This was originally a comment in response to James on the comment thread under the last article…which, as is often the case, became so long that I realized I had my next article about halfway into it.
The first part concerns James’ point that many neo-reformed agnostics (I can no longer in my rational consciousness declare them Christians…this is not me being passive aggressive; it is me taking a simple and cursory glance at the way Jesus Christ interacted with human beings as if THEY ACTUALLY EXISTED; something those who hold to Calvinism/neo-reformation theology simply cannot do, as human beings have NO living quarters in the mega-church sized mansions of their “sound doctrine”)…yes, James’ point that many neo-reformed agnostics “bludgeon” the laity with notions of “mystery”, even though, as James rightly points out, any true “mystery” to man is also utterly irrelevant to his existence, and thus should form no part of any comprehensive doctrine or theology. Mystery is nothing more than existential pointlessness, and is best forgotten…which James points out is precisely Moses’s point.
Here is my response. Oh…I have been giving a lot of thought to the presence of Wade Burelson on this blog, and our short conversations. This post looks, in part, at my conclusions regarding Wade’s contributions here last week.
I agree that anything which is truly a “mystery” is wholly irrelevant to man. Man functions according to reason and truth, not mystery. This is precisely why I refuse to concede that there is any such thing as soteriological paradox; why I do not concede foreknowledge nor predestination nor election as historical orthodoxy has taught it (and even perhaps as the Apostle Paul taught it…[and all cry HERETIC!]). It really only ends in contradiction…which they sweep under the metaphysical rug by using a big and heady word like “paradox”.
But paradox in this case is totally unacceptable, as the idea of “action before existence” is purely contradictory, not paradoxical according to a legitimate use of the term. In short, they bastardize the idea of paradox in order to reconcile their doctrine. Paradox is just one of a long line of illegitimate theological children belonging to the redemptive historical hermeneutic crowd.
Incidentally, the wave/particle duality of light is an example a true paradox, explained by a deep and careful examination of the existential nature of a dimensionless particle (mass-less or near mass-less) like the photon and electron which though unobservable (meaning, one cannot view the particle as BOTH functioning like a wave AND a particle at the same moment, even though they very well may BE) is still rationally and logically explainable. This is the true definition of paradox: that which on a certain level seems contradictory, but after further study reveals itself to be reasonable and logically consistent. This is NEVER where “election” in the hands of the neo-reformed agnostics/dualists winds up. It lives in the cul de sac of impossible ideas.
But this is where they have their REAL problem with those of us who categorically reject “mystery” as a foundational tenet of Christian metaphysics. According to their doctrine, man cannot possibly function according to anything BUT mystery, because all of reality is utterly UNKNOWABLE to man. There aren’t SOME things which are mysteries…but EVERYTHING is a mystery. The problem they have then is man claiming that he can know anything at all outside of any special divine revelation, given by God to the gnostic philosopher kings, and, to a lesser extent, the followers of Calvinist gnosticism in general. It is precisely their belief in the idea that THEY as mere men and women have NO agency nor faculty which can grasp truth and therefor morality (good and evil) which ironically makes them the chosen few “good”. See, by definition, if morality is outside of us, then value is outside of us, and if value is outside of us, then knowledge MUST be outside of us. It is impossible to separate knowledge from VALUE, and VALUE from MORALITY. All three are inexorably bound into one epistemological cord of three unbreakable strands.
And this was, incidentally, where my entire argument with Randy was rooted (see the post where “Randy loses an argument”). Randy hypocritically declares that reason is inferior to revelation in spite of the fact that it is patently AXIOMATIC that ALL men use REASON in order to decided which ideas they will choose to believe or not believe. God can provide revelation until the cows come home, but unless man can reason man can never DECIDE to agree that it is rational in any way to accord himself with the revelation.
But still they insist that this must be the case because man–in order that their utter and categorical lie of total depravity might continue to gang-press unsuspecting victims into service to their own will to power–can NEVER be said to NEED to accord God’s revelation with his own existence. Because man’s existence is utterly besides the point…and how DARE man expect God’s revelation to validate man’s SELF, as if man has any right to expect that His Creator actually affirm and promote his life. How DARE man demand that anything which passes as “revelation” or “truth” from God first be vetted and confirmed by reason, the very faculty man MUST employ in order to perpetuate and preserve his life.
Remember my equation: authority = GOOD= TRUTH; and remember, as John Immel so perfectly and succinctly states, authority is FORCE, period! Authority is nothing more than the man with the bigger GUN, figuratively or literally speaking. And since God is the ultimate authority, then to HIM alone is all good and truth according to the standard operating orthodoxy…it is forever OUTSIDE of man, so man can NEVER be in a position or possess ANY faculty or agency capable of grasping truth; so man cannot, by Randy’s and every other Calvinist despot’s definition, ever REALLY receive God’s revelation.
