Truth as Purely a Function of Morality, With Morality Being Exclusive of Reason: The “soft” Gnosticism of Wade Burelson and The Wartburg Watch’s new false moral benchmark

Well, the disturbing trend continues over at that once shining virtual city on a hill, The Wartburg Watch.  Ever since the gnosticism of Wade Burleson became focus prime over there, this once great site where ideas and doctrines were vetted for clarity and held up to the scope of rational ideas with an end towards (at least in part) eliminating abuse in the modern American Christian church has now become a haven for hypocrites…for those who declare that the new moral standard which most exemplifies the “truth” of Christ is the tolerance of ideas…those doctrines, interpretations, opinions etc. which regard the wherefores and whys of biblical commands and theologies.

Except, as is common in these types of communes, the one idea they will absolutely not tolerate is the one which says that since ideas inevitably lead to action, only the idea which actually affirms and protects human individual life is worth staking your moral claim to and eternal peace upon as a blog site or as any entity, really.  Rejecting the evil ideas as those which destroy life is the real benchmark of Christian truth.  But not over there are Wartburg.  No…getting along, even at the expense of reason, is the new morality.

Oh…why yes, of course they still presume that once ideas, though wholly acceptable as ideas in man’s brain frame, manifest into destructive behavior then the behavior should be condemned.  And though this is all fine, and evil behavior should be condemned, the real question is what is the ACTUAL problem…the problem of all problems.  Is it that people act in service to ideas, or is it the ideas?  Put more simply, is it the behavior or the ideas that cause the behavior?  Which one is the head that most pressingly needs cutting off?

Now…I don’t want to be misunderstood.  Wartburg Watch does not tolerate ALL ideas…as I’ve already said, they won’t tolerate mine, for a start.  So right there is the exception that proves the rule.  I am the trouble maker because I DENY that Wade Burelson, for example, can hold to the doctrine he does and still be a good, life-affirming pastor.  There is no way I can accept that because my acceptance can only be engaged if I assume that Wade, though staunch and robust and relentless in support of his own ideas, will somehow refrain at all the right times from acting in service to their destructive logical conclusions.  Take, for example, his doctrine of “election”, which is utterly deterministic according to his own explanation of it (once you get past the contradictions and double speak, that is).  Wade concedes that men and women are “dazzled” and “spellbound” into acceptance of Christ, as a function of God’s election.  The implication being that God decides who He wants around in the New Heaven and then proceeds to bewitch them into some kind of gospel trance.  Which, by definition makes man’s free will utterly moot and thus not free at all, because you cannot describe that which cannot be shown to exist anywhere in the existence equation as being “free”.  And yet, Wade still proclaims, as if we are all idiots and the kind of third rate thinkers the neo-reformed seminaries are churning out these days, that we still have “the power” to resist Christ.

Here is  Wade’s direct quote:

“God makes His love for us so captivating, so alluring, so charming, so dazzling, so enthralling, so mesmerizing, so spellbinding (gospel comes from “good spell”), so magnetizing, so enrapturing, so gripping, so compelling, so hypnotizing, and so absolutely “sweep me off my feet” enamoring that I cannot, I must not, and I will not refuse, though I have the power to do so.”

You can access the entire comments thread here:  http://thewartburgwatch.com/2013/08/16/a-tale-of-two-abusers/#comment-110775

I could go into a long description of the gruesome murder of logic which Wade perpetrates in this declaration, but it wouldn’t be anything you, my wise and handsome readers, can’t already see clearly for yourselves.  And…let’s be honest.  A blind road lizard can see the monumental contradiction in declaring a person who has been put under a “spell” and “dazzled” and who “cannot” resist as one who still retains the power to freely choose.

And besides that, Paul Dohse did a wonderful article on the egregious assumptions and twisted semantics of Wade’s idea already over on his site, paulspassingthoughts.com.  I invite you to check it out.  It’s very good.

But let’s get back to the new moral plumb line we are seeing over at the Wartburg Watch.  And really, truth be told, it is nothing more than a very old, very familiar, very Marxist moral plumb line known as: keeping the “collective” cohesive.  It is the presumption that the greatest moral good is found in maintaining the integrity, not of individual human life, but of the group (because in Platonism and Katianims, there is no such thing as an individual…the collective is absolute, and thus, you are only YOU if you are “part” of the collective).

Now, the group in this case is Dee and Deb’s very idea-xenophobic blog site.  They are the mama bears and they will protect to the death their subjects and their philosopher King(Wade), even though they have openly said that “God can shut down the site anytime He likes”…but God isn’t in the business of shutting down sites, Dee and Deb.  God is in the business of loving human beings and affirming and pursuing ideas that lead to loving actions and outcomes.  Whether you choose to run a blog site towards those ends is YOUR CHOICE, not God’s.  Don’t assume that the “success” of your site equals God’s affirmation of its assumptions.  That is extremely presumptuous on its face.

