“…what the greatest threat of all is—even a bigger threat than the Nazis; even a bigger threat than the communists—is radical, fundamental Islam.”
By the way, John Immel has touched upon this subject in an article he wrote at spiritualtyranny.com, as well. I highly recommend you read it. And of course, I highly recommend you read all of John’s articles.
Last week The Wartburg Watch posted a sermon by Cal Thomas, famous Journalist and past member of the Moral Majority. This was in place of the usual preaching by Wade Burleson…who, as any regular reader here knows is a favorite subject and target of this blog as of late.
Now, let me emphasize again this: I continue to respect Wade for interacting here on unreformingtheology.com; and I mean this in no way facetiously when I say that Wade is still a class act in my mind by putting his arguments, ideas, and positions out in the open, playing the “away” team, knowing full well that they will be eviscerated by a nobody like me–someone who unabashedly declares that his Pure Reason will subordinate their mystic “wisdom” any day or time. But I understand that I criticize Wade’s doctrine and beliefs (or what I believe them to be) in the strictest and frankest of terms, and will continue to do so; and this is why I prefer to continue to repeat myself in stating how much I admire him on other—meaning, not doctrinal—levels.
Anyway, this article is the first in a series on Cal Thomas’s sermon, which, frankly, I found egregious and terrifying. It confirmed many of my suspicions regarding just what horror show we can expect to be in for should the Calvinist autocracy ever get its iron (maiden) fists on the reigns of civil government. We need to be very afraid of this kind of thinking; for the assumptions in Cal’s sermon—the ideas he flings about, with his nonchalant air of divine “wisdom” and monopolized “truth”, as if these ideas were just as obvious and natural and efficacious to beauty and wholesomeness as a blue jay in the sky or an apple pie on porch—concerning the nature of humanity; particularly the non-Christian, should cause any man or woman who believes this country does and should stand for the freedom of the individual…well, it should at least cause them a heart palpitation or two.
Folks, let me be blunt: we need to reject reformed Protestantism and all its creeds and confessions and start brand, fresh anew (something Paul Dohse is trying tirelessly to accomplish…I don’t envy him his task). All of it needs to be thrown into the fire; the drawing board erased; the blueprints wrapped around rocks and tossed indifferently into the ocean. It is an evil doctrine. It will kill people as freely as any ideology has killed before if its “authority” moves from the pulpit to the infantry. The baptized will become the bombed if the Priest becomes the Provost Marshal.
I don’t know how many articles I will do on the sermon. It will depend on how I feel…my posts, as you might have noticed, tend to run the gambit of ideas. I envision at least one more, but I’m mulling over determinism again, thanks to a couple of commenters over at Wartburg continuing to argue, as proof of their divine and absolute “truth”, that what has not happened can still somehow exist to be “known”.
Yeah. They still push that one. Er…how can “nothing” be known?
The answer…oh, yes the wonderfully Platonist scientific notion of “natural law”. That’s how. More bullshit from the nerds who were good at math in high school. Whose inability to dress in a manner that didn’t bring a beating like a worm brought a fish…whose poor luck with girls, even the homely ones, was only emotionally buffered by their superior ability with the theoretically abstract…whose disregard for religion and philosophy as sources of truth in favor of a more “empirical” method, but which is derived from the exact same philosophical assumptions as most of the metaphysics they claim to be defunct, is never considered hypocritical in their eyes. Whose school of thought brought perhaps THE greatest METAphysical equation of all time: E=MCsquared.
That got you, didn’t it?
Have your attention?
Oh yes…enter the metaphysics of Einstein. Well, when you finally realize that energy is nothing more than a theoretical place-holder, you get…ta da! A very, very fine metaphysical TRUTH! More later.
Back to our article.
Within the first minute or two of Cal’s sermon, he offers this little bit of subjective insight:
“…what the greatest threat of all is—even a bigger threat than the Nazis; even a bigger threat than the communists—is radical, fundamental Islam.”
Ho hum. Fairly innocuous start to a sermon…kind of obvious on some, superficial level. But it isn’t what they say, it is the context from which it proceedeth. And the context is: Emmanuel Baptist Church. Protestant. Reformed. And I would submit, unashamedly Calvinist in its doctrinal roots. (Cal Thomas’s full name is John Calvin Thomas…I’m just saying.) Believers of the theological and intellectual embarrassment of Total Depravity.
