Tired “Total Depravity”; Boring “Biblical Inerrancy”: Ramen noodle doctrinal “explanations” and Wartburg Watch’s ongoing proof of their ignorance of basic Calvinist presumptions

For those of you who have taken a distinct disliking to the Wartburg Watch since the advent of the season of “Wade Watch” (thanks to Paul Dohse for yet another excellent play on words; his other great one being “Googleburg Press” LOL).  This playful label of Wartburg Watch as “Wade Watch” refers to the fact that for the past year or so Wartburg’s e-church has been represented by Calvinist/Reformation-ist preacher, Wade Burleson.  I have below a few of my comments which Dee and Deb have deigned to allow to see the light of day over there (but they still won’t speak to me or respond to my comments…awww, they no likey Argo, he make bloggers mad, he make Calvinist readers saaaad) after the requisite amount of exactly one million hours in the moderation time-out corner wearing the meanie-labeled dunce cap…still.  The thread is dealing with Calvinism, related to a couple of Calvin posts, and I think the intention of the posts was to try to convince those who hold Calvinism as THE benchmark of theological “truth” must begin to put love ahead of doctrine.

Okay…you can stop laughing now.

Seriously, you are going to give yourself a heart attack.

Oh…you know what, you’re right.

Yes.  You read me right.  For all of Dee’s waxing eloquent about her heavy forays and and Ph.D. level self-educational excursions into the annals of the school of Calvinist Death-Worship, Debauchery and Doctrine, she…uh, excuse me, I have to go laugh my ever-loving ASS off here…

(LOLOLOLOLOLOROTFLMAO!!!!!!)

Yes, she has the nerve to post an article entitled

To Calvinists: Stress God’s Love Before You Get Into Doctrine

Insert ear-ringing forehead slap here.

I mean…honestly, in all Dee’s time in listening to and reading and posting and commenting on the stories of sordid abuse; of railing against the injustice and sick-minds of the SGM leadership in the child sex abuse scandals…after hundreds of posts detailing the ongoing violence perpetrated upon unwitting parishioners and the public in general from Calvinist monolithic monstrosities who pass for the “moral majority”; from declaration after declaration that she has studied and sat under the teaching of Calvinist doctrine…still, it is painfully obvious that no amount of reason, from me, from any other commenter, from herself, from anyone else at all, not even from the abused and tormented, have made a single dent in her understanding of what really is going on in the minds of her Calvinist friends whom she “admires”.

And this is where this blogging thing…which is done at the expense of my own time, my own energy, my own family, and my own pocketbook, with absolutely zero compensation of any sort save for the blessed satisfaction which comes from seeing even just one human being experience the dawn of the morning of TRUTH; and from that truth a resolute determination to declare the rank hypocrisy and base evil of reformation and Calvinist doctrine…yes, this is where it becomes a CHORE.  It stops being fun.  It stops being anything except a digging of a hole only to see it filled in again by the very people who claim they want to uncover truth.  (Actually…no they don’t.  They fully concede, it seems, that ultimate truth is a “mystery”…but because it’s God’s mystery, it’s okay.)

I mean, seriously, if you cannot understand by now that love for humanity is completely mutually exclusive to Calvinist theology…well, I mean, what to do?  Do we throw up our hands?  Is it time?  I hope not, but still.  To think that Calvinists can categorize “love” and “doctrine” as somehow two ideas which can co-exist in harmony is just plain silly at this point in the discussion.

Human beings are by no means entitled to LOVE!  That’s the whole fucking point!!!  Haven’t we been listening to at least WADE?!!  Human beings are NEVER entitled to demand LOVE…they are never entitled to cry FOUL, or INJUSTICE!  For their very existence is WHY they are so horrible.  Humanity is to blame for EXISTING.  Human existence is EVIL, and what partnership can light have with darkness?!  The ONLY love is that which God, without ANY appeal for justice from man, arbitrarily decides to “give” to an “elect” person…and this only in spite of that person, and never because of them.

Really…looking at Dee’s post, I just want to cry now.  Their understanding has been exorcised.  By Wade?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that you cannot declare Wade Burleson the spiritual authority and mentor of your blog and your blog’s church and ever truly confront Calvinism for the atrocious evil that it is.  Because to do this you must confront and destroy the very root doctrinal assumptions Wade holds.  And they cannot do that; they will not do that.  For, in their mind, the panacea for all Christian ills is tolerance.  And that means that letting Wade, in all his neo-reformed glory and unfettered “authority” as God in the stead, teach his destructive Calvinist ideas is the very pinnacle of GOOD, no matter how many human lives these ideas have wrecked in the past and will wreck in the future and continue to wreck, of which Wartburg Watch is stark evidence.  Exhibit A.  A once-great site in the throws of utter capitulation to the very ideas it was founded to confront.

So far I have not been able to understand exactly what the attraction is to Wade over there.  He is, with the exception of overt fire and brimstone teaching and a threatening jangling of the “keys to the kingdom” in front of the faces of his parishioners like a carrot in front of a tired and dead-eyed horse, every bit as rank a Calvinist in his doctrine and his assumptions about the “authority” of the reformed “orthodoxy” as CJ Mahaney or Al Mohler or John Piper as far as I can tell.  And make no mistake, the authority of orthodoxy IS the authority of the PASTOR who teaches that orthodoxy.  For orthodoxy is nothing…but he who has been “called” to preach it has been given the authority inherent as the divinely bestowed priest in the stead, because orthodoxy can compel no man.  But a human being with the divine mandate of FORCE certainly can, if given enough power.  And make no mistake about this either:  power is what the neo-Calvinist movement seeks (I am going to do a post on Cal Thomas’s terrifying sermon at Wade’s church last week).  A theocracy of their own making, wherein the state is truly merged with “the Christian religion”, making TRUTH not a function of individual human beings or the purview of human contextual REASON, but of the government guillotine.

So, regardless of what Wade says or even believes (because believing one thing about your philosophy and having it actually mean something entirely different is not a farfetched idea, regardless of how commenters like Jeff S over at Wartburg whine that I am “misunderstanding him”…no he is misunderstanding his own presumptions)…so, regardless of what Wade thinks, the very idea that TRUTH is utterly beyond human agency means that the only people who get to have truth are those whom God has somehow, someway, in spite of their own innate evil and blindness in the spirit of total depravity managed to–in utter contradiction of Himself; which implicates God in their hypocrisy–bestowed this utterly mutually exclusive TRUTH.

And so what are they to do with this TRUTH then?  For, surely God has given it to them for a purpose, and that purpose–what these pastors in their million-plus dollar churches with their expensive clothes and fine, large houses get PAID for–is to disseminate that TRUTH.