The sad thing is that Dee and Deb actually think that the “collective” at Wartburg Watch which they work so hard to maintain (yes THEY, not God) is real Christianity in general.  Why?  Because they think that this is the practical result of declaring that the greatest moral benchmark is found in accepting ALL ideas as “good” in service to maintaining the “peace” and “love” of “Christian” groups…the primary one in question being of course that which they have created at Wartburg Watch.  And as such, as a collective, they believe that they have the monopoly on Christian charity.

This could not be further from the truth.  When you declare that the greatest moral benchmark is the active acceptance of ideas which are utterly destructive to humanity, you share the guilt in the violent consequences.  It is that simple.  To attempt to disassociate the evil behavior from the evil ideas you DEMAND people accept as PROOF of their Christian charity is a murder of reason which does not go unnoticed by God nor those who are curious as to whether or not Christians really have something good and true to offer, or are merely just another bunch of irrational fanatics who worship books and make up their definitions as they go along.

So, again, only the acceptance of ideas is allowed (well, those ideas Dee and Deb have arbitrarily decided are “disputable” enough to maintain the peace and integrity of the Wartburg collective); and no deviation from their subjective assumption of moral purity will be tolerated.  Certainly, they rightly reject any obviously destructive ideas…but keep in mind, in keeping with full-on Marxist politics, it is the GROUP there that has the monopoly on truth.  And Dee and Deb and Wade, as the “authority” of the group…well, THEY will decide which people meet or exceed the benchmark of tolerance or not.  The ideas they reject do not have to be blatantly and frankly vile, they merely have to deny the right of the Marxist authority to declare what is “good” and what is “evil” absent a RATIONAL argument.  Which is why I am moderated into oblivion without the slightest sense of shame.

The hypocrisy is staggering. Once again, to declare that you care about the victims of abuse while ceding that the greatest moral good is found in the abject tolerance of the kind of fatalistic determinism Wade Burleson believes and TEACHES there…a doctrine which declares that human beings have NO right to EVER claim victim status because at the root of the doctrine is an utter denial of human existential integrity (i.e. YOU are not YOU at all) goes to the very core of why Christianity is dying and will soon be dead in this country (and, honestly, a good part of me believes that we have already passed the point of no return…I don’t think honest Christianity frankly exists in America in a pure form).  Wartburg Watch is a once great shining blog of hope now turned ugly hypocrite.

I don’t relish this, I weep over it.  I weep over the continuing slide of Wartburg Watch into moral relativism, all in service to the idea that morality is not a function of reason, but of blind tolerance.  But even worse than that is the altruistic and charitable charade which plays out like some macabre carnival where all the children are turned into meat patties on the way out.  It is a logic defying act of straddling the fence between ideas and behavior, as if there is some kind of stark delineation between them.  ALL ideas which do not upset the “peace” and “love” of the collective are acceptable, and yet the destructive behavior of these very same ideas is NOT tolerated .

The greatest moral action is cognitive moral relativism within the framework of “Christian charity” (as they define it)…to accept that everyone has a right to the ideas which they hold; and that the greatest moral affront is to deny that this is right.  But, again, they all want to draw the line at actions.

Okay, I get it that Ideas which fit your collectivist paradigm are fine, but when they manifest themselves into action that you somehow will denounce with a straight face and a firm, punitive resolution–without the slightest hint of irony–well, what kind of “reason”, pray tell, are you planning to have on hand to bulwark your accusations?  The kind that SGM churches who have left the corporation use?  The kind Brent Detwiler uses?  Deciding that the ideas are fine until someone gets hurt (and the someone is usually themselves, personally…which is oh so telling).  You are going to stand there with a straight face and an aura of arrogant moral superiority and decry the abuse despite your inexorable culpability?  Despite the rabid fact that though you are on the hook for never challenging the implicit (or even explicit) physical abuse which flies from every doctrinal proclamation of “election”, “depravity”, the “dazzling” and “spellbinding” gospel, “limited atonement”–ideas which deny the very SELF of human beings–because your moral plumb line is the tolerance of ideas YOU declare are acceptable so that your greatest moral action is found and maintained in defending the subjective integrity of the Wartburg Watch collective at all costs?

So again, what will be the counter argument when people like me call you a hypocrite for decrying the abuse but affirming the idea?

Here is the answer:  there can be none.  Your belief in the supremacy of tolerance will wash nothing at all in any whiteness of Christ’s righteousness when the innocent victims of the very doctrines you never challenge are piling up in ditches.  And it will certainly wash noting when you throw people off your site for challenging these doctrines because they always result in burning people alive, excommunicating God’s saints, and covering up the sexual abuse of children, and worse.

And this is precisely why a Calvinism resurgence in the world is seen again and again and again, and the abuse is seen again and again and again.  It is the Platonist and Marxist idea that somehow the ideas of the collective can protect and fit the paradigm of the individual human being.  Christianity is no longer about individuals being saved, loved, cared for.  Christianity is a collective.  And this collective is materialized in churches, communities, and now, blog sites.  And when moral truth becomes that which is utterly in service to protecting the peace and safety of the collective, people get hurt.  People get thrown out to the dogs.  People get murdered in the streets like Stephen.

