  17. Well, I think what he is saying is that because he has no financial interest in his disagreement with Paul that that somehow is relevant to his argument. You think? Or that the fact that he’s not defending his ideas for the sake of a big fat CJ Mahaney six figure salary means that he gets to claim some kind of morality cloak?

    I don’t know. To be honest, I can’t really remember what I was even talking about when I made that comment…but I’m sure I was making an awesome point! LOL

    But you are right, it is a curious thing to say. I suppose it shouldn’t matter whether you have financial skin in the arena of ideas or not; I mean, I don’t do all this writing for any kind of profit (at. all.) but that isn’t what helps me sleep at right. What helps me sleep at night is that I understand how to defend utterly rationally my ideas of what constitutes true and objective VALUE (individual life) and then construct my world view around that.

    But I will tell you one thing: I submit that you cannot be a Calvinist without a fundamental desire to FORCE all other human beings into your way of thinking, by hook or crook, or firing squad or butcher’s knife. To be a Calvinist is to claim the supremacy of your own primary consciousness. You have a mandate to sacrifice ALL life upon the alter of your “sound doctrine”, which is utterly defended by the lie of biblical inerrancy. The entire Calvinist construct explicitly demands a priesthood of mystics who reserve the right to violence if you resist them. Sin is nothing more than failing to submit to the authority of the “tribe” as you so perfectly stated in your most recent article…for you cannot sin if YOU are not YOU but are the Collective; all is forgiven, the only offense is to deny the Collective in service to self.

    And buried deep (okay…not that deep) within the heart of Calvin’s belief system is this terrifying assumption: One way or another ALL men MUST die for Sound Doctrine. They will either lay down their lives and property willingly or it will be taken by force. And if they can’t get to you in this life God will rip yourself from yourself to shreds in eternity in hell…and hell of course is only for “other”. It is never for the tribe. (Really…you NAILED it in your last article on tribalism.)

    And so, Randy’s “revelation” is Randy’s TRUTH. And whether he wants to admit it or not, and whether he wants to call it “money” or not, EVERYTHING that matters to him is bound in his assertion that HIS “revelation” trumps anyone ELSE’S reason…which gives him the implicit “right to live”, even if it means sacrificing YOU in service to that “right”. He gets to “live” merely because he somehow by God’s “grace” was elected to believe the insanity that he believes. Those not elected to believe the insanity WILL DIE. It is that simple. God doesn’t love them, so why should he? Love is defined by membership in the collective; and membership is merely believing how Randy believes. Anyone NOT Randy (meaning, not the collective/tribe) is not loved. End of story.

    Money train or not, these despots understand that they literally have everything to lose. It is a POWERFUL tonic which declares that one has a monopoly on God’s TRUTH…for as long as they always act in service to this divine “wisdom” God will find them innocent no matter what they do or who they do it to. To realize that you are not special? That you are one in a sea of individual free-thinking souls…I think these guys rage and hate against that idea with all the fervor of the devil.

    And really, the idea that truth can be found outside the bible never occurs to them PRECISELY because they do not SEE OTHERS. The whole construct is an exercise in pathological narcissism. You see THEY do not separate their opinions from the Bible. The Bible is not an EXTERNAL absolute truth…THEY are the BIBLE. The Bible then is their constant source of secondary narcissistic supply; a permanent extension of themselves into the world whereby THEY get to be front and center to ALL others’ lives by virtue of its (their) “infallible” ideas. Their primary sources of narcissistic supply, of course, are the human beings that are not really human beings, but active and living and breathing extensions of themselves into the world…which, as you said, is the tribe.

    The whole mentality is pathological…at the root of which is an absolute abstraction which does not and simply cannot ACTUALLY exist: the “collective”.

    A collective, for those of us who care, cannot even actually exist. So, while Randy claims solidarity with “the body”, what he really understands is that all others must exist for HIMSELF. Because he IS the collective (as is every Calvinist) Why? Well, just because. He’s elect.

    The contradiction and rational insanity is, of course, that ceding your entire mind, life, body, and property to the collective somehow makes YOU special; to God and in general. As if there is any YOU existing in the equation at all. As though God, who by definition cares only about who is willing to be an extension of His own will to power via the complete sacrifice of self to the notion of “sovereign grace”, can actually hold an individual in some kind of divine esteem. Individual is the abstraction in Calvinist thinking. In Calvinism, there is no YOU for God to actually love.

  18. Paul is doing some serious re-thinking, however, on his blog. He is a wise man…he can put two and two together. John Immel and myself have both spoken to Paul personally (in person…but John much more than me), and we both have openly expressed our concerns with Paul’s kind of “biblicism”. My primary point is that if you hold the idea that the Bible is somehow beyond reproach you are conceding that some MEN have some kind of direct line on truth that the rest of us don’t have. If what the bible teaches does not have to accord with reason, then the plumb line for it’s “truth” can only be mysticism. The earth is flat, the world made in six literal days (which how a “day” can exist to God makes no rational sense; and which cannot be measured objectively because “time” has no beginning of any sort, which means it has no ACTUAL value…but is merely abstract and ultimately relative), and blah, blah, blah.