Well, I ask you, how is this possible?  By their own doctrinal definition man does not possess the capacity to understand truth, for he is so lost in a sea of his depraved self…for in Calvinism man IS evil, and does not merely DO evil, and so man then is never in a position actually “get it” without some kind of…er, external help.

And what kind of help is that, exactly?  Well…there a few ways these pastors, Wade included, disseminate truth as the “specially dispensed” ones, divinely placed in positions of “authority” (FORCE).

….and let’s take a break for a side note:  from now on, anytime you read or hear the word “authority”, no matter who from, think VIOLENCE.  Think FORCE.  For this is the practical meaning of authority.  Nothing more.  Authority never implies that the recipient of this power gets to decide when to bow to that authority…authority is absolute at the end of the day.  Authority breeds violence ultimately.  This is sobering.  And it helps to think of it this way…for it ceases to allow those who carelessly throw this word around (and even some folks I respect, like Paul Dohse, speak way too much of “biblical authority” for my comfort) to get it past your brain’s “warning/danger” trip circuit.  Respecting the pastor’s or the bible’s authority is nothing more than acknowledging that they both have an inherent right to do violence against you–to HURT you–in the event you refuse to concede their perspective; and it NEVER implies that he or it which has authority must convince you of their point of view using a rationale that you can understand and that speaks to your own individual self context.

Oh, sure, by the goodness of their heart, and according to whatever plumb-line of “charity” they have arbitrarily decided to allow themselves (because, of course, as those given authority from God, they get to decide what is “truth” in ALL things, even the limit of their patience with the slobbering barbarians they “teach”), they may not exercise force until their own good pleasure runs out, but understand that they are not obligated to “convince” you of anything.  But if needs be, they acknowledge violence as an appropriate tool, and that in their capacity as God’s holy priests, they will be held completely innocent before God, because ultimately it is God’s “truth” that matters, not human lives.  And of course the two are indeed, by their own doctrine, mutually exclusive.    Human existence is the root of all evil.  For without humanity, there would never have been a “fall”.  And thus, God’s greatest mistake is in creating you and me, then.  So, all of Calvinist thought is wholly devoted to the idea that somehow those standing in the stead must cull the elect from the damned.  And, really, they reserve the right to declare who is who…which is another contradiction in terms, for how do they get the “keys to the kingdom” if God has already elected whom he has elected before they even existed?

Enter the single greatest truth in all of reformed theology:  the great cosmic SHRUG in the sky.

So, how does Wade or any other neo-Cal pastor get to “teach” this truth?  Well…it’s pretty simple.  First, those who wholly agree with every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of Go….er, Wade (or whoever) are of course among those God has elect–provided they continue in their “agreement” with God’s authority.  As such, they need no convincing.  For they have abdicated the throne of their own minds (and thus, their property, which is of course of the most practical benefit to “God’s” kingdom…ehem).

Next, to those who disagree.  Well…elect?  Hmmm.  Who can say? For by definition, since election in reformation theology is totally arbitrary (and it must be, for it has nothing to do with man or anything outside God…which means election is based on God’s whim) then these people may be elect.  And of course, as this possibility is evident, the hypocritical and logically contradictory assumption is that they will eventually “see the light” and agree with Calvinist orthodoxy and thus the “proof” of their calling will be sure.  So, Calvinist pastors aren’t so heavy-handed with the keys right away.

Perhaps they will try to convince them of the “truth”.  This certainly is charitable, but seeings as how by their own doctrinal assumptions man is wholly incapable of grasping truth, because he is an evil slob jerk-off at his core, this tactic seems a futile endeavor…which is why Wade frankly states that he is under no obligation to “impress” my readers (by “impress”, I submit he means, “convince”…which makes sense; he cannot convince those God has not given the “grace to perceive”…a grace which I would say that Wade, himself, fully assumes he has been given).  But since “teaching” is what they get handsomely paid for (seriously, has “treading out the grain” ever seemed so cushy and so profitable as in the American Reformed church?  Ew.) they must at least make an attempt to teach what by definition cannot be learned.  And maybe God’s election of this dude or that gal will be revealed this way.

Those who refuse to accept…well, this is where the man-God behind the plexiglass must actually, for the first time in his life, take into account the context of REALITY.  He must look and see just what practical and actual power he has in light of the social and civil constructs of his surroundings.  That they can do this so well, as is evidenced by all their lawyers (see SGM lawsuit) and their carefully worded “membership-agreements”–or as I like to call them “less impressive and less intellectual versions of the Communist Manifesto”–is proof that they are not insane and thus are completely culpable and at fault for their evil abuse and abusive teaching.

And their level of civil authority will be the yardstick for their abuse.  In places where the state is wholly merged with reformation theology, the unsurprising and unrestrained violence perpetrated upon the citizenship is patently seen with all the clarity of a bright spring afternoon.  Just take a quick gander at the Wikipedia article on John Calvin, the part where this despot is in Geneva, and…well, here we see the fullness of all of the presumptions of Calvinist pastoral “authority” in the likeness of a serial flasher.

But the lower the level of their civil authority, the more they temper their violence…but not always, as a cursory reading of any one of the discernment blogs, like SGM Survivors or Spiritual Sounding Board, will show (make sure you don’t eat for at least four hours before reading the stories of how “sound doctrine” is applied in many churches…or just stick your finger down your throat in service to medically necessary preemptive vomit).  So, they may not be burning you at the stake, but excommunication?  Oh sure.  Stalking?  Following you to your new church with the intention of purposefully maligning your reputation in front of another entire body of believers?  Of course.  Threatening you with violence?  Yeah…they got that.  Putting you under “redemptive church discipline”?  Oh that you should be so lucky.  For that one presumes that you can be “reconciled”, and thus, there may not be any immediate violence done to you…well, at least not outside the church.

Or, there is the Wade way.  The “loving” way.  They will dismiss you with a wave of their charitable hand.  “It may not make sense to you” he says.  Which is just another way of saying that they will see your dumb ass in hell.  Sorry to be so blunt, but really…what else could that mean?

You are beyond help.  You are lost in your ignorance.  Shrug…it’s up to God.  You ain’t my problem.  Wade, I submit, has merely selected the the lazy way of applying “authority”:  Shelve it.  Your problem, not mine.  Go to hell then, and let God deal with you.

(Not that he actually says it or thinks in in such base terms; but the meaning, I submit, is the same.)