Then people wake up for a brief moment, see the horror, and say they need to change.  And they do, for a while…but they never quite cross the rational line which demands that ideas and actions go together.  That what drives horror is the DOCTRINE.  No, somehow, the doctrine is NEVER wrong.  They change a few people, some churches separate, there is love, love, love and acceptance all around.  Tolerance becomes the moral standard of the day…and that is when the hoards of reformation despotism come marching right back in, and we like idiots hold the door open for them.  You see, they understand fully well that tolerance as the moral plumb line means that they can continue to preach “sound doctrine” until the cows come home, and they will never be challenged because that?  Would just not be loving. It wouldn’t be kind.  Why, after all, it’s that kind of rigid demagoguery we have fled from in the first place, no?

So back in come the Calvinist shills, proclaiming their “confessions”, and their “orthodoxy”, and their “inerrancy”, and if it weren’t for these dastardly human beings fucking everything up then we’d all be just fine.  We just need to get back to sound doctrine.  Oh…of course authoritarianism is wrong.  We shouldn’t have to COMPEL you to the “obvious” right-ness of our traditions, should we?  No, of course not.  If you are a REAL Christian, you will be dazzled and spellbound in to right understanding.  And, really, you should understand that my divine authority is not authoritarianism.  It is only that if you show yourself un-dazzled.  Then my mandate is to “protect” the church (read:  collective).

So, Calvinism comes in once again, perhaps a “soft” version, like Wade Burelson’s.  The ideas are accepted (they sound good…they aren’t overtly “evil” or “abusive”, there is a lot of grace talk, and after all, no one would actually TREAT another human being as if who they were and what they do don’t actually matter to a “sovereign” God)…and sooner or later, uh oh…someone decides that they must be “on fire” for God, and this inevitably means they must put their money where their mouth is.  They MUST stop just talking and ACT in service to the doctrine by openly engaging in–as a matter of pure got-me-love-for-Jesus faith; to prove their election–the logical destructive behavior. 

So then what happens is people like Dee and Deb and Wade and Brent Detwiler rush in to decry the abuse.  They proclaim love for fellow man.  This leads to the formation of new collectives around which this love is defined as “tolerance”.  This tolerance becomes the new moral benchmark, the “authorities” of the collective rush in at every turn to now protect the group in service to the the new and improved moral plumb line of tolerance.  Human beings then by necessity become secondary to the collective, which means they are secondary to the new abstract moral plumb line of “tolerance”.  Intolerance, then, towards persons deemed subversive is meted out in a tribal manner, meaning, reason is now no longer and nevermore the guide, but anything considered an affront to the “moral purity” of the collective is run out of town on a rail.  Eventually (which I submit is the stage we are at on Wartburg Watch) people who rule the new collectives finally realize that individuals are really the problem, and that if people just sacrificed themselves to the good of the group, all would be well.  Then these rulers finally realize that this fits the Calvinist/neo-reformed theological construct perfectly, and eventually the destruction and merciless abuse is doled out  liberally and enthusiastically in defense of the reformed doctrinal ideas…

…and so it goes again and again and again and again.

All because people like Dee and Deb, in the presumption of their own moral perfection of “tolerance” decide that ideas cannot possibly drive action.

And in this sense, the pagan Platonism shows its face once more as the Wizard behind the curtain.  Men do not exist, but only the “forms”…the source of the ideas, of the “truth”, which is the Primary Consciousness that only the gnostic overlords are privy to.  Therefore, there are no real “actions” of men; for men are nothing more than an extension of the absolute consciousness which controls and owns them, through the gnostic proxies.  The Pastors and Priests.

And humanity is once again nothing more than the universal pawn and scapegoat in a cosmic war of attrition between morally relative primary consciousnesses.

I ask, how is there anything of Christ in any of this?

This is now where Wartburg Watch stands.

Now, finally, to what I consider to be the soft tyranny of Wade Burelson, which is the exact same kind of tyranny found in the idea that morality can exist exclusive of and outside the individual human being.  That is, morality does not actually have to be premised on what physically IS, objectively, like individual people, but on what is wholly abstract, like tolerance, or collective, or in this example, whatever Wade decides it is going to be at the moment.  It is the idea that somehow, you, as the established “authority” (and in Wade’s case, I can only assume it is his role as resident Pastor over at the Wartburg Watch collective) get to declare just what is the benchmark for moral truth at any given moment, and thus force your opponent into submission by virtue of nothing other than your gnostic mandate to interpret reality anywhere and at any time for any reason.

And Wade swears he isn’t a Calvinist.  That is just rich.  This is precisely Calvin’s point.  The laity cannot be in a position to know anything, so it falls to the divinely chosen ecclesiastical “authority” to TELL them what to think.

The exchange took place on the same thread where Wade committed his rational larceny by declaring that God “dazzles” you into accepting Jesus Christ.  The topic of the debate is immaterial to my point, but you can access it at the link to the Wartburg Watch comments thread I provided above.