    In fact, with this article and everything, my MAIN concern with the notion of biblical inerrancy is the implicit assumption that the men who wrote it have a mystical, gnostic “inspiration” which WE don’t have, by definition…because WE weren’t elected to write the bible. Well, then we are secondary believers. Obviously there is a truth that supersedes our own judgment; our own minds. A knowledge that we CANNOT have. And if some men are giving “special” truth that others don’t get based on their authorship of the Bible, then who can rationally argue that Calvinist pastors who are “called by God” to exercise “authority” over the depraved masses don’t get to claim the same kind of divine knowledge.

    Biblicism is as dangerous as Calvinism. It all starts with the assumption of a TRUTH that EXCEEDS man’s individual existential context.

    This is exactly where tyranny happens.

    I

  19. Hey James,
    “What Paul Dohse teaches is just traditional Baptist teaching from what I can tell. Justification by faith alone + OSAS, ignoring the question of the ins and outs of election.”

    Yea, actually you beat me to the punch. This is ultimately where I was going with my question. Paul is a Baptist at heart, and his doctrinal statements are effectively lifted out of the Baptist handbook. He might have a few minor variations, but they are of no real consequence. So in the event that Randy actually responded to my question and justify his assertion that Paul Doseh is a “lying prophet.” If his rational was at all doctrinal, I was going to point out that Randy was declaring Baptist doctrine a lie.

    “Because obviously, an inerrant book requires an inerrant interpreter! Really everyone who argues that the Bible is inerrant isn’t arguing that at all, but they are arguing that they are inerrant. “

    That is exactly what they are arguing, which curiously enough is exactly the foundation of Papacy.

    “But if the people were content to have faith a “basic jist” gospel, and didn’t care about inerrancy, they could hire any slackjawed yokel with a 5th grade education who can stumble through the Bible . . .”

    Oh… there are still plenty of these yokels populating American pulpits. I’ve been to plenty of churches with these men and women at the helm and they will leave you just as slack jawed with their doctrinal conclusions.

  20. Hey Argo,

    Since I reject the Altruistic premise it never bothers me that men make money for the values the bring to people. If a man can persuade people to part with money, in a free market, then that is a great thing. So how much CJ Mahaney makes (or anyone else for that matter) is never, in my mind a condemnation. When my books finally sell a billion copies I will be dancing saying “nanee nanee boo boo,” to all the nay saying altruists. Their “moral” condemnation is really more reflective of wickedness of their covetous heart….

    But anyway…

    “But I will tell you one thing: I submit that you cannot be a Calvinist without a fundamental desire to FORCE all other human beings into your way of thinking, by hook or crook, or firing squad or butcher’s knife. To be a Calvinist is to claim the supremacy of your own primary consciousness.”

    Yup

    And buried deep in Calvin’s belief system is this terrifying assumption: One way or another ALL men MUST die for Sound Doctrine.

    Yup

    And so, Randy’s “revelation” is Randy’s TRUTH. And whether he wants to admit it or not, and whether he wants to call it “money” or not, EVERYTHING that matters to him is bound in his assertion that HIS “revelation” trumps anyone ELSE’S reason…which gives him the implicit “right to live”, even if it means sacrificing YOU in service to that “right”.

    Yup

    “It is a POWERFUL tonic which declares that one has a monopoly on God’s TRUTH . . . . To realize that you are not special? That you are one in a sea of individual free-thinking souls…I think these guys rage and hate against that idea with all the fervor of the devil.”

    Not to be redundant but …. Yup.

    No matter how many sonnets of love they sing in service to Jesus command to love one another … take away their collective, take away their power, take away their mask and their vicious hatred for all things man come raging out to the forefront.

  21. Yes, indeed, John. It is no hyperbole for me to say that I could read you ALL day. Literally all day. You have your thumb on the very central nervous system of this whole argument, and your poignant insight never ceases to amaze me. I swear, a light bulb goes off in my mind every time I read an article of yours. Every theme becomes one more twist of the focus knob which helps me hone my own perspective. For that, I am eternally grateful.

    I highly recommend everyone visit John’s site and read every last word there!

  22. Hello Argo,

    I just stumbled upon your blog today so I am a little late to the party. I read Paul Dohse’s blog and from him I found John Immel’s blog and then I found your blog. Just to make sure you understand where I am coming from (I consider it to be dishonest to ask people to spill their guts while withholding everything about myself) I am a Christian, not Reformed, but probably too conventional for your liking. One of the reasons that I hold to Christianity is that I believe in unchanging/objective/knowable truth and Christianity is the only religion/philosophy I am aware of that is consistent with that belief.

