This is a response to James, who has made his true position unequivocally known in the last thread. That James rejects Paul the Apostle’s epistles he has certainly made clear to us here at unreformingtheology.com. However, recently revealed is that James rejects Christianity as a whole. He does this because, I submit, he concedes that reformation protestantism interprets the faith correctly. As such, he denies Christ categorically.
And that is fine. No one gets criticized by me for engaging their brains and drawing their own conclusions. James raises valuable questions. James correctly identifies the weaknesses of the Christian argument in light of its thousand year whoring-out of itself to Greek mysticism. James rejects the Calvinist mystics without a blush of shame; without the slightest concession of their vile premises. That we should all do this, is my dream.
But here is my brain. Here is my conclusion regarding the rejection of Christ:
James’s position is a mistake of reason. A return to Judaism as THE source of ultimate moral restoration is impossible. Why? Well, put simply, the Apostle Paul is right. NO law…no external, abstract standard of good and evil can do anything other than enslave man to sin. Because ANY good man does will ultimately and only be defined by the SIN which declares good, good. And so again, Paul is right. You cannot do good without sin being “right there with you”. Right there with you, DEFINING your good for you.
There cannot ultimately be salvation in that idea.
This is the inevitable truth of any morality OUTSIDE of man’s physical, individual self. And this is precisely what Jewish law does…and this is why Christ came. Either Christ comes, or the Law is an endless cycle of sin and “atonement”, going nowhere, leading only to the conclusion that moral value is constantly beyond man’s reach. Man is the horse, the Law is the carrot. Man moves in the right direction, but he never actually gets anywhere.
I know a lot of us don’t want to acknowledge this…that Paul the Apostle is right. This is understandable…our reticence to embrace Pauline theology is certainly due to the way he has been utterly bastardized and his theology dragged through the filth of Platonism by countless false teachers. But understand this…this is by design. This is Satanic. Jettisoning Paul is THE single most dangerous thing any of us can do aside from denying Christ. Paul, for all his faults and his dearth of talent in the art of clear communication, is the loudest voice in the entire canon of scripture, apocrypha or not, translation–no matter; yes, the loudest voice concerning the restoration of MAN as the source of his own moral worth. Yes, even more so than Moses. I might even add, more so than Christ, Himself.
You reject Paul, you reject yourself. You reject SELF, and you reject value (morality), knowledge, love, and ultimately God, by whom SELF can exist.
This is my response to James, in post form:
(NOTE: After this, I will move on to the posts I have in mind to print. And to the focus of this blog: NOT surrendering my faith to the physical and moral and intellectual horrors of Calvinism. This subject (Christ versus the Jews) can quickly consume a conversation. I won’t let that happen to me. Nevertheless, I am compelled to answer. Because, as for me…no, they (the neo-Reformed hordes) will not get away with their rational theft…the murder of the SELF. Their hypocrisy will not be an excuse for denying the only source of moral value. ME. And YOU. And PEOPLE. )
I would love to go through the looking glass with you on this topic, because I think much can be said. Alas…I am pressed to make a decision, and I need to get on with the posts I have lined up to write for the blog.
I think you raise some excellent points in your criticisms of Christianity. I think you illuminate many problems the theology has…ironically (or maybe there is a better word), the arguments you use to attempt to dismantle the legitimacy of Christianity are some of the exact same ones I use to dismantle the legitimacy of Calvinism and basically Protestantism as a whole. However, in the end, this becomes clear to me: you have accepted that the Calvinists actually DO interpret Christianity correctly, and therefore, you reject Christianity as nothing more than the fatalistic determinism the Calvinists preach and teach.
You need to do better than this. Rejection of Christianity is the easy way out. It is merely another way of ceding the Calvinist interpretive premises. That is running away from them. They don’t care if you leave the faith. All the more room for them. One less thinker they have to deal with. In the end, you argue from not from reason but only from retreat. If you choose not to accept Christ, I have no problem with that. But if you do it because you accept their interpretation of the faith, then, as far as I am concerned, THAT is where our disagreement lay. Let’s put away Christ versus the Jews and debate what is relevant to the whole damn argument: your reformed assumptions.