The recipient of Wade’s presumptuous moral superiority was a commenter who calls himself “Gene”.  This was Wade’s comment to him.  Please note that I have edited the comment so that only the relevant portions (to my point) are reproduced:

“I appreciate your comments and the spirit of interaction with those who have responded to your statements. I have been on the Internet for over eight years, writing blog posts, answering questions, and trying, in general, to help people…”

This is Wade setting the stage for his upcoming, but subtle, declaration that morality has nothing really to do with facts and reason, outcomes and observable issues, but with HIMSELF…that is, he starts by defining himself as the moral plumb line in the debate. The ideas being debated are besides the point.  Wade is setting the stage for his “truth” fiat by letting Gene know that HE is the “good” one here.  HE has eight years blogging, answering questions, blah, blah, blah. And, best of all, his motives have been to “help people”.  Well, this is all fine and good, but since when does any of this have to do with the discussion at hand?  The answer is, if you read the thread, it doesn’t.  It is a manipulation tactic.  It is Wade seizing the high moral ground simply because he is Wade.  And you must understand that in the neo-reformed construct, morality has absolutely nothing to do with reason.  Moral “good” is never a function of rational beliefs or logical cause and effect observations.  No, morality is purely a function of AUTHORITY, of FORCE, of GOVERNMENT.  This is why God, in reformation protestantism, can consign people to hell for nothing but arbitrary reasons, and can remain culpable for sin via the fatalistic determination which under girds the theology and yet still remain morally GOOD and categorically just and innocent.  His “authority” is proof of his goodness, period.  God is “good” simply because of who He is–as the supreme GOVERNOR–and not because He actually affirms life and ordains justice in accordance with objective reason which man can grasp via his own human context and observation.  And in this way, you cannot separate then moral truth from “truth” period.  They are one in the same.  He who gets to be GOOD is he who gets to be RIGHT.  And who is it that gets to be good and right, based on his divine authority in this debate, over at the Wartburg Watch?

Right.  Wade does.

The equation is simple.  Wade = authority = good = truth.

Wade starts off giving an ostensibly irrelevant and innocuous personal history of his life on the internet.  But it is relevant in this sense…that what Wade is doing is saying:  the plumb line for GOOD is ME, and since GOOD equals TRUTH in my “Christian” world view, then I, as the divinely chosen “authority” here on Wartburg Watch, get to be right, even before we start the discussion.

Yes, this is precisely how they always win these arguments.  They subtly proclaim their right to declare TRUTH for everyone else, and no one ever…and I mean EVER challenges them on this.  It is one of the primary reasons the Calvinist leadership is so damn resilient.

But the most offensive part of Wade’s e-mail is much, much worse.  Take a gander at what follows.  It is nothing short of a flagrant appeal to a categorically and ridiculously irrelevant idea as the sum and source of the moral truth in the whole thread and discussion.  But this is why these neo-reformed pastors are so terrifying.  The actually think that they speak divine TRUTH.  They actually believe that they just sort of get to declare that anything that catches their fancy in the moment absolutely forms the crux of divine moral and epistemological inerrancy.  Please note that I have put the most relevant parts in bold print:

“(a). You let us know that Dr. Patterson’s degree is from New Orleans, and then later you write, “I don’t care about the SBC or the politics of it.” In my experience, only those who truly care about the SBC and the politics of it would know where Dr. Patterson received his doctorate. Identifying yourself would help me know I am mistaken about you. And second,

(b). You write ” I don’t often read Wade because I don’t care about the SBC or the politics of it, but it seems that every time I see Burleson’s name come up, it is about his comment about politics in the SBC.” Shakespeare nailed it when he said, “Thou dost protest too much.” If you identified yourself, it would help us know that your statement about “not caring about politics” is truthful and will give us confidence to trust other statements you make.

I think asking you to identify yourself is fair. You know my background. My life is on display. However, you are anonymous. In my experience on the Internet, anonymous people on the Internet who make general assessments of someone else’s motives, are usually full of motive themselves. I could be wrong about you, but identifying yourself would help me clear up my misperceptions.”

Now, the utterly egregiousness of this comment should cause anyone who reads Wade, or listens to Wade, or has Wade on their blog site as the resident e-Pastor for the e-church, to feel a sour pang of uneasiness at the very least in the pit of their stomach.  Regardless of what Wade might think or say, I believe this to be nothing more than a rank tactic of despots.

What Wade essentially does is declare Gene to be a liar merely because Gene is uncomfortable revealing his true identity, as if knowing who Gene really is somehow relevant to a discussion that doesn’t actually involve Gene personally at all.  And, as an aside, with people like Wade Burelson in positions of authority, I’m not sure how anyone can possibly be comfortable giving out their real name. I mean, do you hold out your hand to a hissing snake just because you think it makes you morally pure?  It makes you somehow good, perhaps brave, to do something kind of stupid?