Enter my cry of “hypocrite“!
I submit that the radical Islamist and the committed Calvinist hold to the exact same metaphysical assumptions. This is what this short article will deal with. Now, I am NOT saying they behave the same way…yet. What I am saying is that all behavior which man engages in as a function of his religion begins with basic assumptions man makes about who HE is versus who GOD is. And IF the root assumption is that God is more valuable than man as a function of his LIFE…meaning, that God’s life is worth more than man purely because man is man and God is God, then this puts man on a metaphysical plane that can only…and I mean only, at the end of the day, when the sword is pulled from the fire and cooled to steely hardness by the simmering and hissing water, lead to this truth: the only way man can be at peace with his Maker is to die. And I mean literally. Dead in the individual self of the mind, or dead in individual self of the body. Because for this assumption to be truth—that man’s life is less valuable than God’s, then in order for God to truly be good, he must purge all that is not Himself from utter existence. (For what fellowship hath light with darkness?) This results eventually and inexorably in two kinds of death: the spiritual/emotional/psychological death of a human being who has utterly given himself (herself), his mind and his property over to the abstract neo-Marxist collective known as the “church”, or the “body of believers”; and the physical death of those who refuse to comply.
Both radical Islam and Calvinism are fatalistic/deterministic, and both believe that the only way to deal with the un-elect or those who dare to define truth for themselves, beyond the purview and beyond the scornful and watchful eye of the religion’s priests, is to compel them by FORCE. Both make FIRST appeals to the authority of God and never human reason nor individual human context, and by extension His “church”; and since a church is merely a collectivist abstraction, and since, as John Immel rightly points out (an obvious point which somehow people miss constantly), God is not here giving orders in person, it must fall to someone, some PERSON to enforce TRUTH on all of those recidivists and recalcitrant stick-necked barbarians whose sole purpose in life, according to doctrine (sin nature; total depravity; limited atonement) is to get in God’s way, lead the “elect” to hell (which is of course impossible by the very nature of the doctrine, but…hey, the priests need to pretend like what they do actually effects something, otherwise, why pay them). And so, in a religion which, as the cornerstone of its metaphysical truth is the idea that man IS the problem of evil, and can do no good thing unless God (i.e. the ecclesiastical “authority”) does it FOR him, what is the natural outcome of a natural born killer like reformation theology? Right. It is killing. It is death.
So, in light of this fact…the fact that any destruction of humanity is by doctrinal definition in keeping with God’s sovereign will and perfect moral GOOD (not one molecule is out of God’s “control”), added to the fact that God’s existence is infinitely more moral and important than man’s, added to the fact that God has given only a select group of mystics the “grace to perceive”, and the “power of the Keys”—which is merely the power of destruction per capricious volition; added to the fact that truth is utterly beyond the senses of mankind to grasp any true knowledge unless God has specifically imparted it, and even so, it is NOT then the mystic “person” which knows truth, but God through him, and so when the mystic enforces truth by any means he wants in service, of course, to “shepherding” the herd and “preaching the word” he is acting as God, and thus can never be held accountable for death or destruction because…well, He is in the “place of God”. And God is accountable to no man; to no idea; to no justice or morality or mercy save Himself.
And added to this the very idea of divine “calling” of leadership within the epistemological construct of truth-beyond-humankind must mean that the leadership has carte blanche to act in whatever way they see fit in service to God’s “will” and can by no means be held to a standard of morality beyond themselves. Added to this that human kind is never then in a position to claim injustice because by definition, they cannot possibly know good from evil in any real way, because they have not been given the level of insight the Priests have been given.
How can anyone who holds to the fundamentals of reformed Protestantism ever be in a position to declare Islam EVIL? How can they ever be in a position to condemn a mother for having an abortion or a terrorists for blowing up a bus full of Jews (for Luther likely wouldn’t have minded “On the Jews and Their Lies”, by Martin Luther)?