Again, the presumption is that they have NOTHING to learn from you, because what they know, they have gotten directly from God.  And this is merely a passive aggressive form of authority; merely a non-physical form of violence.  But it is a psychological punch in the groin.  It is a shrug of which the veiled meaning is that you are not his problem.  You are to be handed over to Satan.  In Wade’s church, I would be surprised if you are permitted to proclaim oppositional views in his building.  You may be tolerated, but I feel like eventually you (as I was at SGM) be “invited” to attend at church you are more comfortable with.  Which is fine…I’m a big believer in libertarian capitalism.  You want to have a place where only your brand of “truth” is tolerated, that is fine with me.  But let’s not mince words.  Let’s stop the presumption.  Just admit that YOU have truth because God has given it to you, and as such, you don’t have to explain a damn thing to anyone else.  They either get it or they don’t.  Admit that you will NEVER concede that you could actually be teaching ideas that are false, because since they are GOD’S ideas, and God is merely using you as a vehicle for Himself, you cannot by definition ever be wrong.

Why?

Because HE is God’s AUTHORITY.  Period.  He is the priest who has special knowledge, and you are not.  And thus, as I have said before and will say again, proof of TRUTH is nothing more or less than agreeing–not with the Bible; not with God–but with HIM.

So, after all that, here are my comments on Wartburg for your reading pleasure, in case you have either a.) eschewed that site, on account of you witnessing its decline in effectiveness in actually defending the abused or b.) don’t see my comments because they appear seventeen days later and you don’t have enough computer memory and/or time in your schedule to scroll up to find them.

These comments deal with the same old and tired and trotted out defenses for the indefensible doctrines of “total depravity”, and a little bit of Biblical Inerrancy, just so we an rest assure that these “absolutes” are still, in as jaded and rote way as possible, bandied about by stunted thinkers as proof of their divine enlightenment.  Enjoy.

Nancy,

You said: “…not the bible says, but “the bible says and this is what it means””.

Wow. Exactly right. For all the claims of biblical inerrancy, we seem to forget, inerrant or not someONE…some HUMAN, has to interpret it. So the question is not “is the bible inerrant?”, but “whose interpretation is inerrant?”.

An this is the problem. If we concede that truth is not ultimately rooted in individual human context based on a moral value of the human SELF as the objective plumb line for truth and love, then we are forced to trust that God has somehow given some person a “divine” insight you can’t have. And this is why so many Calvinists are comfortable with contradictions in their assumptions. The realize that the only proof of truth they have is merely to agree with whomever they have decided speaks “for God”.

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I would disagree that anyone on TWW–and I have been reading here a long time–has misrepresented Calvinism. In fact, with respect and not intending to hurt feelings, it is the Calvinists who are misrepresenting their own doctrine by refusing to acknowledge the contradictions (which…they do this by arguing that truth really can’t be known). Many of us come from heavy Calvinist backgrounds, have studied the confessions and the institutes, and can find no basis for a distinction between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism. For example, the word “total” in Total Depravity is an absolute…there is no such rational idea as “partly total”, which is what some Calvinists want to say when they declare that humans are “not as bad as they could be”…as if this matters in the dualistic Calvinist paradigm: God is Good, and you…are not. This, of course, is totally irrelevant. The ideas of “bad” and “good” are meaningless in Calvinist doctrine. The simple interpretation of total depravity is this: because you are human (totally), you are perpetually and inexorably morally corrupt, and the only way you can understand any truth is if God functionally does it for you via the doctrine of arbitrary “election”. People like RC Sproul understand that he can woo you all day long with heady notions of “secondary causes” because he understands that it will appeal to your false, but emotionally necessary urge for “feeling loved” and your “sense of justice”, without actually conceding his utterly deterministic assumptions. A secondary cause is always subservient to the primary cause, which is God. Hence, your “free will” is categorically subject to God’s absolute control (meaning, God “allowing” is functionally the exact same thing as Him “not allowing”; anything that happens happens as a direct function of his will, either via that positive (allowing) or the negative (not allowing)…in either case, your “free will” is utterly under God’s sovereign control. In light of this, RC understands that “free will” cannot possibly be free, by definition. But RC, as a neo-Cal intellectual, is, I think, trying to avoid what so many Calvinists do with regularity, and have no problem with it: concede that at the root of what they believe are ideas that simply cannot be reconciled.

Some Calvinists who want to make a distinction between “hyper calvinism” and “proper Calvinism” will gravitate to these equivocations in an effort to convince you–and I suspect themselves–that God in their construct is not some despotic puppet master who controls all things including abuse, rape, etc (e.g. by “allowing” them). But those of us who are labeled as “misconstrue-ers” of Calvinism are simply pointing out the logical flaws in their arguments. I am not trying to hurt or be cruel…I am trying to say that ideas must have basis, and one does not get to declare an idea and then refuse to defend it rationally by appealing to humanity’s inherent inability to understand it, and THEN proceed to give examples of why what is a contradiction in the doctrine really isn’t a contradiction.

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I would be happy, however, to never use the label “Calvinist” again, out of respect for Jeff and Jeff. I have no problem with that…no one likes to be labeled. I get called an Arminian routinely…LOL, I don’t even know anything about Arminianism. How one can be labeled an Arminian after a decade and a half as an SGM bobblehead is beyond me. But I do…and I understand where Jeff S is coming from here.

Anyway…that’s fine. We can just debate doctrine. Or the ideological roots of abuse.

Buuuuuut the problem with this is that trying to pin a Calvinist down on what doctrines they actually believe is like trying to hold a wriggling cat using hands stuck in oven mitts (not that we’d be putting the cat in the over…gross, and, uh, cruel). Because their first and most precious assumption is that truth is forever beyond any human agency. Thus, just when you think you’ve got them pinned with the logical plumb line, they slip deftly away with a declaration of “no…you don’t understand; I don’t BELIEVE that”. By which they really mean: God hasn’t given you the “grace to perceive”; or, as my mother in law likes to say to end all discussion “I just know that I know that I know”.

Uh huh.

This is merely a nice way of saying that God hasn’t enlightened you to the “truth”. You are still lost in your finite mind. And thus, we are left with the only real “proof” that anyone has been given the truth: by agreeing with THEM.

But, no…they will say, you don’t have to agree with me! That’s misrepresenting my heart, Argo! Yet again!

I disagree. They MUST insist you agree with them…it is implied in the very protest to my assertion: You don’t understand me; you can’t understand me; thus, your only response is to AGREE that you could be wrong. In other words, the Calvinists want you to agree that YOU have a FINITE mind and “could be wrong”. Agree that you can’t really know, truth, and as such you can have NO basis for denying their doctrine. After all, you could be wrong.