Wade equates anonymity with moral depravity, pure and simple.  Wade does not believe the best, as is commanded by scripture.  On the contrary!  He clearly lets it be known that he CANNOT assume Gene is being truthful unless Gene stops being anonymous!  As far as Wade is concerned, everything Gene says must be considered a lie because Gene has violated Wade’s arbitrary moral plumb line:  Thou shalt not post comments on the internet anonymously.

Read what Wade wrote one more time:

If you identified yourself, it would help us know that your statement about “not caring about politics” is truthful and will give us confidence to trust other statements you make.”

Again, what is TRUTH, according to Wade?  Wade is TRUTH, and Wade has made it a fact that by using his real name, He meets and exceeds the standard of moral perfection in this debate.  How convenient!  You see, Gene’s anonymity is proof of Gene’s depravity…his ethical wanting in comparison to the blinding righteousness of Wade.  It doesn’t matter WHAT Gene says, Wade gets to be right because Wade is NOT anonymous. Anonymity is EVIL, and evil cannot ever be right, because what is right or wrong is a function not of facts and reason, but of who gets to be the morally good side of the dualistic, relativistic gnostic coin.  Wade, as the authority-in-the-stead, gets to decide this.

And what about: “You know my background. My life is on display. However, you are anonymous.”

Once again, what is Wade doing here?  Declaring the plumb line for moral perfection, which is commensurate with TRUTH, and then declares that His dart lands squarely (by God’s divine anointing, of course) in the middle of the moral bulls eye.

And Gene responded…kindly.

Sigh.

I was aghast.  Here was a perfect opportunity to demand Wade answer for his moral relativism, his rape of logic, his authoritarianism, and his hypocrisy, and Gene merely gave a milquetoast, tepid response, answering Wade’s egregious and logically insane accusations without batting an eye.

This is the problem, people.  You have got to stop conceding what Wade thinks:  that HE is the divine authority who gets to demand that you defend your ideas against his moving-target of capricious morality and vapid, nebulous “wisdom”.

Instead, Gene played nicey-nice, and Dee (or Deb) predictably gave Wade a big old virtual smooch on the cheek for being oh so graaaaacious to actually come on the blog and hold a discussion with the depraved idiots who are tripping over themselves not to offend the sensibilities of the supreme PASTOR or the peace and security of the Marxist blog collective.

Here is my response to Gene, which saw the light of day over on the Wartburg Watch sometime after eight o’clock this morning, hours and hours and hours after I originally posted it last night:

 “Gene,

Wade’s questions were egregious. You were under no obligation to answer them.

 Notice the implicit equation in Wade’s comment: anonymity=deception and false witness. Basically, he called you a liar just because you don’t use your real name. How convenient. His assumption is that your hiding your identity can only mean that you must be morally corrupt.

 You should have ignored his questions and demanded he defend his irrational accusations.

 I believe that his entire message to you was a not-so-subtle way of declaring that since you are anonymous and he is not then he gets to assume the moral high ground. And since moral authority equals “truth”-as opposed to actually having a rational argument-in Wade’s construct it seems, he gets to declare your ideas false without ever actually having to defend his own according to logical premises and the facts at hand.”

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64 thoughts on “Truth as Purely a Function of Morality, With Morality Being Exclusive of Reason: The “soft” Gnosticism of Wade Burelson and The Wartburg Watch’s new false moral benchmark

  1. You say here that abuse is not of God and that he has nothing to do with it, but in a video in an e-church thread you contradicted yourself when you said, “Every affliction in your life is of the Lord.” – 2.10.13

    You believe he is controlling and “orchestrating” every event in our lives, that everything that happens is part of a plan of his.

    You also said, “There’s nothing that comes into your life that is a mistake. There’s nothing that happens in the classroom of living that shouldn’t have occurred. God is instructing you for your good.” – 2.24.13

    If nothing that happens is a mistake and shouldn’t have occurred, then everything that happens was supposed to occur. You believe God would have stopped it from occurring otherwise, since he is micromanaging all people and events according to his plan.

    I have absolutely no desire to go down this road again with you. To do so would be to subject myself to another’s crazy-making. For my own sake, and for Argo’s, I am retreating.

  2. Guys like Burleson are really just atheists using Christianity as a bludgeon to destroy religion. Because religion tells them they are not good people because they do bad things. They hate this. So they invent the idea that a man is god and did everything for them. Driscol all but admits it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXKT8IPdvzA I’m sure in his New Calvinist luncheons with these guys Burleson is yucking it up with them about how many people he’s driven to atheism with his determinism, and how many people he’s made into functional atheists by the doctrine that Jesus did it all and there’s nothing left for us to do but live like atheists who just say “Jesus Jesus Jesus” to pretend to believe in something.

  3. “You Calvinists believe that God has a secret will and a revealed will. And you believe these two wills are in CONTRADICTION to each other. In other words, you assert that God’s will is CONTRADICTORY.”

    There is also the bizarre notion that God loves all people but has “special” love for those He chose for salvation. That is just another way of playing favorites without saying God is mean.

