This is a neo-Reformed assault launched against the Wartburg Watch by Wade Burleson and some commenter named Ken. I have no love for that site as I’m sure you have gathered by now, but I will call out mystic oppression when I see it, and this is mystic lording at its most subtle finest.
Wade Burleson UNITED STATES on Thu Dec 05, 2013 at 10:33 PM said:
Got tied up with a couple customers, Dee. Wasn’t intending on skipping out that long. I’m very glad you post the majority of people’s comments and show the real world, but it wasn’t really what I was getting at.
Maybe this would help explain my concern: there is a difference between a genuine comradery that develops when people are drawn to this site because of their painful/wrongful experience with authoritarian leadership in the church (I commend you guys for this) and comradery that results from being analytical and critical (not so good, imo). The latter is my concern in that it produces extremely fertile soil for the seeds of self-righteous banter to take root. I’ve seen it in my own life when I started seeing and identifying the huge problems in “church” as I knew it years ago. I’m still guilty of it at times and need to repent of it. I am no better than they are, will always have error in my thinking regarding Christ and His Kingdom, and am in desperate/continual need of the grace of God in all areas of my life…especially my attitude towards others with whom I disagree.
So, yes, I realize not everyone who comments is professing to love Christ here, but among those (a rather large group) that have claimed to love Christ there seems to be much joy and satisfaction in finding fault. Just my humble opinion, but it seems your comments frequently incite that aspect of response, rather than curb it with a graceful reminder.
What do you think – does that make any sense? I know there is a fine line here, and am not sure I have the ability to articulate it. Thanks for your patience with me!
Dee and Deb,
The above comment by Ken (whom I do not know) is worthy of our serious contemplation. The spirit in which he writes gives evidence of the Spirit possibly speaking through him. Nobody has commented on his comment, so I thought I’d highlight it lest it be missed. What he’s written, in my estimation, is very profound.
Now to a couple of other issues at hand. It should be obvious to everyone what happened to Mefferd. When someone’s livelihood is at stake, one’s silence is understandable. However, in the end, truth will always win. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and reflect on the truth that in the age of the Internet, stunning silence speaks ten times louder than ten thousand blogs. It has the REVERSE effect intended. So, hang on – its only beginning.
Second, to the two of you (Dee and Deb) – your labor of love in running a blog that has hundreds and thousands of daily readers is amazing. Don’t get discouraged. It’s difficult to walk the line between truth and love (No, it is not.). I see you doing it well. Continue – loving people where they are, including those who disagree with you theologically, and you will continue to make an impact with your truth writing.
Praying for you guys and Rachelle and I love you both!
(Bold print added for emphasis, and bod print in parenthesis are mine.)
So says Wade Burelson, resident e-pastor over at Wartburg Watch (www.wartburgwatch.com). Now, there is a ton of philosophically and theologically ridiculous stuff going on in this comment; and notice that half of the comment is a re-post of another comment by this Ken guy.
Both of them are birds of a despotic feather in my opinion, because both of them concede the idea that man is not capable of making any moral distinctions, and thus by logical extension is incapable of taking moral action. This is certainly implied when Ken declares:
“I am no better than they are, will always have error in my thinking regarding Christ and His Kingdom, and am in desperate/continual need of the grace of God in all areas of my life…especially my attitude towards others with whom I disagree.”
It should be standard operating procedure that any rational human being be infuriated at statements like this. This is rational larceny at its glittering finest…literally. Ken’s statement utterly robs you of your ability to apprehend truth, to call evil, evil and good, good. He openly admits that HE has no such inherent ability to make such judgments…that God, by his “grace”, does it for him, even though this defies any logic. For if Ken cannot help but have “error in his thinking” then how can he pretend to understand God well enough to even know that he cannot help but have “error in his thinking”? For that statement is, itself, a declarative absolute…the very thing his statement utterly DENIES he is capable of. If his thinking is perpetually in error then why in the fuck should I believe that he has anything useful to add to the conversation? If he preaches Jesus, why should anyone listen to him? He flat out concedes that even HE doesn’t really know what he thinks he knows; that his entire epistemology is pervasively flawed at its root.
Asinine! And this is what Wade thinks could “possibly be the Holy Spirit”?! How long…O, how long will “Christians” continue to exchange reason for madness?!