No. I am not wrong. And I will not say I could be…because many of us understand that once we concede that men and women cannot know truth, then there is only one thing left to decide who gets to wield God’s “authority” on earth, because reason and logically reconcilable ideas have no place in “truth”: violence. He or she who has the bigger gun or knife or bomb–he or she who has the juggernaut of “platform” or Church Leadership “seniority”–is the one who gets to compel others to their point of view. Once we agree that all ideas have the exact same chance of being wrong…we have merely held the door open for ANOTHER, and even more sinister and vicious, arbiter of truth to be released: the power of the “keys”, which is nothing more than the power of DESTRUCTION…and with this, the powers that be continue to be the powers that be. And those of us who see the logical cause and effect of Calvinism-to-abuse are against Calvinism because we don’t WANT the powers that be to be the power any more.

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40 thoughts on “Tired “Total Depravity”; Boring “Biblical Inerrancy”: Ramen noodle doctrinal “explanations” and Wartburg Watch’s ongoing proof of their ignorance of basic Calvinist presumptions

  1. “To Calvinists: Stress God’s Love Before You Get Into Doctrine”

    They do stress their god’s love before getting into doctrine. They stress how their god loves everyone with a meaningless non-saving love. He gives the non-elect great jobs and lots of hot chicks to fornicate with. In fact, his love actually damns them rather than saves them. He loves them so much he lavishes them with all their sinful desires for the express purpose of damning them. Calvin says exactly that.

  2. This is why the whole NT has got to go.

    1. As long you you keep the moronic Judas story, you’ve got Judas predestined to betray Jesus and therefore cannot get rid of predestination.

    2. As long as you keep Jesus’ crucifixion as a sacrifice for your sins, you need the moronic Judas story to explain how Jesus got nailed up on that cross. And Judas was predestined to do it according to the story, so you can’t get rid of predestination.

    3. As long as you keep Jesus’ crucifixion as a sacrifice for your sins, you need an explanation for why a godman sacrifice was necessary, why repentance and straightening up your life is not enough: thus enters “original sin.”

    Its a package. Remove predestination, the story of Judas falls, the crucifixion falls apart, original sin goes bye bye. Remove original sin, the need for the sacrifice falls apart, no more crucifixion as a sacrifice, no more need for a predestined Judas. Remove the fiction of Judas betraying Jesus, predestination falls apart, original sin goes with it (since predestination was created to support original sin), and as original sin goes out the window so does the need for a godman sacrifice, hence the sacrifice goes to. You can’t remove Calvinist from Christianity without it falling apart. That’s why Christianity in its death-throes turns to Calvinism in a desperate attempt to revive itself as its being systematically put to death by modern rational thought. Basically all Christians will be Calvinists from here on out until Christianity finally dies out.

  3. James,

    I may not agree with all you say, but I will admit your comments make me think. And that is what I love about you. I love to think. And you are great for that.

  4. James,

    Quick question… when you say the Judas story is a fiction … do you mean it didn’t happen? A later addition to the text? Or do you mean it doesn’t have value in creating the trial and execution of Jesus?

    Or maybe another alternative i’m not seeing?

  5. James,
    I will respond to your comments in more detail later. I am getting some opinions on what you said, and I need to think about it a bit. Thanks again.

  6. Stressing “God’s love” before getting into Calvinist doctrine? In other words, smile before pulling the trigger? I don’t read at TWW anymore – I can’t.

    “No. I am not wrong. And I will not say I could be…”

    Bravo! If there’s one thing driving me up the wall lately, it’s the admission of defeat from those who have given up, or in my opinion, are either dishonest with themselves and others or aren’t truly interested in discovering truth. All I hear anymore is, “Mystery, mystery, we don’t/can’t know. Your conclusions are meaningless. The answers are beyond all of us.” This might be going a bit off topic…but I think that kind of attitude is not only condescending but dangerous.

  7. If the text said that Jesus was betrayed by a guy named Steve, then despite all the contradictions (kiss, no kiss, real betrayal versus being given permission, doing itby freewill versus the devil entering into him versus it being prophecies per Acts, killing himself versus not killing himself, buying the field with the30 pieces and killing himself in it versus returning the 30 pieces to the priests who buy a random field unrelated to where he killed himself) — despite all that, I guess if the name was Steve we might could salvage the historicity that somebody named Steve did something betrayish. But the name is Judas, i.e. Judah, so its clear the whole thing was made up for antisemitic effect. Its more likely that Jesus was instantly arrested by the Romans for the attack on the temple (i.e. cleansing of the temple) than that he was arrested by a ragtag group of Jews led by Judas Iscariot a few days later. We know from Acts (even if we’ve never read Josephus) that the Roman soldiers have a castle right next to the temple and can see inside; that’s how they saved Paul. So surely they saw Jesus going berserk in the temple, meaning its not very likely he got out. Its likely he was picked up on the way out, quickly tried by the Romans for temple desecration, found guilty (justly because he really did go berserk in the temple), and crucified. That’s if any of the story of the crucifixion actually happened. This notion that he miraculously evades capture and just walks away after the “cleansing of the temple” and not to go hide out, but to come back to the temple and teach for several days! That’s absurd. In the arrest scene, they have him say “I was daily in the temple; why didn’t you arrest me then?” Is that a clue that they did arrest him then? And finally Pilate finds no “cause for death in him” — really? Pilate has forgotten how badly Rome looks down on someone who goes into a temple and acts like he owns the place (if he’s not a Roman soldier). Its kind of like how Agrippa finds Paul innocent, he’s done nothing worthy of death, despite how he just told Agrippa the story of how he used to persecute Christians and even went to Damascus and violated their laws to do so. Yeah, seriously, Agrippa comes to the conclusion that Paul has always been an upstanding guy. There’s some weird stuff going on here.

  8. I’m also beginning to wonder about the “cleansing” of the temple and how it relates to Barabbas and the crucifixion as I ponder in my most recent blog post. There’s something fishy about the short blurb treatment we get of this stuff in the NT.

  9. Argo, The cognitive dissonance is mind numbing. For the person who buys into the determinist god paradigm they could only stress God’s love for “some” if they are honest about it.

    And I have a problem with Olson’s “believe the best” mantra. I heard that every day in the seeker mega world from the leaders (even used it myself) to hide all sorts of deception.

    Olson, while I like him, I understand he is part of the Religious Academy and therefore has every reason to say the mantra. But he is also Arminian and I have to wonder how many people who allow themselves to be called such, really are? Why is Calvin/Arminian the dichotomy? Why do people readily accept it? I can assure Calvinists who know what they are doing are thrilled it is accepted to describe everyone who is not a Calvinist.

    Maybe I am weird but I do not take it personal when people disagree with my doctrinal stances. And believe me, I have heard the insults as I live at ground zero. I don’t believe the true gospel, how do I explain evil, I am making myself equal to God, blah blah blah.

    I could have dinner and attend a party with many of them and do quite often. Why do people feel like having agreement on issues is a personal relationship deal breaker? Is this collectivist thinking? Is individualism totally dead?