    So, what I understand all this to mean is that you cannot resist God if you are chosen so you really have no choice BUT you have free will to sin whether chosen or not and sin is the ONLY thing you can choose.

  4. “You also said, “There’s nothing that comes into your life that is a mistake. There’s nothing that happens in the classroom of living that shouldn’t have occurred. God is instructing you for your good.” – 2.24.13”

    How was it for their own good that those children were molested at SGM by professing believers and those professing believer molesters protected? How was God “instructing” the children for their own good?

  5. I’ve said this in other places but it bears repeating . . . when arguing with a Calvinist there is a crucial question that you first must get them to answer.

    Are you defending Reformation theology or your private understanding of biblical texts?

    Without this answer, they are free to tap dance back and forth across their commitment to Calvinism. If you summarize their beliefs with the broad stroke of “you Calvinists believe bla bla bla” They get to piously answer “but I don’t believe that.”

    They get to hedge around the edge of every doctrine all the while getting to claim solidarity with interpretive authority i.e., Reformation Theological interpretive Orthodoxy.

    And this is the underlying two-step the Merlin Burleson is doing when backed into the corner of the implications of his own doctrine.

    Since Calvinists are basically authoritarians . . . they can never admit to a “private” interpretation. By making them answer for the authority that they seek to leverage in a debate they must commit to the pedigree of that authority. This stops the Calvinist two-step cold. If they reject Calvin they must reject Reformation orthodoxy. IF they identify their interpretive authority as sourced from Reformation orthodoxy they cannot side step the root doctrinal construct that is John Calvin.

  6. Apparently the idea is that God only predestined you to sin and die in sin, but you get to choose which sins you want to die in. So its like God determined you would drink poison but he lets you choose which poison. How very benevolent of Calvin’s god. “Yes, I’ll take the rat poison please.”

  7. “Are you defending Reformation theology or your private understanding of biblical texts?”

    John, some answers might be, “traditional orthodox interpretation”, clear interpretation, etc.

    If they answer “private understanding” are you saying that makes it harder for them to appeal to Calvin or Reformation theology?

    Someone over at SSB linked to a woman’s testimony about how she got sucked into Calvinistic theology and what it took to get out of it. 14 years! I found it very familiar with many I have seen it happen to. She found it so hard to reverse her thinking processes about God.

    There is an attraction to it I am still working out but mostly I think it is the systematized allure. I was even attracted to it for about 3 years. It seems to answer all the questions even using mystery as an answer. It seems intellectual but then I have been around a ton of profs and they love contradictions in demanding total intellectual freedom then voting for Obama who wants to nannify them. In the end I was much too practical for it. And I found it impossible to apply to every day life. I had it ingrained in my head at a young age about gurus/authority things. To be respectful but question everything. I now see that was very wise of my parents.

    I have another theory. They are bold and confident and have no qualms about being bold about contradictions. All they have to say is you misunderstood me or you don’t understand. And they set themselves up on a plane you cannot reach. That pretty much ends any real dialogue.

  8. Can I ask you guys something? I am wondering if you all are sensing this resurgence in Calvinism waning a bit? I think it is going underground a bit. They are regrouping and now referring to it as “conservatism”. The word Calvin is not working as well anymore and people are on to Doctrines of Grace, Reformed, etc.

  9. ““You also said, “There’s nothing that comes into your life that is a mistake. There’s nothing that happens in the classroom of living that shouldn’t have occurred. God is instructing you for your good.” – 2.24.13″

    Lydia, very good call.

    Poor, poor communication on my part. I apologize and seek forgiveness. The Sydney Telegraph will be running an article I posted on Monday. I have given an apology to the family of the Australian baseball killed in Oklahoma.

    This young man should not have been killed.

    The promise “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28) does not say all things are good. I sometimes do not make myself clear. There are some things that should not happen. Abuse. Murder. Rape, Etc…. How God orchestrates all things for our good is a mystery, but abuse is definitely not good. I have never believed that to be the case.

  10. Evangelical was the label they thought would win them the victory but then the New Media began using it to just mean Protestant so that didn’t work out like they hoped.

  11. You don’t believe in what Mr. Purpose Driven says in the first page of the Purpose Driven Life, that God has the day of our death scheduled?

  12. Lydia said: “Can I ask you guys something? I am wondering if you all are sensing this resurgence in Calvinism waning a bit? I think it is going underground a bit. They are regrouping and now referring to it as “conservatism”. The word Calvin is not working as well anymore and people are on to Doctrines of Grace, Reformed, etc.

    Since I’m not a big follower of the momentary tides of Evangelical going’s on … it is hard to measure the waxing and waning of this current movement. However I will make this general observation about the trends of Calvinism historically.

    I touched on this in the TANC 2013 conference. The power of Calvin-ism is that it offers a comprehensive philosophical system upon which men can hang their intellectual beany. The greater the cultural chaos, the more man seeks a means by which he can order the chaos.