    I would like to ask you several questions (in several parts) to help me understand what you mean by some of the statements you make. It is obvious that you have had training in philosophy and the language you are using is precise if not terribly clear to the uninitiated.

    You made this statement:

    ***** Begin Quote *****
    It took me almost no time at all between being in Sovereign Grace Ministries and leaving to understand that all appeals to paradoxical versions of truth was mysticism, period. That there is only one kind of TRUTH: Reasonable. Truth which resides in a place that man is fully capable of grasping and reconciling based on what he observes with his senses. Beyond that, there is no truth.
    ***** End Quote *****

    If I understand you correctly this means that you are more in the Aristotle camp than in the Plato camp. Is that correct?

    Also, how do you define “reason?” Is reason a logical system that you use to interpret the world around you? From what I have read there are more opinions on what “true” logic is than there are days in the year. Depending on whom you read you may find “propositional truth”, “dialectical theology”, mysticism, or some combination thereof promoted. Do you believe that our ability to reason correctly is innate?

    Glenn

  23. Argo,

    My second set of questions deals with this quote:

    ***** Begin Quote *****
    If I were to take my bible to a construction site, and no other tools, and attempt to build an ice skating rink with nothing but my bible, how would that work out?

    It wouldn’t. Why? Because in that context, the bible is ERRANT. It is wanting. It offers no help. It cannot be used to hammer nails, or to install drywall, or to lay ice. So, how, pray tell, can the bible be both inerrant and errant at the same time?

    The answer is: it cannot.
    ***** End Quote *****

    I assume that you are using the term context in its technical philosophical meaning (I had to look it up):

    “Context is the idea that a statement or thought has meaning in relationship to its setting or background.”

    Okay, given that definition these paragraphs don’t sound that profound. Let’s take Jesus’ statement that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” Using your definition of inerrancy, that statement is not inerrant since I can’t hammer a nail or install drywall with it. Fair enough. What matters to me is if you believe that statement is reliably true. Can anyone other than the people that heard Jesus say that take it to be true? Is it true for me, you, the man down the street, all people at different times and places? Can you even take it for a given that Jesus said that?

    If all the statements in the Bible are not true individually and collectively then where does that leave us? Do we use our reason, however defined, to determine what is individually true for us?

    Glenn

  24. Please ignore if this comment was posted. I cannot see it yet in the thread.
    ———————————————————————————————
    Hello Argo,

    I just stumbled upon your blog today so I am a little late to the party. I read Paul Dohse’s blog and from him I found John Immel’s blog and then I found your blog. Just to make sure you understand where I am coming from (I consider it to be dishonest to ask people to spill their guts while withholding everything about myself) I am a Christian, not Reformed, but probably too conventional for your liking. One of the reasons that I hold to Christianity is that I believe in unchanging/objective/knowable truth and Christianity is the only religion/philosophy I am aware of that is consistent with that belief.

    I would like to ask you several questions (in several parts) to help me understand what you mean by some of the statements you make. It is obvious that you have had training in philosophy and the language you are using is precise if not terribly clear to the uninitiated.

    You made this statement:

    ***** Begin Quote *****
    It took me almost no time at all between being in Sovereign Grace Ministries and leaving to understand that all appeals to paradoxical versions of truth was mysticism, period. That there is only one kind of TRUTH: Reasonable. Truth which resides in a place that man is fully capable of grasping and reconciling based on what he observes with his senses. Beyond that, there is no truth.
    ***** End Quote *****

    If I understand you correctly this means that you are more in the Aristotle camp than in the Plato camp. Is that correct?

    Also, how do you define “reason?” Is reason a logical system that you use to interpret the world around you? From what I have read there are more opinions on what “true” logic is than there are days in the year. Depending on whom you read you may find “propositional truth”, “dialectical theology”, mysticism, or some combination thereof promoted. Do you believe that our ability to reason correctly is innate?

    Glenn

  25. Argo,

    Here is my third, and final, set of questions. They deal with this quote:

    ***** Begin Quote *****
    The reality is that the bible’s truth can only be revealed contextually. Take it out of context, and it is no longer “true”. This is why IT cannot be ITSELF inerrant, but the bible’s efficacious application can only be observed IN CONTEXT.

    What context?

    MAN’S context.
    ***** End Quote *****

    When you speak of “MAN” do you mean each individual person or mankind collectively? If you are speaking of each person individually then that means we all have our own context and our own truth. If you are speaking of mankind collectively I really can’t accept that either as a Christian. Heck, I don’t share context with most Christians much less all of the unbelievers in the world. It seems to me that for there to be a universally knowable truth that, in your view, there would have to be a common context. Is that correct? If that is not true then is it even possible for you and I to comprehend the same truth?

    Thank you.

    Glenn

  26. Glenn,

    Welcome! Thanks for visiting my little blog here; and thank you so much for taking the time to formulate your questions. I will respond to you tonight.

    As you probably have figured out, I love talking about this stuff. 🙂

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