    Personally I prefer the arrogant mean Calvinist types. At least you know where you stand with them. And you can start with that paradigm. The nice ones scare me even more because they make you “mean” to point out the logical conclusions of their doctrine.

  10. I have also noticed in my many years of back and forth on with this issue is that those who embrace the determinist god paradigm NEVER start with personal responsibility. It never shows up UNLESS you push it. And I always do now.

    They really trip up on this one. It brings in all sorts of problems with their paradigm. Can you really appeal to mystery on that one? Say that God is determining your actions. Oh, I see, there is some free will in there but just barely. So why discipline your? kids? Why would they need it in your construct?

    They have this problem with just how far they are willing to take imputed righteousness. They are left with, “I sin but it does not matter because Jesus covers it by obeying for me. (they don’t say it that way but that is what it means)” Then they accuse you of thinking you are sinless perfection.

    It all boils down to they have made existing “sin”. The fact you exist is a sin. Your body is sin in motion. so every single thing is defined from there. That is why the child molester and victim are in the same sin category. It is heinous moral chaos. And there is NO WAY out if you continue in this unless you appeal to mystery, use lots of flowery words, etc. The result remains the same. God loves SOME but not all and that evil done to you? Yes, God was in control but will use it for His Glory and your good…well maybe perhaps someday. (We can easily show how much evil has not given God any glory at all or good for the victims but they will just appeal to mystery as it being God’s plan —er…His “secret” will)

    And those who buy into this who are Reformed but “help” victims just spread the cognitive dissonance even more. How they can minister to victims while at the same time affirming a determinist god is more than I can fathom.

    In my neck of the woods, we are already seeing much fall out with this when it comes to teens who embraced it. There is going to be a lot of work to do folks as this determinist god resurgence is really about 30 years (becoming ingrained in what were once Non-Cal organizations) and gained maximum momentum around early to mid 2000 because of the internet exposure. That same internet has the plebes analyzing it inside out.

    Let us hope more and more will see the obvious parallels with the determinist god and allah. And they will come to see THEY are responsible for what they believe and how they live. God help us!!!

  11. “Bravo! If there’s one thing driving me up the wall lately, it’s the admission of defeat from those who have given up, or in my opinion, are either dishonest with themselves and others or aren’t truly interested in discovering truth”

    Oasis,

    One thing I learned in my many years of corporate training is that the majority want to go along to get along. (Why it is so hard for many entrenched cultures to change)

    The minority go for power and with the right message tend to attract the go along folks. And an even smaller percentage care about fairness and justice for all involved. And of course, they always tread carefully because without documented proof injustice their message is lost. And inherent systematized unfairness/injustice is usually only recognized by a few until it becomes a major issue with proof.

    It is disheartening. But it really is the way it is. It usually takes a crisis of epic proportions to mobilize those who are the go along get along types. Until then, they just these things as minor disagreements and cling to a sort of totalitarian tolerance which is not tolerance at all.

    I often pray that God will put me in the path of those seeking righteousness. And He has done so here and there.. And He does not have much to work with, either.

  12. “Let us hope more and more will see the obvious parallels with the determinist god and allah.”

    I just saw something I don’t suppose I ever noticed before.

    Over on SBCIssues a Calvinist bully said “I suppose I should also ask, do you or do you not believe that fallen man is enslaved to sin? And if so, what do you think that entails?”

    I think this may be their Achilles heel. They think this is their strength. And its worked out that way for them so far, since they only preach to whitey.

    Does slavery mean you can’t do anything to get free?

    Does slavery mean you can’t contribute at all to the process of being freed?

    We ask these questions emotionlessly and in a vaccum. But black people…oh hooey haha yeah…there we go. There’s the solution to the Calvinists…CALL THEM RACISTS.

    If slavery means you can’t do nothing, well, Mr. RACIST Calvinist, tell that to all those black people who run North to escape slavery. Yes isr, tell the black people that its all MONERGISM. You’ve got to wait for WHITEY to monergistically free you and give you your freedom on a silver platter as only whitey can do. Tell them that they contributed nothing to their freedom at all. Tell them that all the spirituals they sung longing for freedom did nothing, running up North did nothing. Frederick Douglas did nothing. Tell them that it was all whitey that monergistically freed them — because per Calvinist slaves can’t do nothing at all.

    Yeah, lets see how far you get Calvinist RACIST telling black people all that.

    Their message of slavery = complete worthlessness and inability won’t work so well then. Everyone with half a brain will see their doctrine is idiocy. And there’s no sin worse than racism, so you call them a racist, and you’ve got them.

  13. When they appeal to mystery, demand that they tell you what they think Deuteronomy 29:29 means.

    And from now on, every time a Calvinist talks about slavery to sin as meaning you can’t do anything to get free, call them a racist. Go to the library and look up names of black slaves who ran north and got their freedom — not monergistically from whitey — but who DID something themselves to get it. And list off those names and a bunch of facts about them and make the Calvinists look like fools for saying that slavery means you can do nothing. And then, most importantly, make a big production out of the fact that they are filthy RACISTS.

  14. Its funny the Calvinists in the SBC dare complain about how they are treated, comparing it to racism: Calvinism: The New Racism in the SBC?. There’re already trying to pull the race card on you, and it doesn’t even make sense: ideology is not equal to race. Well, I guess if the gays can get away with making sexual acts equal to race, Calvinists can get away with making their beliefs equal to race.

    Its so absurd because the abolitionists were mostly Methodist, you know, Arminian. It was the Calvinists who were ever in favor of slavery. It makes sense, right? If God chooses who is going to heaven and who is going to hell, well, then, considering the paucity of churches in Africa, it must be that he hasn’t chosen the black people — they must be non-elect — they must be predestined to damnation — and if that’s the case, God won’t mind if we abuse them a bit before he sends them to eternal hell to burn forever — that was the Calvinist thinking. Under the surface, I think it still is.

    Calvinists are the only people left who still think in terms of slavery in their theology. Does anyone take the nonsense of “enslaved to sin” seriously but them? No. Because its a racist image. It makes God a racist. Their god enslaves everyone who is of a particular race (the human race) to sin. Oh, thanks, Calvinist god, how very nice of you, you stinking racist! The whole image of “enslaved to sin” has been tossed by everyone but Calvinists and Calvinist-lite (i.e. Arminians, who have always been nothing but Calvinists with better PR).

  15. And all the abolitionists who weren’t Methodists were PELAGIANS and Deists. Freedom is the legacy of Pelagianism, which is why Calvinists hate Pelagians so much.

  16. For a good laugh, read this: If Calvinism is true is God a racist? This poor guy asks the most obvious question in the world, and the Calvinists want to act like he’s the one with the problem! They are so resistant to reality, that at some point its obvious, that if homosexuality doesn’t kill Calvinism off, there will be a literal civil war in the US between Calvinists and everyone else.