Bullshit in its finest, and it tasks my temper. For there is no such thing as “partly good” or “partly evil” in order that you can make such a statement that you “cannot fully know” what you think (as if thinking is somehow subject to abstract concepts like “knowing and not knowing”…NO, you either are thinking or you are not thinking; when you think, you think ABSOLUTELY. Your MIND is THE absolute, not the concepts you use to organize what you observe). The very notion is irrational piffle. Evil and good are mutually exclusive absolutes. If you cannot fully concede good and fully act in service to it, and fully concede evil, and fully act to avoid it or destroy it, then you are morally broken, defunct, and irrelevant to LIFE.
Aaaaaand….here we are again, right back to Calvinism. For those of you who were or are Calvinists, you know that this is exactly what they believe. Human beings, saved or unsaved, are morally useless, never fully understanding good, and thus, by extension, never fully understanding evil. They are “lukewarm”, as Christ would say, and are fit for nothing as a matter of metaphysical course. This is why this theology utterly condemns to hell all men and women, and must appeal to God’s rank and arbitrary “election” for salvation. Nothing you and I ever say or do at all, good or bad, really matters, because your entire existence is perfectly broken and irrelevant.
With respect to the “tone”, or “attitude”, or “bitterness”, or “fault-finding” of Wartburg’s commenters: Well, what the fuck do Ken and Wade propose these poor propagandized people do? I mean, Ken and Wade and Dee and Deb divorce doctrine from behavior, so what do they expect the comments to look like when you have a group of people who want to decry spiritual tyranny and are invited to do so and yet are gagged when it comes to actually discussing the ideas which drive it? If you attack the precious “orthodoxy” and “sound doctrine” (which is basically pure Calvinism), you are an apostate and a heretic and Dee gives you the left boot of fellowship right into moderation oblivion. And according to Ken and Wade if you attack the behavior and actions of others you are “self righteous”, and “pridefully” ignoring your own proclivities to utter sinfulness…you deny your TOTAL depravity. If you judge others’ actions on the basis that they are not in keeping with proper doctrine, you pretend that you have the same wisdom and authority as PASTOR, who is divinely called by God and thus somehow specially dispensed to know a bunch of shit you don’t. Which means you are assuming THEIR authority to gauge degrees of “orthodoxy”, which puts you in the position of trying to actually BE God (because there is no distinction between Pastor and God in reformed theology/Calvinism as fair as the laity is concerned), which makes you vulnerable to excommunication, Church “discipline”, or worse.
The purpose of this philosophy (Reformed/Calvinist) then should be obvious: to use fear of death and hell to compel the masses into a specific ideology in order to serve that ideology, in order that those who “lead” may grow in power. Make no mistake, there is nothing Christian about any of this thinking. Calvinism and Reformed theology have roots which do not find their way back to Jewish Law nor to the Revelation of God which is the source of the Torah. Calvinism and Reformed theology are the evil spawn of Gnosticism, which is one of the many bloodthirsty sons of Platonism…the university and bulwark of all tyranny. To declare that people are wholly unable to make moral judgments of either behavior or doctrine (or motives, or intentions, or “heart”) is to remove humanity from itself. By putting an awareness of TRUTH utterly outside the metaphysical and epistemological boundaries of human beings, those who proclaim themselves, hypocritically, as “called” to lead are in a position of absolute power and control. THEY alone, by God’s Will, have a monopoly on all LIFE…they alone get to say what is true and what is not; and since the reasons for doing so are completely beyond the “average” person’s ability to apprehend, by purposeful divine mandate, these “leaders” are in an indefatigable position to control absolutely. Whenever and in whatever way they want. Capriciousness has no definition in such a worldview. Actions are right not based on the consistency of them to a standard of reason or life or truth or anything else; actions are “right” merely because they say so; and they are God as far as you are concerned. And you should know that neither they or you are, according to their “sound doctrine”, able to make ANY distinction between their words and God’s words; their authority and God’s authority.