    Since man is a conceptual being in need of a means to integrate the whole of his life, Calvinism is a turnkey system that subsequent generations of third rate thinkers can use in the pulpit against unwary pew sitters. It has the added benefit of being very familiar to the average church goer. They have heard some variation of the Reformed Theology themes since they first went to church. The Neo Calvinist preacher capitalizes on the foundations that were laid generations before he started talking. He doesn’t have to spend years laying the out the metaphysics of Platonist/Augustinian doctrine, because they laid that foundation two thousand years prior.

    (And chances are very good he doesn’t even know that is where his dearly held doctrine comes from.)

    This vast intellectual tradition gives Calvinism an air of validity. The substance of the construct makes a bold attempt to answer the harder questions of life, e.g., why do bad things happen to good people.

    Philosophical systems prevail or die because of their ethics. Ethics is where all people encounter the practical outworking of the system. They may be (probably are) ignorant of the roots of their ethics, but in as much as they accept the premise they will follow the actions prescribed by the ethical mandates.

    For lots of doctrinal reasons Calvinism gets to present itself as the highest expression of moral action, and since human ethics are the energy source of man’s actions, people gravitate to the marketing and packaging. Everyone wants to be morally superior.

    . . .

    So now you can see the root appeal that Calvinism has for people. In times of chaos it satisfies, at a root level, the means to bring order by pretending to answer the harder questions of life, and it offers a “clear” code of moral values.
    If you think back over say the last 30 years of Christianity I think you will see the cultural factors that helped to usher in the rise of Neo Calvinist doctrine.

    And now let us discuss its decline.

    I should say that Calvinism beguiles men into believing that it has comprehensive answers but at the end of the day, it is an endless intellectual cul-de-sak. “Because God is sovereign,” and “It’s just a mystery,” are not really answers, but an intellectual punt into the vast abyss of intellectual vacancy. And that is just the beginning of the problem.

    The twin metaphysical destroyer’s Pervasive Depravity and Predestination (Determinism) wrecks everything at the root: Man’s epistemology, his ethics and his politics.

    It becomes very clear, very quickly that there is no such thing as man KNOWING anything. Man is reduced to being a meat sack filled with nothing but vicious, sinful, primal urges to be quelled by an elite few who—somehow—have a knowledge and an ability to master these urges that no one else does.

    The intellectual leadership likes to portray itself as … well . . . intellectual. They like to pretend that the Reformed Theological construct is rooted in the highest biblical scholarship, thus implying that their doctrinal conclusions are in fact the product of reason.

    This is, of course, all subterfuge.

    Calvin’s epistemology (the whole of the Luther/Calvin doctrinal pedigree) is really rooted in authority. The end of all their “rational” arguments is the overt appeal to biblical “authority.” The only outcome possible for this kind of epistemological standard is that select men become the rational plumb line for all other men to subordinate too.

    This eradicates individual thought by pacifying men to accede to everyone else’s assertion of authority.

    (This is of course why Pride and Rebellion are the highest criticisms a Neo Calvinist can make. Reason is an individual action where the individual’s rational faculties reign supreme. This is a direct affront to all epistemology defined by submission to Prime Consciousness)

    Therefore the logical conclusion of this progression is that man’s highest ethical action is subordination.

    That is it.

    Now, the marketing and packaging says that man is “subordinate to GOD,” but since HE isn’t holding office hours the practical outworking is that man must subordinate himself to . . . well, everyone who isn’t him SELF.

    All self-driven action is necessarily the product of Pervasive Depravity and the logical consequence of their depraved determined souls. For all of Calvinists high minded appeals to morality, at the end of the day Predestination destroys all concepts of moral action.

    Historically the cycle looks like this:

    (Preceded by a time of chaos)

    Calvinism is “Discovered” >>> the ideology gains ascendancy >>> it enters the cul-de-sac>>> it metastasizes on itself >>> fractures (church splits) >>> dies a social death.

    The metastatic stage is where the people begin to see that the ethical high-mindedness is all fraud. At the end of the day the “leadership” was no different than anyone else (And in many ways worse). The excuse that “We are all just sinners” is obviously a moral punt. “It was god’s will” is a crap answer for pretty much everything. Historically it took about three generations for the kids say “Screw it… I’m gonna do what I want. I’m going to hell anyway.” And that was when Calvinism dies a social death.

    (For those of you who know recent Sovereign Grace Ministries’ history, you will see this progression.)

    Modern communications has skewed the generational progression but we are just about to enter the place where people are going to start saying “screw it, I’m predestined to hell anyway.”

    So it might be waxing, but that is only because they have not been able to find a way to reconcile the public despicable behavior of the current intellectual leadership and people are rejecting the moral doublespeak implicit to the doctrine. But I would exhort everyone that it has not been defeated.

    Until Christianity can offer a cohesive rejection to the Platonist/Augustinian/Calvinist axis of evil, it will rear its ugly hydra head again and again leaving a path of destruction and passivity in its wake.