  17. One guy over there compares God choosing who to save to God choosing Abraham. They just don’t get it. Original sin hogwash blinds people from seeing the difference between choosing someone FOR A MISSION and choosing someone FOR SALVATION. “But choosing Abraham for the mission would also make him saved” — no, because there is no original sin and thus no need to “get saved” to begin with. Abraham being chosen as the forefather of the Israelite nation who would “command his children after him” (Gen 18:19) does NOT imply that everyone else in Abraham’s time was “lost” or “damned.” But the Calvinist election DOES imply such a thing — so they are not comparable. Israel was chosen to be a light to the nations, not for salvation from some non-existence original sin.

    I know Christians hate it when its mentioned that Israel was chosen as a light to the nations. “How can those backwards ritual-ridden freaks give me any light?” Well, they don’t have the problem of Calvinism and you do!!!!! So, I’d say they’re pretty enlightened. Its Christianity that’s been taken over by FATALISTS, not Judaism. There’s your light to the nations right there. Judaism is the only religion that RABIDLY resists ALL attempts at Fatalism, the ONLY religion that holds solidly to freewill — there’s your light to the Gentiles right there.

  18. The Great Awakening: Calvinism, Race, Slavery, and Jonathan Edwards

    Thoughts on Bloodlines by John Piper

    The guy at the second link heaps lavish praise on John Piper, then says that black people should reject Calvinism because its “a theology rooted in Eurocentric ethnocentrism”. — But isn’t this an acknowledgement that Christian theology is all just made up anyway, so everyone might as well just make up their own theology? I think we are headed into an increased realization of this going forward. At some point communities will have to stop caring what the New Testament in general and the Pauline Epistles in particular say and just make up a theology that works for them. Because its clear that Jesus crucified so you can boink your neighbor’s wife is a failed theology, and there is NO WAY to formulate Christian theology and avoid this notion that Jesus died to give you the right to be immoral: it always ends there. So long as you preach a godman sacrifice you are preaching “boink your neighbor’s wife with impunity, and then maybe your neighbor too.” There is no escaping this, other than tossing the concept of godman sacrifice. Guys who will admit that something is wrong with Calvinism and that they need a new theology, nonetheless CANNOT admit that — they are stuck on stupid in believing in godman sacrifice — why? I guess because they want to boink their neighbor’s wife, or may (and I hope not) the neighbor himself.

    Its time to grow up and put the fairy tales of dying and rising godman saviors behind us. If we don’t then Barak Obama will simply replace Jesus Christ as the next dying and rising godman savior in a few decades, the way Jesus Christ replaced Mithras, and the way Mithras replaced Tammuz. We’ve got to get out of this pagan godman crap and just worship God, and worship him without the nonsense of original sin you are born damned idiocy.

  19. James said: “Because its clear that Jesus crucified so you can boink your neighbor’s wife is a failed theology, and there is NO WAY to formulate Christian theology and avoid this notion that Jesus died to give you the right to be immoral: it always ends there.”

    Actually this is one of the key problems of Pauline doctrine. And his audience heard what he taught and took it to its logical conclusion i.e. there was no requirement for moral action because the “penalty” for immoral action had satisfied the gods. Of course Paul was horrified by this conclusion and sought to invent the concept of divine ownership as the impetus for moral action. And then this concept became a key presumption that the collective owns the individual . . . which is of course why the Reformed church presumes ownership of the body of Christ.

  20. “Of course Paul was horrified by this conclusion and sought to invent the concept of divine ownership as the impetus for moral action.”

    Hmmm..I’ve never noticed that. What I thought was that Paul was always just flying by the seat of his pants. Whatever he needed to make people feel guilty for the moment. When the people were doing works, he’s all like “Hey, stop doing works; justification is by faith alone! If you keep doing works, you’ll be damned.” Then when the people stop doing works, he’s all like “Why aren’t you doing works? Work out your own salvation with feat and trembling.” He keeps the people in slavery to himself by constantly changing the rules. They can never know what is required on their own, but will always have to come crawling to him to ask, because he changes the rules everyday. They call him on the phone not knowing which version of him will pickup, and they live in his chess game….wait, oh, that’s a Taylor Swift song. My bad.

  21. “And all the abolitionists who weren’t Methodists were PELAGIANS and Deists. Freedom is the legacy of Pelagianism, which is why Calvinists hate Pelagians so much”

    And that is pretty much what I am seeing in my quest to learn more about Pelgaius. I have not read much but I became interested when I learned a few years back that being called a Pelagian or semi Pelagian from the Calvinist leaders like Mohler, etc, means heretic.

    And yes, many abolitionists in the South, too, were Methodist from not only my own ancestry research but other research I have done on the subject.

    Speaking in generalities, the Civil War is one reason Calvinism waned after that….and why even the SBC moved away from it. The determinist God was not on their side after all.

    Now, it is all the rage. Al Mohler is bring back the “true Gospel” . As he and some of his coharts used to say, going back to our roots. They don’t say that anymore as it became embarrassing when people started pointing out what it really meant: Slavery.

  22. Oh my word! This sounds like so many convos I have had with YRR over the last 10 years. They are basically handling like they always do: You are sinning by asking the question.

    I think it is a great question. Esp if you read Piper. Piper is big on “tribes” and God predestining/ electing from each tribe. So why is the American tribe so big? But the Chinese/Arab/Japanese tribe almost nil?

  23. James, I can remember hearing Piper preach on Primogeniture as the means for male hierarchy. The guy is a nutcase. Primogeniture is not even affirmed by God who chose not the eldest son in most cases….Jacob, David, etc, etc.

    Piper is a wacked out false teacher. I am constantly astounded at how many people believe he has any credibility at all.

    The second link is not working but seeing “Piper on bloodlines” made me think of his wacky primogeniture thesis.

  24. James, It is like I discovered….they CANNOT apply their doctrine to every day life. Period.

  25. James,

    You do make some good points. And I do agree that Christianity has not fully answered the hard questions of “election”, and “predestination”, and this is due (in part), I think, to either a misunderstanding of Pauline doctrine, or a right understanding of Paul’s incorrect doctrinal teachings. I myself after carefully reading through Romans feel that Paul is misunderstood…and this likely his own fault. Reading Paul’s difficult ramblings proves to me that when we say scripture is “inspired”, it means that the message they have is inspired by their PERSONAL experiences, and not that the writing is anything other than a product of the MAN, not God verbatim. Paul was smart, but he was not particularly good at explaining difficult paradoxical concepts (the eternal covenant vs. a doing away with that very same covenant by Christ’s sacrifice).