So, notice what Wade does here. He invokes “possibly” the Holy Spirit in service to the doctrine he accepts. That’s right…not in service to “truth” or “good”, because both of those things are entirely subservient to doctrinal orthodoxy in reformed theology. TRUTH and GOOD, even God’s GOOD, is not the standard of their doctrine, but the opposite is true. If it isn’t doctrinally sound (which means consistent with their interpretive premises, which deny human life as the standard of truth), then it cannot be GOOD and it cannot be TRUE. This makes TRUTH and morality a function of the gnosis–the Pastor’s special knowledge–and not the other way around. And this of course makes truth and good something which is BEYOND the scope and context of man’s life. And the hounds of hell are free to run wild amongst the human race.
Let me explain.
Now, Wade qualifies his statement about the Holy Spirit with “possibly”, which is wise. But allow me to pontificate on the dangers of holding to the doctrinal beliefs Wade presumes, and the precarious and dangerous position it places him in, as a Pastor; because you must understand, whether they admit it or not, reformed theology demands a spiritual caste system. In other words, it demands that the ecclesiastical leadership possess the “gnosis”, the divine knowledge, which eludes “normal” people like you and I. It requires that Pastors have “authority”, and authority is the power of force/punishment, and this is defended precisely by appealing to the their special relationship with God.
So, notice what happens when one does not have a rational epistemological plumb line…that is, a rational standard of TRUTH (which must be and can be nothing other than man’s LIFE) by which to vet all ideas and notions so that their efficacy to truth can be reasonably seen and reasonably observed. The Holy Spirit becomes subservient to what? That’s right. To doctrine. And what does the doctrine say? It says that Pastors are spiritual authorities. And what does that mean? It means that they have a special revelation from God that you cannot have…it has been bestowed upon them, despite this assumption being categorically contradictory to every point in TULIP. Somehow, God has decided that they are “worthy” (but not worthy…making God’s truth nothing more than rational insanity). So, I submit that if Wade reads something that sounds reeeeeaaaally good and reeeaaally in keeping with what HE believes and what HIS heart thinks, then, viola! the Holy Spirit this must have been.
This is very, very dangerous ground for him and any other Reformed pastor to stand upon. But they don’t lose a wink of sleep over this of course, because…well, think about it. I mean, if you are God, for all intents and purposes. Ce la vie. It’s all good. You don’t have to fear God, for God serves YOU…that is, God’s truth is YOUR truth. Fear is incompatible to the Pastor who decides that his every whim is divine. What do they have to be afraid of? The Holy Spirit becomes merely another useful servant in their quest to perpetuate their own power as “God in the stead”.
And they go on, never really understanding how terrified they should be that they believe this kind of “orthodoxy”.
You see, conceding that man’s life is not the plumb line for truth, even though it is the only rational standard, leads to every sort of evil, and every manner of violent and tyrannical consequence. This should not be hard to graps. And when I say evil, I don’t even mean Hitler evil (which it does lead to…all tyranny can be traced to Platonism; and certainly Reformed theology is Platonist in its foundations). I mean…using God Himself as a means to the end of your own power. Yes, THAT kind of evil. Even typing that last sentence made me shudder and tremble. Do you not see that when the plumb line of TRUTH is OUTSIDE of man’s life then man cannot ever be in a position to know truth, by definition. Which means he cannot know God!
But God is relevant not because He is TRUTH outside of man but precisely because man can know Him as TRUE. Man can define God, and define God properly AS God, because epistemological understanding is utterly within the scope of man’s existence! If man’s epistemology is subservient to a TRUTH outside of him then God loses all definition; all relevance, all meaning. And those that fill the vast moral vacuum which rips through the universe like a galaxy sized black hole can declare NOTHING off limits to their own power. THEY are the only ones who are somehow able to have a useful epistemology…that is, they are the only ones who can say what is “true” and what is not. This means that they do not serve God, but God must serve them because TRUTH is categorically ruled by them. God only has any meaning when THEY define Him.
Now, they will declare “God’s revelation” as the source of their knowledge and authority, but understand that this cannot be true. For in order for God’s revelation to be understood—to have any useful relevance–then man must possess innately an ability to properly judge his own reality/context in order to see that God’s revelation is “right”. In other words, man must possess the inherent ability to be “revealed upon”. Which means that any revelation must coincide with man’s root EXISTENCE. It is the fact that man IS which makes it possible for God to reveal TRUTHS to him. Man has an innate standard of truth by which he can automatically apprehend God’s revelation. That standard is of course his LIFE. Thus, man can know God is God because such knowledge is rationally compatible with man’s EXISTENCE.