This is rank hypocrisy at its very glittering finest. Since there is absolutely NO reformation/Calvinist protestant who will declare that the greatest and only objective moral standard is the LIFE of the individual, which makes man of equal value and worth as God, then man is always, always, always in position of moral corruption…for he can never attain divine worth, by definition. You can say “well, Jesus is in our place” until the hordes of your Calvinist ideology return with swords now dulled, but it doesn’t change the eschatological fact that MAN must, in keeping with the absolute nature of total depravity, always be EXTERNAL to his relationship with Christ. In other words, since God is the on one who has the perfect worth, then the only real way Christ can relate to anyone is if He has a relationship with Himself, not with man. Which leaves us again, as humans, in the same bloody predicament I have been talking about: the only way man can be saved is if man is destroyed. Either he is destroyed in favor of being GOD in essence, so that he can be worthy of love and affection by God, which he could never be on his own, because he is forever of LESS worth than God; or he is literally destroyed in service to disseminating the truth, under the auspices of which the church of Calvin has the heavenly mandate to disregard all human ideas, reason, property, and life to usher in the New Heaven…in service to the only life that really matters: God’s.
I say, what in the hell is the difference? On man’s terrorist is another man’s pastor in the stead. All of the death starts with an ideology. It all starts with doctrine. And believe me, if the “sound doctrine” can only be revealed in spite of man, and not in service to his life, then it is an extremely short walk from doctrine to flying planes into buildings.
A short walk indeed.
Don’t bother packing a lunch. If you are truly “on fire for God”, and your vest is properly tightened, you won’t be making a return trip anyway.
4 thoughts on “Critique of Cal Thomas’s (Terrifying) Sermon at Wade Burleson’s Emmanuel Baptist Church”
The solution to all the problems is to see scripture as a big collection of writings, a library that forms the basis of Western society, rather than a God-breathed document that is prescriptive for all our beliefs. It can be the source text from which we each create our own personal religion rather than a prescription of dogmas that make up some “one true religion.” And we should be Karaites in the sense of the literal translation of the word which is “Readers.” If we spent more time reading the text rather than pontificating on it and trying to force everyone to agree with some nonsense doctrine we’ve come up with from the text, that would be the solution. Canon instead of creed. Instead of “do you believe the Trinity? Do you believe Jesus is God? Do you believe in this, do you believe in that?” simply “Do you read this canon?” And along wit this, we should expand the canon to include the Apocrypha, maybe even some of the other apocryphal works that didn’t make it into the Apocrypha. If we looked at it this way, more people would read it because they wouldn’t be afraid that reading it would land them in “heresy.” More people would read it because reading it would be the focus of the religion rather than believing creeds that were derived from misinterpretations of it in the 1600s. But we couldn’t view it as the inerrant inspired word of God — then this approach would not work. It would have to be viewed as a repository of the wisdom of the past. But then why would people read it? My answer: why do scholars who no longer believe its the word of God read it? Why do I still read it? The only answer to our problem is for everyone to become scholars: to want to read just to learn, not to beat others over the head and control them. To want to read to gain understanding and insight, not to prove a preconceived notion or inherited dogma. Obviously this will never happen, so its all hypothetical. But it sounds good, right?
I posted this over at SSB and thought I would share it here. These are a collection of quotes (in context, folks!):
Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.
John Calvin Institutes Book 1 chp 16
The first man fell because the Lord deemed it meet that he should
John Calvin, Institutes Book 3 chp 23
God did from all eternity will or decree the commission of all the sins of the world, because his permissive will is his true and real will.
On the Decrees Chp 3 pg, 104
This is the highest degree of faith-to believe that He is merciful, the very ONE who saves so few and damns so many. To believe that He is just, the One according to His own will, makes us necessarily damnable.
Martin Luther- The Bondage of the Will
But those who deny Our verses are deaf and dumb within darknesses. Whomever Allah wills – He leaves astray; and whomever He wills – He puts him on a straight path.
What’s interesting in the Quran on this point is that there’s a point — it must be somewhere in the first 12 Suras because I didn’t get any father than that before I was bored out of my gourd — where the unbelievers begin using Mohammed’s fatalism against him. They said something like “We are unbelievers because our Lord has willed it so” and Mohammed’s response was nothing but unbridled nonsensical rage. Mohammed can say to the unbeliever as an accusation against them and as a condemnation of them (as if they are responsible for it) “You don’t believe because Allah has not willed it” but the unbeleiver cannot retort as a defense “We are unbelievers because our Lord has willed it so” — double standard much?
Oh noooo! They will protest. But we don’t believe THAT!
Sure. That’s why you’re a five point Calvinist.