    A huge problem I see has to do with the doctrine of justification. Notice how “it is wholly OUTSIDE of you” leads exactly where you say it does: your saved, so, no need to worry about hell anymore. Go and do what you want, because you can be Pol Pot, but if your salvation actually has nothing to do with you, then there is no more grounds for ANY moral rebuke. I don’t care what they say about sanctification. How do you reconcile any sort of “judgement” with the carte blanche excuse of justification? There is no way to reconcile that.

    They will say your “rewards” are truncated…but how do you explain the logic of YOU getting to commit adultery or rob your company yet still get heaven, with an “unsaved” person going to hell who never did anything other than take care of his family with the woman he stayed married and faithful to for 45 years? This is nothing more than an admission that Christianity is more akin to gnosticism and/or fatalistic determinism than anything else. Truth is unknowable, and therefore, moral value cannot be established, because man is incapable of correctly apprehending reality. Period.

    To me, Christ means the restoration of the objective value of SELF back to humanity, as opposed to any external standard (like the Law…which is, in itself, THE fulfillment of the law). This means that there is a true definition of MORAL GOOD (the SELF) which can be violated, and as such, JUST judgment earned. It also opens the door to put away moral relativism and allow the affirmation of humanity to guide ALL our decisions in life. And this allows for the unfettered pursuit of life, liberty, and property, without running into the confusion of the abstracts determining just what this pursuit is going towards. It goes towards SELF. It allows for both freedom AND truth, so that there can actually be true justice, and true condemnation for those who violate what can LITERALLY be seen and known: humanity.

  26. To me, there is no way to accept chattel slavery unless you assume the premises of Calvinism. Man MUST be a sacrifice to an arbitrary abstract “consciousness prime”. Only then can you doom men to a life of servitude without the slightest moral blush.

  27. HA!! Have you been reading the Calvinism threads over at Wartburg Watch lately?

    This is exactly the point the make regarding my comments. I’m a big bully because I dare to tell someone that where they think their ideas lead isn’t actually where they lead. They say I don’t get to tell them what they think. I’m like…I hate to make you even more pissed, but yeah I do. You don’t have to believe me, but if I can show you that your ideas do not flow consistently from one to the next, you don’t get to tell me they do. That is nothing more than the cry of the new Marxist literati: The only right statement a man can make is that he can never be sure he is right.

    “Tolerance” is going be on the headstone of every anti-Calvinist who ushers in their own demise in the interest of “getting along”.

    If ideas don’t make sense, there is no inherent right of people to say that they do which I must accept.

  28. This is how I see it: If Paul was viewed as just one theologian among many, in competition with everyone else, rather than THE prescriptive theologian with which all others must agree no matter what kind of contortions they have to go through to agree, that would go a long way to fixing the problem. But it wouldn’t last — that’s the real problem. We’d be right back at Paul is the very word of God plenarily inspired in just 20 years. Look at Mormonism. Mormonism is now in the process of accepting the Pauline faith alonist scheme. As long as you keep Paul as scripture, it doesn’t matter if you found your church on a different idea, eventually Pauline faith alonism will take over. For whatever reason, the most dull and shallow people (who are the majority, of course) always take contradictions as being deep and philosophical and smart. Paul knew exactly what he was doing. By becoming all things to all men — that is, by constantly contradicting himself — he was establishing himself forevermore as THE only voice to be listened to by the ignorant masses for all time. He is not misunderstood, except in the sense that people think he cared about the truth, which is a misunderstanding, since he only cared about being the boss.

    The church father I discovered yesterday, Macarius Magnes, preserved an argument by a Greek philosopher, in which the philosopher says this against Paul:

    If you are really filled with boldness about the questions, and the points of difficulty have become clear to you, tell us how it was that Paul said, “Being free, I made myself the slave of all, in order that I might gain all” (1 Cor. ix. 19), and how, although he called circumcision “concision,” he himself circumcised a certain Timothy, as we are taught in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts xvi. 3). Oh, the downright stupidity of it all! It is such a stage as this that the scenes in the theatre portray, as a means of raising laughter. Such indeed is the exhibition which jugglers give. For how could the man be free who is a slave of all ? And how can the man gain all who apes all ? For if he is without law to those who are without law, as he himself says, and he went with the Jews as a Jew and with others in like manner, truly he was the slave of manifold baseness, and a stranger to freedom and an alien from it; truly he is a servant and minister of other people’s wrong doings, and a notable zealot for unseemly things, if he spends his time on each occasion in the baseness of those without law, and appropriates their doings to himself.

    These things cannot be the teachings of a sound mind, nor the setting forth of reasoning that is free. But the words imply some one who is somewhat crippled in mind, and weak in his reasoning. For if he lives with those who are without law, and also in his writings accepts the Jews’ religion gladly, having a share in each, he is confused with each, mingling with the falls of those who are base, and subscribing himself as their companion. For he who draws such a line through circumcision as to remove those who wish to fulfil it, and then performs circumcision himself, stands as the weightiest of all accusers of himself when he says: “If I build again those things which I loosed, I establish myself as a transgressor.”

    This same Paul, who often when he speaks seems to forget his own words, tells the chief captain that he is not a Jew but a Roman, although he had previously said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, and brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, instructed according to the exact teaching of the law of my fathers.” But he who said, “I am a Jew,” and “I am a Roman,” is neither thing, although he attaches himself to both. For he who plays the hypocrite and speaks of what he is not, lays the foundation of his deeds in guile, and by putting round him a mask of deceit, he cheats the clear issue and steals the truth, laying siege in different ways to the soul’s understanding, and enslaving by the juggler’s art those who are easily influenced. The man who welcomes in his life such a principle as this, differs not at all from an implacable and bitter foe, who enslaving by his hypocrisy the minds of those beyond his own borders, takes them all captive in inhuman fashion. So if Paul is in pretence at one time a Jew, at another a Roman, at one time without law, and at another a Greek, and whenever he wishes is a stranger and an enemy to each thing, by stealing into each, he has made each useless, robbing each of its scope by his flattery.

    We conclude then that he is a liar and manifestly brought up in an atmosphere of lying. And it is beside the point for him to say : “I speak the truth in Christ, I lie not” (Rom. ix. 1). For the man who has just now conformed to the law, and to-day to the Gospel, is rightly regarded as knavish and hollow both in private and in public life.

    Little does the philosopher know, it is precisely this inconsistency of Paul that endears him to the ignorant masses. It is his shear stupidity (or his affectation of sheer stupidity) that makes them cry out:

    “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of [Paul]! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)

    Paul says “God”, of course, buy he means himself.

  29. Has anyone ever noticed that in John 17:3-4 Jesus says he finished his work before the crucifixion? A Muslim I upset on youtube sent that to me in a private message. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” He’s not saying this from the cross. He’s saying it before he’s even arrested.