But if we say that man’s existence is purely subjective to God’s truth, then man’s very BEING, his very SELF, can by no means be any kind of vehicle to understand what God reveals. Man’s life is irrelevant to God’s truth being true. This makes no rational sense, but it is precisely what reformed theology teaches. And this means that truth, inherently, cannot be known by man because “truth” ignores man’s very existence as a prerequisite for it being true. This makes man’s epistemology (how he knows what he knows) totally useless! Which puts God, Himself, as a “truth”, beyond the scope of man’s life. Man cannot know God, and God cannot know man, because “knowledge” must be KNOWN by someONE, and according to the doctrine you cannot appeal to your LIFE—your someONE, so to speak—as a means for knowing anything. So, by their own doctrine, the neo-reformers declare that man cannot be “revealed upon” because man’s life, man’s EXISTENCE, is an insufficient vehicle for knowledge. And if man cannot be revealed upon because his existence is wanting as a receptacle for knowledge, then how in the hell can they appeal to divine revelation as the source of their authority?
The answer is, they cannot. So, by their own doctrine they remove God from man entirely and place themselves in His position as the source of all power and authority over life and death, meaning and truth, good and evil. And if this is a philosophy which saves man and does not destroy him then God is a farce. The only way for God to be God is if man is capable of reconciling God to the affirmation of his own life, his own existence, if for no other reason than your LIFE is the only objective, observable, actual means you have of knowing ANYTHING, including and especially God. It is axiomatic to declare that all you know as true begins and ends with your existence. This is not blasphemy…on the contrary, by recognizing that human life as the standard of GOOD we can easily reconcile the Bible and God to TRUTH. Why is God, God? Because He is NECESSARY, not to the destruction of human life, but to the preservation, affirmation, and CREATION of it. How in the world can anyone declare this philosophy unbiblical?
By being a gnostic, that’s how. By exchanging the truth for a lie. By pretending that human life/existence is incidental at best to TRUTH. And notice how motherfucking convenient this idea is to the acquisition and maintaining of absolute power. It’s a hook in a sea of madness…and many are being reeled up. They expect to see heaven, but all they’ll get is a boat full of hell. And into the cooler go their souls.
12 thoughts on “Wade Burleson and Commenter Ken: Defending Wartburg Watch’s community of commenters against Reformed theology’s epistemological madness”
“And you should know that neither they or you are, according to their “sound doctrine”, able to make ANY distinction between their words and God’s words; their authority and God’s authority.”
Here in is the foundations for the “True Believer.” These are the men and women so convinced of their own rightness that they make no substantive distinction between God’s will and their will. They may pay lip service to “gods” sovereignty, but at the end of the day they believe whatever THEY do is really an extension of God’s intent. They can only conceptualize their actions as the direct cause of Divine inspiration. So whatever they believe . . . must be God. Whatever they do . . . must be God.
This is what makes True Believers so very dangerous.
You see this pathology in the Sovereign Grace Ministries madness. It matters not the circumstance, at the end of the day the “leadership” interprets the meaning of reality in harmony to their specific election to do EXACTLY what they did. This is exactly what CJ Mahaney did and this is exactly what Joshua Harris did.
This is why CJ and Josh should be run out of church on a rail and left to work at McDonalds for the rest of their life. Because they will never concede that their actions are independent of God’s actions or that their ideas are independent of God’s ideas. They are true believers. Unless and until they are safely tucked behind a register asking: “would you like some fries with that” you should be very, very afraid.
Amen and exactly. And the very nature of this truth means it is nearly impossible that any of them can be convinced to change their thinking. And so throwing off tyranny is never, ever peaceful, even though it should be. Reason is never good enough. They will trump reason by revelation, and never see the metaphysical contradiction. And off with our heads.
Oh my. Wade and Ken have embarked on what a friend of mine termed as the “totalitarian niceness”. Of course neither one of them gave specific example of the offending comments. The rarely do that because it is not “nice”.
But if you notice Wade did what he always does in the end, agrees with everyone.