So, that being the case, whoever receives God’s revelation and declares it is, in fact, God’s proxy here on Earth, bringing TRUTH…or rather, FORCING truth, on all of us blind, drooling slobs, scarcely better than filthy animals. Which is why Wade and Randy and any other neo-reformed proselyte NEVER have to concede any argument, and certainly not arguments based on REASON, because in their philosophical/theological/epistemological construct, reason simply CANNOT exist. Wade Burleson can talk in metaphysical orbits all day long, up one side of the rational fence and down the other and under the belly of madness and through the stem of irrelevancy and into the sea of lunacy and up to the stratosphere of magic and mayhem and mysticism and he can never actually be wrong, because the ONLY truth is GOD, and HE, as one of the enlightened “chosen” has TRUTH by proxy, full stop. Which means anyone NOT chosen as he, regardless of how much reason they have, or how they run circles around Wade and the insanity of reformed theology, still can never possibly be right. Period. The plumb line for TRUTH is simple: agreement with Wade. Or agreement with Randy; or agreeing with CJ Mahaney; or agreeing with Brent Detwiler, or any other neo-reformed bobblehead with the eyes popped out.
The formula NEVER fails to explain where they come from: authority = good = truth. It is a formula that has terrorized and devoured human kind for centuries, and it will continue to do so.
The PROOF you are wrong is merely that you disagree with THEM. That is all the proof they need. They are never in the position of having to defend their arguments because they have the heavenly mandate to FORCE those whom God has not chosen to reveal the “truth to”; to force them either INTO the thinking of God, or out of the way entirely (by torture or excommunication or death, as the history of the protestant church bears out in all its infamous glory for those with access to Google to see) By definition, God does not and cannot possibly CARE about the ones He has not chosen. And if God doesn’t care about them, there is little point in trying to “tell” them about a truth they cannot receive anyway. That’s why authority, why FORCE, is so fucking important to the power and leadership structures of Calvinist churches in America.
Now this next part will sound horrible and mean, and I apologize, but in light of what I know about what Wade believes, I must submit my opinion to this article.
I believe that Wade’s choice of force is his congenial personality, his boldness in coming onto discernment blogs and engaging them in a friendly way…but notice how he NEVER concedes ANY argument EVER. He always has an answer, even though he fully concedes “it may not make sense to you” (it doesn’t HAVE to make sense; it CAN’T make sense, apart from God knowing it for you). It is because he understands that his job is NOT to learn or to have his mind changed, but to bring TRUTH to the unenlightened barbarian masses like you and me…it’s not stressful for him to defend his ideas because by definition, he CANNOT defend them because only GOD can make someone understand TRUTH. For no agency of man can get it. If God doesn’t will it, Argo will never understand Wade’s truth; if God wills it, Argo cannot HELP but understand Wade’s truth. Wade knows that he really has nothing to do with it, which is why he has no problem coming onto the turf of those who deny his doctrine and approaching them with all the genuine kindness and warmth of his personality. His tool, or his “gift” as I’m sure he sees it, is his inherent kindness. And no, I do NOT think he is faking it…I DO think Wade is genuinely a very, very kind person…but that doesn’t make what he is DOING any less despotic than any other reformed “authority” because it is HOW he is using it…it is what he uses it in SERVICE to. It is what DRIVES his actions: his assumption that he CANNOT be wrong because HE has a monopoly on “truth”, and that at the end of the day he is never on the hook to defend his ideas, because God’s revelation and calling to him is proof of his authority, and as you well know by now: AUTHORITY = GOOD = TRUTH.
One has to wonder if Wade sees the explicit futility and irrelevance of engaging anyone at all with ideas that by definition he doesn’t have to defend because any defense of his can avail nothing (doctrinally speaking, even he cannot really understand the “revelation” God has given him, though he says it “makes sense”; but that is a mere twisting of semantics)…for MAN, again, has NOTHING to do with his own existential reality. This is the assumption behind “sovereign grace”. It’s AAAAALLLLL God.
Notice what Wade said to me in one of his comments: “It may not make sense to you, but it makes sense to me.” This is PRECISELY the cornerstone of his doctrinal stance, and why he likely feels NO pressure to convince anyone here on this blog of the truth of his ideas (he is not here to “impress” my readers, remember…another translation of this is “convince you of the rationality and logical consistency of his “sound doctrine”). You see, ANYTHING I don’t agree with has nothing to do with it being inherently unreasonable, but EVERYTHING to do with the fact that God has not given me “grace to perceive” (thanks, Ceeej!).
Wade can change words, meanings, ideas, rationale, say one thing and then say another, say one thing and do another, and vice versa, LITERALLY moment by moment and still, he gets to win every debate; he gets to decide every disagreement; he gets to skip and hop from one existential, theoretical, doctrinal, and metaphysical bench mark to another on a whim, and he is never culpable for failures of reason because reason is a function of man’s “un-chosen” and un-enlightened mind, and what seems reasonable to man MUST be false because again man, by reformed definition, possesses no ability or faculty in himself to apprehend truth, full stop. And this is really nothing more than declaring that man doesn’t actually exist. Which is the whole flaccid contradiction the entire theology is built on.
So whether “kindness” or “cruelty” or “violence” or “death” or “culling” or “dazzling” or “brainwashing”, it doesn’t matter. It is all part of a mandate to use authority to FORCE others into right thinking, as the “man of God in the stead of God” (the MOG-SOG)…as an extension of God himself. It is all in service to the idea that FORCE is Authority, and authority is GOOD and GOOD is TRUTH. There is no room for man’s volition, or reason, or SELF at all. Man is nothing more than the collective the gnostic “authority” has been given to possess “for God’s use”. Which, as they are the ONLY real and actual manifestation of God here on earth or anywhere according to their philosophy, they OWN YOUR ASS.