“It might the reason there’s a problem with excessive pastoral authority is a lack of interest in praying for one’s pastor. 🙂 Maybe?”
The implicit assumption in this comment is that the pastor, regardless of his moral atrocities, can never be disqualified from his position of ecclesiastical leadership (i.e. his job) because he can always appeal to the “sin nature” of the congregation as an excuse for his evil actions. “Just look what you made me do” has been the defense of many a psychopathic abuser. It is the ultimate appeal to a “truth” outside of man, of moral relativism, and of a separation between God and humanity. That these words should have even crossed the mind of a Christian teacher is disturbing, and should prove to anyone interested that those who would call themselves shepherds of God’s people need to have their doctrine thoroughly vetted in accordance with the plumb line of human lives. If what they believe demands that humanity be sacrificed upon the alter of their philosophy, then they should be cast out the door.
The plain truth is that human life is the singular, absolute source and context and meaning and TRUTH for all we as Christians hold dear: the Bible, the Prophets, the Lord, the Spirit, the Messiah, the GOOD. Without human life, none of these things has any meaning or purpose. It is axiomatic that all TRUTH (value and morality) can only be a function of the HUMAN frame of reference. It is categorically impossible to declare any TRUTH beyond the context of human life. We are all human beings, and thus we all have the exact same frame of reference. Thus, TRUTH, even Christian TRUTH, and God’s TRUTH, both begins and ends with human life. Thus, and again, any philosophy/theology/doctrine which demands otherwise…which demands, in any form (e.g. a “biblical role”, a “law”, a “collective…like ‘church body’ or ‘the party'”, a determining force like “sin nature” or “God’s sovereignty”), that man’s life is to be subverted in order that absolute “truth” can reign absolutely…well, this must be declared a lie; for it is impossible to make a rational argument that man can either pursue it, or even know it. Anything claimed to be truth outside of man’s five senses cannot possibly be known, and therefore, it cannot possibly be truth.
And this is a fact that many Christians refuse to swallow…and this is why I submit that there will be fewer “Christians” in heaven than we might otherwise assume. And this is a dreadful and terrifying thought.
I do not say this to bludgeon people with fear of fire and brimstone…I do not need to do that, for I have developed rational arguments for the defense of my ideas. I don’t need to scare you; I’ll leave that for the Calvinist mystics who peddle Platonist Gnosticism for Christ’s love. I only need to lead you (the Calvinist/Reformed Protestant/Augustinian Catholic) right where your false philosophy is dying to go…literally and figuratively: to rank contradiction. Once you have been forced to punt your fundamental assumptions into the great cosmic abyss of God’s mystery, my work is finished. Thus, I do not cry hell to frighten you. I do it to reason with you.
Look at my mock conversation between the King and Christian, which I posted a couple of weeks ago. What is my point? What does King’s last statement declare? It declares that God is unable to save that which He cannot know because it has no actual LIFE to it. In other words, God cannot save that which is NOTHING according to the philosophy which is presented to Him. Since it is impossible for God to possess man–for it is axiomatic to say that God cannot BE what he is NOT–we must concede that man is man, and God is NOT man. Thus, there must be a way in which man can truly exist to God so that God can declare him TRUE and thus GOOD by virtue of the saving sacrifice of Messiah. But if man willingly denies himself in service to a philosophy that demands he cannot possibly EXIST, in service to the absolute-ness of the philosophy, then there is nothing for God to save, by definition. For we greatly underestimate how what we THINK and what we BELIEVE defines our reality for us. This is not subjectivity…this is reality. This is actuality. For if you observe all life through a prism of non-existence, then by definition you cannot actually exist, since existence is a function of observation and your philosophy explicitly DENIES observation as the means to TRUTH; which means to LIFE, which is YOUR REALITY…and there is no other.
But you might say that God can see you for what you really are, and so it is perfectly within His power to save you. You might argue that it is what God observes that matters, not what you observe (never mind that you cannot make that argument without the ability to observe your environment and then create conceptualizations in order that you can define what you will accept as truth or false in accordance with those conceptualizations…but Platonism is rife with contradictions). But this doesn’t lionize God, nor appeal to His absolute power and sovereignty (which are completely misrepresented in Reformed Theology anyway). This is a lie. This demands that God make Himself a hypocrite and utterly remove Himself from the context of his own Creation and humanity itself. It demands that God become wholly unknowable to His children…and herein lies the crux of Calvinism’s evil: That God is put away from His children and the power of His salvation and Truth, all of which are thieved by men who are obsessed with being God for Him. It is the same sin as Satan’s.
To deny your senses and your observable reality in favor of “God’s truth” is nothing more than demanding that God contradict His own existence. That God be a God of nothing. Or, more poignantly, that God be a God of DEATH. For implicit in its Platonist/Gnostic roots, Calvinism declares that man’s DEATH bring life, thus creating the contradiction of all contradictions: that God Himself is responsible for bringing DEATH to the world; which implicates him in all evil and sin. They, that is, the modern day Reformers, will argue that doctrine of God’s sovereignty elevates His goodness and power. In truth, what it does is makes this goodness and power, and God himself, unable to be known at all by man, since man, in the context of an absolutely controlling God, cannot exist. It demands that God possess man, and thus violate His holy perfect and absolute I AM in the interest of BEING that which He is not. And when we claim that He is what He is not, we implicate Him in the violation of the human SELF, which thus violates man’s ability to know Him as God, which is a direct violation of God’s SELF.
Now, I ask you, how exactly are we asking God to “save” a people who function unequivocally from such an understanding of the universe? Who is it God shall save? Who ultimately are we declaring does the saving? There is no actual answer to this, and thus there can be no actual salvation.
We would do well to consider such a thing before we affirm what our modern mystics would teach us.
And if you don’t, well…yeah…maybe you should be a little frightened.