You are going to argue that Judaism without Christ is more rational??? Really…that’s your play? To claim that TRUTH is found APART from man in an abstraction called the Law? Obeying God? Easy as that? According to what standard? Exactly…it’s not man, it’s something else. It’s outside of man. Well, if TRUTH is outside of man, as it is in Judaism (really? we are going to find peace in a religion that is as awash in bloodshed as any in the history of the world…I mean, have you READ the OT? It is wiping out whole cultures and societies of human beings in service to TRUTH; which I get why from the historical context, but THIS is THE answer to PEACE?)…if truth is outside of man then you’ve got nothing with which to dismantle the Calvinist despots. You concede the SAME idea: obey your priests, for real truth is beyond your understanding anyway. YOU don’t get to say what is true and what is not because TRUTH is outside of you.
This is a mistake, in my opinion. If you truly understood the OT the way you say you do, I do not believe you can actually read the NT in its and Jewish historical context and come away withe the conclusions you do. You are doing nothing more than conceding the Calvinist interpretive assumptions and then rejecting the whole of the Christian message as an evil farce. However, this only becomes possible if you conveniently jettison the first two or three hundred years of church history before Augustine, up until which point, Christ was understood much differently than He is today…thanks to the systematizing of Augustine’s gnostic message by Luther and Calvin, which is the bedrock for ALL of Christianity to this day.
The conclusions you draw about Christianity are the exact same ones I would draw about Judaism apart from Christ: that it is ultimately a dualistic paradigm, which perpetually places man OUTSIDE moral value, and thus makes the reconciliation of man with GOOD impossible. Unless man becomes THE standard of moral value by a physical reconciliation with with “himself-as-good” (Christ), then man can never claim any goodness at all, and thus is perpetually exclusive to God’s standard of moral perfection. By pursuing any abstraction as TRUTH, man places truth always outside of himself. This must result in death, oppression, and destruction for man…for the only “good” man can do then, is to die. To not exist. And you can only mitigate this with animal sacrifices for so long before it becomes clear that the whole ceremony must either lead to Christ (Messiah) or lead nowhere. It is precisely the perpetuation of this dualistic external Good and Evil construct which those rejecting Christ want to perpetuate. And yes, I would include Judaism apart from the culmination of God’s TRUTH in Christ. Christ is the only way man becomes THE singular source of value in the universe. Any other way places man outside his own value. We can thank Adam for that.
This is not a rejection of Judaism. Of course not…for without the Law, Christ could not be understood. But Judaism without Christ is incomplete. It is the “form”, but it lacks realization because without Christ, man cannot BE the Law, He can only DO it. And doing (works) the law cannot restore moral value, it can only express what it is supposed to look like. The law looks like man is suppose to look, but only man is man.
You greatly misunderstand Paul, by the way. I get why he is easily misunderstood. But this does not change the fact that you interpret him falsely. And it is painfully obvious you do this in rank service to an ideology. You form an idea, then twist Paul to fit that idea. This is easily seen. And easily done. The fault is both his and yours.
All truth proceeds from man, and because of this, the Law cannot save, because the Law is not actual, only MAN is actual. Truth proceeds from man…it is not the other way around. A rejection of Christ in favor of ANY law is an exchange of man for an illusion…an idea. An abstraction. The law is an abstract standard.
Jesus Christ was a human being. THIS is the difference which makes man MORAL versus enslaving man to SIN. Because by the law, any GOOD is ONLY defined by the SIN by which it is known. But with MAN, there is no SIN by which good can be known. There is only man, and he is GOOD.
This is a fact that cannot be circumvented in the end, which is why Christianity will never actually find itself extinguished. The TRUTH of man as VALUE is as plain as your face in the mirror. Sure, we constantly reject this, but unless man is utterly wiped out, all truth must return to man’s physical self. And man as MORAL TRUTH is proclaimed by one faith and one faith alone: Christ.