  30. Remember when you asked if Calvinism was losing steam? If it is, N.T. Wright gets most of the credit. The view that justification is about getting in to the church rather than salvation, if widely accepted, will kill them off.

    But this is the dirty little secret, and the Calvinists know it, that N. T. Wright is just rehashing Pelagius. At the beginning of Pelagius’ commentary on Romans before he gets into the text he summarizes Romans as the Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians each being at each other’s throats as having a better claim on God. Pelagius says the Jews said “We were God’s people first, so we’re better” and the Greek “yeah, but you wee idolators for all your history, and we as soon as we learned of God left idolatry, so we’re better” and the whole point of Romans is to show them that they are on equal footing. This is essentially N.T. Wright’s reading as well, and pointing this out is the Calvinist’s secret weapon against N.T. Wright because it makes him a “heretic.”

    But for me, rather, it just shows that N. T. Wright’s “New Persepective” is firmly grounded in traditional pre-Augustinian Christianity. Its the Original Perspective. This is how Paul was understood up until Augsutine. But I don’t think its possible to go back to that, because honestly its not an honest reading of Paul on his own terms. Pre-Augustine Christianity was merely subjugating Paul to Petrine tradition. Augustinian Christianity is an embracing of Paul and a rejecting of the rest of Christians tradition, other books of the NT included. Subjugating Paul to other texts of the NT or to tradition can’t be done anymore. The Reformation has rendered it impossible. Now we are at the point where you either accept Paul and his obvious Calvinist (aka Gnostic) meaning or you reject him altogether. If you do successfully subjugate him for a bit, it will be short-lived before the Gnostic doctrine takes over your church again. That’s the problem I’m most concerned with. I can’t rejoice at a shallow victory that will last for 2 or 3 days and then the church reverts. It must be a final victory. Cut the monster off at the head. Don’t just chain it to the wall and give it a change to eventually wear the chains down and break free.

  31. “But for me, rather, it just shows that N. T. Wright’s “New Persepective” is firmly grounded in traditional pre-Augustinian Christianity. Its the Original Perspective”

    I was wondering about that. Funny how that word “Pelagius” has become so ingrained as heresy no one will dare admit it.

    So you think the NPP will gain no traction? I find that hard to believe. I see (not the same terminology) view coming from the rising Ana Baptist movement, Greg Boyd, even some in the SBC are more vocal now, etc, etc. It seems to be gaining traction but not with that terminology.

  32. “Over on SBCIssues a Calvinist bully said “I suppose I should also ask, do you or do you not believe that fallen man is enslaved to sin? And if so, what do you think that entails?”

    Well they think me a heretic because I say no. Then they barrage me with insults that I don’t think I sin. I ask them to define sin. Well, it turns out my very existence is sin so how can I help but sin 24/7. With that sort of foundational premise, a convo is useless.

    It has become the big competition to brag about what a huge sinner you are in Calvin circles. Makes me want to hide the children and lock up the silver because the Calvinists are coming over.

    But your point about slavery is interesting. In fact, it gets even MORE interesting when talking to a Calvinist in the SBC. I once read Boyce’s bio by Broaddus and was astounded at how arrogant they were about slavery— thinking it pious. And wrote it down as if they were these great saviors! Slavery was good because God provided them with a captive audience for Christian discipling,, blah, blah

    So what are they to do with slavery and becoming free? According to their ancestors in the SBC, that would be sin. Some men did not deserve freedom because the Calvinists knew best for them in the name of God, of course.

  33. I think ihe NPP actually came out in the 80s, didn’t it? Hit its zenith around 2002-2003. Its had its 20 years of fame already. I figure its on the downward swing.

  34. I say the 80s because the beginning was “Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion” by E. P. Sanders, published June 1, 1977. The premise of the book is that 1st century Judaism was NOT the legalism that Paul portrays it as being. Since that time, many people even in the NPP movement have fortified themselves against Sanders’ original arguments. They’ve returned to the position that Judaism WAS the legalism that Paul portrays it as having been, which ultimately means those in the movement are themselves working to bring the movement down and return to a Lutherly view of Paul and the Law.

  35. Well I hate to talk in terms of celebrity but NT Wright has really taken it on the road and not just as NPP but also big on sanctification as in LIVING moral lives NOW which leads us back to Pelagius, right?. The reason I think it has traction in various forms is because guess what movement is rising as an anecdote to the Calvin resurgence? Ana Baptist. (which I fear they will simply become the religious left)

    I guess I see it as a bit significant that Wright’s writings, who is both pastor and scholar, have become so popular. And he is not the celebrity type at all. Greg boyd, who IS more of a celebrity but also a pastor and scholar is becoming popular in places I never thought I would see.

    I really believe there is a growing backlash to Calvinism or better yet, the determinist god paradigm. People cannot apply it to real everyday life.

  36. You could be right because I’m basing my evaluation on the academic world. But the pews can lag behind the academic world for decades if not centuries.

    But I think what’s really going on is people gravitate towards N. T. Wright’s theology, so they buy his books. But what do they do? They whisper to their friend, or their pastor, “What do you think of N. T. Wright?” and then not being able to get anyone to say anything good about him, they kind of closet him. What good does it really do if people agree with him, but hide it because they have no spines?

  37. Lydia, check out this video. N. T. Wright trying to explain this aspect of Pauline theology shows the ultimate poverty of Pauline theology. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi_ixf7YxCo The cross supposedly sapped violence of all its power. Tell that to Obama and Syria. The more people try to make Paul work, the less he works.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii5YHwrkEpQ Shows Paul is just too overcomplicated to be of any value. Its total nonsense. Justification is not salvation, but what the hell is it then? It determines who gets to eat together. Really? But Galatians 2 is not about “who gets to eat together” — these scholars always want to shove their eucharist conflicts into it, as if its about rival denominations that don’t want to eat the eucharist together because one believes in transubstantiation and the other in spiritual presence. No. Its about whether Peter has a right to do what Paul will later teach in Romans 14 and avoid non-kosher food while people are around who scruple at it — and of course because Paul is jealous of Peter he declares that Peter has no right to do so. Nothing to do whatsoever with “who gets to eat together.”

    Sorry, but N. T. Wright cannot save Paul. If N. T. Wright prevails for the next 100 years, the inconsistencies and nonsense craziness of Paul will still cause problems all through those 100 years and infinitely more beyond them. Paul is just not worthy of the place he’s been put in. Paul is intellectually bankrupt.

  38. Sheesh! That atonement vid was all over the place. I suspect he is appealing to his detractors. I hate it when they do that.

    I lean toward Christus Victor, myself.

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