I think the fact it was Piper was the real problem.
You know, Lydia, that is really astute of you. I hadn’t thought about the fact that Ken could be coming out of the woodwork in tacit support of Piper. But now that you mention it, Ken gets much more complimentary and defensive of Piper as that comment thread gets long in the tooth.
The thing that surprises me is why anyone considers Wartburg a threat…I get the sense that certain people keep an eye on that blog, but again, I’m not sure what they are afraid of. Like…why does one even feel the need to defend Calvinist pastors on that blog. Wade Burleson as resident e-pastor pretty much concedes Pipers orthodoxy (and every other Reformed shaman), so it makes little sense to me that they would view Wartburg as anything other than…well, perhaps not an ally, because they are such assholes about how they criticize people (because that’s all they have since they eschew doctrinal critiques)…but perhaps a nuisance at best? But a threat? No way. Doctrine is never in question, so if push comes to shove, they can always play the “motives” or hypocrisy trump card on Dee.
The tyranny of niceness…I like that. And that’s pretty much just like regular tyranny, except the subterfuge is that much more sickening. They lure you in with honey, but if you read my latest post, well,…the outcomes are inevitably the same. Whether its a bayonet or a tasty apple, the devil gets his due when people fall for a doctrine that makes their existence antithetical to God and His love.
As for Wade? Hmm…I mean, think he really WANTS to be nice, which is why he always ends up agreeing with everyone, or apologizes for being unclear or whatever he has to do to avoid their ire. But the doctrine always trips him up in the end because he cannot concede that his orthodoxy is at its root wrong. PEOPLE must be judged by orthodoxy in his estimation, not the other way around. And so sooner or later if one is not reeled into the boat by his smooth talk (and notice how he never really concedes he was wrong about something; just that he wasn’t “clear”, or “meant something different”) he will find some other way to deal with a REAL threat…which is a person who will not concede his interpretations, and instead demands that he answer for his irrational epistemology.. In my case, I was kicked off the blog. I cannot prove it, but I also cannot help but think Wade had something to do with that.
Wade did a post on Driscoll recently concerning the plagurism. But early in the post he praises him to high heaven for his preaching the Gospel.
See, you can lie, cheat and steal but if you preach their gospel, no prob. After all, we are ALL depraved sinners. Driscoll is just a famous one preaching the gospel and being depraved. Normal business in that world.
I confess that I cannot understand how they cannot see the cognitive dissonance. What is even the point of discussing any of the bad behavior if the bottom line is that we are all sinners sinning all the time even when saved. It just becomes a matter of degree.
I don’t think it is seen as a threat…… except for its rankings and readership. You would not believe how those young restless and reformed guys watch the numbers on blogs. That is there real concern. Some of them are very jealous of the numbers of comments on each post. Their entire lives are about followers.
Wade uses the Dale Carnegie approach to disagreement. But those who are not up on that method will think he’s a greeing and praising them. I see it as a form of charm and flattery to win people over. If you also notice he never gets real specific with who is offending and what they said.
LOL…I’ll bet they are jealous. There are a LOT of pissed off people out there. And you are right, that does concern them. Followers means bling, and those YRRs think they’ve earned it by their special “calling”.
“I confess that I cannot understand how they cannot see the cognitive dissonance. What is even the point of discussing any of the bad behavior if the bottom line is that we are all sinners sinning all the time even when saved. It just becomes a matter of degree.”
I do not get it either. I am struggling with accepting it. I have had to learn to deal with the fact that the dissonance exists and that it presents a huge hurdle to any kind of reason. Blah. I’ve had conversations with John Immel where I’m beside myself with exasperation. He tells me that he’s been doing this for ten years and that I need to either accept it or stop blogging. In essence. God advice, really…I am much calmer about it now. Now, I just vent by writing posts. 🙂
I need to google that name. I’m not familiar with Carnegie, but it sounds veeeery interesting.
You Can only plant seeds….. 4 thinking. And teach your children how to think.
I will also add this one….. Wow I got caught up in some Kool Aid for a while….. It never really stuck and I give my parents credit for that. We were taught to respect those in authority but to question everything. We were taught to actually question everything we were taught not only at school but at church. I cannot thank them enough for drilling that into our heads.