  13. The problem is that Platonist thinking is simply embedded into the very fabric of western thought and culture to the extent that it actually SUSTAINS it in a sense. We have relegated purely abstract concepts to a place where they are considered living and breathing, life sustaining ENTITIES. Space, time, and every “law of nature”, government, church, currency, authority, mathematics…the notion that these theoretical paradigms actually exist as causal and creative forces is accepted as axiomatic by the culture at large. Which is great for industry and technology, but wholly destructive to humanity. Humanity becomes little else than a tool to either hinder or further the end of a particular abstract ideal. Value is always found OUTSIDE man.

    Calvinism as such will always have a platform and a rational place in the world. It is just another concession in a sea of concessions that man is nothing more than an extension of some invisible TRUTH and FORCE which is the REAL cause and effect of his actions.

  14. Lydia said: “John, some answers might be, “traditional orthodox interpretation”, clear interpretation, etc.”

    Yes, they can certainly answer that way. And many do. But the moment someone says “traditional” or “orthodox” they must identify WHOSE tradition and WHOSE orthodoxy. This answer is merely a not-so-sly attempt to parse the pedigree issue using different words.

    On the other hand “Clear interpretations” is really an appeal to subjective “private interpretation.” Clear to WHOME? Clear by what logical tool set? Clear by what interpretive methods? Clear by whose rational plumb line?

    Neo Calvinists like to pretend that when they say “Clear interpretation” that they are asserting an epistemologically irrefutable conclusion . . . because the “bible” says so. But this is really a naked appeal to authority . . . the authority of THEIR understanding. Because THEY have concluded the bible says X, Y and Z, Christians must also adopt their conclusion. This means that they are offering a private interpretive conclusion.

    . . .

    Lydia said: “If they answer “private understanding” are you saying that makes it harder for them to appeal to Calvin or Reformation theology?”

    No, I’m saying that the question demands that they pick which side of the epistemological fence they are straddling. No self-respecting Neo Calvinist would dare suggest that his doctrine was based in private interpretation. The central hermeneutic of all Reformed doctrine is Authority. They NEED authority to command mental compliance. So, they will have to default to some foundation of authority to justify their doctrinal assertions. For the authority to be valid it must be tied to some doctrinal tradition and the only doctrinal tradition they can appeal to is Luther/Calvin orthodoxy. That is the root doctrine of all subsequent councils, creeds and synods.

    If they insist they are advocating Anglican orthodoxy, that is fine, but Anglican is Westminster and Westminster is a subtle variation on Dordrecht, and Dordrecht is a subtle variation of Calvin and Calvin is the fully developed metastasized version of Augustine that encompasses the whole of Luther’s theology.
    So the question is designed to prevent them from dodging the source of their doctrine. Notice how casually Merlin Burleson side steps any doctrinal challenge that he doesn’t specifically embrace. HE doesn’t believe THAT???!!! So it must not be true. And then he proceeds to counter argue by challenging an interpretive conclusion. This kind of argumentative two-step gives him enormous power because he can move the plumb line wherever he chooses.

    Notice how Merlin Burleson answered my comment above. Instead of recognizing the failure of his assertion (that bad ideas destroy men’s SOUL) he casually SUBJECTIVELY redefines soul to mean a general destruction of man. And promptly ignores point one, three and four.

    When I had my kerfuffle with Jim Pappadius (sp) it was the exact same issue. Challenge the Calvinist roots of his assertions he insists he is not a Calvinist. Challenge his subjective understanding of bible passages he insists that he is arguing authoritative doctrinal conclusions. Confronted with the inconsistency of his position he punted into the vast abyss of a drug handicapped mind. But he never changed his position about his right to define and defend all “Biblical’ doctrine.

    It is the exact same method. By starting the conversation with this question, it cycles the argument down to root issues at the gate.

    . . .

    Lydia said: “I have another theory. They are bold and confident and have no qualms about being bold about contradictions. All they have to say is you misunderstood me or you don’t understand. And they set themselves up on a plane you cannot reach. That pretty much ends any real dialogue.”

    This is actually a key thing to identify. When men have a deliberate metaphysical paradox . . . (pause for effect) . . . It. Is. Intentional!

    The reason for paradox is to let them off the hook for the failures of their doctrines.

    For example Marxism is predicated on a concept called Dialectical Materialism. Dialectic is really another word for Paradox. It means that there can be two contradictory concepts that are both valid. This is of course a logical error of the first order, but it serves a powerful purpose. It eradicates all accountability for ideological failure.

    Ever notice that in Marxist/Socialist governments it is NEVER the ideology that is at fault? No matter how often economists illustrate the numbers behind supply and demand, no matter how many nations economically crumble, no matter how often states devolve into tyranny in service to taking from the haves to give to the have not’s, Marxist doctrine undergirding the action is NEVER to blame. This is the real function of Paradox. It is an endless get out of Jail free card for philosophical destroyers.

    And this is EXACTLY why Merlin Burleson is fully committed to mystery as a metaphysical essential. Mystery is the easiest way in the world to never ever be accountable for any outcome.

    (Things that make you go humm . . . Yet one more similarity between Calvinism and Marxism.)

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