“It might be the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”
In Wade’s theology, that is, Reformed Theology, the human being is a victim of God’s sovereign, determining and absolute control; and yet those who suffer in this life for a variety of reasons (with those exempt from God’s arbitrary election unto salvation burning forever in the barbeque pit of God’s cosmic ho-down) are somehow, despite God’s absolute control, in which the choice of man cannot possibly exist (as determinism is mutually exclusive to consciousness), wholly culpable for the sin which brings Gods “just” wrath upon his head.
Even in the best case scenario offered by the more sympathetic Calvinists wherein man’s sins are chalked up to his indefatigable and irresistible “sin nature” (defined by an impressive cache of proof-texts interpreted almost categorically through a lens of gnostic philosophical assumptions), man’s personal responsibility for his divine punishment is still impossible. For in light of God’s raw determinism, in which, according to R.C. Sproul, nary a single molecule escapes His premeditated Will, coupled with the irresistible influence of man’s sin nature, which is the functional arm of his Total Depravity, man’s self-will/volition, which is necessary if we want to declare man acts according to choice–that is, interprets and applies ideas according to a standard of TRUTH which must be the life of the SELF (the conceptualized self plus the physical self), fed to him via his senses and vetted through the conceptualized self…yes, in light of the utter determinism of man’s sin nature and God’s absolute universal control, any notion of man’s “will” cannot possibly exist.
Between God’s sovereignty and the sin nature, man as an agent which can even be defined at all as physically and metaphysically distinct from the forces outside of him which determine him is totally fucked. There is no room for man…as an individual life-form in the physical sense, nor as a thinking being in a metaphysical/epistemological sense. And yet somehow, apart from any reasonable, measurable, knowable standard, man is still ultimately culpable for his punishment–which, as we learned from Wade, can occur randomly in the form of pastoral authoritarianism. It’s all man’s fault.
And this is the argument I believe Wade is making: any abuse is ultimately, via his inexorable wicked core; his depraved self; his sin nature, man’s perfect fault. And thus Wade, like many a good Calvinist, is compelled, they think, as those called to preach the “truth” of man’s pervasive depravity, to search the roots of evil in the hearts of ALL human kind. And this means that, yes, even in the case of the most horrific actions perpetrated upon humanity, Wade will spend just as much time searching out the roots of the abuse within the hearts of the victims as he will spend searching for it within the hearts of the perpetrators. In Wade’s peculiar and evil philosophy, the victim is just as much a part of the evil as the one who actually employs it. There is no cause and effect…there is, in light of Wade’s devotion to the utter determinism of God’s sovereignty and man’s inexorable depravity/sin nature, only effect. And that effect is always YOUR SIN. Period. Full stop. And that is why he has no problem making a statement like the one I posted above, wherein he completely shreds the distinction between good and evil, ushers in antinomianism and moral relativism like the four winds, strips man of his identity and SELF, and makes TRUTH utterly unknowable to anyone, even himself…and as such, rips God Himself away from the people of the earth, creating an impossible chasm between God and His children. This is Wade’s (and Calvinism’s in general) solution to man’s evil and God’s frustration. And this is what passes for “sound doctrine”. Honestly, I do not understand how those who call themselves the emissaries of God can so little fear and understand Him.
Well, the answer is: they are not. God’s emissaries, that is. And they are certainly not “called” to offer the removal of God from his people as the solution to the woes of the universe. Life, not death, is the Word of God; is the Love of God. That these pastors teach otherwise is not lost on our Lord…and I can assure you, He is not amused with their inept handling of of his Name.
But I believe Wade sees no conflict within the theology. According to the doctrine, a fundamental TRUTH is that man is always responsible for the suffering and torture God brings, so why the hell should man be given absolution if the suffering and torture is brought by a fellow human being, like an abusive pastor? After all, Wade is unable according to his doctrine to make a distinction between the two bringers of torment. In the name of Sovereignty, ALL that happens, happens at the hands of God’s absolute, determining Will, and thus, a person abusing is functionally the same thing as God, Himself, abusing. Again, Wade can appeal to no rational distinction…and thus, what this really means is that there can be no such thing as actual abuse. For suffering is always a direct result of man’s total depravity and God’s sovereign control. The term “abuse” implies moral failure as juxtaposed to moral innocence. But in light of the doctrine of Total Depravity man can never be in a position of moral innocence…ever. And further, God, who controls all cannot commit moral failure, and so he cannot possibly ordain ABUSE, but only “just judgment”.
In light of God’s absolute perfection, all of man’s moral failure is exactly the same between human beings. No one is “better” than anyone else. This is the point of Total Depravity…no one is “good enough for God; and as such, no one’s sin is any worse than anyone’s else…for all are totally depraved next to God. And therefore, if Wade wants to be consistent with his doctrine, it is impossible for him to declare the victim “just” and the perpetrator “evil”. BOTH are evil…and so he looks to qualify or quantify the same “cause” within both for the effect of abuse, which is man’s complete depravity. IF you are abused, you MUST have done something to deserve the suffering, because your total depravity demands that you cannot possibly be innocent in the matter. Your depravity is TOTAL, and thus, at the root of all suffering, just like everything else, we must find and highlight your SIN. Wade is obliged to consider this when discussing even the most heinous of crimes against life. At the root of your abuse is YOUR sin…YOUR failure…YOUR odious SELF. And so Wade looks around for things that “might be the cause” of abuse within the victim. In the case of the comment I posted at the top of this article, it is your “lack of interest in prayer”. In the case of the wife whose husband smacks her face, as I mentioned in my response to Wade, it is her failure to get dinner ready on time. In the case of people waning and cracking under the weight of an theocratic dictatorship, it might be their false religion (they are Muslims, thus, God is merely punishing them for their wrong beliefs), in the case of Americans suffering under the weight of a Marxist president…well, I have heard people in my church blame the laity (Christians in general) for “not voting”, or “not being vocal enough against gay marriage”, or simply being too lazy to become politically active…and God is punishing our indifference accordingly. In the case of a three-year-old child who is sexually abused in a neo-Calvinist mega church whilst the leadership bends over backwards to both look the other way and protect the reputation of their Tyrant Pastor, Wade’s theology can always fall back on the pure existence of the child, since a three-year-old is hardly self-aware enough to warrant a more specific charge. But no matter, existence is quite enough. Because in light of man’s utter depravity, which must be the root of humanity itself, God MUST hate man, period. Thus, it is the very BEING of a person which obliges God to torment them and to heap violence upon them. You see? It’s always YOU! The fact that YOU ARE HERE is why you suffer, you filthy worm!
And this is why Wade will never let the victim off the hook…if there is a crime, somehow God is certainly teaching them about their own evil. Nothing happens in a vacuum of human free will, remember. The evil abuser could not have acted alone. God must have been there, determining his actions (though most Calvinists will NEVER have the balls to admit this, but will equivocate like cowards until the sun burns out) in the interest of giving the victim the “grace to perceive” the level of his or her depravity, so that they might change. And it’s always within this falsely altruistic context: yes, you were raped seventeen times by a pastor in your church when you were a three-year-old little girl; yes, your father beat you within an inch of your life for nothing more than spilling a glass of milk when you were a little boy; yes, your husband humiliates you in public because you are a little overweight, whilst he sports a triple chin , but it’s only God loving on you. It’s only God letting you know how much you need Jesus.
Vile teachers. Their condemnation is deserved.
Part six coming soon.